Saturday, November 29, 2008

Haven't Laughed This Hard Since...

Oh my freaking hilarious. I'm laughing at this so much, I'm crying! You have got to watch this - you'll be rolling on the ground about 1/2 way through it!

Click here!

Downtown Chicago 2008

We made it safely to my mom's house last night after dropping Luke off to my aunt's new house last night. The kids are sad that Luke is gone and are now begging for a new dog to replace him. We were able to take their minds off of missing Luke by taking them downtown for the day. We had a lot of fun seeing the sights and are now back at my mom's until we leave for home tomorrow. We ended up taking over a hundred pictures, but I didn't think anyone would want to sit through that many - now matter how good looking we are! Ha! So here are some of my favorites...
Just outside of the train station. Same place, same picture, every year.

We took a carriage ride around the city. Here are my mom and Ashley.

Ryan thought Festus, the horse who pulled our carriage was pretty cool.

After our carriage ride, we walked over to the Daley Plaza to see the pretty tree outside.

We then made our way over to Macy's food court for lunch where we spent a fortune to eat. Then it was time to head on up nine levels of escalators to see the Macy's Christmas tree. But first we stopped off at FAO Scwartz so Ryan could look around and beg for toys. In fact, he's still smiling here because he thinks he's going to be able to talk us into buying something.

By the time we made it all the way up to the tree, he knew our "No's" were for real.

He was able to get over it, though.

The day was winding down but we still had some time left and none of us had been to Millenium Park yet, so we went to check it out.
The Bean is just plain awesome. We could have spent hours there having fun with our reflections.

Ryan holds up the bean.

Ryan really wanted to go ice skating, but seeing as he's never attempted that OR rollerblading/rollerskating before, I pretty much told him we'd take him to our local rink to teach him. which means I've got some pretty painful falls to look forward to in the near future.

While waiting for the our train to board, we were a little freaked out my this abandoned paper sack. I took a picture in case the train station was no more by the time we got back to my mom's.

I think it's time to see if my brother's got any beer around here...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Santa Claus Parade

Instead of battling the crazy crowds at the stores this morning, we went and watched Ashley and her school's band march in the Peoria Santa Claus Parade.
My little street bum.

Bret & I.

Ashley's school band approaches.

Unfortunately, Ashley and her flute were on the opposite side of where we were standing so I wasn't able to get a picture of her.

Remember McGruff, the crime fighting dog?

Ryan's favorite float.

Santa arrives.

We're off for a weekend in the windy city...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Turkey Day

Time sure does fly when you're busy. I've spent the last week going through Christmas stuff and am officially done decorating. Whew. I've also been Christmas shopping up a storm, determined to get the things I knew I wanted to buy before the whole shopping season kick off starts on Friday.

Tomorrow we'll be spending the day over at my sister in law's. Her family is in town from Iowa and really knows how to make a feast. Then we'll pour over sale guides after dinner. You won't find me shopping on Friday, though. Ashley is in the Santa Parade downtown this year in her school's marching band. She's super excited. Let's just hope the weather holds in the upper 40's since she's not going to be able to fit anything more than a sweater and Cuddl Duds on under her uniform.

After the parade on Friday, we'll be heading up to my mom's for the weekend. Luke, my aunt's golden retriever is going home now that my aunt has moved into her new place. After a couple months of having him here, the kids have really gotten use to having him around. They are handling it just fine though and understand that he's going home to his mama.

We'll also be making our annual train ride to downtown Chicago on Saturday. We have not yet decided what we'll do in the windy city yet, but we'll figure it out. Every year we've gotten pictures of the kids in front of the Macy's Christmas tree and then eat lunch downtown somewhere.

It promises to be a busy weekend! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Ah, yesterday. Yesterday was my first time subbing as school secretary and it was everything I thought it would be! I loved it and could totally see myself doing it full time if a position were to open. It was a bit hectic for the first hour, but settled down after that. All weekend I was nervous about having to use the intercom system - there's just something about microphones and intercoms that freak me out - and while I did make one little mistake, it wasn't such a big deal after all.

It's been over 8 years since I've had a full time job other than being mom and running a daycare out of my home. I didn't realize that I do actually miss working a little bit, so I do hope that they call me again. I would love to be trained gradually and then land the job full time when they build another grade school.

For now though, I still feel like it's more important for me to be here when the kids are out of school.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Since school started, I've been supervising recess for 2 hours a day at one of our grade schools. I've really enjoyed it and look forward to it every day. They have a really great group of kids there.

I expressed an interest back at the beginning of the school year about being trained as a back up school secretary in our school district, in hopes of being able to sub for them and maybe even becoming one of them later on down the road when Ryan is in middle school.

I had kind of forgotten about it since nothing seemed to come of it, until this afternoon when the principal at the grade school that I work at called me and asked if I would be interested in covering for their secretary on Monday. I am so incredibly excited! I hung up the phone and actually squealed in delight!

This may just be a one time deal as their backup is probably unavailable, but maybe, just maybe this could be my chance. If I don't royally screw up answering phones, maybe they'll ask me to sub again. Maybe this could be the start of something promising.

I'm excited - so excited, but am going to have to go shop for a pair of khaki's or something this weekend as my whole wardrobe consists of jeans. Yippeeeeeee.......

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Never Say Never

I'm eating my words, just so you know. Last year while putting up my Christmas tree, I nearly pulled every strand of hair out of my head in frustration at the whole section of lights that thought it would be fun to see how high my stress level could go. Yes, I eventually calmed down and gave up, but with this year's season quickly approaching, I felt it was time to do something about it in hopes of saving myself from the stress this year.

For the past few days I've been shopping for a new tree. A pre lit tree, even though I swore never again. Let's face it - who really wants to spend hours stringing lights when you can buy a tree that already has it done?

While running in and out of every store in Peoria that sells them, I've come to the conclusion that I honestly do not feel sorry for these major retail stores who are crying "whoa is me, our sales are down drastically." Why? Because only one single store impressed me by being competitive. Only one store made sure I didn't leave without making a large purchase because they were the only store that beat out everyone else with their prices.

Everywhere I went a quality 7.5 foot pre lit tree was going to cost me $300. Not happening here. My last tree (which I really did LOVE until it died) was purchased at Sears and they did it for me this time, too. They came in $75 cheaper than everyone else - and it included a rotating base!

Monday, November 10, 2008

World's Favorite Mom Today

I am now one very favorite mother to one very happy 12 (almost 13) year old daughter right now.

Three weeks ago when we were up at my mom's visiting, my brother gave my daughter his friend's EnV texting phone because he had gone with another carrier and no longer needed it. Because he went with a new carrier, Ashley had to wait a certain amount of time before we could activate the phone. It's been killing her, to say the least.

Every weekend we've tried to activate it, just in case the phone was released from it's old number early. We forgot this past weekend, so I just tried it without telling her a little bit ago. It activated this time, so I brought it to her and the surprise on her face was worth more a million bucks!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Grandview Drive 2008, Part Two

Here are the pictures from our second day up at Grandview Drive.

Biggest Loser

Yay, yay, yay for me! I was this week's biggest loser at HFH with my 4 pound loss!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Fat Ticker Friday

Guess who lost 4 pounds this week? Yep, me - for a total of 7 pounds lost now! I now get to display my 5 gone badge from Hot For The Holidays over there on the left and the 10 pound badge is only 2.5 pounds away.
I haven't been very good about getting to the gym lately and am tired of my jeans being too tight, so I vowed it was time to get back on track. I still haven't been back to the gym, but I've really been trying to cut back on how much I'm eating, which seems to be what worked for me this week. Hopefully if I keep that up and add a few days at the gym next week, I'll be able to hit that 10 pound mark - and then work on the next 10.
Tonight is family movie night at Ryan's school, so I'll be treating myself to a gondola and some popcorn and then it's back on track tomorrow.
(And I really wish I knew why blogger messes up the text formatting so much when you add a picture to posts. It's really frustrating me to have to keep putting periods between my paragraphs.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election 2008

So, I'm already glued to the TV and will probably be there or in the vicinity throughout the course of the night. I'm watching Ellen right now on TV because I got tired of Oprah's biased election show and I'll be darned if I didn't get a little teary eyed when The Agape Children's Choir started singing Change My World. It really made me think about what an impact everything we do has on our children.

And? I've now got a huge crush on Anderson Cooper. What a cutie! Funny, too.

I voted this morning after a 40 minute wait in line. When I left, the line was out the door and growing. It's amazing how many people have turned out to vote this election. This should be a pretty exciting night!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Grand View Drive 2008

Yesterday afternoon, we took the kids up to Grandview Drive here in Peoria to take some fall pictures on our own. Grandview Drive is home to some of the biggest homes ever seen and even has a castle with a moat, but most importantly, has the most beautiful views of the bluffs around the Illinois river. Here are some of the best pictures we took. We're actually going back up there again today to take more with Bret's brother and family.