Monday, February 22, 2010

Stuffed Monkey Heads

AJ has to do a project about monkeys. The object is to create a game that will inform his classmates about monkeys. So, in the great Ohio tradition, he has created a monkey version of cornhole.

So we made our own monkey head shaped bean bags. I even used the sewing machine!!

Here is a view of the chaos:

Please notice the following:
  • Krazy glue
  • tweezer thingys so AJ wouldn't permanently attach his hand to the felt.
  • Charlie's bath funnels for filling the bean bags with pellets
  • the box for my sewing machine. Yes, I used it for the first time to make monkey heads

But, they came out kind of cute. We have a general rule that we don't really help AJ with school projects beyond the planning/life skills aspects of it. So, he did as much as he was able to himself. And since he wasn't touching my brand new, out of the box, sewing machine I did end up helping him with that part of it. It ended up not really mattering. Since I haven't sewn a darn thing in about 5 years, it looked like AJ did the sewing anyway.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

McTeacher Night

We are lucky enough to have a family that owns a few McDonald's in our school community. Last night was McTeacher Night. For those of you who do not have elementary school children, it is a fundraiser that McDonald's run. The teachers from the school go and work at the McDonald's along with the trained professionals. Part of the proceeds go to the school. There are also tip jars so you can "tip" your favorite teacher. And they also donate cookies that we sell for a dollar. We made over a $1000 just from tips and cookie sales last night. We are still waiting for the sales totals. But we have broken records every year. We also have an opportunity to win an extra $1000 if our McDonald's has the best sales in our area during the McTeacher night.

It was really fun. And a ton of freaking work. I was very impressed with the restaurant staff. They knew what they were doing, they did their jobs well, and they had a whole lot of patience when it came to working with a bunch of meddling teachers.

Seriously, their patience was extraordinary. The line was out the door, and we were all behind the counter "helping". I would have lost it at about the 7 minute mark. But the staff was friendly and kept smiling the whole time.

And hey, and if I get to have a cheeseburger and fries with the knowledge I am helping the school, then so be it. I am nothing if not a giver. (Please refer to the pizza fundraiser post.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Exploring In The Family Room

Look! An exotic sleeping Zac!

Here is a close up of the very high-tech binoculars used in the expedition.

Walking Home, Charlie Style

Here is the great thing about having kids. By watching them, you start remembering what it was like to see the world through such new, unfettered eyes.

Charlie and I walk home from his school most days. I don't take the stroller or car unless we are in a true hurry to get home. It is WAY too much fun to watch him, watching the world and making his little two year old observations.

We live by an Air Force base. So that means there are usually 2-3 jets that fly by overhead during our walk. This is a good thing. Because when else would Charlie get the opportunity to point to the sky and scream: "JETS" ?

And then he has to jump over the cracks in the sidewalk, walk up and down the wheelchair ramp, walk around each tree, peek through the trellis in the arbor, sit on the park bench and my personal favorite- the ever dramatic "fake fall". Yep, the kid is only two and he is already doing stunt falls in the middle of the sidewalk. He also likes to get in front of me, look back, smile, and yell "Hurry!" while he sprints away from me.

I think he likes our walk homes just as much as I do. In fact he gets down right out of sorts if I show up with the car.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Introducing the New AJ. . ..

The funniest part of this whole thing was that AJ and I went to pick out glasses without Shawn. But when we got them home we discovered that AJ and Shawn's glasses were pretty much identical. But I think that falls under the "don't mess with what works" category.

Charlie's Birthday Party

We had Charlie's birthday party at the park by out house. We ended up with about 10 families. It was a little chilly by AZ standards, but the kids stuffed themselves with pizza, scarfed down cupcakes and then ran around like banshees, so I considered it a complete success. We did have a few minutes of panic when we woke up to a huge rain storm in the middle of the night. We scrambled and cleaned the house just in case we had to change plans like last year. But, in the end, we got to the park early and just wiped off all the equipment and tables. I have party standards, but they are not high.

Here are some pictures:
Here is Charlie surveying the land- or maybe the presents.

Here he is with his first cupcake.

Multitasking- going down the slide while eating a cupcake. I have never been prouder.

This is Charlie opening the gift from my friend Deborah. She swore that despite the fact it was a bowl with fake fish, it was the coolest gift ever. She was right. You add water to the bowl, and watch the fish swim back and forth. We had to say "Goodnight" to the fish so I could turn the darn thing off.
Here Charlie is opening the gift from his former daycare teacher. I joked that she must obviously hate me because it is a sand/water table. Who does that to a fellow mother? I may never forgive her. Oh wait, I need sitter in a few weeks. Cancel that.

It was a fun day. There was a little work, a little worry, a big celebration and then we all took a nap and watched the Super Bowl. Just like the day he was born.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Home Crazy Home

Those of you who have known me for awhile know that I have never really had good luck with housing. In fact, the last truly positive housing experience was college.

Here are a few bullet points from the last 15 years:
  • There was the psycho roommate in the house I lived in right out of college. For example, she collected money from my other roommates for a hot air balloon ride for me for my birthday. She then took the trip herself and never paid the other roommates back. This is just one story of many.
  • Shawn and I attempt to buy a house in NH when we moved there for law school. The mortgage company needed documentation from a student loan company that no longer existed. We told them as much. While spending all our savings staying in a Residence Inn, and then moving into and renting the house we were attempting to buy, the mortgage company tells us that just because the student loan company no longer existed there was no excuse why the bank couldn't talk to someone from that company. And they tell us that they will need all documentation on letterhead from the nonexistent company.
  • After the documentation fiasco, we settle for renting. Our real estate agent tells us she has a great apartment for rent that she actually owns. It is nice, clean and in a great location. We leave NH and go to my parents house in CT for the weekend thinking we have the apartment. The agent calls us on Sunday night to tell us that her husband doesn't want to rent to people with pets. We now have to start from scratch and we have just lost a weekend to look for a new place.
  • We end up in a small house (read doublewide) in the middle of the woods in Northwood, NH. A charming town, if you are a bear. Or a skunk. Speaking of skunks, we had sort of a skunk incident while living there. How do I put this? Let's just say people knew we were coming from a mile away for a few months going. The house was really not that bad. Except for the undrinkable orange water, the plethora of fisherman on the lake outside our window, the 45 minute drive to the laundromat and the skunks. But I wasn't feeling too bad about it until my brother visited and said "Mom and Dad haven't seen this have they?" I still laugh when I think about that conversation.
  • Then we moved to Concord. This apartment was definitely a step up. It had a washer and dryer in the apartment and drinkable water! And everything was going well until we moved out. In an effort to do the right thing, Shawn steam cleaned the carpets. And then we turned off the utilities because we were moving out. You guessed it. The carpets molded and had to be replaced.
  • Our final residence in NH was actually nice. It was in Exeter- a totally cute town. We could walk to the library, the ice cream shop and AJ had a little friend who lived next door. It was all going well until the basement flooded and we lost 1/3 of our belongings.
  • Our next move was to AZ. Shawn flew down himself and picked out a great house. The only problem with this house was the actual development it was in. The builders had all gotten together and donated a plot of land for the school to be built. Then they built around the donated land, basically creating an island of land for the school. After we moved in to a house that was a block from the promised school (we thought this would be a prime location for resale), the school system said they needed even more land to build the promised school. The builders said they were out of luck, all the houses had been built around the school land already. So, the school was never built. And they wouldn't even just build a smaller school. The land sits vacant to this day, as far as I know. Just a note for those of you trying to sell your house: It is very hard to sell a house when there is no public school in a 20 minute radius. And if you are buying a house, be sure to see the actual school before you place an offer.
  • We finally moved to the place we are now. We are renting again. It is a beautiful house in the best location. But, as our luck would have it, we got a notice in the mail that our landlord is foreclosing on the house we are living in. This means we may have to move again. Luckily, a law was just passed here in AZ that states if you sign a 2 year lease (which we did), and an investor buys the house, they have to honor the lease. The worse case scenario is that we will have to move out this summer after the house is auctioned off. The best case scenario is we get to stay here for as long as we need to.
I know there are far worse problems in the world. But, it would be nice to live somewhere without the constant fear that the rug is going to be pulled out from under us yet again.

Oh well. I am sure it will all work out in the end. Now, where did I put those moving boxes?

Last Day Being 1

Trains. Nuk. Blanket. Yeah, that's about right.