Monday, December 21, 2009

Sharing Christmas is Here!

Merry Christmas and welcome to this year's Sharing Christmas! You can add your blog to the Sharing Christmas list by signing up on Mr. Linky at the end of this post. Please remember to link directly to your Sharing Christmas post and to link back to this blog so visitors can easily find their way to the other participating blogs! Thanks and enjoy your visit!!

I have to start off with a few bits of information. First, this past weekend, we, along with most of the Eastern coast, got walloped by a major winter snow storm and ended up with over a foot of snow. The past few days have been filled with tons of play time in the snow and not much house cleaning time. I am thankful that I thought to snap a few pictures of the house last week the night before I had some friends over for a Christmas brunch, because I was not up for a ton of cleaning tonight!

I hadn't taken all the pictures I needed and rather than stress I just took them regardless of the disorder!

Here we go....

Come on in, welcome to my home.

That's my wonderful husband trying to ignore me taking a picture of our family room.

I love this little trio of decorations, the pottery is something I have out year round. I bought it in Rothenburg Germany and I love it's simplicity, not to mention the memories of my visit.

Here's our tree, missing a tree topper, which didn't survive the trip to the attic this year. Our tree is full of a mish mosh of homemade ornaments, 30+ year old ornaments I got as a baby, and many celebrating all the various passages of life, new marriage, new house, new baby, etc.

My mom would always give us a new ornament to put on the tree each year on Christmas Eve. It was reflected something that we were involved or interested in that year. I feel bad that I keep forgetting to get the girls started on their own ornament collection, but this year I remembered and on Christmas Eve they'll each be putting up a tiny glass ballerina.
Here's our staircase, decorated with garland and lights. I really should have taken the time to move the TV so it was flat against the wall. But I didn't. So you all get to see the lovely TV that is a big part of our family room (I have to say I've gotten used to it!).

Into the dining room. I love having a simple centerpiece, basically a hurrican candle surrounded by berries, holly, pinecones, etc. My prefered way of decorating involves accenting with greenery and berries/holly. In the top right of the picture you can see our version of Elf on a Shelf...Santa on a China cabinet!
Another hurricane, accented with berries.

Some more simple greenery makes the radiator cover look more festive!
Now into the kitchen. I know it's cold outside, can I offer you some cocoa? This baby does it all! Not a Christmas decoration but the speed at which we get our morning coffee definitely makes Matt and me much more festive! Plus the kids can make endless cups of hot chocolate just by pushing a button!

I don't decorate much in the kitchen, just a seasonal candle or two, since I need to preserve as much counter space as possible for all the Christmas baking! (and, you know, all the many meals prepared in the weeks before the actual last minute baking.)
This year I wanted to add some color and shine by using Christmas ball ornaments outside of the tree. I saw some cute ones at the dollar store, threw them in a dusty bowl, and voila....

I set up the Little People Nativity set on the table in the kid's playroom. It looked nice for a few days. Now it looks like this...
It's definitely been getting a lot of use!

Last picture is of our Advent Calendar.
This December we have really tried to focus on the season of Advent and preparing for Christ's birth. I have little slips of paper that I put in each box that gives us a Christmas activity to do for that day. Some of our favorites have been, calling someone on the phone and singing Christmas carols, watching the Polar Express as a family, making Christmas cookies, reading the Christmas story from the Jesus Storybook Bible, at the dinner table telling each family member what you love about them, and many more.
I have to admit that there are days that I forget and the girls have to remind me to put something in the box! They really look forward to what each day's box holds, just as all month we look forward to the Jesus' birthday! I think today we're going to be decorating a gingerbread house!

I can't leave without sharing a Christmas recipe with you. This is one that I've made a number of times to give as gifts and I've gotten a ton of compliments on it, probably because it's different and not something you usually get homemade.
White Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti (from Kraft Foods)
2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups whole grain cereal flakes with cranberries and almonds 3 squares
BAKER'S White Chocolate, chopped
4 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
HEAT oven to 325°F. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in cereal and white chocolate. Divide dough in half; shape each half into 14x2-inch log with lightly floured hands. Place on greased baking sheet.

BAKE 25 to 30 min. or until lightly browned. Transfer to cutting board; cool 10 min. Use serrated knife to diagonally cut each log into 12 slices; place upright on baking sheet. Bake 15 to 18 min. or until slightly dried. Cool on wire racks.

MELT semi-sweet chocolate. Dip biscotti in chocolate; let stand until firm. I think I usually just drizzle with the melted chocolate rather than just dip, that way you get a little chocolate in each bite!
Enjoy! Thanks for taking the time to visit, I hope you'll take a second to say hello!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

P-Dub comes to PA

It was a cold and rainy Sunday. There were rumors of icy roads and treacherous driving conditions. But nothing could stop me from taking the journey to meet Ree Drummond AKA Pioneer Woman.

Ok, it wasn't that cold, and the roads were only icy in the morning when I was tucked up nice and warm in my house, the journey was only 30 minutes and meet...well, meet is pretty relative in this case, but yes, I did meet Pioneer Woman.

I met my friend Teri and we drove down to West Chester, where Ree was doing her signing, together. While there was no icing on the roads, it was raining pretty hard, perfect time for the one broken windshield wiper (passenger side of course) on our ancient Honda to decide to start working, completely out of rhythm with the other one. I left a message for Matt saying "the windshield wipers are fighting." There was no other way to describe it.

Thankfully we arrived at The Chester County Book and Music Company safely and quickly got inside out of the rain. I was looking extra cool sporting my Dora the Explorer umbrella! We got a ticket for our place in line and were happy to be 133. Not too bad, only an hour early and we were able to get decent seats.

I was sitting right next to this display.

It's a miracle I didn't buy anything.
Here's Teri looking excited!

And here comes the woman of the hour (day, week, month,
I mean her book is on the NY Times best seller list)
I love the look she's giving that iced coffee. Even though it's blurry
I think you can see the love!
Ree did about 3o minutes of Q&A which was fun. She was relaxed and comfortable up there, not that I was expecting anything differently! I loved hearing her charming answers and listen to her say that not all homeschooling moms wear denim jumpers....followed quickly by "not that there's anything wrong with that!" Too funny!
This was her last out of town book signing, so Ree kept on taking "just a few more" questions. That came back to bite her in the butt when the very last question was a request for Ethel Merman! So glad we got to see it and hear it in person - Teri was smart enough to catch it on video, hopefully she can post it on her blog!
After the Q&A Ree got busy signing books. We knew they were going to call us up in groups by our numbers and were pleasantly surprised that they were in groups of 20. That meant that we had to wait awhile to actually get in line, which wasn't too bad since we were in a huge bookstore with an amazing kids section and tons of cool gifts and fun stuff to check out. Once our number group was called we didn't have to wait long at all.
Here's the line...
Here's me (why am I finally off "align center" mode? finally!) all excited to be a few feet away from P-Dub!

Here she is! Signing my book!

Of course as soon as it was my turn I got all star struck and really didn't know what to say. What I did do was ask if I could look under the table and check out her boots. Yes I did! They were, in her words, "sassy!" Then when I went to get my picture taken I had to check to make sure I wasn't flashy anyone. Thankfully Ree totally understood.

Here's my picture with her.

Could I look any more awkward? Is it obvious that I am not a natural in front of a camera? Why did I put my right arm on hip like that? No my arm pits were not sweaty, but since Ree has been so open about her own issues with sweat I would definitley have to claim it if they were! Doesn't Ree have lovely hair? Don't you love her jacket? Aren't you glad that I edited this picture so you couldn't tell that my shirt was teensy tiny bit sheer? And here I was worried about flashing someone!

Teri and I had a great time, I was so thankful she came with me and I had someone to talk to you (not sure I how I would have passed the time in a store surrounded by thousands of books). I feel pretty lucky that it worked out to get to see Ree, I know some people drove hours and then waited for hours for the opportunity and I had a quick 3o minute drive and a two hour line wait.

Thanks P-Dub for making the journey to PA!


Comments include spoilers for the finale, so enter at your own risk!!!

OK, I am in the midst of my post about my visit to see Pioneer Woman but I at least want to get a Sisterhood post up. I am still watching the Finale, but so far I have really enjoyed it.

I just watched Kathryn and Jakob's dance and was stunned. It was just so good. So good. It basically rendered Adam Shankman speechless!!!

Other highlights so far....Ellenore and Jakob's piece by Tyce, Ryan and Kathryn's samba.

I didn't love Ryan and Ellenore's weird contemporary one, but that seemed like a combination of weird choreography and no backstory to help understand it!

My favorite guy is Jakob (since I am still a bit heartbroken that Legacy is gone) and my favorite girl is Kathryn (I liked her when she was known as the high piched crying girl...I'm just saying). I would love to see them as the final two, with Jakob (just because he truly is the best dancer) winning it all.

Ashley and Ryan just danced. I was not into it and I got yelled at by Matt because he thought it was very touching and sweet and I missed it all. So you'll have to let me know what you thought!

Russell and Kathryn finished off the night with a hard hitting Nappy Tabs routine, that I loved. Lots of cool moves and just good old hip hop with no props or masks or costumes. Doesn't hurt that it was girl Kathryn and the sweetest guy ever, Russell (close second to Jakob).

So what did you guys think of tonight's finale? I was so happy not to see all the solos, but I think Jeanine's solo in the finale was what gave her the edge over Brandon to win it all.

Ok, those of you still watching, chime in and discuss away!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Sharing Christmas 2009

Would you believe that I almost forgot this year? I am working on my post for my new six year old and I realized that it's December 8th and I haven't posted anything on "Sharing Christmas". If you'll remember the past two years I have hosted a Christmas tour of sorts, where we share a little bit of what Christmas looks like this year in our house.

It's definitely a fun little blog event and I love reading and seeing what is going on in your neck of the wood this Christmas. Many of you have new homes, or new babies, or, in my case, just another new year. Not only do you have a chance to document what this Christmas looks like for you, but you get to share it with some of your favorite bloggers (ok, so not
Pioneer Woman or Big Mama, but some of our other favorite bloggers!)

I thought I'd give us a little time to "prepare" and host this year's Sharing Christmas on Monday December 21st.

How it works:

On Monday morning head over here to add your blog to the Sharing Christmas list. I hope to have a Mr.Linky up like last year to make it nice and easy! Please make sure and link to the specific Sharing Christmas post and not just to your blog itself. This way you can continue with your regular posting and visitors can easily click over to your Sharing Christmas post.

After posting your own link, please take some time over that day and the next few following to visit the other blogs posted. Since you're taking a peek into their home, it's always nice to leave a comment and let them know you were there! We all love to hear from our visitors! :)

Ideas on what to post....

Pictures of your house in all it's Christmas-y-ness.

Share the recipe for a favorite Christmas recipe or treat!

Some Christmas traditions special to your family

What is going on in your life this Christmas? How will this Christmas be different or the same? Whether or not the decorations look the same, I find that each Christmas has a different "feel" to it, based on what's going on in and around my life.

Basically, just have fun and be festive!!! I would love it if you posted a link to this (just take the picture and then link back here for all details) on your blog and encouraged your friends to take part in Sharing Christmas. All are welcome, it's always fun to meet new bloggers!

Ok, so now back to writing about my darling six year old. Also, I'm going to see Pioneer Woman...more on that later this week!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Last week was a busy week. We headed out of town early on Wednesday and got home Saturday evening. The kids played nonstop with their cousins basically from sun up to way past sun down! Thanksgiving dinner was held at my inlaws but I was lucky enough to have my parents there as well.

While my kids were busy playing I was busy helping get ready for the big meal. This was the second year that we've used a brining method to prepare the turkey and I've been really happy with the results. Brining is basically soaking the turkey in a salt water/spice mixture for 12 hours or so the day/night before you cook it. I found the recipe from non other than The Pioneer Woman and I figure it's good enough to share with you. Not that you'll remember for next year's turkey, but just in case you do, click HERE. Also, I love her recipe for actually roasting the turkey, it involves doing most of the cooking on a lower temperature and then turning it up and basting it with butter (because it's Pioneer Woman, of course) to make the outside nice and golden brown and crunchy.

I also made the stuffing which is a recipe I got from Renee that she got from her mom. I like it because it's a simple sausage stuffing with the addition of diced granny smith apple - stuffing is one of my favorite sides so I like to stick with what I know and love. Yummy! Maybe you can beg Renee to pass it along to you as well!

Finally I made homemade rolls, using a recipe I found on My Kitchen Cafe. They were super easy and super good, tasting like warm crusty french bread in a roll format!

Enough with the food...oh yeah, I also made if-I-do-say-so-myself delicious Chai Gingerbread bars. Should I share that recipe too?!

Along with spending time with family we got to spend a night with a group of old friends. It was basically a house full of kids running around, up and down stairs from the basement to the main floor, from the main floor to the upstairs, and at one point all of them bundled up and headed outside for an impromptu fireworks show! I missed it because I was holding an 8 week old sleeping baby. I promise that I didn't grab that baby and use him as an excuse to not go out in the cold!

I love Thanksgiving and I truly have so much to be thankful for. Materially I have everything I need plus much more. I am very thankful for the roof over my head and the food and clothes I have every day, plus the many over luxuries I enjoy. But I know I could have all that and more and still want more (believe me, I often do!) I am most thankful for the hope I have in Christ and His grace and forgiveness in my life and knowing that He has a plan for me. I know it's nothing profound but it's a promise I cling to as I go through each day.

I also feel abundantly blessed relationally. My husband, my children, my family, my friends - all are such an important part of my life and I love them all! I know that here on earth our relationships will never be perfect, or even close to it, but I just feel blessed to know people who support me and my family as well as challenge us as they live out their faith in their lives. I'm talking to YOU and YOU and YOU and YOU...etc....thanks for the big and little ways you impact my life!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tonight's Dinner

Well yesterday I was ready with a recipe that I had just tried that night. But I didn't get around to it and I think you'll all be glad that I didn't, because tonight I tried a recipe that was yummy, very easy and family friendly. The other one was good, but more complicated, and not one I had any hope of convincing Ella to eat (hint, it was fish). This recipe had us all (minus Catherine, she's just a lost cause right now) asking for seconds!

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps
From My Kitchen Cafe
1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cups shredded cheese
Sour cream (optional)

6 burrito-sized flour tortillas (I had enough filling for at least 9)

Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla.

Two options with the sour cream. You can add a few dollops to the cheese and chicken/rice mixture (original recipe) OR, you can do what we did, which was leave it out and use the sour cream as a garnish.

Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open. Spray the tortillas all over with cooking spray.

Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange 2 wraps, seam-side down, in pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve.

We made the first round of them, ate, and then I cooked up the second round. We like them best when they are hot and crispy.

Another great thing is that you can easily adjust this according to your tastes. Like it spicier, add more chili powder or add some hot sauce. More veggies? Add some corn. Dislike sour cream? Just leave it out and maybe serve with some salsa. This is definitely easy, healthy and most importantly, tastes great! I hope you give it a try!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lost in Translation

I wish I had my act together enough to blog every day because I would definitely have a story to tell every day. It might not be that exciting of a story, but without fail at least once a day something happens that I want to share, get feedback, or just preserve the memory of.

I am going to make a conscious effort to put those thoughts or stories out there - even if it's short and not that thrilling, but there are definitely so many things that I don't want to forget!

For example....

We have mice living in our house. I've heard them for awhile, when I'm on the computer at night, they sound like they are having a party in our oven (don't worry, they aren't, believe I (and by I, I mean Matt) has checked a number of times). I've been bugging Matt since I first realized it, but getting rid of them hasn't been high on his priority list (perhaps he will weigh in and let us know why not). However, this weekend he was spurred on to action and set some traps in the drawer where we kept our oven mitts.

We caught one pretty quickly. Not something I am excited about, because they are little and cute (theoretically, not in my house though) and I wish there was another way to deal with them. Matt reset the trap and that was that.

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon. Matt made Ella some cheese and chips in the toaster oven. He was upstairs and yelled for her to check on the chips to make sure they weren't burning.

She went to get an oven mitt....

I have to take a break right here and let you know that we really don't encourage our kids to touch the toaster oven or check things in it. I do think Ella is probably capable of doing that on her own, but it's always something we do. Matt just wanted her to peak in and take a look, but she could easily have interpreted that differently...obviously she did!

So, yeah Ella went to get an oven mitt. She opened the drawer and upon seeing the (dead) mouse in the drawer she let out the loudest scream ever and was so traumatized that she continued to scream and cry for about five minutes.

I was holding her and trying to comfort her as Matt came down the stairs, and apparently her scream clearly communicated dead mouse because he knew exactly what had happened. I was feeling bad for Ella and a bit frustrated that a dead mouse had been in our kitchen all day so I said "Daddy gets a big "F" for that, he gets a big "F"" As in failing grade. For failing to remove the dead rodent from the drawer before our daughter came close to using it as a pot holder.

Ella eventually calmed down. I told her that maybe she would want to call her Nama, because Nama had just had an experience with a mouse and would understand how Ella was feeling. When they finally got to talk I was listening to Ella tell the story to mom and I heard her say "...and then mommy said, daddy the "f", daddy the "f" "....

What does that sound like to you? Because to me it sounded like I had been calling my husband a thinly veiled vulgar word. I grabbed the phone from Ella and explained to my mom what I HAD said, thankfully she didn't really get what Ella was saying so we were all good.

I was upset, but I definitely wasn't that upset. I can't even imagine what could happen to make me that upset - if dead mice doesn't do it, then I think we're pretty safe.

Happy Monday - I am moving my recipe post to Tuesdays, so check back tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Comfort Food

Somehow Menu Plan Monday slipped past with nary a word from me! But who says I can't post a recipe on Tuesday?! This one goes out to Melissa who asked me this weekend if I would put my menu up on Monday and I said "of course!" Just goes to show you how reliable I am!

Anyway, I am not a food blogger and my camera is currently 4 hours away so that means you won't be getting any pictures to accompany the recipe, but then again, when I have ever posted pictures of my recipes!? It's not for lack of trying, I usually forget until we've eaten half of whatever it is and the visually pleasing factor goes way down!

Today I'm going to share a recipe that I consider comfort food. It's something my mom made growing up and it's hearty, simple and kid friendly (at least for Ella it is, Catherine likes the chicken part)

Hearty Chicken Stew
2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes/bite size pieces
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1 med onion sliced (or chopped, really your preference)
2 stalks celery cut into pieces (your preference)
2 carrots, sliced (ditto above)
1/2 tsp thyme
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 T ketchup
3-4 med. potatoes, cut into bite size pieces (If you aren't big on potatoes, you can use less, I think this is more than the original recipe calls for)
salt and pepper

Melt butter in large skillet/pan that has a lid. Coat chicken pieces with flour (I put the flour in a ziploc bag and add the chicken pieces and then shake around). Add chicken and any excess flour to the heated butter. Saute three minutes. Add onion and celery, saute 3 additional minutes. Add chicken broth, thyme, ketchup, potatoes and carrots. Bring to a boil, cover and cook at a simmer (that means turn the heat down!) for 15 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note on the potatoes - I have found that no matter what the potatoes take much longer to cook than 15 minutes. I now put the potato pieces in the microwave for a quick zap (maybe I can add specifics after I make it tonight) so they are already headed in the right direction before I add then to the pan.

You can serve this in a bowl or on a plate. It doesn't have as much broth as a traditional stew might have so it really does work ok on a plate, but I like having it in a bowl - just my personal preference! Also, growing up my mom always served this with applesauce and I guess it just stuck with me because we do too, it has become, for this meal, the perfect side dish.

So as the weather turns colder and you're looking for a simple meal with ingredients you most likely already have, give this comfort food a try!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Top 18!

Here we are, my turn to recap this week's episode of SYTYCD. I haven't been a great member of the sisterhood, I meant to comment on Courtney's recap last week and somehow...I just didn't. Shame on me! Also, I haven't been posting who is recapping each week, so for any of you who may have been looking for it through me, it would have been hard to find.

Anyway, I love the show, but I'm feeling a bit underwhelmed this season, but I think I say that at the start of every season! Maybe it's just too close to last season? Also, put me firmly on the team of hating the new stage. Ugh. It really annoyed me during the intros. Why change something that was working?! Ok, I'm done with complaining....

Just a little heads up that I'm feeling a bit under the weather and didn't have the mental capacity to think of snarky and whitty comments like Courtney and Rachel. What you'll find is a bunch of like, didn't like, fun, not as fun - real exciting stuff like that!

Of course tonight is another one of my least favorites - when the dancers share their partner's best and worst qualities. Anyone else find this annoying? It just seems too fake and staged. Feel free to comment if there was something that stood out, I'm not going to go into the specifics of what they said.

Here we go.....

Noel and Russell -Jamal Sims a new choreographer, hip hop - They are in tennis outfits, battling it out with tennis rackets. hmm? kind of a weird idea, but it was a fun routine and entertaining, not very exciting though. I would have liked to see something that could really showcase Russell. The judges say....Adam, make the big big, and the small small. Mary, thought Russell did better, Noel showed no weakness from previous injury, Nigel was disappointed, sounds ominous for Noel. I hated his crap about Russell doing well last week but being the bottom b/c the standard was so high. Really? Russell's performance was in the bottom two guys? Definitely not.

Ashleigh and Jakob, (Ok, I loved that he called out the sweat factor on both of them) Viennese Waltz with Tony and Melanie, can Jakob manage the lifts? OH no, is Ashleigh freaking out over that kiss? Pretty to watch. Love to watch Jakob jump. Very graceful and smooth. The judges say... Adam, loves them, I can't believe he called out the choreographers. Has anyone ever done that before? Mary, wants them to grow and sees them in the top 10. Nigel loves them both as well. I think the judges like Ashleigh more than America will.

Bianca and Victor - Tyce Diorio, Jazz, going for some Southern gospel soul. Another fun one, but not what I thought it would be, it was fast paced, but not exciting. The judges say... Adam thought they danced it well but it was too much dancing and not enough abandonment (that's the word I think they were going for) Mary and Nigel basically echoed him - good dancing, not great character.

Mollee and Nathan - Bollywood with Nakul Dev Mahajan - Liked the opening scene with the setting sun. crazy opening pirouette with Nathan, I'm more drawn to watching Nathan than Molly, she still seems like a little girl to me, sorry, don't dislike her as much though. The judges say....Adam loves them, loves seeing Mollee be still, did another great imitation of her. Mary and Nigel loved it and them.

Channing and Philip, Samba with Tony and Melanie, she looks uncomfortable, not coming naturally, the lifts seem slow and awkward, whose fault is that though? The judges say...Adam could tell they were struggling, who couldn't though?

Kevin and Karen, Hip hop with Tabitha and Napoleon. Wow, check out Karen's outfit - Courtney, perhaps you could make that for your Halloween costume next year? Not the style of hip hop I like best, I miss seeing Nappy Tab's softer side, but it was another fun (count 'em up, I use it every time, I must not have felt like forming actual opinions) one, definitely got some bumping and grinding going on! The judges say...Adam fell off his chair over Karin, Mary put them on the Hot Tamale Train, Nigel talked about how Karin moved and basically creeped us all out.

Legacy and Kathryn - Stacey Tookey, contemporary, yikes for Legacy, he struggled with this in Vegas. Legacy is winning me over, he just seems like a sweetheart. Ok, love this routine, his strength works so well with this number and is my favorite so far. I really like this partnership. The judges say... Adam is praising them and I keep waiting for Legacy to cry. Mary and Nigel loved it as well. Now back to me...Of course it reminded me of Addiction, but only in the concept, not in the choreography. I love that in the end she rose above her fears! These two are my favorites, so far they've rocked both numbers they've done.

Peter and Pauline -working with Wade (squeal of happiness) doing a piece on Van Gogh's starry night, becoming the discarded people coming back to haunt him. cool and funky, love seeing something different. The judges say...Adam praises their commitment, Mary liked it but her praise falls short, Nigel seemed to like Pauline better.

Ellenore and Ryan - Miriam and Leonardo choreograph an Argentine Tango - OH my!, her dress is caught on her heel, adding tension to the routine. Thank goodness it came free. The judges say...All three praised them for the dance, especially that they pulled it off with the warddrobe malfunction. Adam makes a crack about dancing in a dress, I find it funny, not sure about Mary and Nigel though.

I think it's interesting that they aren't picking the couples as a whole, but from them individually.

For the bottom 4, Matt and I guess Philip and Channing and Bianca and Viktor. I am suprised that Channing gets a pass over Noel, I thought she looked uncomfortable the whole time on stage. What on earth is Viktor wearing?!

Noel is in there, shouldn't be suprised with the way Nigel threatened her earlier.

Results...I am surprised that Bianca was cut so early, I really thought she'd stick around a bit longer.

Nigel pretty much gives it away when he starts off saying how hard this is....of course Philip is going. Nigel lets him go with nary an explanation. Now we find out that Philip's father just passed away, how sad and touching, the way Philip handled getting the boot made me like him for the first time. Wow, Cat just got teary eyed, give that lady an Emmy already, there really is not a better reality host!

Who are you liking/disliking? How do you feel about the judges decisions and their ability to get rid of whomever they want?

I am impressed if you were able to follow through that incoherent post - begin commenting....NOW!!!!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween and a promised recipe

Matt was away this weekend so I was very thankful my parents came for a visit so they could trick or treat with us and watch the girls dance in church on Sunday. We are counting down the hours until Matt gets home, we all miss him very much, it was hard having him away during a weekend of big events.

I have to share a few Halloween pictures for you followed by the recipe I promised!

Ella made a beginning of the week decision from a movie star to a cowgirl. I have to say I think the cowgirl costume was much easier!
Catherine changed her mind from a crayon, to a butterfly, but when I spotted this costume at a friend's house I was able to convince her to be a Kangaroo. Isn't it the cutest ever?! Perfect for a rainy night, I don't think she ever felt wet!

My friend Rachel's husband Joe was with Matt at a conference all weekend, so she brought over her 4 month old baby Jacob to go trick or treating with us. He makes a great Superman!

We also were joined by Batman and Tinkerbell, AKA Wyatt and Jillian. I had to include this picture because I love how Rachel is holding Jacob, at first glance it looks like he's flying!

The whole group again. Check out Ella's boots. I found them on Craiglist and paid $5 for them and another pair of shoes in her size - score!It was a fun, but somewhat rainy night. After trick or treating around our block we went over to Renee's house to see her kids and collect some more candy, but at that point the rain really was starting to come down and the kids were losing it and we realized that no more candy was needed! I think Jillian was the star of the show, she walked as fast as her little legs could carry her and never complained and even when she was scared by someone handing out candy in a Burger King (actual King) costume, creepy mask and all, she just turned and quickly walked away. Can you imagine how my kids' reacted to that? It almost ruined the night for Catherine!
We were well fed heading out to trick or treat because we had enjoyed a yummy dinner that I promised I would share with you. I found this recipe years ago in Southern Living and everyone who's had it has loved it. It makes a ton, so it's great for guests or for using as leftovers (or freezing).
1 pound dried pinto beans
1 3 1/2 pound pork loin roast (doesn't have to be bone-in)
2 cans chopped green chilies
2 garlic cloves
1 T chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp gr. cumin
32 oz. box chicken broth
10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies and cilantro and lime juice (really plain diced tomatoes work fine, I've never found the specific type it calls for)
Rinse and sort beans. Place beans in crock pot, add roast and add next 6 ingredients. Pour chicken broth evenly over the roast. To make it easier, I would suggest mixing the spices and garlic in a bowl the night before. That way in the morning you just can quickly dump everything in the crock pot in a few easy steps.
Cook on high one hour, reduce to low for 9 hours or remain on high 6 more hours. Shred pork into pieces (remove bone if there is one) and stir in diced tomatoes. Cook on high 1 more hour. It will be hard to wait until dinner time when you smell this cooking all day!
To serve, you can use taco salad shells and fill with shredded lettuce, top with pork mixture and additional topppings (halved cherry tomatoes, chopped avocado, sour cream, shredded cheese). We typically just put a bunch of tostito chips on a plate and then lettuce, pork, etc...
The great thing about this is that there are many ways you can serve it. Like I said, the above is the way we usually have it first. Leftovers might involve making it into quesadillas or tacos. Southern Living suggests serving it over cornbread or as an addition to huevos rancheros. Since Matt missed it the first night, we're having it again tonight and it doesn't really count as leftovers (at least not for him).


Friday, October 30, 2009

Why my kids are scared to go outside at night

Our next door neighbor loves to decorate for Halloween. She puts up some...hmmm, how shall I describe them....perhaps unconventional is the best word to describe her decorations. Creepy would be another and just as appropriate.

Last week I wanted Ella to go get something she had left in the car and she said "No mom, I'm scared to go outside in the dark, everyone has their Halloween stuff up." Now you all know that Ella and Catherine are easily spooked (see previous post for a great example), but in this case I totally understand where she's coming from. I'm kind of creeped out by the Halloween stuff as well.

Let's take a tour and I'll show you what I mean....

Starting off, a little ghost. Definitely not a friendly ghost, but he's giving us a thumbs up so he can't be too scary. Not too bad, right?

Moving along we come to a caped devil-like creature. Again, not as friendly as a Winnie the Poo Dracula blow up yard decoration (yes, they exist...why make Winnie into Dracula, why?), but his goofy looking eyes make that sinister grin just a bit less sinister looking. But scarier than the ghost, right?

Then we have the side window. Yeah. Imagine that lit up and staring out at you at night....shiver...scary, but not nightmare inducing.

While I'm talking about staring I'd like to present a series of photos showing what I believe are the creepiest and bizarre Halloween decorations I've ever scene.

Words fail me. The vacant stares on those mannequin heads just creep me out. Can you blame my girls for not wanting to see them staring at them at night?
The one at the top is new for this year, so I had to get a closer shot of it
What do you think of the ghost hanging from below? Do you think it's supposed to represent the ghost of the decapitated mannequin? What would make someone think of using mannequin heads as Halloween decoration? I'm afraid to even answer that question, although assuming they were going for scary/creepy/bizarre, they definitely were successful.
I just had to share this with all of you, to give you something to be thankful for this Halloween. Thankful that you don't have to avoid the eyes of decapitated mannequins and instead most likely get to enjoy a blow up Mickey or Winnie the pooh vampire!
On a different not...I am making something yummy that will be in the crockpot all day tomorrow and make for an easy dinner before we head out to trick or treat. Definitely one I'll be sharing! Enjoy your Halloween!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Tale of Two Dreams

My mom made a request that I update my blog, she was sick of reading about the tour.

Last night I had a dream that I was first in line at a SYTYCD tour performance and was able to save a whole row of seats for all my friends (apparently we just lined up and were given tickets that told you what order in which you could enter the arena.). But then for the first performance we all gasped because 8 out of the 10 dancers weren't there and other random (and quite funny looking people) were being used as their subs. The first big moved involved some crazy flip but the girl involved landed on her head/arm and everything stopped and I was sitting there thinking that this wasn't worth being in the front row.

When I woke up I realized my mom was right and I really needed to update my blog so could stop having dreams about So You Think Can Dance. Next one would inevitably involve me being on the show wearing one of those costumes, paralyzed with fear....because who wouldn't be if you were wearing something like that on national television?

I don't have any good reason for not blogging over the past few weeks. Just a blogging funk I guess. I wish I could somehow transfer my thoughts to the screen without actually typing them out. It's been a long month and a half. We had two major house projects going on that definitely made the atmosphere around the house feel a bit disheveled. Now granted, both were outdoor projects, but resulted in a lot of debris and material and various ladders and equipment in our yard and driveway. Somehow the craziness outside resulted in craziness inside as well! Or maybe it was just us still getting used to the fall schedule of school and more activities!

Since Monday is the day I do my meal planning and grocery shopping for the week, I'm going to try and start posting either my menu on Monday or at least a recipe I'm trying or have recently tried and was a success.

Monday is also the day I do laundry. I will not be posting anything on that topic!

To try and make up for my long absence, I'll leave you with a classic Demo family story.

Last night, in the middle of the night, we were startled out of a dead sleep by Catherine screaming at the top of her lungs. Terrified screaming. I know I heard her scream "get it off me". I definitely whispered a quick pair as we jumped out of bed and ran into her room. She was laying there crying saying "there was a lizard on me."

Matt is clearly not as versed in Catherine speak because he had to keep asking her "what???!!" over and over again. I did a quick glance on her blankets and around her bed and told her "Catherine I don't think there is a lizard." (Yes, I checked. While I didn't think there was a lizard on her I wasn't totally discrediting her story.) At this point Matt was clued in, "ohhhh, a lizard". In Catherine's defense I think she said it clearly, it's just probably the furthest thing from Matt's mind as he was listening to her.

Thankfully after we looked around her room and assured her that there was no lizard she went back to sleep, and so did we, pretty confident that she had been dreaming.

Jump to the morning when Ella and I are snuggling in bed and Catherine wakes up and comes in and joins us. Right before Catherine had come in I told Ella what had happend the night before and that Catherine must have been dreaming. Of course Ella asked her sister and Catherine said "No Ella, I wasn't dreaming. I could tell, I could see his eyes and he was moving."

Ella turned and looked at me "Ummmm, mommy, I think I'm scared of lizards"

Who wants to bet that I have another middle of the night wake up call? Same lizard*, different child?

*If you know of any lizards native to the PA region, please DO NOT let me know, I am perfectly fine assuming it was all a dream.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The TOUR!!!!

Finally, the post you've all been patiently waiting for!!!

We had a great night at the show. Our tickets were floor seats and not that bad, but it was a bit frustrating because they MADE us sit down. It was definitely hard to sit down when the dances started. We tried standing behind another row and get shooed back to our seats!

Probably the funniest part of the night happened when the lights first went down and the announcer came on with "Welcome to So You Think You Can Dance" and Renee and I turned to each other and screamed. Total fangirls! We pretty much screamed for every routine and gave a few standing ovations. The crowd screamed a ton but wasn't quick to jump to their feet.

There was the opening routine and then all the dancers were introduced - this was a cool new group routine, but it was also a confusing time when people didn't know whether to stand up or sit down (this was also the time we were getting shooed back to our seats).

Throughout the night two of the dancers would come out and "set up" the upcoming routine. The actual dances were enhanced with a cool light set up, i.e, for the Butt Dance the stage resembled a street in Paris. It was interesting to see which of them was better at delivering the rather cheesy lines - some were a bit more natural in the acting arena than others!

One of the little shticks involved Jeanine and Philip coming out in their Russian Folk dance costumes anytime someone mentioned anything along the lines of "dance from all around the world". It was cute, but cheesy, and each time they were told that Nigel did NOT want to see Russian Folk dance again for a long long time and they had to leave the stage immediately.

After many many tries they were finally able to sneak on stage and get to the end of the routine after which they were joined by all the dancers and did a cooler hip hop version of Russian Folk dance (is that even possible?)

One other little shtick involved Kupono coming out on stage in the funniest outfit ever (click here
to see what the shorts looked like) and doing an intentionally cheesy sell for the SYTYCD Get Fit DVDs. As cheesy as it was I would love to get the DVDs (if they were free or something) because how fun would it be to dance along with Katie, Travis, Lauren and others...!

In between all the routines, the individual dancers came out to perform their solos. Can you guess which dancers got the biggest applause for their solos? Of course Brandon, doing his speedo wearing one (not a dig, just figured that would be the easiest way for you all to remember). Jeanine doing the solo that probably one the whole thing for her - when she did those amazing turns with tons of control (no rose in the mouth this time.) Finally....did I mention that Philip was there :) ? Because everyone went crazy for his solo, which was completely amazing. I definitely enjoyed Philip being a part of the show and I'm glad they included him....and special guest Caitlin (yes, that's how they referred to her!).

Here is the set list...Whenever possible I tried to link to a video so you could be reminded which dance it was (some of the videos are from the show and some are from the tour. I wanted to get this published so I didn't get all of the dances linked to. It's definitely fun watching them, so I hope to finish soon!)

Brandon and Janette's disco

Philip and Jeanine's hip hop

Evan and Randi contemporary, Butt dance

Jason and Kayla broadway Mr Monotony

Brandon and Janette Argentine Tango

Melissa, Jeanine and Kayla Superheroes group dance,

Jason and Caitlin Bollywood

Kupono and Kayla Contemporary, Vampire routine

Brandon and Jeanine, hip hop, Battlefield

Melissa and Evan, Broadway, Late for the wedding

Ade and Janette, hip hop, Love Sex Magic

Calle Ocho group dance


One group routine

Brandon and Janette, Wade Robson jazz, Ruby Blue

Jason and Kayla, Shane Sparks hip hop, zombie

Ade and Melissa, Pas de Duex, Romeo and Juliet

Brandon and Kayla, Broadway, Bye Bye Love

Willy Wonka Group Dance - Evan, Ade and Brandon

Russian Folk group routine

Kupono and Kayla, Mia Michaels contemporary, Addiction

Jason and Jeanine, Travis Wall contemporary, If It Kills Me

Ade and Melissa, Tyce contemporary, Cancer Dance

Brandon and Jeanine, Pase Doble

Final number, Brand New Day group routine

One of the things that both Renee and I noticed and agreed on was that you naturally were more drawn to watch certain dancers during the group numbers- Kayla being the girl, followed by Jeanine, who you really couldn't help watching all the time. Brandon, obviously was the guy who stood out the most. Not sure if it's because they were featured more often than the others, but they had amazing stage presence.

I know that my favorites were without a doubt Addiction and the Calle Ocho group routine. I am pretty sure Renee would agree with me (we did talk about this!) but maybe she'll add some tidbits of her own. Overall I enjoyed some of the routines more during the tour than I did watching them during the season. I think this was because it was for pure enjoyment and you didn't have to critique them or wonder what the judges were going to dislike or like about them, or if this dance was going to help them stay or not. So even though last season honestly wasn't my favorite, you wouldn't know that for how great the show was and how much Renee and I enjoyed it!

Renee is posting her amazing pictures which you definitely have to see to believe! I want to own them all! There was a hilarious one of Brandon doing a back layout during his solo and we both agreed it was not post-able. Can you imagine what the view was?

Tonight we get to see Vegas week of Season Six! I believe someone...could it be Crafty recapping for the Sisterhood, so head on over and view in on your thoughts!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Staying home

This will go down as the weekend that wasn't. I was supposed to go to Grove City for homecoming and my ten year reunion, but at the last minute (hours before I would have left) I finally decided that I wasn't going to make the trip. Believe me, I could make a long story (b/c you know I usually do) out of how I went back and forth over the course of the week but all I'll say is that while I was bummed to miss out on time with some dear friends, I felt confident that I made the right decision.

Today we did a lot of yard work, cleaning out flower beds, weeding out the creek, trimming the hedges, work on the patio that Matt is building (for lack of a better word). At one point all of us were out on the bridge in our backyard and Matt froze and told us all to go up to the house. I started to freak out because just minutes before we had seen a LARGE spider in the pile of leaves and bark that I had been gathering up and tossing in the wheelbarrow. I still shudder to think that there's a chance that spider was in my hands.

Anyway, it was just a snake. A tiny snake. We showed the girls thinking they might be scared, but instead they were pretty unimpressed. When Catherine finally was able to see it she just said "oh, that?" Matt tried to shoo it into the creek (which put a damper on the weeding I was doing in the creek bed) and the girls both started yelling at him "don't kill the snake dad" and "it's just a baby snake". Who knew they'd have any reaction other than running away screaming?

All in all it was a good day, lots of time together, getting some work done, but also having fun, like painting pumpkins and heading to a local fall festival.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekends and this gorgeous (but slightly warmer than typical) fall day. I definitely enjoyed having a weekend with my family (although I missed my GCC girls!)

Before I go, one last thing to share with you, if you have a minute or two, check out this post by John Acuff called Raising Dorks. As a mother of two girls it really resonated with me. At one point he says "And although I make about 47 dad mistakes a day, I have learned one secret about childhood: You can fast forward childhood, but you can’t rewind it." Amen to that. When you read the post I have no doubt you'll agree!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Beautiful Pinky

I'm sitting here after a long day. It's only Tuesday and it's already been a busy week with more busyness to come, but I have to take a break from my SYTYCD tour review (in the works I promise) to mark one more monumental moment on this journey of parenthood.

First hospital visit!

In almost six years it was our first trip with one of the girls and I am pretty thankful for that. Also very very thankful that it was for something as relatively minor as a potentially broken finger.

I was dropping Catherine and her friend Wyatt off at Wyatt's house for a playdate. Ella has a weekly rotating playdate with school friends and this was the week for us to host them at our house. I thought it would be nice for Catherine to have a playdate with one of her friends and much easier for the four older girls to play without me constantly trying to figure out how to distract Catherine or help her to fit in. So I needed to get Catherine and Wyatt from preschool get them to his house and then get back to my place to meet the girls at the bus stop.

Easy, right?

Well the little snafoo happened when we went in their side door, one of those heavier spring doors that you usually see at a school or church that close automatically. Catherine must have put her hand up on the door frame to steady herself as she kicked her shoes off. And then the door shut. She started screaming right away and my first reaction was that she saw something that startled her. Yes, it is the same exact scream she'd make if she saw a big scary bug. So it took me a second to realize what had happen and open the door.

I still feel slightly sick to my stomach when I think about seeing her finger when I first got it out. It definitely didn't look right.

We got back in the car and headed home, with constant crying...her, not me (although I was close). I was frantically calling Matt so he could help since I knew I couldn't take Catherine to the doctor and meet Ella and her friends at the bus stop. Of course after call five I remembered he couldn't find his cell phone when he left that morning and was at his weekly breakfast meeting with the other two pastors. Thankfully I also remembered that I had suggested they try out a new restaurant down the road from our I drove by I saw them walking in the parking lot to head to their cars. Definitely a God thing! I apologize to Tim and Bruce for not offering any greeting other than beeping to get Matt's attention and then telling him he needed to come home.

Everything worked out alright. Catherine and Matt went to the peds, then down to the hospital to get an x-ray while I supervised four hyper kindergarten girls. We debated cancelling and having the moms come but it just seemed easier to have Matt get going with getting Catherine checked out and not delay things.

Catherine did great on first hospital visit. Matt said she sucked up all the attention of everyone telling her how cute she was and all and in all it went pretty quickly.

Now we're heading to an orthopedic doctor tomorrow to find out for sure if it's broken, apparently the x-rays showed "suspicion of fracture".

Did I mention it was her pinky finger? Poor baby! When we were waiting for Matt to get home, she was laying on the couch crying "my beautiful pinky!" A good reason to smile in the midst of the pain!

I ask you to pray for us tomorrow for an appointment that gets Catherine's beautiful pinky all straightened out, preferably no break while you're at it! Thanks :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's coming...

We're trying to regain our sanity after a long night and not much sleep, but soon and very soon Renee and I will post our recap of the So You Think You Can Dance Tour last night! It was definitely a great night - can't wait to share it with you guys!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sisterhood returns

It's my first week of recapping this season of SYTYCD. Just a reminder to all you out there that you can jump in at any point and start watching and commenting.

So I have to be honest here. I have not been feeling these past two weeks of auditions. I feel like one hour a week, dragging auditions out over six weeks is just waaaaay too long, and when I realized that tonight was only halfway to Vegas week I was even less excited.

But I have to say that Boston really brought it. I feel like we finally saw some different interesting dancers. Ok, I am sure there were a bunch the last few weeks, but LA felt like a ton of interchangeable (but still awesome) contemporary dancers

Here are some of the dancers they highlighted...

Teddy, 18yr - we were already treated to his unique audition during last season, but it was still fun to see it again. I agree with the judges that he definitely has the personality and style for the show. Was it crazy to watch an audition to "If It Kills Me" and not have it be Jason and Jeanine?

Jean Lloret, 22- can I get an AMEN? Thank you for bringing some hip hop, his moves were amazing! Hope he does well in Vegas!

Channing Cook, 18 - could be this season's Kherington? Definitely has the potential for it, maybe not as dynamic with her dance, but I liked her personality, she seemed like a goofball and I always love the tom boy! Another Mraz song, "A Beautiful Mess" (don't quote me on that though)

Ryan Casey, 18 -AKA Tall Tapper (What I had previously typed until they flashed his name) - I wasn't sure what we'd get from him, but I was surprised, he was definitely a good tapper. Not good enough in choreography, but a pleasant surprise b/c I thought he would be one of the joke ones.

Russell Ferguson, 19 - Heck ya, lovin' the crump! One of my favorite auditions so far - what can I say, this past season was sorely lacking in styles other than contemporary, I hope this guy does well in Vegas and we see more of him.

Then Tyce goes crazy. With his foot. And then farting. Pretty hilarious actually. You'd never see those Idol judges in tears laughing over someone's stinky rear!

Breezie - So entertaining and suprising. I love how he covered up his fall! Too bad the injury put him out of the choreography.

Karen and Matthew Hauer, 27 husband and wife - They were latin dancers and we haven't seen many of them so it's always a nice change of pace. They were good, but honestly they didn't blow me away. I bet they'll make it to the end and then only one of them will make the top 20!

Gene Bersten,21 - Kind of a weirdo, but I think that is the persona that often goes along with latin dancing - alot of "face pulling" and overexaggerated expressions. But he was definitely good and I thought it was pretty interesting that he did Boom Boom Pow as his song and was all alone. Have we ever seen a ballroom dancer try out with out a partner? If he can reign in the eyebrows he might have a chance!

Well there is really nothing to say about the final audition. Matt summed it up perfectly "why do they have to give so much press time to this guy and his bulge?"

So on that note, I will sign off for the night, having enjoyed tonight's episode more than I was expecting to and looking off into the distant horizon when we get to see this season's top 20 perform on stage!


I almost forgot one very very important thing. This Saturday Renee and I are going to represent the Sisterhood at the SYTYCD tour!!! We promise to give a full recap when we get back and will pass your love along to Brandon, Jeanine, Evan, Kaitlyn, Melissa, Jason, Kupono (Rachel, I'll pass on some special love from you to him ;) ) and all the rest of the dancers! Woohoo!
Hip Hopper

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Summer Memories

During our family vacation at the beach (I am a pretty big vacation blogging failure...) we had a little photo shoot courtesy of the talented Renee . She got some great pictures of the whole family, individual family units, cousins, couples...and I'm sure I'll be sharing them with you.

Right now though I want to share some of the candids she took that captured some priceless moments!

We have no idea what she's laughing at, but we love it!

Definitely up there as one of my all time favorites

All three girl cousins

Kissing cousins (ok, and sisters!)

So that last one might have been staged ;)
Since I'm posting this Wednesday night I'm going to give it a go and link up with Wordless Wednesday (ha! wordless? me? never!). Go here to check out more pictures and post your own!
Oh and another one...go here for WordFUL Wednesday (for people like me, who can't resist the urge to type a few things!).

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

First day of kindergarten!

Yesterday was a mon-u-mental day in our household. It was the day that I sent my first born to kindergarten!

We've done preschool for two years now so you would think that it would make it all easier and I'd be used to leaving my child behind in the care of her teachers, but nope, not easier at all (for me at least, for her, yes I do think that the two years of preschool helped!). Somehow it just seemed like the start of a new era, of a time when the end of August rolls around and you get that funny feeling in your stomach that's part excitement, part nervousness, that signals it's time to start school again. It just feels more official when you start elementary school, and it's weird knowing that we're embarking on a journey that will last, at the very least, 12 more years.

Of course I have to document it with is Ella with her big yellow crayon that her Nama gave them to use to save money for the beach, I thought it worked well as a first day of school prop.

Looking thrilled isn't she? I can't tell if she's giving us just a bit of attitude for taking her picture, or showing a bit of nervousness.

Now she's happy, getting the traditional front door-first day of school picture.

This has to be my favorite picture of all. I laughed so hard when I saw it!

With mom and dad, getting ready to head over to the school. Notice the pink peeking out from her dress? I put some shorts on her after I realized that the size 6 dress was just a bit short (I swear the sign said "dress", not shirt).
One final picture before we hop in the car to head to school. Looking like a kindergartner with her backpack on!
On the way to the school entrance I asked Matt to take a picture of us from the front walking in and this is what he did:

Nice. He claims to have not heard me. Riiigggghtt.

Matt and I walked her to the main entrance, we were greeted by the school counselor who was waiting there and she said, come on let's go I'll take you to the gym (where the kinders gather for the first week). At that point Ella looked at me with the sad-about-to-cry face and gave me a big hug which made my tears start (hidden by my sunglasses of course) and then she was swept away and that was it (Matt was bummed he didn't get to hug her good bye as well). I may have shed a few tears as we drove home, but since Matt doesn't make appearances in the comments section, there are no eye witnesses to say one way or the other!

We decided to drive Ella to school for now. I don't know if I posted about this before but she isn't going to the school she's districted to go to. They had more kids than they could take so about 16 were sent to other elementary schools. We weren't happy about it, but it works out that she's going to school with some of her best preschool friends for at least one year. But it also meant that she'd be getting on a bus by herself with no one else from our neighborhood. So we figured that by taking her in the morning, we'd help the transition go smoother and also make our morning less hectic (15 minutes extra to get ready!).

But coming home she's just on the bus with other kinders (that's what they're called!) so it wouldn't be as intimidating.

Her bus was due at 12:15 so Catherine, my mom (who stayed an extra day from their Labor Day visit to be a part of Ella's first school day) and myself all walked to the bus stop to wait.
Matt even came down and joined us a few minutes later. We waited. And waited. And waited. For 30 minutes we waited for the bus to come. I started doubting myself, that maybe I had the wrong bus stop, that I put the wrong bus number on her bus tag, etc, etc. Thirty minutes is a long time to wait for your first born to come home from her first day of kindergarten on her first bus ride (very weird trusting that she would get from her class to her bus to our house. I know, I know, you experienced moms are laughing at me, but it's my first time!!!)

I may have sent Matt back to house to call the school transportation number just in case there something going on that we didn't know about (I have no idea what though.) Again no eye witnesses.... :)

Finally we spotted the bus!

My heart soared when I saw Ella get out of her seat and make her way off the bus.

One day down, one hundred and seventy nine more to go!

Overall she enjoyed her first day. She had a few complaints like, recess was too short, art class was only once a week, she sat next to a boy she didn't like, but nothing major. She was nervous again that night but completely fine in the morning and when I dropped her off she gave me a big smile said "Goodbye mom" and walked off. I didn't feel one bit sad either! Just excited for all she's going to learn and experience throughout this year!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

10 years and counting

Friday was Matt and my 10 year wedding anniversary! Both of us are still looking at each other going "10 years?!" Ten years seems so long and in some way when I look at the pictures it does seem a lifetime ago, but in other ways it seems likes it all gone by in a blink of an eye and here we are with a house and two kids (one about to start kindergarten, just one more that has me in shock!)

Of course I have to take a moment to remember that day, that day that was really the start of the rest of my life.

Here are a few pictures that I just scanned in....

My wonderful family all dressed up!

My wonderful bridesmaids....yes, I had eight of them!

My dad and I reinacting a pose we did before every prom!

Me. Before the ceremony, already tired of smiling!

Matt surrounded by the girls! I totally forgot to scan in a picture of the groomsmen. I feel so bad. When Matt sees this and complains I will totally add a picture of them. I'm too tired at the moment.

My dad and I walking down the aisle. I was so nervous that I would cry (I didn't) and I never like having all the attention on me so I was just happy to get to Matt at the front of the church (because of course I wanted to be with my hubby to be)

We're married! 3 and 1/2 years after we started dating! This is the picture I posted on facebook on Friday and I got lots of comments on Matt's hair. He's definitely changed his style in the last ten years. I think there were some that didn't recognize him without his longer hair. One friend wrote that must because I'm a good wife and I don't cause him to pull his hair out!

Stealing a kiss...

I am pretty sure this is from the end of the evening...completely out of order! Starting on our new journey together (can you say cheese....can't help it!)

Matt and his mom during the mother son dance. They danced to Phil Collins "You'll be in my Heart". One of the things that we did that I loved was halfway through the song have all the other mothers and sons (and when my dad and I danced earlier, fathers and daughters) come and join us. It was special because it's not often that you have a chance to dance with your mom or dad. I know my mom was so excited because it would get her dad on the dance floor. I love finding ways for people to participate with us as much as possible!

Cutting the cake, not an outstanding picture...but still a moment to capture!
That mob of people there...that would be the dance floor! Seriously, there was dancing all night long. So fun to be having a blast, surrounded by friends and family. Our first dance to Bebo Norman's A Page is Turned (Just an aside that the song we always consider "ours" was Hand Draws Flowers by Harrod and Funck. To this day it is my favorite love song. But we decided it would be too hard to dance to. When my brother Matt and Chrissie got married that was their first dance. Maybe she'll let us know if it was or not.) It's a beautiful song about how God leads us through the dance of life, to Himself, to each other....very touching....but apparently for whatever reason in this picture we are both cracking up about something.I just love this picture because over the past ten years Matt and I have shared many laughs together. Often times our arguments involve laughter because at some point one of us realizes that we're being ridiculous. We really do have fun together and laugh over things that probably no one else would find entertaining (usually things the girls say). Despite being very different in many ways we have the same sense of humor, something that makes being married to each other very fun.

I am thankful for Matt, the person I trust most, the person I miss the most, the one who comes home to me and the girls every night. He is a partner in every way, always helping, never bothered when I'm worn out after a long day with the girls and the house is a mess and dinner is sub par. He even drafted my Fantasy Football team for me when I wanted to get on the treadmill instead and was honest enough to pick the best choices for me rather than for himself (I was one pick before him, ultimate temptation).
I love the Proclaimers "500 Miles" and one of my favorite lines is "when I got out you know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who comes back home to you. When I grow old, you know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who grows old next to you."

Those words speak to me because I truely feel that despite neither of us being great romantics and super expressive with our words, we feel at home together and always will. If I could rewind ten years I would do it all over again! Love you Matty!

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