Sunday, February 25, 2007


L-O-double L-I-P-O-P spells lollipop, lollipop;
That's the only decent kind of candy, candy,
Man who made it must have been a dandy, dandy;
L-O-double L-I-P-O-P you see
It's a lick on a stick guaranteed to make you sick.
It's lollipop for me.**

Will must have started over a dozen lollipops during the course of our stay at William & Mary Hall today. I let him, knowing he'd never finish any of them.He never does. He'll lick one for a little while and then accidentally touch it to something like my sweater or the seat cushion (ick!) and then he'll be done with it. Several minutes later he'll want another. Why not, I say. If we continue this way me might just finish our Halloween candy before next October rolls around!

Will even managed to cheer his Daddy to the finish while licking his lollipop.

** This is an old camp song, which goes on...
C-A-S-T-E-R O-I-L spells caster oil, caster oil;
That's the only decent kind of medicine, medicine,
Man who made it must have been an Edison, Edison;
C-A-S-T-E-R O-I-L you see
It's a lick on a spoon guaranteed to kill you soon.
It's caster oil for me.

He's All Wet!

David, Will and I headed to Williamsburg this morning for the Anheuser-Busch Colonial Half Marathon. When we woke up at home this morning it was still snowing. By the time we got to Williamsburg the temperature was still pretty cold and instead of snow, there was a constant freezing rain.

Here's David before the race. He looks so dry. The poor guy then headed out into the weather and ran for 2 hours coming back drenched, but happy.

This is a strange course, one which does not encourage spectators. Will and I spent the entire race inside (thank goodness) watching the other runners, and eating. First the finishers of the 5K came in, and then the half-marathon finishers followed. Throughout the entire 2 hours Will would cheer "Go Daddy, go!" even though his daddy was nowhere to be seen.

David looked strong as he ran up the ramp into the arena. His watch showed a time of 2 hours 11 seconds, which is his PR for this distance. Not a bad run for a guy who manages to get only one or two runs in each week!

Here he is after the race - all wet! For the record, Will wouldn't get near David until he changed into dry clothes!

Project 365: Feb 25

Here we are, making our way into William & Mary Hall where Will and I spent the entire afternoon watching and waiting for our favorite runner to cross the finish line.

Those bags carried our provisions. Necessary items for the afternoon included gummies, cheese crackers and teddy grahams, milk, a pb&j, cheese sticks, apples and lollipops. That was just Will's food. He also had about a dozen books and a coloring book and crayons. Oh, we also brought a blanket to keep the chill off.

For David, there was just a clean, dry change of clothes.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Turtle Place

Not realizing that I hadn't posted before about the turtle place, I feel I must explain. The turtle place, is actually a coffee shop that serves wonderful food and provides a cozy atmosphere for people to get together. The name given by Will stems from the large wooden turtle that resides there.

The boys can play all they want while the moms get their coffee and chitchat fix. The food is fantastic and the coffee incredible! Best of all though, we can have a conversation without fear that it will be constantly interrupted!

Morgan and I used to come here on the way to school in the mornings. There are bookshelves full of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, which make having coffee in public with your mom bearable!

Project 365: Feb 24

This morning, promptly at 9, Caroline participated in her first music festival - which was also her first public performance playing the piano. She began lessons in September and absolutely loves playing. There are days that we have to drag her away from the piano so she can get all of her school assignments finished!

The festival went well. Caroline played beautifully, and with more feeling than ever before. Our family and friends took up a row and half of the available chairs in the room! With that kind of support a girl can't go wrong!

Today is also important because it is her friend Molly's birthday! She is such a great friend! She and her mother left their nice, warm house very early this morning so that they could come and support Caroline at her first festival performance.

Happy Birthday Molly! And thanks for being such a great friend to Caroline!


Project 365: Feb 23

Never have I seen such excitement over going grocery shopping!

Of course, this wasn't just any grocery store and we weren't just going grocery shopping. We were at the Kroger which meant we were going Krogering!

That explains everything doesn't it?!

Project 365: Feb 22

There are a number of constants on our trips to see the turtle.

First, we always go after preschool, which usually means it's very crowded and there aren't enough tables or toys to go around. But then again, it does clear out fairly quickly because all those little kids need to go home and get naps!

The other constants are that Will comes with his friend Gabe, gets pumpkin bread and white milk (me-eelk), and plays with this firetruck. He usually drives it over to the table and parks it there so no one else can get to it. Sometimes he'll drive it round and round the turtle and park it underneath while he and Gabe work on the turtle with the tools.

When we first started going there Will was extremely apprehensive about climbing on the turtle. He needed help getting up and getting down. He was content to zoom cars and truck around the turtle's shell. Now he has no trouble at all joining the other kids as they climb up and slide off. I guess it won't be long before I'll have to keep him from trying to jump off the turtle's back!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Project 365: Feb 21

It is so obvious that this child was having a great time. Cruel and cold hearted were those who made him put the drum and sticks away so that we could all go home and go to bed. Nevermind that he was so tired that he didn't even make it to the highway before closing his beautiful eyes and entering the land of sweet boy dreams.

I wish we all could live the delight that this child feels every day. He's such a joy and such a blessing. Heaven knows where we'd be without him.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Project 365: Feb 20

The cookies are here!

If you ordered cookies from our Brownie scout and have been waiting patiently to receive them, you don't have much longer to wait! Some were delivered today, and most of the rest will be delivered tomorrow.

If you didn't order any and are hungering for some Thin Mints or Caramel Delites, or if you've already eaten yours(!), just let us know. We have a reliable source!

Monday, February 19, 2007

President's Day at the Mall

These people all met at the playplace at the mall today, along with hordes of other people. Being President's Day, the mall was pretty busy and the playplace even busier. There had to be over 30 kids there at one point, not including our 7.

Why we do this I just don't know. Well, I guess I do. It's too cold and wet to go to the park. We're sick of being inside our own houses. We need to get out and here we can watch the kids play while we drink our free* coffee. I even brought cookies from the grocery store so no one would be tempted to drop outrageous sums on mall cookies.

The little boys had a great time sliding and climbing and ...

they might have fallen asleep if we'd left them there.

*Did you know that Starbucks will give you free coffee if they don't have what you want to order ready. They never seem to have decaf ready when I want it. I'm lovin' this!

Blog About It

These clogs used to belong to Morgan. I bought them for her when she was in the 2nd grade - that was 6 years ago. At the time I thought they were just adorable (still do!) with the little seed bead flowers around the edges. They just weren't very practical - no good for school because of PE & recess, and no good for church because they were just too casual. That left Saturdays. Needless to say they didn't get much wear. So when Morgan outgrew them we saved them for Katherine because shoes cost money, these were cute, and they weren't even close to being worn in or out! (We skipped over Caroline because her feet are bigger than both of her sisters' feet!)

Anyway, Katherine relinquished these to me this evening, probably in an attempt to get new shoes - which won't happen anytime soon since she has boatloads of shoes! When Morgan saw me bring the clogs upstairs, she wanted to know what I was going to do with them. Not satisfied with any answer, as is her habit these days, she declared that I should take a picture and blog about them.

So I did.

Project 365: Feb 19

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Project 365: Feb 18

Katherine and I were partners in crime this afternoon. First we napped - what a luxury that was! Then she helped me make lasagna for dinner this evening. We got a pretty late start so it was almost 7:30 before we actually sat down to eat. But boy was it good! We're looking forward to it being even better tomorrow night!

Be mine

When he finally made it back to school on Friday*, my guy got to distribute his "valentimes" goodies to his friends and get some too! He was so excited about having his own goodies and more candy to add to his Halloween stash! Too funny really. He was even more excited to give me this.

*That's a whole week at home. So much for full time preschool!

Project 365: Feb 17

Tuckered out he is. So tired that he couldn't manage to take of his coat or even crawl into his bed. Poor guy.

Too many late nights, I guess.

Will and Gracie

Just in case you were wondering what the woods behind our house look like, here you go. They really do go on and on, and on.

Just imagine trudging through these woods in the near dark, on the slippery ice, desperately grasping for anything to hold onto to keep you upright, and then, once you have the runaway dog in your arms, just imagine trying to get back to the house safely without holding onto anything but the collarless dog. Picture it. It isn't a pretty sight!

But the woods are beautiful, aren't they.

Also posting a picture of the boy with the dog and the dad to prove that Gracie does have at least one friend in the house. The boy "oves" his "new gog" so I guess I'll have to keep chasing after her. Grr.

Project 365: Feb 16

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Jump Rope for Heart 2007

Today after school the girls participated in the annual Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser. Over 120 3rd through 5th graders jumped rope, taking turns, for 2 hours straight. Countless parents served water and fruit and, at the end, cookies!

Somehow my girls happened to be assigned to adjacent teams with the same jump number, which made it incredibly easy for me to catch them on film.

The total raised, with additional pledges outstanding, was over $7,500. Amazing!

Project 365: Feb 15

It was too good to be true.

I should have known when I bought this peanut butter that it was too much of a good thing. The price was fantastic - lower than even the yuckiest of store brands. So I snatched it up!

Today we found out that this peanut butter has been recalled by its maker. Luckily, none of us have gotten sick from eating it. So, apparently we can send in our lids and get a refund. But what I really want to know is when to trust the grocer when he puts an item on sale.

One Lucky Dog

Gracie escaped her leash again early this evening. Her timing was the pits. It was about an hour before dark when she pulled out of her collar and took off. Poor Caroline was on dog duty and they were having a wonderful time chopping at and eating the ice in our front yard. I don't think Caroline was eating the ice, but you never can be too sure.

Anyway, Gracie took off at her Gracie pace. First a leap, then a saunter, then another leap as she felt me draw too near. At first, she stayed near the fence by the driveway, but I knew from her past runs that she'd head to the backyard and into the woods - where she would find a smorgasbord of luscious scents. I headed her off by slowly making my way to the backyard and down the hill, and over to the neighbor's yard. Sure enough there she came.

I couldn't get within 5 feet of her without Gracie taking off again. I began picturing the end result - a broken leg and still no dog, or a very graceful leap to land on top of her, or just plain, "lost dog-no collar-won't come when called" signs posted around the area. I kept trudging through the ice-covered leaves. No one would be able to say I didn't try - I would come home with the dog. But if I didn't, it wouldn't be for lack of effort.

If you'll recall Gracie's last major bolt, you'll also recall that in that case she had her collar on and I still couldn't grab her. This evening she was bare nakie doggie girl. It would take major karma on my side or just plain Gracie stupidity on her part. I figured if I could hang in there, her true self would show sooner or later. I was right.

After wandering through the woods, seeing parts of the land I'd never seen, and wondering if I should even be out there at all in my dark clothing, she did it. She caught whiff of a strong scent, one that threw her off her escapee track and onto the gotta smell more track. Her nose was a good five inches below the icy crust! She was oblivious! I talked softly and walked closer and I grabbed that dog so hard, she wasn't ever going to get free again. Oh, she was mad. But had not a thing on me.

Caroline cheered as she saw us emerge from the dark woods (it's getting better now) and helped me get Gracie's collar back on. We walked her around and let her do her business before heading inside to wipe her paws and feed her.

So we came inside and played nice, and what's the first thing she did? She climbed on my kitchen table and then she pooped on the floor, and judging from the screams coming from downstairs, she found something else to chew on.

And they wonder why I'm so over this dog

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Beautiful Blanket

Gracie Chews, part five

You knew it was coming, didn't you?
Gracie's done it again...and again!

I've held off commenting about Gracie since receiving an email letting me know that I was jeopardizing one family's chances of ever getting a dog.

I'm sorry. I can't hold off any longer. This is the latest damage: one of Will's football guys, a tube of Blistex, a tube of hand lotion, a headband, kite string, another pencil, a rubber ball, a pen, a tube of Dr. Pepper flavored chapstick, a small cat, a pipe cleaner, a game piece, and more. I won't even show you my shoe.

One might think that if we cleaned up our clutter Gracie wouldn't have anything to find. Wrong! Gracie epitomizes stealth. She lurks and creeps. Watch out if you catch her mid-creep because when she's on a mission you are the enemy -really!

Stay tuned for more on the creeping canine! Grrr.

Project 365: Feb 14

Happy Valentine's Day!

My husband brought these cookies home tonight for all of us.
So sweet.

Let There Be School

Because there was no school today I deposited my children with a friend for an hour so I could make an appointment. The girls weren't dressed when it was time to leave so they went in their jams...not a problem because everyone in the family that was receiving them was also wearing jams - it was a jammy day.

When we made it back home, several hours after I reappeared to retrieve my kids, we went to work on homework, and valentines for each child's class.

The logic is this: only by being completely ready for school would the call be made to cancel school, but if we weren't completely ready there would definitely be school. Everyone knows if you're not ready for school, you miss recess. So we readied ourselves for every outcome. Homework was completed and valentines were made.

Then we made dinner - the only fitting meal on a day as cold as this one is chili with cornbread. Again, only half of my family will eat chili, but it's that half to which I cater. Two-thirds of the other half ate tomato soup, and the other one-third ate yogurt (brr!). We weren't up from the table very long when the decision was made and posted on the Channel 29 website...a few minutes later we received our automated call.

So the valentines are done and there's no school. I suspect that by the time these kids get back into the building everyone will have forgotten about celebrating the holiday. Too bad, because our valentines were really cute!

Project 365: Feb 13

We had another snow day today. This is what the grass outside my front door looked like at 10 in the morning.

In defense of those who decided that we should stay home for the day, I will say that there was sleet coming down periodically very early in the morning. Not that you could tell at 10 when I had to farm my kids out so I could make it to a hard-to-reschedule doctor appointment. Thank goodness for friends with 4 kids - after 3 there really is no difference.

The sleet began again later in the afternoon and came down into the night. This morning our yard was covered in icy snow. The only vehicle to make it up the driveway today was the 4-wheel drive that we've been borrowing from David's dad until David's Saab can be fixed or put down.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. At this point, we're 2 or 3 days into summer vacation and we've stopped counting. It doesn't matter anymore. The girls have missed several key activities and are divided on what they're hoping for tomorrow. The worst part of all this is that Girl Scout cookies are in and we cannot get to them!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Project 365: Feb 12

These two little boys had so much fun today.

They got to spend the entire morning at church, which is pretty much their favorite place to be - and on a Monday even! We, their mothers, brought them to church at 9:30 so we could prepare tonight's meal for PACEM. The boys got to play, and color, and help us in the kitchen. The table was covered with all kinds of fun things to do and they really did play with everything. They even had a picnic lunch in the fellowship hall.

Afterwards, we all went home, only to return several hours later to finish preparing and help serve the meal.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Least of These

Tonight our Bible Study class cooked and served dinner to about 40 PACEM guests. We prepared a hot meal and put out hot coffee and lots of yummy desserts. All of the kids helped serve, even the little ones - from J who organized the silverware to W who served the rolls to Z who scooped the corn. When they were finished "feeding the mans" they fed themselves. Afterwards some of us stayed to share activities with the guests.

This is the 3rd night that our family has joined the men for the evening activities since our church began hosting a week ago Saturday. The girls and their brother have become increasingly more comfortable with the men. The kids love to help serve the men dinner, and have really enjoyed playing cards and watching movies with them too. They have such a good time that we typically have difficulty convincing them all that it's time to head home.

This evening after dinner, Will scooted a chair from across the room into the middle of a group of men. He positioned his chair, climbed into it, and settled in to watch a movie with the men. I watched, wary that he might be bothering them, but was relieved to see them smile at his presence and innocence.

Katherine, Caroline & Morgan joined another church member and several PACEM guests tonight for several extended games of UNO. By the time the last game was over, the players were laughing and chatting as though they'd known each other for years.

I'm glad that our church family is able and willing to provide these necessary services to these men in need, and that we have been given this opportunity to make a small difference in their lives. I'm proud of my children, that they have been able to see past the things that set these men apart from us, and that they have been able to treat the men as family for the short time they are in our lives this year.

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

Project 365: Feb 11

When you really, really, really want to do something and your parents have said "No," try the puppy face.

It won't work, but it sure will give your parents a laugh.

Project 365: Feb 10

No picture of our yellow house is complete unless there is a red treehouse in the background. I handed over 2 boxes of acrylics and the canvas to Katherine on Saturday, hoping for some new art for our walls.

She's currently mid-painting - and has learned that it's OK to wait and think about what she's painting before she adds more paint to the canvas, even though it means some paint might dry before she gets back to it.

Caroline's on deck, waiting patiently for her turn at the easel. After her, Morgan, and then Will.

I had thought it would be fun to have 4 different versions of our house to hang together, but Caroline thinks we need a painting of Gracie.

I guess I shouldn't complain since I'm not the one who's actually doing the work here!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Project 365: Feb 9

Popcorn. My latest addiction.

No really, not a day goes by that I don't eat it or think about eating it. If it's 94% fat free then it's got my name on it.

Popcorn's mine. What's yours?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Project 365: Feb 8

The girls worked hard today to learn a new hymn. Caroline plunked out the notes while Morgan sang the lyrics.

It's fun to listen to the transitions when Caroline is at the piano. She can be playing one song and just when the you think she's done she'll move into another song. Today it was her festival piece ("Sea Mist") into Jungle Bells, which is her brother's favorite song of all time....for now.

Long Beautiful Hair*

Thank goodness for snow days.

Without them I couldn't possibly get anything done. I've been promising for a long time to take the girls for haircuts. Of course, that makes it sound like they wanted to get all their little hairs cut...they didn't, but they all desperately needed a date with scissors.

So, thankfully the snow wasn't so bad that we couldn't get out of our house. I dragged the girls into the HairCuttery yesterday.

Here's the BEFORE picture. That's a lot of hair don't you think? It sure is on school mornings when we're trying to get everyone dressed, fed & out of the house!

So, we entered the HairCuttery, one happy, one resigned, and one still somewhat bitter about the whole idea. Can you guess which one is not like the others?

So they all got their cuts, some losing more hair than others. Katherine shed about 6 inches, while Morgan lost about 3, and Caroline not even a 1/2 inch. I think Caroline's stylist felt sorry for her and didn't cut anywhere near what I'd asked her to cut.

Everybody was happy when we were done, especially when we headed to Starbucks for hot chocolate! Yum!

Here's the AFTER shot. Not a whole lot of difference is there? At least they are all smiling now. *from the musical Hair.

Project 365: Feb 7

A girl and her dog.
Our bed serves as a perfect perch for watching the snow or the squirrels or the neighbor's cat or even the deer.
We did get enough snow to stay home on Wednesday...and enough potential for ice to stay home on Thursday.
We're biting into our summer vacation now, so I guess I won't be hoping for more snow days, just snow delays.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Project 365: Feb 6

The kids are hoping for a home day tomorrow...I'm hoping we'll at least have a delay.

Project 365: Feb 5

Question: How many girl scouts does it take to cover the length of all my markers put together?

Answer: 4

Project 365: Feb 4

Collecting money on a Super Bowl Sunday from party attendees could get a person in a lot of hot water these days.

For the record, this stranger was just passing through the neighborhood trying to collect enough money to put her son through college.

OK, so maybe it was really collected to cover the cost of PIZZA!