Sunday, November 30, 2008

Season of Giving

I'm trying to teach the kids what the holidays are really about, not just get, get, get, but giving! I really think they are at a good age to get it this year, and not just nod and say, "Yeah, whatever."

So, in the spirit of Christmas, we've found some good places to donate to, and we talked to the kids about each place, what they do, how they help people, etc. I'm so excited that they are learning this lesson early in life, that it's so much better to give than to receive. We always give to our church, and encourage the kids to give also, and right now our church is doing a "Heart for the House" offering, and thankfully we were all able to donate to that (the kids had their very own offering in class).

And in case you were looking for a good place to donate this holiday season, may I suggest the following, these are the causes that we decided to help out this year:

Book of Hope International, this ministry came to our church and I was so blown away by their leader. Maybe it's from my days as a missionary, but his stories were incredible and I loved listening to him share about their work. What they've done is translate the 4 gospels into one book for children, and go around the world giving this book to an entire country's public school system. Go to their website and check it out, you will be impressed. So far, they've given over 532 million books to children around the world.

Soles4Souls is an organization that donates shoes to kids who've never owned a pair of shoes. Their message is simple, to impact as many lives as possible with the gift of shoes. Right now they are trying to raise 50,000 pair of shoes in 50 days. They can do it!

Bikes for Kids is a local charity that raises money to buy bikes for kids that don't have a bike, and probably wouldn't have any present under the tree. The kids really want to go meet the local DJ's who put this on every year, so if we can get up and out early enough on Tuesday, we will get to meet them and hand in our donation live!

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, of course, as a charity that is near and dear to my heart. November 24th was the 9th anniversary of my mom's death from breast cancer. So, any chance I get I try to donate to Komen Austin, for breast cancer research and to help low income women get mammograms.

I'm hoping by sharing these, you will either donate to them, or find your own charity that is important to you and donate, and get your kids involved as well, it's never to early learn the true meaning of Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Ours was pretty low key and relaxing. The kids had the week off of school, we spent one day at the school setting up for Book Fair which starts as soon as we get back, and we spent one day at the doctor's with Regan over a nasty ear infection that kept us all up half the night.

But for Thanksgiving, David fried turkey's as usual, but he fried one for a lady at church so he did them the day before. The kids went on Wednesday with Pam and Dave to see Bolt and spent the night with them, so on Thursday morning there wasn't much to do except a few sides. We had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green beans, and a ton of pies! Alex and the kids came and brought some type of smoked ham he made, it was pretty good. Daniel came by with some of his friends, and then Kenzie came by with one of her friends, and we just had a good time, played the Wii and hung out.

I didn't get to make our traditional Thanksgiving morning breakfast (cinnamon rolls and hash brown casserole) until Saturday morning, but it was yummy! And I didn't really get my camera out until Regan says, "Hey mom, Got Milk?" so I had to get a picture of that!!

Then on Saturday we all stayed up way too late watching movies and Sunday morning was like pulling teeth to get them ready for church, until I told Regan she could wear her new dress that she picked out at Costco:

It wasn't my favorite dress they had, but it's blue, and blue is in her heart, so we had to get it. And she looks cute in anything! Now it's time to start figuring out what to wear in the annual Holiday Photo!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Week in Review

Monday-I subbed in Regan's class, and that was interesting. She thought it would be a fun, free-for-all day for her and her friends, and didn't appreciate it that I made her call me Ms. Denise just like the other kids. It's so fun getting to know your kids friends though, on a different level. There are some crafty little ones there. Overall, a pretty fun day and we mostly enjoyed it, after we got used to the new rules. Then, school was out and it was rush to gymnastics.

Tuesday-I subbed for some of Regan's best friends in 2/3. It wasn't bad, but the teacher was there and got sick and wanted to leave, so he was like, just do anything, I want to go home! So, with no clear plans, it made it a little more challenging, but still they're more independent than the K/1 class so no complaints there. After school it was rush to Brownies to learn about manners.

Wednesday-Surprise, I didn't have to sub today, but where did I spend the day? At the school. Getting ready for Book Fair and eating the holiday lunch with Regan and her friends. One of Regan's friends was sad that her dad couldn't come for lunch, so David and I invited her to sit with us, we had a nice big party going at our table! Here is Tyreella, Regan, Raquel and Irving:

After school we had church, David and I had a class to take to get ready for a class we were taking over the weekend, and it was Riley's night to work in ACTION, he got to work with the 2 year olds, and I think he likes working with the older kids better, the 3, 4 and 5 year olds.

Thursday-Subbed again, this time all over the place, those teachers are dropping like flies!! I started out as the Pre-K assistant and ended up in K/1 and that was one wild class. I did manage to take my lunch break at the same time as Riley's and ran up to his campus to meet him and David and Mimi for his Holiday lunch. It was a crazy day, after school Regan and I grabbed some take n bake pizza's and picked Riley up from gymnastics and I was never so happy to just sit on my couch and watch Survivor!

Friday-Subbed again, middle school remedial math. Sorry kids, I wasn't much help there. Math is just SO not my thing and man, middle school!! I might as well have been looking at Greek Orthodox text or something. I graduated and that all left my brain. Regan had a playdate with some friends after school, and we had a nice cold front come in, so Riley and I met David for some nice hot Pho, Vietnamese Soup.

On Saturday, David and I had our class at church, from 9-3, and the kids had fun having a free day there. The class was great, it was men/women seperate, so that was nice, and good to meet new people there (we've only been going for 3 years now!) And then we went home and crashed.

Sunday, after church, we went home, took another nap, then went back to church to see Tristan and Merissa get baptized. It was nice to be there to stand in as part of their family in such an important step in their life.

So, as you can see, that's why I haven't blogged this week. Buzy, busy, busy. I didn't even get a picture of Riley's lunch, I ran in, swallowed some mystery meat, and ran out. But this week is vacation and I intend to take things very slowly and enjoy every minute of it!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Jaye {Bird}

Today we went to Main Event for Kris's girlfriend Jen's daughter's birthday. She turned 9, and they all had fun, and after the party Jaye came over the house and played for the afternoon, and then I cooked dinner and Kris and Jen came over to eat, and we had a great time! The kids adore their Uncle Kris, he's like a big jungle gym, so they were running around playing Nerf and Wii and jumping on the trampoline, and enjoying our first serious cold spell (well, it was around 50 I think...COLD!)

Cookies Rock!

Regan had Brownie Cookie Training today, where they taught her how to be a proper Girl Scout Cookie sales person. It was fun, they had a horse theme which is right up her alley! She got a cowgirl tattoo, learned the rules of selling cookies in a Cookie Rodeo, learned safety rules in the computer lab, had a blind cookie taste test in a Cookie Derby, and learned proper serving sizes during snack time (2 sleeves of Thin Mints isn't the proper serving size, go figure). She got to draw a picture of her goal:

And yes, she kept bumping that number up. First it was 400 boxes of cookies, then she saw the stuffed mama and baby horse that she can win if she sells 520 boxes, so she decided in the end, her goal is now to sell 556,600 boxes of cookies. So, grandparents, start saving!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Outdoor School

The Outdoor School

Well, unfortunately I can't tell you much about this trip because David went with Riley as a chaperone, and getting info out of either one of them is like pulling teeth. It was bad enough that I sent my camera with explicit instructions for David to take pictures of EVERYTHING. He took me up on that, begrudgingly.

The trip was an overnight study trip, to Marble Falls, for all 4th and 5th grade students, to study nature and science in a hands on setting. I know Riley got to learn and study about snakes (and hold a couple) and they caught some minnows in the pond. The talked about waste and had a contest to see which bunk had the least waste after every meal. I know David froze in the cabins because we don't own a sleeping bag that's a proper adult size. Riley climbed the rock wall and made it to the very top. And that's about all the info I got. But, you can look through the pictures and tell they had a pretty good time. They were in groups with their classmates, and played games together and learned about a lot of plants, wildlife, nature, and how to take care of what we've got. I've heard from the 5th graders how much they love this trip, so I knew it would be great.

Thankfully, Riley was feeling well enough to go also, after having the flu for several days before, he was still pretty run down, and I guess they did a lot of walking there, because he came home exhausted and saying his legs hurt, not something I hear from him that often!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

36 Bucks!

That's how much it takes to fill up a Ford Expedition these days! And yes, I'm thrilled!! I had a little less than 1/4 tank, that's when I usually try and fill up, but it's been a L-O-N-G time since I paid so little at a gas station!! I've never been so happy to have gas :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Partied Too Hard

After partying all weekend, by Sunday night Riley just wasn't quite himself, saying his head was hurting, and his throat hurt (from coughing). This morning he woke up with 103 fever and coughed so much he threw up.

Tonight the fever got up to almost 105! Scary. I guess it's the flu, but regardless, tomorrow we'll be heading to the doctor so hopefully he won't miss his big field trip this week to The Outdoor School, it's an overnight field trip and I know he won't want to miss it, so please say a prayer for Riley that he will be back to his mischievous little self before long.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Party Hard!

Riley's 10th Birthday

Riley had his birthday party here at the house again this year. Of course, it's been 80 degrees and sweltering hot for weeks, and today of all days a cold front comes through, and we had the Wii on the deck set up to play. The kids didn't care, they were moving and jumping and keeping warm, but it was hard to even stay out there to watch for very long cause I was SO cold!!

Alex made 51 little burgers to feed the kids, they were gone QUICK! And we had cake (and I forgot to get the ice cream out, so now I have a ton of tiny Blue Bell ice creams laying around, just what I need). Kenzie came over too and helped us get the house ready before the party, and had fun playing with the kids she used to babysit, that she hasn't seen in a while.

The kids played, ate cake, Riley opened presents, he got a lot of cool stuff and $50 in cash. Then they played Nerf wars all over the house, and finally, after all the kids that weren't spending the night left, we got all the sleeping bags out on the floor in front of the TV and I made popcorn and we watched Journey to the Center of the Earth. Riley and his friend Mikale made it about 5 minutes into the movie, a few other kids made it about 15 minutes in. They were exhausted!

They woke us up at the crack of dawn, I made cinnamon rolls and went back to bed, I had Girl Scout training later that day and was in no shape to sit through it at that point.

They played Nerf again until all the kids left, and Regan came home, she had spent the night with Mimi so she could get some one on one time, and not bother the boys. Plus, she woke up feeling a little off, so it was good to have her gone from all the excitement and in and out of the cold weather.

So, all in all it was a successful birthday, I still can't believe my baby bird is 10. He used his gift card and birthday money to buy a Nerf game for the Wii, and a Nerf tag type game for 2 people, so he's on pins and needles waiting for that to come in the mail.

Glad it's over for one more year!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I heart my New G1

I have to start by saying I gave David SO much crap about this phone, but it was the WAY he did it, not THAT he did it.

He has wanted this phone for ages, since his little geek world heard about them years ago, he's been telling me about this phone. Finally, the day arrived where he could pre-order, and he sat there with his finger on the order button, refreshing the page because the Tmobile website was so bogged down. Then he calls me several days before the phone comes in, mad cause he saw someone else with one before he got his phone, how could that happen? But he finally gets his new toy, and wouldn't you know, his work gives them all new phones too, internet phones (Blackjacks or something like that) and he doesn't need two internet phones, so I get the Google phone!

But one night he just stuck my Sim card in and hands it to me as I'm rushing out the door the next day, and I swear you nearly need a technical degree to figure out how to use this thing. So I was pretty unhappy that for a few days I couldn't even figure out how to make a call, or answer the phone, because it was on vibrate and I didn't know how to change that.

But let me just say, I have it figured out now!! It has the coolest features! One of my favorites, if you're driving down the road and you hear a song on the radio, and you think, "Hmm, who sings that, or what CD is that on?" You grab your phone, hit the Shazam button, it analyzes the music, pulls up the song, CD, artist info, and with one tap of your finger you can buy the MP3 on Amazon, watch the song video on YouTube, or go to the artist's MySpace page.

Another neat feature, say you're shopping for a toy for your kid, since I do that often! But, what if this toy breaks a lot, or you're not sure if it's cheaper over at Wal-Mart instead of here at Toys R Us? No problem, turn on the barcode scanner, scan the barcode, it will show you the prices of the item in stores nearest you, the cheapest price online, and all the reviews, so you can make an educated purchase.

There are a million games, and the kids are always wanting to play games on it, since it has an accelerometer built in, you tilt the phone to make the ball move, or your guy move, depending on the game.

And there are tons more games and other applications, like being able to check my email anywhere, and my calendar (a must), Netflix from my phone so I can update my queue on the go (comes in handy, since I'm always on the go!) And it's also a music player, and David is updating me to an 8 gig memory card, so I can get more fun things!!

So, thanks honey! I know I gave you crap at first, but now, you know, I couldn't live without it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chuck E Cheese Fundraiser

This was so neat, I planned this fund raiser for our school a while back and I can't wait to see how we did, but judging by how many people I saw eating at Chuck E's tonight, I think we did pretty well! Part of the deal is, Chuck E will come to your school, and so he came today and I got to escort him around to all the classrooms to say hi to all the kids, or scare the crap out of them, depending on the kid! It was cute, the boys were all, "I'm coming tonight to kick your butt!" And the girls would just about knock him down trying to hug him. All the kids got stickers for 10 free tokens, and so of course, that meant we ate yummy, delicious Chuck E Cheese pizza for dinner tonight! But, all for a good cause, right?

Study Trip to Round Rock Police Department

Round Rock Police Dept

Regan's class went on a study trip today to the Round Rock Police Department, and it was a lot of fun! Thanks to Officer Bird who was great at keeping the kids entertained. He took us on a tour of the new police facility, showed us where the training rooms where, and explained everything so the kids could understand, and showed us where the 911 call center is, the workout room with the rubber floor and the padded walls (which I want at home!) He took us to the garage to show us the Police vehicles, the mule, the ATV's, the SWAT tank thingie, the mobile police unit (RV) and let the kids see the lights and look inside the cop car.

Then, the highlight, he put them all in jail! It was just the holding area, and it was empty, so he let the kids go in and they were so excited, so we got to take pictures of them behind bars. They thought it was so neat, good thing it's a brand new building!! I can't imagine a jail cell staying that clean for too much longer.

Then he showed them all the nifty things on his belt, the extra bullets, the handcuffs, the pepper spray, the nightstick, all the fun and exciting things that policemen have with them. Regan must have enjoyed it cause she asked me later, "Mom, should I be a vet or a policeman?"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Riley is Double Digits!

I can't believe my boy is 10! Wow, how time flies. This weekend we did our traditional family meal at Saltgrass, his favorite. But last night I made some skull cupcakes for his class and brought them to school today (had to fight the high school kids off them):

and his teacher had him make a special "front page" of a newspaper and made him "Student of the Week." The neat thing is, he spent quite a bit of time working on it, and all on his own, there was a section that asked about his hero, and I had to take a picture because I thought it was so special:You can click on it to see a larger picture, but in case you can't read it, it says, "Meet my Hero: jesus. my hero is jesus cause if he wasn't ever alive then we wouldn't be here right now and he helped me and my family. And if we didn't believe in jesus then life would be a lot tougher. The End." And he drew a picture of himself, believing in Jesus. I'm just glad that he picked Jesus as his hero on his own, and he recognizes that life is tougher without Him on our side!

And then his friends decided to have a little fun with him:

And then after school we went to La Madeline for dinner where surprisingly enough Riley ate every bite (that's a new thing for him lately, a healthy appetite) and he informed us at dinner, "10 years ago today I was ingested!" I don't think he quiet has a handle on the birds and the bees, but I'm in no rush, keep him innocent as long as possible, right?

Then we rushed to the outlet mall and got him some new Etnies (shoes) that he's been wanting, and made it just in time for church. A busy birthday, but a fun one, and a happy and content boy.

Bowl A Thon

This has been one of the BUSIEST weeks of my life! Crazy busy. I've been subbing in High School almost every day, and boy, has that been fun. But, today was the Bowl A Thon fundraiser, and the kids always have a blast, so here are some pictures of them and their friends bowling.

Must have had a bad frame:

This is Regan and Raquel, the goof troop:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


That's all I'm gonna say about that. Wake me up in 4 years.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NYOS Fall Fest '08

The School's biggest fund raiser of the year is Fall Fest and it's a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work for the people who organize it. I, for once, am not one of them. Sometimes I feel guilty about that, then other times I remember this is about the only thing left in this school that I don't have my hand in, so I feel better. David and I worked our booths and served our time, donated our goods, and had fun. Except for the fact that it was so FRICKIN HOT!! There's no way it's November and this stinking hot outside! I felt bad for all those kids who decided to be wizards and furry animals, they were melting in their costumes.

Anyway, it was fun, Regan got her hair painted pink with glitter, and her scalp is still bright red after like 3 washings. I may need to get a scrub brush after her scalp tomorrow! Riley won a bottle of coke and drank most of it walking around, mmmm, warm soda! Surprisingly, he did the haunted house, and didn't get too scared!