Monday, December 31, 2007

My Best Shot

Maybe not My BEST Shot, but definitely one of my favorites. I set up a fake photo shoot and made all my family participate. I'd like to introduce my sweet mom (M's Nona) and my even sweeter grandmother (M's GiGi). This is the photo where Nona and Gigi were the most relaxed and M is making her "cheese!" face. We all got so tickled by her silliness that everyone just laughed and laughed!

I can't wait to see what everyone else put up for MBS! Check out other posts at Tracy's site Mother May I? (
Posted by Picasa

Photo Shoot

My sweet, sweet husband got me lights for Christmas...the kind in a studio. He has far more faith in me than I have in myself! We played around with the lights when I was in Savannah. I dressed M up in her Easter dress (got at a GREAT bargain at the Strasburg store!!!!!) and made everyone pose with her. My favorite pictures in the world are the ones with my mom, my 87 year old grandmother and M. If you can't see these clearly, let me know. I'll post them individually so you can check them out.

H's birthday is Jan. 8. We've invited the nephews over to make cookies this weekend. I'm sure they're thrilled to know that they are my next photographic subjects!!!

I think I know why my pictures are a tad hazy. I think it's my diffusor filter. I'm going to take it off and take some pictures this afternoon. If they are clearer, crisper, then I'll know for sure that's the problem.
Posted by Picasa

Christmas Morning

The treasures from Santa: food for M's kitchen, a collection of "George" movies (as in Curious George), an art easel, and a train track carpet with Thomas engines.
M went straight for the Thomas track carpet and played for a while before moving on to her other treasures.
M discovered there were other things there! She found her crayons in her stocking.
Then she found her George puzzle and food!

Fun times all day. Unfortunately, M woke up with a case of the croup on Christmas Eve morning. She was in quite a funk after seeing her Santa stuff, so we put her down for a nap early on Christmas Day. That dramatically improved her mood, so we spent the better part of the afternoon opening her presents and playing. She got better every day while we were with my parents, so by the end of the week, she was her normal joyful self.
Posted by Picasa

These boots were made for walking...

and that's just what they'll do!

M will wear Mommy's boots and walk all over you!

There was some indecision on M's part. Should she attempt to walk or just sit there with the boots on? After several moments of consideration, she decided to give walking a try. But, she needed a little support, so she held on for dear life as she navigated around the dining room/kitchen wearing boots that make me cringe every time I attempt to wear them.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 30, 2007


H and I went on a date last night. The real kind. The dress-up, butterflies-in-your-stomach kind. The he-planned-it kind, only I helped him plan it.

First, my entire family (brothers, sister-in-law, parents, and grandmother) met downtown at a beautiful park to take pictures--will post when I get home.

Then, my parents brought M home.

H and I took off like kids skipping school. He opened doors for me, drove aimlessly around town. We did a tad bit of shopping and lots of looking around. We ate at the most amazing little jazz tapas bar. The food was UNBELIEVABLE. We had two hours to kill, so we went to a book store and had coffee. Then we went to see P.S. I Love You. A CHICK FLICK! Silent, sniffily tears trickled a lot, we held hands and giggled.

It was a GREAT date.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Three Cups of Tea

I'm a veracious reader. I was the kid in class that got on the teacher's nerves because I was lost in the world between the pages. H has learned that when I'm reading, he must say my name before he asks or tells me something. As many books as I've read, I sometimes forget and might begin to reread one before I realize I've read it before. I also couldn't tell you much about the thousands of books I've read. Some stick out in my mind, others were simple reads that just occupied a few hours of my time.

For the past four days, I've had my nose in a phenomenal book: Three Cups of Tea. If you want to read a book that will change your life, get a copy of this book. If you want to read a book that will shake your soul, GET A COPY OF THIS BOOK. I'm a proud American--this book will challenge your belief in the goodness of our political system.

Patricia Polacco wrote a book title Christmas Tapestry. The main idea is that God has a divine purpose and everything in life is woven together in a beautiful tapestry. I like to think that I have an impact on my students' lives. That all the time and effort I put into my job, all the love I feel for my students, all the energy I spend on them, will somehow come to good for them. I hate all the beaurocracy that comes with public education, but I believe, in the deepest parts of my heart, that I'm somehow making an impact on the future of our country.

Nothing I do will EVER compare to Greg Mortenson. If you've never heard of him, google his name. Take ten minutes, right now, tomorrow, next week, to learn about him and the impact he is having on our world. He's an American hero. He is single-handedly having more impact on the war on terror than the past 6 years have had with the billions of dollars our government has spent protecting us. ***

Greg Mortenson has dedicated his life to building schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. Since 1993, he has established and supported schools in the most rural parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, in spite of wars, hostile armies, and religious fatwas (vendettas, decrees).

I'm pretty dense, so it took me about 200 pages before I realized how in the world these schools would help eliminate terror: These schools are secular. These schools are for boys and girls (which Islam does NOT prohibit). When boys and girls are taught in secular schools, they are not brainwashed into believing in jihad. They are not taught by extremist Muslims. They are taught by moderate Muslims who believe in the true words of the Koran. If two generations of children are educated PROPERLY, they can not be brainwashed! When extremist schools (ie: army training camps), are the only schools available, and they only accept boys, then terrorists will continue to be trained.

This, however, is not the only reason to educate girls in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. With only the equivalent of a fifth-grade education, girls in rural villages are able to lead healthier lives. They learn how to properly take care of food, provide water, birth babies, etc., to prolong and improve the lives of the people of their village. In villages that do not have schools, only 1 in three babies born live until their first birthday. In villages where schools have been established, the infant mortality rate has been drastically reduced. People are healthier.

I'm not a political activist. Very little about politics interests me at all. As an educator, however, this story, Greg Mortenson's story, must be told AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. And people must listen. We will forever live in the shadow of 9/11 if we don't tear the roots of terrorism away. Our country will never be safe, our WORLD, will never be safe unless we recognize the importance of the work Greg Mortenson is doing.

check it out:

***I, of course, support our troops and the sacrifice they make for our country. I am immensely proud to be American. I am distressed that our goverment, the most powerful in the world, does not fulfill its' promises and is not taking interest in the most common-sense approach to fighting terror.


Christmas Morning, my brother and his wife wanted us to open cards from them before we started the whole Santa and open gifts thing. We weren't allowed to peak and my mom had to read the little poem before we opened the cards. It was a brilliant way to give us the news that they are pregnant!!! I'm so excited to be an aunt to my little brother's child!

On the flip side of that excitement is a small dose of bitter disappointment. By this time, we would have known if we were having a boy or a girl. We would have been celebrating the upcoming birth of our own little baby. To rub salt in the wound, we tried to get pregnant last month (strategic coupling, you know), but I started my period on Christmas Eve morning.

With the blessing of the expectant couple, we will try again this month so perhaps cousins will be born close together. We are completely thrilled to be expecting a baby in the family--next year at this time, we'll all be cuddling a precious little baby!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What would you do?

What would you do when no one is looking and your mom has confined you to a high chair?

Here is what M decided to do:

She was SO proud of herself. I couldn't help myself. I busted out laughing. My little artist!

My brother, Zach, has started his own blog...please drop by there and give him some encouragement! I know he'd love to know about some other blogs that are written by guys.

I'll post Christmas pictures when I get home. M and I are spending some time with my parents. H had to go home to work for a few days. He'll come back for us this weekend.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Handmade Gifts

Each nephew gets a home-made knot pillow...two UGA, one GA Tech. I always try to make them something special. I think they'll love these. They are so soft and they look GREAT in person.

All the women in the family are getting sets of 5 note cards with their first initial on them. They are all the same color scheme (red/cream) with a different patterned paper for the back ground.

This is my FAVORITE home made gift this year. I made each teacher on my grade level a clipboard that is painted white, brown polka dots and a brown initial on the back. My clipboard has purple polka dots. Each teacher has brown dots and dots in her favorite color. These turned out FANTASTIC even though it was my first attempt. The only SLIGHT thing is I wish I was a better painter. Our initials are a little wobbly.

I thought I uploaded the scarf I started for my grandmother, but am giving to my SIL. I'm going to work REAL hard tonight and tomorrow so I can give one to my grandmother, too. It is very beautiful.

Everyone will also get home made hot chocolate.

My Christmas card pictures arrived today. Instead of stressing about it, I'm going to take them to my parents and work on them during the week. I'll get them out by the end of th next week. Who doesn't enjoy a late Christmas card??? Especially with cute M on it!!!
Posted by Picasa

Major Post Coming Soon...

with pictures of most homemade gifts. H has the van at the car repair shop (grinding breaks) and my camera is on the front seat of the van.

Until pictures are taken and uploaded, here is a mom-story for your amusement:

M loves to wash her hands. Now that she's a grown-up two year old, I usually let her play in the bathroom for a while with not-so-frequent check-ins from the mom. I'm embarrassed, but must include that confession in this story. This morning, M was washing her hands and laughing, laughing louder, really laughing. I didn't think much about it as she's learning how to amuse herself lately. One small, important detail before you read on: I could have prevented this entire story if only I'd been a little more interested in my daughter and a lot less interested in finishing the Christmas present I was working on! Then I heard a rather strange sound, sort of like the sound of OVERFLOWING WATER.

Only then I realized IT WAS OVERFLOWING WATER.


And the outrageous giggles of a two year old.

This fat mama moved pretty darn fast to get in there and shut the water off. At first, I couldn't tell why the sink was completely full of water. The stopper was on the counter beside the sink. Then I looked more closely and realized M had completely...COMPLETELY...filled the entire drain with toilet paper.

Oh, boy, did I have fun cleaning that one up.

On the other hand, this is my first "mama story" that involves a mess of some sort. M never unrolled the entire roll of toilet paper or powdered her bedroom or anything. I guess a stopped up sink is pretty minor.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Just wait...

Until you see what I've made my co-workers. I LOVED it so much, I made myself one!!!

I'll post pictures tomorrow. One of my co-workers is a reader and I don't want to ruin the surprise!!!!

I LOVE great surprises!!!! Shhhh....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Merry and Bright

Look at these sweet pictures!!! How in the WORLD could you not feel merry and bright looking at them??? We went to a local restaurant tonight for FREE pictures with Santa. I didn't know Mrs. Claus would be there. She was the MOST HELPFUL person in the world. When M went straight to Santa, I dropped to the floor to start snapping pictures. Mrs. Claus grabbed my purse and M's poncho and was super helpful. I took pictures of other friends that were there and she helped watch M. M had been so scared of Santa Claus. In fact, she specifically told me that "Ho, ho, ho 'care me." (Santa scares me.) On the way to the restaurant, I told her that she was going to sit on Santa's lap and say cheese and Mommy was going to take lots of pictures of her. She flat out REFUSED and reminded me that "Cris Claus 'care me." (Santa Claus scares me.) I told her he most certainly does not. Imagine my complete and profound shock when she marched her cute little ponytailed self right up to him, gave him her book and climbed into his lap. It was a priceless moment.

Now to gripe for a moment: I HATE MY CAMERA LENSE!!! Do you see how much editing I had to do??? Every SINGLE picture is so hazy. I feel like I don't get any clear pictures. I dropped my camera when I was out of town a few weeks ago and the other lense now sticks a little. It still works, but the zoom is catchy, which frustrates me. This lense was on my old 35 mm and is supposed to be compatible with my DSLR--I got this Tamron lense when I was pregnant with M, so about 2.5 years ago. I'm not entirely sure that it is compatible with my DSLR. When I edit, I get noise. Does anyone have any advice? Why did I used to get clear, sharp images and now everything is hazy?
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Make-believe Meme

Okay, I'm totally making up a meme. I got this in my in-box and I couldn't resist. I haven't seen this on blogs, so I thought it would be fun, particularly after my last post. So, I'd love for you to play along. Leave me a comment to let me know you played and I'll come visit!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping Paper

2. Real tree or artificial? REAL tree--had a fake as a child for a year or two. The kids revolted and we got our live tree back.

3. When do you put up the tree? Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve

4. When do you take the tree down? Between Christmas of this year and Christmas of next year. We've never left it up for months or anything.

5. Do you like eggnog? Very much

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Smurf village my dad made when I was about 4 or 5, Cabbage Patch kid babies, BOOKS

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Sadly, no. I really want a nice one and I REALLY want a Fisher Price one for Meryt.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My sister in law.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Meryt and my dad

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A teacher bag--the bag wasn't bad, but the comment from the person was.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail them--and they are handmade!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Gosh...that's a hard one. I LOVE all the cheesy Christmas movies. Right now, Lifetime is on and it will stay on until Christmas Eve lunch. The more sappy Christmas movies, the better.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I'm not sure this year. For the nephews, very early because something for their gift was on sale, but I just bought Dwayne's second present today (his first was in early November). Meryt is done, so it just depends.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Sadly, yes.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? All the delicious goodies my mom makes to share with her neighbors and church friends. Oh, and homemade hot chocolate. I get a new recipe every year from cooking class!

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored

17. What is your favorite Christmas song? I think Silent Night, but when Josh Groban sings Little Drummer Boy, I melt. And I also like that song where the man is singing and tries to get the lady to stay for a little long and she's saying she's got to go, but decides to stay a little longer.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel...I'm not ready to give up waking up with my parents on Christmas morning. And I want Meryt to be with my grandmother as much as possible.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes, I'm surprised I can!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Mickey Mouse (Dwayne is a huge Disney fan)'s tasteful.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? When I was little, we were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve (usually a movie or a game for the kids), but we haven't started that tradition with Meryt. We open all Dwayne's family gifts on CE, then we pack up and head to my parents.
23. What I love most about Christmas? Definitely sharing that time with Meryt. I love the sense of community Christmas creates.

Heavy Heart

This has been a heavy heart week. I've prayed more fervently this week than I've prayed in a long time. My family is dealing with a cancer scare (my uncle) and the negative effects of a wise decision (my brother).

Not only am I praying for my family, but others whose pain is so real, so NOW:
I've heard of more lost pregnancies this week--one friend lost her sweet baby at 14 weeks, another had a miracle pregnancy after 2 failed IVF's, only it was tubal and she lost her baby and a fallopian tube. When I was reading another friend's blog, she wrote about our mutual friend (I say friend, I've met her once and she's a very, very dear friend of a friend of mine) that lost her baby at 14 weeks, as well as three more who have lost their babies. That's five women whose hearts are broken right now--whose wombs are now empty and once were full.

I cry for them. I cry for the loss. The knowledge that their mother-arms will never hold their red-faced infants, that their breasts will never nurse newborn mouths. I cry because I KNOW. I know the dreams you have for a baby from the moment you know you are carrying a miracle. Yes, there might be another pregnancy, another baby, but nothing, NOTHING will ever take the place of the one that was lost. My heart will always love the baby that lived in my womb for 8 weeks.

Kyla (at The Journey) wrote a moving post about a dream she had that she was pregnant, only to wake to the ache of empty arms. I've had that dream. It sometimes haunts me when the sun is sleeping and my eyes are closed.

But my loss is NOTHING compared to a mother who recently lost her own mother and is now losing her son. Her sweet, precious boy is slowing fading from his family. He will be gone before Christmas, maybe today. I don't know her. I only stumbled across her through Kyla's blog. But I'm on my knees praying for comfort for her family. Please join me. Go there, comfort her when she feels so empty. I remember that emptiness--the blackness. She's hurting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I wish...

I wish I had a day off to take care of some things. I thought those specific words Sunday or Monday evening. Little did I know that very wish would come true.

On the way to school today, M sneezed. The kind of sneeze that makes my mommy-heart freeze in my chest and causes my head to whip around so fast I almost get whiplash. Yep, her sweet little face was COVERED in the dreaded green mucus. I caused a traffic jam, stopping in the turn lane in front of the local college. I cleaned M up, took her to school. Two hours later, we were home again.

Not exactly the day I'd envisioned when I wished for a day off, but a day off none-the-less. And I am getting some things done. I'm going to grab a quick nap while she's resting.

What are YOU doing this wonderful Wednesday?

I'll post more pictures this evening.

Oh, does anyone besides us have problems with I-Tunes? If you do, would you please e-mail me so I can ask you a question? Pretty please! I'm very frustrated!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Magic of the Season

Here are wishes of many magical moments this holiday season.

The Bensons
Posted by Picasa


My camera was hooked up to the computher until Saturday morning. Between Saturday morning and last night, I took 368 pictures. I have AT LEAST 15 shots I want to post today, but I love this one so much! Last Christmas, H gave me several pair of funny glasses. When you look through them at bright lights, the lights look like snowmen, Christmas trees, etc. As we finally finished decorating our tree yesterday, I found this pair in the ornament box. How fun, I thought. I'll take a picture wearing these. DUH. So, then I put the lense of the glasses in front of the camera lense and got this fun image!!!

For other MBS, visit Picture This.
little bsm button

Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 3, 2007

7 Random Things Meme

"Harridon's" Mom tagged me for a 7 random things meme. I've done it before, but I LOVE reading them about my blog friends, so I'm always game to play along. I promise I'm not tagging anyone this time, so you can read and feel safe. I'm super tired, so this will be COMPLETELY random.

1.) I waitressed one summer while I was in college at a local seafood restaurant. I'm a terrible waitress. One time I shorted a guy a dollar's change and he said that was my tip. Another time, I dropped a whole entire tray of glasses with water on a guy and he laughed--and left me a huge tip.

2.) Another summer I worked in the post office on my tiny college campus. That was probably my favorite job I ever had.

3.) I love to type. Not love to type a little...I REALLY love to type. Almost as much as I love to read.

4.) I want to own a children's boutique with my friend, LL, and call it "My Favorite Things" from the song These are a Few of My Favorite Things. If I owned a women's boutique it would be called Razzle Dazzle and I can envision it in my mind.

5.) I hated spinach and mushrooms growing up. When I was in college a friend of mine asked if I like the white pizza from a local pizza parlor. I responded, "Of course!" even though I had no idea what it was. Just so I didn't look stupid, I ate some and I LOVED IT. Now I'll eat spinach and mushrooms on anything.

6.) I love to get real mail and e-mail. I don't like to check my answering machine, but I do like to talk on the telephone.

7.) Somtimes I really, really like to eat barbeque and others times it completely grosses me out. I never know how I'll feel about it until I get to the restaurant. When H first made me eat it, I couldn't get it enough. Now I'm hot and cold about it.

Bonus: 8.) Until I wrote my thesis, I only enjoyed a Starbucks coffee every now and then. I wasn't a huge coffee drinker. I'm a hot tea snob (only loose tea for me, thank you very much...and water boiled to the perfect rolling boil). Unfortunately, now that my thesis is complete, I find that I need one cup of coffee to lift the fog each morning. I think I allowed that stupid thesis project to cause a coffee addiction.

Okay, more random things about me. I understand if you run away screaming...I might when I read this in the morning. H is waiting to tuck me in so he can go watch his TiVo'd football games, so I'm off to bed. I know I promised pictures...I'll get them up soon for you. I didn't even have MBS this week. Maybe next week.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Glimpse into our afternoon

One little M Benson woke up on the wrong side of her crib this afternoon. Tears flowed forth for the better part of our afternoon and evening. Finally, I'd had enough.

M was walking around crying about something AGAIN.
I was TRYING to have a moment of quiet in the bathroom.
She walks in SOBBING about some injustice. She was trying to tell me what it was, but of course I couldn't understand because she was blubbering through her tears.
I was at the end of my mommy-patience-rope. I'd heard ENOUGH of the whining.
"M, stop crying NOW. Mommy has no idea what you're talking about."
M stomped her foot at me and continued to cry.
"M, Mommy said stop crying. You are not allowed to stomp your foot at Mommy."
More tears as she stomps out of the bathroom and sits on the floor by my sewing machine (leaving the once closed bathroom door wide open so I'm STILL listening to the whining/crying.)
My voice reaches almost screaming level--not quite, but almost.
"M, that's ENOUGH. Go sit on the red chair until you are done crying!"
The tears stopped. *snap* Just like that. Not another tear the rest of the evening.

Can someone PLEASE explain this to me?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Happy Hearts

Tonight I hosted my annual Christmas Card Stamp-a-Stack. As stressful and busy as life has been the past few months have been and as disconnected as I've felt from my friends, it felt WONDERFUL to have a houseful of friends again. My heart was bursting with happiness as my unique, individual, funny friends stamped and visited. I'll post pictures of the cards tomorrow. I'm so excited about doing my own Christmas cards now...seeing the excitment in my friends is such an encouragement.

I hope you find something encouraging this holiday season. I hope something makes your heart very happy.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nov. 30 (Phrase Friday)

A few cute phrases for you.

M's understanding of holiday words:
Noma'am: Snowman
Anta cos: Santa Claus

A funny non-holiday story for your delight:
Whenever I ask M, "What is your name?" she replies, "two!" and holds up two fingers. She says "two" when you ask how old she is, too. Last night, I finally got her to respond with her name. It went like this.
Me: What's your name?
M: M!
Me: That's right! What's your name?
M: (laughing) M!
Me: Yes! Mommy is so proud of you! What's your name?
M: M!
Me: Good girl! How old are you?
M: M!

Okay, so I obviously didn't do SUCH a great job teaching her. H and I busted out laughing, which made M laugh, which reinforced all the confusion.

Another funny thing. Last year, H bought one of those dancing plush toys--you know, where you push the button on one of the characters' hands and it plays music and dances. M loved that thing so much that we kept it out all year. Quick digression: A few days ago, we were in the car late in the evening and she had a bear in her hand. She obviously didn't realize that bear talked, so when it started talking and singing to her, SHE COMPLETELY FREAKED OUT. I had to pull over on the side of the road because she was screaming like she was hurt. She was pushing the bear away with one hand, but holding so tight with the other and the bear wasn't going anywhere! I said, "Oh, sweet girl...that bear scared you, didn't it?" (Back to the singing and dancing Christmas toy) Now she HATES anything that sings and dances. Her new thing is to run over and press the button on the singing Santa/Reindeer and race to me screaming, "Dat care me! I-hol-ju-me!" ("That scares me. Please hold me!") Before I got home last night, she even convinced H to press the button and then flipped out on him. He hadn't witnessed it before. Joke's on him!

What cute things are going on in your life right now?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nov. 28 (Gingerbread Men)

Now that Thanksgiving is over (where in the world does time go???), I've pulled out my Christmas attire. M was tickled pink that I wore a snowman shirt yesterday. Today she was completely and utterly in love with my gingerbread man shirt.

Imagine this:
Red long sleeve t-shirt with nine gingerbread (three rows of three) on the front.
M eating a doughnut for breakfast (sticky two-year old...everyone's favorite).
The conversation goes like this.
M: Mommy! (shock) Losh cookies. Sh-irt. (Lots of cookies on your shirt)
Me: Yes, Mommy has gingerbread men on her shirt.
M: I LOVSH cookies! I take big bite! (I love cookies. I'm going to take a big bite)
Me: (laughing) You can't eat these cookies. They're on my shirt!
M: Yesh! (makes munching noises like cookie monster as she pretends to eat all the cookies on my shirt!) Yummy cookies!

That was our game several times today. M is such a little jokester. When I picked her up from school, she said, "I-hole-ju-me." (I want you to pick me up.) So, being the gullible mommy that I am, I picked up my sweet girl. She immediately said, "I ee-ju cookies!" (I'm going to eat your cookies) and begin to pretend to eat the cookies on my shirt. I'm not sure which sound I enjoy more...her munch noise or her sweet giggles.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Nov. 27th (Wordless)

I'm wordless today. It's 9:16 and I've kissed H goodnight. I'm in my pjs. I'm going to knit for a few minutes and then head off to dream land. That's what happens when you have an awesome week off and then you return to work. Work just saps it out of you. I hope I'll have something inspirational tomorrow.

One sweet thing:
Today one of M's friends (a boy...she's the only girl) at school came over for a big hug and kiss. She told him "My mommy. My kishes!" I told her I had plenty of kisses for both of them. Then I told her to give her friend a hug and kiss. Boy, did she ever. She grabbed both sides of his cute little face and planted one on him. That's my girl.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Nov. 26 (Usborne E-show)

I am hosting an Usborne Books eShow! Usborne Books are wonderful books for children of all ages…they are durable, colorful, have amazing illustrations, and are fun! Go to my eShow link between now and December 7 and buy these wonderful books for your children! They also make great birthday, baby shower and Christmas gifts! I have included a list of possible books that you and your children or grandchildren might enjoy! There are over 1300 titles, but these are some favorites!

The link to my eShow is

Babies & Toddlers
That’s Not My… books – “touchy-feely” board books for everything a child loves (puppies, bunnies, dolls, bears, tractors, trains, trucks, cars…and more!)

Find the Duck – a “find-it” board book with a rubber duck to find on every page

The Busy Bus or The Busy Truck – “play books” where the child places the bus or truck onto every page

“Look and Say” board books – Backyard, Farm, Beach, Vacation, and more!

Preschool & Kindergarten
There’s a Mouse about the House – a “slot” book in which the mouse travels through the house (book) looking for cheese

Picture books – beautifully illustrated picture books that draw children into the book (On a Pirate Ship, On the Seashore, The Butterfly, and more!)

Farmyard Tales readers – each page has two reading levels, one for beginners and one for more advance readers. Children and parents can alternate reading lines! Also, there is a rubber duck hidden somewhere on every page! (The Naughty Sheep, Camping Out, The Old Steam Train, The RunawayTractor, and more!

First Stories – these are also dual-line readers of classic stories and also have the hidden rubber duck on every page (Cinderella, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, Sleeping Beauty, and more!)

Lift-the-Flap Learners – Pets, Bugs and Slugs, Dinosaurs, On the Farm, and more!

Phonics readers – phonics-based books for beginning readers (Big Pig on a Dig, Fat Cat on a Mat, Ted in a Red Bed, and more!)

Bible Tales readers – these are dual-line readers of Bible stories (Noah’s Ark, Jonah and the Whale, Daniel and the Lions, The Story of Baby Jesus, and more!

Beginning Readers & Young Readers
Beginners Nature – Caterpillars and Butterflies, How Flowers Grow, Under the Sea, and more!

Beginners Social Studies – Cowboys, Ballet, Pirates, and more!

First Reading Levels 1-3 – Percy and the Pirates, Little Red Riding Hood, The Dinosaur Who Lost His Roar, and more!

Young Readers Series 1-3 – Hansel & Gretel, Heidi, Three Billy Goats Gruff, Jack and the Beanstalk, Stories of Knights, and more!

There are also chapter books, classic adaptations, and famous lives books for older children as well as internet-linked encyclopedias and science books.

Hope you have fun shopping!

Nov. 26 (MBS)

Two generations meet.
Rotary dial vs. child who owns a portable DVD player

For other MBS, click:
little bsm button
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Nov. 25 (Memories)

M is at such a critical age right now. I feel a huge burden to train her in the way she should go so that she brings joy to those around her. She is a completely delightful little girl--I never want my child to be the "brat" that others don't want around. Every day I'm amazed by how smart she is and how quickly she learns something new. She has a wonderful sense of humor and LOVES to tease. She is so compassionate and sweet to her dolls and sometimes her real friends. I want to foster all of these positive traits in her.

The other thing I want to do for her is create wonderful childhood memories. I want so much for her childhood to be filled with wonder and excitement. Today we went to pick out our Christmas tree. We're not the family you see at the Christmas tree farm chopping down our own tree. No, no...we're the family at Lowe's holding all the 7-8 footers that don't look too Charlie Brown-ish. We're the family with the bossy two year old who tells her mother and father what to do, but laughes the entire time she does it because she's teasing. I'm the mother that takes the two year old into Lowe's because it's too cold to stand around outside while the father pays for the tree. M is the two year old who is completely fascinated by the Christmas decorations inside. She's the two year old who dances to the completely ghetto-licious animated Santa Claus and Snowman who are rapping traditional Christmas carols. She's also the two year old who loves to push buttons and finds the one toy with the button that makes a fun present open--inside the present are skating bears and snowmen. She's the two year old who sits down on the floor of Lowe's, completely filled with wonder over a Christmas decoration.

Click on the pictures above to check out our trip to get our tree. Pictures of a decorated tree forthcoming when we decorate it.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Nov. 24 (Individual Attention)

Something happened today that hasn't happened in several years. I got undivided attention with each of my parents!!

This morning my dad and I headed out to a craft store and to shop at a mall for a little while. We had so much fun together. We found some great deals at the craft store and we REALLY hit the jackpot at Gymboree. M scored 3 new outfits, a new skirt, and some funky barrettes for less than $74. (Thanks OB!) OB and Nona are going to give her one outfit for Christmas. The others are hers to wear now.

We came home and ate delicious leftovers and then...

Mom and I headed down to the historic district to check out a yarn store (terrible) and a fabric store (even more terrible). We then headed over to one of my mom's favorite little shopping areas. It's a residential area with 10-12 locally owned boutiques that sell a wide variety of items. My favorite was the paper store (imagine that!), but I found some great book titles that I'm going to check out and there were MANY great gift ideas that I've put away for some of my dear friends and my family.

All in all, it was a super fun today. Everyone got special time today. H was able to spend all day watching football (his favorite thing to do), which he totally deserves after all his hard work at the house. My parents and I got special time with each other and they got some special time with M while the others were occupied.

I hope you're getting lots of special time this weekend. Take time to really enjoy one another.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Nov. 23 (Black Friday)


M's Christmas shopping is complete! And no one got up at the crack of dawn to get it done. Luckily, we didn't need any of the hot ticket items this year, so we slept until we all woke up, took our time getting ready, and left the house around 1:00 this afternoon.

H and I went to Toys-R-Us and finished getting M's items. She's recently become very, very interested in Thomas the Train, so we got a few Thomas and friends, plus a small carpet with a train track. We got art supplies to go with her easel (which I bought after Christmas last year for a whopping $7.49). We also got her a small grocery store's worth of food for her kitchen. All of that for less than $150.00. Oh, a few Christmas movies to start a Christmas movie collection.

We ran to a craft store where my parents did a little shopping, then we browsed two shoe stores. I really want to get M a pair of silver or gold shoes, but those two stores didn't carry them in toddler sizes. If anyone has a suggestion, PLEASE let me know!

We ended the day with a trip to the local scrapbook store. I didn't show much restraint there, but they were having a 30% off sale, so I came out there with a nice addition to my stash without spending TOO much money (less than $30!).

What did you do? Find any bargains? Get up early to beat the crowds? Give me your hints! I'd love to hear your best bargain! Our best bargain today was finding DVD's for $3 at Toys-R-Us.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nov. 23 (Gratitude)

Thanksgiving is right in the midst of my favorite time of year. When I was a little girl, my birthday was the big kick-off of the holiday season for my family. In my child-mind, we celebrated from Oct. 30 right through Jan 1st. One special holiday after another. When H and I married 6 years ago, the season of celebration began on Oct. 13. Two years ago when M was born, we backed it up yet another day. Oct. 12 is now the official kick-off of our holiday season.

Once we begin celebrating, the feeling just gets in my blood! I'm so excited about the holidays this year, despite definitely feeling the time crunch about finishing all my home-made gifts for the year. I can't post about them because some of my family reads this blog, but I'll post pictures and responses after the gifts are given.

On another note, I saw a sweet sign at a local church. It says, "Real Thanksgiving is ThanksLiving." That rings so true for me.

Here are 15 things I'm thankful for:
1.) My husband.
2.) My sweet girl.
3.) My awesome parents.
4.) My brothers.
5.) My sister-in-law.
6.) Having a family that helps take care of M so I can enjoy a day filled with the joyous laughter of my toddler, plenty of time to help prepare our feast, time for knitting, and time for visiting.
7.) Being ABLE to create things for my family for Christmas.
8.) Onion Torte and HOMEMADE pumpkin pie
9.) My mom's amazing sweet potato recipe that was prepared by my SIL.
10.) Being old enough to help contribute to the family feast. Today was so great because my mom didn't spend all day slaving in the kitchen. Each child (and their families) contributed to the family dinner.
11.) Laughing until my cheeks are wet.
12.) Big hugs and kisses.
13.) Wii--and listening to it all day instead of roaring football fans over the television!
14.) The relationship between H and my brothers. H is 8 years older than I am and my brothers are both younger, so there is a fairly big age gap between them. However, they love each other very much and have a great time together.
15.) Full tummies at the end of a great day.

I hope you had millions of reasons to be thankful today. I realize it's not the time for resolutions, but I am going to adopt the philosophy of ThanksLiving.

Here's to many moments of ThanksLiving in your life and in mine.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nov. 21 (White Balance)

I just read something recently about white balance. I remembered it yesterday and wanted to see the difference. So while M was playing with her pony jack-in-the-box, I changed the white balance from AWB, to whichever one seemed most appropriate for indoors. I can DEFINITELY tell a difference.

This image is a little more "yellow." (warmer?)

This image is a little more "white" or "blue" to me. (cooler?) Although I like the light reflection in this one. Is that due to the white balance?

Truly, I think I like the first one better. What do you think? Please be honest...I want to become a better photographer!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nov. 20 (Princess Benson)

Introducing Princess Benson:

What? You think she has some left over lunch around her mouth?? Well, a Princess MUST have french fries with a heavy dose of ketchup for lunch and a delicious mint cookie for dessert.

Princess Benson allows a quick glimpse of her princess wand.

Don't tell me you didn't know that tiaras were also gun holsters? Well, it's all the rage amongst princesses to protect themselves and what better way to do it than to use your tiara to disguise your weapon! Princess Benson actually started this fashion statement.

Princess Benson worked very hard all morning ruling her kingdom. She's gone to her royal throne room for a hefty dose of beauty sleep.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 19, 2007

Nov. 19 (Potting Training)

I'm sad to say (not really, but that's what I'm SUPPOSED to say, right?), that Potty Training Session I is over. It ended at 10:12 am this morning. M was bouncing around on my bed while I did important work on the computer. I knew we'd skipped a potty session, but I asked M every few seconds if she wanted to sit on the potty. I asked if her under gar-ments were dry. "No, potty. I dwy." At 10:12 am, I pulled myself away from my very important computer assignment to check on her. There were tee-tee spots all over my mattress and her under gar-ments were soaked front and back. That's when I decided that if she wasn't concerned about wearing wet clothes, I sure wasn't going to stress out about potty training. When she HATES wet under clothes, I'll try again. Maybe over Christmas. Maybe during spring break. Maybe next summer. Whenever she's ready, we'll try again.

Thank you, Lord, for letting my sweet little baby stay a few more months. I just wasn't quite ready to do the whole potty thing all the time.

Nov. 19 (MBS)

Here it is. My best shot Monday. I've downloaded Picasa and took a few minutes to edit this week's image. It was a pretty neat image to begin with, but I kind of like how this has ended up.

Colleen asked about this picture. When I went away last weekend, my friends and I visited an amazing island in SC. It is a nature preserve. As a way to manage beach erosion, rocks have been placed in rows at specific intervals on the beach. This sweet little flutterby was on one of the bed of rocks that we passed. He (or she) just crawled right onto my dear friend P2's hand and stayed there for quite some time. We aren't sure if his (or her) wings go wet from the surf or if he (or she) was newly hatched or dying. After a few minutes, he (or she) took off. While we stood there visiting, he (or she) flew back a few times before finally taking flight. But it was a sweet moment for all of us.
Posted by Picasa

For other awesome shots, visit Picture This:

little bsm button

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Nov. 18, con't

We set the microwave timer for 30 minutes. Every thirty minutes, we sat on the potty to try it out.

When H was in charge, one accident (within first thirty minutes). It wasn't ENTIRELY his fault. I usually put M on her potty chair when I'm starting her bath water. She does her thing while the water is running. Well, H was rinsing out a paint brush. Running water. You get the idea. I didn't mention that one little thing to him. The sweetest part of the entire thing: M ran to the bottom of the stairs and screamed at me "Mommy, tee-tee POTTY!" But I just didn't get downstairs fast enough.

When I was in the charge: Lots of sitting. Only one deposit. But she was so proud! We sang and danced around the dining room.

I hope tomorrow is fun and successful. I'm not really concerned about it, but I feel like M is ready. We're just giving it a try.

Nov. 18

My sweet two year old is downstairs wearing her first pair of BIG GIRL clothes that are worn UNDER other clothes. (I'm trying to be cryptic so the other word won't come up in a search)

We're just practicing. Tomorrow is the big day. If it doesn't go well, we'll just put things away and try again in a few months. No pressure. Just a trial run.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Nov. 17 (For your viewing pleasure)

Because I mentioned M's newest phrase, "No, no, no mo pit-ers!" I felt the need to share with you an example of this.

"Mommy, pit-ers glashes." (Mommy, take a picture of me with these super cool glasses on.)

Whining. No words. Just whining.

"Mommy, stop." (I'm going to get really angry in a minute)

"Mommy, NO, NO, NO mo pit-ers!" (If you don't stop taking pictures right now, I'm going to get out of this chair and throw myself to the ground in a very melodramatic fit.)

Please note the lack of real tears and how she's looking at me to make sure I'm looking at her. The second I look away, the whining stops and she's fine. The moment I look back at her, she starts up again. When I put the camera down, she stops. When I touch it, she starts again. with a two year old.
Posted by Picasa