Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Decorating HELP!

Now that our basement is officially complete - working bathroom and all - it is time to decorate it. However, I need help!!!! Basically, it is our playroom and homeschool room with a bedroom and bathroom. Our main struggle is color. Right now the walls are dapper tan - exciting, I know!! Having 2 girls, I would love to do pink and brown, but since we have lots of little boy friends who come over to play, I want it to be more unisex.

Here are a few pictures:

This first picture is obviously between the guest room and steps. It's not huge, so maybe a reading nook or something. (The glider will go back to the baby's room once we move Lucy into Norah's room.)

This picture is to the left of the guest room. The door on the right is the bathroom and the door on the left is just a tiny utility closet. I think this would be the best place for our homeschool set up because it is set back a little, sort defining it as a separte space (at this point most of our homeschooling happens on the floor and through play, but Norah is learning to write and the girls draw/color tons of pictures).

This space is to the left of the little white table in previous picture. Right now it is a hodge podge of stuff - kitchen, balls, books, play food, random toys, etc. Notice that ALL the wall s are blank - BORING!

Just a continuation of hodge podge.

This is the guest room - now very big. There is about 2 feet to the left of the bed and 2-3 feet to the right of the bed. Kevin has suggested scooting the bed against one wall and making it the homeschool room - I'm not a huge fan of that idea, but I am open to other suggestions.

Lucy is standing in a small closet that is not being utilized well at all!! Right now it has to plastic drawer things that holds dress up clothes and doll clothes.

Norah and I really like this idea for above the table. I will probably make my own so I can pretty much go with anything. I will probably try go look at fabric in the next day or so.

One more thought - since it is a basement, there are no windows - so dark colors are probably out.

I will take all the suggestions I can get!

I guess this is my first OPAM so I will post pictures when I am finished.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Grandma's Birthday Party

We celebrated my grandma's 80th birthday over the weekend. We had a family picture on Saturday morning and then went to lunch at Paddy O'Flaherty's Irish Pub and Eatery. The food was excellent and everyone had a good time just being together. It isn't very often the whole family is together (just 26 of us minus my cousin Krystal, who left for Africa today) so it really made Grandma's day! We had cake before the kiddos were at the end of their ropes and needed to head home for naps.

Since I didn't take my camera (what was I thinking?), I am posting pics from my sister!

My dad, Norah & Ryan

Lucy - patiently waiting for her food

Denise & Contessa

Does it Count?

Does the exercise count when my 4 year old and 2 year old are helping? I have been trying to exercise at least every other day. I usually get up early and go to the gym or on a walk before Kevin leaves for work. Obviously, I am a little extra tired these days so it is getting harder and harder to get up early. I have the Denise Austin Fit & Firm Pregnancy DVD. It is not great (mainly because Denise Austin can be REALLY annoying), but it is something to do when I don't get up early.
Today, however, the girls wanted to join me - quite funny watching them attempt to do the aerobic steps. I had to remind Lucy to move over to the side or she was going to get bumped into. She would respond, "But Mom, I esercising too."
Norah kept asking, "Is this right, Mom? Am I doing this right?" She also wanted me to pause the dvd a couple of times to show her the steps again.
The strength training part was even funnier. Basically, Denise Austin stands behind/beside the girls who are doing to exercises and pointing to their muscles or describing what they are doing. Norah just stood behind me and copied Denise. I was cracking up while trying to do the leg lifts because Norah basically lifted my leg for me.
Well, even it it wasn't the best workout ever, I can at least say I exercised today.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Car Riding

As mentioned here, my girls are not great car riders. If either of them naps - it is maybe 20-30 minutes. We do have a dvd player so we let the girls watch 1 movie - usually 30-45 minutes (longer if I am driving by myself). I just don't love the idea of watching movies every time we go on a car ride longer than a couple of hours. I would like it if they could entertain themselves a little.

I read a couple of great ideas here and decided to put together a couple of things for the girls.
For Lucy I made this doll. After reading some suggestions on Chasing Cheerios I bought 2 cookie sheets for the girls to use as trays. I attached magnets to the doll and clothes. I ended up making one for Norah too (even though it is a little babyish for her), knowing that one always wants what the other has.

For Norah I put together a bag of letters and picture magnets . She sorted the pictures and put them with their beginning sound. (Lucy had a bag, too - she just moved them around on the tray).

These activities kept the girls busy for quite awhile. I'm already thinking of other activities to take on our next ride. My only issue is that I had to keep handing them their bags and help pick up before the next activity. If I am driving and Kevin isn't with us, that won't work. Any suggestions on how to store everything so the girls can handle themselves?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Few Funnies

We spent the weekend in Morton for my grandma's 80th birthday party. I will post more on that later (I forgot my camera so I will have to rely on my sister and mom). I just thought I would share a couple of funny things Norah has said recently.

She asked me this week if I like coffee. When I told her yes, she said, "Grandpa Steve doesn't, but he drinks it anyway. He told me at the Bread Co. one time." This is funny to me because it was probably 2 months ago when he said that.

When Kevin or I pray at mealtime, we often end our prayer with "In Jesus name we pray, Amen." Norah asked my mom, "Why is Jesus' last name amen?"

Before heading to Morton, Norah was asking who all my aunts and uncles are so I was listing them for her. (She sees them all about once, maybe twice, a year) She was quite intrigued when I told her that my mom's oldest brother, Gary, was married to Kylie, because Norah has a good friend, Kylie. We all met at my parents' house for a big family picture. Later that night Norah said, "Was Kylie there today?" I told her yes and started to say, "She was the one in. . . " and Norah finished saying "in the black dress. I saw her beautiful black dress. I wish I had a black dress like that."

I need to get better about writing down Norah's funny things - but here a couple to last a while.

Monday, July 21, 2008


After much prayer and discussion, Kevin and I have decided to homeschool Norah. Technically, she would just be in pre-k this year, but because we have decided to homeschool, we decided not to send her to preschool. (Although, both girls are going to a Mom's Day Out program once a week in the fall.)
I have done quite a bit of reading/research on homeschooling. I have talked several friends who homeschool. I went to a homeschool convention in April. I also have read a number of blogs of people who homeschool. Several of people I talked to homeschool year-round. I kind of like that idea because we can take a week or two off here or there during the school year if we want. Plus, if we use the unit-study approach there are a lot of summer time units we can study.
We bought a curriculum a couple of months ago. It is a Kindergarten curriculum, but after much review and comparison to my few years of teaching preschool, it seems to be on the level of an aggressive pre-k curriculum. The teaching reading portion is probably close to the K level as the child is reading 3 letter words by week 6. Everything else - math, science, art, etc - is more like teaching themes in a preschool classroom. Norah was already beginning to read 3 letter words so we bought the curriculum and went ahead and began. We are being totally flexible since it is summer, but since she is wanting to read I figured there is no reason to wait.
The whole curriculum is based on Creation. As Norah learns each letter she learns about something God created - A for apple, L for leaf, O for octopus, D for dinosaurs, etc. Norah and I do a little research online and at the library to learn a little about each topic. We read a LOT of books - fiction and nonfiction - about each topic. The curriculum encourages children to be reading constantly.
This week we are doing dinosaurs - which is humorous to me because it was my least favorite thing to teach when I was teaching preschool. I always taught it, though, because the boys LOVED it. Having girls I honestly thought we would not spend much time playing with dinosaurs. After getting into our dinosaur theme today - Norah is totally into it. We read a book What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs today and she cannot stop talking about it. I am going to try to post at the end of each week some of Norah's favorite activites.
In a later post I will get into our reasons for why we are homeschooling. It is something we are beginning to feel passionate about, though we realize that it is not for everyone.
Also, if anyone has a link to any homeschool blogs - let me know.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Big News

Can you read Lucy's shirt?
In case you don't get it, can you read Norah's shirt?

In case you still don't get it - I'm pregnant.

I am due January 29 so I am about 12 weeks along. I had a doctor's appt. yesterday and we (the girls and I) heard the heart beat. I have felt pretty good this time around - which is a miracle because I was SO sick with the girls.

The girls are excited (well, for Lucy, she is as excited as a 2 year old can be). Norah has mentioned several times that she is going to be a great helper because she will be almost 5 when the baby comes.

Our original plan was to just take a picture of Lucy in the "I'm the big sister" shirt, but Norah thought she needed a shirt of her own. She picked out a t-shirt at Michael's and we decorated it. She did most of the work - she did a great job, huh?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Norah Must Be Sick

At dinner - Norah had 3 helpings of green beans. Yes, I said, 3!! She counted them as she ate them and kept wanting more! Usually I have to tell her to eat 4 before she can be finished with dinner. Crazy!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Our Non-Getaway Weekend Away

My parents had the girls for the weekend. We were originally going to go to the Lake of the Ozarks for the weekend, but with gas prices as high as they are we decided to stay home. We sort of figured almost anything we would do at the Lake we could do at home.
It was strange at first - the house was so quiet! Kevin slept in everyday - until almost 9 on Friday and Saturday. 7:30 was sleeping in for me - better than 6. On Friday we did some shopping - nothing too exciting, Kevin needed some work clothes and I needed make-up. We had a late breakfast at Cracker Barrel.
We had dinner at Bacana Brazilion Restaurant. It was. . . interesting. We had a gift card - I don't think we would pay for ourselves to go. Basically, it is a buffet - salads and sides. The meat is brought around to the table. The server tells you what he is serving and if you want some, you take it. The sides were very bland - except the green beans, which must have been seasoned with cilantro (very strong). For a salad - literally they only had lettuce and dressings, and they had pasta salads, egg salad, etc. - all of which tasted exactly the same. The meat was yummy - there was just so much of it!! We finished off with some cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.
We also rented Vantage Point. I highly recommend it - very intense. Oh, forgot to mention that we napped in the afternoon - so nice!
On Saturday we went to a local wildlife conservation area for a hike. We (I should say I) didn't last long - with in 20 minutes of walking I had about 20+ mosquito bites. No thanks!! My legs are not swollen with bites! Kevin only has 2 bites! What is that all about?
We had lunch at Olive Garden (also with gift card, yea!), napped, and watched Fool's Gold. We also went to the Saturday evening service at church.
On Sunday we went for a bike ride - not sure how far - but we rode for about an hour. I was proud of myself for lasting that long because it has been a while since I rode my bike. It was fun and more relaxing that if we were pulling the girls behind us. We met up with my parents last night for dinner to get the girls.
They had a great time - it had been about a year since they had been away from me. It was a nice break - but a good reminder that I am glad we don't do it often.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Small Group

We are in a small group Bible study through our church. One of the girls is a pastry chef. She works for a bakery called Truffes. She occassionally brings us a treat to enjoy. Last night it was this yummy espresso cake! Wow! Coffee and chocolate - it doesn't get much better than that. I actually don't really like cake - but this has so many creamy layers that it just melts in your mouth.
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A Big Gust of Wind

Late afternoon on Monday the weather got incredibly windy. And this is the result - our umrella snapped in half and crashed onto the table and broke it into millions of pieces. Wow!
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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Nicole!

Today is Nicole's birthday. Hop over her way and wish her a happy birthday - and say a prayer for her family while you are thinking of her.

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July Fun Part 2

We headed over to the Morrison's after naps and enjoyed and excellent dinner with them and the Malone's.

We headed to the Heritage and Freedom Fest after dinner. The kids played in a bounce house, watched a puppet show, colored pictures, and had their faces painted.

We headed out about 8:30 (after waiting in a LONG line for a funnel cake). When we got home the girls devoured the funnel cake and are now watching fireworks from our house. You can see fireworks from all directions at our house.

Norah has said several times that she had a GREAT 4th of July!

Quick sidenote: Happy Birthday, Melissa!!

4th of July Parade

Kevin ran in the 4th of July 5K - he ran his fastest 5K!! Yea!!

When he got home we loaded up the girls and headed to the parade. We were there about 45 minutes early so we were able to get really good seats. While we waited the girls decorated their candy bags and had a snack.

Although, we had great seats, there were a number of kids (bigger than my little ones) who squeezed in beside us (and often in front of us) at the last moment. I was slightly vocal to the other children that we were here first and they needed to scoot over so Norah and Lucy could see and get candy. I mean, really, where were the parents? The motorcycle police came by SEVERAL times to tell the kids to scoot back - once he actually yelled at them - but they still chose not to listen and there were no parents in sight. Annoying to those of us who were there early and have little ones who are kind and respectful, not rude and pushy. (Okay, I will step down off my soapbox.)

Anyway, the girls got plenty of candy and enjoyed watching the gymnastics group and the karate group.

The girls are now asleep before we head to the Morrison's for dinner.

Lucy spent much of the parade digging candy out of her bag.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Today is our 8th anniversary. It is hard to believe that we have been married 8 years! Time flies when you are having fun!! Here are a few pictures of our day!

We got married at my home church and our reception was outside at my aunt and uncle's house.

We had 8 "little friends" in our wedding - 2 were my cousins and the other 6 were kids I had babysat for years. These 2 little ones - Hannah and Natalie - I babysat from the time Hannah was 6 months. Aren't they precious? They are still the sweetest girls ever!!

When I told my mom that I wanted an outdoor reception - she was totally nervous. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. It was slightly cloudy - just enough so we weren't extremely hot.

Sleep Issues

What parent of young children has not dealt with sleep issues? We went through it with Norah and I think we are going through it with Lucy. Lucy has been in her big girl bed for almost 2 months. She has done great. While she did get out of bed, she stayed in her room and would crawl back in bed to fall asleep. At naptime, she didn't even get out of bed - she usually went right to sleep. Her naps have gotten shorter and shorter - but she can't make it through the evening. She has been GRUMPY. Lucy is constantly saying, "me so tiyerd." Besides the shortened naps, it is taking her forever to fall asleep at night. She talks and talks for up 1 1/2 hours.
Well, yesterday was the first day that she didn't take a nap. She kept coming out of her room, so I put up a gate, but she just stood at the gate hollering. Norah was irritated because she wanted to take a nap - she is still recovering from our late night at the Muny. I tried laying with Lucy - but she thinks it is a game. She tries to open my eyelids, she pokes my cheek, pulls my hair, or just climbs all over me. I finally convinced her to stay in her room and just play (I just needed a break). I thought she might eventually fall asleep, but not so much.
By the time Kevin got home last night, Lucy was a BEAR! She cried all through dinner and cried as I put her to bed. She was miserable! Thankfully, she fell asleep fairly close to 7. She was awake, though, by 6:20. Her typical sleeping pattern is 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. with an hour and a half nap.
We'll see what today holds.