Saturday, March 31, 2007

Report Cards--3rd Quarter!!

Today was Report Card day! A day that rivals any holiday--including birthday's and Christmas. You see--we pay for good grades! I'm not ashamed to say it--I have no problem with it--and honestly--you get what you pay for!

We pay $1 per year per A and $.50 per year per B. If it's a plus--you get half of what the dollar amount is.

Grayson is in 1st Grade--so all of his A's are worth $1.00, $1.50 for A+, and $.75 for an A-. Today he brought home 3 A+'s and 1 he made a total of: $5.50 for his report card. He then pays 10% as tithing--10% to his mission fund--10% to his savings--leaving him a whopping $4.00 to add to his birthday money! Man that boy is rolling in it!

Jacob is in third grade--so his A's are worth $3.00! He came out with 2 A+'s, 1 A, and 1 B+. So he's taking me for: $14.25. After his tithing/mission/savings--he's escaping with $10.00.

Some people wouldn't think it's fair--Grayson came out with straight A's but is getting less than Jake--but it's because Jake has so much more homework to do to maintain the same grades that Grayson does.

We started the "paying" for report cards because I am a firm believer that their education is their career. When they are in High School--they are welcome to work summer jobs--but during the school year--you need to concentrate on your studies--and so I need to make up for their lack of income--since I'm the one not letting them have a job! Again--I have no problem with this--when they get to Jr. High the amount doubles--and when they are in High School, it triples! So you have to realize--by the time they get to be Seniors in High School--they will make $36.00 per A--and there will be 8 classes--that is a quarterly possiblility of over $300.00 by the time you throw in the addition of the "plus" and the citizenship grades! Basically, the thought behind it is--if you want to pay for your car insurance, and Prom--you better keep your grades up!!

The lowest grade ever brought home--was Jake's B+ this quarter! I'm very proud of my straight A kids!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Photo Contest Winner!!

Today someone asked about contest winnings in our history! I have never won much--just not that lucky. I did win the Postie Patrol here in Chicago just before Christmas--but couldn't remember anything before that! But then I remembered, I won a photography contest put on by Better Homes and Gardens. It was for Halloween--and I entered this picture in the contest--although it was the Father's Day gift for my husband. The boys are wearing his chef jackets from work--and Blakelynn is in the pot! Since we had Barrett after this photo was taken--we had to take him in for his own "Chef" picture!!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

My New Flowers!!

After taking pictures of the neighborhood the other day--I thought I would spend some time getting our yard in order. I HATE yardwork. Everything about it--dirt is NOT my friend!! But I thought it would be nice to get rid of the weeds in the flower box and plant some Pansies. The Tulips are just starting to peek over the soil--but are completely camouflaged by all of the thick green weeds around them. You can see the flowerpot filled with cement buried--I always see it and wondered why we leave it there--it's obviously trash. Well, today--I went in to take it out-and it's covering a hole. You know-like the one Baby Jessica fell down. So I put it back in place and buried it. I also removed the block under the rain gutter, so that the water could actually exit the spout!

The kids all helped. The boys helped me pull all of the weeds, and then enjoyed digging for bugs. Blakelynn had fun digging the holes for the new flowers. We were filthy--and hungry--but it looks so much nicer now! I put in two Boxelder bushes, and lots of multi colored pansies. There are even 2 new baskets in pedastools on either side of the front steps! It's so much more fun to come home and see them all!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Kids & Their Friends!!

These are my kids friends. Blake is on the bike, and Grayson is the farthest kid walking on the grass. Their best friend Michael is in the blue shirt, and a little girl from down the street is in the light blue. In the closeup picture, Jake is in the red, Grayson holding the football, and Ashley from down the street in the light blue. We played catch all afternoon yesterday. I threw the football and they all caught. Today--it's a rain day! Funny how it all changed so fast!

My World!!

I thought I would take a few moments and introduce you to my world. Do you remember at the end of the Tom Hanks movie "Big" when the little boys were walking home. They were headed down a tree lined street, with cookie cutter houses. Now you have to understand--It's early Spring, and there aren't any leaves on the trees--but this is what my street looked like yesterday. When it is summer or fall and the leaves are full--it is that same feeling that I get when I watch the movie.

We live in Chicago Bungalows. They are historic treasures to someone in the government--not so much to the homeowners!! They are all basically the same. Some have a little smaller floor plan with flat front windows. We have a "Great 8"-don't know what that means other than ours is a little bigger with the octagon'ish windows. More like the house closest to the camera. However, our house is a golden yellow. It's a fun area for the most part. Cars speed down our street--but the kids best friends live in the house closest to the camera-and ours is next door to the house with only the stairs showing.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cute Knut!!

Did you hear about the animal rights activist wacko---Frank Albrecht wrote that a zoo in Germany that has adopted and is caring for a 3 month old abandoned baby Polar Bear, should put the bear down. He criticized that the bear, named Knut, is being humiliatingly subjected to hand feeding and 'snuggling'. Since it is inappropriate to be kept alive by human intervention--we should just kill it.

Is he serious?? What does he think the welfare system is doing? We are hand feeding and paying all life expenses for millions of people. Should we put them down? It's got to be humiliating for some to collect their checks every month-and oh, that walk from the couch to the mailbox--is a killer!

So do we now stop trying to save the whales? The Dolphins? Phone P.E.T.A.--apparently we aren't going to be working to stop fur farms either--we are just not allowed to "Save" anything!!

I don't care if you choose a "cause" and get behind it--just keep your feet planted firmly on the facts, and stop letting the "crap" go to your head!! Most Activists can't do that though--they get caught up and swept away in the moment--and then they spout silly crap--like Mr. Albrecht.


I am happy to report that just a few Happy Pills later--I'm am feeling depression free! Why oh Why do I not take my pills?? I've also been trying to get to bed at a regular "early" time for me, and I must say that is helping as well.

Yesterday was really a struggle with Jake--but I kept my cool. I spoke softly--I was able to vocalize my thoughts without yelling--and that is tremendous on my part! My kids don't get slapped around--spanked on occassion, but only ever the tush--never hit on any other part of the body. Jacob hasn't been spanked in years--but he got a pretty good one on his tushy for pushing his 2 year old brother to the ground. This was all last week of course--fully medicated, I'm much more in control of myself and the situation.

I will run out of my happy pills when I take my last one on Saturday--and I will get the new ones on Wednesday--so I'm thinking I'm going to skip one today and take one tomorrow and then skip one on Saturday and take one on Sunday--then it's a staggered skip--instead of 4 whole days! That way I think I can control the day a little better than a full 4 days off. We'll see!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I Hoped It Would...

...but it didn't work! Was I was hoping too much from too little? I brought the boys home from school today--and immediately Jake starts in at Blakelynn. He blames her for everything that goes wrong in his world. Today Barrett got into his Basketball Cards--a big No No--but instead of getting angry with the 'babysitter'--ME--he's tormenting Blake. I'm sorry--she's been at school all day--and why are you yelling anyway! You are supposed to have kept the cards higher than the 2 year olds reach!

I was hoping our night out last night would help not only our relationship--but also that with his family. We are 20 minutes down--and it's seeming to be a massive FAILURE!! But -- we will keep trying!!

I should point out that the "hair" from this morning--did the trick! The little girl that he likes--thought he looked really nice--he even had a little boy, Matthew, comment on how nice he looked! Matthew---you DAWG!! He's trying to impress the girl!!

Spring Has Sprung!!

Today is the first day of Spring--although--it actually started last night at 7:07 pm--but looking out the door this morning--I can tell you--it doesn't look like Spring. Yesterday was warm with a gentle breeze--this morning it is raining! Where is the fun in that? Everything is the muddy and clammy--Miserable!!

This morning--I used a little 'product' in Jake's hair. He needs a haircut--but only on the sides. So I used a little mousse. He looked so handsome going to school! Gotta keep him handsome--seeing how the little girl he has a crush on sits in front of him at his table--looking at him all day! So we took a little extra care--and made him a little piece of "eye candy"!! Good Luck, Sweetie!!

The Airbus!!

We dropped Blake off at school yesterday & were surprised to see 5 news helicopters hovering overhead. They were waiting for the Airbus to make it's way to Chicago. It had a scheduled landing of 12:50 pm, so my husband & I drove to find a great spot to sit & watch it come in. We were listening to the radio, when they announced that the Airbus had landed at 12:35 pm-EARLY!! So we missed the landing-but as we were driving in front of the airport-you could see it's tail above all of the buildings at the airport. We got some great views of the plane at the gate--but you couldn't see immense wing span due to the fact that there was a building in front of it. I did catch a couple of pictures--not nearly as impressive as it would have been flying right over head!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Date Night!!

Tonight I have a date. A really special one! It's with my oldest son, Jake. We've always been the best of friends--and then during his odd years we seem to have a really hard time. He is currently 9--odd year--and we just can't seem to get our "groove" back. So tonight we are going out on a date together. Just him and me. The other 3 are going to stay home with dad.

We are going to go to dinner, where we can talk and reconnect--and then we are going to do something fun. I'm going to let him choose whatever he wants to do. He's mentioned bowling, miniature golf, a movie. We'll have to wait and see what he chooses.

I'm really excited for our time together. I'm really hopeful that we can build some sort of a bridge in our relationship, he really is just a sweetheart angel in my life!! I will take pictures!

Sunday, March 18, 2007


I don't handle change very well sometimes!! When we were back in Utah last summer I finally got to see the finished construction project that my high school had become. Now I do need to say--I graduated from High School on my school's Diamond Anniversary--it was 75 years old. So yes--a redo was in order, but oh my heavens--I would have driven right past it had I not known what it was.

They've done it again! When I was little we would walk to a swimming pool really far away from our home, all alone! Mind you--It was the late 70's and the world was a lot different then and in Bountiful, Utah. We called it the "Bubble" because in the winter they would cover the huge outdoor swimming pool with a huge bubble. On the other side was a lovely ice rink. Well, I noticed last summer that there was a lot of construction going on around "The Bubble", and read in the Utah papers today--that it's gone! There is still a swimming pool, and a skating rink--but now theres a running track, a climbing wall--so many new things that weren't even heard of when I was little!

The huge park out front is still there which is great! Every year they hold a huge festival called "Handcart Days" to commemorate the Pioneers making it the Salt Lake Valley. It's my favorite thing ever. The last time I went, Blakelynn was just 6 months old. But it was still fun to be there! I love carnival food--That sounds so dumb--But I love it! I can't wait till Village Street Festivals start here! I should get to have a couple before we head to Utah again!! I will have to stop by the recreation center and see if the finished project is better than the original! (As if I need to ask!!)

No Cookies!

Since my kids went to the neighbors for the evening-we didn't have our Shamrock cookie time! That was kind of sad--but also kind of happy! They are alot of work for me! The kids love it--but they only have a minute share of the work--most of it is all me! So no mixing bowls, spoons, beaters, cookie cutters, rolling pins, etc to wash! Of course, the downside--there are no fresh and yummy sugar cookies to eat! Darn!

Maybe tomorrow! I still have a ton of laundry--so maybe in between loads--we'll get some made. This last week we made Peanut Butter cookies and Snickerdoodles so we really are ok--if they don't happen to get made--we did pay homage to the Cookie King!!

Cake Decorating!!

Ok--I found this amazing video from YouTube on someone else's blog!

Now you have to understand--I LOVE CAKE DECORATING!! I actually Tivo the show "Ace of Cakes" just to watch them make and decorate cakes. Now--as fun and freeing as fondant is--there is nothing like a hand decorated cake with the whipped frosting. Far more skill is required in that-than just rolling out your fondant and cookie cutter-ing pieces out to decorate with. Let me see Mr. Fondant Man, basketweave a 5 layer cake with buttercream!! I've done it--it was hard work--but awesomely fun!!

On Ace of Cakes, the bakery gets a lot of requests from people to have a cake shaped like their pet. In one show-a Vet's office called in wanting a "dog" cake. The girl on the phone had to explain to her that although it is really nice to have this cake shaped like your dog--you do take a sharp object and plunge it deeply into the animal--completely dismember the poor thing--and then EAT him! That made a lot of sense. But then with this video--the baby is so real looking--all I can say is--if you can cut this cake and eat it--there is SERIOUSLY something wrong with you!!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Evening!!

Today my kids went to the neighbor's house to play. Normally it would be a wonderful evening off--but I can feel that I'm starting to slip into the bonds of depression--so really it just made me sad that out of 4 kids-none of them wanted to stay home and hang out with mom. My baby was the only one that stayed home--but even he was broken hearted to be left behind! I guess I'm not as hip a mom as I thought I was!! What made things worse--they all come waltzing in at 8:30 pm--and ask--"What's for dinner?" Now mind you--I don't expect the neighbor to feed my kids--in fact, it generally makes me uncomfortable when she does--but I completely had forgotten about dinner. I had nothing planned, cooked or possible to cook! I had talked to my mom earlier and they had had eggs and hashbrowns for lunch. So I quickly shredded some potatoes--fried them and threw two eggs on top for each child! When I'm in the depression mode-I'm not very hungry! So I didn't eat that. My husband came home from work, where he had made Bailey's Irish Cheesecake for desserts at the restaurant and he brought me a piece home. That made a lovely dinner!!

Cheffin' It!!

I am wanting to set up a website--It's a blog--because that's all I know how to set up. But I want it to deal with cooking. It's name is Cheffin' It--and you can find it here: Cheffin' It! It has a Pillsbury Doughboy theme, and I really like it's template. I've come so far since making my New Years Resolution to design my own template. I've done 6--and I love them all! Anyway--back to my Cheffin' It, I'm not really looking to "monetize" it--I would really just like to have a fun recipe, gadget, appliance--freebies blog--that also incorporates some of the funny stories that my husband tells of life in the restaurant business--and even some helpful hints from the Chef!! I would also like to have items from Pampered Chef down the sidebar. I don't work for Pampered Chef--and really don't want to--I would be more interested in placing the fun items as a "spotlight" on my blog--but if someone were to click through it would take them to a real consultants site. I think that is a while off though--but it sounds fun! Anyway--check it out, and tell me what you think! I would love any comments or suggestions anyone may have!!

Technical Loser!!

Yesterday I made mention of being technically dumb! I made 3 goals to accomplish on the techy side of this blog--1st--I wanted to figure out the "Cloud" that Kai has on her blog. 2nd--I wanted to figure out how to do the Favicon--that Kai has on her blog! 3rd--I wanted to figure out how to get the "Visual DNA" that (you guessed it) Kai has on her blog!! Do you sense a theme here? Is it that I want my blog to be exactly like Kai's??? NOOOOO, the theme is that Kai is succeeding in adding fun, cute and new things to her blog--and I'm a LOSER baby!! Well, I have an update!! I went through my blog sometime last week and added labels to all of my posts. It took forever. But then I noticed that it was too much of a hassle to keep adding the labels, and I'd forget them sometimes and have to go back in to add them! Well, no more! Yesterday--I went through, and got rid of all of the labels. I had done it to see what kind of blog I have-and you know what?? I have a parenting/general lifestyle blog! I knew it before the labels and I still know it now! So being that I don't have labels anymore--I guess I un-labeled myself right out of the cute little "Label Cloud"! Sad--but happy to knock one item off of the list of tech things I want!!

St. Patricks Day!!

It's St. Patrick's Day! That means we will be making Shamrock cookies with green frosting today--and heading out for some Corned Beef and Cabbage at my husbands restaurant. It's the big day in Chicago--they dye the Chicago River green. Some day before we move--I would really like to get downtown to see that. During the parade it's just crazy, but by the time the city is back to normal--the dye has "died down".

Last Saturday, we spent hours cleaning the mini van. This week we will be spending hours on the laundry. I have about 10 baskets to bring upstairs and put away, and then still about 16 batches to do! So fun!! My mom will be here in a week and a half for a visit--and I have so much I want to get done by then. I probably won't get it all accomplished--but hey, motivation of any kind is good!!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Growin' Up!!

My baby is potty training. I say he is-because I'm leaving it up to him! Today he came in and let me know that he had pooped. So I went in to check, and sure enough there were these little tiny little poops in the toilet. So of course, we jump and clap and give high 5's. He did it again later in the day as well. I don't mind at all! I would, however appreciate it a bit more if he would actually put his diaper in the garbage when he takes it off! He leaves it on the floor in front of the toilet, and as much as it really isn't a problem--it would be nice to have him "take care" of everything on his own!!

Happy Marriage!!

Last night was my mom and dad's 27th Anniversary of their first date! I was talking to her today--and she said, "That first date blessed my life everyday after it!" How sweet is that! The still celebrate the little anniversaries leading up to their wedding anniversary. What a "Romantic" my mom married. He took her back to the same restaurant that they went to 27 years ago.

My husband and I are only heading up to number 10--I can't even imagine anything over 25--so many couples these days don't make it anywhere close to 27. The important thing I've learned from my parents marriage--if it seems like marriage is "hard" then you are missing something. In our 10 years together, my husband has never raised his voice at me. We've never had a verbal argument, and our kids have never heard anything but absolute love and respectful words between their parents. Sure, we've had differences of opinions--but nothing big. Sure he does things that ABSOLUTELY drive me BATTY!!! But I'm sure there are a ton of things that I do that drive him nuts.

I have a couple of rules--the first is the very most important--"If you didn't have to do the chore--you don't get to complain about how it was done". This comes in handy when my sweet husband cleans the kitchen--and then I have to go on a treasure hunt to find everything--but hey, I didn't have to clean--I don't get to complain about it! And the second rule--"If saying something will cause more of a problem, but not fix the original problem--bite your tongue!" These two things alone--and amazing chemistry--has kept this marriage happy and really "easy" for 10 years!!

I'm A Loser!!

Ok--Kai!! I know you stop by here--you may just drop into the sidebar--but holy cow woman--you are KILLIN' ME!! Now I know I laugh about the 'cloud' thing--I'm going to work on that today--I Will Succeed!! However, yesterday I moved off of your site to try the "Favicon" thing. 2 minutes---I quote Chris said "2 Minutes" from beginning to end! Well, I'm a L-O-S-E-R cause I spent 3 hours on it--and I still have the little "Blogger" B on my sites! I do have to say--I loved your comments on Chris' site--they were what I was thinking exactly--till I got to the last one--you succeeded--I still FAILED!! Oh, Woe Is Me!!! I really need the book "Blogging For Dummies" and if it isn't out yet---you technically minded people would make a killing!! I'd buy it!

So here are my "techy" goals for the day!! 1--figure out the cloud-- 2--figure out the favicon -- and 3--figure out how to get the "Visual DNA" to load on my blog. If I put it in the sidebar--it works just fine. When I put it in the post--it's missing a code somewhere--and I can't find it!! So there--check in tomorrow and see if I am still the big loser!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Beware The Ides Of March!!

I was an Enlish Lit major in college. I LOVE Shakespeare! I sit & read him for hours because I just get lost in his words...No, literally, I get lost!! I have no idea what the man is saying!! But on the same note--nothing is more wonderful to watch than a play or movie in which the actors understand what is being said. The play "Much Ado About" Nothing is a classic example of this. It's a comedy--I read it, and I didn't get it--it wasn't very funny to me! But to watch the movie with Kenneth Branagh and Denzel Washington--it clicked, & it is hilarious!! The humor is in the intonation & then the language just flows.

I mentioned that today was the "Ides of March" to my husband, & asked him where it's from--our classic trivia contest--he responded Romeo & Juliet. Now, I have to say--I was impressed that he even got around to Shakespeare--but no--it was Julius Caesar!!

hmmmmm, now I'm going to have to watch the movie again!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bull/Sox Academy!!

Late last night I signed my boys up for the Bulls/Sox Academy. It's a month long basketball camp that stresses the fundamentals. Every Tuesday night for an hour and a half throughout the month of April. It averages out to $25 per camp--but the boys love it--and it's a way to get some good exercise out of them. Their best friend from two doors down will be going with us. School gets out at 3:00 and camp starts at 5:00 which means we don't have too much time after school before we have to leave. We live about an hour away.

The boys want to sign up for the Village Basketball program again next year. It will be Jake's third year, and Grayson's first. I'm hoping Jake will grow a smidge by then, and after all of these basketball camps--I'm hoping they will both be great players for their teams!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hubby's Day Off!

Today was my husbands day off. We did nothing tonight--I want to take care of the clean laundry in the basement before I head to bed--but other than that--I have no plans but sleeping! Over the weekend we cleaned out the van--totally pulled every muscle in my body! On Sunday--I cleaned the oven and caused a catastrophe in my kitchen. I was up on a high stool and lost my balance. I caught myself on the cabinets--but again--completely pulled every muscle in my abdomen. Walking is painful. Bending is painful. Picking up my kids is painful! Any exertion at all really hurts. My kids don't understand the difference between muscle pain in my abdomen and stomach pain--they think I need to throw up! Ha--I wish!!

After I dropped the boys off at home after school-I took Blakelynn to buy new sandals. She found cute Princess ones. It was a surprise to me, because she really doesn't know the princess movies that well. Other choices were Dora sandals--I was shocked she didn't choose them--and then some really cute white sandals with three little colored flowers on them. She is so girly-I really expected her to choose those-but nope-it was all princess!!

Then we headed up the strip mall to the beauty shop. She wanted pink nail polish-see--girly!! We found a really pretty pink one, and she wanted the sparkly clear coat to go on top! I bought her two head bands--and put one on. With her hair pulled off of her face--her eye's are just amazing. We had 6 different people comment on just how beautiful her eyes are. My favorite thing about Blakelynn's blue eyes---it's a blue that I've never seen before!!


Tonight--I actually felt a little creative for dinner. By creative I mean--I made more than one! Just call me "Short Order Cook"!! I've been craving Macaroni and Cheese made from scratch for a couple of weeks--so I made that. Problem--it was my husbands day off--and he HATES cheese--so he couldn't eat that. So I made a whole second dinner. I emptied out the macaroni and refilled the pan with hot water--Linguini went in that. Then I cleaned the cheese-sauce pan--and made an Alfredo sauce. Hubby BBQ'd a steak for he and I-and we had that with our pasta!

Both dishes turned out yummy--and I was hoping to have Mac and Cheese tomorrow for dinner because I doubled the recipe--but I don't have enough left overs to serve 4 kids! But I'm just happy that they enjoyed their dinner. I believe the correct term they used was "Best Ever"!! Now that is awesome!! Of course, after making 2 dinners tonight--I think they are having Egg Salad Sandwiches tomorrow for dinner! They love that dinner too!!

Blakelynn's Field Trip!!

I just dropped Blakelynn off at her Library Field Trip. It's all she's talked about for days--so I'm glad we made it. We were there 1/2 hour early--so she and I sat at the table and she would bring me books and I would read them to her. I'm amazed at how many picture books you can get through in a half hour.

When the teachers and other kids finally arrived--I was ready to leave, but I watched her--4 years old, and so much more confident than me at any age--but still just a little unsure of herself. Although she writes and knows her letters really well--she hasn't started reading. So she was flipping through a book and I could see on her face--she wasn't at all sure what she was supposed to be doing with it. So I called her over and I sat on the floor with her in my lap. I had her read me the story by looking at the pictures. Pretty soon a little girl from her class came over and said hello and sat down by us. When it was time to go in for story time--I asked Blake if she wanted to go with Lauren. It was so cute, her face lit up--and they held hands all the way in to the little story room. Now--she was covered--and I could leave her!

I love how confident she is-but she could be a little more. I would love it if she were the little girl in the class brave enough to go say hello to her friend sitting with her mom, and then sit down to listen to the story!! But to be the most honest---I'm just glad she has friends!!

'Da Bulls!!

Last week it was Ben Gordon--Shooting Guard for the Bulls. This week it was Chris Duhon--Point Guard for the Bulls. My boys are in Heaven!!

They are having 'guest appearances' by Bulls players at Verizon Wireless stores throughout the area. My husband and sons waited in line for around 45 minutes in the dark for Ben Gordon. Last night, they waited in line for about 10 minutes-but thanks to the early daylight savings time--it was still light. That made it much nicer -- and MUCH warmer!

Jake has a Bulls basketball that now has both signatures on it--while Grayson is just collecting the 8x10's!! I believe the next player appearance is at the Sporting Convention--and it's Tyrus Thomas--forward, but you have to pay to get into the convention-then it's $35 for an 8x10, and $5.00 for an autograph. Sadly--I can't see us paying that much for one--but who knows!!

It's been a really great relationship builder for my husband and my boys--and that is worth everything to me!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Every Mothers Worst Nightmare!!

I am getting really scared for my 2 year old son. That probably sounds strange because he is so smart, and very healthy--but he is constantly getting himself out of buildings and into the street. Last week I took him in with me to drop Blakelynn off at school. We all walked into her class room together, Barrett ran to the back of the room to play with the blocks and I walked to the front of the room to hang up her coat. When I turned back around just seconds later--he wasn't in the room. So I walked out and called his name. Normally he comes or at least answers me--but he didn't, so I started to frantically search the building. The little gym was dark--not in there. Not in the ladies locker room. I called to some men in the mens locker room--not in there either. The big gym is black too--so I figure I've just overlooked him in the classroom. Pop my head back in for a quick scan--and he's really not in there. The only place left--outside!! As I start to run toward the door--an elderly bus driver gentleman is walking into the building holding my son. He sees me and begins yelling at me that he was out in the middle of the street. I thanked him for finding him and bringing him in--I had been searching the building for him. This old Italian man just keeps yelling at me--as though I've been in for tea and gossip while my child has been running in the street.

Next event. We are at Scouts. Grayson excuses himself to use the restroom and Barrett goes with him. I told Grayson that he was to keep him with him at all times--or that Barrett needed to stay with me. He takes him, and returns to the table a few minutes later without Barrett. So the search begins again. We are at the church--there is a huge number of rooms (each with piano's to tempt him) as well as bathrooms and such. So I start calling his name, and I get no response--so what do I do--I head for the parking lot. I get as far as the foyer before I find a man and his wife carrying Barrett into the building. He's been out in the middle of the parking lot!

Today-we get home from school-and I'm holding his hand all the way in the door of house. I let him go-to take a phone call from my husband. We chat--the kids are in the kitchen eating an after school snack--so I call my mom. Shortly into the conversation--my doorbell rings. Yep--my son is in the middle of the street. My only question--how did he get out?? The doors have chain locks on them way too high for him to unlock--but sure enough--there he is!! I scooped him up and just started to cry. He's going to end up getting himself very very hurt--and aside from a kiddie leash on his hand and mine-24/7--I have no idea how to keep him safe!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

My Beautiful Mini Van!!

I am the proud new owner of a shiny and sparkly white Dodge Grand Caravan! Ok, so it isn't new--but it looks like it to me! After the Basketball game we headed to the local "do it yourself" car wash. It was desperately in need of the TLC. It got cleaned out, vacuumed, dusted, windexed and cleaned the carpets!! It took FOREVER and cost right around $20.00 in quarter!! But it was worth every cent! My back is killing me--but I have to tell you--I keep having to look out the window at it!

I remember last summer when my dad found it for us--my mom and I took it shopping. Every store we came out of, we'd see it sitting there in the sun--shimmering--and we would both say--"Wow, that's a beautiful mini van!!" Well, finally--it's beautiful again! Now if the demons that inhabit the back seats can keep it that way!!

(edit: The photo is from a week or two later--but he's still clean and shiny!!)

Basketball Pizza Party!!

Today after Jacob's basketball game-they are having their Basketball Banquet. I guess when you are in 3rd grade--banquet means Pizza Party-cause that's all they had!! He got a really nice trophy--and the best part of the day--His team won!! How awesome is that!

So now that the season is over we will continue with Franklin Parks basketball camp through the end of March--and then both boys start up at Bulls/White Sox Academy. It's a 6 week program, fundamentals only--and it's 90 minutes each week!! Plus, they get visits from the Bulls players--well worth the tuition! If Jake stays with it--in 2 years he can start playing on the Mini-Bulls travelling team and at the moment--that's his biggest goal!!

Friday, March 09, 2007

I Can't Believe I Ate The Whole Thing!!

Ok, I've talked on and on a bit lately about how good I was eating. No sweets--No breads--No worthless carbs (except for complex carbs)--well, I've been doing great! Then tonight was pizza night. We normally get a take and bake pizza home from the local grocery. It's very tasty, and on Friday--very cheap! $4.99 for a large! But then I remembered the noxious gases that were escaping from my oven (due to lack of cleaning) -- so a take and bake was out of the question. So we headed to Little Cesaear's for their Hot N Ready deal. Well, they had Italian Cheese Bread cooked and ready to go! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Italian Cheeeeeeeese Bread!!! Well, let's just say--out of 10 pieces--only 2 made it home--and 2 were eaten in the car by Grayson--that leaves 6!!! SIX pieces of cheese bread consumed by my stomach!!! OH MY GOSH!! No wonder I feal "Wonky" today!!

Morning Snuggles!!

I had a chance to re-live a really sweet memory this morning. When we lived in Utah we had a big Pitbull/Boxer mix dog. His name was Buzz and my husband had been adopted by Buzz who was roaming his Cooking School's parking lot. He made the move to Utah with my husband--and I was adopted into the pack when we got married.

In November of 1997 I had my first baby, a little boy named Jake. In January, Buzz started having "age" problems and we decided it would be best for him if he was put to sleep. We were going to do that on Monday--so I thought it would be nice on Sunday, to have my sister in law come over, she is a professional photographer, and she could take a nice portrait of Buzz. So he gets his photo shoot, and when she's done, my two month old wakes up upstairs. So I went and got him and in the morning he's all warm and snuggly with "bed head". So I brought him down and my sister in law said, "Oh, it's so fun to have one of those to wake up to!" She and my brother hadn't had any kids yet--so it was kind of her first experience having one who just woke up. She now has 3 of her own--and has had that fun experience countless times!

Well, last night Barrett-my baby--had a rough night. He was up for more milk every hour, and then finally came and crawled in bed with us around 3 am. I woke up to get the boys to school and found this warm lump next to me. He was awake when the boys left and I walked over to snuggle him...and there was that warm, snuggly--gushy--morning baby moment!! I haven't had it in a long time--and I didn't realize just how much I miss it!!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Crazy Day!!

Wow--It's the first time I've actually had a moment to myself to sit at this here computer all day! It seems as though I've been running from 8 this morning until now--and even now--I feel like there's something I'm forgetting!--but oh well, I'll work on it when I remember!

Tonight my favorite show, Men In Trees, is on. In fact, it's on right now. It's on the Tivo--so I will watch it tomorrow while I sort socks--but I had totally forgotten about it until my husband just turned the channel and I could here the voices--Hey, I recognize those!! Oh yeah--it's Thursday!

We had the neighbor kids after school. Just for a couple of hours--but it is always fun for my kids when they are around. They'll miss them when and if they or we move! I hope it's us first--but I'm sure it won't be! We are going to Utah again this summer--so they will miss them for a couple of weeks!

I still can't remember what it is I'm forgetting--I think I will wander the house for a moment until I do!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Evil Jake!!

We had kind of a rough night with Jake. He came home from school raring to get his homework done. Tonight was Grayson's last night of Basketball Camp--and since dad was going-he really wanted to go to. But somewhere between getting home from school and dad leaving for Basketball-he decided he would rather not get his homework done.

So he was left home with mom and the babies, at which point--Evil Jake made his appearance! So Not Fun!! I ended up taking away his basketball cards and dinner. Dad was bringing home Pizza--and I knew this would be a good punishment. He was allowed to have bread and milk-or make a sandwich-but there would be no pizza.

I stood up for myself, and the punishment stood. He was not happy--and many tears later, after a chat with mom, he felt much better. He has to learn to face the consequences--I've sheltered him from them for far too long--so it's hard to stand firm--but so rewarding in the end!

By the time he went to bed--he still loved me--even though he didn't get any pizza!!

Cleaning Out My Tivo!!

We are heading to the in-laws tonight--which is ok, but I was hoping to be able to sit and clean out my Tivo while folding all of the laundry that I have clean and ready to fold! So I will either have to do it late--or I will have to do it tomorrow!

I have all of last weeks shows to catch up on--Gilmore Girls, House, Brothers and Sisters, Men in Trees, Crossing Jordan--plus, now we are starting to double up on some of those! If I don't get it taken care of soon--I'll be working through two of each--before a third is added!!

I love my shows--but really don't get the time to watch them. Not that that is a bad thing--I have so many more important things to do rather than just sitting and watching tv--but when I have the living room to clean -- or laundry to fold--I really like having something I enjoy to watch-rather than searching 600 channels of nothing!!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Laundry Helper!!

I have a two year old little boy that I have nicknamed "Tasmanian Devil"! Now some of you out there with 2 year old boys (and girls) are probably in full understanding of this stage! My little one will find the quickest way to destroy something-and should have been hurt multiple times!! Yesterday I spent the day doing laundry. He came downstairs with me, but stayed over on the side of the basement with all of the toys--no biggie--we have a ton, and he's not afraid to stay in the basement on his own. So I went back upstairs to accomplish another task, and he didn't follow. I racked my brain trying to think of anything he could destroy downstairs and decided that really--anything he did--I could fix. It would be more work for me later--but really, what could he hurt!!!


I could smell the problem from the third step down! There was a very strong--nauseating scent of... Bleach!! OH CRAP!!! Now I keep the bleach up behind the washer for instances just like this! So I begin my run--but I can't find anything sopping wet and turning white--but I can see the empty jug of bleach. So my eyes turn to the washer--he loves to help me out by putting things in the washer--and sure enough--an entire gallon of bleach is sitting in my nearly full washing machine!! Luckily for me---there was only socks and underwear in the washer. I'm sure it isn't a lot of fun to wear blue underpants with pinkish orange spots on them--but hey, there isn't a soul that should be checkin' out your underpants--so deal!! Spotty socks--again--it could have been much worse! I have piles upon piles of clothes in laundry baskets on the floor--he could have ruined so much more!!

I swear--he's got an angel sittin' on his shoulder!! Cause his momma would have skunked him!!

BYU vs U of U!!

Utah is kind of a funny place. If you are Mormon--you vote for BYU, if you aren't Mormon--or just want to be different--you vote for the U. When my mom married my dad we had season tickets to the University of Utah basketball games. They were so fun to watch--and so many great NBA players came out of the U. The year I got married, the University of Utah made it to the NCAA finals and lost to Kentucky, great teams came out of the U's basketball program. On the flip side--their football team wasn't that great. Step in Lavell Edwards, coach of the BYU football team--they were the National Champions in 1984--I remember wearing my t-shirt for it to 9th grade!! So we grew up voting for BYU in football, and the University of Utah in basketball. Last year, the number one draft picks for both the NBA and the NFL came out of the University of Utah.

March Madness is going to be starting next week--and it looks like BYU beat Utah in the Moutain West Conference finals!! Utah should still make it to the 'big dance'--but they usually win the conference finals and this year--they just didn't get it done!

Good job BYU--we will root for you too!!

Trolley Square!!

I was in Phoenix when I read that a shooting had broken out at a mall killing and injuring many before the gunman was eventually killed in a shoot out with police. Everytime I hear a story like this--my mind automatically puts the location--far away. Somewhere back east--maybe in California. But when I read Salt Lake City shopping mall--I was shocked. That doesn't happen in Salt Lake. I lived there my whole life--I've been to Trolley Square hundreds of times. I can picture the parking garage where the shooting began. My favorite restaurant at the mall was in the newspaper--this was MY world--and there was a shooting in it.

I immediately called my mom--because all of my family is in Utah, and although not really close to Trolley Square--my little brother is a Wedding Photographer, and he could be there doing some quirky wedding shots--others might just have been out to dinner--The Old Spaghetti Factory is there--that's a really popular place. But my mom assured me that everyone in my family was safe. Good news--the best news--but it didn't take the sadness away.

The shooter was laid to rest this week in Bosnia. He was of the Muslim religion-not that that is in anyway the reason for the shooting--I'm not sure we'll ever know exactly why he did it. My heart goes out to all of the families of the innocent victims-and to the parents of the shooter. No mother wants this as her sons legacy--I hope they all find peace!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ben Gordon--#7!!

We took the boys to see Ben Gordon of the Bulls tonight! We took the digital camera-but only had literally 10 seconds in front of the man-so a photo was not possible!! I was amazed at how fast he signs his name! He signed 2 8x10 glossies for us as well as a Bulls Basketball.

Next week Chris Duhon will be at a store in Arlington Heights--so we will take the boys and the basketball over there for his. By the end of this-we should have all of the Bulls players signatures on this ball! Then I will take a photo!!

After the autographing--we headed to the Olive Garden for dinner! The kids were a little over excited--but the Olive Garden isn't a quiet restaurant so it wasn't too bad!! Dinner was yummy--so not on my diet plan--but oh well!! It tasted good--and I didn't have to cook it - or clean it!! So worth spending the money when I don't have to clean up!!

The Day!

Well--I wish there was an official counter on my work today! I got the kitchen cleaned--laundry going, blogging done, and I'm sending Grayson in right now to clean the bathroom. The kids rooms are staightened, and I just have the Living Room and Master Bedroom (family room) to straighten and vacuum! The boys were supposed to help to earn a trip to see Ben Gordon tonight--but they have so far done diddly! I know my husband is looking forward to an autograph moment--so I don't feel like I can say no-if Grayson finishes the bathroom I'll let him go with his dad--otherwise--It's just dad!!

Energy Drinks!!

Every morning I make me a Protein drink. It's strawberry flavored, added to milk with yogurt and frozen strawberries and blueberries blended in. I LOVE it--and it could probably be counted amongst my addictions! It's very healthy--very low fat--zero carbs--just all around YUMMY!

Well, I've gotten my kids addicted to it as well! Yesterday and all morning today--Grayson has been begging me to make him one. They really aren't hard to make--and they really aren't hard to clean up--he just keeps asking me when I get myself stuck in the middle of something!

So now--I have to take a break for a minute and go and make my son his "Energy Drink!!"
As though he needs any more energy!

My Honey!!

Tomorrow is my husbands day off. Amazing I know--he actually has two in a row! Now that doesn't mean that he won't hear from work at least 27 times tomorrow--but he will be home and relaxed, so I don't mind!

We do have to take my van to the dealership. It's got something funky going on with the brakes--and the remote Key is wiggy--so we will take Blakelynn to school, and then drop the van off! I can't wait! I know it sounds dumb to be excited to take a van in--it may end up costing hundreds of dollars--but I'm excited because it means a lunch date with my husband!

Almost 3 years ago (March 9) he was injured at work. He herniated a disk in his neck, has had a fusion surgery at c4/c5 and suffers from partial paralysis in his right arm and he lives all day every day in immense pain. He was out of work for nearly 1 year. Right before his 1 year mark, I said--if you are going to be home all day everyday--we are going to start having a weekly lunch date. So one Wednesday he took me to a wonderful shrimp restaurant. While there we ran into his best friends dad. He and Sweet Baby Ray (BBQ Sauce fame) had just bought this little shrimp restaurant and they were going to turn it into a BBQ restaurant. They started talking--and less than a week later my husband had been hired on as a consultant to get this restaurant up and running. He's a Chef--and had been hurt in the kitchen. Due to his injury and subsequent paralysis, he couldn't imagine that he would ever work in the kitchen again. But here he was--running the opening of a restaurant! Now 3 years and a total of 2 restaurants later--he's back to his "Work-a-holic" ways. That first lunch date at the shrimp restaurant with my husband--was my last! We've gone out a couple of times since then--but not the weekly date that I wanted!! So tomorrow it will be just he and I and Barrett--and I can't wait!!

Alarm Clock!!

The kids actually slept in a little later today! Last Friday morning I was up at 6 am with Barrett, and thought I would try something. I changed the clock in the boys room from reading 6:00 to reading 3:00. My hope was--when they normally wake up at 8 o'clock they would see that it was only 5 in the morning and snuggle down a little bit more.

Jake was up early--and when I asked him what time he got up--he said--5:00. So it didn't work! He did help take care of the little ones so that I could get a little more sleep--but with 4 little kids running around the house--2 playing basketball in their bedroom--it's kinda hard to do too much snoozing!

Well, today--they didn't wake up until after 9! That is too bad---it took them the whole 4 day weekend to finally sleep in a bit! Now its back up at 8 tomorrow for school!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007


My kids collect NBA Basketball cards and Michael Jordan cards. They love it and I love the fact that I can get them to help me clean up sometimes to earn them. Well, it's 10:30 at night here and Grayson came in carrying an empty black garbage bag. He wanted to pick up clothes to earn a pack of cards. Last night he earned a Michael Jordan card for picking up all of the laundry on the main floor and 'bowl' it down the stairs--so there wasn't a lick of clothing for him to find. But, I laughed at him, and said---

"Why don't you save this energy for tomorrow and you can clean the bathroom for me?" That is his favorite job in the house. His reply---"But, won't I have energy tomorrow too?" So clever! I would buy him Michael Jordan himself if he could figure out a way to share 1/10 of his energy with me!

My husband is taking off early from work tomorrow to take the boys to Naperville to see Ben Gordon--he is their favorite Bulls player and they can get their cards signed! That will be fun!

Whoever Said There's No Such Thing As Monsters...

... has never been to my basement! I found a huge---scary one today--and it is literally threatening to take over my house!! It's a laundry monster and with 6 people, blankets, towels and sheets--you can imagine just how huge it is!

Barrett has the most-with 3 laundry baskets full. Grayson is in second place with a huge trash bag & half a laundry basket. Blakelynn has 2 full laundry baskets and Jake has an overflowing 1. Michael gets two laundry sites--one for his uniforms for work--and one for his "Civvies"!! I had 2 huge baskets--but since I was the only working to sort "the beast" mine got to go through the laundry first! Huge pile of bedding and huge pile of towels!!

The most amazing "group" in the laundry--I separate socks and underwear from everything else. I like to wash these in hot with some bleach. There are 2 laundry baskets and a black trash bag overflowing with socks and underwear!! AMAZING!!

I'm actually washing 1/2 the trashbag now--my hope is to get all of the socks and underwear done before I have to go to my in-laws for a birthday dinner for my Father In Law. We go there at 2 and will spend most of the day. So I'm taking my project with me, and I will sit at my in laws house and sort socks!

Tomorrow the kids are off of school--so at least the "human coverings" portion of the beast will be exorcised from the pile! I can work on bedding and towels after the kids go back on Tuesday. But yes--my timer will be set for 1 hour all day tomorrow--that should cover at least 13 or 14 loads of laundry--not including the two from yesterday, and the 5 or 6 I plan on getting done today!

The Monster Is Real--and He's VERY Scary!!!

Saturday, March 03, 2007


It is nearly 2 in the morning and I am wired! I actually tried going to bed at a decent hour--well--11'ish, but I couldn't wind down. I'm wide awake--and tomorrow is not going to be a very fun day! I will be far to tired to get much accomplished--and there was so much I wanted to do!

Jake does have Basketball Camp followed by a basketball game--so that cuts out most of the early afternoon--but I had wanted to spend most of my day in the basement catching up the laundry! I'm so far behind--and since we have a four day weekend--I was hoping to get a good chuck of it finished before the kids headed back to school on Tuesday! If I can get most of it done--then I can re-start the laundry schedule which works so well for me--but got lost in the shuffle of being sick for 7 weeks, and a trip to Phoenix!

So tomorrow--my hope is to get all of the bedding, towels, levi's and t shirts laundered and put away!! You'd think that would pretty much handle it--but oh no--once all of those items are out--I will still have MOUNDS of laundry left!!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Miss Linda!!

My kids are out of school today for an Institute Day. This week finished up parent teacher conferences--and so they get today off. Monday is Casimir Pulaski Day here in the area--I'd never heard of it before we moved here--so my kids are off on Monday as well.

Blakelynn still had her playschool class with Miss Linda and Miss Samantha. So I asked both of my older boys if they would like to come with me to drop her off. They both had Miss Linda and Miss Samantha as their playschool teachers. Jake 4 years ago, and Grayson 2.

It was fun to see both teachers recognize and hug my boys. It seems like they've both grown up so much since they were in their classes. But both teachers remembered not only their names--but things about them. For example, Barrett was born when Grayson was in Miss Linda's class. Both teachers loved how Grayson said his name--Grayson doesn't quite have his "R's" all the time so it comes out Behwitt. Miss Linda remembered that, and asked Grayson what his little brothers name was. I thought it was sweet that they still remembered some unique things about the boys--they were both great teachers!!


We are officially in the market for a Laptop. Yes, it's to feed the addiction I've developed of blogging! I'm just starting the process--looking for consumer reviews, reading up on some Technical resources. They have really come down in price over the past couple of years, but I would still want some professional help to get the very best for my money.

I remember being in Utah over the summer--and painted on the window of Burger King it said, "Come in and check out our WiFi"!! I had to ask my husband what that meant! I thought it was a new item on the menu--boy was I wrong!

Now--I will be looking for signs just like that! If you are a burger joint with a playground for the kids and WiFi for me--I will be there--a LOT!! I guess I will have to add that to my list of research!!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Pre-school Registration!!

I got Blakelynn all registered for Pre-school next year! Her spot is saved! It seems really early to be worrying about this, but the program she is in is so amazing and inexpensive for what you get--that I'm glad there isn't a risk that she won't get in.

Grayson went to the Early Childhood Center here in our neighborhood for 2 years. The first year was 2 days a week for 2 1/2 hours. I had to pay $80 to sign him up, and $80 per month to keep him in it. The next year for pre-school he went 3 days a week, for 2 1/2 hours per day--and the price shot up to $140 to sign up and $140 per month. That is over $1000 by the end of the school year! Blakelynn goes to Franklin Park 2 days a week for 2 1/2 hours and I paid $400 for the whole year. I'm amazed with how great this program is. Next year--she moves to 3 days a week 2 1/2 hours per day--same as the ECC that Grayson went to-but instead of being over $1000 for the year--I will pay only half of that! Yep, it's $500 for the entire school year! I can't wait until Barrett is old enough to start playschool-he will definitely be going to Franklin Park!!