Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thoughtful Gage

Last week when we were making out birthday party invitations Gage said he wanted to invite Matthew, a kid from his class, to his party. I told him that would be great. We know Matthew from Gage's Kindergarten class and he is a really nice boy. Gage was always concerned about him in Kindergarten, and now again in 2nd grade, because Matthew is allergic to milk. In Kindergarten each kid brings a snack for the day for the entire class, and rotate through the month. Since Matthew is allergic to milk, many times Gage would talk about how Matthew wasn't able to have the snack that day because it had milk in it. Matthew's Mom always sent a snack with him to have if this happened, so he wouldn't be without one. When it was Gage's turn for snack, he always wanted to make sure what he took didn't have milk in it so Matthew could eat it. How thoughtful! Now, in 2nd grade, everyone brings their own snacks. Gage commented to me the other day that he and Matthew are the only ones in his class that bring healthy snacks. Anyway, I told Gage that for his birthday we could make a snack for him to take for the whole class, which will be this Friday. My plan was to make the delicious, healthy, Pumpkin muffins that Kara gave me the recipe for. I made them last week for Emma's snack day for the entire class and they were really good. When I mentioned this Pumpkin muffin idea to Gage, he was all excited about it and then asked, "Does it have milk in it Mom?" I looked through the recipe and it calls for 1 cup of vanilla yogurt, so I told him that it did. He said he wanted to take something that Matthew could eat, so I told him I would see if I could substitute it with something else. (I'm no good with these kind of trivia questions, so I always refer these "cooking questions" to Emily.) Before I had a chance to get in touch with Emily, Matthew's Mom called me today to RSVP for Gage's party. She said Matthew was thrilled and was planning to come. She also said that she would send cake with him since he's allergic to milk. I told her about Gage wanting to make sure that what he had for a snack would work, and then told her I would make a cake that he could also eat. She was very nice and said I didn't have to do that, but I insisted because Gage really wants something Matthew can eat. Since I was making a box cake, I asked her if those contained milk, and she told me that typically the generic brand of boxed cake mixes don't contain milk and she told me how to read the label. I hadn't ever really noticed that at the bottom of the list of ingredients, it lists allergen information. I also asked her about the Pumpkin muffins and told her that it called for yogurt and asked her what I should use as a substitute for that. She suggested Soy yogurt. I didn't even know that existed, but I told her I was happy to use that instead so that Matthew could eat them. Anyway, I went to the little Dan's grocery store not far from our house and of course they did not have any and told me I needed to go to the north or south Dan's. I needed to run to Walmart anyway, so I thought I would run up north to Walmart and check there, then if they didn't have it I could stop at Dan's north on my way home. Walmart didn't have it. Or at least not that I could find, and then trying to find someone to help you in Walmart is pretty much useless. SO, I got what I needed there, then headed to Dan's north. They didn't have any in the dairy section, so when I asked the person working in the dairy dept. he sent me up to the front of the store where they keep their soy and organic products. I did find some soy yogurt, but no vanilla of course, which is what the recipe calls for. So, once again I had to ask for help and she had to go find someone else to help me, and it was the same person I had already talked to. He didn't know why there wasn't vanilla and then said he would look in the back. No vanilla soy yogurt. He asked if I wanted to special order some. No, I don't! I explained to him that I only needed it this once for a kid coming to my son's birthday party. I asked him where he thought I might find some and he said sometimes the south Dan's carries things they don't. UGH! As I leave Dan's, I'm getting frustrated that I can't find what I need, and decide to go to Central Market, since it was closer. No vanilla soy yogurt. They did have every other flavor; however. I again asked someone for help and he was actually very helpful. First of all he wanted to know if I wanted to special order some. UGH! I had to explain the story again. I figured since he was a younger guy, it would be useless to ask him what I should use to substitute for vanilla, but I did anyway. He was very helpful and suggested strawberry or peach. I decided to try strawberry, then later when I talked to Emily she said she would have chosen peach. OF COURSE!! I thought on my way home I should have gotten peach, but decided strawberry would have to do. I was already wore out on this whole situation. I was also thinking about how difficult this must be for Matthew's mom, to ALWAYS have this problem! I certainly take for granted the little things, like my children not having any allergies! I'm glad this whole scene played out the way it did, because it helps me to open my eyes a little and realize that I need to be thankful for what we have. So, now my plan is to make a batch of Pumpkin muffins with the strawberry flavored soy yogurt AND a batch with regular vanilla yogurt and compare them and see how much the strawberry soy yogurt alters the taste. I'm sure they will taste a little different because of the soy yogurt anyway, but I want to do a taste test. If the soy yogurt muffins don't turn out too great, I'll send the whole batch home with Matthew! :-) I also found a cake mix AND frosting that do not contain milk so I will be making 2 cakes as well. I was planning to make 2 anyway, because I never know when I might lose one to the sneaky canine that is just waiting for me to turn my back when there is cake on the counter!! If you can remember, I had a horrible time with that back in February, with Emma's birthday.
I hope I didn't bore you to death with my story, but that was my day, running around to 4 different grocery stores in search of a product I could not find.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Terrible night

Boy did I have an awful night last night! First of all, I should have gone to bed a little earlier than I did, which was around 11:30p. I fell asleep pretty easily and around 3 am I was awakened by barking dogs. This is fairly unusual. There is a dog who barks its brains out across the street, but I typically don't hear that one (unless of course the mailman is on his rounds), especially at night. These are chocolate labs that live right beside the house that is directly behind us. Anyway, the barking dog(s) woke me up. I was quite annoyed, but I figured it would stop soon and I could go back to sleep. It didn't stop. It wasn't constant, like rapid-fire barking, or anything, but it was frequent enough that I couldn't fall back asleep AND it sounded like it was right under my bedroom window. We've had several friends through the years who have lived next to barking nightmares and I have always felt bad for them and wondered how I would repsond to something like that. Well, I got to see how I would respond last night, and let me tell you, it was NOT good! Around 3:20 I got up out of bed, stuck my head against the screen and yelled "QUIET!" I'm sure if there were any neighbors laying awake like I was, they got a chuckle out of that. It actually worked, but only for about 20 minutes. The barking resumed and I continued to get more and more annoyed. If I knew the people that live there, I would have been tempted to give them a call. Around 4 am I attempted once again to silence the barking by yelling out the window. Unfortunately it didn't work this time, and only made matters worse. I made one last attempt at hollering out the window, and when it failed again I gave up on that. By 4:30 I decided to try shutting the windows to see if that would help. It didn't. I guess it helped in that it didn't sound like the dog was underneath my bedroom window, but in the neighbors yard, which of course is where it was. Since this is really the first time this has happened, I didn't want to call the police or any drastic thing like that because who knows what the situation was? Maybe they had to leave home for an emergency and had to put the dogs outside? I doubt that, but I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. I finally had to get up and get some cotton to stick in my ears. I did finally fall asleep and probably got a whole 4 hours of sleep. Needless to say, I've been dragging a bit today! I'm praying that this doesn't happen again tonight. I might not be as tolerant tonight!?

Scott and Gage made it home around lunchtime today from their big weekend of hunting. Gage seems to have had a good time. He didn't come home as completely exhausted as he did last year, so that was good! Scott was here a whole 8 hours and has left again. He went back to Tuttle to hunt again. I have TONS of things to do this week in preparation for Gage's party on Friday so it would have been nice to have a little help. (I'm not bitter at all, can you tell?)
Here are a few pictures Scott downloaded from his camera. (I apologize for the sideways ones but I don't know how to rotate them? My camera usually does it automatically.)

Gage all hidden in his blind. He told me this was much more pleasant than when we went goose hunting when we nearly died of heat exhaustion in our body bags!

Hmmmm..............can you guess what's for supper?

In the background you can see that I sent our telescope with Scott and Gage so that they could do some of the things required for the astronomy belt loop and pin for Cub Scouts. Gage was all excited to tell me that he located and identified 4 constellations and the north star!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

No school tomorrow!

Tomorrow is "Staff Development Day" at school, so the kids have the day off. I will be babysitting Kasey and Ethan tomorrow, since their Mom will be at school and doesn't have daycare. The good thing about that is that I won't have to listen to Emma or Gage saying they are bored and can we play with a friend. Hopefully the day will not be too chaotic. Gage won't be home until around noon or later tomorrow, so Ethan may be bored without him to play with.

Today Emma had a birthday party to go to at the park. She had a good time. She must have spent most of her time on the monkey bars because she had just tore open the blister that had formed on her hand when I got there to pick her up. She loves going across those monkey bars. That was one of my favorite things to do at the park when I was growing up too! While Emma was at the party I ran a few errands and then spent the remainder of my time at the zoo. The park Emma was at was right next to the zoo, so I thought it would be nice to walk around the zoo and see the animals that "I" wanted to see for a change! :-) I love the new Big Cat exhibit. The 3 tigers they are are really fun to watch. They are playful just like my cats, only in a much larger size! Next Saturday (Oct. 4...........Gage's birthday) they will be letting the leopards out into their new home from 1-4pm. I would really like to see how they react to their new surroundings, so I'll have to talk Gage into going to the zoo on his birthday!

We are having his birthday party on Friday after school. He handed out invitations at school last week. I apparently had a brain fart when I decided Friday from 3:05-5p would be a good day for the party because the kids have swimming lessons from 4:35-5:05. UGH! I'm not sure what I can do other than have Gage miss swimming lessons. I hate to do that though because he missed this past Friday so he could go hunting with Scott. I don't think they can pass into the next level if they miss 2 or more classes. The only other option would be to have Gage skip out on the last 1/2 hour of his party and I seriously doubt he's going to want to do that! What a dork I am! While I was running errands this afternoon when Emma was partying, I went to Staples and found the Mom's Planning calendar that Kara has (I hope you don't mind me copying you Kara!). It is a really neat little calendar that I can carry with me, so hopefully I can avoid making stupid mistakes like planning a birthday party when we are supposed to be at swimming lessons! I need to get myself organized!

Gage's birthday theme is Pirates and I'm going to make him a pirate ship cake for his party. My friend, Jodie, who took the cake decorating class with me a few years ago made this cake for her son's party a couple of years ago, so thought I would give it a try. I need to search the internet for the directions she had on how to do it. Hopefully I'll be able to find them. However, I did take a picture of the cake when Gage was at the party, so if I can't find it on the internet, I do at least have a guide to go by. I'm hoping this will be much easier than my typical shaped cakes. I hate tinting all of that frosting for all of the different colors that they require. I shouldn't have to do much (or any) of that at all. I'll be sure to take pictures to post on my blog on Friday!

I've got lots to do this week to get ready for Gage's party!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Attempt #2

I'm going to give this another try. I was posting to my blog earlier and had just gotten all of my pictures uploaded and the electricity blinked off for a second, causing me to lose everything I had just done. I have no idea why the electricity blinked off, but I hope it doesn't happen again, at least not until after I complete this post!

Emma and I got Sid, the salamander, all set up in his new home. I think he's liking this set up much better, despite the picture of him attempting escape!

The information Scott had printed off of the internet about taking care of salamanders said that you need to have stuff for them to burrow in, like peat moss, sphagnum moss or something similar. When we were at PetSmart, I saw that they have wood chips in their reptile habitats, so that's what we went with. I hope it's not too difficult to keep clean!

Poor Sid!

Here's Sids new home. The wood chips should hold moisture which is necessary for a salamander, and it will also give him something to burrow in. He thoroughly explored the aquarium last night and it was fun watching him. He even soaked in his water dish for awhile! He is a cricket eating machine let me tell you! We put 4 crickets in there, as I was thinking if they had a place to hide, it would take him longer to find them and eat them. WRONG! He snatched them all right up. The stupid crickets would walk right up to him and he snatches them up and eats them so fast that you could miss it if you blink! I also have a light set up to shine in there for him. I don't know if it's the right type of light or not; however. I will have to do some more research on that. I do know that he seems happier and looks better now that he is in his new home. It's much harder to find him now because he hides under the wood chips.
Today Emma and I went to Sertoma Park to the Girls Rock the Park event. Once again, I was unimpressed. Maybe I have my standards set too high? If there hadn't been people I know there, I wouldn't have had a clue what we were supposed to do. They did not do too much explaining of how the whole thing works.
There were several booths set up in the park for the girls to check out. One was the American Red Cross and they were able to assemble items to put into a first-aid kit. That was my favorite booth of course. The Gateway to Science had a fun booth and the Fire Department had their smoke house set up. I can't really tell you of the other things that were there because around noon, Kara and I went to nut training. They don't have to work too hard to train me to be a nut! The Girl Scouts will be selling nuts and chocolates, as well as magazines subscriptions for their fall fundraiser. So, if you have any magazine subscriptions that need renewing, let us know! They have quite a few neat things they can earn and for the most part they seem attainable. They have a neat interlocking, 4-part patch that the girls can earn by doing various things. The sale starts Oct. 3 and goes through the 19th. So, if you haven't already been hit up for Cub Scout popcorn, you can expect a double whammy with popcorn AND nuts, chocolates and magazines! I just HATE selling things. I would have starved if I had gone into sales as a profession!

Here is Emma at the face painting booth. She chose to have a watermelon painted on her cheek.

Emma checks out the fire truck!

At this booth, The Gateway to Science, the girls made rockets. They taped paper around an empty film canisters to resemble a rocket, then put an alka-seltzer tablet with water into the canister, snapped the lid on and then placed them on the ground to watch them explode. They actually shot about 5 feet in the air! The Gateway to Science also had a little catapult made out of PVC tubing and rubberbands that they launched candy to the kids with. Emma really liked that booth! Imagine that!

After the girls had visited 6 different booths and got their passports stamped, they received these Sacajawea dolls.

This patch was also available for the girls' uniforms. I have always LOVED patches. I remember collecting patches back when I was in high school or it may even have been when I was in nursing school (do you remember that Kysa?). Some lady had made a denim quilt and in each block, she had sewn a patch. It was really neat and Kysa and I started up our own patch collections so we could make one. Kysa even got our Schwan's man to give up a couple of patches for our collections! I never did get the quilt made, but I still have all of the patches in one of my craft buckets somewhere! Now I can help the kids collect their own patches for their Scout uniforms.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Girls-only weekend

Scott got home from his trip to Colorado this afternoon around 1:30, then spent the next 1-1/2 hours getting things ready for the weekend. Tomorrow is the duck season opener so Scott and Gage went to Tuttle to spend the weekend together, hunting. This will be Gage's 3rd duck opener. I'm hoping he doesn't come home in the state he did last year! He was so tired when he got home it wasn't even funny. He immediately started bawling and ended up in his room underneath his little table because he was just so exhausted he didn't know what to do with himself. The nicest thing about this was that Scott sent him home to me with someone else, completely exhausted and irrational, then spent the next few days in Tuttle by himself, hunting, while I got to deal with an overly tired, cranky child. I'm hoping that doesn't happen this year. Hopefully another year of maturity is under Gage's belt and he will know when he needs to nap and knows to get to bed at a decent time.

So, with Scott and Gage gone, that leaves Emma and I for a girls-only weekend. I took her to swimming lessons this afternoon, then we came home to eat supper and went out to PetSmart to get Sid (we've gone from Sally to Sid) the salamander set up in a different environment. He wasn't looking so hot today, despite eating crickets like a champion. That habitat just isn't the right set up for him and it isn't big enough. We decided to set up our 10-gallon aquarium, that we already had to house our anole we had a few years ago, for him. We bought some wood chips and moss, along with a big, shallow water dish that he can lay in if he wants. After we got home and got the aquarium set up, I had to get him out of the habitat and he was in a tight spot, which was hard to get him out of, but he didn't put up much of a fight. He looked kind of flatso before I took him out. After getting him into the new environment he ate about 40 cents worth of crickets (we're going to go broke buying crickets for him.................that is, if he doesn't die first!), he looks slightly better. Hopefully he will start to feeling better since he can move around more? Does anyone else know anything about taking care of a salamander?

Tomorrow Emma has a Girl Scout event called "Girls Rock the Park" at Sertoma Park. It should be a lot of fun for her, but mostly I'm glad we have something to do to keep her mind off not getting to go with Scott and Gage. She has a birthday party to go to Sunday afternoon, so that will also help.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My day

This morning before we left for school, I asked Gage about his day at the library yesterday. He told me yesterday morning on our walk to school that he was going to tell Mrs. Schmidt that she was in big trouble. When I asked him about it, he said she was crying! I got all nervous and said, "What do you mean she was crying?" Gage replies, "I don't know, she was just crying." I said, "Gage, was she crying because she was sad, or crying because she was laughing?" He says, "I don't know?" After I dropped the kids off at school this morning, I went down to the library to work a little at reshelving books. When I went into the library, Mrs. Buechler was there (Mrs. Schmidt is out for meetings until next week) and when she saw me she said, "Boy did you have Mrs. Schmidt in tears yesterday!" It was pretty funny how it all happened. Juanita emailed Mrs. Schmidt the link to my blog and she was reading it at school in the library and she was laughing so hard that she was crying and just as she read, "Boy is Mrs. Schmidt in trouble", Gage comes waltzing into the library to return his books and says, "Mrs. Schmidt, you are in big trouble!" Well, that brought on another fit of laughter and more tears. Gage apparently didn't "get" what all was happening. Today when I was reshelving books Marley happened to be one of the books in the bunch. I think that book is going to be haunting me forever?

Gage had soccer practice tonight and boy was it exciting! Coach Keith decided it would be a great idea to have the kids scrimmage against the parents. It just happened to work out that the only parents there at the time were Moms! (Big shocker there, huh!?) There were several of us, me included, who didn't have on proper shoes for playing soccer; however, Coach Keith made us play anyway. I haven't seen Gage try so hard, or hustle so much, in ANY sport he has EVER played! I guess he just needs the right motivation.................beating his MOM! I think those boys were shocked that we Moms were pretty good and beat them 2 to 1!! One time I kicked the ball and my shoe went flying, so after that I had to concentrate pretty hard to make sure I was gripping my shoe with my toes before I kicked it. There were a couple of other Moms that were pretty aggressive! It was probably a good thing that I didn't have on my tennis shoes because I would have been right in there with them and would have probably broken something. It's a little harder than it looks! I had a really hard time not using my hands or arms to block the ball. Close to the end of the game I was quite a ways out from the goal but since none of my teammates were in the area I decided I would shoot it anyway. The ball soared through the air and I was all excited as it was headed straight for the goal and a couple of the boys attempted to knock it down, but missed, and then it hit the darn goal post and bounced out! UGH! When we got home Gage said, "Geez Mom, how did you make the ball go into the air like that?" LOL! It sure wasn't from a childhood of playing soccer because I've never played soccer before in my life! Not even messing around or in school. It must have been from playing kickball? Or, maybe it was because I was concentrating so hard on keeping my shoe on my foot?? It was fun and it certainly had those boys all fired up and playing hard. And, I got a little exercise in too!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Running late

We were running late for school this morning and I forgot to ask Gage if he made it before the bell rang. (I'm thinking he didn't since his bike was on it's side, lying on top of another bike in the rack at school when I got there this afternoon!) The kids wanted to watch Sally (I'm just going to call the salamander Sally, but also refer to Sally as a "him" because it's faster and easier) eat his breakfast. I tried my best to get them ready for school before their attention was totally on Sally, but I wasn't very successful. I must admit it was quite entertaining watching him eat his breakfast, even though it did make us run a little late. It was pretty cool watching him slurp up the cricket that thought sitting on his head, right between his eyes was a good idea! The kids loved it. We had to feed him another cricket after school so the neighbors could watch it as well. (He's on his way to obesity, I can see it now!)

Yesterday I took the kids to get their hair cut after school. They have school pictures coming up the first week in October, so I figured I best get their hair cut into a more "manageable" length. Gage enjoyed sitting there talking and talking and talking to the gal that was cutting his hair. It was pretty funny. When Emma got up there, the lady asked me what I wanted to do with it. I told her I wanted to get rid of alot of the breakage to see if it would thicken it up a little. She flipped up a piece of hair and asked if that was about right. It looked like it, so I said "yeah, sure!" I about crapped when I saw the first lock of hair fall! I think it was close to about 4 inches! I panicked through the entire haircut, wondering if it was going to be too short, and then thought Emma was going to be totally upset when she saw how short it was. Thankfully she was okay with it, and after my initial shock, I think it's cuter than all get-out (I have no idea if that is how you spell that phrase, but I can hear my Mom saying it word for word.)

Here's the before picture. This was taken on "purple day" the second week of school.

You can't really tell by this picture how much shorter it is, but prior to the haircut her hair was too long to wear in piggy tails. I took this picture of Emma this morning before school with her "show-and-share" that she took to school today. (I try to take pictures each time they take something for show-and-tell for their scrapbooks). Her piggy tails are pretty darned cute!

Here's the "after" shot that I took tonight before bedtime. As you can see, she took quite a bit off but it is SO MUCH EASIER to comb in the morning!! I actually won't have to always have it up because it looks cute down. Her hair was too frizzy to leave it down before. We're trying to grow her bangs out and they are at an annoying length right now. It's hard to keep them up in braids or barettes, and they are too long to leave down as they hang right over her eyes. Now I'll have to figure out what hairstyle will look best for her school pictures. :-)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In big trouble!

Scott called me from work this morning to tell me that he had something for Emma's habitat container. He found a salamander on the sidewalk at the DU office and decided to bring it home for Emma and Gage. I was anxious to see it. I have tadpoles on order via the internet, but I don't think they ship until November. When he got home at lunch time, I had the habitat sitting right on the table waiting. When he opened the box to dump it in I just about crapped! It was HUGE! I was not expecting it to be that big!

Check him (or her) out! Emma wants to name it Sally the Salamander, which I think is perfect, but Gage refuses to let that name stick until he finds out if it is a boy or girl. I told him if it turns out to be a boy, we can call him Sal. He wrinkled his nose at me. I didn't tell the kids about it at all until we got home and waited for them to find it on the table. Emma went right up to it and she hollers out, "What the!" She thought it was a statue until it moved, and then it startled her. When I told them that Dad caught it for them they were all excited! He is actually quite active and fun to watch. I was feeling very sorry for him. The poor thing was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and now his peaceful way of living is over. I think the habitat is actually too small for him because he can't really walk around in it without dropping down into the water, or having to climb a rock. I'm sure we'll have to get our aquarium set up for him so he has a bigger space to live in. Before Scott left on his trip this afternoon, we went to PetSmart to buy some crickets. Great, just what we needed, another mouth to feed! At 10 cents a pop for big crickets, I'm thinking maybe I need to get into the cricket business!? NOT! When we got home with the crickets, I put 2 in the habitat and I couldn't believe how quickly he snatched them up! Scott printed off some information from the internet and these salamanders aren't supposed to be handled unless absolutely necessary because the oils and things from your hands can penetrate through their skin and make them sick or even die. (He didn't know that when he first caught him!) The information said not to feed them too much because they can become obese. After the kids checked him out for a little while, they wanted to see him eat a cricket, so I put another one in the habitat. The stupid cricket jumped right into the water and had the most difficult time getting back onto dry land. We had to leave for gymnastics before the cricket met his demise. Just before we left; however, I was sitting at the table watching the salamander and he was just sitting in one spot for awhile. Finally, when he moved, I saw something and said, "What is that?" Emma saw it too. He pooped. OMG! I had no idea what a salamander's poop would look like. We had a tiny anole once (it came in a tree/plant that our realtor gave us around Christmastime a few years ago) and it's poop kind of resembed bird poop to me, but in a much smaller amount. I assumed that's what the salamander's poop would look like. Boy was I wrong! Gage heard Emma and I making a fuss over the poop and he came into the kitchen to check it out and immediately started gagging and nearly puked. (Okay, so he's probably not going to be a medical doctor when he grows up!) After I finally removed the "turd" from the habitat, I had to take a picture of it because I couldn't believe how BIG it was!

How disgusting is that??? It took me quite awhile to get the stupid thing removed from the container. I finally got rid of the paper towel and went for the plastic spoon. I sure hope he doesn't poop too often! Maybe it will change with a diet of mostly crickets now that he's in captivity? I guess I'll find out tomorrow! We couldn't find the cricket that we put in the container when we got home from gymnastics, so he must have gotten eaten. I'll be seeing it again, in a much more disgusting form!

Now, you may be wondering about the title of my post "In big trouble!" It has nothing to do with the salamander.

Last week, when I started my volunteer job at the Northridge School library, while Mrs. Schmidt was telling me about the Dewey Decimal System and showing me how to shelve the books, she came across a book and pulled it out of the shelf. She says, "Oh, have you read this book, Marley?" I told her I had not. She said, "Oh, this is such a good book! My kids loved it and it was soooooooooooooo funny!" I told her I would have to tell Gage about it so he could check it out. I wasn't aware, until she told me, but one of the perks that come with working in the library, is that I can check out books!! I was excited to hear that and decided I would check out the book myself and read it to the kids. We started it that night and it was pretty funny, until the end. Marley is a book about a dog. A yellow labrador retriever. The cover of the book is adorable. I mean, who wouldn't want to read this book?

Marley: A Dog Like No Other. We finished the book tonight at bedtime. This book tells of Marley's life with his owner, and is a true story. While I was reading, I knew I was in trouble. We were nearing the end of the book tonight, and I'm sure you know where this is headed. The story reminded me so much of Branta it wasn't even funny. As I'm reading, I can tell that there's no way I'm going to be able to make it through this book without crying. I kept taking deep breaths and I was proud of myself for how well I was keeping it together. I'm sure part of that was because Emma was distracting me because she apparently had some ants in her pants. I had told her a few times to please lay still and listen to the story. Gage was laying in his bed while Emma and I sat on the floor in his room. All of a sudden, while I am reading, I couldn't keep it in anymore. I burst out into tears and sobs. I think I scared Emma to death because she looked right at me and was all concerned. I continued to read, aloud, as I'm sobbing uncontrollably. Have you ever tried reading out loud while you're crying? Well, let me tell you.....................it's not easy! I had to have Emma go get me a box of Kleenex, which she did as quickly as she could. She continued to watch me while I tried to read as tears were collecting on my glasses making them impossible to see through. The whole last 4 chapters of the book were heart-wrenchingly sad. As I was reading (and sobbing) I said aloud, "Boy is Mrs. Schmidt in trouble!" At one point, I could hear Gage crying too. I wasn't even going to look, because I knew I wouldn't be able to stand seeing him look so sad. Emma on the other hand, is completely oblivious. The ants in her pants apparently had her too distracted and she wasn't listening very well. FINALLY, the book came to an end and I have never been so relieved in all my life. I took Emma to her bed and laid with her for a few minutes to get her settled down and ready for sleep. She says to me, "Mom, why did you say Mrs. Schmidt is in trouble?" I told her it was because she had told me about how great the book was, and that it was so funny and had her kids laughing like crazy and didn't warn me that it had a sad ending. When I went in to get Gage tucked in he asked me, "Mom, why did you say Mrs. Schmidt is in trouble?" LOL! I told him the same thing I told Emma. The kids are all concerned about Mrs. Schmidt being in trouble. Gage has library tomorrow and will be returning the book for me and I'll be anxious to hear what he has to tell her. (Juanita, you'll have to take notes and let me know how the conversation goes!) Boy is Mrs. Schmidt in trouble!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The dreaded phone

I'm beginning to really hate my phone. The answering machine too. I have been thinking about removing the answering machine altogether. Maybe I should just get rid of the phone as well? I have been being called quite a bit lately from people requesting me to do different things. If I didn't have the answering machine, then I wouldn't be obligated to call anyone back. (Not that that has been a problem for me lately.) Anyway, this evening the phone rang and I didn't recognize the caller, but I figured since I'm in charge of the CROP Walk at church, and my phone number will be listed for people to call with questions, I figured I better answer it. Well, it WAS someone from church, but not about the CROP Walk. UGH! Anyway, this lady was asking me if I could be a greeter/usher at church during Oct. specifically asking about the 12th at the 11 o'clock service. I told her I wasn't able to do that because I would be doing the CROP Walk that day. Then she asked me about the weekend of the 19th, and I told her I would be out of town that weekend. (I'll be scrapbooking in Medora!). Then she asked about Oct. 5. I told her I wasn't sure about that date because Gage's birthday is that weekend and we have company in town. (She doesn't seem to be getting the subtle hint of me trying to say "No!") I suck at saying no, in case any of you weren't aware of that. Anyway, she continued on, and I was actually starting to feel a little irritated. I told her, "I'm sorry, but October is a really busy month for us, and we typically don't go to the 11 o'clock service anyway." She replies, "Yeah, I know and I'm really having a hard time finding people to usher. How about this. Why don't I just put you down for Oct. 5, and then if it doesn't work out for you, you can find someone else to cover for you." I'm thinking EXCUSE ME, but didn't you just tell me that you were having a hard time finding someone? If that's the case, then how am I supposed to??? Plus, I have been burned on this before and was treated rudely about it. So, I spouted right off and said, "Uh, yeah, how about let's NOT put me down for that date because I'm not sure I'll be able to do it!" I'm not sure what happened after that? I don't know if she hung up on me or if she was just silent or what exactly, but I just hung up the phone and went about my own business. From her end, it could appear that I was the one who hung up on her, if in fact she didn't actually hang the phone up. Man, I was just fuming! I know I probably shouldn't be blogging about this (please forgive me God!), and I don't know how many people from the church may actually be reading my blog, but when you are rude to someone on the phone, do you really expect for them to help you out??? I was very proud of myself for not letting myself get "talked into" doing something that I knew I wasn't going to be able to do. I suppose having been "burned" in this area already, I knew better.

The kids and I went to Simle Middle School this afternoon/evening to watch Paige, my friend's daughter, play volleyball. I was actually pretty impressed with how well they played. I think they are better than alot of the adult leagues I've played on! Scott and I have been interested in seeing the high school volleyball or soccer teams play, but haven't yet found a time that works well for us. Hopefully we'll be able to make it to a soccer game next week when St. Mary's takes on Bismarck High. My friend's son plays on the varsity team at BHS and Scott's hunting buddy plays on the St. Mary's team. We could kill 2 birds with 1 stone that evening. The only problem is that it will cause the kids to get to bed later than we like. Hopefully it will all work out.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Missed a day!

It's been awhile since I've missed a day of blogging! I didn't even realize I hadn't blogged yesterday until very late last night, after I was already in bed! I had just talked to Emily on the phone and gave her a hard time about not keeping her blog updated!! Sorry Emily!

Gage had a soccer jamboree yesterday and he played 3-half games (6 periods). Gage scored his first goal!!! I was so proud of him! He was very happy about it as well. I think he was a little surprised that the ball came to him and he was near the goal and no one around, so he kicked it right in! WAY TO GO GAGE!

Scott made it home last night around 4:30 or so from the youth waterfowl hunt. Between the 3 boys they got 7 ducks. Scott said one of the Dad's had to make a run to get more shells, as they had already gone through 2 boxes of shotgun shells! :-) I'm impressed that they actually harvested some ducks! After he had been home awhile, he remembered that he forgot to unplug a battery charger in Tuttle, so he and the kids had to make a run to Tuttle last night to unplug the battery charger. I was on my way to a friend's house in Mandan, so he had to take the kids with him. I think they made it back home around 9 or so.

I had an email of a comment that someone had left on my blog yesterday that was kind of neat. I have noticed that my blog gets alot of hits from my blog entry of Emma bottle feeding the baby calves over the 4th of July from people searching for information on this subject. This lady named Sally said "What a delightful post! I wish my first and only experience feeding a calf had been as happy and peaceful as Emma's, but it wasn't. I enjoyed your words and pictures so much that I linked to this post from an article I wrote about how not to feed a baby cow, so that my readers understand there is a proper way...I just didn't follow it!" Emma is famous! :-) I have also noticed that my blog entry "The dreaded "nut cup" seems to get alot of hits from searchers as well! I wonder how many of them get a laugh out of that post! You'd be amazed at how many people search the internet about nut cups. (The latest one was actually searching for "nut cups to make for fall", so I'm sure that my post came as quite a shock on that search! LOL!

Friday, September 19, 2008


Believe it or not, all of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones Lego sets are put together! I started on the big Trade Federation MTT yesterday evening after supper and finished it this afternoon.

Here I am as I get started on the jumbo Lego set yesterday evening. Oh, and yes, in case you're wondering, I had to take apart what Scott had already built so I could be sure it was together correctly! I'm actually glad that I did that because in doing so, I discovered all of those extra Lego pieces that I knew couldn't just be "extras" weren't "extras"! They belonged to a smaller unit that goes inside this big thing. I don't even know what you call it? A space ship on wheels?

Gage was thrilled to death when he got home from school this afternoon and it was all put together! He played with it quite a bit this evening too. This one seems to be much more solid than the others and stays together a little better when being played with. Thank goodness!! I don't ever want to put it together again!

There are over 1300 pieces in this thing!

Here are all of the Star Wars Lego sets I have put together this week! Around 3,000 pieces worth! (That includes the Indiana Jones ones that you don't see in this picture!)
I sure hope Gage doesn't get too many of these things for his birthday! Now our next project is to figure out where to keep these things!
Scott left this morning and was out touring around some photographer/journalist person today. He is staying in Tuttle tonight and I believe the kids that are participating in the youth hunt tomorrow with Scott and their Dads will be staying there as well. They will go out in the morning and Scott says he'll be home sometime in the afternoon. Hopefully none of the kids gets too excited and accidentally shoots their guide/mentor!
Gage has a soccer game tomorrow morning, and other than that, we don't have a whole lot going on this weekend. I'm glad of that too because I am just plain tired today!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cub Scout popcorn fundraiser

Today is a very nice day here in ND! Actually, it's warmer than I like. However, I am not complaining!

Gage is selling popcorn for our annual Cub Scout fundraiser. Off to the right you will see a Boy Scout emblem that you can click on to order popcorn. I believe being able to order through a web-site was new last year. The link will take you directly to Gage's account so that he will get the credit for the sale. Our troop earns 23 or 24% of the online sales, and they earn 27% if you order it directly through us and then we deliver it to you. This site makes it easier for friends and family from afar to order the popcorn to support their scout. (However, my family in Iowa should not use this link because you can just order through us and we'll deliver it when we come home for Christmas!) If you do order it online, it will be shipped to your home from the company. If he sells $1,300 or more worth of popcorn he will be eligible for a college scholarship!! If he sells $2300 or more he can also win a Nintendo DS!! That's what he's shooting for, but that's quite alot of popcorn to sell, and I'm not sure if we can make that goal or not? If you decide to order from the web-site, be sure that it says you are supporting Gage S. It should say that because it's linked directly to his account; however, if for whatever reason it doesn't, Gage's order key is TEZHRUQ. Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Believe it or not, we have all of those Star Wars/Indiana Jones Lego sets put together! I told Gage I swear there has to be another set of directions somewhere because we have way too many pieces leftover to just be "extras"! I take that back...................we have yet to complete the great big 1300 piece Lego set (Trade Federation MTT) that is pretty much still in the box. Scott and Gage started on it and that's all that's been done to it. I was happy to get all of those boxes and instructions back down to Gage's closet! We'll see what happens with the big set that's left.

I was feeling better today for the most part. I still have a headache, which has lingered all day. It's one of my typical monthly migraines, I think.

I didn't do a whole lot today, other than go to Biolife and get groceries, which desperately needed to happen. Scott went hunting for grouse this morning with a couple of co-workers. It sure was nice not to have to listen to Brie ring the door bell all day long! She is wiped out from a hard days work, but boy does she have terrible gas!? I don't know what she may have eaten, but I think it was rotten!! They all got their limit of 3 grouse apiece. Scott cleaned them and we had grouse fajitas for supper and they were really pretty darned good! The kids really liked them too!

School is going great. Gage has his next spelling test tomorrow. His challenge "bonus" words this week are spice, erase and confuse. I'm going into the library at Gage's school again tomorrow to reshelve books.

I need to get started on thinking about Gage's birthday since it's just around the corner. We haven't done a thing to plan yet, but I've been trying to talk him into a Pirate party versus another Star Wars one. I have a cute pirate ship cake I can make (I think!). I haven't even bought him any presents yet! I've been too busy volunteering! :-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not up to par today

I had a busy day today. Today was my first day in Gage's school library as a volunteer to help reshelve books. Somehow I got roped into volunteering to work in the school library! (Just kidding Juanita..............I thoroughly enjoyed my time surrounded by books!) I love children's books, as you can tell by my kids' bookshelves, so I was in seventh heaven this morning. I must admit I was a little frightened (okay, ALOT frightened) about the Dewey Decimal System! I never did understand it back in my school days and was never able to figure out how to find a book in the library by using the card catalog and/or the Dewey Decimal System. Initially the librarian put me onto the easy picture books, then I moved to fiction and after I shelved all of those books, I was a little reluctant to start on the nonfiction (which is where the Dewey Decimal System comes into play). Little did I know, it was pretty simple! I spent an hour and a half in the library and also enjoyed listening to one of the first grade class's story time. Unfortunately I wasn't around for Gage's scheduled library time.

From there I headed down to the Girl Scout office to meet Kara, and hopefully find out more information. We did learn a few more things, but it was like pulling teeth. Maybe we'll have it all figured out by the time the school year is over? :-)

After that, I had a couple of errands to run and I wasn't quite sure I was going to make it? After I left from meeting with Kara, I started feeling kind of rotten. I was on the verge of a headache anyway, and I'm guessing the little stress I had at the Girl Scout office increased its intensity? Anyway, I started feeling very clammy, hot and lightheaded and nauseous (not the best feeling when you're driving!). Once I got to my first stop and got out of the car to go into the store, the feeling kind of passed a little, but once I got back in the car, I started feeling weird again. I thought maybe it was because it was kind of hot out, so I turned the air conditioner on high, then proceeded onto my next stop. From there I decided I couldn't do anymore and headed home. I'm not sure what was going on, if I had low blood sugar (which would have been odd because I ate a good breakfast), or if it was just the onset of a migraine? Once I got home and could lay down, I was relieved, but not feeling much better. Scott came home for lunch and fixed us something to eat which didn't necessarily help too much, but I rested on the couch the rest of the afternoon. Thankfully Scott was able to pick the kids up from school for me and also took Emma to gymnastics this evening. I'm feeling much better now, with just the remains of a headache. I think I may have to skip my Biolife appt tomorrow.

A couple of weeks ago I had a message on the answering machine from someone at church asking me if I could help be in charge of the CROP walk that our church will be doing in October. I never did call him back, and then it got to the point of no return, where it had been long enough ago that I felt too terrible about not calling him, to call him back (does that even make any sense?) He asked me about it at church this past weekend and I told him I would think about it if I could get more information on what I would have to do. I made it very clear to him that if it involved getting up in front of the church to make any announcements, that I couldn't do it. I have never gotten over my fear of public speaking. He called today to see if he could bring me the information to look over and assured me that I wouldn't have to give any announcements at church, that the associate pastor would do that for me! WHEW! I have until Friday to look over the materials and decide to do this or not. I am much more comfortable following than I am at leading and just thinking about it all makes my heart race. I guess it's just the fear of the unknown? I'm quite sure I'm going to be unable to tell him "no" come Friday, so if you could all just say a little prayer for me, I would greatly appreciate it! :-) You know, I certainly don't have enough to do with all of the kids' activities, newly registered Cub Scout Popcorn Sales chairperson, candy bar sales chairperson and newly registered Girl Scout leader. Why not add CROP walk organizer? Did I mention I have a headache?

Monday, September 15, 2008

One year

I have been planning to do some big yee haw-type post when my 1-year anniversary of blogging comes around. For the past few days I've been thinking I need to go back to check to see when my first post was, but have forgotten to do it. I assumed it would be coming up soon! I was surprised when I looked today and my 1 year blogging anniversary was actually August 18! I am much more successful as a blogger than a journal-keeper!

Tonight Gage had his first Pack meeting for the new fall scouting season. He received several awards tonight for all of the hard work he's done this summer. He got an Outdoor Activity Award patch, a baseball belt loop (a metal thing that slides onto your belt, resembling a belt loop) and pin, a swimming belt loop and pin and a soccer belt loop and pin. The other boys in our den received some awards too.
Our den standing up front to be recognized for the awards they have earned.

Gage receiving his awards from the Cubmaster.

These are the awards that Gage received tonight. The Cubmaster asked Gage to go over to his mother, the den leader, and raise her hand. (I immediately got red in the face and was embarrassed. Scott is the den leader, not me!) However, I have been the one reading through the materials figuring out what awards Gage and his fellow den-mates can get. I had mentioned to the Cubmaster in an email that I was a bit of an over-achiever as I'm sure he had already figured out, because I had sent him quite a few emails this summer to make sure they knew who has earned what in our den and asking different questions. He told the group he would like to see more over-achievers. Uh, yeah......................I really don't think you want a whole group of anal retentive parents like me!!!! LOL!

Scott (and I) are in charge of the popcorn fundraiser this year, as well as the candy bar fundraiser that takes place in Feb. Popcorn sales start SOON, so get ready! :-) The top prize this year for the popcorn fundraiser is a Nintendo DS lite! Gage really wants it! I told him that if he was going to earn that, he was going to have to really work hard! (It only requires $2300 worth of sales!!!! YIKES!!!) I suppose if he gets any of my anal-retentive/over-achiever-type traits, it is possible! However, I seriously doubt it!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I'm sure you're wondering what in the heck that number means?? Well, I'll get to that a little later.

When Gage was born it was pretty easy to keep track of his toys. They were all fairly big and we didn't have that many of them. As he got a little older, he started accumulating more toys. He was very much into toy animals when he was around 12-18 months. I was so excited when I discovered Schleich animals. There was a store in Bozeman that carried them, and every so often we would go to town and get a new animal. Gage's favorite was the elephant. He loved making elephant noises while he used his arm to simulate an elephant's trunk. It was so cute when he would do that! After we had several animals, I kept a running total in my head. I knew exactly how many we had and I always knew if any were missing. I became obsessed with this and virtually any toy that Gage had that had multiple pieces, I knew how many there were and I would always count them when we put them away so I knew if we had them all. Many of my friends would laugh at me and tell me I would eventually "outgrow" that. I did finally "outgrow" counting toys because we have way too many for me to keep track of. I'm still kind of like that with games. I can't stand playing games when all of the pieces aren't there. Emily knows how crazy this makes me because when I was helping her pack, I kept finding different pieces to the DVD Candyland game that I handed down to her. My kids had pretty much outgrown it and I was sick and tired of picking up all of those little gingerbread guys. I would find them all over. I was finding them all over at Emily's too, and I purposefully waited to close one of the boxes I was packing to make sure I had all of those pieces. Even close to the end of packing, I was still finding those stupid pieces and AFTER I had sealed the box! LOL! Anyway, if you haven't figured it out, I tend to have a little OCD.

Today after church as I was trying to think of something to do to keep the kids entertained. Scott was out hunting and I wasn't sure when he was going to get back, so I told Gage he should get out all of his Star Wars legos sets and we'll try to get them all put together correctly. They all have been together, correctly, at one time or another. Gage likes playing with these things, which aren't necessarily built for playing with. When they fall apart, he puts them back together however he thinks looks best. There's nothing wrong with that at all, because I like it that he uses his imagination, but I decided since his birthday is coming up, that we better get them organized and put together because he's wanting more for his birthday. We still have one set that we bought after Christmas last year that was on clearance at Walmart that isn't put together. It is a really big lego set and Gage can't put this one together by himself, so he's been patiently waiting for someone to help him. (He's also forgotten about it, or he would be hounding us on a daily basis to get it put together). Gage started bringing all of his lego sets up and because of my anal retentive tendencies, I decided it would be best to take them all completely apart so we could get them put back together the correct way. Boy was that a STUPID idea! After 4 hours of sitting on the floor trying to get these things put together, I could hardly get myself up! My legs were stiff, my back was killing me and I just plain couldn't move! Gage was a trooper and he stuck with it for quite awhile. Scott helped for a little while, but after getting one of the smaller sets together, he was done. He was more than willing to get supper started without me even asking just so he wouldn't have to endure the torture I was putting us through! I think we got about 5 sets put together, and I worked on it from noon until 10pm!! That number, 1,961, is the number of Lego pieces we had strung out all over the living room floor. And no, for your information, I did NOT count all of them myself. I just added up the number of pieces each box had listed that it contained.

Here's Gage looking for a lego piece. It was almost like looking for a needle in a haystack!

After a few hours of building Star Wars lego sets, and seeing that I had hardly made a dent in the number of pieces that were still strewn about the floor I made the comment, "Boy this was a really STUPID idea!" Gage asked me why I said that. I told him it was because this was a MUCH BIGGER job than I thought it was going to be. An hour or two later Gage mumbled, "This WAS a really stupid idea!" LOL! He bailed on me around 4 pm and went over to the neighbors house to play. I couldn't blame him much. I wanted to do the same thing. The most frustrating part is that there are missing pieces. Hmmm......... I'll bet you can hardly believe that!? I don't know what 7 year old could keep track of that many lego pieces!? I'm doing the best I can, and have discovered that even with missing pieces, you can't really tell it by looking at them. I don't know if I'll ever get them all put together before his birthday, and I'm sure when he sees that I finished another one after he went to bed, he'll be playing with them first thing in the morning and I'll be back to square one. (Just walk away Stacy, just walk away!)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The leaves are changing

This afternoon the kids and I headed to Papa's Pumpkin Patch for our church's annual hot dog roast and hayride. I hadn't noticed before today, but our leaves are changing color. Fall is definitely on its way. It felt like it today too! Gage had a soccer game this morning and it was a little chilly for that, but not too awfully bad. We stopped on our way home at the church to help Juanita at the church's booth for the Street Fair, but there were plenty of ladies there to help (the one she was counting on to not show up, didn't as suspected) so the kids and I went on home after stopping at the grocery store.

It was kind of funny at the store. We were just picking up a few items and when we got near the checkout Gage and Emma were eyeing the junk food. Gage says, "Mom, can we get a box of Twinkies?" I reply, "Sure Gage!" He says, "What? We can get some?" I tell him, "Yes, Gage, you can get some." To which he replies, "Really? You really mean it?" LOL! YES! He was thrilled. He says, "Mom, when I ask Dad he always tells me no!" I told him I thought since they were being so good, they deserved a treat. Emma picked out some candy and they split that in half and then they completely forgot about the Twinkies. Neither one of them has even had one!? I think this may be the first or second time I've ever even bought Twinkies? I wish I hadn't brought this up, because now I'm thinking about wanting to eat one. (That's why I don't buy that stuff, because the kids forget about it and I'm the one who eats them all!)

Emma and I made a grape salad for the potluck at the pumpkin patch. It was completely devoured, which always happen when I take that dish! It's really very yummy and very easy! I actually forgot to take the camera with me to the pumpkin patch so I was sad about that, however, I'll never regret it when I get to this point in scrapbooking, because it will be a miracle if I make it through our summer pictures! The kids had a great time. The hayride was fun as well. Because it was so windy and cold, the driver of the wagon being pulled by 2 clydesdale horses took a different route and it was a nice long ride. It continued to get colder and colder and was drizzling some rain, so after picking out their pumpkins, we left.

Scott did show up at the pumpkin patch in time to ride the hayride. He spent his day out showing a grandpa and his grandchildren and daughters-in-law how to band ducks. I guess this man is from Omaha and was the founder of Ameritrade. They flew into Bismarck on his personal jet. I guess they had a pretty good time except for one of the little girls got stuck in the mud and her feet came out of her boots. Scott had to go in to get her and had the same thing happen to him. His socks were pretty much black with mud when he got home. I'm sure glad he didn't have on his new Keens!

I learned today that my sister, Kim, and her husband J.L., own a Wii! Ryan, their son/my nephew, does too! I also learned that with the Wii, it is possible to play each other if you have wireless internet access! This could be dangerous if I get this figured out! I might have to play them in some tennis or bowling! They also told me that you can go shopping on the Wii and buy games for it through the television! My goodness! What can't this machine do? I told them we were all going to have to take our Wii remotes to Iowa for Christmas and have a big bowling tournament! :-) Wouldn't that be fun? Get to practicing guys! :-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

I heard it through the grapevine!

My sister Kysa told me that my Mom and Dad bought a Wii. Yes, you read that right, they bought a Wii! Apparently my Dad is ticked because my Mom beat him in 2 games of bowling! (Okay, you can see I come by this naturally!) I can't wait to see this! I hope they start out easy and work their way up to tennis! It can be pretty strenuous. Scott hurt himself the other night when he was trying to serve me a burner! :-) I'd hate to be the cause of some serious health problems because they are playing tennis! And now that I am on the subject, Scott keeps asking me when I'm going to blog about him beating me in tennis. So, I am blogging about it. Scott has been a little more of a challenge for me to beat, which definitely makes it more fun. However, there's been a couple of times that he was completely ticked off and threw the remote onto the couch. It hit hard enough that it bounced and nearly tumbled to the floor, but he lunged to grab it before it did. He was sure lucky on that one! This opens up a whole new subject for me. Sportsmanship. I hate losing, but I'm never a poor sport about it................................at least not now that I'm an adult. I remember getting made fun of when I would lose in a hand of cards growing up, but that was because I was so serious about winning. I never threw a fit that I remember. (Did I Mom and Dad?) Scott on the other hand has problems when it comes to losing. During our church volleyball league he got mad enough a couple of times last year that he threw sand. This summer when Gage was playing baseball, he started emulating this behavior. This really bothered me, and it also bothered Scott. I have to remind Scott of where he learned this! He's trying to stop behaving like this when he loses (this is Scott I am talking about, not Gage) but it seems to be a hard habit to break. Last night I got mad at him because he threw a fit when he lost because his guy wasn't hitting the ball (yeah, it was totally the guy's fault, not Scott's!). He stomped off to bed. Later when I came to bed, he apologized and said at least he doesn't do it in front of Gage. He obviously has, or Gage wouldn't know to act this way. I am always reminding him at volleyball that Gage and Emma are watching. I sure hope we can get in control of this situation before the kids get any older. We're definitely going to have to take our remotes to Iowa the next time we go, so 4 people can play! Doubles tennis sounds like a lot of fun! I'm not sure Mom and Dad's living room is big enough for that though? There are many times that I accidentally whack Scott when just the two of us are playing! Ooops!

It was a beautiful day here today. It was actually kind of hot to me, but that's because I was dressed for cooler weather. I went down to the Street Fair this morning to check it out. I stopped by Kara's booth to see how things were going. She said things were going well, so I hope that continued throughout the day. 10a-8p is a LONG day when you're standing outside in a booth selling your product and trying to be all smiles. There are certainly customers that make smiling really difficult! I found these cute bow and arrows that I had to get for the kids. An older couple makes and sells them. The bow is made out of PVC tubing and string. The arrows are a dowel rod with an arrowhead cut out of foam on the end. You can shoot those arrows quite a ways! The kids were thrilled when they got home from school. Gage hugged me several times and told me thanks! I even got a kiss! He said, "And you didn't even have to do that Mom!" :-) Emma is having a hard time getting her arrow to shoot because she has a hard time releasing them. I'm sure she'll have it figured out before long. We'll be there for a little while tomorrow to help Juanita out at the church's booth. It's supposed to be cooler and possibly rain and be quite windy, so I hope that doesn't happen on our watch!

I hope you all have a great weekend! (Don't hurt yourselves with your new toy Mom and Dad!)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I saved a life!

Well, okay, so maybe it wasn't quite that heroic. This morning as I was walking back by Emma's playground, on my way home from dropping the kids off at school, there was a group of kids standing around this little guy who was laying on the ground, and as I walked by, another little boy punched him in the stomach. It wasn't a really hard punch, but it was a blow to the stomach nonetheless. I looked to see where the teacher was, and she had her back turned, talking to another child. I stopped and said, "Hey, you probably shouldn't be doing that" in a nice, quiet kind of way. He came up to the fence to me and replies, "Well, you're not my boss so you can't tell me what to do!" I shot back off at him, "Uh, if you would like, I can go get that teacher standing right over there!" He said, "Okay" as he watched me walk away. In the meantime, the little guy on the ground took off and started playing again.

It's really hard to believe that it was 7 years ago today that our nation was attacked by terrorists! It doesn't seem that long ago? We lived in Bozeman, MT at the time and I remember just waking up (mountain time zone) and walking out into the living room where Scott had just turned on the television and saw the World Trade Center just before it was hit by the second plane. Gage was just 11 months old and Scott was feeding him oatmeal for breakfast. Where were you and what were you doing when the towers were hit?

Gage had his first spelling test today and he got all of the words right, plus the 3 bonus words! WAY TO GO GAGE! Tomorrow will be the dictation part of the test. I told him I am always so excited on Fridays to see the next weeks' spelling list!!! He looked at me like I was from another planet. :-)

Tomorrow is Bismarck's Downtowner's Street Fair. My friend Kara, of KLG Designs, will have her booth set up for business. I went downtown with her this evening to help her get her booth set up since her husband is out of town. She is very organized and I was amazed how contained she had all of her stuff. She had everything pretty much in 2 rubbermaid containers and her tent bag. I remember when I was doing Urban Harvest and how I tried my hardest to have everything contained so I would only have to make 1, or 2 at the most, trips to my car to haul stuff to my spot. All of you local readers should go down and check her booth out. She's on 5th street in front of Peacock Alley. She has some really awesome jewelry for sale. She's very talented and creative. The street fair runs Friday and Saturday. I'm hoping to be able to help my friend, Juanita, at our church's booth for a couple of hours on Saturday, where they will be selling Fair-trade goods. I'm hoping the kids and I can be more of a help, than a hindrance!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Becoming famous?

I don't know what I'm going to do about Scott, who is rising into stardom? :-) This morning while I was at Biolife, I heard an employee talking to another donor about this news video that aired on television last night around suppertime. I was sure to tell her that that was my husband! :-)

There's no turning back now. We were assigned our first Daisy Scout today. With Emma and Jadyn, that makes 3 of us! LOL! I've got tons of paperwork that I desperately need to figure out how to organize, but thank goodness for my spreadsheet queen, Kara! She'll have me straightened out in no time.

I had a pretty quiet day. There is a new talk show on at 2pm on NBC, The Dr.'s, that I am enjoying. This is much better than Family Feud, although that loud strike was a great alarm clock! I stay pretty busy most all day, then I spend my last hour of peace and quiet on the couch watching this new show.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


For a few weeks now, I have been trying to find out information about signing Emma up for Daisy Scouts. I saw one of the gals from the Scout office on Open House day at Northridge, as she had a table set up there informing girls of the Girl Scout program. I talked to this gal, gave her my email and told her that my friend, Kara, and I are interested in being Daisy Scout co-leaders. She told me that she would email me an application form to fill out because they also do background checks. I never did get an email from her. Last week, I sent an email to an address I found for the Scout office here in town asking about the form and I never did get a reply. This is absolutely crazy to me. Most of the time, if you volunteer to do something, you can plan to be bombarded with all sorts of requests. This isn't the case here. Today I finally decided to make a trip down to the Girl Scout office because I want to make sure we don't miss the big sign-up for the fall and to tell them again that I am interested in being a leader. I did make some progress today, thankfully. They gave me a leader pack with some information in it and a quick review of the forms. I still have many questions, but for the most part I think we're on our way to being Daisies. I told the lady that if she hasn't already figured it out, that I'm a bit of an over-achiever. She said that was good, but I informed her that it's not always a wonderful thing!! LOL!

We will also have Cub Scouts again this year with Gage. Once again I have been trying to find information out and I can never seem to get anywhere with it. What is it with these organizations? I'm getting to the point where I think I may have to volunteer at a higher level so I know what the heck is going on!? I certainly don't want that, but I am offering myself up to these places and it just blows my mind that they aren't jumping on it? Now, if it were the church, it would be a whole different story! :-)
Emma had gymnastics tonight and she just loves it. It's a bit irritating to me that it's so difficult to watch because they are directly underneath the balcony we have to sit. I found myself hanging over the railing a few times to see what was going on. At one point they were doing bridges. I couldn't figure out how in the heck Emma was getting into the position she was in, but I did know she wasn't doing it right. Unfortunately no one was correcting her either. Once we got home I was showing her how to do it correctly and she finally figured it out. (I certainly wasn't able to demonstrate it for her. I don't think I was even that flexible or able to do a bridge when I was younger?)
Here's Emma's bridge! (Looks much better, huh Kara?)
Way to go Emma! You can kind of see off to the left side that Gage is also trying to do the bridge. He is doing it the way Emma was during gymnastics class. It almost looks painful?
These pictures of the cats have nothing to do with anything. I just found them cuddling in the chair today and couldn't resist taking a picture.

Aaaahhhhhhhh, how sweet!

Monday, September 8, 2008


Now that Gage is in 2nd grade, he is bringing home more homework. He has had quite an attitude about it in the past (because a friend of his had this attitude), but he's been doing reasonably well so far this year. Every week he will have reading homework on Mondays that are due back the following Monday, Math homework on Tuesdays, which are due back the following Tuesdays and on Fridays they bring home new spelling lists to study for a test the following Thursday and a dictation test the following day, on Friday. We are going to be plenty busy with homework it seems. Today Gage brought home his first reading homework. He has a reading log that he is to fill in each day of at least 15 minutes of reading. Even though reading to Gage is still very important, this 15 minutes has to be on his own, either silent or out loud. He then has a story that he is supposed to read while I time him to see how many words he can read in 1 minute. In the beginning months of 2nd grade, they should be able to read 44 words per minute or more. The sheet he is to read is at the 2nd grade level and he read the entire thing, which was 144 words, in less than a minute. There is also a graph that we are supposed to graph this information on so we can see how they progress through the year. I'm hoping she'll send home harder stuff for him, or a bigger graph, so I can see Gage's progress.

For his spelling tests he will have 12 regular spelling words, and then they have 3 bonus words they can spell for extra points. This week his extra words are lettuce, pocket and engine. The first 12 words he has are pretty simple and he has no problem with them, and he only had problems really with lettuce. Scott taught him a trick for lettuce though, so now he has it stored in his little memory bank. Spelling was always my favorite subject and I enjoy seeing his new list of words each week.

My only problem with all of this is TIME. It's very hard to get all of this stuff done in just the few hours we have from after school until bedtime. We are shooting for a 7pm bedtime for both Gage and Emma and after you add supper time in there, and just plain "free time" to play by himself or with friends, there's not much left!!! I am very thankful that alot of this stuff comes very easy to Gage, because if it didn't, and we had to work twice as hard, I'm not sure I could get it all done in a day? Then, on top of all of this, Gage brings home big chapter books from the library that we are trying our hardest to get read in a weeks' time. He gets to check out 2 books from the library and I want him to be able to check 2 out each week instead of having to renew the same book for the second week. Thankfully this week he only brought home 1 chapter book and the other one was a little picture book. However, we have discovered a way to help get some of this extra reading done by sending the library books with him to school each day to read during his silent reading time. Unfortunately I had to make a second trip to the school this morning because we forgot to put his book in his bag. He has library tomorrow and we have 3 chapters to read in the morning. He was begging me to let him stay up and read the rest of the book on his own, but I told him he would have to go to bed and I would read it to him in the morning. I certainly don't know how people with more than 2 kids, especially if they all have homework, do it?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Burning a hole in her pocket

Emma had some money that has been burning a hole in her pocket. She had $20 from her Grandpa Alan and Grandpa Stephens and she was determined to spend it today. We went to Walmart (and just so you know Emily, Walmart is a bad place to be on Sunday too!) today to look around at DVD players. The kids have broken all 3 of our machines and we wanted to see what is available. Emma brought her money with her and she wanted to buy a Littlest Pet Shop set. She found that, then also found a 2-n-1 Habitat/Backyard Safari. She had enough money for both, so we let her spend it so she won't be worried about it any longer. She is very excited about her new backyard safari. This container can be used for bugs or even frogs. The package said that there was a coupon for free tadpoles included!! Emma was sold. She found a little baby toad when we were in Iowa over the 4th of July and decided she was going to keep it as a pet. Well, that is until it escaped the ice cream bucket and got lost in my parents' basement. Did you ever find that toad Mom and Dad? After we got home and got the package opened and found the coupon for the free tadpole, I noticed it said that the tadpole was free, but it was $7.99 for shipping and handling. No wonder this backyard safari was clearanced at Walmart! I think I am going to go check them out at PetSmart before I order it, as I'm sure we'll have better luck getting one there, rather than having one mailed to us!? Gage was excited about Emma's purchase as well, because he was sure she would let him have one of the tadpoles she would get. We didn't realize at the time you would only get ONE in the shipment! It also says in the directions that you shouldn't have more than one frog in this thing because it isn't big enough for more than that. I think we'll have to go with 2 anyway, to prevent the fighting. We didn't have much luck with fish, so I don't know how we'll do with frogs. Hopefully we won't have any escape this time!

The kids had a nice time at church this morning. They had a scavenger hunt planned for the kids and they had a good time showing their friends, Jadyn and Kya, around the church. They were also very excited to hear they would be going to Sunday School with them!! Gage said, "You mean they are going to come for good?" I told him I hoped that was what they decided, but yes, for now they were planning to try it out at our church. They are thrilled to death!

This morning before we left for church I put a roast in the crockpot. I had gotten a very simple recipe off of another blog I enjoy reading "Motherhood for Dummies" that was for Shredded BBQ. It was really good AND very easy, which is always a bonus for me! When we got home from church it smelled so good we were all disappointed that we had to wait until supper time to eat it! We put it over brown rice instead of having sandwiches and it was really good. We'll have the leftovers on sandwiches tomorrow for another yummy meal! I will definitely be making it again. We have tons of roasts in the freezer from when we bought 1/4 beef. I'm not very good at cooking roasts, so they have just sat in the freezer..........until now!

Looking forward to Monday! I don't know that I've ever looked forward to Mondays? Have I mentioned that I LOVE SCHOOL? :-)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A beautiful day

Gage had his first soccer game of the season this morning. It turned out to be a beautiful day for it too! We were very proud of the way he hustled. He still wasn't the most aggressive kicker out there, but I'm just overjoyed that he tried his hardest. I didn't realize how rough of a sport soccer can be!? At one point, early on in the game, Gage went to kick the ball and one of his opponents (who happens to be a kid we know from church) fell in front of him and he kicked him in the head. I don't think it was that hard, but it was hard enough to send the little guy to the sidelines with his parents. Then, not long after that, Gage took a ball right in the face. It kind of stunned him at first, but then he started crying while he was holding his face and nose. The coach picked him up and carried him off the field to me and I had him sit in my lap awhile while I rubbed his back. While I had him there I said, "Gage, did you accidentally kick Seth in the head?" He replies, "No, I didn't, but my cleat did." Ooops. I could tell when Seth started crying that Gage felt really bad and was very concerned about him.

Before the game started the coach had the kids doing warm-ups. Jumping jacks are always quite amusing. Gage has a hard time with the jumping jacks and timing them appropriately.

Warm-up kicks into the goal.

More warming up.

Coach Keith giving the kids a pep talk before the game starts.

The Stephens were listed as parent monitors. I made Scott go out and do it because I don't know the first thing about soccer. Neither does Scott, but I figured he could fake it a little better than I could?

Gage gives the ball a nice kick during the game.

Even though they don't keep score, it's alot easier to know what the score is in soccer than in baseball. We had about 4 goals to the opponents' 2.

Gage is hustling down the field on the right of the ball. He did a very good job of passing the ball to his teammates. The whole team actually did a pretty good job of passing the ball. Gage was trying really hard to score a goal and almost had one.

The team takes a little water break while coach Keith lays out the game plan.
It was such a nice day out that we had to do something outdoors. We loaded up the bicycles and drove down by the river to ride our bikes along the path. We rode from the DU office to the zoo. I'm not exactly sure how far that is, but it is probably 3-4 miles round trip? The kids did really well. We walked around the zoo for a little while and checked out the new big cat exhibit that was built this summer. The snow leopard part of it is still under construction, but we got to see the bengal tiger, white bengal tiger and I think it's a yellow tabby bengal tiger? These are rare tigers that are on loan to our zoo. The exhibit is really cool, as there is a tunnel you can go through to get to this viewing area. The area is topped with glass and has glass sides so that you can get "up close" to the tigers. All 3 of them actually hopped up onto the glass area that we were standing in so we were able to really see them up close! Their paws were just huge! I'm such a cat lover and I really enjoyed it. Even though they are wild, I always think it would be fun to pet them. I'm sure it wouldn't be so much fun being lunch, however. While we were in the enclosure it started to downpour. Thank goodness we timed that right. Our bikes were wet when we left, but thankfully we didn't get rained on.
On our ride back to the car I was quite a ways in the lead. I wasn't intending to be and I wasn't going very fast, but everyone else was just lagging behind. At one point I turned my head to see where everyone was and I couldn't see any of them! I waited awhile and Gage finally caught up to me. He was apparently trying to tell me that Emma wrecked her bike but I was off in la-la land and unintentionally had him tuned out. When we stopped at the grocery store on our way home Emma was showing me her knee. I'm like, "Emma, what happened to your knee?" She said, "I wrecked my bike!" Scott replies, "You didn't even know she wrecked her bike?" Well, no, I guess not! Gage says, "Mom, I told you that when I caught up to you." Hmmm.........I certainly didn't hear him say that, so I must have had some good thoughts going through my head to have all of that conversation tuned out? I guess I'm getting pretty good at that! LOL!
There was a really good taco dip that they had out for sampling in the store. Gage wanted me to go and try it, but it was nearly gone when I got to it. I had to scrape the side to get any, but what I got was really good. I saw a sign that said the taco dip was $6.99/lb. I didn't realize it said per pound. Or, if I did realize it, I assumed it was probably around one pound. Then, I couldn't find the dip. I had to go ask a guy at the deli counter and he said it was right by the dip. He walked over there with me and said, "It's right there!" as he pointed at it. Hmmm, it looked quite a bit different before it was completely devoured! LOL! After we checked out Scott says, "Stacy, did you see how much that dip was?" I told him I didn't, but that the sign said, $6.99. I guess I should have weighed the darn thing because it was $15!!!! It was in a pie plate-like plastic container, so it wasn't HUGE. I about died when Scott said it was $15! It was sure delicious when we got it home though! (It should have been for that price!) I'll know next time about their sneaky marketing style! We saw our friend Juanita there. She was there with her sister and nephew from Minneapolis. It was nice meeting them. (I hope we didn't tempt you, Juanita, to go back and get a container of that spendy dip, or, if we did, that you were actually smarter than I was and looked at the price on the bottom of the pan!)
Tomorrow starts the fall church season and we go back to 2 church services each Sunday. The early service is at 9am and the later one is at 11am. We typically go to the early one because it seems like half of our day is over when we get home at lunchtime after the later service. Our friends, Kara, Guy, Jadyn and Kya Guidinger are meeting us there. The Sunday School season kick-off is tomorrow with a breakfast in Ramstad Hall between services. This will be Emma's first year to not be in the preschool room for Sunday School, so I'm sure she'll be excited about the different rotations/stations they will have each week. She's finally part of the "big kid" group. It's kind of sad when I think about how big she's getting. She was only about 6 months old or so when we started going to church. They just grow up way too fast!