Monday, December 24, 2007

Movement and getting unfat

So days 1, 2, 3, etc haven't gone so good. Not only did I eat cookies for lunch on Friday and then atoned for my sins by eating a salad for dinner (complete with a 42 oz milkshake for dessert), but we had my famiy's Christmas dinner on Sunday, where I scarfed everything in sight and then some for both lunch and dinner. I ate leftovers today (and stuffed myself sick again) then had mass quantities of popcorn at the movie and came home and ate pizza. Besides all the huge amoutns of food I've eaten over the last several days, I have stopped doing Pilates and Yoga. I've been too full at bedtime to do them so I've been skipping.

In getting back on track, we set up our Christmas present tonight. My mom got us a Wii for Christmas and we wanted it to be set up and totally ready to use when the kids found out about it in the morning. Good thing too because it took over 30 minutes to set up and then to sync and so forth. Once we had it all set up, we had to play it to make sure that everything worked right. :) My brother and were playing Wii Sports (the other games are "to be opened" tomorrow morning) and decided on boxing. We played 3 minutes and both of us nearly died in the process! Every time one of use would go down, we were both doubled over, hands on our knees, panting like crazy. I haven't been that active in ever. I'm not sure I even worked that hard when I used to play soccer (which could have something to do with the fact that I was never, in all the years I played, on a winning team LOL). Then we bowled, which was much less active. If I played one of the games (I left the "boys" playing tennis to come to bed) at least once a day, I would drop mad weight and be in killer shape. I'll have to find out if I can play against the computer or if I can play online or if I'm just going to have to get someone to play against me everyday :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bathroom water, CEc and Zelda

I don't like drinking water from the bathroom. I realize in my head that it is exactly the same water that is in the kitchen. However illogical it may be, I can't convince the rest of me that the water is the same. I'll drink it sometimes but if given a choice, I drink from the kitchen. Strange I know and it has no real point. :)

We were out shopping today and took the kids to Toys R Us to spend their gift cards. Lizzie picked out a pink Little People Castle (When we pointed out that buddy already had a castle set she said "yep, now I have pink castle and it has a princess") and a "Musical Tea Set" Much to my dismay, she seems to prefer girly things :( A side note, she tried to play with one of C's toys the other day and he told her she couldn't because she was a girl and girls only like makeup and dolls. GAH!! I pointed out that I'm a girl and I like (and never did) neither of those things.
He said "did you like video games and superheros"
"Yes, actually I did"
"so you were a geek?"
" yes I was and in case you haven't noticed, I still am"
"no you aren't" What a sweet boy LOL

He bought Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass for his DS. He started playing the game with my dad and he was having a hard time with it. When we got home, he asked for "help" (which means, play my game while I watch) so I was playing it for awhile and the game ROCKS. My absolute all time favorite video game is the original Legend of Zelda. I played it for years and years and years and finally beat the first half of the game on an emulator a few years ago. I haven't managed to beat or even figure out the second half and likely never will. Anyway, this game is like a cross between orignal Zelda and Final Fantasy 9, which is another in my top 10 best games ever. I may have to start a game of my own on the system because it is that much fun.

While we were shopping, we decided that we were going to take the kids to McDonald's to let them run off some energy. We drove by the one by the mall and it was PACKED. We decided to try the other one but the kids freaked out and said they wanted BK instead. Mom decided that she wanted to do something different and while she was thinking about it, she came up with Chuck E Cheese in Bloomington. So we ran home, grabbed my dad and headed for Bloomington. We had pizza and played games and spend 2 hours. Lizzie napped on the way home and C played more of his game.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sicky Chicky

Lizzie is sick again today :( Since she was sick earlier in the fall, everytime she doesn't want to do something she says she is going to be sick. We don't believe her at all anymore when she says it. This morning, she woke up at about 6:30 and told me she was going to be sick. I took her to the bathroom (I may not buy it, but I still take her because I'd rather than than clean up puke) and she hung over the toilet making puke noises and looking slyly at me out of the corner of her eye. Eventually, she decided that she wasn't sick and was ready to go back to bed. She laid down with me and dozed off for a few minutes. Then she woke up and told me she was going to be sick again. I handed her the "chuck bucket" as they call it. She sat up for a few minutes then she put the bucket down and asked for "Spongebob" on TV. I turned it on and rolled over to go back to sleep (because 6:30 is a stupid early time to be awake when we don't have to go to school). It wasn't 5 more minutes and she started to cough and threw up in the bed. Well, that was it for sleeping so I got her up and got dh up and had him take care of getting her cleaned up while I took care of the bed.

She laid around on the couch for awhile and ended up getting sick again about 8:30. Around 10, she asked for something to eat so I got her some crackers and a little 7 up. About 11, she threw it up all over the dining room and herself. I put her in the tub, while I cleaned up the floor and then let her lay on the couch and watch Blue's Clues. At noon, I told her it was naptime and although she was pissed, she went to sleep in under 10 minutes :) She slept for 2 hours and got up fairly happy. She was hungry again and I cautiously handed over about 15 crackers and maybe 2 swallows of 7up. She did fine and asked for a banana which she also did fine.

We did the paper and then she came home and had some soup and ice chips (she didn't want anything to drink but she was thirsty) and is now sleeping quitely. I am a mean mommy though because I'm making her sleep with a little blanket tonight (not so little that it doesn't cover her all the way up, she just can't thrash all over the bed and remain covered) because it is easier to wash if she does get sick in the night.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Goals for 2008

I don't make resolutions because they aren't realistic and it seems very sheepy (baa). However, I have some goals for the upcoming year.

Broad goals:
Lose weight
quit being poor

The smaller sub goals:


Become more active (possibly joining a class or sport of something)

Monitor what I eat (I don't diet, I hate being deprived of anything and dieting makes my crazier than normal)

Quit eating just to eat. Just because there is food around, doesn't mean I need to eat it.

Only eat when I'm hungry and only until I'm comfortable. I tend to stuff myself to the point of sickness and that isn't good for anyone.


QUIT SPENDING SO FREAKING MUCH MONEY ALL THE TIME. This is obviously a big one. I don't need coffee all the time, Lizzie doesn't need to go to tag along gym every week, etc etc.

Pay off the van. Previously mentioned $2k plus taxes makes a good portion of the total amount owed. That will free up a couple of hundred dollars a month.

Pay off student loan with extra from van.

Save the money that was being spent on the van and the loan for a DP on a new car when dh's car quits (it is 7 years old and still in good shape, but better to be prepared for when it happens than to be blindsided)

Shop smarter. Maybe coupons or really chasing sale. I seriously need to cut our food budget. This partly goes with the weight loss, but I need to start cooking and serving realistic portions. We end up with a ton of leftovers that usually get thrown out because we don't eat much leftovers. I also need to cut back on the meat that we use. For example, we use 2 pounds of hamburger for goulash. We could totally get away with only one lb.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Scrapping and paper routes

I've been busy tagging the CATW kit. Talk about blah. I remember how overwhelming it felt to tag all my files orginally and this feels the same way. It is too much, but I can't do anything else until I get it done. That puts me behind on the project for my parents and I haven't scrapped a current picture since C's b-day in October. I have several that need done but it is going to be awhile. I've finished all the backgrounds and I have 300+ more elements to go. :( I have deleted a TON of stuff that I will never use. Really how many snowflakes does one scrapper need? I need to apply the same theory to my current files but somehow I can't. I think "I don't want to tag all these frames because I never use frames. I've used frames on maybe 5 layouts ever so I don't need to keep these" By that reasoning, I should just dump my whole "frames" folder, but I can't do it. I might need a frame for something someday and I'll be mad as heck if I don't have it :)

Going through all these files has made me question some of the designers I like. I have a few fave designers that I dl pretty much anything they put out there (free only because I don't pay to scrap). I don't use a lot of the stuff but I feel like I should have it because I might need it and hey, it is free. I see some of their stuff in CATW and it is UGLY. When I think about it, most of their stuff is ugly, yet I keep dling it because there was something that I liked at one point. Again, I need to delete a BUNCH of that crap, but I probably won't. I'm a packrat, what can I say.

I quit my paper route today, via email because I'm a coward. He told me they want a month's notice to quit but that seems so extreme. I told him that it is more physically demanding than I expected and I won't be able to do it anymore because of the pain that it is causing me. My back has been hurting again since I started it and I don't need that. I just got it were it wasn't killing me every time I moved and now it is starting up again. So Friday will be my last day as a paper girl. I told C I would work up a list of things he could do to earn money and I'll figure out something else that will bring in a little bit. I don't want any major commitments (I hate being tied down everyday) so it is going to have to be something on and off. I might start subbing again so that I can make a little bit but aren't commited to doing anything all the time. I might also offer babysitting services to my playgroup on a drop in basis, as long as they don't mind their kids running all over hell's half acre with us :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Paper route

Day 2 of the paper route and it SUCKS! My mom gave me a really hard time about it last night and I ended up saying to her "no one asked you to do it. If you don't like the idea of a paper route, then don't do it. Oh look, you aren't. Problem solved" She was pissed but at least she dropped the subject.

I convinced C to help me out and I told him I would pay him a dollar a day, for each day that he helped me with the papers. He has been thrilled to do it the last couple of days. We'll see how he feels about that when I drag his tail out of bed at 6 on Saturday to go with me. Honestly, we'll see how I feel about it when I have to get out of bed at 6 on Saturday. I doubt I will be pleased because I hate mornings :(

I honestly don't know how long I'm going to stick it out. The weather is terrible, there is 6 inches of snow on the ground and we have to tromp through it to deliver the papers. It was 34 degrees today and windy. Taking the kids with me makes it take a lot longer than it should. C told me he would be really upset if I quit since I told him that I will pay him a dollar for each day he helped me out. He is crazy excited about the potential to have money of his own to spend (I told him he has to break it into 3rds so that 1/3 goes to long term savings, 1/3 goes to short term savings, and 1/3 can be spent on whatever he wants). It ties us up every afternoon and it means we can't stay and play in the afternoons. It means that we can't go to early afternoon playgroups and I have to get up early on the weekends. Lots more negatives than positives. The only pluses are the money (which after taxes and what I offered to pay C, is insubstantial, less than $100 a month, which is no where near what I wanted to make) and the excercise. I work up a serious sweat running around out there and that is good. I need to find some other way to get motivated to excercise and then that wouldn't even be a bonus. That would leave me with only disappointing C as my motivation for keeping the route. I could probably come up with something for him to do around the house to earn back some of that money :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Shoe update

I bought these shoes at They are being shipped and should be here today. I took dh shopping to find shoes today and while I was there, I saw basically the same shoe in blue instead of black. They were $21 instead of $58. I also found out that I need like a size 10.5 (which apparently isn't made in women's shoes, anywhere, ever) instead of the 9.5 that I bought online. I went ahead and bought them and I'll be returning the ones I bought online. With all the money I saved, I went ahead and bought myself a pair of snow boots. Now, I don't have to wear dh's old work boot style snow boots anymore. Dh is very happy because he got a new pair of tennis shoes and he gets his boots back :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

New "job"

I got a paper route. I needed something that I could do to make a little money, that the kids could go with me and that wouldn't take up a ton of time. I looked through the paper, thinking I would do some sub work or something like that. I figured up how much I would have to work and it wouldn't have been the minimal amount that I was looking for. The newspaper is always advertising for carriers and adults being welcome. I decided that that sounded like a good choice so I called and the guy brought the paperwork over yesterday. I'll make around $150 a month (piddly, I know) but that is enough. Evan's check covers the bill, but only just. This will be extra money for the "things" that come up all the time. Either holiday presents, school charges (spirit-wear, that I spent a fortune one, field trips skating rental, etc etc etc) car expenses, dinners out, whatever. I told C if he would help me, I would pay him a portion of the amount. That way, he has the opportunity to earn a little money as well. He has been asking about an allowence, but I think 6 is too young for that. Having him help me and paying him for the amount of help he gives (probably a price per paper he helps with) will hopefully help him learn about money and money management.

In other news, we got a really strange check in the mail yesterday. A few months ago, we got a letter from child support enforcement saying that dh was $1200 behind in his support (he wasn't). Since then, we have been trying to figure out what is going on, talking to CO, trying to talk to IL (they have this horrible automated system that basically says "if we didn't answer your question, get on the website" which requires a name and password we don't have), talking to the people at work, etc, etc, etc. Our checking account was frozen and I opened a new one in my name alone to take care of bills and things still. Since then our account has been unfrozen (although I only knew that because I tried to send a bill payment, not because I got any notification). Despite the fact that this mess is still pending, we got a check yesterday for over $2000 from child support enforcement. Of course, we can't call IL to see why we got the check or what we are supposed to do with it. So I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. $2k right before Xmas could be a really good thing, if it actually ours to use. I know what I would like to do with it but what is actually going to happen is that I'm going to deposit it in savings and leave it set for some time. At some point in the future, if the state hasn't contacted us and said "oops, we didn't mean to send you that", we'll use it to help pay off some of our debt, which will be awesome :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Productive today

So far this morning, I've been pretty darn productive. I have got dh's insurance straightened out (finally, it's only been going on for 2 months), I got the cell phone bill straightened out (apparently I had the wrong address so the payment was never processed, nevermind the fact that that is where I've been sending payments since August and all of them have been fine) and the correct amount paid. I called about a job that I'm interested in. And now I have to go put away laundry and finish washing (I love that we moved the dressers in the laundry room so stuff comes straight out of the dryer and gets hung up, but that means I actually have to hang it up and I can't just pull stuff out and shove the next load in) the rest of the clothes. And I have to create a spreadsheet for C's class Christmas party to see who is bringing what and what is already brought. I don't want another fiasco like Halloween since all the parents will be there as well.

In other news, I'm going roller skating tomorrow night! I love roller skating and haven't been in over 10 years. The last time I went was the one and only all night skate I've ever been to. It was ok but I should have gone with (had, in reality) a better class of friends because the it all drama all the time with them. Being locked in a building with 10 drama queens (guys included) and 100 other people to feed the drama was just asking for trouble, which we got in spades. Relationships were formed and destroyed, tears were shed, fights were nearly started, curse words were screamed, all in the course of less than 12 hours. It was insane. Tomorrow will be better. I'm going with C and my dad to celebrate the end of skating in PE and all the other Westie's will be there so I'm excited. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snow Way

I hate snow. I dislike winter, overall, although I look better in long sleeves than short so I like that fact. It is cold and everyone craps their brain as soon as the first clouds sheds the first flake. I can forgive people, to a very small degree, that have never driven in this garbage. People that have lived here their whole lives have no excuse. If you can't drive in it, get on the bus and out of my way.

Perversely, I was just watching the weather and they are saying chance of up to an inch of snow tomorrow night and then a "significant" chance on Saturday (although weather channel says 20% chance tomorrow and only 30% on Saturday so we'll see). I'm a little excited about it. I don't want anything like we had in Feb.
where everyone had to work crazy hours and we ended up with several house guests because we live in town and no one could make it home. An inch or two, enough to go sledding without messing up the roads (tis the season to be travelling, after all), would be ok. The kids really like the snow so I don't mind it as much because of that.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Typically, I wear Birks. Unfortunately, it is now cold and snowy and I can't wear them because my socks get wet. :( I bought some camo slip on Chuck's last year for my birthday. I spent far too much on them but they are crazy cool looking so I'm ok wearing them. They solve the wet feet problem of the Birks, but present a problem of their own. They are FLAT. They have NO SUPPORT of any kind. This wasn't a problem in the past, but I have recently come to the conclusion that they are the reason that I've been having back problems. I bought some shoe inserts that were supposed to help with that but they were too tall and pushed my foot clear out of the back of the shoe when I walked. I got some lower inserts but they haven't really helped. So, I have no shoes that I can really wear since our lovely snow the other night.

I was looking at (since I can't afford anywhere else) for some slip on tennis shoes. I like the ones that look like real tennis shoes but have no back. I like slip on shoes because I can't stand and put on shoes (I have no balance) and I don't like having to lean over and tie my shoes because I'm fat. After seeing that there were no shoes like what I was looking for, I started browsing the rest of the site. I got distracted by the dress shoes (which I need a new pair of as well, but those are far less important than the tennis shoes) and I'm amazed at the number of "holiday party" shoes that are completely open. The reason I need new dress shoes is because my good ones are sandles and my feet get very cold when I wear them for "holiday" parties. Do these people not understand that it is winter time? That in a good portion of this country, you can't wear dress sandles in December? I do like the boots they have though. I might get a pair of those for dress (I have an old pair but they don't fit anymore)

I might take the kids shopping this afternoon and see if I can't find something that will work for one or both of my current lack of shoes :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What should I do?

What I am currently doing:
Sitting on the couch making a blog entry
Thinking about putting on jammie pants and a sweatshirt and maybe digging up a blanket.

What I should be doing:
Going to Kinko's to print calendars
Going to Dollar General to buy Kleenex and Sudafed (we are all getting sick here and it sucks)
Taking Lizzie to the last story time, ever, at the old library.

Alternately, I need to clean the living room, including moving all the furniture and sweep and mopping the floor.

What will I do? Probably keep sitting here and then feel guilty that I got nothing done.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tis the season to be downloading

I just went WILD and dled a TON of Xmas stuff. I can't wait to see the CATW kit that is coming out in a couple of weeks. It is going to be stellar and I hope to get every dl. I used to have a lot of Xmas kits and little use for most of them. Now that I'm working on a project that includes lots of old Xmas pictures, I have a need a no kits. Well, I HAD a need and no kits, but now I have plenty. I just have to unzip and tag all of them now :)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Woohoo, party time!

We went to J's b-day party this afternoon. I was the only mom who stayed (and I spent 2 hours chasing 8 "superheroes" around with a camera trying to get pictures for the b-day mom). By 5:30, the kids had baths and were jammied for bed. By six, they were watching TV and I was laying on the couch reading a book about digital photography. By 6:30, they were still watching TV and I was napping on the couch instead of reading.

We had a seriously rocking Saturday night. Look at us wild party animals! LOL

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tis the season to be SHOPPING!

I don't like the shop. It is a pain, I get angry and frustrated at people and I generally leave the store in a foul mood. There is one notable exception to this and that is black Friday shopping! As stupid as it sounds, I love getting up at the crack of dawn, standing in line in the cold and fighting the crowds for a few deals. We plan our trips with miliatry precision. We get the ads on Thursday (I actually browse them on beforhand and hope that that information is close to right on the big day) and we all sit down and go through them together. We pick the stores that each person will go to, in what order we will go and figure out what time everyone needs to be up and where and when to meet after. This year, my brother, who works nights typically, stayed up and got in line at Staples at 2:45 for the opening at 6. He took a lawn chair, some blankets, coffee and his computer and camped out in front of the store. Mom and I got up at 3:30 and mom headed out while I went for more coffee for me and him. We ended up being about 25th or so in line, which was fine. It seemed like everyone in front of us where looking for a super cheap laptop that they had so i wasn't worried about getting my stuff. As the morning wore on, more and more people showed up and the line ended up being clear around the corner of the building. We also had several people who jumped in line with people in front of us but we couldn't complain too much since we did the same thing, 2 hours earlier. We had several things to get and assigned each person a task. D got put in charge of getting the hard drives because he is the biggest and the tallest and has the easiest time getting through the crowds and that was the most important thing to get. I got put in charge of my memory card and flash drives and mom came along as a third person to buy the one per person items :) I ended up getting a Maxtor 500gb external harddrive, a 2gb CF card for my new camera, and a package of CDs.

We were in and out of the store in under 20 minutes and would have been even faster (last year, we had everything we went for and had checked out before the end of the line made it in the store) if we could haven't goten D to stand still and get in line. After Staples, we went to Meijer and I got pillows (I bought some a few months ago and they horrible. They are all flat and gross) and a chicken fryer, not because I fry so much chicken but because it is a nice big deep pan and I broke my other one (it fell off the edge of the sink and the handle broke). After that, mom and I went to Walgreen's where she got a digital picture frame keyring and moon sand. Then to the mall where we had a $10 off a $10 item at Bergener's. I got the "Pop Bottle Science" kit for C, for $5 so score. Then to breakfast and home by 9:30 am :)

In other news, my back is KILLING me. It has hurt since Tuesday morning. I'm seriously thinking about going to the doctor on Monday, if it isn't better. I'm been taking Advil round the clock and sleeping on a heating pad. It still hurts to walk or stand up or sit down or bend over or pick up the kids, etc. It got so bad the last couple of nights (rolling over in bed is horrible) that I took real pain meds left over from my broken toe and my c/s. The sad thing is, I don't even know what I did to it. :(

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My anniversary present

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Dh got me this for our anniversary on Saturday. I can't wait to get a chance to play with it some more. I just need to wait for the right oppourtunity because just sitting in my living room playing with it isn't that much fun.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gift cards as gifts

I LOVE gift cards. I was just reading something about how it is SO rude to give people give cards because it means you don't care enough about them to know what they would want instead. IMO, getting someone a gift card means you care enough about their time to get them something useful, instead of something that they may not need or want and will just have to return (or regift, which is also OMG SO rude, apparently). My MIL hates giving gift cards and I've been asking for one for every gift giving holiday since dh and I got married. I simply don't understand this. I know what I want, I know where to get and I want the best deal for my money. Why kill yourself buying something I don't like (she has this thing with buying jewelry, which I often don't like or can't wear because of an allergy) or won't be able to use. For example, we asked for a Wii this year for Xmas and I asked for a gift card to buy accesories for it. I don't know what games we want, I want to wait until we find a good deal on something. I don't know how many controllers we will want or need, I don't know if we will need remote skins or anything else.

I swear, when I sat down to write this, this was a lot more intelligent. I've been distracted 20 times since I started and it no longer has even close to the same flow as when I started. :(

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Not out of my house but we have moved nearly everything in the house around in the last few days. Several months ago, I set up centers for various activities around the house and it has helped keep my house so much cleaner!! The centers worked great over the summer when dh was working fairly normal hours. Since he has started working nights, they haven't worked as well. The two favorties, art and kitchen were in the dining room, nearest his room. I was forever shushing them and eventually making them leave the centers because they were being too loud. Last week, I decided that I needed to move them into the living room. Well, I don't have enough room in the living room for all the stuff so I had to move blocks and trains into the dining room. I backed blocks up to my desk (partly hide the crap that falls off my desk) and put the train under the bar. Then I decided that I was tired of the laundry room the way it was. We drug out this nasty old cabinet (it was a ktichen counter that someone had tried to cut a sink in and then covered with masking tape when it didn't work) Since we just stored soap in there, it wasn't a big deal. I decided that I wanted to put the dressers in the laundry room so that I could put clothes away as they came out of the dryer. Previously, I had been tossing clothes on the floor (my typical place for storing clothes, unfortunately) and then I set up a basket system, where each person had a basket in the laundry room and I would toss each person's clothes into their basket as they came out of the dryer. This was working well, but the baskets were taking up lots of room and it was hard to get through to the washer. The other issue was putting away clothes because they all go in the room that Evan sleeps in. I couldn't put them away during the day and I couldn't get them back out in the morning either. We have moved the dressers in there and they take up way less room. I still have a basket for Lizzie because her dresser is in the other room and I'm not going to move it into the laundry room. As long as I put the clothes away as soon as they are done, it shouldn't be an issue. We are hanging a bar on one side and hanging up all the clothes in there and a shelf on the other side for non-dresser folded clothes (pants). We are also mounting a shelf for soap and bleach and other things like that and then I'm mounting a shelf over the art center for things that need to stay with it but that I don't want the kids to have access to all the time (beads, hot glue gun, extra paint brushes, etc) Since none of the dressers are in dh's room, he drug his desk into his room while I was gone picking C up at school. Now I have to clean that area up (it has been awhile since it has been vacuumed really well under his desk) and then clean my desk off. Then I'm going to move my desk in to the nook that his was in, next to the file cabinet. Then I have to clean really well where my desk used to be (also quite some time since it has been vacuumed well) and then I'm going the flatten the blocks against the wall. Not sure what I'll do with the extra wall space (our desk have been in the same place since we moved in here 5 years ago) but I'm sure I'll find something to fill it.

So I should be cleaning the dining room but I'm sitting here on my tail blogging about how I'm going to clean it. Lame :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Child support update

Our local office says they have no record of any payments since Nov 2006. They suggested we call the payroll person at work and verify they were sending the payments to the right place and with the right number. He called. She is. Her suggestion was to call the main office and see what they say. He called and they said, they show that payments are current as of Nov 5th 2007. They suggested calling CO and seeing what the problem is on their end. He did and was told (after waiting most of the day for a return call) that he needed to call someone else about the accounts being frozen. He did and was told that they showed he was current as well, but they couldn't do anything about the notice once it had been sent. Once they get the paperwork that we are supposed to send, they can unfreeze the account. Even though they admit that he is current, they can't do anything to correct their error until we send proof that their files are correct. SO frustrating.

A couple of good things have come out of this though. We actually have the name of a case worker in CO that we can call when they do stupid crap like this. He said this is also the first time that he has called about an issue that everyone that he has talked to hasn't treated him like a lying deadbeat.

Going forward, we were able to stop his direct deposit so this own't tie up all our money for the next 2 weeks. When he gets paid, I'm going to have him sign the check over to me and then I'm going to go to our other bank (where I have an account in my name alone) and cash it. Then I'm going to open a new checking account in my name alone. He will have to change his direct deposit to that account and I'll switch all of our bill pays over to that. I intend to keep the original account open and once this mess is resolved, I'll transfer money into it every pay period to cover his gas and what have you. That way, he still has access to money, without having to worry about another error tying up money for days or weeks. We were fortunate this time that the problem occurred at the end of a pay period, when there wasn't as much money in the account.

Pilates and PE

I figured out why I don't like my Pilates book. It isn't PILATES, it is all crunches and legs lifts. Throw in a fat lesbian or a football coach in the midst of roid rage and you have my high school PE class.

I HATED PE. I hated it all through school. I managed to get into it with every single PE teacher I ever had. In elem school, I kicked my PE in the knee because he thought I wasn't stretching well enough so he decided to help me. He pushed my leg up further than I wanted it so I reared my other leg back and unleashed on his locked knee. I got sent to the principal's office over it.

Freshman year in high school, I told my PE teacher (the fat lesbian)that I would run as soon as she did. She was pissed. Later in the year, she tried to give me a same day detention (against school policy) and I walked out the of the class. She called my mom and mom told her to take a flying leap.

Sophomore year, I got thrown out of my PE class. I refused to dress one day for some reason or another (any excuse I could come up with was good enough for me) and the coach (roid boy) told me that I had to dress. The rest of teh conversation went sort of like this:
Me: yeah, I'm so not doing that.
RB: you are REQUIRED to dress for this class
Me: I'd like to see you try and make me
RB: you will dress!!!! or you can go sit in the office for the rest of the class period.
Me: *thinking* I could sit in the air conditioned office, in a comfy chair or in the hot, smelly gym on the hard floor. DuhI'm outta here.

I flunked PE one quarter and had to quit pissing off the coaches for the next quarter because if you flunked the whole semester, you had to repeat it next year. My junior year, I fully loaded my schedule so I wouldn't have to take PE, because I was "college bound". My senior year, I decided "screw it" and took only the bare minimum of classes to keep me out of PE. It wasn't like I needed the credits. You had to have 16 to graduate and I had that by the middle of my junior year. Without flunking classes, I'm not sure how you could manage to not have 16 credits but some people did.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Excercize and scrapping

I have started doing pilates and yoga again. I had been doing really good at it and then I got sick and quit (it is really hard to invert when it feels like your head is going to explode when you pick things up off the floor) Then I never got back into it. I need to get the book that I had from the library because the ab workout in it was muxh better. This book I have now is ok, but it is less concentrated (I realize I griped about not liking the other book I already had because it was too specific but there is a happy medium between too specific and not specific enough) than what I want. I've been doing the yoga on and off for a couple of years. If nothing else, I sleep better when I do it, so doing it as often as possible is a good thing.

I've also decided to do something aerobic 10 minutes everyday. If that is swimming with the kids or chasing them around the playground or flailing around wildly to music. 10 minutes a day isn't that hard to commit to. Eventually the plan is to work up to doing 20 minutes a day and then 30 minutes. Over the course of the day, none of that is too much. 10 minutes is seriously nothing. I can do 2 minutes an hour (one song to flail to) and it won't even take all day. Do I want to lose weight? Yes, I would really like to lose 50 lbs. However, that isn't the main focus of this. I want to be in better shape. I don't like not being able to breathe. And I don't like not being able to run and play with the kids without being winded.

As for scrapping, I'm so tired of commenting on layouts. I want the comments on mine (which are boring, I know) but I'm tired of spewing the same pointless drivel at every layout I see. It is rare that I see a layout that really inspires me to say anything real. I always complained about galleries where all that was said was "Nice page,I like your color choices" or "I really like your page, you did a good job with that picture" I always want some kind of constructive critism but I find that hard to offer. I see the layouts and they are "fine", nothing spectacular but nothing wrong either and it is so hard to come up with something that doesn't sound 100% lame. So I may not like the robot comments but at least I understand them now :(

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Child support

Ug, I hate child support. Dh has to pay support for dsd, which is fine with me. He helped make the baby, now he has to help pay for the baby (who isn't a baby at 11). It comes out of his check every week and we never see and barely even think about it. Every few weeks we get a notice telling us that he is behind by a couple of hundred dollars because the state is off a little bit from his pay so they say "he is behind" and then they process the payment and we get a letter saying "oops, you have a credit" Mostly we ignore these updates since they change like every other day.

Today, we got a notice in the mail telling us that they had frozen our checking accounts because he is TWELVE HUNDRED DOLLARS behind!! So, Monday he has to call the child support enforcement people and tell them that he has a statement dated Oct 17 that says that he was $21 behind. He also has a check stub dated since then showing that he paid the amount plus the "back support" (which was another error and we get periodic rebate checks from them because they take out the extra and then realize the were wrong and send it back).

Ugg, I hate dealing with these idiots. Part of me is thrilled that I don't actually have to deal with them (I'm a non-entity as far as they are concerned nevermind that I handle all the money so I'm the one completely stressed when crap like this happens) and part of me hates that I can't just deal with them.

Hellz ya!

Holy crap the U of I just beat #1 Ohio State!! This makes us 8 and 3, the best season we have had in FOREVER (2001 we were 10-2 and went to the Sugar Bowl, before that was 99 and before that 1990, other seasons would be 89 and 83, the year of the Rose Bowl) and them 10-1. Yes, that is right, piddly little Illinois who won a total of 8 games in the past 4 seasons has officially ended the hopes of a national championship for Ohio. They were talking bowl game (possibly the Outback bowl) last week but I'll be interested in seeing what they predict now with this win and a home game against Northwestern next weekend, who only have 6 wins and only 3 of those are Big Ten schools. For the dorks This is a fun site to check out the history of the Illini and the records for various things.

Friday, November 9, 2007

PTC with the teacher

I had my meeting with C's actual teacher today. As her first point, she mentioned that he is behind in reading. So it is an all around perception. I was really disappointed to hear that. He actually seems a little behind in nearly everything. They have a number based report card and 3s are grade level. He got mostly 2s, which is working towards grade level. So we are going to start pushing hard and doing more (we already probably do as much or more than most parents) and really get him where he needs to be by the end of the second quarter.

He also has impulse control problems because he is a 6 year old BOY, for crying out loud. And she said as much and pointed out that at various points in the day all the kids have impulse control problems. She did confirm that she thinks he knows a lot more than he lets on, now to get him to show what he knows.

Something that made me feel a little better (I feel like a crap mom because he is behind) was his teacher saying that he is doing great in some areas and she can tell that is because he has so much support at home. Then I emailed his reading teacher and asked for the letter list to work on and what his goals are for sight words (I did them with him and even for me, he only knew half of them and had to be prompted on half of those). She emailed me back and told me that she would get that for me on Monday and then thanked me for being so involved. So I'm happy about that.

I also got reports from art, math and PE and he is doing well in all those classes. In fact, surprisingly, he exceeds standards in PE, which really surprises me. He is graceful and strong (TKD and gymnastics are good choices for activities for him) but rather uncoordinated. He doesn't kick, catch or throw well, yet he exceeds expectations in PE! Must be some low expectations :)

In other news, I moved my whole house around. The kids always want to play in the art center and the kitchen, which are closest to Evan's room. It is a pain to constantly be having to say no or telling them to be quite while they are playing there. I spent the better part of the afternoon moving all my centers around, sweeping under the furniture, hauling toys out of my living room (anything that doesn't go with a center gets stuck in the toy boxes, which I only allow one to be open at a time)and stashing the extras under the stairs.

Next weekend, I'm taking the janky cabinet out of the laundry room and putting our dressers in there. Then I'm hanging up a rod to hang clothes on and a shelf to store soap and things that sit on the janky cabinet. I'm also getting a shelf to go near the new are center to store extra paint brushes, craft items, etc. I'm also going to work on getting some kind of storage at the bottom of the stairs. There isn't a lot of room so I can't have things that stick out too far. I'm thinking about hanging up some bags or something where I can stash stuff that needs to go upstairs. As opposed to the current situation where we lay stuff on the stairs and try not to kill ourselves on it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Perfectionists and reading

Look, an update. I know you have all (and I know you are out there reading because site meter tells me so LOL) been holding your breath waiting for a new post from me. Well, you can breathe again because I'm back. Not that I went anywhere, I just didn't log into Blogger at all for like a week. Of course I picked blog month to do that so several blogs that I read were overflowing when I finally did log in :)

C is in K. When he started K, he claimed to know none of his letters. Bad mother that I am, I didn't stress about it too much, figuring that is, partly, what K is about. So when he came home after a couple of weeks of school telling me "this is a C and this is an H" or whatever, I was pretty impressed. I'm impressed when he asks to write words and we tell him what letters to write and he does it. He asked daddy how to write ZEBRA the other day. Daddy told him and he wrote it on the chalk board. The first day I worked in his classroom, I met his reading teacher. She is really nice but was concerned with the fact that he could write his name, but couldn't spell it. She said most kids can spell it or can't do anything but it is rare that they can write it without knowing what the letters are. I explained to her about his perfectionism (he won't do anything until he can do it right the first time and has been that way his whole life). I also explained about his genetic dislike for playing games. He doesn't like answering stupid questions and his attitude towards telling you his colors was "if you don't know, I'm not going to tell you" I've often felt the same way about the questions that are asked in school so I understand where he is coming from (and although I understand it, it makes me crazy and our similarity is just one more reason why I chose not to homeschool).

A few weeks ago, I get a note home from her with a list of letters to work on at home. I sat down with him and asked him what the letters were. He stumbled on M (said it was N but that is what he says for M&Ms as well so it didn't suprise me) and G (when I prompted him that it was the first letter in his last name, he got it though) Other than that, he rattled them off like nobody's business. Thinking maybe it wasn't the id that was the problem, I asked him to tell me the sound each letter made. Again, no problem. So then I asked him to tell me a word that started with each letter. Again, no problems. Since I see his reading teacher every morning on our way in, I asked her about it the next day and she said it was the id and was really surprised that he had no trouble with the letters.

Because of the letter issue, I asked to meet with her during PTCs to see how he was doing. She said he has made great progress and can now id 44 of the letters on the assessment sheet (instead of the 11 that he started with). She said he is falling behind on sight words (I don't agree so much with teaching of sight words because I don't think it is the best way to learn to read, but I'll play the game) and only knew a few and that she was concerned with the fact that he still couldn't id letters in his name (T and E specifically). This is another case of him not playing along, unfortunately.

I was telling J's mom about this conversation today and she mentioned that when she has helped out in the classroom, he has known those letters. I helped make some envelope games that we play with the kids and I was helping him with one the other day and he did fine with it. It was an ending sound game, which is harder for these kids because they are used to talking about beginning sounds. You had to look at the picture and then match it to the letter that it ended with. He would be like "bat, baT, ttt, T" and put the picture with the letter T. He had a few that he stumbled on but mostly because he wanted beginning sounds. J's mom confirmed what I had witnessed and told me that he had doen fine in all the games they had played together. Certainly (and I noticed this as well) not as good as some of the other kids (J being one who knows the difference between night and knight, which is super impressive :) ) but far from the bottom of the class.

The reading teacher told me that she is concerned because without constant work at home, he is a child that could fall through the cracks. He is "very verbal and appears intelligent but is actually behind" I try (sometimes) not to be a crazy mom but this really ticked me off. I'm completely biased but I don't believe that my child only "appears" intelligent. I'm sure she probably didn't mean it the way I took it but I think it was phrased poorly. The other thing about this whole that that makes me mad is the fact that this is end of the first quarter. The year is one quarter over and no one has made mention one about this "problem" until now. I'm concerned that if I hadn't requested the meeting, nothing would have been said and we would have gone on like nothing was happening. As often as I'm at that school, I'm probably one of the easiest parents to contact, yet nothing. I drop him off and walk him to his class every day. I pick him up (granted it is outside) every afternoon. I volunteer in his class for 90 minutes a week and I'm usually there for something (class party, birthday, dropping off letters to the other parents) at least one other time during the week. I also email his teacher about something once or twice a week. I'm not an absent parent or one that is hard to contact.

I have my meeting with his regular teacher and I'm interested in hearing her assessment of the situation. She spends most of the day with him (as opposed to less than an hour once a week) and probably has a better, overall, picture of his progress this year. I can't wait to find out if she shares the same feeling. I'm also going to wait until the end to bring up any reading concerns if she doesn't bring them up. If this is a problem and no one says anything to me, that seriously erodes my confidense in this whole endevor.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


First point, I DO NOT sew. I can't even sew a button on a shirt. I can thread a needle and I have done cross stitch patterns in the past. I have no idea how to use a sewing machine and the only one I even have access to is my mom's that is older than I am. I can plug it in but I probably couldn't do anything else with it.

Now, on to my question. I make knot blankets, which are easy, even for the craft challenged like myself. The problem is, I can't find fleece bigger than 60 inches wide. I want to make a blanket for my queen sized bed for this winter. I have a comforter, but I feel like the fleece is warmer over all.

What I need to know is how hard it would be for a complete craft idiot like myself to sew two pieces of 60 inch fleece together. It seems to me that it would be a simple straight line but I'm not sure how I would get all 60 inches of the fleece crammed under the sewing machine and still be able to sew it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween: Parties, trick or treating and pumpkins

Yesterday was C's "fall party". They couldn't call it a Halloween party because the one person who doesn't celebrate it might be offended, gag (this is no offense intended to anyone who doesn't celebrate, I don't think that it is fair for a very small minority to take a fun celebration away from the majority). I'm the room parent liason (RPL) so I get to plan all the parties for the class. To do this, I sent home letters asking parents to donate food and supplies, volunteer in the classroom and plan an activity for the class to do. The notes trickled in slowly but eventually I got enough stuff that we could have a party. I never did get a parent to plan activities and none of them could volunteer in the classroom. J's mom is a superstar and basically told me "put me where you need me and I'll be there for the party" We got together and planned some activities that the kids would enjoy. Late last week, I dropped C off at school and was presented with a Walmart sack with a mixed bag of candy and some goodie bags. The parent that signed up for them didn't make them, so I had to assemble them all. When it was all said and done, each kid ended up with about 6 pieces of gross stuff together candy. My mom had some fruit snacks that my kids don't like so I threw those in, which helped fill up the bags some. Yesterday morning when I dropped C off, someone had brought in pencils so I tossed those in the bags as well. The same mom who lamed out on the goodie bags also signed up for our one allowed "sweet treat" (cookies, cupcakes, whatever). Unfortunately, she lamed out on that do and didn't bother to bring them. At the last minute, another mom decided to bring a fruit tray so our party snack ended up being apple slices, grapes, and apple sauce. A mom brought some microwave popcorn, but we had no way to pop it, so it got left. Fortunately, the juice, napkins, and cups came through so at least we had those. We played "bozo buckets" with ToT pumpkins and had the kids draw a farm mural with markers and make stamp animals with the stamp pads. They had a really good time and the mural came out great. :) I intend to be more clear in my future letters to parents about what is expected for party participation. I'll also be sending out reminders ahead of time so hopefully, we'll have all of our stuff.

We went ToTing last night around a friend's neighborhood. Generally, we go up one side, down the other and then head home. The weather was SO nice that we decided to extend the route and go around the block. Both kids got way more than too much candy. Lizzie had so much by the end of the night that she couldn't carry her bag anymore because it was so heavy :) They were both super cute. Lizzie figured out by the second house that if she said "trick or treat" people would give her "shocklot" It took her a couple more houses to figure out "thank you" and one or two more to figure out "Happy halloween" After they gave her the candy, she would look in her bag, get all wide eyed and turn around and yell at my mom, who waited on the sidewalk while I walked up to the houses with them, "I got CANDY!"

They have already decided that what they want to be for next year (him a ninja and her a pirate) so I went to Target today to look for 50% off halloween stuff. I said I wasn't going to buy her a girl pirate costume (or more specifically a "wench" costume because they are trashy) and I wouldn't buy her a Pirates of the Caribbean costume because they are so over done and I saw probably 20 Jack Sparrow's out there. Orginal is better (homemade is best, but I'm lame and don't think my kids should be punished for my lack of creativity). I found him a ninja costume with in like 5 minutes. There were a ton. I also found them both several halloween shirts (her's have a skull and cross bones wearing a crown, one says little devil, and one says princess with a crown. his has a camo skull and cross bones and one says something about "trick or treat, I also accept cash" LOL) and got her some candy corn leggings. I couldn't find any pirate costumes with all the other costumes so we headed over to look at the Xmas stuff. Over there we found several more costumes including the pirates. I looked at the general pirate costumes but then I saw the ultimate pirate costume. I found an "Elizabeth's costume" from POTC. It had long pants and a long sleeve shirt instead of the short sleeves and half pants of the other. It was also a thicker fabric (the general one was a thin polyester). I know, "No POTC because they are over done" but really, for Lizzie the Pirate, could I pass up Elizabeth's costume? No I really could not. I also found an LED pirate ship that was $15. (would you have ever guessed that we have a thing for pirates around here). I heart Target! :)

We did fun pumpkins this year as well. We bought a super hero carving books and a princess carving book. C wanted Wolverine on his pumpkin so I did the best I could on it. When I was punching the pattern, the pumpkin was oozing and it ended up ruining the paper so I couldn't see the pattern anymore. I did the best I could, but a lot of the details were lost in the middle because I couldn't see the paper and there were too many dots. We did Cinderella's castle for Lizzie. It was better because it was less small details. Unfortunately, the turret part broke off when I was trying to take the piece out. You could see the big one, but the little ones all broke :( You couldn't tell once it was done though so it was ok.

I'm pretty disappointed in the pumpkins we got though. We got them 2 weeks ago and didn't carve them until last weekend. I went to put the light in the princess one last night and there was standing liquid in the bottom. It had rotted so much that that is had liqufied in 3 days time!! All the other ones had mold spots and were all sunken in :( I have never had pumpkins go so bad so fast and it was gross (although, when we dumped the goo out the the princess pumpkin, it looked like it was puking and that was funny)

Monday, October 29, 2007

I ain't lion

Over the past couple of years, lions have become a popular costume in our house.

This is C in 2003, when he was 2. I don't even remember where I got this costume but it was just fuzzy sack with a hood. We put on yellow sweats (you can't imagine how hard toddler sweats in yellow are to come by) under it because it had no arms or legs.

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This picture is the same halloween, I just show it because of the funny back story. Dh worked nights at Kinko's at the time. We took C trick or treating and then stopped by to show daddy his costume. While we were there, he was running around behind the counter like he always did. As we headed out to leave, the cops pull up, guns drawn, yelling at us to get out of the way. While I was taking this picture, C was pushing the button for the silent alarm and calling the cops!! Never would have guessed I would get a picture of my kid doing that :)
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This picture is Lizzie in the lion sack last year. This was taken at school. she was tired and stressed (too many people she didn't know) and mad that she couldn't stay in my room.

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Finally, this is us this year. I am the lion in my brown sweats and silly mask. I wish they made lion sacks to fit mommies :)

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Devils are a recurring theme in our family as well. My aunt sewed me a devil costume for my first halloween and both kids have worn it. C for his second halloween because he was only 12 days old for his first halloween. Lizzie worn it on her first as well. I don't have pictures of because her's were lost when the drive died. I've also dressed a devil for various halloweens throughout the years. It and army man were my 2 fall back costumes. If I lamed out and didn't come up with anything, I would toss on camo pants and khaki green t-shirt and call it army or a short red dress and high heels with a horn headband and call it devil. I still have all the parts of both costumes but I like the ones I've come up with recently more :)

Our fun weekend

We had a fun and busy weekend. Friday night, C's school had a retro dance. Originally, I was going to dress him from the 50s and Liz from the 80s because both are easy and cheap to do. Then C decided that he wanted to dress "fancy" which meant dress pants, a button up shirt and his tie. He is so funny. Anytime we are going to a party, he always to dress "fancy" I agreed that was fine and he could dress fancy. I dressed from the 90s (C said 1996 was retro and that I would ok LOL) because I still have those clothes. Next year, I think I will either not dress up or I'll try for the 80s or 70s. As we got dressed, we found out that C's fancy clothes don't fit him well anymore. We couldn't get the neck buttoned and the sleeves were too short. We ended up letting him wear it with jeans and tennis shoes, unbuttoned collar and rolled up sleeves. He looked stylish, although not from a certain decade.

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We dressed Lizzie in an over sized t-shirt and ripped tights. Then we put a belt (actually one of my full circle head bands with an elastic piece because apparently her waist is the same size as my head :) )on her and pulled the shirt up so it created a blousy effect and skirt. Then we spiked her hair (we got some major gel to do the job) and put blue eye shadow on her. She was a punk rock super star

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The dance was fun. The major issues was the "DJs" were high school girls who had no idea about retro music. They ended up playing the same several songs repeatedly because they didn't know what else to play. Several other K students showed up so C had plenty of people to hang with. Both kids danced their pants off for the whole 2 hours.

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We came home and they CRASHED big time.

Saturday night, we went pumpkin chucking. A friend of FIL's works for the ACoE and a few years ago, they had a pumpkin chucking contest. He and his students made this massive pumpkin catapault and when the contest was over they didn't want to get rid of it. So every year we have a party at his farm and roast hot dogs and do a hayrack ride and chuck pumpkins into the field.

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We invited J and his family and the kids all had a really great time. At first, it wasn't terribly exciting because the field was unmowed and you couldn't see the pumpkins splatter. We chucked a few pumpkins and then FIL got the mower and mowed a couple of passes where the pumpkins were landing. Then it got better. The boys and Liz got to help load the basket and tell them when to throw the pumpkins.

We chucked for awhile then little J decided he was hungry and I agreed I was as well so we started roasting the hot dogs. The boys ran and played in the dark for a while, then we did the hay rack ride. MIL and her sister decided to dress up and scare the kids. She went way over the top and little J and Liz were both crying by the time my mom finally told them to cut it out and leave them alone. After the hayrack ride, everyone was tired so we headed home and to bed :)

Sunday we went to the free movie (surf's up) and then home to take a nap and finish carving all the pumpkins that have been collected this fall :)

Today Dave and C went bowling and Liz and I joined them for pizza. Now she is napping and he is playing a video game. In a couple of hours, we are going to go trick or treating at the mall, which will be crazy and insane and miserably hot. However, the kids enjoy it and it is a nice way to trick or treat, in case the weather turns dicey on Weds.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dia de los Muertos

Day of the Dead> is a Mexican/Spanish holiday honoring the lives of the deceased. The first I ever heard of this holiday was my freshman year in high school in Spanish 1. A bit of background on this. My Spanish teacher was HORRIBLE. She rarely had control of the classroom, she cried probably once a week in class because the students wouldn't listen to her. She would take weeks (and sometimes months) to grade and return assignments. We did a food unit and she left the leche (milk) setting on the table for 4 days before a student finally took it and threw it away. During the same unit, a student in the class threw one of the fruits at her. She spins around from the board and demands "who threw that?" The person that threw it had picked up the other piece of fruit to lauch it as well and simply sat there with his hand in the air, holding the apple and just didn't move. Apparently she didn't notice because she demands again "if someone doesn't step forward, I'll have to punish everyone" Then she turned back to the board and continued writing. The student proceeded to throw the apple at her again. Students would show up until after she took attendence and then leave the room while she wasn't looking to go to lunch early. She never figured out what was happening. Her comment always was "hm, I thought they were here, I must have done attendence wrong but it is too late now" She had "Pesatas" that she gave out for participation in class. Her student assistant took her master and made tons of copies of it and passed them out to everyone. Then, instead of participating, all we had to do was cut out 5 (you only needed one a day) and hand them in at the end of the week and we would get an A for participation. It took a few months, but eventually she figured out that no one was participating, yet we were all handing in enough pesatas. She bought a cutsie little stamp (I want to say Cabbage Patch Kids, but I can't remember for sure)and stamped the backs of all the pesatas she handed out. To combat this, her assistant took her stamp, brought it to lunch and stamped all the copies he had made. She never did figure out what was happening. There were 2 Spanish 1 classes and at one point in the year, we took a test. Spanish 1 5th hour did much better on the test than Spanish 1 4th hour. She decided to add a curve to the grades but curves the classes seperately. This caused the people in 5th hour to have a general cow because they were all very competative about GPA, even during freshman year. We argued with her, explaining that class rank wasn't broken up 4th hour and 5th hour and the freshman class was the freshman class, that curving the grades seperately caused some people to lose their spot in the class rankings and that wasn't fair. She was having none of it so one of the girls in the class announced that she wouldn't participate again until the grades were curved together. Several of her friends were in the class and backed her and the idea spread to the rest of the class. We all sat silently and refused to participate for nearly 10 minutes. At that point, she had asked several questions and had gotten nothing back except silent stares. That was all she could take and she broke down bawling and promised to fix the grades and BEGGED us to "please, please please just start answering questions again. It isn't fair for you all to sit there and not say anything" She did fix the grades and it caused several people to score over 100 on the test, but there wasn't a lot she could do, aside from just teaching and hoping we retained something without participating. 6 weeks before the end of the year, she was moved out of the classroom, into a large closet in the home-ec, where she did lesson planning. She was replaced in the classroom with a sub whose only Spanish background was the fact that she taught in Texas for a few months. We learned little or nothing that year and from that point forward, all the Spanish classes were remedial, trying to catch us up to were we should be.

Anyway, all of that is because somebody mention day of the dead and it reminded me of her trying to celebrate it with us. She made Pan de Muerto, which is "bread of the dead" and brought it in. We had only been in school a few months but we already knew she was totally insane. The bread is supposed to have licorice in it but she went totally overboard. The whole room reeked of it for 2 days. I wouldn't touch it and neither would most of my classmates. Afterward, we termed it "Death Bread" because it probably would have killed us if we tried to eat it!

Torn paper tutorial

Creating torn paper

This is an action you can download from Atomic Cupcake. Although there are plenty of reasons to pay the fee and get the actions from them, this is not one of them.

1. Create a new document
2. Create a background or place paper on the document. Then you will need to select another paper or background to place in a second layer over the first. For my example, I have chosen the red and blue papers from Hummie’s patriotic kit.
3. Resize your papers to fit your document size. I scrap 8.5x11 and most papers are 12x12 (or 8x8 occasionally) so I have to resize nearly everything.

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4. Once your papers are resized, determine which paper you want to tear. Move this layer to the top of your layers palette. In my example, I’m tearing the blue paper so I have made it the uppermost layer.

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5. Select the free hand lasso tool in the tool box.

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6. Decide how big you want your torn piece to be. I prefer bigger over smaller so I am selecting a large area.
7. Make sure the layer you want to tear is selected, then click the left hand corner of the document and drag your mouse across the page. There is no need to worry about keeping a straight line since you want it to be jagged. Once you reach the right side of the document, drag the pointer up, over and back down to the starting point. It is ok to go outside the edges of your document for this to ensure that you get all of the paper you want to tear.

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8. Once you have a shape selected (indicated by the marching ants line), click Layer>New>layer via cut or type shift+control+j. This places your selection on a new layer.

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9. Now you need to do something with the rest of the background layer. You can either hide it by clicking the eye icon next to it or you can delete it by right clicking and selecting delete layer. I chose to hide mine for this example.
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10. Click on your torn layer to highlight it. Then right click and select duplicate layer.

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11. Click your bottom torn layer to make it active. Select your move tool or type V

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12. Use the arrows on the keyboard to nudge the layer down a little bit. Try 5 or 6 pixels to start.
13. With the bottom torn layer still active, select Image>Adjustments>Hue/saturation or type ctrl+u and increase the lightness by 50.

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14. Next select Filter>Texture>Craquelure. Play with the setting until you get the right amount of texture.

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15. Select your eraser tool. At this point I like to zoom in to about 50% so I can actually see what I’m doing.

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16. Drag the eraser along the bottom of the lighten layer to make the cut more irregular.

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17. Hide all layers except your two torn layers then select Layer>Merge Visible or type Shift+Ctrl+E. This will merge the two torn layers so that they can be moved together.

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18. Don’t forget to add a drop shadow and you are done.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Kudos and other things

So I posted a tutorial that I wrote last night. Typically, I couldn't care less what people think but in this case, someone I really respect commented that she thought I did a good job on it and I'm am outrageously pleased by it. I know I link and I link to her, but seriously go visit Hummie Her site is like the scrapping holy grail. Anything you want, you can find either at her site or from her site.

And there are a million other things I should be doing right now, but instead of vacumming, I'm sitting on my backside, blogging. Sad.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Folded corner tutorial

Thanks to Claudette for providing the original tut that I followed to figure out how to do this. Thanks also to Hummie for the eyelet I used in the final corner. It is from her patriotic kit.

In your document, either drag your paper in or fill with color.

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Select the Polygonal Lasso tool. With this tool, draw a triangle shape in the corner of your choice. I have chosen the lower right hand corner.

Once you have drawn the triangle, use ctrl+alt+j to create a new layer with the triangle selection on it.

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Click on the background layer to highlight it. Then ctrl + click on the triangle layer to select it on the background layer. Then hit delete to delete the shape from the background layer.

Once you have deleted the triangle shape from the background layer, click on layer 2 to highlight it. Then select the movement tool (or type v). Click the bounding box and type 180 in the degrees turn box. Confirm this rotation by pressing enter or clicking the hand tool.

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Duplicate the triangle layer. Drag the copy under the original triangle layer.

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Switch the foreground color to black. Click the gradient/fill tool (or press G) and fill the triangle shape on layer 2 copy with black.

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Click the move tool (or press V) then click on the bounding box edge. At the top of the window, 3 icons will appear. Click the bend tool.

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This will cause a grid of points to appear on the black triangle layer.

Click the points at the edge of the triangle and pull them slightly outward. This will cause the black triangle to peek out from under the blue triangle. The black (aka the shadow) will show were the corner is folded because the corner will be further away from the background.

Click the check mark by the bend tool to confirm this change.

In the layers palette, select the shadow layer then the opacity slider. Make the opacity around 50% You can play until it looks realistic.

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Set the mode to multiply.

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Click the eye icon on the background layer to hide it. Then highlight layer 2. Next select Layer>merge visible.

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Unhide the background layer by clicking the box where the eye icon was previously.

You can now use the dodge tool to highlight the top corner of the folded corner, making it appear that the paper is catching some glare. Alternately, you can place a brad, eyelet or other fastner to “hold” the corner down.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Essential oils

Anyone know anything about essential oils? Can they go bad? I went to the HFS to get some stuff for the humidifier today and the testers were horrible. I actually gagged when I smelled the tea tree oil. Which, then of course I had to proclaim, "Evan, this is horrible. Smell this" LOL The bottle I bought smelled fine, but the tester was bad bad bad!

I'm also very hungry. This is nothing new but I sat here for several minutes trying to figure out why I was hungry. Then it occurred to me that I hadn't actually eaten dinner since I had a super late lunch. So no wonder, seven hours after my last meal, I'm hungry :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Lizzie has croup. Fortunately, her mother still gets croup (the doctor tells me that I really should have outgrown it by my teens but I still get it every year)so no one knows better how to deal with it. She was up most of the night barking like crazy. She seems to feel better today, but that is probably as much being up (since laying flat makes it worse but she wouldn't stay propped up) as anything else. Once she gets up from her nap, I gotta get the bedroom cleaned up and get the humidifer out and set up so that can help a little tonight. I know they say that cough meds don't help, but I believe they do, so we have some of that (triamanic thin strips are really great) and hopefully she'll be feeling better soon. When I get it, it last for a week or more, because I won't take the time to rest like I should. We'll still do her ABC 123 class tomorrow (last one) and then probably won't do much else for the rest of the week.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Yesterday was Christopher's birthday. He turned 6 :) :( It is pretty sad to see my baby growing up, although I know that it is bound to happen. He shares a b-day with my dad (by choice since I had a scheduled c/s with him), which they both think is rather cool :) My dad gets off work for his birthday so weeks ago, we decided to take C out of school and do something fun for his b-day. Thanks to Henny Penny we were pointed to the Furrow winery and Red Barn Pumpkin Patch in El Paso Il. We took the kids there and it was pretty nice. Unlike Curtis ORchard, you don't pay extra for everything you do. There is a $3 charge for each kid, but adults are free. Unfortunately, since it was a Friday morning, there was a lot of stuff going on. They had a "straw castle", a bounce house, a corn maze, and a small petting zoo with goats and sheep. They also had some vehicles, a boat, a tractor and a truck, sunk into the ground that the kids could play on. We were there about 45 minutes before the 55 degrees, ominous clouds and 40 mile an hour winds proved to be too much for us. Mom and dad stopped at the winery on the way out then we surprised the kids with Chuck E Cheese for lunch. They both loved it with Lizzie running around exclaiming "I NEED another token" every few minutes. Finally we handed over the cup and she went and sat on the "vet truck" ride and just fed it token after token after token. Christopher was thrilled to get to play all the video games with paw-paw. When we came in, they asked if we were celebrating anything today and we told them birthdays. So they gave them both balloons with their ages written on them and birthday crowns to wear. Dad passed his stuff on to Lizzie :) As we were wrapping things up, Chuck E came and sang them happy birthday and they were presented with an ice cream sandwich with a candle in it. C apparently does not like ice sandwiches so he let paw-paw have it all. We rounded up all of our tickets to turn in and found out we were 15 tickets short of getting the thing he wanted. I took a dollar and went and played skee ball and won him 23 tickets. He was able to get a Spiderman pencil set that included a bag, a pencil, a notebook, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener. With the 10 extra tickets, Lizzie got a Tootsie Roll. Then it was home for presents. My mom got C a Nintendo DS, we got him the Shrek the 3rd game to go with it. From Lizzie was the "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" and a couple of other small things.

Today, we had his party. He invited 3 friends from school and their families. I'm so excited to report that they all showed up! This is only his 3rd year having kids at his party and in the past, it hasn't gone so well. Anyway, J and J, B and A, and L and L and their moms all made it, plus grandma Jan, Grandma Elsie, Grandma Jill, and Paw-paw Randy were all here. We had a Harry Potter party and we had beautiful weather so we were able to do it all in the back yard. We set up a canopy and decorated the front with a banner that had the trio on it and said "A Magical Day", then we took gold and crimson (Griffendor colors) streamers and hung them around the sides of the canopy, as well as the flag pole, driveway reflector and the gate in the front. When the kids got here, we let them play for awhile and then we had the decorate their treat bags (you can't buy HP treat bags. I looked everywhere and couldn't find them or things to go in them) with my super fun stamp/markers and HP stickers. While mom stuffed the treats into the treat bags, I had the kids play Bingo. We played until everyone had won a prize and then we let them go play and swing in the trees somemore (we have a magnolia tree that everyone that comes over loves to climb in because it has nice low branches). While they did that, mom and I set out the cake and ice cream. Then I made all the kids gather for a picture and then we served everything. Most of the kids didn't eat the cake but they all managed to make a terrific mess. :) Then presents. C got a Power Ranger gear set from J, die cast trucks from B and a Wolverine toy from L. Plus, he got a TRU gift card from Uncle Dave, a movie gift card from Grandma Jill and money from the other grandmas. Between the GC and the cash, he had $55 to spend. After everyone left, I made him help me write the thank you notes (I wrote, he signed) and then we went shopping. TRU has Buy 2 get one free right now on video games. He was able to get Scooby Doo: Who's watching Who, Spongebob:The Creature From the Krusty Krab, and Power Rangers for the BGA (which the ds will play)for $37. Then, while we were there, mom decided to get him the accsesory pack, which includes small boxes for the games, a car plug, screen protectors, headphones, extra stylus and cover for the system. Then she bought him a bag to carry it all in. She told him that is part of his Xmas, but I know she will buy him something else because that is what she does when she says something is for Xmas ahead of time :)

And now it is bedtime, for having 8 children at my house wears me out. I didn't even do much with the kids, but the running and fetching and organizing was more than enough to knock me out.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rakscraps October kit

I'm 100% for supporting breast cancer research and awareness and I think it is spectacular that so many companies support it when people buy certain products (which I get is totally a marketing ploy but I'm willing to be suckered in the name of something so important) I just wish that the color didn't have to be pink. I hate pink and the only I'll buy anything pink is when it supports breast cancer research. I also wish that even if they use pink, that people didn't make ugly crap in the name in the breast cancer research. When we order our checks, they all cost the same amount but two or three gives money to causes and I first looked at the breast cancer research checks. They are HORRIBLE. They are a mixture of light and pastel pink and are covered in these huge horrific rose pictures. I ended up picking the ones that support maintaining water ways and sea life because they aren't ugly.

I feel similarly about this months RAK Kit. I'm thrilled that they are trying to raise awareness about breast cancer but I don't like the stuff they are producing. I actually deleted probably half of the stuff I dled last night because it is covered in flowers and just nto something I'll ever use. This isn a knock about the designers because I dl their stuff every month and I typically love it. They are one of the few sites that I dl from regularly and they have great designers who work hard to produce good work. They just picked a really crummy motif this month (I was actually hoping for halloween or fall since I have a bunch of pictures about those things and don't want to use the same kits over and over.)

I'm really looking forward to the 3rd round of entries in the Just for the scrap of it so you think you can design contest. They are all fall based and I picked up a couple of piece off various designers blogs yesterday but the rest won't be up until after judging (at least I don't think because I can't find it on the site but they have lots of boy kits from round 2 available).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I am not normal

There was a commercial on the radio yesterday for a local jewelry store and the guy says something like "guys, I guarantee that if you give your wife jewelry for your annivesary or her birthday, you will get the best response you could ever imagine" Dh started laughing and said "If I gave you a diamond the response I would get would be a serious butt kicking" I nodded, because really, I don't like diamonds or jewelry of any kind. Then I said "If given the choice between a DSLR or diamond, I'd take the camera anyday. If the choice was diamond or poke in the eye with a sharp stick, well the diamond would win, but just barely" LOL Of course, then dh was teasing me about silly things that he could get instead of a diamond said "What if I got you Tupperware" I would be thrilled since a full set of nice Tupperware is on my way too expensive to buy list.

I told him I wanted to call the jewelry store and tell them they shouldn't guarantee something like that because not every woman in the world likes diamonds.

Hard Worker?

I volunteered in C's class today and I don't know what kind of slack ass volunteers his teacher is used to having but she always seems genuinely surprised when I finish a project in a reasonable amount of time. A few weeks ago, I helped stuff folders and it took me maybe 45 minutes to do 24 folders. It wasn't difficult, I simply collated all the large sheets together and then all the small sheets and then had a pile of bag tags that couldn't be collated with anything else. Then I picked up the little pieces, then the big pieces, then the tags and dropped them in the folder. She commented that the person that normally does it takes a couple of hours to do it and was really shocked that I still had time to help with snack.

Then today, she had me and another girl doing letter recognition assesments on the kids (I ended up having to do C's, which I didn't want to because he doesn't do things for me like he should, and I was AMAZED at the number of letters he knew) and when that was done, she had me make envelope games (I didn't mention that I'm halfway through making my own file folder games but that I haven't worked on them in forever). I was only there until 11:30 and I started bringing stuff in about 11:20 because I was done. She said "If you need glue at home, you can take that bottle with you" I said, "actually, I'm done, they just need to be laminated and when that is done, I can take them home and cut them out." She just gaped and me and said "you're kidding. You can't be done" Nope, seriously done.

I'm not exactly the world's most motivated person so it strikes me as odd that she thinks I'm such a great helper. It just seems like anybody would be able to do these things in a timely manner and it surprises me that she is surprised when it happens.

I really enjoy helping in his classroom. I had to submit a background check form today to actually be allowed to work in the class (which is probably part of the reason that I'm mostly stuck in the hall) so that should be done soon. I'm not sure if I want to go back to work of it I want to be a professional volunteer. I do well at this. It allows me to be in a classroom, working with kids, without having a terrible amount of responsiblity. It also avoids all the crap of work place politics since I don't actually work there, I'm just a volunteer. Nobody wants to piss off the unpaid help, especially if that help is actually helpful :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Weekend round up

We did a couple of fall themed events this weekend, which were pretty enjoyable. Saturday, we went to Harvest Fest at Prairie Farms. It was great. They had hayrack rides, bounce houses, face painting, apple painting, pumpkin painting, necklace making, balloon animals, etc, all free. They were fully on the ball too. We got there at 10:50 (it was supposed to start at 11) and not only was it open, everything was set up and the tables were manned and ready to go. The only things that weren't up and running at that point was the hayrack ride and the balloon animals. The kids were able to get in and get things done before it got too crowded, which was great. Lizzie had a horrible melt down that resulted in my dragging her out of the park, while she screamed, cried, assaulted me and begged for her nonni (grandma). My apologies to any local mommies who got to witness that spectecle (sp). She went home and took a 2 hour nap :) C and my mom had such a good time, they ended up staying for 2 hours after we left and doing things several times.

Today, we went to pumpkinpalooza at Allerton Park. The best word to describe the whole thing is unorganized. We got there about 10:50, when it was scheduled to start at 11 (yes, we do generally show up for things early). We pulled in and the parking lot was full. There were a couple of spaces, but they looked like they were in front of a drive of some sort. I asked the girl working by the gate if I could park there and she shrugged and said "I guess, I don't know". So I went ahead and parked there and it turned out to be ok but I later found out there was a large parking lot behind one of the barns that we could have parked in. Once we got parked, we headed inside the barn. The only people in there were vendors so we walked on out the back and found the people that were working (this is probably 10:55 so 5 minutes before they were supposed to start) in a meeting where they were being assigned jobs for the day. None of the crafts were set up, no one was selling tickets for anything, etc. We walked back in the vendor barn and looked around for a few minutes. When we came back out, they had opened the ticket booth, although there were still nothing set up to spend tickets on and set up one craft. At that point there were probably 15-20 kids milling around. Since there was nothing else to do, they were all crowded around this little table trying to make leaf magnets and popcicle stick pumpkins. C started making a pumpkin but after having to wrangle for glue and paint and everything else, he finally gave up and just brought it home to finish. Mom also grabbed a couple of the leaf magnet kits for the kids to finish later. We wandered over to the hayrack ride and found out they were getting ready to take a group back to the pumpkin patch. We hopped on and headed back. It was, swear to God, like 100 yards away but the kids liked riding the on the hayrack. When we pulled into the patch, I noticed there was a gold pumpkin laying on the ground. I told C to grab it and he hopped off the hayrack and did just that. It had a sticker on the bottom saying to take it to the ticket booth to claim your prize. When we got back, C and I headed for the ticket booth and the guy who was selling the pumpkins followed us and said "any pumpkins you picked in the patch is 4 dollars" I sort of looked at the guy and said "this is a prize pumpkin, I'm not paying $4 for it, especially since I probably won't get to keep it". "Oh, I didn't know there was any prize pumpkin" All I could think was "if you had read the 3 whole paragraphs worth of information on the flyer that everyone got as they came in, you would have known it because it said it right there" We took the pumpkin to the booth and they gave us a little stuffed scarecrow guy. C asked if he could keep the pumpkin and the guys responded with "I don't know, I guess so" and C was stoked. He actually started to walk away without the scarecrow and then when he remembered it he said "I don't need that thing, I'll give it to my sister since I get to keep the pumpkin"

About that time, we noticed that they were finally putting up some signs showing where things were, only 30 minutes after it was supposed to have started. We went back in the barn and played some games and got face painting done. When we asked the girls running the games if there were anymore outside, we were told no so we wasted all of the tickets at the couple of games inside. Then, we went back outside because they finally had the pumpkin painting set up. Lizzie went to do that and mom and C went to build a scarecrow. C was bored to tears and they quit after a few minutes but not before we found out there were actually more games outside. We ended up getting some more tickets so that C could do the ring toss and pumpkin bowling. He is quite the rockstar at pumpkin bowling. He managed a spare both times and won himself and Lizzie candy bracelets. :) Lizzie tried real hard at the ring toss, but just couldn't manage it. The guy running it was super and gave her a piece of candy for her efforts.

Th day ended with another trip to the pumpkin patch, picking some HUGE pumpkins to carve our cool designs on (we bought books with princesses and superheroes at Curtis Orchard) and another screaming meltdown when I told Lizzie it was time to leave. I drug her to the car while C spend his last ticket doing the ring toss for warheads sour candy and mom bought a bracelet. We didn't get off the drive into the park before Lizzie was asleep. She ended up taking a super long nap which caused problems at bedtime. In fact, when I started writing this, I was thinking that my last line would be "and if she doesn't sleep soon, I'm going to FREAK OUT" Fortunately, while I've been writing this, she finally went to sleep.

And now, it is time for bedtime for me :)