Wednesday, January 28, 2009

In Which Gabriel Tries to Mail his Brother to his Father


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Results are In!

That was then, this is now! Be sure to turn up the volume!

Congratulations, boys! (By the way, I got results, too!)

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Town Monday- The Train

We live on the wrong side of the railroad tracks. When you first come to my town, the train seem picturesque. But, get caught by it twice, and you'll probably be over that. My town has at least three trains go through it each day. And, because it is going straight through town, it has to slow down to do so. It usually takes anywhere from 5 minutes to 10 minutes to go through town. And, if you stay on the main road, the cars can line up 20 deep. After the train goes by, you have to wait your turn through two four way stops. I have, for the most part, avoided the train in recent months because I can go down the road that runs parallel to the track to get where I want to go. However, if I want to get on the highway in town, or if I want to go to the 'commercial' district of my town, I have to go over the railroad tracks. The pictures were taken Wednesday, as I was waiting to get past the train to go to a doctors appointment. I love my town, and I'm sure the train is a great thing for tourists. But, I could seriously do without it. There is a tiny Irish pub that the boys and I frequent. Whenever we're sitting in it and the train goes by, the boys always comment something to this effect, "I'm glad we're not trying to go somewhere!"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dominicism

Upon being told that his Legos were off backorder, "I'm feeling adrenaline about my Legos being shipped!"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Boy is Growing Up

I am a very protective mom. Gabriel has been begging me to drop him off at the library. I have been balking. But, the kid is 11 years old. So, when I announced that I was going to drop him off at the library on our way to the doctor's office, he was escstatic.



Now, it's no Library of Congress
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but, Gabriel is happy.


blog pictures

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Testing, Take 2

So, when I was putting together the video earlier in the week, I couldn't find this clip and thought I hadn't taped it. It was a long testing. So, I figured I'd just lost my mind. Since that wouldn't be unusual....



Anyway, I found it, tonight. Before you watch it, let me give you some background. The other kids were stammering over their answers. Some of them had difficulty naming three of their instructors. None of them named more than the three instructors sitting in front of them. Then, they got to Gabriel. I'm glad they had our boys go last.

Garage Stuff

Do you think Gary will agree to these? We desperately need to do something about our garage. We have virtually no storage options out there. These cabinets are bright and cheerful. They’ll perk our garage right up. Or, we could go with red. But these are my favorite.

We could also use some storage options for the bikes and scooters, wheelbarrow and ladder, rakes and shovels. The needs are endless. But, I'm finding some very interesting garage storage options at carguygarage.com. I think I would like to have a floor rack for the bikes. I don't see the boys hanging their bikes on the wall. And, they have a large basket that would work great for balls and bats.

And, one last thing, I want a garage door threshold. This will help keep out leaves and help insulate the garage, which will keep down the heating bills in the rest of the house.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bowling With Friends

Friday, we had a busy day of socializing. First, we went to co-op. Then, we went out to dinner at Chili's. The kids all sat at one table. That was 8 kids at a table, surely, meant for 5 adults. Then, the 4 moms sat at another table. The kids did really well. After dinner, we went bowling. I love bowling. Did you know I'm extremely competitive? Well, E beat me. Oh well. Here's a very short video of some pictures I took of the boys bowling.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Losing Weight

Gary noticed, thanks to this post, that Xavier is losing weight. Now, he's not as skinny as he looks in that picture, because he's sucking in his cheeks in it. But, he has lost weight. Xavier hasn't been even chubby for many years. He has no need to lose weight. But, his pants are starting to fall off because they're too big around the waist. So, we're starting a new program here. Basically, it goes like this: Xavier will eat as much as possible. The boys must eat a full breakfast, that consists of a baked good (muffin, pancakes, waffles, biscuit, etc.), an egg, a piece of fruit, and a glass of whole milk. They are to eat a snack two hours later. This week, that consisted of a banana smoothy and some fruit or a baked good. For lunch, they have to eat from at least three food groups. They must have a substantial snack two hours later. Then, for dinner, they must eat a complete, home cooked meal. Hopefully, he'll gain back the weight he lost. We're also looking at adding protein powder to some of his meals. This will add calories that he desperately needs, without making him feel overfull. Finally, we've scheduled a doctor's appointment for Wednesday, just to make sure there's nothing wrong. I don't like seeing my boys lose weight. It's not a good thing in this house.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sleepovers

Last night, Gabriel had his first sleepover in several years. He had a few in D.C., but since moving here, he's been taking his time getting to know people well enough to want to have a sleepover with them. So, last night was his first sleepover since he was 8 or 9.

The kid he had sleeping over was the same one he had the long discussion about the Iliad with (post of which I apparently, accidentally, posted on my other blog). They have a lot in common. They get along well. I knew that his friend, E, likes "Monty Python." I had been thinking that Gabriel would, too, so I suggested that E bring it along. The evening went something like this:

E is really good with younger kids, and Xavier and Dominic love him. So, the boys all played together until it was time for the little boys to go to bed. Thank you, Gabriel and E! Then, Gabriel and E settled in to watch "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." They came upstairs for drinks, but that was about it. Then, at about 10:30, Gabriel came up to ask if they could play Wii. Apparently, he is not aware of the 'rules' of sleepovers. For sleepovers, anything is on the table. Whatever you want to do, if it is normally allowed in this house, even if usually allowed only in limited quantities, is allowed. If you want to watch T.V. all night, go right ahead. If you want to read all night, go right ahead. If you want to go in the kitchen and make me some oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies. Go right ahead. I heard them go to bed at about 1:30.

Gabriel was up right on time. He just cannot sleep in. He is getting better. At least his normal time is no longer 6:30. E is still asleep. I don't get Gabriel. I totally get E. In my opinion, the sleepover was a success. We'll see what the boys have to say about it. In the meantime, I'm glad it happened. Gabriel needs this aspect of childhood.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Taekwondo Testing

Thursday, I tested for my 7th grade Yellow Belt. Unfortunately, none of the boys wanted to come watch, so you have no video of me for your amusement. However, the boys tested for their Yellow Belt today, and I did get video of them for your amusement. You need to watch Dominic at the beginning of it. He is hilarious.



Aah, I forgot to come back and publish this after if finished working with the video! Sorry!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Review Tuesday 1-13-2009

Today, I want to talk about Food Network's website, St. Ives' Elements Skin Care, specifically the Protective Cleanser, and the "Uglies" series.

Food Network: I have repeatedly googled recipes, and ended up on Food Network's website. They have not let me down. One of my favorite recipes (and quickly becoming my signature recipe:) is Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze . This is such an easy recipe to make, and people will rave. Plus, you can make it at 10:00 at night, and still be in bed (with all of it eaten, if you're not careful) by 11:00. You can't go wrong with a recipe from these folks. They're even easy to read! So, go have fun and try something new.

St. Ives' Elements Skin Care:


As I have mentioned before, I have extremely sensitive skin. I hate abusing my skin, and have a hard time trying new skin care products. First, I hate wasting money on something I can't use. Second, I hate what most skin care products do to my face. So, I just avoid trying new stuff. I had been buying something online, and it worked, but I was tired of spending the extra money. So, when my grocery store ran a buy 1/get 1 free promotion on St. Ives Elements skin care at the same time I had a buy 1/ get 1 free coupon (making both free!), I decided to jump on the opportunity to try something new for free. I am hooked. This stuff is extremely gentle, but keeps the worst of my breakouts at bay. I even used it on Dominic this morning, to remove his marker mustache, and his skin did not react (his skin is even more sensitive than mine). I am completely sold. Plus, their products are reasonably priced. I think this normally runs about $7 a bottle. They also frequently put out coupons. Well worth the try if you're looking for something new.


Uglies by Scott Westerfeld:

A friend recommended these to me on Thanksgiving. Then, because she is such a wonderful friend, the next time I saw her, she handed me the series to read. Wow! These are amazing books. They really delve into the need and ability to overcome what is accepted to find what is right. From the cover:

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license-for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.
But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world-and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

This is a great series. I haven't read Extras, but I have read Uglies, Pretties, and Specials. In each book, Tally has to overcome new obstacles to achieve what she needs to, to break free from what's accepted to find what's right. They're amazing and I highly encourage you to read them.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ebates

Ever since last Christmas, when I ordered all our Christmas presents through Ebates, and got paid more than $50 to do it, I have always gone through Ebates before shopping online. This Christmas was no different. Most of the stores I was planning to shop at were there, anyway. But, since the boys have discovered Lego.com, I have discovered even more reason to shop through Ebates. The boys have discovered that Lego.com is their dream way to spend their allowance. I'm fine with that. The fact that Lego.com is accessible through Ebates.com is all the more wonderful. Here are Gabriel's purchases, so far (since Christmas!).



Today, Dominic had me order some more Legos for him.
Ebates may not pay much (Lego's percentage is 4%), but it covers most, if not all, shipping charges. Plus, they frequently have special coupons you can use for a percentage off your order or free shipping. Ebates has all kinds of stores from Sears, to ValueMags; from Gap, to American Express. They even have car rental coupons. Plus, when you join, you get a $10 gift card! I love Ebates, and maybe they'll pay the boys' college tuitions. Frequently, they run specials that allow the person who joined, and the person referring them, to get a $5 bonus. So, be sure to mention me. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Face Painting

Yesterday, our local library opened. The boys had their faces painted by a professional! She was amazing. Carissa is part of Premier Face Painting.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Heard Here 1-10-09

So, my kids are, of course, hilarious. I want to share some of that hilarity with you.

Dominic, "Tomorrow, I'm going to play with J- all day to cement our relationship." Do what? How old did you say you were?

Gabriel, "D*%#$." Me, "What did you say?" Gabriel, "Ummm, nothing?"

Gabriel, "I can't believe someone would betray their country for money. That's just disgusting. And, I can't believe that they arrested this woman when she wasn't guilty. I mean, she was pregnant!" (He just read a book about traitors, during research about Benedict Arnold.) Um, son, pregnant women go to jail, too.

And, the one that takes the cake:
Gary sent me some items from Fredericks of Hollywood. These came with a catalog. I was removing the catalog and Xavier noticed it. This is the conversation that ensued (or as close as I can remember).

Xavier: Nice. Women in bikinis.
Me: Well, actually, that's a bra and underwear.
Xavier: Even better. Can I have that?
Me: Why?
Xavier: I like looking at girls in bikinis.

He's eight, people!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wednesday Hero

Airman Melissa Pyle
Airman Melissa Pyle
U.S. Navy

Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) Airman Melissa Pyle mans a jet blast deflector station on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in the Gulf Of Oman. Theodore Roosevelt and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.


These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams. Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Found Picture


A couple days ago, Gabriel disappeared with my camera. Today, I found this picture.

not quite Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Review Tuesday 1-6-2009

Today, I'm going to be discussing the Nashville Science Adventure Center, Herbal Essences Set Me Up Hairspray, and Times Tales.

Nashville Science Adventure Center
In early December, we went to Nashville for a "field trip." A friend had a swim meet over the weekend, so we went to meet them for some fun. Monday, we went to the Adventure Science Center. It was a good one. It was as good as the Boston Children's Museum. In fact, it might be a bit better. There was a lot to see and do.
Xavier lifting a car.





Dominic taking a trip through some bones.




Learning about brain waves.


They have a laser tag game. You stand in one place and shoot at targets. We had a lot of fun. However, we think it is rigged for the good guys to win.

During the second game, Dominic took pictures. You can see what his view is of:










They have a nice space area. There's stuff about the galaxy, and an area to do moonwalks and EVAs.





















This science center is awesome! We all had a blast and could have gone back the next day, and probably the day after that. In the center of the museum, they had a climbing thing that was all about the human body. So, you could climb up the spine, climb through the heart, and slide down through bones. At the very top (several stories up), was a observatory, with 180 degree views of Nashville. It was wonderful, and I could have stayed in that observatory all day. If you're going to Nashville, this is definitely worth the trip.

I usually don't use hairspray. I'm a wash and go kinda gal. But, I'm currently growing my hair out for Locks of Love. I did this once before and loved doing it. So, I'm doing it again. However, I've also started taking Taekwondo. I can't stand having my hair in my face while I'm bouncing around needing to see things. So, I've been pulling it back. Of course, my hair still isn't long enough to stay back. So, I've been using the hairspray that I had under my bathroom sink. I bought it in some crazy buying frenzy when I got it for free and thought there might be some occasion to use it (probably on the boys). Anyway, this stuff is WONDERFUL. My hair does not fall down when I use it. I spray it all around my pony tail and brush my bangs and other fly aways into it and spray it again. Then, I go into the dojong and bounce around for an hour. During that time, I run, bounce, kick, hit, and, most of all, sweat perspire. My hair does not go anywhere. In fact, it usually looks the same when I leave as it did before my class. Now, this hair spray is not for touchably soft hair. It is for hard core, stay in place hair.
Times Tales: So, wow. I heard about this book, last year, from a friend of mine. Xavier started doing multiplication at the beginning of this year, and I had forgotten about the book. So, we struggled with trying to memorize the multiplication tables. Now, I'm a big proponent of memorization of math facts. It just makes using them easier. But, Xavier has understood multiplication for years. And, he was having a hard time memorizing them. So, finally, after we had already moved on to division (I refuse to hold him back when he is already learning pre-Algebra from watching Gabriel do it), I remembered April's recommendation. I asked her if she still had her books and she loaned them to me. I brought them home and, one night while Xavier was waiting for Dominic to go to sleep so that he could go to sleep, we sat in the chair together and read through the book. It was 11:00 at night. We went through it in about 20 minutes. The next day, Xavier still remembered all his multiplication facts. Finally, we can stop worrying about this. I highly recommend these books. At $14.95, they aren't much more than a set of flash cards, and cheaper than some music CDs that teach the multiplication facts. They are faster than either of these approaches.
One caveat to this, Xavier is a right brained thinker. He thinks in pictures. I am a whole brained thinker and learned the multiplication facts while lying in bed at night listening to my dad say them to me over and over again. That did not work for Xavier. This book would have driven me up the wall. Probably with Mrs. Week and Mrs. Snowman in it. On the other hand, I can't guarantee that. It might have taught me my facts faster. But, I don't think so.






A funny note about the way Xavier did his multiplication before this book: If the problem was 3x9, he would say, "9x2=18, plus 9=27." If the problem was 4x9, he would say, "9x2=18, plus 18=36." If the problem was 9x6, he would say, "9x2=18, plus 18=36, plus 18=54." That boy could do that type of multiplication faster than most people can do regular multiplication. But, now he's even faster, and he's less frustrated.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

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