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Thursday, June 23, 2011


Catie's view from stolen iPhone
 I just realized today when I looked at my pics that Catie had actually stolen my iPhone to take pictures to entertain herself during the  workout circus.  These are only a few of the 27 she actually took.  One was actually the backside of ME on the elliptical!  That was a treat.

with motion

treadmill mat

The thief


Catie's view from edge of treadmill

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Most Ridiculous Workout Evaaaa

Let me tell you about my gym.

Once upon a time, there was a wonderful, dearly loved priest, named Monsignor Deblanc.  He had a vision to not only build a strong church community, but to take care of that community in body, mind, and spirit.  He did that, exactly.  The church is beautiful, warm, welcoming, inviting.  Along with that church, is a school bearing the same name.  Monsignor had a big hand in helping this school to grow, and it continues and continues to grow.  But, that was not enough.  Monsignor decided to build a Family Life Center.  This community center has a full basketball court, indoor/elevated track, Olympic-size swimming pool, weight rooms, cardio room, free evening babysitting, several meeting rooms, locker rooms, saunas,'s got it all.  Monsignor believed "if you aren't moving forward, you're going backwards".  The whole community supports and uses the Family Life Center regularly and we are all living happily ever after.

This wonderful amenity is so low-cost for a family membership, it is almost free.  For my family, it is free because I teach at the school.  It is also open at 5 and closes at 9.  Seriously, there is NO reason why I should not be there DAILY.  Did I mention the free babysitting in the evenings?  Not to mention, it is so safe that my kids shoot hoops on the court while I exercise next door.  This usually works...usually.

Well, this is how my workout went on this night.  Once we get there tonight, we notice the babysitter is not there. {{oy :/ }}  Well, that's okay, because Zac and Abby can play basketball in the gym.........Oh, there's a big basketball game going on. {{double oy oy :/  }}  Abby and Zac decide to go play on a side court, and Catie will just come and watch me (she can do that at my gym...pretty cool..well, not really). 

ME:  huff, puff, puff, huff
CATIE:  MOM, can you put the TV on the Disney Channel?
(Get off of machine, search diligently, though unsuccessfully for Disney, go to basketball court, ask Zac what channel Disney is, go back to cardio, find channel 24, get back on machine.)
ME:  huff, puff, puff, huff
CATIE:  Mom, can I have a drink of your water?
ME:  No.
ME: No.  huff, puff.
(Catie throws giant fit on unplugged treadmill, so the other cardio-goers can watch my embarrassment)
ME:  OK!  Here.  (Start workout again)  Huff, puff
{{{{ring, ring, ring, ring}}}
Interrupted for phone call from Todd who needs to speak to the children one at a time.  Go find Thing 1, Thing 2, and hand the phone to Thing 3.
Ugh!  The treadmill stopped because I wasn't pedaling fast enough.  Start over.  How much time passed the last time???
CATIE:  Mom, do I have bones in my teeth?  Mom, why are you watching baseball?  Mom, can I have some more water?  Mom, you're not wearing a ponytail.  Mom, why aren't you wearing a ponytail?  Mom, this is a kids' show.  Mom, can I go get that chair?   Mom, where is the babysitter?  Mom,  was Pepper in your belly?  Mom, you were in Nana's belly.  Where is Pepper's mom?...................................
.........................................................................Mom????  Mom?  Mooooommmm????
{{These poor people exercising in here must want to throw their water bottle at me.....and my beautiful children :(  }}}}}
ABBY/ZAC:  Mom, Abby called me stupid.  Mom, Zac kicked me.  No, I didn't!  Yes, she did!  Mom, I can't play with that game going on.  Mom, what are you watching?  Mom, can we watch the game with you?  Mom, can we get a chair?  Mom, can I have some of your water?
{{{{{{{{{HUFF, PUFF, PUFF, HUFF}}}}}}}}}}}}}
ME:  Yes, you can get a chair.  No, I cannot turn it on ALL of the TVs.  No, you cannot have my water.  Go to the water fountain.  If you don't behave, I will call Dad to come get you.  No, you can't have...will you have, share the chair.  Darn the time restarted A-G-A-I-N?  How much time have I been on here?

As the final cardio champ left, I apologized for the noise and fussing and whining and fighting.  He pulled his earphone out, and said, "Oh!  I had my music on.  Didn't hear a thing.  I was actually going to compliment you on how well-behaved they are being."  {{{Oh, thank God!}}}}

Lesson:  There is no room for kids during "ME" time.


Leave a comment!!  Can you relate??

Thursday, June 16, 2011

You're Wearing That?

Last weekend my husband and I celebrated 12 years together.  We decided to go out to dinner since the kids were spending the weekend with Nana.  We've been working a lot on getting the new house finished, so we deserved it.  We worked most of the day on the house and were really late getting to dinner.

With the few opportunities I have to get fancied up, I seized the opportunity. I attempted a quick shopping trip for a new outfit, but was unsuccessful with such few places to get a decent outfit in this town little time. So, I came home, put on the cutest thing I could find that did not require ironing, dug out the high heels that I admittedly wobble on, and the new chandelier earrings that my mom gave me (insisting they are all the rage).   I.  was.  ready.  for.  a.  night.  out!

My husband came home, took his typical 5 minute shower......(how do they DO that?), stood in front of his closet, and said, "Can I wear my fishing shirt?"  {{{{{{wwwhhhaatttt???}}}}}} 

I pivoted on one trembly heel, saw him in his jeans, holding up his "nicest" fishing shirt, wobbled past him, and took off the chandelier earrings that are all the rage.  I replaced them with another pair that does not make such a statement.  I mean, how can I put chandelier earrings next to an Under Armour fishing shirt.  I guess he could sense the curdling screams that must have been boiling inside me.  I said nothing, but he did not wear the fishing shirt that night.

We had a nice dinner at a really fantastic restaurant (that wouldn't have been able to handle those earrings either).  I  realized during that dinner, as I thought of his obvious blunder,.......................
........................ He asked me that exact same question last year!!!! {{swap fashionable earrings for shiny blouse}}.


~  Lesson:  Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.  Simple enough.  This was a review lesson, though.


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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Teacher Tip: Reading Like a Champ

It's summertime!  The time when the kids can sleep late, play on the Wii until they start bouncing around like Mario and Luigi, eat enough to feed third world countries, and annoy the living heck out of each other.  In all of this madness, we, the well-meaning moms, are just mean enough to require them to fit in some quality reading time.  My kids must be mutants because they love reading time.  In all fairness, I taught reading to 2nd grade for quite a few years and know all the tricks to make this happen.  They also come from me, the nerd who once missed her bus-stop and traveled to the next little town because I was enthralled in a good book (Charlotte's Web).  I thought you might like to know some tricks.

This blog is geared more toward the child who needs a little more help in their reading comprehension.  If your child comprehends just fine and soars as a reader, all you need is to share the reading time with them.  Read with them.  For example, Mr. Popper's Penguin will be in theatres this month.  We all read this story together last week.  My oldest whizzed through it alone, but my 7-year-old preferred that I read it with her.  They had fun, and we can't wait for the movie.

Now, for the tips. 

1. Find what they like.
Go to the library and see what genre they like best, or find an author they like.  Girls tend to like fiction more, boys tend to like non-fiction more.  If they don't like their book, let them get another.  They need to know that people don't always like every book they pick up, and that's okay.  They think that THEY don't like the book because they don't like to read.  (Books they could later watch as movies are great.)

2.  Read with them.
If your child is of elementary age, they are never to old to be read to, especially if they are struggling. You CAN read with your fourth grader.  It's called shared reading.  You read, I read, you read, I read.  Take turns.  They love the attention, and it helps when they hear a good reader read.  Remember to use expression.  (If you're going to fly through a book devoiding it of all meaning, don't waste your time...sorry so harsh)

3. Mess up.
While sharing, make it a point, as the more efficient reader, to mess up, catch your mistake go back and reread.  Kids who struggle think that good readers don't mess up.  Tell them there are times you read a whole page and have to reread.  They think that doesn't happen, too. 
(Struggling readers will read, mess up, and not reread, making the story impossible to understand.  They may not even realize they skipped 2 lines because they are only reading words and not a story.  When your child finally stops and rereads, it is a milestone.  Acknowledge it, but be cool about it.)

4. Make it real
If the story is about a dog who eats a slipper, talk about the time your dog did something he shouldn't have.  Relating the story to real-life helps them to remember it.  It's okay to talk about something else while you're reading, and go back to the story.

5. Ask questions at opportune times (when you're not stopping the flow of the story).
This is the most important one.  Never ask any question that can be answered with yes or no.  Ask questions that require thought and were not stated by the author.  How do you think that made him feel?  Why do you think her friend is so angry?  What do you think she should do next?  Do you think she will do that next?  Why do you think he wants to go there so badly?  How do you know?  What would you do if it were you?
These go along with the skill of drawing conclusions and inferencing (figuring out things that the author meant but didn't say).  These are the skills that kids struggle the most with.  Think of when you go see a movie.  As the plot unfolds you try to guess what will happen next, you feel what the characters feel, you try to guess the ending.  Bring those questions to the story being read.

I guess that's all I have for now.  I could go on and on, but these are the most important.  So, Go! out of this heat.  :)


Saturday, June 4, 2011

I'm Not Alone

As a mom, and other moms will say the same, I sometimes wonder if everyone's life is as frantic as mine.  Does everyone's house get THIS messy {{that you may just faint away if anyone would stop by unannounced}}?  Do all siblings fight THIS much?  Are all little girls THIS dramatic?  Does anyone actually feel like they have any of this really figured out?  Well, I think I know the answer.  We are all in this together.  None of us are alone.  There are the occasional moms who come around now and then, with all kids in bows, not a Kool-Aid mustache to be found, has a full-time job, leader of the PTA, volunteers in the community, drives a clean vehicle ((notice, I did not say "nice vehicle".  My only goal is "clean")), and just generally seems to have all her ducks in a row.  No offense to any of my friends, but we are not them, they are not us.

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to visit two friends that I adore while our children who also adore each other played.  When moms visit, they do so with one eye on the conversation, the other eye on the goings on of the kids, and yet another eye on dinner.  Oh, that's three eyes...well, count the ones behind our head.

During these visits I witnessed three temper tantrums, many displaced toys, familiar piles of laundry awaiting attention from someone,  messy bedrooms, a dozen toys being thrown, a treasured set of drink ware that only has one single glass left, reheated pizza that had lost its umph, a full meal being prepared to satisfy one adored child, countless interruptions, two kids stripping to their birthday suits, two sisters being splashed for "fun" where the sister was not having fun at all.....all things that I have at my home, daily, hourly......always.  It was a fabulous feeling.  I can breathe easier knowing that we are all teetering on the very edge of sanity as a collective group. 

So, together let's figure it out.  Share your secrets.  We all need the help.  How do you make it work at your house?  This summer, I plan to keep a daily schedule so the kids do not get bored, so I don't go insane, so the kids keep reading, so the world keeps spinning according to plan.  I plan to involve them in the planning of our lunch and dinner menus.  One week has passed and it has not yet been done...yikes.  Welcome to my world.  Help. 

Comment with your best so we can all learn a thing or two!


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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Vacation, Day Three

It is the first week of summer vacation.  My kids hung in there from 10:00 until 3:30 ish today while I ran errands for the house that is almost finished.  (Yes, I fed them in that time.  I'm not that cruel.) However, by the time I allowed them the luxury of some quiet time at home, they, nor I, were on speaking terms.

All in all, it was not so bad.  It did cost me a couple of drinks, a bag of Skittles, a Push-Pop, and a Hershey's Cookies-n-Cream bar.   Abby and Zac each lost only 15 minutes off of their lenient summer bedtime of 10:00 for arguing.  This is always a good thing for me, but the worst type of torture for them:). 

It's Catie I am a little concerned about, though.  Each time her sparkly toes exited the air-conditioned chill of the Expedition's cab, she dramatically swooned, "It's hhoooot.....I'm so hhhhooooot."  She needed to be carried, fanned, watered...something to relieve her fragile 3-year-old frame. {{eyes rolling}}.  What do I say at these horrific times to this sweet brown-eyed child?  I say what any loving mother would say. 

--->  "It's June 1st and 99 degrees, babe.  You ain't seen nothin' yet.  Deal with it."


P.S. Another Hermit Crab has passed on at our house.  There was no sadness, no sulking, no pleading for a replacement.  It was cold...cold I tell you.  No more hermit crabs for us, for a long time.

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