Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008

Once upon a spooky Halloween, there was a stay at home mom (SAHM) who dreamed of becoming a princess mom. She wished upon a star for her fairy godmother to appear when her witchy friend from work/school showed up and POOF went the fairy godmother!

The SAHM made it through 2 hours of small children asking "What are you supposed to be for Halloween?" and then cruised across town in her minivan to her son's school and watched the annual Halloween Parade.

Clearly facing the wrong way in line, but oh so cute heroic looking.

Cuteness onstage for all to see.

School obligations completed and SAHM is happy to be home and out of those itchy velcro rollers. Could really use that fairy godmother to do something with this mop.

Still way too big, but camera does not show the full extent of bigness, thank goodness.

The kids got home from school and we headed outside to take pictures. Ryan is a brave Army Sargeant, Ashley is dressed up as Bacon (her friend whom she is going trick or treating with is the other half of her costume, Eggs. Bret thinks he's 10 again and makes a pretty sweet Viking.

Before the kids head out with friends tonight, we took them to trick or treat at Bret's Dad's house as well as a couple of his mom's close friends' houses.

Bret is now out with Ryan and Ashley caught up with her other half (eggs) and I'm left here to answer the door with two big overly excited dogs.

Just a little note to the hoodlums that came and wiped out our bowl of candy sitting on the porch while I was taking Ashley to her friend's house, RIGHT after my husband filled it - My witchy friend is coming for YOU!
Update: Oh my freaking hilarious! I was not expecting this when the door bell rang! This would be Bret and our neighbor Scott.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

School Pictures 2008

It seems we missed getting together with Bret's brother and family this year for our pictures up on Grand View Drive due to bad weather and busy schedules, but the kids did bring home some cute ones from school instead.
My grown up 7th grader...

My little man, the 2nd grader...

I even got my picture taken now that I work in one of the schools, but hell will have to freeze over before I share that one.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Worried Mama

Daisy waits for Ryan's bus and greets him at the door. Then she does the same with Ashley's bus. Only Ashley didn't take the bus home today. She stayed at school to watch the basketball game. It's been 30 minutes since the bus came through our neighborhood and this mama is still waiting for her pup to get home.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008


I officially opened up my Rock The House (school carnival) binder today. I will probably be consumed from now until March. I'm not sure how I got talked into being Vice President of the PTO, which means chairing RTH again this year. I've spent the last couple of hours sitting at my computer working on volunteer lists and sending out emails begging parents to chair booths. I may need a drink or two when the rejection emails start coming back. (Just kidding.)

For those of you who put up with me through out all of this last year, I'm going to need your support again as I'm flying solo this year. So if it fails, it's all. on. me. Yikes.

I learned something from last year, though. I am going to do a lot of delegating. These people are going to find their own volunteers. Why should I do it for every single committee this year? That is probably what consumed so much of my time last year.

Let the good times roll...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Doesn't Get Better Than This

I don't know this family personally, but I have friends that do. I've cried over the pictures and videos, signed and passed on the petition. Extreme Makeover Home Edition chose them! They are here in the Peoria area, building this family a new home! Click here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Towards the end of last school year, we were pretty worried about Ryan academically. He went through a lot of testing and the results left us pretty discouraged and worried about his future. We managed to get through the end of the school year with some progress made.

Now we have just completed the first quarter of this new school year and I am amazed at how well Ryan is catching up. Tonight was our parent/teacher conference with his teacher and I must tell you that I was expecting a lot of low grades since that seemed to be the norm last year. I am happy to report that his report card was a lot better!

While he still has some struggles when it comes to reading comprehension and writing, his reading fluency is really coming along. One month ago, Ryan was reading 41 words a minute. And now? 81! He doubled it in one month!

Reading and Writing struggles aside, he's doing excellent in all other areas. His confidence level is growing. That was one of the things that broke my heart into a million little pieces. If something was too hard for him to grasp, he'd get very frustrated - because he knew that he was supposed to be able to do it, but couldn't. Now, he's showing more confidence and his self esteem has improved as well. He no longer fights us when it's time to sit down and do school work.

I'm teary eyed right now. I'm so proud of him. I'm less worried. I see the progress. I'll never get tired of hearing him read out loud.

Six months ago tonight, we lost my mother in law. It was easily the most awful night of our lives. Tonight is particularly tough, because she is the person we would most love to share this with. She beamed with pride when it came to her grandchildren - wanted to know every detail of their lives. This would have made her more proud than any straight A report card because it gives us all hope. It shows us that Ryan will catch up and will succeed.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I've spent most of this holiday morning in bed so far. When I got up this morning I was a little achy, but figured it was still from all the hiking I did on Saturday. The achiness hasn't gone away and not it's joined with some queasiness and a fever. Why me? Is it from sleeping in an extremely damp tent or was someone among the other 20 families sick? At least my kids are self sufficient. They'll find their way up to the pantry for lunch eventually.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Camping Among The River Bluffs

We are home, happy to be clean and looking forward to not sleeping on the ground tonight. We camped with 20 other cub scout families from Ryan's school last night at Camp Wokanda, the old boy scout camp, which is now a park district owned area that is settled among the river bluffs here in central Illinois. When we entered the camp grounds, we came across this breathtaking view of the color changing trees and the glass like lake.

We survived two hikes - one with some rather treacherous climbs up steep hills in the afternoon and the other along flat ground at night with flashlights. The weather was perfect and the kids had a really great time. Ryan explored in the forest behind our camp site with all of the other boys. That particular part of the forest was made up of HUGE rolling hills covered in trees. The kids could run up and down the many hills and were in our sights the whole time. It was the perfect location.
Sleeping conditions, as one would probably expect, were not the best. Bret and Ryan had both cots and I thought I was a genius for bringing the big egg foam crate from Ashley's bed and folding it in half under my sleeping bag. I slept, thanks to ear plugs, but not very comfortably. Ashley and her friend, who stayed in their own big girl tent, had a similar problem. All I had for them were some foam pads to put under their sleeping bags. What can I say? I didn't feel like messing with the air mattresses after they leaked the last time we used them.
Anyway, we're home and I've posted many of our pictures over at Flickr (Click here for slideshow) if anyone is interested. I'm too tired and there are too many to post here. Enjoy!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sleeping With The Creepy Crawly Things

In ten hours we'll be on our way to the Boy Scout camp. I think I've packed half of the house. Always be prepared, right?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Camping With The Boys

My idea of roughing it when it comes to camping is the Girl Scout way - in heated cabins with running water and flushing toilets, using duraflame logs to start camp fires, having mattresses accessible to lay on the floor underneath my sleeping bag, and having pizza delivered for dinner.

We have on a few occasions "roughed it". In fact, the last time we "roughed it" was with our neighbors two years ago. (See that post here.) We "roughed it" with a TV in the tent, a gourmet chef and a cul de sac for bike riding.

Why am I bringing all of this up, you ask? (Hangs head in shame.) Because I just committed us to camping with Ryan's Cub Scout pack this weekend. A day and a half of real roughing it camping. No duraflame logs. No beer. No heaters. No TV's. With 50 other adults and kids. In the woods. IN THE WOODS!

Ok, maybe I'm over reacting, but I've never camped for this long a stretch of time before. A day and a half. (Stop laughing!) Usually when we camp as a family, we arrive and set up camp right before dinner, eat and drink, sleep and then get up early and go home and shower the camp fire smell off.

In the handout we were given, there is a list of what to pack. Number one on the list? "Personal clothing - be prepared for cold and rain. We will get dirty!" Yikes. Number two? "Personal grooming items - camping is no excuse for bad breath and body odor." OMG! People actually have to be reminded of this? Last on the list? A sense of adventure - this will be fun." Ok, they've got me. I'm excited, because Ryan really wants to do this with his friends. I'll put aside my own fears to watch him experience his first Cub Scout camping trip. But, man! It sounds like we'll have to hose each other off as soon as we get home.

Finding My Way Out

(Picture found on internet.)

So I've hit that rut that I new would be coming. I'm bored with the cardio machines at the gym and can't do the classes since I have to be at school in the late morning. I need to change it up so that I don't give it up. I would love to start running, as my friend Em has started doing, but the fear of dropping dead within 2 minutes flat keeps me from attempting it.

The Rock Island Trail is not far from my house, but I've feared walking it alone because it can get pretty isolated. The trail is gorgeous right now with the trees beginning to change. So, this morning I hauled my neighbor out of her house and dragged her there with me for a half hour long hike and it was exactly what I needed to find my way out of this cardio machine rut I've found myself in. I'll be going again tomorrow morning. Might as well take advantage of this fall weather while I can.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Day At The Apple Farm

We took advantage of a free Sunday and went to Tanners Orchard for a fun filled day of picking pumpkins and getting lost in corn mazes.
The kids riding on the short bus.
Guess who had the same idea today? Our niece and nephew - however they were leaving as we were just getting there.
Getting ready to brave the first Corn Maze.
The idea was to find all 12 check points - we found 6 and called it a day after an hour and a half of being lost and confused. Guess I'm not that great with a map. But hey, that's an hour and a half of exercise!
Safely out of the corn maze, we headed over the the play area to let Ryan do his thing.
He sailed a boat,
flew an airplane,

found his way through the hay bale maze,
and then out ran his father during a good game of chase.
Off to the pumpkin patch next to find the perfect pumpkins.

Friday, October 03, 2008

I Worked My Butt Off Moment

This week's challenge for HFH over at Baby Tea Leaves was to PUSH IT past my comfort zone at least once. So I did. Yesterday. And I survived. It wasn't a big thing, really. You see, normally I power walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes, then hit the elliptical machine for 10 and follow it up back on the treadmill for a final 10.

I get bored easily and changing it up keeps me from quitting. OK, it's also easier in 10 min increments. I don't want to get stuck in a comfort zone though and decided it was time to change it up - so I did 15 min on the treadmill and then 15 min on the elliptical and have every intention of upping the times more as I go along.

I use to take the group classes offered at the gym, but that is no longer an option when school is in session now that I'm working part time at one of the schools here. It's the only way I can actually work out for an hour without losing my mind. I miss those classes and am going to have to figure out how to survive the cardio machines in their place. (On days when there is only a half day or no school, I WILL spoil myself and make it to the classes on those days.)

So, that brings us to today's weigh in. I'm a nervous wreck because my weight has been bouncing around all week. While I've been working out most mornings during the week and have cut out fast food and am trying to eat right, I'm still struggling. I suspect that it may have something to do with too much sodium and building muscle. We'll see - I may have to get serious and starting counting calories or weight watchers points or something soon if I don't start getting the results I want.

Today's weight loss: 0 ugh. gained 1.5 pounds
Total weight loss to date: 3 pounds

What the???

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New Addition

Daisy gained a companion today. Luke has arrived and will be here for the next couple of months while my Aunt moves. Both dogs have gotten along great.


However, the bird's days may be numbered as Luke has shown quite a bit of interest.