Wednesday, January 29, 2014 read to the kids 'settles' each of us down.

Several weeks ago a friend of mine posted this on Facebook:



How?  Whhhhyyyy??!!?  

Sometimes the demise is slow.  Sometimes its fast.  And then BAM, I am Cruella.

Tonight was BAM.

Long day of work for me.  A.n.o.t.h.e.r. evening of being snowed in.  All extra-curricular activities canceled.  This translates to:  The only way the children get out their pent-up-energy is to torture/torment/chase each other....while-I-am-on-the-phone.

So what did I do?

I sent them to bed.

But I am a sucker for, "Did we lose our story too?"  (Insert photo of pouty-faces with batting eyelashes).

Will and I have started to read one of my favorite series from my childhood:

I love that he is hearing so many 'old-fashioned' words and concepts like: jalopy, chum, fellow and the fact that $25 was a lot of money or that when a person answered a telephone they didn't automatically know who was calling.  This piece of information was baffling to him.

Sunday, January 26, 2014 watch a lot of basketball

...Thank goodness the little girls didn't have to!

I have learned to really enjoy watching both Isabella and William play basketball this season.  I do NOT enjoy chasing two little girls around the gymnasium while trying to watch them play.  Thank goodness Meghan kept the girls all day for me.

Here are a few highlights from their games....

The girls played hard their first game!

Look at this girl extend!  Impressive!

Our (Augustinian) parents were pretty excited at the beginning...

The girls' were just serious!

Look at this girl play defense!

She is all over two girls now!

Who knew she had long arms??

The parents' got waayy more excited as the game went on!

The girls' handwork paid off!  They won their second game of the season and advanced in the tournament!

The boys' team played next.  Their match-up wasn't quiet as....even.

Can you see Will in the photo above?  Number 1.  Yes...he is standing at about that kid's elbow.

He loves to play and plays hard!




Sadly, these boys played their hearts out.  But did not win.

Their efforts were impressive.

The girls' second game followed immediately after this game.  As if my heart could be wrenched any more!  I can't tell you how stressful this basketball business is on me!!  Phew...I needed a break.

If the team the boys faced was big...well, this team was even giant-er.

Each time they were ready to put in subs...they subbed out ALL FIVE girls on the floor.  They had three rotations of girls!  And oh my...these girls were tall!

Little Katie comes up to this young lady's elbow...

The tallest girl on our team... nearly a head shorter than the forth tallest girl on their team.  

We were doomed.

The girls played hard!

(This was Isabella's shot...and it did go in!!)
And serious...

Isabella as point guard.
But came up a few points short.  Pun intended.

I think they were proud though!  And we parents...sure were proud of them.

As for me, I was sure tired after my long day of watching basketball!  So stressful!

Friday, January 24, 2014 attend movie night the kids' school.

This is an event where the kids (do anything but) watch a movie on a projection screen in the gymnasium with about 125 of their closets friends and their friends of friends.

If you can catch a hint of my sarcasm, there wasn't a whole lot of moving watching going on.

The good news is:

  • this is one of my kids favorite school events of the year.
  • my kids love, l-o-v-e, L-O-V-E wearing their pajamas to school!
  • they have already seen this movie (twice) so they knew what was going to happen anyway
  • no one cares that the children are being too loud or running around too much.  This may exacerbate the problem that no one can watch the movie but its all fun.
  • I did not have to make dinner.  
As for me, I get to hand out sugary snacks and talk with ladies that I enjoy and don't get to see nearly enough.

Isabella and her friend made themselves comfy front and center.

Audrey and Abbey settled in quite nicely as well.
The only time I saw William all evening was each of the (5) times he tried to sneak over to steal more snacks.  These moments were not caught on camera.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 stay warm

...since it's been a tad cold up here near Canada.

This is the second 'polar vortex' we have seen.  This month!

I have been looking at a lot of real estate these past few TX.  I am quite certain that Austin hasn't experienced any sub-zero temperature recently.  Nor have they been shoveling quite the amount of snow that I have.

I am not trying to complain.  I love the beauty of snow.  I even love the stormy days when we can hunker down inside and watch movies and stay cozy.  When these days are infrequent its easy to enjoy them.  When they happen several times a week...well, lets just say my level of appreciation for the cold and snow is...declining.

How did I pass the day away with a gaggle of children in the house all day?

Why I baked of course.

I believe I have mentioned before that I have somewhat of an addictive personality.  The target of my obsession is my wheat grinder this week.   I have big plans.  Visions of baguettes (thanks to my friend Lisa for sending me the recipe), breads (thanks to my friend Emily), and cookies consume my thoughts.  

Tonight I experimented with a basic chocolate chip cookie but used Ghiradelli dark chocolate in lieu of milk chocolate chips.

Isabella, ever the critic, determined that perhaps I should use milk chocolate the next time.  She felt the cookie needed something lighter...more delicate in flavor to balance the full flavors of the grain.

William was in a playful mood during critique time...

And the little girls...


as you can see they were upset.  They were upset because they weren't allowed to have a 3rd cookie.

It appears they enjoyed the first two!

Monday, January 20, 2014 make some cookies we get ready for a new crazed week!

Sometimes it's the little things that make me so happy.

Like trying a new recipe...

Or trying a new gift out.

1.  I cannot believe I have never made my own tomato soup.  Delicious* & Easy.   I could eat soup every-single-day.  So long Campbell's.  I have realized you taste terrible.  I adapted this recipe that I found on-line.

*Don't ask the peanut gallery.  Their reviews weren't so favorable.

2.  My new wheat grinder.  I think I am in love all over again.  I have a thing for appliances and this may quickly become a new favorite.  The quality of the cookies I made this evening did not disappoint**.

**Apparently the peanut gallery has a thing for sweets...the reviews of the cookies were mostly superb.

"Best ever!"
"I still like chocolate chip better."
"Can I have three?"
"Why are you sharing them!?!"

Sunday, January 19, 2014 go to another game.

We have watched many hours of basketball this week (although tonight was the first time in a while I remembered to grab my camera while running out the door)...

Tonight was a game I am so glad to have watched.

Once again when we walked into the gym the boys were greeted by a much bigger basketball team...

It's a bit hard to tell in this picture but these boys were much bigger in stature and they had at least 13 boys on their team!  Crazy.  And somewhat intimidating (and I am not even playing).

The six boys present tonight at the game played with all heart and a lot of might!  

I am so proud that Will is a part of this team.  His coaches are dedicated men committed to helping these boys learn both skills and sportsmanship.   They are intense and expect the boys to play hard and smart.  They also believe that God and family come first.  They pray with the boys at the end of each game.

They are interested in the success of the team as a whole and the development of each of the individual players.

During the last quarter of the game the coaches had these boys run the same play over-and-over to help one of the young boys on the team get his first basket of the season.

What was heartwarming and impressive is that not only the boys were committed to helping their teammate achieve this feat... but that the parents watching in the stands were equally vested in supporting this young boy.  

The young man did not make the basket that he tried so hard to make.

So many tries were SO. CLOSE.

After the game was over the boys were asked if they wanted to play another quarter.  Keep in mind the depth of the other team...the ability for the other team to put in subs.  Our boys had played HARD.  And were tired.  

Why of course they wanted to play another quarter!

Would you believe the coaches continued to have the boys run that same play over and over?

And that the fans in the stands (at least on our team's side) were still vested in that little man achieving this feat?

I can still hear the collective cheers each time his shots were SO close.

And then...

That little boy made his shot.


Oh my.  He was so proud.

But it was his teammates that I had my eye on.  The emotions on those boys' faces brought tears to my eyes.  Elated.  Ecstatic.  Proud.  Just as proud as if they had made the shot themselves.  

Family and Faith.  

Hard-work.  Effort.  Teamwork.  Sportsmanship.

Those of the things our son is learning this season.  That's why I am so proud he is part of this team.

As a bonus,

Would you believe it when I tell you these little guys won their first game of the season this evening?  

By two points.

Yup...William was pretty happy about it!

PS.  If you are wondering why the uniform change?  It's because the purple of the other team was a bit too close to our blue uniforms.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 to be Friday? isn't.

I am quite certain that I shouldn't be complaining about getting our family back into the swing of things after being homebound for 21 days.  We were as ready as we were going to be for the transition and I have to say...

It hasn't been all that smooth.

We've had:

Late nights from activities and sports.
Lots of homework.
Extra, extra chaos on my work days.

All this means:  grouchy kids and tired momma.

We aren't thriving.  We are barely sustaining.  But for this week I am reaching for the 'mediocre' bar.

I'll maintain my focus on the positives this week:

  • We are eating.  Three meals and snacks each day.  At home.  It may have been various leftovers since Monday but at least I haven't resorted to popcorn and cereal (yet).
  • They are clean.  Clean clothes.  Clean teeth.  And clean hair.
  • Timely.  We've been everywhere we need to be on time.  That is no small feat.

And I won't worry about the negatives.

I'll leave you with this conversation that I had with a 'child-who-must-not-be-named'.  It went something like this:

Me:  You need to finish your homework before you can use your 'earned reward time'.
Him:  I'm not doing it.
Me:  OK.  That's fine.  It's your choice.
Him:  But its my reward time.
Me:  Earned reward time is only to be used after you complete all of your personal responsibilities.  It's the rules.
Him:  Who made the rules?
Me:  I did.

Please envision...
<Stomp> <Huff> <Puff> <Stomp> <Flailing Arms> <Palm-to-the-forehead>

After a lovely display of choreographed arm motions:

Him:  I'm still not doing my homework.
Me:  Fine.  Then you won't be able to turn it in.
Him:  But I HAAAVVE To!!
Me:  You need to finish your homework then.

(Forgive me but isn't that where the conversation started?)


Sunday, January 12, 2014 get ready

...again...for the upcoming week.

It seems I was just writing this post.  I guess a week ago I was.


I remember saying before: The days go slowly but the weeks go fast.

We endured enjoyed another week of family bliss and togetherness time.

We had a very untraditional week.  After a crazy blizzard (the like hasn't been seen since the 70's)...the great white north recovered very quickly.  47.5 inches in two and half days...and its all nearly gone.

Such a shame given the kids barely had a chance to play in it.  It was too cold and windy during the storm and then all too quickly the rain ruined all the beauty.  I love snow and snow storms.  There is nothing better than being stuck inside a warm cozy home during a storm.  Its the shoveling I could do without!

Looking ahead to our schedule this week makes my head spin.  I have slept more these past few weeks than ever and I have done nothing more than feed the four heathens three times a day.  Wish me luck bringing routine back into our lives...

The schedule is made.
The meals are set.
Backpacks are packed.

Let's see if the weather cooperates this week.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

...the kids to go to school

...but they didn't.

We got to be together.  Again.

I took this photo when the wind wasn't blowing.

Here are a few of the headlines I cut and pasted from articles I have read today:

State of emergency declared for Watertown. ALL ROADS CLOSED 6pm!!  (Watertown is a fairly sizable town people.  This is crazy to me!)

DOT placing barricades on I-81 from Mexico, N.Y. to Canadian border

Snow Rates May Reach 2-3 Inches Per Hour

And my personal favorite:

Visibility Is So Bad, Snow Plows Are Pulled Off Roads

The weather forecast shows we are supposed to get another 10-15 tonight and another 8-10 tomorrow.


Just in case you were wondering this makes our 18th day in.a.row. of (mostly) weather-induced family togetherness...and still counting.

I am telling you...we are bonded.