Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ice Show 2012

Painting her surfboard for her part in the ice show.
Alyssa, a Hawaiian surfer, and, Payton, a ninga fighter.
Payton and Alyssa are both in the city's figure skating club --- and they LOVE it! (even though Daddy does NOT! Well, for Alyssa, it's ok, but, "Payton should be in hockey and Alyssa should try it..." I don't whole heartily agree. As long as I am the one driving them around, I feel that I get to choose what works best for us, at least until the kids have their own opinions on it.)

This year's ice show was "Disney Around the World" and the kids skated to Disney songs. Alyssa's little group skated to "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride" from the movie Lilo and Stitch. Payton was one of five ningas and his group skated to "I'll Make a Man out of You" from the movie Mulan.

Her latest pose for the camera.

I tried to do something a little extra special in Alyssa's hair. She LOVED it. Then, I got out my makeup, her favorite, and started on her eyes. She looked in the mirror and burst into tears. I assured her the other girls would have their eyes painted too. She wouldn't believe me. With a little coaxing, and hoping to help make things better again, I put a bit of lipstick and blush on her. Still, she did NOT want "CAT EYES!" But we had to leave and I didn't want to smear black all over her eyes trying to take it off. So, finally, we compromised; if the other girls' eyes were not painted up, we would go into the bathroom and take it off.

Lookin' ninga tough.

Once inside the ice arena, we found the "guys" locker room and sent Payton in to hang his jacket and change into his skates. I went to the "gals" locker room with Alyssa and we got her situated. Fortunately, the eye makeup issue had disappeared. Payton stayed in his locker room. I finally decided it was time to hunt him down. There he was, sitting in the locker room with the other ningas, watching one of them play his DS. I had him come out while another little ninga told me to "Stay out!" in his best ninga impersonation. Payton showed me that his lip was about to crack and bleed. I didn't have chapstick on me (bad mom moment). So, I called Eli. He hadn't left the house yet, so he got some chapstick. Whew! At least I got something right tonight (good mom moment!) Then he was off, pretend fighting with another ninga!

Warming up.

More warming up. Payton is still all about speed on the ice.

Hanging out with the ningas --- should be warming up!  : )

Here they are!

On the way to the show, I remembered I didn't get gifts for Payton and Alyssa. I figured we'd go out for ice cream afterwards.

But, it was freezing and the kids were grumpy. Payton continued to ask why he didn't get a present. I wanted a family photo like we got last year, however, with Alyssa's feisty attitude, we didn't even try.

We were hungry. The kids choose Chinese, but they were closed so we went next door to Applebees. The kids wanted to go across town to get Mexican. We didn't. The interstate was closed so it was a busy night at Applebees; yet, we were quickly seated. With all the congestion in my lungs (4 weeks now) and sitting in a cold arena for the past 4 hours, hot chocolate sounded really good. I ordered that with a bowl of soup. The hot chocolate was good. The soup was not. The hot chocolate comes with free refils! Nice surprise. The hair on top of the whipped cream was not a nice surprise.

Back home, with warm, full tummies, we tucked our grumpies into bed and slept.

The next morning Alyssa confessed, "You were right Mommy, the other girls had their eyes painted too." And "That was the BEST DAY EVER!" "If I have little girls, I'm going to paint 'cat eyes' on them." It turns out that she may even want to do a solo next year....

I may not have experienced a natural high like I did after last year's show, but, I think Alyssa was still on one.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Stay at Home Mom

The stay at home mom is the envy of many. Especially me. I want to sit home with my feet propped up and take it easy during the day.

The thing is, I am a stay at home mom. I do sit around the house A LOT some days. Especially when I'm working on building a newspaper or surfing the net --- although, I call it my personal education. I love to find nutrious rich foods to feed my family. The problem is --- the recipes are all new, all the time. I try it on the family and then it gets forgotten about. And, many nights, it doesn't matter how good my intensions to make a healthy, raw dinner, we simply run out of time and a couple cans of soup goes in the pot or a stir-fry from the freezer. I know, I know, I could prep my own and freeze them myself, and sometimes I do. But, then again, it's taking the time to do it.

But, then again, I have plenty of time...

This morning I got up late, 6:40 a.m., and  pulled up the covers right up under the pillows. Pulled on yesterdays jeans and a fresh shirt. Dragged the hamper to the laundry room. Opened the washer and surprise, Eli had washed his work jumpers. Those have to be hanged to dry and this morning I don't have time. So much for getting the wash started. I pass Eli as he is heading out the door for work. I snap at him for leaving clothes in the wash and immediately wish I hadn't. Now he's grumbling and emptying the washer.

I need to get the kids started. Thankfully, Eli already has. I wish again I hadn't mentioned the wash.

Alyssa just sat down at the piano to practice. I head to the kitchen and start a green smoothie, and the piano practice stops. The kitchen is a mess from yesterday, but, fortunately, the blender got rinsed out from yesterday's use. I pull out the rest of the chopped pineapple from Monday and a tub of spinach, throw in some frozen fruit and blend it. I call the kids in for a blessing. Payton has me give a run down the ingredients before he will try it.

On to lunch. Dump last night's leftover green salad into two plastic containers. Wash, peel and slice some fresh kiwi. Payton asks for raisins too. I get some but I hate digging those out of the box because they always get up under my fingernails and make my fingers sticky. I wash my hands and pack forks and napkins. The kids take their lunches to their backpacks.

I spray and scrunch my now 4 day old hair do. Better, but not nice. I don't have time to do Alyssa's hair either! I hope she brushed it, she prefers to do her own hair these days anyway. She didn't. Instead, I ask if her reading books are in her backpack. (I knew those were and I hoped me asking would make her feel good about it.) She smiles a yes and I give her a high five.

Payton is getting dressed so I run downstairs to add a new correction (that was emailed late last night) to the Figure Skating Program that has to be printed today. I am nervous about sending this off because I don't feel like anybody took a serious look at it and last year's program had a bunch of errors. Payton's Parent Teacher Conference reminder is sitting next to the computer. I enter it into the computer's calendar and realize it is the same day as we scheduled the primary party for. At least we are scheduled later that evening. I wonder how it's going to work out for the other kids.

7:31, time to warm up the car. I stick my bare feet into my boots by the door and race over the icy lawn to stick the keys in the ignition. No frost today, but windy.

Back inside I brush my teeth. The kids already have their coats on and backpacks ready! Good surprise and I tell them so.

We're off to a happy start this morning. In the car the clock now reads 7:49. It couldn't have possibly taken me 20 minutes to bush my teeth!!! We're suppose to be at the chiropractors RIGHT NOW! We're suppose to come early! So much for early! We hit every red light and get there right at 8:00, then wait another 15 minutes. Payton gets his knees re-taped and I get my neck cracked. No time for therapy. We race off to school and get there just as the 1st bell rings (at least we're not late again!) We give kisses and I love you's and the kids are off to their classes. I wave good bye and watch until they disappear inside the doors. (That's still gets to me a little.)

I head back home because I forgot to put my electronic file in my purse, use the bathroom (my belt goes an extra notch tighter!) and race back to the chiropractors for my massage. Sure, it's nice and it's helping my recover from whiplash, and I'll be glad I took some time out to get that done later. She tells me I need to ice between my shoulder blades. When, I wonder, am I going to do that! (I suppose, being a stay-at-home mom I have the luxury of doing that while I watch soaps this afternoon... as if!)

I schedule our next chiropractor appointment and massage then drive to the dollar store for glass stones for our upcoming Primary party and a couple things for my kids upcoming birthday party. The store still has a big empty space where I think all the colored streamers are suppose to go --- still, only white, black and baby shower streamers. Those won't make a very good rainbow.

Then, a quick stop by UPS. She takes the flash drive from me. I tell her the name of the file and she heads to the back. I think she says she's going to make a copy. She returns and says, "Ok, got it!" and I try to give her a bit of instructions about how page 1 needs to be printed on the back side of the covers that they got yesterday. She's confirms that they have all the instructions. I say that I'm not sure the lady who left the instructions understands how I built the document. She responds with, "You need it Friday." I nod and she is off to the next customer. It makes me really nervous leaving it at that, but I do. I should call later, but I already feel so annoying to them that I don't want to.

Home again. Back to the kitchen. And it's still a mess! I empty the dishwasher while I think about what needs to be done first. Maybe I'll get dinner going. But, the counters will need washed, so I start a sink of soapy water, but something sticky and yucky was dumped in there with old lunch containers. I move the containers into the other sink, run the water a bit to loosen the junk in the sink while I start pulling food out to make myself another green smoothie for lunch, wipe out the sink and start filling it. Pull some food out of the fridge that now needs to be put in the compost. While at the compost, I notice the dog bowl needs water. Fill the bowl. Fill the sink. I should have started the laundry when I got home... I gather up the old dishtowels and wash clothes and remember there was a big smudge across the bathroom mirror. Grab the Windex and wipe the mirror with a dishtowel. Decide to wipe down the counter too. Probably should put up a clean hand towel too... and wipe down the toilet. The floor has band-aid wrappers all over it and I make a mental note to remind Alyssa to clean it up again. And, yes, I could very easily do it, but, then how would she learn that she needs to clean up after herself? I gather the used towels and washclothes from there too and put the Windex back away on my way downstairs. I'm not sure where Eli's jumpers have gone too, but those need to hang dry...  Laundry started, I head back up to the kitchen. From the back of a chair, I remove Alyssa's sweater (the one I put in her hand yesterday to put away), and Payton's painting apron from the floor. I toss those onto their beds and return to clean the table, chairs, counters and everything else I see that I can wipe up quickly, including the fridge handles, which reminds me that I wanted to get dinner started.

Raw tacos. Pull ground turkey from the freezer. (Ok, not totally raw tacos. You can replace the meat with chopped walnuts, but that makes my kids constipated and my husband breaks out from nuts, so I only chop a small bowl of walnuts and the ground turkey goes in a pan.) I go to get spinach for the green smoothie but remember the beets I bought and decide to use beet tops instead. I grab a tomato for my green smoothie. It could look better, but it's not bad yet. I cut off the top and put the rest in the blender for the green smoothie. I grab the last tomato for dinner's salsa and YUCK! this one's molding!

Ok, we'll do spaghetti squash spaghetti tonight instead.

What goes good with beet tops? And now I'm at the computer (yes, sitting on my butt), loosing all my momentum to get things done. Instead of soaps, it the net... Do a quick look through google, not what I'm looking for. Decided to just go for it. Add the beet tops to the tomato and water. Add 1/2 a cucumber and some lime. Mix well. Add avocado. Not the ideal mix, but at least I won't need a nap after I drink it. Tasted it. Not good, but, not bad. Edible.

Wash spaghetti squash and poke holes with knife. Set oven to auto pilot so it will be ready after ice skating tonight. Decide to make bread maker French bread. Out of wheat flour. Pull out flour mill. Out of wheat. Go downstairs to pantry to get some.

Oh, but I remember it's time to move the darks to the dryer. Put lights in. Remembered the white towels in the bathroom downstairs. Go there and see splatters on the mirror and toilet seat. I'm not sure I want to know where these came from. Back to the laundry room for Windex. Shine mirrors, spray toilet, decide to let it sit a minute. In the meantime I should really make another attempt to get the blue crayon out of Payton's two brand new white church shirts --- after all, today's a slow day --- I've got plenty of time. I scrub and scrub but it doesn't budge. The stain remover needs to sit for 5 minutes, and, oh ya, the toilet needs wiped down. Another bathroom half-way done. I wipe up a few handprints with the cleaner from a towel on way back to the laundry room. Wipe the washer top, under lid, down the front. Toss towels and shirts into wash. Wash my hands because anything I use to scrub clothes always makes my fingers crack.

Back to the kitchen. Drink smoothie. Remember I need wheat. Grab a container and head back to the pantry. Find toilet paper wrappers all over the floor. Pull out wrappers. Pull out last of toilet paper to take upstairs. Pull out wheat bucket. Try to open. Try, try, try. 15 minutes later it's finally open. Fill container. Leave lid off so I can fill container again before putting the lid back on.

Mill wheat while finding a French bread recipe. Measure ingredients. Set timer on breadmaker so it will be done when we get home from ice skating. Clean kitchen mill.


It's amazing anything gets done while I'm sitting on my butt. Lucky, lazy, stay at home me.

My husbands wants me to get a "real job." (FYI --- working from home is not a real job.)

And, yes, the ice skating program got printed wrong. I am so embarrassed to say I did it.

Some days I envy those who have a real job. But, then, I think of my kids and I know I am blessed to be home. Mostly I keep my mouth shut and keep what I do at home to myself. I wish I was more efficient at what I do and do more, but, I do what I can do and I just have to call that good enough, it makes it easier to put a smile on my face and be happy for our family even if what I do is not all they want.

And, yes, some days I do just want to sit on my butt!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Chocolate Festival --- Kid's Day!

She was 2, yet, she clearly wanted the "brown" candy in my hand. Later, it was a single-sized chocolate treat in a dessert window. She was barely talking when I discovered her love of chocolate.

Alyssa mixes Aunt Shasta's Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes. She wants to enter these into the Chocolate Festival this year. Mmmmmmm.... can't wait!

First, we get out 6 small bowls for 6 batches. We measure the dry ingredients for all 6 batches. We work together through the first batch, she does a lot of watching. I do a lot of watching through the second batch. She's almost on her own to mix batches 3-6. (The mixer has a top with a small opening for ingredients. She can fit her hand in there, but we've mixed enough together in the past that I'm not worried, besides, I am still in the kitchen near her.)

I dump each mixed batch into a gallon-size ziplock bag with a corner cut off so I can pipe the batter into baking cups. (I figure that since I am the one who has to clean the pans and the oven --- and, she'll not be getting points for that anyway, it's ok if I fill the baking cups myself. In fact, I do all the actual putting in and taking out of the oven, too. I'm sure if they are making entries available for 6 year olds, they are expecting the kids to get help from a grown-up, right?)

Baking is so much fun!
I can't decide if Alyssa's favorite part is cracking the eggs or sampling the chocolate chips. (She has assured me it was the sampling.)

I taste-test the first cupcake. I chew on something kind of hard. I pull out a tiny piece of eggshell. Oh, man... What do you do? I remind her to be extra careful not to let any of the eggshells get in and say, "Mmmmmmm... those cupcakes are YUMMMEEEEEE!"
Late at night, she places the daisies she picked from Wal-Mart onto the cupcake stand I found (after Valentine's for $3).

I help with the hot gluing. She also ties pink ribbon into little bows and finds some sequence to glue on. I bring in a big box from the garage and cut out a circle for the stand to sit on. I wrap it with aluminum foil. The roses I received on Valentine's were wrapped with red netting and I saved it for just in case... Alyssa uses it to cover the circle, then plays in the cut out box. (It had a circle doorway!)

She gets ready for bed. I figured out how we are going to display the samples and begin cutting up more of the box. Alyssa returns and is mad at me. I have cut up her hut! She goes to bed. I cover the cut cardboard pieces with aluminum foil. I put all the cupcakes in ziplock bags so they will stay fresh for the judges. I tape her hut back together the best I can until it stands on its own again. Then I put it in her room and cover the top with a little blanket. I shower and finally go to bed myself.

Payton sits by wishing, waiting, hoping... (drooling?)
I get up extra early on Saturday morning and hot glue a tiny drop on the bottom of each little cupcake and stick it to the wrapped cardboard (so it will be easier for those to travel).

Alyssa gets up just as I finish gluing and we pipe Raspberry Frosting (another yummy recipe from my sister) on top of 201 mini-cupcakes.

(We are suppose to bring at least 100 - 200 samples, the more you bring the better your chances of getting "The People's Choice Award." I am hoping to up her odds at a prize.)

After all that icing practice, it is time to top the big cupcakes that go into the cupcake stand. We baked 18 of the big ones so Alyssa can choose her favorite 13 to put in the stand. But, now, she and I have had enough of the whole cupcake making business. She exclaims that she does not want to go anymore. She needs a break. I send her to take a shower.

(I get a phone call from the store that wanted to buy a figure skating fundraising ad from me yesterday. He asks me to come by and pick up their ad and check this morning. So, I get a break, too!)

Alyssa and I come back in a better mood and finish up. (And, yes, she ices her clean pants --- that should have been expected!)

I pack everything up into the back of the car. Eli drives us so I can hold the big cupcakes that I too eagerly placed into the stand already.

After setting up and coming back home again, Alyssa changes into her new "Chocolate Festival" T-shirt and a clean pair of pants. Her eyes are wild with excitement. An hour later we return to experience the event for ourselves.

The best part of the whole Chocolate Festival is the Candy Land game. 2 tickets only cost $1.
"Hi, Mom!"
Go to Blue.
"Look what I got from the Gingerbread House! It's two sticky hands!"

Alyssa coming out of the gingerbread house.

 They had mini-cupcakes to decorate,

and heart-shaped sugar cookies to decorate.

The kids sampled from the other displays, too. (I just nibbled on what they handed me.) There was a chocolate fondue fountain and a chocolate milk fountain for every one to enjoy. (My hands were too full to take pictures.)

Needless to say, we had WAY, WAY, WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR!

On the way out I remembered I hadn't taken a picture of Alyssa in front of her display yet. Most of the samples were already gone. She still has a smile on her face even though I wouldn't let them get their faces painted because there were a dozen or so kids already in line and it was time to leave. And, I was definitely sick.

We got home and I went to bed. My head hurt so bad. I asked Eli to go back to get her things later. He didn't want to saying we didn't need any of it. An hour later I still didn't think I could make it back myself and convinced him it was necessary for him to go because she might have a prize she needed to collect. So, he got Alyssa and went. I fell asleep.

She won 1st Place!

(And Eli cleaned the kitchen!)   : )

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fundraising --- A Mom's Duty?

PTO --- If I remember the meeting, I go.

But, it's always about the next thing we can do to fundraise.

I'm not saying I'm against fundraising, it just seems there are other ways we can do good for our children without fundraising for more "stuff" all the time.

Last year, we started out supporting everything the kids brought home. Then we decided we needed to be more selective; that we didn't have to contribute every time. We haven't contributed again.

That is, until this year, and that's because my son gathered up all his change and put it in a ziplock bag for "Make-a-Wish." I figured we could help out too so my husband dumped a bunch of our change into his bag.

My kids play soccer and piano. We pay the minimum and don't contribute. When my daughter performed in the Nutcracker, we didn't contribute anything more then the long hours we had committed too. Both kids are in ice skating, which is all non-profit. Last year, I spent hours on the program, tickets and posters for their ice show. I didn't participate in any of the fundraising --- selling any ads, tickets or coupons --- I figured I had done my part.

But this year, although I am doing the program for the ice show again, I thought I can sell a few ads. The ads start at only $10 and on up to $100. Knowing how expensive it is to advertise in the newspaper for a day, it seemed to me to be an inexpensive way for businesses to advertise around town. So, off I went to sell a few. I had a chiropractic appointment, so I sold there first. I sold one other ad, but mostly, I got a bunch of times of when I could return to talk to store owners. Everyone was nice about it, but after 3 hours I was done for the day.

The next morning, I dropped off my kids at school, then built a bunch of ads and added the skater's information into the program. After lunch I headed out again. I sold a few more ads and made an unexpected trade for doughnuts that the board members are very excited about. Just after another sell, I returned to Broadway Burger at the time they had requested me to from yesterday. A different of the 3 owners was there so I explained what we were doing again and that I had been asked to return today. She flipped out! "Haven't we contributed enough to the community!" Ummmmmm, I don't know, I guess so? I thought. Anyway, she went on an on, I think she was explaining "why," but I, with a smile, wasn't really listening. I just wanted to leave; and when she was done talking at me, I did. I got in my car and all of a sudden I felt the sting and my eyes got all teary, after all, they had asked me to come back today. I tried to shake it off, but decided that with tears so close to the surface, I was done for now. It was almost time to pick up my kids anyway. I wonder how sells people can do this ALL day long!

I did decide to take my kids on my last two stops. At the first one, I made a trade for pizza coupons. The second store wanted to buy but needed me to wait for 15 minutes, and having the kids with me and a husband waiting for the pizza I now had out in my car, I decided to stop at home quick first.

I didn't go back. I had to start baking cupcakes (6 batches) with Alyssa. She's entering those in the Chocolate Festival tomorrow. Besides, I am exhausted from selling and I think I am getting sick.

And, WOW! for those parents who actually go out with there kids and sell those fundraisers more than one a year! This really takes effort and time. It's also something that may take a year for me to recoup from each time. (And, since, I'm on a roll with making trades, the board suggests that I go to visit Coke and Pepsi. I'll have to see if I can regain any of my selling momentum by Monday morning.)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine Funnies

Written by Alyssa

This is what came out of her backpack on Valentine's Day.

Click image to see larger!

(She had Daddy and me laughing so hard that I thought I'd post it so the world could laugh too!)  : )

My sweet, and SILLY, Alyssa.

We hope you had a fun Valentine's too!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Our Adoption Story - Part 13 - Photos

(I almost hate to post this tonight when I just learned that a good friend of mine just adopted a baby boy --- I hope no one thinks I'm trying to steal the attention she should be getting. Go HERE if you want to read about a newly announced adoption.)

It's already close to a year since I posted our adoption story and said that I hoped to put photos with it. This last week I finally hunted down the disk those were on (thanks to a scrapbooking/family history lesson this week that motivated me to find it). So, here we have it. Below are a few of my favorites photos of my beautiful babies almost SEVEN years ago!!!!!!!