Thursday, November 26, 2009

Birthday #13

Hello Everybody! Teenager boy here. You know, the one whose mom has been moaning " Oh, no a Teenager!" on her facebook account? I am here to blog about my birthday and my presents. And yes, there was a Snuggie involved.

It all started at about 7:00 on October 23, 2009. I woke up, thinking Wow, in 9 hours, I'm a teenager. Before I went to bed that night I expected to have some sort of deep revelation of myself, some sentimental memories, and some flashbacks of my preschool years.
I didn't.

Nope, just a typical, ordinary Friday morning, except it was my birthday. I went downstairs and found a box of Krispy-Kreme doughnuts with my name on them. Emily was already downstairs and as her own little birthday gift, she let me turn on the kitchen lights! I know, you're thinking What?? , but my sister prefers it very dark in the morning. Don't ask me HOW she makes herself breakfast, but hey, everybody has their quirks. Anyway, after my doughnuts, I headed off to school and my friends wished me a happy birthday. Other then that, my day STUNK. In gym, we were doing badminton and I could not serve the ball or hit it and I got run over by some rowdy jocks. Joy. So then my demon math teacher ( when I say demon, I'm not kidding. There's a rumor going around she's a vampire. ) assigned us 5 pages of homework, over the weekend! Then my science teacher gave the class a big lecture on respect and responsibility. But then I got home, where my grandparents were waiting, and even got to open some of my presents! Then we went to Emily's scrimmage soccer game, and then back home. At home we had my favorite dinner ( Sloppy Joes with coleslaw, and mozzarella sticks ). Then came present time. 13 presents for a 13 year old. I got:

1. 1 package A AA batteries
2. New headphones for my Ipod that actually stay in my ear
3. A new reading light
4. 5 pens and 1 pencil
5. The Mummy on Blu-Ray
6. A jar shaped like a skull ( comical and Decor for Halloween )
7. The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Veness
8. New slippers
9. New pajama pants
10. 2 bags of Lindor Truffles ( Best Chocolate on Earth)
11. A Shower kit complete with a body puff
12. A Brain Teaser game for Nintendo DS
13. and 1 Blue fleece, Adult sized Snuggie

Then some other presents:

14. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 4: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
15. 2 Composition notebooks
16. and a couple of cool cards and checks averaging around $30 each

So then I realize that with my box-tops contest winnings( $100) plus birthday cash ( $100) I could afford an iPod touch which was the first thing I wanted for my birthday. So mom asks me I have enough for it, I said yes and mom said to go upstairs and get my money so we can order it tonight. I was pretty excited about that, but even MORE excited when I came downstairs with my money to find mom and dad already purchased one and gave it to me the second I handed over the money, already fully charged and ready to play with. And then The Best Birthday Cake I've ever had the pleasure of digging into. So in summary:

16 awesome gifts + 1 Ipod touch + 1 super cool cake = 1 really happy birthday boy

Monday, November 16, 2009


Toes, painted by Mommy - Cover Girl Boundless Color in Fuchsia Girl

Fingers, painted by Ainsley - Elmer's Disney Princess Stamp & Paintbrush Markers in Cinderella Blue and Jasmine Purple with just a hint of Ariel Green

if he asks next saturday, i think i'll keep my mouth shut

This past weekend was supposed to be our last soccer event of the season...a tournament in Greensboro, NC. But last Monday we received word that one of the other teams had pulled out, leaving only our team and one other. Not exactly the season ending tournament we were looking for. So our team decided not to go, which left us in an unfamiliar situation. An entire weekend with absolutely no plans whatsoever! First on the agenda was resuming Pizza-Movie night, which we had to abandon several months ago to accommodate Friday night soccer practices. We woke up on Saturday morning to the sun shining and the birds chirping and the air crisp, but not cold ...and we were still plan-less. Doug looked at me and asked, "Well, what should we do today?" And knowing it was supposed to be a gorgeous weekend, and probably one of the last of the season, I replied, "Well, we could repaint the shutters..."

Now, don't get me's not that I really wanted to paint the shutters. It's just that we've been talking about painting the shutters since we moved into this house. And every year when we get the letter from the Homeowner's Association detailing things we can do to keep up our curb appeal, like giving our shutters a fresh coat of paint, I know the letter goes to everyone on the street, but I always feel like they are really talking about us! And after we (and by we, I mean Doug) got the garage cleaned out last weekend, I felt like we could be on a roll here...tackling projects left and right! And besides, it's not like it is a really huge project...just 10 shutters to take down, clean, paint and put back up! So, yes, I suggested it and Doug jumped on it. Within minutes he was up and off to Home Depot for the paint and a scrub brush. As soon as he got home, we got down the ladder and he started up with his screwdriver to take the shutters down. And after he removed one screw, he remembered how much he really hates to be on a ladder. I'd kind of forgotten about that part. Doug doesn't do ladders. But I wasn't going to let that stop us! I told him he was just going to have to man-up and get it done. No, I didn't really. I told him I'd be happy to get up there and take the shutters down. He seemed very reluctant to let me, but hey, I haven't been playing those balance games on the Wii Fit for nothing! And I know you probably don't believe me, but yes, I did get up on that ladder, I took down every shutter and after Doug and Emily cleaned and painted them, I got back on that ladder and hung them back up. And you know what? It was actually kind of fun. It's not very often that I get to get up on ladders and wield power tools (the drill to put the shutters back up) and while it's not like I want to quit my day job and become a contractor or anything (STOP LAUGHING), it was kind of empowering for me to find out I can do things like that if the need arises.

I really wish I had taken a "before" picture of the house...but I did manage to take a "before" and "after" of the shutters:

And then I remembered I did have a picture of the house. This is from September 2007, right after we moved in...

And here is the house now:

Not bad, eh?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

for those of you needing your jackson fix

We had Jack's first school conference just before Halloween. Turns out his teacher thinks he's very sweet and a lot of fun! Quite the social butterfly...friends with everyone! I're shocked, right?? Anyway, she told us that report cards would be going out this week and after Jack got in the car and buckled his seat belt this afternoon, he piped up from the backseat, "Mom, guess what? I got my first credit card!!"

And the Grandmas will get a kick out of this will anyone else who has had the pleasure of sharing sleeping space with Jackson...

Ainsley now sleeps in a toddler bed...that is to say we took the front off of her convertible crib, so now she can get in and out of bed by herself. We have had a few issues at nap time (meaning she hasn't taken a nap since she's been able to get in and out by herself), but we have had no problems at all at bed time. Which is why I was surprised the other night when Emily came downstairs after I had tucked the littles into bed and said, "Um, Mom? I think we have a problem." Turns out, Ainsley decided she was going to sleep with Jackson, except Jackson was less than thrilled about it. Honestly, I was a little surprised, since he loves to snuggle with her and has even climbed into her bed on occasion. I said, "Jack, you don't want Ainsley to sleep with you? Why not?" And he replied, "Ugh, she takes up too much room and she's in my space! And she kicks!"

Yes, my friends, that is the pot calling the kettle black...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

because sometimes love is a choice

"You didn't bring the mail in, did you?"

"No...why? You didn't get the mail today?"


"Seriously? I mean, I know you said you didn't do anything today, but really?"

"No, I said I didn't do anything except write a new blog post. Besides, you know I don't do rain."

Later, after dinner...

"So, you're going to clean up, right? And then take the kids up for a bath? And while they are in the bath you're going to fold the laundry?"

"Seriously...what did you do today??"

this one's for you, maya quandt!

Wow! You're still here? I know, you probably thought I forgot that I had this little blog, right? I can assure you that I didn't forget. It's just that, well, October kind of swallowed me whole. I knew it was going to be a busy month, full of an out-of-town soccer tournament and loads and loads of soccer practices and soccer games and acting classes and school conferences and visitors and birthdays! I mean, I knew in my head that it was going to be crazy, but I had no idea how crazy. Kind of like how when we found out we were expecting Ainsley...we knew things were going to be nuts with 4 kids, but honestly, we had NO IDEA! And I wanted to write, to share with you the exciting stuff that was going on here but then Doug wanted to upgrade the computer with a new hard drive. And when he was finished the computer was faster and quieter, but I couldn't find my pictures. And then I found my pictures, but my photo uploader was gone, and I had about 100 pictures on my camera. I mean, there were blog posts just waiting to happen, but I couldn't possibly write them without my pictures. So, I finally figured out how to upload the pictures, but then too much time had passed. And the thought of posting something seemed daunting, not fun and exciting. And then I thought, well, maybe everyone else is super busy too and they don't even realize I haven't posted anything for months. And then I got the text. The angry text. In all caps. UPDATE YOUR BLOG! So here I am. Updating my blog. And here are the highlights of what you may have missed while I've been away:

1.) The entire soccer season!
Man, it was a good one! Remember the Fury team from last fall that only won 1 game all season? Well, I barely do thanks to the Fury team of this season! Emily and her teammates went 7 - 0 - 1 this fall! First place in their division! It was so much fun to watch. The girls really play well together and when they bring it, there's no stopping them! We have a bit of a break practices until after the holidays. Our spring season should be fun!

And the Greyhounds had a great season too! I'll admit it was a bit dicey at first. Jackson appeared to be more interested in karate-chopping the opposing team instead of focusing on the ball. And while most of the time he still seems content to just run with the pack, he did manage to break away and score a couple of goals. He even seems excited to play again in the spring! And I'm glad he's playing in the will give me a chance to take pictures of him playing, since I didn't seem to take any this fall. Please don't judge...he's #3 of 4...he's kind of lucky we remember to feed him...

2.) There is a teenager in the house.
I know, right? When did that happen? It's still a bit surreal to me. Yes, I realize he's a great kid. Not likely to give us much trouble. But he's still a teenager, with the hormones and the angst and well, I'm sorry. I just can't talk about it anymore. Except to say that I will be devoting an entire post to the celebration. It was fun. There was even a Snuggie involved.

3.) School is AWESOME.
All three of the kids are having a great year so far. Jackson really likes his teacher, especially the fact that she rides a motorcycle to school on sunny days! He's up to about 25 words he can read, which is quite amazing given the fact that at the beginning of the year, Ainsley could say the alphabet better than he could. He's working hard and soaking everything up and having a blast. Emily is enjoying her first year in the Talent Development program. She's being challenged, loves her teacher and is making new friends in her new school. Ryan loves his new school too. He's reconnected with some old friends and made some new ones. I think his favorite class is his Musical Theater class, which comes as no surprise to me, but he's really doing well in all his classes and seems to like this school better than the one he attended last year. Not that I want to say I told him so or anything. Oh, who am I kidding...of course that's exactly what I want to say!!

4.) The death of a loved one.
R.I.P. Summit. You will be missed. But only for about another day or two. Because Doug is totally in love with his new Kia Forte. The fact that it starts every time would have been enough, but the fact that it has Bluetooth, a sunroof, Sirius satellite radio AND he can plug in his iPod??? He's on Cloud 9! Within 24 hours after buying it, he had purchased the new hanging shelves for the garage and it only took a day for him to install those shelves and completely clean out the garage so that both cars can be parked there. If only all projects around here were tackled with such gusto...

5.) Other helpful information...
You will not even be able to have a conversation with Ainsley unless you are well versed in the subjects of Yo Gabba Gabba, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and A Charlie Brown Christmas. It will also be to your advantage if repetition doesn't make your head explode. On the plus side, she's really cute when she sings "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!"

6.) The 2 year anniversary of this blog.
On November 6, 2007, I started this blog with a post about Marie Osmond. The kids spent some time yesterday going through the archives. This post started out funny, but Emily said, "I don't think I can watch two minutes of this." This one is one of my personal favorites. This one had Ryan cracking up, practically rolling on the floor! And I think this is one of Doug's favorites. How about you? What are your favorites?

I've got some fun things planned for this blog. Nothing too drastic, just a few changes here and there. Probably some more posts about food, some product reviews, my life list and even giveaways! Thanks for being patient while I figure out how to make this fun for me again. And as for you not-so-patient ones? (Yes, I'm looking at you, Maya!!) Thanks for giving me the kick in the pants I needed to start writing again!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Ryan Miller Book Awards

Hello Everybody!

First off, I would like to thank everybody who contributed to my box tops contest! You really helped and I won the second prize of 100 dollars. That and some birthday money and POOF! I have myself a brandspankin' new ( well I wouldn't say new, it was refurbished) 16 gigabyte iPod Touch. Thanks so much!!

Secondly, I have gotten some requests to do a new book list. I really want to but somehow, I can't seem to get any good new reads yet. ( Shocking, I know) Don't worry, I'm requesting some new ( hopefully good ) reads from the library. So in the mean time, I'm doing

*The First Annual Ryan Miller Book Awards*

The awards that go to anything readable, interesting, and cool.

Without further ado, Here are the winners!!:


1st: The Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
2nd: The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
3rd: The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull


1st: The 39 Clues series by Multiple Authors
2nd: On the Run series by Gordan Korman
3rd: Island series by Gordan Korman


1st: Diary Of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
2nd: Tales of a Forth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
3rd: Soupy Saturdays with the Pain and the Great One by Judy Blume

Short Story

1st: The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe
2nd: The Twits by Roald Dahl
3rd: All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury


1st: Regarding the... series by Kate Klise
2nd: Bridge to Terabithia by Kathleen Paterson
3rd: Holes by Louis Sacher


1st: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Vanness
2nd: Explorers Wanted: The Jungle by Simon Chapman
3rd: Greek Mythology by Greek Philosophers

Well those are the awards. Trust me, Some of those were really close. For instance, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button almost replaced All Summer in a Day. But Curious sort of dragged along.

Pretty soon I'll have enough books to compile another reading list. Until then, keep reading!