Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Birthday Party

There were 4 ten year old boys in my house for almost 24 hours. I don't think I need to say more.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Happy Birthday AJ- Welcome to Double Digits!

10 Things I Like About You. . . .

  1. You are pretty darn funny.
  2. You question everything.
  3. You could eat pasta (no sauce with parmesan cheese) every day.
  4. You come up to me in the hall at school and give me a hug- in front of your friends.
  5. You love being a big brother.
  6. I don't worry about you. I am pretty sure you will be fine in life.
  7. I like the fact that you try to be so serious sometimes but those big blue eyes and freckles get in the way every time.
  8. I like that you like to be good at stuff.
  9. You are only 10, but you already have a good sense of self. And a pretty darn good BS detector.
  10. You like to be independent.
I wish I could fast forward ahead and see what the universe has in store for you in your 20s and 30s. Like all moms, I see you doing great things. But I will have to wait. Besides I wouldn't want to miss a day.

Notebooks, Pashminas and Spoons

There are few greater gifts in this world then having a group of friends who you can rely on to make you laugh until you cry.

I have a group of 3 girlfriends who I met in the interior design program. We are friends to this day. If I never use my degree ever again, school was worth it because I met these women.

We met last night for dinner, something we try to do once a month. We talked about the usual things, the kids, the husbands, the jobs, trips we have taken and how we all want to walk up to Jesse James and kick him in the shin.

We are all at different stages in our life. Our children alone, illustrate this point. One woman is in the trenches with a newborn and toddler at home. One of us has children who are thinking about colleges and starting a babysitting business. One of us is on the verge of becoming an empty nester and travels the world over. And then there is me. I am sort of in the middle.

After E passed out the pashminas she brought us back from Madrid, and the two older women got out notebooks to write down all the new websites we mentioned during dinner, (and the two younger women made fun of them), we ordered cappuccinos. And when the waitress brought a pasta spoon to stir them with, we lost it. Like tears running down our face, lost it.

When you know a spoon will become part of the lore that will be talked about for years to come, you know you are surrounded by good friends.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oops, My Bad!

This week we did a unit on origami. I did two different models; a frog and a lotus flower. The kids got a real kick out of the unit and were genuinely proud of themselves for mastering the models.

A teacher stopped me in the hall today and let me know that one of her parents was a little upset. I have her twin boys in class, and they really took to the origami project. And I mean really took to it. (If you are a parent, your are probably seeing where this story is going.) It seems the two industrious lads decided to use what they learned at home. I guess the mom walked into the family room to find sixty origami frogs covering her couch.

Anyone know what the proper etiquette is for apologizing for a plague?

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Shower

The shower went really well. It was a nice way to spend an afternoon. Here are some highlights:

This is the family of honor. See the little guy in the purple cast about to fall into the fire pit? That is their first born. Despite the photographic evidence to the contrary, they are actually fantastic parents. And their little girl will be very lucky and well loved.

Isn't this backyard beautiful? I have had the pleasure of having many a cook out here. Love it.

Sorry about the smudge on the camera lens. But these were two of the other hostesses of the shower. See the green drink? It is made with kiwi, lemonade and sugar. Oh. My. God. Delicious. Just don't have one on a first date- the kiwi seeds can get stuck in your teeth. But if you are married like me, and aren't trying to impress anyone, then go for it. So worth it.

It is a fun group to hang out with. There are a ton of kids, so they keep each other pretty entertained.

This is Charlie and playing dominoes with his friend. They don't know it yet, but they may be related to each other one day. Her big sister is AJ's best friend and they already bicker and banter like they have been married for years.

This is Charlie and his cupcake. Or, as he likes to call it, his "cake cake". A few days before the shower, I bought one of those 3 tiered cupcake stands. The box had pictures of all the yummy treats you could display on the stand. Boy was Charlie mad when he realized that none of those yummy treats were actually inside the box. And then I made the cupcakes and they were just sitting there on the counter waiting to be taken to the shower. The torture. The injustice. So when he finally got one, he took it to the far corner of the garden to eat it. He wasn't taking any chances of someone stealing it.

These are the balloons that got accidentally released. Of course they landed in the corner of the ceiling where no one would be able to reach them. Ever.

Here is some of the food. It was all so yummy. It was really hard to stop eating. Really really hard.

We had a great time. But I have to say the funniest part was the dad-to-be's face when the expectant mom just kept pulling more and more pink baby girl clothes out of the gift bags and boxes. He looked a little shell shocked. Just wait until he meets her.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Daisy Cupcakes

One of my dearest friends is having her baby shower tomorrow. She has a heart of gold, and is all in all, just simply a good soul. (In fact she is so nice that there were four of us clamoring to host the shower for her.) Shawn is good friends with her husband and Charlie and her son are only about 5 months apart. So our families fit very well together.

She is expecting a girl. AJ is always saying how he wants a sister (not happening) and Charlie is obsessed with babies. (He has to stop by the baby room at school to say good bye each day. And he is gets very distressed if he hears them crying.) So the fact that she is having a girl works out great for me. The boys will now have a baby girl in their lives and I don't actually have to give birth to her.

The theme we picked was daisies. I had a cake in mind that I had done before. I first did this daisy decoration when we lived in NH. And I have been looking for an excuse to use it again. I made one big cake, in what I hoped, was a Tiffany blue. Then I placed the marshmallow and candy daisies all over it.

I decided to use the blue again even though she is having a girl. I just couldn't resist the white, yellow and baby blue combination. And this time I decided to make cupcakes instead. I thought they would be easier to eat for a large crowd.

This is a picture of the more traditional ones I made, but I also found some pink marshmallows (for the petals), so I made some of those too.

Here is another picture of the cupcakes. I ended up making over sixty.

Hopefully I will have some more pictures posted after the actual shower.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Charlie the Defender

We have been asked in the past, why we chose the name Charlie. It is not really a family name. And truth be told we are not crazy about the actual name Charles. But we did give him the full name of Charles just in case he wanted to write a book, or win the Nobel Prize or something. I think Charles would look better written in the history books.

We chose the name Charlie because Shawn and I watch a lot of movies. And Charlie is usually the name of the good guy. One of our favorite movies is The Italian Job with Mark Walhberg. His character, Charlie, is a leader, loyal to his friends, thinks well on his feet and is the all around "good guy" despite being a thief of epic proportions. He does the name proud.

Yesterday was St Patrick's day. AJ was showing me what would happen if I did not wear green. He pinched me. Hard. I yelled that it hurt and to knock it off. Charlie was standing next to me at the time. His first reaction was to look at me and ask: " You ok?" When I said I was, he turned to his big brother and with all the force his two year-old body could muster, pointed his finger at him and gave AJ a piece of his mind. It was mostly in "toddler" so I didn't get it all. But I got the gist. And so did AJ. Charlie was mad that someone had hurt someone else and he wasn't having it. (This is not the first time he had taken a stand. He has been known to be the mediator between two friends at school.)

I have to say that despite the fact that it was, bar none, the funniest thing I had seen in a long time, I was very proud. And touched. And I was glad we had named him Charlie.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Call Him Moo

This is the neighborhood cat that walks on our wall outside our window every day. I have no idea whose cat he is. But, he pays us a visit daily. I call him Moo, because he looks like a cow. I am very creative that way. Did I mention I teach art?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

File Under: Better Left Unknown

Teacher from Across the hall: So, did you hear my snake got out?
Me: Really? Is he back?
Teacher: Yup! Jimmie (maintenance man) found him.
Me: That's great.

2 hours later

Jimmie: So, did you hear I caught a snake in your room?
Me: Wait. What?

Hello There!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Look! Water in AZ!

It has been raining a lot here lately. A lot. There was even a thunderstorm tonight, and that never happens. Lightening flashed outside the window and Charlie was like "What the heck was that?

A Moment in Time

I love this picture because it is so "everyday". I love the fact that his feet don't even make it to the end of the cushion. And even though we are trying to break the habit, I love that he has his nuk.

Because in about 10 years, his feet will be bigger than mine. And smellier. And he won't be reading a book. He will be reading on his Kindle, or his iPad or his tricorder. And the book won't be about how dinosaurs use their manners. It will be a US history, or chemistry textbook. And he will be looking a lot more stressed out.

So for now he can have his cute little feet, in their cute little socks. And he can even have his faithful nuk. I am sure he will get rid of it before chemistry class. Right?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gem of the Day

Tomorrow is Dr. Seuss's birthday. So, I am doing a Green Eggs and Ham project with the younger crowd this week in class. The kids decorate paper plates, and then they have to cut out green eggs and bacon from construction paper and glue them onto the plate.

So, I was passing out the materials in a second grade class. I hand a student the pink paper with the bacon drawn on it for her to cut out.

Second grader: Do I have to use the bacon?

Me: Well, the ham is part of the story. Why don't you want to use it?

Second grader: I have a pet pig.

A Study in Contradiction

We have had Zac since we lived in NH- almost seven years ago now. He was an old man of eight at the time. We got Zeena (named by AJ for a little girl in his preschool class) when we moved to AZ, about six years ago. She was a newborn at the time, and she and her litter mates had been abandoned in the desert.

Even though they have been together for about 6 years, only now are they starting to actually sit next to each other, groom each other and generally hang out cat-style.

I know this sounds hokey, but I really think they got closer after Zac went missing for those few days when we first got to this house. Zeena looked for him everywhere. And then she looked for him everywhere again. She would have done a bloodhound proud. And when he finally came back home, she did not leave his side for a week. Ever since then, they can usually be found in the same room.

There was a lot of hissing and fighting in the beginning. And sometimes there still is. And I never will understand exactly what their relationship is. Sometimes it is one of parent and child. Sometimes it seems more of brother and sister. I swear Zeena will push Zac's buttons just to see what will happen. But, whatever they have negotiated seems to work for them and they both seem to be at peace with it.

Stuffed Monkey Heads- Update

AJ's project was a huge success. He got an A!!! Also, I have gotten comments from kids in his class (His class is split up for art, so I only see 5 kids from his class at a time.), how much they liked playing his game. And the teacher kept his game as an example for next year. Yeah AJ!