Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Black Friday!  It's so much fun to get up early and fight crowds and get what you want.   Ok, I don't really enjoy getting up early and I hate mean people.  But it's still tradition and I do love it!  This year I went all by myself.  I actually enjoyed it.

I started at Walmart.  I got there a little early.  I found what I wanted first (after wandering the store to try to locate where it was!).  Unfortunately, it was something that I was getting both the little girls and I was only able to get one.  Then I headed to the electronics.  Score for me.  I picked up a Blue Ray Player.

Next I headed to Target.  Apparently their sales started at 6 and it was just 5:30, so I left there and headed to Fred Meyer for the half price socks!  I love half price socks!  I also picked up a cool ipod alarm clock for me and another of the things for the girls that I only got one of at Walmart (get that?).  They actually had an even better deal than Walmart.  Oh well.  I found a cute jacket for Alia too.  She's the only one who didn't get a new coat this year, so I thought that I'd bring one  home.

I finished up got home by 6:50.  Mike and Adrie were the only one's awake, and they were still in bed.  Soon after Alia woke up and I had her try on the jacket.  Too small.  Of course!  I decided to take the girls into the Fred's in Canby and return the jacket and try to find another one.  Adrie just HAD to go with me.  UGH!  Never again!  Anyway we picked up a few more pairs of socks and a new jacket.  Back home we went.

Conner earned some money for good grades and he wanted to go to the store to spend it.  I jumped at the chance to go somewhere else!  We headed back to Walmart.  I picked up a few more small things for the babies and Conner got this really cool Nerf gun thing.  Then back home.

I decided to go to Target to see what they had going on there, even though I missed the early bird sales.  Conner and I went under the pretense that I needed cough medicine and he could get some more Nerf darts for his gun.  I found a cool doll for Adrie (love Fancy Nancy!) and a few more things.

Then I took Conner to pick up his new glasses and we headed home.  Whew.

Oh, and I forgot that in between shopping Adrie had a request.  She wanted her hair cut like Cailes.  OK!  Here're the pics!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The last pics from Florida

View from the grounds at our hotel in Tampa.

Our last full day in Florida, we drove to some outlying towns.  We stopped and had lunch in Dunedin.  Cute little town right on the gulf coast.  Had a great Mexican lunch and then headed over to Honeymoon Beach.  There we caught a ferry to Caladesi Island (voted the best beach ing 2008).  It was beautiful.  A little windy, but pretty warm and sunny.  Gorgeous white sand beaches and tons of shells!

After that trip, we headed into Tampa for our hotel for the evening. 
We chose something a few minutes from the airport, but still on the bay for our final night.  It was actually a pretty nice place with an amazing view.  After a nice dinner in a funky 
part of Tampa called Ybor City, we headed back to the hotel for the evening.  We had to wake up bright at early (3:30) to catch our 6am flight back home.

It was an amazing vacation.  I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to go with Mike and make some new friends.  I honestly had never really thought about Florida or if it was somewhere that I would ever like to visit.  However, I fell in love with St. Petersburg and look forward to the day that I can go back.

Oh, and we found no evidence of ghosts in our hotel.  Maybe next

I know these are a bit out of order, still trying to perfect this!
A gopher turtle that we saw as soon as we landed at Caladesi Island.

The view of the bay through our hotel window the last night in Tampa.

Mike walking on the beach on Caladesi Island.

Cool bird perched as we took the ferry to Caladesi Island.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

St. Petersburg Florida and Busch Gardens

Here are a few pics from the past few days.  Enjoy!
The Shiekra ride at Busch Gardens.  Notice the people on the drop?  Awesome ride!!!
Mike chatting with the kids at Busch Gardens.  (I totally missed them there!)
Who can go to Florida and NOT get a picture of pink flamingo's?  I took this one for Ann-Elise, who insisted I take one for her.

We ate lunch at the small little hole in the wall pizza place.  Loved it.  Anyway, this crane was just walking around right outside.  How cool is that?

I love this picture of Mike.  He had just finished his conference and joined me down on the veranda of the hotel.  He just looks so relaxed.  I must have sat down here for a good hour and a  half yesterday.  It was awesome!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

For my sister...

I went out for a walk this morning.  Mike was gone before I even woke up (what's new there?).  I needed breakfast.  Even though my the clock said it was 9:30, my body was telling me something different!  I headed out to find a nice little cafe that I could have a muffin and a steamer (shh, don't tell the girls, they love those!).  Picked up my food and headed down to the water to eat.  Just a short walk across a small park.

Here's the view right across the street from our hotel.

And I know that this pic is blurry (gotta love this camera!  My new one did come, btw, just YESTERDAY after we left for Florida.  Oh well!) but I thought this little squirrel was so cute!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And she's off...

After a 6.5 hour flight and more smells and people than I can count, I'm here!  Mike and I arrived in St. Petersburg at 2pm our time and 5pm Florida time.  We were able to enjoy an amazing dinner (lunch) with his coworker, Brian and his wife.  Fun times.  I'm not really sure what I'll be up to tomorrow, but if it's fun, I'll let you know.  Have a fun week!  Ohh, and I'm in the haunted hotel, but not on the "haunted" floor, so I'll let you know if anything exciting happens!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Alia's fun day

Last Friday Alia had an amazing experience.  Every fall, her school does a fundraiser.  The highest sellers are awarded a "Limo Lunch".  The kids are able to pick one friend and they all travel to the posh, 5 star restaurant called McDonalds and are treated to a happy meal.  

No, Alia was NOT the high seller, but she does know how to pick her friends and her good friend Madison invited her to come along.  So, they were picked up last Friday in a stretch limo.
Me, being the bad mom that I am, didn't go to take pictures.  But I also know how to pick my friends and was able to have some pictures given to me by the good parents who did go.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Beautiful Girls


Yesterday we had some visitors at church with us.  My mother in law, Janet is staying with us from Arizona for a few days and my parents decided to come out and visit for the kids primary program.  My brother, Bryan, is moving to Hawaii next week so we were planning on a nice family dinner.  Anyway, regardless, I had found a really good deal on a couple dresses for the older girls on Saturday and thought I could dress everyone up.  Adrie and Caile both had older dresses that matched what the older kids were wearing, so they were able to wear those and feel special too!  Here are a couple pics from our little "photo shoot".  Notice that Conner is no where to be found.  He was NOT cooperating, so I kicked him out!  Why is there always one to ruin the fun???


Saturday, November 15, 2008


I feel the need to explain on of my 31 things things.

The first thing I put was that I HATE public schools.  While this is true, I didn't mean for it to be so bold by the space after the first line.  I still haven't figured out why that happens every time I post.  So the explanation is...

I don't have anything against any school in particular, and definitely NOT again any teacher or assistant that works in the public school system.  Not even against any administration or school board members (ok, I DON'T like the principal at one of my kids' school, but that's more of a personal issue.  I just don't like HIM).

I feel that our school systems are totally mandated by state and federal regulations.  There are so many benchmarks that need to be met to make sure that "no child is left behind" that ALL the children are being left behind due to a need to "teach to the test".  To make sure that tests are passed, not lessons learned.

This was blatantly apparent last year when Conner was in 4th grade  I was amazed at the amount of state testing that was performed.  They would spend time learning what was going to be on the test, then taking pretests, then the real tests, if they didn't pass, then they would test again.  Oh and then in February they have the big writing test.  UGH!  I NEVER saw homework that didn't relate to whatever subject they were "cramming" for for the next test.

Do I feel that this is because of bad teachers?  Heck no.  And I love the principal at Alia's school.  She's very open and honest and very easy to talk too.  She's also the first to admit that the system isn't made for every child to succeed.  Also, while I wasn't impressed with either teacher that Conner had last year, I couldn't be happier with the teacher that Alia has this year.  Her name is Michelle Leishman and she is one of the best teachers that we've ever had at North Marion.  She loves what she does and she is trying to help each and every child succeed.

In Conner's situation last year, I felt that the school (no fault of their own) was spending all effort to have the lowest level of students rise up, however, if you were an average or above student, you were doing just fine.  If you're passing the state tests, it's all good.  We felt that Conner was totally overlooked.  Is he a perfect child?  Nope.  Is he motivated to work to his full potential?  Nope, not even close.  But he wasn't expected to do any better than the "average" that he was doing.

As parents, we felt that he needed to be in an environment where he could have the attention that he needed and that he needed to be mentally stimulated at the level he was working at.  I can't even tell you how much he is succeeding.  I love the small feel of the private school that he is at.  I love that his teacher takes it upon herself to find ways for him to succeed.  Is he tested, yep.  But I'll tell you what, that kid has learned more in the first 10 weeks of school than he did all year last year.

We are blessed to be in a situation that through sacrifice we will be able to send all the kids there next year.  I know that I'm on my soapbox and I hope that I didn't offend anyone with my strong opinion, but I felt that I needed to clarify my position.

Off my soapbox now, carry on.

Friday, November 14, 2008

31 Things I Know... (thanks Rebecca!)

1.  I HATE public schools
2.  I love private schools
3. The state of our country honestly scares me
4.  I know I could be better
5.  At everything
6.  I love my husband more than myself
7.  I'm looking forward to my kids being gone and it's just Mike and me
8.  I love the gospel
9.  I need to be more diligent
10.  In a lot of things
11.  I'm not a very good mom
12.  I want to be a good mom
13.  I love my kids
14.  I don't deserve the life I have
15.  I'm not a very positive person
16.  I really don't like that about myself.
17.  I try to be a good friend
18.  I want to be a better friend
19.  I am totally spoiled
20.  I like being able to help others
21.  I wonder what I'm going to do with myself when my kids are all in school (next year!)
22.  I wish I knew my mom better
23.  I have a lot of issues
23.  I like being good at things
24.  There aren't very many things I'm good at
25.  I love to laugh
26.  I don't do it often enough
27.  I love to travel
28.  I have an amazing (and huge) extended family
29.  I know that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior
30.  I love teaching my sunday school class
31.  I wish I was a better teacher

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just another average day

6:15 wake up.  Make sure Conner's showered and ready for school.  Homeworks in his bag and teeth are brushed.  Oh, don't forget breakfast and a snack.

7:25 carpool comes.  He's out the door.  Alia's up and showered.  Has even eaten breakfast.  Love that girl.  I'm very proud of myself because I remember that she has activity day girls today, so I need to write a note for the new bus stop.  Leise comes downstairs and isn't feeling well.  Great!   I get her some tylenol hoping that kicks in and I can send her to school.  Adrie's up and screaming for something/or everything.  Cailes  up and acting like Adrie.  Demanding sippy cups, breakfast, a bath, clothes...

8:20 Alia leaves for her bus stop.  Leise's back in bed.  I have a few minutes.  Let's see... Conner has a half day and I need to take a dessert and a salad to his school for the teacher conferences.  I need to get that done this morning, or it won't happen.

9:00 start salad stuff.  Easy enough.  Get desert done and cut into pieces so I don't have to take me good pyrex pan.  Girls are now bathed, however only one of them is dressed.  Oh no.  Caile decided to use the family room floor as her new potty (can you guess who wasn't dressed?).  I find this amazing because that child WILL NOT go potty in the toilet for the life of her.  Great.  Another bath for her, scrubbing of carpet and more laundry.  Really, what's a little more?  

9:30 kids are quiet, salad's made, dessert's ready.  Shoot, Missionaries for dinner.  Ok, when do I have time to get that ready?  Oh and one can't eat white flour (WTH?) so I have to make whole wheat noodles for the chicken noodle soup.  Uh, OK.  Never tried that, but what the heck?  

10:00 Leise pops her head up and comes to eat some food.  Poor thing.  And I think the Tylenol is FINALLY working.  Although a little too well!  Finish getting Adrie ready for school.  Caile totally dressed and me showered and dressed.  

11:45 load everyone, all food plus report card in the Suburban and drive Adrie to the bus stop and wait for the bus that is, of course, late!  Then rush to St. Luke's to do the afternoon pickup.  Wait in the long car line get 4 kids and take off.  Drop Caile off at her friend Zach's house and run back to town to drop the extra carpool kids off.  Rush to our house so Conner can grab some lunch then back to St. Luke's.

12:40 arrive back at the school.  Oh yeah, they have a book fair, let's go check it out to kill a couple minutes until it's our turn for conferences.  After picking up a book for Conner we go down the hall to his room.  His teacher is just getting back from lunch and can take us early.  Whoo hoo!  Conference went great.  He's great, school's great...

1:20 back to pick up Caile from her friends house and back home.  I neglected to grind the wheat in the morning, so I need to start that.  Dang it.  I need more spinach for the salad.  Quick stop to the store before running home.  I just love going to the store with children!  It's awesome!  After 400 can I have this, or this looks really cool, and 400 "mom glares" we're out the door with our spinach.

2:3o back home and I get Leise grinding the wheat.  Ok, so it's just an attachment to my kitchen aid, so all she has to do is watch, but it kept her entertained!  I start the dough for the pasta.  Easy enough.  But I'm not sure how well this is going to turn out!

3:00 I'd better start the soup so I don't have to rush it.  Chop all the carrots and celery and my very favorite thing in the world to chop, onions.  Seriously, this is the worst thing for me.  I do this "onion dance" and cry.  My kids think it's the funniest thing.  Next time Conner can do it.
Oh, and did I mention that as I'm trying to cook, I'm also helping Conner with his homework?  Multi tasking, it's what moms do best!  

3:45 the soup is cooking away at the stove, Conner's still working on homework and Leise is out waiting for Adrie to get off the bus (they won't let her off without someone to get her).  Caile decides that she doesn't need a nap today, so she's a little whiney, but doing ok.  I get the salad ready for dinner with the missionaries.  I spend the next 30 minutes picking up the house some so it looks presentable.

4:2o I get a call from Mike saying that he left work late.  Umm, will you be home by 5:30?  I can't let the missionaries in if you're not here!  Hopefully, but traffic's bad.  Great!

4:50 shoot. I forgot about Alia.  Do I really want to load everyone up and drive over there?  Usually Mike just picks her up on the way home, but that's not gonna work today.  I call my neighbor who's daughter is there too, yep, she's just heading out to get her.  Can she pick up Alia too?  Yep.  Perfect!!!  Conner sets the table for dinner.  Gotta love that!

5:10 Mike gets home, dinner's ready, tables set.  Just need the missionaries!

5:30 missionaries get there, we sit down for a nice peaceful dinner (enter sarcasm here.  Have you ever tried eating with 5 kids 10 and under?  Peaceful DOES NOT describe it!)  Whole wheat eggs noodles are ok.  The soup is still really good.  So, I suppose that's a good alternative, however, I'll stick to white flour when it's just us.

6:15 dinner's done, now it's clean up.  I spend the next 30 minutes getting dinner dishes cleared, rinsed, loaded and counters and table cleaned off.  Conner helps with the table.

7:00 Joe comes over to go out on visits with Mike.  We chat for a few minutes then the guys are off.  I send the kids to get ready for bed.  It's gonna be an early night for them!  They go upstairs and are pretty quiet.

8:00 I get Caile into bed, tuck Leise in.  Head to Alia and Adrie's room.  Adrie is full of something!  She is NOT going to go to bed.  UGH!  Get Alia tucked in and work on Adrie again.  I head back downstairs.

8:30 Adries up and down.  Finally I just yell at her and tell her to go to bed.  I don't see her again!!!  However, I keep hearing all these weird noises.   Bumps and slams and movement.  Honestly, at this point, I don't really care what it is!!!

9:15 Conner comes down and tells me that he's cleaned his whole room.  What???  Who are you and what have you done with my son???  I go upstairs to check it out.  Sure enough.  Perfect.  Amazing.  To "reward" him, I take the time to read with him.  Usually, if he's not in bed at bed time, then I won't read to him or tuck him in.  We read a couple chapters in his book report book and then I hear Mike.

9:45 Mikes in our room, I get ready for bed and spend the next hour watching tv and surfing the net.  Ahhhh, what a fun day.  If only I didn't have to repeat it again tomorrow!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Is there anything exciting?

It seems that a lot of things have been happening around here, but it just doesn't seem very "blog worthy".  How's that for a boring life?  I've been in a bit of a funk since the election last week.  It's been really good for me to do some research and a lot of thinking.  What do I believe, why do I believe it?  How does it fit into my daily life?  I don't really stop and think outside my little box very often.  It seems that the life of the world is lived inside the walls of my house.  It's not often that I take the time to really figure out what's really going on out there.

Anyway, Conner got his report card on Friday.  I was a bit apprehensive.  New school.  New curriculum.   But he did great!  He had a 3.3 average.  That's amazing considering this was a kid that was basically getting c's and d's from school last year.  We are so pleased with his progress.  I love that he belongs to a school that is a family as well.

Another cool thing this past week was that our family went to Conner's schools Harvest Dance.  It's a DJed dance for the whole family.  We had a blast!  Conner was off playing football with his buddies, but the rest of us were jamming inside.  We brought our babysitter, Kynna, with us.  She kept the kids around and showed the older girls some fun new dances.  They loved it.  And I don't think I've ever seen Caile so happy.  Really.  She was in heaven jumping and dancing all over the place.  Even if she was all by herself and we were sitting down at the table, she'd be off by the DJ jamming.  Too cute!  I'll post some pics as soon as my friend gets them to me.

I also took some super cute video of the kids wrestling with Mike.  It's one of their favorite things to do.  As soon as Mike walks in the door, they're asking them to wrestle.  I had a couple minutes of great stuff.  However, I went to download it today and it seems that it's been replaced with Conner taking footage of trying to get our friend Trischelle to look at the camera.  I stepped out for a couple hours and she was watching the kids for me.  Seems that it turned into a game for Conner.  I can only assume that he figured out how to delete what was already on there to get more stuff.  Which, in itself, is amazing to me.  I still have to go through a bunch of stuff before I can remember how to do that!  Oh well.  Maybe next time!

Oh, and I'm just about finished with a cool blanket that I'm crocheting for Conner.  He picked out the yard on Saturday and I've been working on it ever since.  As soon as it's done I'll post a pic.  I really like it.  It's hard for me to find a pattern that isn't too hard, but isn't so easy that I can only do 2 rows before I'm bored out of my mind!

*update - my sister was getting on my for not having pictures, so I took a couple of the blanket.  It's not done but you get the idea of what it looks like.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The dawning of a new day

Regardless of your political beliefs, we will have a new president.

I truly hope that it's all roses as many think.  Really!  However, the beliefs of our new president don't mesh with mine.  That being said, I will support him.

As I was talking with my kids this morning and explaining to them that even though the candidate that we wanted to win, didn't, we still needed to be gracious and respectful to those who's views are different than ours.

(OK, now I get religious, so close me down if you don't want to hear about it, but it is my blog!)

I was telling Conner that our Heavenly Father has a plan.  We need to have faith in HIS direction.  He will have people placed in positions in the world that will allow for the second coming of Christ.  Even if we don't see the big picture, it will be ok.

Conner, bless his heart, said,  "Mom, why doesn't Heavenly Father have things get REALLY bad and then when Jesus comes people will see him and believe him?".

I just said, that's a great plan Conner!  I think that's just what Heavenly Father has planned for us.

So, there you go, the pure faith of a 10 year old!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Today is our 13th anniversary.  It's hard to believe that it's been that long, and that short!  It seems that we've lived a few lifetimes in 13 years.  I don't think I could have ever envisioned what my life was going to be like when we took those vows.  I look back and can only count my blessings.  I truly have the most amazing husband.  And my children are blessed that he's their dad.  He loves me in spite of all my faults.  He only sees the good in people.  I learn from him daily.  I love you Mike and look forward to spending eternity with you!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween

We like candy.  A lot.  So we trick or treat 2 night instead of 1!  Our ward always done a big, fun Trunk or Treat the night before Halloween.  So on Thursday, we took 4 friends with us and headed to the church for the awesome chili feed.  After that, and a few games for the kids, we headed out for the trick or treat part.  This year was a lot of fun because it was the first time I didn't have to go with the kids.  I was able to send them off on their way with each of the older girls hanging onto one of the babies and I hung out with Mike in the Suburban.  It was fun to spend time with him and meet some new people.  I didn't get a picture of Conner on his own, but here are my little goblins!

Conner was actually the Tasmanian Devil (very fitting).  Alia was supposed to be Tinkerbell, but I think she changed her title at the last minute to just a fairy.  Ann-Elise was supposed to be a hula girl, but ended up being a bit of a "goth" hula girl.  Adrie was a princess.  And Caile was a very grumpy lady bug.  

On Halloween, Conner took off with 3 of his friends.  I took the girls out with a couple of my friends.  We had a great time.  The weather was perfect and the kids held up really well.  Even the little girls!  Mike stayed home to pass out candy (or watch the Blazer game...).

I can remember when I was a kid and my mom would take us kids trick or treating and my dad's job was to stay home and pass out the candy.  Apparently, tempted by the idea of a whole hour of uninterrupted tv time, we'd always come home to the porch light off and the candy bowl full and dad in the back bedroom watching tv.  Oh my mom would get mad!  It may have only happened once, but to me, that's my childhood Halloween memory.

Anyway, I came home to an almost empty candy bowl, so I knew that Mike was doing his job!  Actually, he enjoys seeing all the kids in their costumes.  I'm glad that he enjoys that, because I don't!

The kids ended up having a great time and getting a ton of candy.  And I think most of them have their costumes picked out for next year!

Adrie's pumpkin patch field trip

Adrie had her school pumpkin patch trip on Thursday..  I was able to go with her and we had a great time.  I think this is honestly the only field trip that I enjoy going on.  Not because the trip itself is fun, but because they go during their first year or two of school and it's so fun to watch the kids experience their first field trip.

Adrie is in afternoon preschool this year.  It's my first experience with afternoon school.  I didn't think I'd like it and I probably wouldn't request it, but it's been great for her this year.  She only has 9 kids in her class as opposed to the 17 or so that are in the morning class.  That alone make a bus trip with preschools bearable!

We went to a place that the older kids had been when they were in preschool.  It hasn't been open for a few years.  It was totally different than it was before, but it was really cool.  The lady that runs it it trying to purchase the land and turn it into a wild life sanctuary.  Cool idea, but I'm glad I don't live too close!  She had a baby tiger and a baby lion.  And by baby, I mean the lion was probably only about 50 pounds and the tiger was only 150!  There were also a lot of other exotic animals that I don't remember what they were.

They also had a reptile exhibit.  And let me say this.  There is NO way we are getting any creepy crawly animals!  No way, no how!  Sorry, but they are just totally creepy to me.

They also had a petting zoo and some fun inflatable slide and obstacle courses. 
Other than the "ouchie" Adrie got on her knee after falling in the gravel, we had a great time!  It was so cute because she was wearing her Halloween pants that say "BOO" on the butt.  Her teacher thought they were the cutest thing and kept taking pictures of her back side!  In fact they had all the kids sit on a bench to get a class picture.  After they got the nice picture, they had Adrie sit up on her knees and turn to the back so they could get her boo butt.  Adrie had no idea what was going on or why she was the only one asked to turn around.  But she did it like a trooper.  She's so cute!

After the mad rush to get the pumpkins because we were running out of time, we made it back to the school.  We had a great time and I am so glad that I was able to spend the time with Adrie!

A fun little story: 

On Thursday, I filled the candy bowl in preparation for trunk or treat.  After I did that, I ran upstairs to fold some clothes.  When I cam down, Adrie and Caile had taken EVERY stuffed animal they could find and set them out around the dining room table.  For the animals that didn't have chairs, they were set up on top of the table.  In front of each animal was 1 mini kit kat bar and a spoon.  All placed perfectly.  Too cute!  I know, I should have taken pictures of that one, but I was too focused on getting the table cleaned off and I didn't think about it until half of it was put away.  Oh well, maybe next time.  And it looks like Adrie has a new job home!