Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Festival

For our family, fall officially begins with Valley Center's Fall Festival.  I'm certain there is nothing that could possibly distinguish this fall festival from one of the thousands of others taking place in all of small town America.  But for one weekend, our town comes alive!  It is so much fun to walk down the street and everywhere you look you know someone.  You take time to talk - really talk to each other.  And it's sad to realize that some of the people you haven't talked to since last year's fall festival live less than a mile away. 

But this weekend they do.  They come outside lured by funnel cakes, parades, and the lights on the ferris wheel.  While there are activities on Friday night, for us, the fall festival starts with the parade Saturday morning.  And for the last two years, it's started a few weeks earlier as we've designed and built the float for our church.  We're starting to get it figured out and hopefully next year's will be bigger and better.  We had a "Valley of Oz" theme this year so we did ours as "There's no place like home in Christ!"  We were thinking over-the-top silly with giant 8 ft. by 4 ft. sparkling ruby slippers. 

After the parade we head downtown to look at all the vendors, eat lunch, and try to convince the kids they will, in fact, survive if they have to wait until after nap time to ride the rides.  Because in the evening is when everything seems more exciting.  All the rides are lit up, and it seems like the whole town is out ready to have fun.  Four young kids and overpriced tickets don't go well together.  So we got the "family pack" which was only 10 tickets for $25.  Ouch.  Each of the girls got to choose three rides, and Sam got to ride one. 

Sophia is a pretty serious kid at times, and then has this completely other side to her where she shows pure, uninhibited, delirious joy.  The contagious kind of joy.  The kind I wish I could still show!  She LOVES the rides and you can tell with her face and with her legs kicking in excitement.  Watching her is more fun than riding a ride. 

Anna and Isabella are much more cautious.  They picked their rides more carefully and were a little apprehensive at first, but then quickly smiled and enjoyed their rides. 

This was Sam's first year to ride anything.  He got to drive a jeep around in a circle.  Sounds thrilling!  He loved it.  And when it was time for me to unbuckle him.  He scooted over to drive the other steering wheel.  Too bad it doesn't work that way!  I grabbed him, put him back in his stroller and he just cried and pointed at the jeep.  Guess we should have bought more tickets. 

There are more activities on Sunday, but between church, naps and church we just ran out of time and energy.  We watched the fireworks from our backyard and avoided crowds and traffic.  It was a great way to end the weekend and a great way to start Fall.  I'm hoping your town has something similar to kick off this great season! 

Monday, September 27, 2010


Isabella:  "Mom, can I just pretend to do homework too?"  "Umm, I guess if you really want to."  Though I'm not really sure why you'd want to start that early.  Today Sophia was working on one of her math assignments.  She's in 2nd grade.  Here's an actual sentence from the directions.  "Advanced students can begin to understand how experimental probability compares to theoretical probability."  Yikes.  I had to reread that one.  I'm dreading when they get to high school and I know I'll struggle to be able to help.  Let's be honest -- it will probably hit earlier than that! 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

To stay at home...

I've said before that I'm a doer.  I don't sit still.  I get super involved in lots of different things and lots of different organizations.  I run lots of errands.  And I stay busy.  But today, I stayed home.  I stayed in my jammies most of the day - and I didn't run any errands.  I didn't drag my kids to any stores.   Nothing.  We didn't leave the house.  They just played all day long.  And look how cute they are?  Just sitting on the couch reading.  Guess we all need a day at home. 

Chris and I are making a plan to take Sundays as the Sabbath they're supposed to be. We'll go to church. Come home and rest. We'll teach Kids Club at night, but we're not going to spend the day doing chores, working on things, or running errands. We're going to take a cue from our kids and just relax.  Maybe soon you'll see a picture of Chris and I on the couch resting.  I sure hope so!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Who's the best? VHS.

Last week the girls participated in the annual right of passage for all small town girls.  Cheerleader Kiddie Camp.  We look forward to it all year long.  An entire week practicing cheers with high schoolers followed by a memorable performance at a football game.  And I mean memorable.  This year, all three girls were old enough to participate (and totally bust my entertainment budget).  $90 later, a few tears, many carpools, and complete and total chaos at pick-up time, I (I mean, they) survived.  It was time for the game.  The girls got their special 80's theme shirts based on the song "Too legit to quit."  And, for anyone keeping track, that really came out in 1991.  But, for the high school girls, that was close enough I guess.   They did a cheer and a routine to the song. 

I was so excited.  We dropped Sam off with the grandparents and I naively envisioned an entire half of a football game just sitting with Chris actually enjoying the game.  The girls got to sit with the cheerleaders for the first half.  About 4 minutes in I had to pick up Isabella as she was desperately crying.   So, instead of peacefully enjoying the game I spent my time getting up and down out of the bleachers since they performed twice rather than just lumping it all together.  I saw a few of the game plays.  A few.  Isabella was a little nervous, but in the end they all did well.  Sophia did plenty of attempts at kicks and jumps and had a ton of fun.  Anna liked feeling "big" and Isabella survived the first performance and actually enjoyed the second.  She might have been threatened once that if she didn't smile and perform then she couldn't go to the second annual right of passage -- that being the dance team's clinic during basketball season. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Adventures in Motherhood

Some days I think I've got things figured out.  Then I prove myself completely wrong in an instant.  Our dog was overdue for her yearly shots.  She's a 9 year-old golden retriever who thinks she's still a puppy.  She's amazing with our kids, but she gets incredibly excited to see new people.  Think lots of jumping up and licking!  I really needed to get her in to the vet so I looked at my schedule.  If I waited for a free Saturday when Chris could take her in....well it would probably be another few months.  So, I figured today would be great.  Sophia and Anna were in school, Isabella was at preschool, and it was just me and Sam.  We loaded up in the van and went to the vet.  This was a good idea.  It would have been hard to take more kids with me in the tiny room at the vet's.  I was really smart planning it this way. 

About 10 seconds in to the vet visit I realized that this was not a good idea.  I'm not sure who was more difficult to control -- the 80 (actually 75lb now!!) dog or the 2 year-old boy who loves doors and thinks all dogs love him.  I was trying to calm Sadie down, keep her from jumping on everyone and still keep track of Sam.  We went in the tiny waiting room with doors on either side.  Great.  He couldn't keep his hands off them.  I had to try to convince him to stay in the room and at the same time hold Sadie's face different ways so the vet could check out her ears and teeth.  Then I had to help her stay still for shots. Luckily she didn't even notice them.  But I was still completely out of my league.   Then it was time to leave and pay.  We went out to the front desk where I was supposed to contain my dog, sign my credit card slip, and keep both Sam and Sadie away from the other two playful large dogs. 

I came home exhausted.  I was covered in dog hair, had a full-blown allergy attack from the cats at the vet and could hardly believe I had thought that was a good idea.  What was I thinking?  I still can't figure out which was more difficult to contain, the overgrown puppy or the 2-year old boy.  Good thing they're both so cute!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

3 legged race

A picture's worth a thousand words.  So in this case, maybe 6,000 words!  The kids are getting ready for the 3-legged race.  Should be fun. 

On your marks, get set!


Come on Sam, they said "Go!"

Everybody else has clearly gone, and Sam is still looking at how he's tied to his sister.  She's trying really hard to pull him along.

"He won't go!"  He's still trying to figure out why they're tied together and he hasn't moved an inch!  So funny! 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Do Something....

This is my new favorite quote..... "I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that....then I realized I was somebody."  - Lily Tomlin.  I LOVE it!  I am a doer.  But, this summer I finally came to the realization that I didn't want to just do stuff.  I get very busy doing all the things that I commit to and I finally decided that I wanted to spend my time and money investing in things that really mattered.  Things that make a difference.  Things that I can be proud of and that my children will eventually be proud of.  So, from time to time, I like to share some of those things that I think really matter.   The Kyrie Foundation's Twilight Walk is one of those things. 
Do you have plans on Saturday, Sept. 18?  If not, I'm hoping you'll join my family and I as we participate in the 3rd annual Twilight Walk for the Kyrie Foundation at the Bishop Carrol track.  Our next door neighbors and their families started the Kyrie Foundation after their daughter, Kyrie, died from pediatric brain cancer.  She passed away shortly before we moved in, but we know our little girls would have been great friends. 

Could she be any cuter?  She would be 5 this year.  Just like our Anna.  No one can imagine how devastating it would be to lose your daughter only 9 weeks after learning she had a tumor in her brain.  But the family decided to turn this unbelievably painful and personal experience into something that could change the world.  Investing in research will someday lead to a cure for other children.  That's where the Kyrie Foundation comes in.  They raise money in order to raise awareness and fund research for pediatric brain cancer.  In only a few short years, they've already raised $50,000 for a memorial research grant given to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. 

So, I want to invite you to come to the Twilight Walk with us.  There are plenty of fun activities for the kids, a silent auction, and then everyone walks together 10 quarter-mile laps around the track representing the 10 children that are diagnosed everyday with a brain tumor.  TEN.  This is a chance for you and your family to help the Kyrie Foundation make a HUGE difference!  You can register here.  It's only $10 to participate.  And I promise, you won't forget it.  My kids talk about it all year long and ask when we're doing it again.  This is something that matters.  Maybe you're in the mood to "do something" too.  If you are, I can't wait to see you at the walk!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Isabella!

Yesterday was the big day.  She said she's been waiting for it her whole life.  She's right.  She practiced how she would react when she opened her presents and she planned to not stop smiling the entire day.  That's my Isabella.  Lots of joy and excitement!  Ready to dance at a moment's notice. 

Isabella wanted a Nemo party.  Somehow I've got to convince my kids to have simpler themed parties.  This Nemo cake took over an hour to frost and my fingers were so sore when I was done.  But she was impressed, and that's what matters.  We had family over and Isabella had a great time.  She showed everyone her presents one at a time like a professional Vanna White.  So cute. 

Next up....bringing treats for preschool.  This will only be her 2nd day of preschool so it's pretty exciting to get to bring the first birthday treats - most things are still exciting when you're 4.  My wish for this week is to try to have more child-like joy every day.  Are you with me? 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Grand Total

Most of you know that our PTO this year chose to host a fun run instead of a traditional door-to-door sale.  It took a lot of planning.  But our final totals are in.  Are you ready?  This is super exciting!  Between the kids collecting pledges and our race registration we raised a total of $11,828.52!!!!   We had 378 people participate in our three races!  Can you believe that?  What great turnout for our first ever Hornet Hustle!  I cannot wait to help make it even bigger and better next year!  Thanks to all of you who came out and supported our school!  Click here to read the story and see all of the race results from the Ark Valley News or here to read the editor's column (he also mentions Chris' blog which is amazing even if I am biased!)   Great coverage from a wonderfully supportive local paper!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I like to stay busy.  I'm not the type of person who can just sit down and relax.  I'd rather be doing something. With four kids, I never run out of things to do.  There's always dishes, laundry, and lots of cleaning.  It never ends.  So, unfortunately, when I sit down, I look around and see one giant "to do" list instead of my home.  Friday night was no exception. 

I worked at our local parents day out program for four hours and then came home and watched a friend's child for a few more.  My Mom dropped by and we went out to eat with her and my sister and her family -- all 11 of us.  By the time we had dinner and got the kids to bed, it was 8:30.  I sat down, read my nightly Bible reading and then grabbed a blanket and fell right asleep on the couch by 8:45pm.  Chris woke me up (dragged me up) an hour or so later, we kissed the kids and were fast asleep in our beds at 10pm.  I was so tired!   Usually we get to bed closer to midnight or later so being asleep before 9 was a welcome shock to the system.  So, while I'd like to say that we did something fun like a romantic date night or spent the evening at the high school home football game - I can't.  I can only say I slept.  And I'm so glad I did!  I'm thinking that should be a new Friday family tradition.  We'll see how that works out! 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

1st Day of Preschool

Isabella was so ready for today!  She could hardly wait.  She was dressed and ready to go hours before it was time.  Waiting those last ten minutes to get in the van was impossible.  She was ready to go to school!  "FINALLY," she says!  While Isabella turns 4 in a few days, she misses the school cut-off for starting Kindergarten next year by 6 short days.  So, she's starting preschool with her classmates who are all 3.  She'll be the oldest in her class, though she's still the smallest.  She's one tiny chick! 
(She's tiny, but look at that belly sticking out!!)

Like her sisters, she'll get to go to preschool for two years.  We've always thought that was helpful since I stay at home with them. Socializing with the other kids and following directions from someone other than their Mom and Dad takes time to learn. 

So she's in the "little kids room" this year two mornings a week and that means two mornings a week it's just Sam and I for a few hours a day.  Oh the fun we're going to have!