Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hanging Out....

Saturday Del was a man-on-a-mission. He found a killer deal on a shed for the backyard to store the bikes and mowers, anything to dejunkify the garage so he can start building some furniture again. New dressers, desks, shelves, and benches (oh my!) are on his honey-do list. 

The shed has to be just the right specs to satisfy our HOA. (Loathe HOAs)

So as he's being his handy little self, building a base for the shed, Rylee hung out watching him work. So did I. But when he discovered I was snapping pics of his handy work, he got camera shy and hid behind the truck. He's not finished with the shed yet, so next time I'll operate in stealth mode.  Yes, ME.  Call me paparazzi - I WILL get that shot.

Del in his favorite weekend green shirt.
Rylee just chillin'.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Old Barn....

Today the kids didn't have school due to a "developmental day" for the teachers.

I've been wanting to take pics of the kids to hang in the family room upstairs, so we went over to this really cool abandoned barn. After hundreds of pics, I've narrowed it down to these.

I'm making them into posters - 20x30. Ruthy and Jordan work at Heritage Makers, and they can get a really good deal for family. Wooo Hooo! They'll be printed on canvas and stretched on wooden frames.

Thank you so much for all the help - I've decided to go with the colored photos. I just love the rustic look and the reds. Plus the eyes and hair. I also retook Bug's and Trav's pics - I like these much better. Thanks again.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

College Tuition for FIVE? I think NOT....

We pay the kids for good grades.  We figure we're investing a small amount NOW, so we won't have to invest so much LATER.   Scholarships are our goal.  Our kids don't get an allowance, so this is the only job they get paid for on a regular basis.  They do chores for free for the privilege of being a part of this family and doing their part.  We don't have a farm or ranch for them to learn how to really work, so we have to do something.

Elementary kids get $3 for an A, $2 for a B, and anything lower, they OWE US money.  Fortunately for THEM nobody has had to pay us yet.  If they make STRAIGHT A's, they get a bonus of $15.00.  When they reach Junior High, they get $5 an A, and $4 a B, with $25 bonus for straight A's.  It'll go up again when they get in high school - inflation, ya know.  Report cards run every SIX weeks here - not nine.

We have to take out a small loan at report card time, but it really works for all of us.  If they want anything electronic, they buy it themselves.  Matt saved his money from 3 report cards last year (with help from babysitting money from Joe and Kelsey) and bought his own electric guitar with amp - how sweet is that?

It's a win win for everybody - 
*  I don't have to buy their dumb video game crap.
*  They work hard for good grades.
*  They have their own money to spend.
*  They learn how to pay tithing.
*  They learn how to SAVE for the big things.
*  They learn the hard lesson of NOT saving if it 
    burned a hole in their pocket the first day.

We thought Bug was going to get 2 B's this time, but he pulled it out in the end (we were BOTH surprised) and got straight A's.  He was ecstatic - "YESSSSS - I get the bonus!!"   I don't know if other states do this, but here - you can go online and see every single assignment grade, class participation grades, EVERYTHING real-time.  So there are no surprises.  I love it.  It's all online, and you can set your preferences for alerts - I get alerted if they get anything less than 85% on anything.  That way we know what we need to work on.

The kids got paid last night, and I was helping Rylee count her loot.  We separated the tithing from the rest and put it in an envelope.  She has been saving up for awhile, and now has $44.  She got upset when I said she could keep her 2 - $20 bills, but we needed to put $4.40 in an envelope and not spend it.  The tears were welling up about to spill over - she REALLY wanted to keep that $4 ...

Perplexed, she looked up and asked, "Why do Heavenly Father and Jesus need  it, they can't spend it?!"

We explained AGAIN (We go through this every "payday") what they need it for - to build churches and temples, to help missionaries and other people who need it, etc. etc.  She accepted our answer only after we told her that she now had the most money in the house.  (Boys already went to Game Stop.)  She smiled and ran off to put the rest in her wallet.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pioneer Day...

Yesterday I was informed by my neighbor that it was Pioneer Day at school today for the elementary kids.  They've been studying about the western movement, so the kids were supposed to bring their own lunches in a pail, and dress up like pioneers.  A flyer went home with the kids when MY kids were absent last week from our Colorado adventure so we knew nothing about it.

As I was at Enrichment last night, Sydney left a message on my cell asking if I'd buy her some overalls to wear today.  Yeah right, I'll get right on that.  I got home after Del put the kids to bed and didn't have a chance to talk to Sydney about the attire/costume plans.

This morning Syd comes in the bedroom all excited about the overalls she was planning to wear today - "Mom, where are the overalls you bought me?"  I chuckled, and said I was sorry, that I didn't get any.  If this was something mandatory and something I thought she'd actually wear later, I might have considered buying them, but I explained to her why I didn't:

1.  "You told me about pioneer day THE NIGHT BEFORE pioneer day.  We need to plan ahead better."
2.  "Just because you ask for me to buy something, does NOT mean I'm going to run right out and buy it."  I'm a mean Mom.
3.  "Pioneer girls didn't wear overalls - BOYS did.  Girls wore dresses."

She was sooooo stinkin' irate at me that she decided not to dress up at all.  (Whatever - no skin off my back.)  She was grouchy all morning - not a fun way to start out the day - crying, whining, pouting, dirty looks - I got it all.  

This is what she wore - jeans, t-shirt, and pony-tail. NOT pioneer-like. As you can see - still mad at me - "Doooon't taaaaake myyyyyy pictuuuuure!"  (Look at that face.)

Rylee was very excited to dress like a pioneer.  I asked her if she wanted to wear the dress Grandma Junie made for her with some boots.  She said, "Mom, that would look WEEEIRD."  I said "No sir, that's what Laura on Little House on the Prairie wore.  She's staring at me like I'm retarded - "What's that?"  No time to explain.

She was game - excited to dress like a pioneer.  I think she looked very Laura-esque. 
(She's obsessed with "PEACE" lately.)

I tried to convince Travis to dress up, but he was like - NO WAY! I didn't push it. So here's HIS Pioneer Day outfit - t-shirt and shorts.

This afternoon when the kids walked in the door from school, the first thing Rylee said was,

"Mom!  Pioneer Day was only for THIRD GRADE!!!!

I laughed - OUT LOUD.  

Can you imagine the embarrassment Travis would've endured if he would've dressed up?  4th graders can be very mean, so I'm really glad he dodged that bullet.  

Sydney didn't care after all - there were lots that didn't dress up. (I was confident she wouldn't be the only one and DIE of embarrassment.)  

Rylee pulled it off though - she didn't care.  I asked her if anybody said something to her about her outfit - she said "No, but nobody else dressed up!"  


OLD before my time...

I got this from Rushell's blog (thanks girl!) Cute little quiz to see where you belong. Apparently I'm living in the past. I agree with the assessment, except innocent? I think I'd replace it with sardonic.

You Belong in 1958

fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Handy Man...

While the kiddos and I were in Denver getting our teeth fixed, hunky hubby was home fixing the fence!  Woo Hooo!  Why did the fence need fixing??

When we moved into the new house, we discovered the back, front, and side yards were a lot bigger than they first appeared.  (Noticed after the first mow job.)  Del bought this handy little (used) riding mower from a co-worker to ease the pain. 

Hot dang! - the boys couldn't WAIT to mow the lawn!  

Bug won the toss to be first to do the front and side yards.  Del told him not to go near the trees, because his driving skills weren't up to code yet.  As he was finishing up the side yard, he forgot which pedal was the brake, and ran smack-dab into the fence.  Del was watching him (wished he was videoing) and Bug panicked trying to hit the brake, gas, and gears all at the same time bouncing up and down in the seat.  For safety, the engine shuts down when there's not weight in the seat, but not before he knocked down the little strip of fence against the wall of the house that connects to the little gate.  Del said it was pretty funny - he was laughing watching Bug panic.  Nice. 

Matt finished with the back lawn - nothing in the way, no trees yet - just grass. Del told him to stay away from the fences and he would do it later.  Just until they mastered the little beast.

After the little mishap we set up an obstacle course for them with orange cones in the backyard, and in the cul-de-sac.  I'm happy to report that they have mastered the mower.  Travis likes to drive it around the cones in the cul-de-sac, but we haven't dared let him use the blades yet.  Maybe next year.  Maybe not

Here's the new gate that Del built out of the strip that was knocked down.  He made it double-wide so the lawn mower could now fit through.  Plus we still have the original gate for the kids to use everyday with the bikes.  Sweet! 

My husband rocks.  By the time we got home from Denver Sunday night, he had the fence fixed, laundry folded, and Beef Stroganoff on the stove for us.  He's mine - you can't have him.

Now Bug can get that DOG he's been begging for.  Anybody have a yellow lab?  That's his dog of choice.

Backyard - grass, grass, and MOW grass.

New Little Mower

Double-wide Gate

Little Gate

Dental Day...

We love Uncle Eric and Cousin Josh for spending ALL-the-live-long-day with us last Friday. The kids said they had fun - they're demented, we know.

Eric only had one patient that morning, and then blocked off the rest of the day for the Claridge Crew. OK, except for the hour or two when he and Josh were interviewing new hygienists to fill a position. The kids got to watch movies all day and take turns on the laptop. We also went to Cafe' de France for lunch - it was muy bueno. Then Tosha brought in Pizza for dinner which was very thoughtful - you da bomb! I still owe you, thank you.

Thanks Eric and Josh for all your hard work and patience - we love you! (Payment is in the mail!)

We all got fillings except for Rylee.  She was born with a cleft palate and had surgery when she was 10 months old to fix it.  But because of her cleft, Eric couldn't take good x-rays (the sensor/film thingy wouldn't fit in her tiny mouth.)  She had a pan-scan(?), but he couldn't see anything major.  The rest of us weren't so lucky.  Sydney had to have a tooth pulled along with fillings.  NOT FUN!  We've all committed to brushing our teeth morning AND night AND flossing regularly!

The fun thing about having my brother as my dentist, is that I can get up-close-and-personal to take pictures, play with utensils and glasses, take x-rays,  take my own impressions, practice dental-assisting and help clean up.  It was very educational. 
The purple parts are where there is plaque. Gross huh!?

We all had a good lesson on HOW to brush teeth!

Matt getting his fillings.

Matt's pucker after he was numb on BOTH sides.  It's the weirdest pucker I've ever seen!  I like the little slobber in the corner that he can't feel.

Eric looking very dentisty.

Lucky Bug didn't have to get numb - his cavity wasn't that deep.
No weird pucker for him.

Travis' deer-in-the-headlights look.

Sydney getting numb. See the tear rolling down her cheek?  It's almost to her ear. She was great though - she had the most work done. She was just scared of getting her tooth pulled. She needed a moment to breathe.  I bet Eric didn't notice the daggers she was shooting him either.
She has perfected that stare - it's TALENT status!

Her pucker after one side was numb.
She had to get the other side done later that night. Poor girl.

My silly pucker.

Trying the magnifiers. They're fun.
I'm a pincher and a poker - these babies would come in really handy!
I feel so official. I have super-powers - I need a cape.

Cousin Josh -
Dental Assistant,
Office Manager,
Head Ginklefritz.

Poor Dr. Eric tuckered out - we were there until 11:30 pm!

Fun times, fun times.

We couldn't wait to hit the pillows. The next morning I cut hair for Eric, Mallory, Collin, Kendra, & McKenna. Sadly, the only picture I took was of Mallory as we were driving away. But here she is:

Cute, cute girl. She and Syd are the same age - they had fun hanging out.

She was so excited to get her hair cut. She kept swinging it around and shaking her head.

We stayed in Amarillo (by morning - up from San Antone....) Saturday night, and went the rest of the way Sunday.  What a stinkin' BORING drive!  There's a whole lotta nuthin' to see.  Although - I was very excited to fill up my tank outside Amarillo for $1.99 a gallon.  $50 to fill up?!  Suuuuuweeeet!

Trip to Colorado....

(That's what all the yummy food was for - to keep me awake. I think I gained 10 pounds - 5 up, 5 back. I refuse to step on the scale to prove it.)

We went to the dentist here in Austin a few weeks ago - NOT fun.  He was a moron - so I called my brother Eric to ask his opinion about what the moron wanted to do, and he said we should just take a trip to Denver and he'd do all our teeth for free.  We LOVE HIM.  He didn't know what he was in for.

After cussing and discussing with Del - we figured out that since gas has gone down, it'd be cheaper to take the trip there - including staying in a hotel once on the way up and again on the way back - 15 hour drive, ME being the lone licensed driver.  Del had to be in CA all week for meetings, so it was the perfect time to go.

We took 2 different routes for the way up and back so we'd have different scenery.  On the way up we went through Oklahoma and Kansas and then left to Colorado.  

We left Texas at noon on Wednesday, and by the time we reached Oklahoma City that night, it was pouring buckets of water on the car, and I couldn't see 5 feet in front of me.  A bunch of cars were parked under an overpass to wait it out awhile, but on the other side of the overpass, the street lights hit the concrete just perfectly to make it look like a LAKE on the other side.  I FREAKED out!  I slammed on my brakes thinking that it was a flash flood.  As I got closer, I realized it was just the lighting, but my heart felt like a jack-hammer in my chest.  I got off the next exit and went straight to a hotel, as I called Del to tell him we weren't going to make it to Wichita as originally planned.  As I flipped through channels in OK, the newscaster said there were flash flood warnings, and tornado warnings all night.  Hallelujah - we're so glad we stopped when we did.  Good thing we prayed before we left.

We got up early the next morning (weather was beautiful and clear) to continue our journey to Colorado.   The winds in Kansas were sooooo strong that we passed TWO semi-trucks turned over from the WIND!  I got a few pics of the kids in a field at one of our stops.  Rylee kept getting car-sick because the wind was jarring the car so much - I was white-knuckling the steering wheel the entire way through Kansas.  

We made it to Eric's Thursday night just in time for Hawaiian Haystacks - yummy.  Tosha's awesome - thanks for the hospitality.

Kansas landscape - flatter than flat.

Huddling together, because it's really cold and windy!

I love it when they're all laughing together and getting along!

I LOVE this one of Syd. She was mad at me, because I wanted one more picture - but this is the best one of the wind blowing her hair into devil horns!
She's STILL mad at me for it.

Rylee outside waiting for me to get out of the car to go potty at the gas station. It was so windy, I had to snap a pic.
She was mad! I like to torture my children.
I'm going for Mom of the Year.

After I opened the door - she looks like Cousin IT.


She likes to ham it up.

Just like me.

She could go on...

and on....

and on.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Hey Del - look what I made....

Chex mix, rice crispies, veggies for dippin' and pumpkin-chocolate-chip mini muffins.  Are you suuuuuuure you don't wanna come?



Last night as Bug and I were driving home from his football game, he was very excited after a WIN.  Wahooo! 

Bug says - "Hey Mom, coach said that if the team wins one more game, we get to go to Hooters!"

My head snapped to his face - "WHAT?!"

"Coach said if we win 5 games, he'll take us to Hooters."

Me, internally FREAKING out - "Do you even know what Hooters is?"

Bug - "No."  (phewww!)

I then explained what it was, and how inappropriate it was for Middle School kids to have this as an INCENTIVE.  I had him replay exactly what was said so I could get my story straight before I called the Principal to take a bite out of him.  I asked him if he liked that coach, and he said not really, because he cusses.  He said he throws out the "F" bomb too.

Isn't a coach supposed to be a role-model?  Mentor?  

So this morning I called BOTH principals to cover all my bases.  One each for 7th and 8th.  (Never heard of such a thing.)  Both principals were shocked.  They're looking into it immediately, and apologized for my freak-out.

The 7th grade principal called back after talking to a few students AND the coach.  The coach said a kid came up and asked him if they could go to Hooters if they won 5 games.  The coach, not paying much attention gave the pat answer, "sure, sure."  The kid was so excited that he went and told everybody the coach said YES.  

He assured Mr. Principal that he would never actually take them, and that he should've nipped it in the bud.  DUH!

Bug lookin' studly in his uniform.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Family Fun Night....

(Posted Sept. 22, 2003)


About once a month we have "Family Fun Night" with our kids. This means we buy a family movie for the month - turn off all the lights, grab our pillows and blankies and lie down all over the family room. We pop popcorn - each getting their own bowl, and disperse ziplock baggies filled with M&M's and various other little cavity-makers to each member so that we can enjoy the whole movie experience.

Last night Del had to make a run to the little boys' room, so he handed Rylee (almost 1 yr. old) over to me to hold briefly on the left side of my lap, as Sydney (3 yrs.) was already sitting on the right side watching the movie and eating her M&M's.

Rylee gets so excited at times that her arms and legs get going really fast as if she cannot contain herself any longer. During one of her bursts of enthusiasm, Sydney was just about to put an M&M into her mouth. But as it was about to reach her lips, Rylee started flailing her limbs and kicked Sydney's hand upward, shoving the blue M&M up Sydney's nose.

She tried really hard to get it out by herself, reaching up her nose with her little fingers, but accidentally lodged it farther up there. I could feel it in there when I tried squeezing her nose, but as I squeezed, I could hear the outer chocolate shell crack. Now Sydney is REALLY panicking! She screams for Daddy to come help rescue her, as I yell for him to grab the tweezers on his way back to the family room.

The second Sydney sees tweezers, she freaks out, and screams frantically that it's going to hurt!! I couldn't go near her with them. So we grabbed a few tissues and told her to blow as hard as she could. She got confused with the term BLOW and instead - INHALED!! Meanwhile, blue liquid is streaming out her nose. Aack!!

Finally she blew pretty hard and got half the chocolate blue mess out. And a few more blows and it was all clear. Halellujah - the M&M was set free!!  She jumped down and sat on the floor for the rest of the movie, because she didn't want to sit next to Rylee any more.

And another Family Fun Night was a success!

Ry and Syd goofing around in CA.

Rylee trying to peek around the camera to see me.  I really miss that baby with her
"Lenny and Squiggy" hair.