Saturday, January 30, 2010

snow sledding

i can remember sledding down our street when i was a kid, although it's a bit fuzzy.

i hope today will remain clear in my mind for years to come. we had the best time sledding down hills in our neighborhood. our neighbors had several sleds that we all used. what an experience!

our streets are packed with about two inches of solid ice. nothing i'd want to drive on...even walking wasn't easy. we all have bruises from falling. but sledding...awesome!

even better, chris's parents moved in across the street a couple of months ago. cooper called them this morning and said, "can pops come out and play?" it sounded so sweet. i'm glad they're able to see my kids doing the simple, everyday things. sometimes pictures just can't do it justice.

to my mom and dad..."i wish you could live by us too!"

hope you enjoy the movies.
video

Friday, January 29, 2010

grounded

about a week ago i had to ground both of my children. one for peeing in an unacceptable place, and the other...well, let's just say that computers can be poison for the mind. you can guess for yourself who belongs to each offense. to add, this is strike 2 for both.

ironically, their groundings happened at the same time. no friends over and no electronics for one week. no tv, music, IPOD, cell phone, DSi, PSP, PS2, PS3, Wii, leapster, etc. clearly, my kids are spoiled. but it's pretty amazing how many things your child plays with that is electronic. this generation is very different from the past.

my point in writing about this is not so much to share why they were grounded, although i'm sure i'll look back and laugh some day, rather to mention how they made the most out of their time and how it impacted me.

the school week probably wasn't very tough for either of them. we are generally busy with sports or homework in the evenings. the loss of tv only seemed to affect taegan because she LOVES american idol. however, the long car treks and waiting for practices to end are generally pacified by some type of handheld electronic device. instead, we spent time talking to each other. i really enjoyed that part!

even so, i wasn't very convinced that the groundings were going to sting very much.

until...the prospect of a snow day became reality. chris asked if i wanted to end the grounding a day early due to the kids being home all day. a part of me wanted to say yes, but i decided to stay firm hoping that they would remember this snow day...with NO electronics or friends.

today began with excited and wound up kids. "where's the snow? why is there no school?" they asked. "it's coming!" i replied.

but as the day progressed, i began realizing how much i enjoyed the absence of electronics. the kids colored together. they played in the snow together. they even played board games. when i asked them to clean or pick up stuff, they didn't complain. why? they had nothing better to do. i could get used to this!!

my favorite part was being snowed in, playing blokus and scrabble for hours. i actually watched my children problem-solve and make logical decisions. had they used these skills a week ago, maybe they wouldn't have ended up grounded. hee, hee!

tomorrow they are both, officially, ungrounded from electronics. i'm actually sad. i really enjoyed spending time with them.

in the end, i feel that the groundings gave me MORE than it took away from the kids. i've always agreed with the old adage, "it hurts me way more than it hurts you". although, i believe i experienced a pay off...for once!

i love my children!



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

horseback riding and a teton trek

yesterday was a day off for me and the kids (thanks to MLK Jr.)!

we had quite a day! the kids got to ride horses on a farm off of Macon Rd. then we went to the Memphis Zoo to check out the new Teton Trek. if you haven't been to see it, please go. it's incredible!

unfortunately, taegan wore herself out and ended up sick this morning. i'm home taking care of her.
video

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

my meatloaf moment

tonight i made meatloaf...and it was edible!!!

when i first married, i have to say that i didn't come to the table with much culinary knowledge. basically, i could make anything that came in a package with explicit directions. i considered chris to be more of the family cook because he knew how to make the presentation stellar, no matter how easy or fast the meal was.

through the years i've become a bit more interested in cooking. although, my cooking is very different from chris' style. i have a desire to cook from scratch and create my own marinades. i prefer to divert from the recipe. i'm always wondering what else i could add or do differently. there are two problems with this...1.) it takes longer and 2.) i run the risk of the food being horrible. chris' idea is to cook meals that are fast and easy. when he shops at the grocery (and yes, he generally does the major shopping), he looks specifically for things in packages or boxes that have as few ingredients as necessary and have the shortest cooking times. i've actually come to appreciate these meals, because our life doesn't allow for many home-cooked meals due to taegan's hectic soccer schedule.

about a year ago, i decided to make meatloaf. i looked online and in my cookbooks for the easiest recipe that didn't involve eggs...we were out. it turned out terrible!! the food looked like cat food. chris pretended to like it. his actions convinced me that day that he was the best husband ever! despite his sweetness, i was humiliated. i wanted to make him proud of my meatloaf. don't ask why! even i don't know why i cared.

lately, i've had the urge to try and make meatloaf again. again, i found a recipe online. i followed it step by step, and i didn't divert. it actually turned out great! even cooper asked for "seconds". dinner was a typical all-american, southern meal. meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn.

as i was washing the dishes, chris kissed me on the cheek and said, "thanks, june cleaver!". what a compliment!

here is the recipe:

2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup milk
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 cup ketchup (on top)

mix all ingredients together and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hrs. enjoy!
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Monday, January 11, 2010

elvis is alive!



elvis walked right into my living room tonight! strangest thing...i was expecting "blue suede shoes". instead, they were leopard print platforms.

truth: chris agreed to a surprise visit at the westin hotel later this month where his company is holding their conference. guess you can figure out the theme!

the kids and i are still laughing!

actually, this isn't the first time elvis has appeared in my house. about 7 years ago, chris dressed up and performed for our friend, Joe's, 40th birthday party. i almost peed in my pants. he was hilarious! someday, i'll scan a photo from back then and add it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

a very brady, jigsaw sunday

about 6 months ago, taegan discovered that she liked puzzles. after finishing several, she came to the realization that a 750 pc. puzzle is A LOT of pieces! still, she loves them!

for christmas this year, santa brought taegan the complete collection of the Brady Bunch. when she opened the gift, she looked confused. "what's this?", she said. she had no clue who they were. so sad!

well, a few days ago, she decided to watch some episodes. now...she's hooked! even chris and i get hooked as we pass by. i can remember when i was in elementary school, watching the Brady Bunch at my friend Cory's house every day after school. it's hard to believe that taegan will now have the same memories...a whole generation later. weird!!

today, to avoid playing in the freezing temps, the kids put together four 100 pc. puzzles while watching non-stop episodes of the bradys. we would ALL break out into a LOUD chorus of, "...until one day when the lady met this fellow...". cooper was the loudest!

the episodes remind me how "sassy" the current generation of children are. the brady kids are so obedient...and it only takes them ONCE to learn a lesson. and let's not forget that mr. and mrs. brady never lose their cool or raise their voice. i'm taking notes!!!



Saturday, January 9, 2010

time to rearrange

one of my many quirks is that i like to redecorate. generally, it simply involves shifting around what i already have so it looks new. i get tired of seeing the same arrangements. sometimes it works , sometimes it doesn't. either way, i'll leave it that way until i get the itch again.

my latest quest has been rearranging furniture to make the space look as big as possible. this forces me to think outside the box a bit. one thing i've learned from HGTV is that the largest piece of furniture should go on the largest wall. however, other factors must be considered. in my case, the flow has to be conducive to playful children.

today i completed two projects. one was our upstairs bathroom. the other was cooper's room.

in the bathroom, i took down the shower curtain and replaced it with two 95 in. curtain panels. i bought the curtains at target. they were $26 for the pair. i simply raised my shower rod to the ceiling. it's amazing how much bigger the room looks! the kids always use the master bath, so i don't really have a need for a liner all the time. although, if guests need to use the shower, i have a tension rod with the liner rolled up in the linen closet.

the pictures below were hard to get the full length, but hopefully you get the point.




redesigning cooper's room was simply moving two pieces of furniture around. i switched his bed and his chest of drawers. i moved his bed to the wall with the door. as you walk in, it seems so much more open. plus, it's not as obvious when the bed is not made...which is often. i was very pleased with the outcome. it suits our family's needs. i don't credit myself for knowing about furniture placement, i merely credit myself for taking chances.






cooper's 1st basketball game

watching 5-6 yr. old basketball is quite humorous! they all dribble two handed and they never want to pass. once they get the ball, they run (generally holding the ball) at full speed to the goal.

we were proud of cooper. we told him before the game we weren't concerned about him shooting the ball. we wanted him to concentrate on dribbling with one hand.

i've posted a clip of his game. it was at the very beginning and he didn't dribble very well. however, he was much better by the end. by the way...he scored several baskets. he would immediately look up in the bleachers to see our reaction. his expressions were hilarious!

cooper is #28.


video

Friday, January 8, 2010

i'll take a little drama with my lunch

it's my day off, and i can't seem to stay away from a "school". i went to have lunch with taegan.

it reminds me of my dad. whenever we'd drive by a golf course, he'd make me think the car was in control...veering out of the lane towards the course.

don't say "awww" just yet. nothing i do, happens without a bit of drama.

i assumed taegan's lunchtime was the same as last year, so i planned on arriving just before noon. i drove through chik-fil-a and signed into her school right on time. taegan's 4th grade teacher saw me and mentioned that 5th grade eats at 12:30. i was so disappointed. why can't i do anything right today? first, i goofed getting the kids to school, and now this. i knew taegan wouldn't mind cold french fries, but i was wasting precious time on my day off.

just then, a lightbulb went off! i'd go down to cooper's school, which is on the same campus, and eat lunch with him while i wait. i thought his lunchtime was at noon. awesome!!!

i ran out (in the 11 degree weather, through the spitting snow) to coop's school. but sadly, the school secretary informed me his lunch was also at 12:30. ugghhhh!!

i felt about an inch tall. i don't even know what time my children eat lunch. apparently, both of them have new lunchtimes...they're growing up faster than i can blink!

finally, i had lunch with taegan. she was just as excited as i anticipated. and yes, i got the running, swing around hug that i was waiting for.

the rest of my afternoon was spent hopping in and out of stores i always wish i had time to look in. i didn't buy anything to speak of, but i enjoyed the freedom of shopping with no agenda and no kids!!

stunned again!

the phone rang a litte before 5 am. a coworker surpised me with news that memphis city schools are CLOSED today. am i dreaming? why would they close? the roads are clear.

well, most inner city kids walk to school. some walk a mile or more. the temps here in the memphis area have dropped to about 8 degrees. apparently, MCS found some compassion and decided to protect our little ones from freezing.

while still on the phone, i asked my coworker if shelby county was closed. i needed to know if my own children were having school. he said that the ticker was reporting closed. woo hooooo!!! back to sleep!

i woke up just before 9 to the sound of a nerf dart gun clicking continuously. oh, the joys of a 5 year old's energy first thing in the morning. i flipped on the tv to see what exactly is being said about the closings. and i see it...........

shelby county schools OPEN

i switched to every news channel as quickly as i could. all are running the same thing. i called my coworker and asked is he was SURE he saw it say closed. he swore he did. either way, i've got two munchkins that should already be at school.

i ran upstairs. flung open the curtains to order taegan, who would sleep til noon if you let her, to get up and get dressed as fast as she can. i grabbed clothes for cooper and got him dressed faster than ever. after making myself presentable we flew out the door.

now, i'm just stunned. i still can't believe i'm out of school today. but, i'm even more stunned that everybody else is in!

lesson i've learned: turn on the tv and see for yourself.

i'm off to have lunch with taegan at her school. i love surprising her! her face is priceless and the running hug i get makes me melt!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

unbelievable

the last few days have been full of excitement and anticipation of SNOW. anyone with kids knows this is maximized by their hopes and dreams of missing school, building a snowman, and eating snowcream.

of course, no one hopes for snow days more than teachers. i still don't know why, because it always creates madness when we return. too much to cover and not enough time to get it done. but, we pray, perhaps harder than the kids.

so, as usual, i stayed up late last night watching the television, hoping with every blink that the ticker at the bottom of the screen will say MCS is closed. chris even checked the weather on the internet. all signs point to 1-2 inches of snow, which was actually a downgrade from the previous forecast. we were still sure the city would be shut down. after all, this is memphis.

5 am. alarm goes off. i peek through the blinds to see the accumulation. not much to speak of. i run to the tv to get the verdict. shelby county schools closed. my heart was pounding. and then...i see it...memphis city schools OPEN. i flipped to every channel, hoping it was a mistake. maybe they were still in session deciding, and media was simply reporting open since nothing had been called in. but NO, it was real. most all other schools in the memphis area were closed. even harding, where taegan and cooper go to school, follow the shelby county policy. damn! my whole family gets to sleep in. me...heading for the shower.

at this point, after taking a shower and getting ready for work, they'd better not cancel. everyone knows a true snow day allows you sleep in, or at least get back in your warm bed. i was going to be ticked if i had done all of that for nothing. my school starts at 7:15 so i was driving to school around 6:30 through the blowing snow still not believing we were basically the only school system open.

apparently, half of our student body didn't know that we are known as memphis city, not shelby county. as a teacher, what do you do? go on with your plans and follow the curriculum, or review (babysit) since only 11 students are in your class today. the day seems wasted. plus students and teachers are grumpy and bitter that they aren't at home.

as if the morning decision wasn't disheartening enough, MCS throws another curve ball. schools are closing 1 hour early. this is the most dreaded and chaotic event that can occur. teachers have to sit and call every parent in a classroom full of wound up children. i dialed 2-3 numbers per family. i left countless messages. i stumbled my way through a terrible spanish version of the announcement. my kids kept giggling at me.

does MCS understand any of this? have any of the district people ever taught in a classroom? what's 1 hour? it was frickin' sunny and dry outside. this didn't make ANY sense. even the kids were confused.

look...i'm all for being a leader, not a follower, but WHY must MCS's decision always go against the grain?

first day as a blogger

so i came home today from an early dismissal snow day (i'll talk about that mess later...) to find myself scrolling through facebook, looking at friends' snow day photos. i stumbled upon a blog that belonged to a dear friend of mine. i've always wanted to journal the chaos and madness that is my life, so today i've decided to start! coincidentally, it's just after the new year has begun, so call it my new year's resolution if you wish.