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:
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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.
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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.
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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.
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For other awesome shots, visit Picture This:

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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.
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Friday, November 16, 2007

Nov 15 and 16 (Missed another one)

Nov. 15:

Nothing to post about, so I skipped it, even though I said I'd post every day for a month. I stink.

Nov. 16:
Phrase Friday!! YEAH!!!

First of all, let me tell everyone something exciting: It's 8:32 and I'm in my pj's. I've got a stack of magazines. When I finish typing this, I'm going to take a hot bath w/ my magazines, then I'm going to sit in my bed and watch TV and knit away until I'm ready to go to sleep. YES! I'm out of school for an entire week for Thanksgiving Break. M and I are so excited. Actually, I'm so excited. She's got a little vomit problem, but I'm SURE when she feels better, she'll be so excited too.

Here are some cute phrases from my cute little girl:

The newest one: "Yook at me, Mommy!" (Look at me, Mommy!) What she REALLY wants is for me to stop doing whatever it is that is causing me to ignore her and pay complete attention to her. Usually this phrase is accompanied by a "cheese" face that is reserved for photo sessions.

"No, no, no mo pit-ers" (No, no, no more pictures!) Please note that everything is said with great expression right now. She's not so much into having her picture taken right now. When we left OB and Nona last weekend, they were taking pictures of M. As much as M adores OB, she got rather adamant about not having any more pictures taken. Tonight she was wearing her sunglasses while she ate. She wanted ONE picture taken. When I started to take several, she got rather irate and insisted "No, no, no mo pit-ers!" I only put the camera down so she wouldn't vomit again.

This is just a cute story. The other day on the way home from school, I was chatting it up with my little mouth-of-the-south. It was going something like this:
Me: So, did you have a good day?
M: grunt.
Me: What did you do?
M: grunt
Me: That sounds like fun. Did your friends do that, too?
M: grunt
Get the idea?
Finally, M said, "SHHH!!! NO talking, Mommy!"
Okie-dokie. My two year old shut me up real quick. Something is not right here.

I think I hear something, friends! It's your cute phrases that you're just dying to share with us! C'mon...give 'em to us. (Nona, this is your week...give my blog friends something funny from when I was little or something cute M said when she was with you last weekend.)

Now my bath is calling me. I'm outta here.

One more thing...cute pictures to come tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nov. 14 (All dried up)

I've had a touch of insomnia this week. Last weekend I stayed up late and slept, well, not late, but later than normal. I'm all excited because M and I have the entire week off next week, so I think I'm having a hard time being in my "school" routine.

I tell you all that because I'm all dried up tonight. I've hit the brick wall. I'm too tired to think of anything great to blog about. I'd love to tell you about last weekend, but that would require too much energy. I'd love to tell you all about M's poop problems, but that's sort of gross and I just don't want to get into it. I'd REALLY love to tell you how sweet my class is, but several kiddos are being pills right now. The others are just as sweet as ever. We did finish reading The Magician's Nephew and have started The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. SOO MUCH FUN! I can't get over how fantastic these books are.

I've got some cute phrases saved up for Phrase Friday. M is DEFINITELY learning new things all the time.

See you tomorrow, friends...I'm hitting the sack now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nov. 13, again

I've got to do a little plug for Stampin' Up! This month Stampin' Up! is offering a fantastic promotion. For all you crafters out there: If you buy 3 Designer Series paper sets (double sided printed paper), you get a to choose a 4th free! You'll save almost $12.

These papers are GREAT. I've completely fallen in love with the quality and design of these papers. If you are a scrapbooker, you'll love these. If you're interested in making cards or other handmade paper crafts, you'll love these. If you're just looking to have some need paper around your house for kids' school project, you'll love these.

Check out the Stampin' Up! online catalog at to see the variety of paper available. I know you'll really like the choices and the quality.

Nov. 13 (7 random things)

I was tagged by my dear blog-friend Colleen to do a 7 Random Things about Me meme. Seeing how I'm not often invited to participate and when I am invited, I tend to forget and not do them(hm...wonder why I'm not invited to play often???), I decided to get busy right away and do this one.

So, here goes. 7 Random things about Natalie:

1.) I love lists. I'm just like my father. I have TONS of to-do lists. I like to make them as specific as possible so I can cross off more things. Instead of just writing down: clean the bathroom, I list each thing that needs to be done. The difference between my father and me is that he actually accomplishes things on his lists. I just keep adding to mine.

2.) I'm the oldest of three. Know anything about birth order? I'm a classic first child.

3.) My idea of organization is to rearrange stacks. If there isn't a stack there, make one. Have some free counter space? Fill it up with a new stack. I'll never have enough storage for all my junk. I like to collect things. One thing I do love to organize: the mail. I love to tear up junk mail and throw it away. I'm a believer in the touch once rule, but only with the mail. I flip through it daily, tear up anything that's junk, file my bills on my desk. day is complete.

4.) I've been married 6 years. When I got married, I successfully caught the kitchen on fire trying to cook, had to ask my husband to sew on buttons, and didn't have a clue how to vacuum (okay, that's a little exaggeration, but it sounds good!). Now I cook, sew, scrapbook, make cards and other crafts, knit. I still hate cleaning, but with all those hobbies, who has TIME to clean? I'm going to have to hire someone.

5.) I'm a teacher so I talk to 7 year olds all day long. I LOVE when other adults talk to me and treat me like I'm intelligent. I met a photographer this weekend who treated me that way. It's so nice when someone doesn't talk "down" to me because I'm a teacher. A few weeks ago, I did an art show at my school. The artist beside me (very, very well educated) and I had such a great conversation that had nothing to do with education or children. Refreshing!

6.) I love musicals. LOVE them.

7.) I want to travel internationally. I'm very, very proud to be American, but the world is so much bigger than America. I want to see Italy--the big cities and the countryside. I want to visit village in Africa and Mexico. I want to see Russia and China. I want to play tourist and I want to see how the natives live.

So, that's 7 random things about me. What about you? Are you game for divulging 7 random things about yourself? C' along. If you're reading this,



Monday, November 12, 2007

Nov. 12 (Luckiest girl)

No picture today. I have pictures, but am too lazy to upload them.

Instead you get a story about how I am one of the luckiest girls in the world (okay, now keep in mind that I can only say this because I'm NOT upset with my better half).

Every time I go out of town without H, he does some sort of surprise home improvement project. This time, I could not figure out what the project might be. I was hoping he was going to take the weekend off and relax himself...he's worked so hard on the yard and deck that I felt like he deserved a weekend off. Obviously not.

I am the PROUDEST owner of the most amazing entertainment center ever. It's not completely done, so you have to wait a few days before I post pictures. You're just going to have to trust me on this one. It's amazing. Simply amazing. I am so proud of H and so thankful for his hard work.

Any ideas how I can show him how grateful I am? (DON'T EVEN SUGGEST A SPECIAL SNUGGLE IN BED) I need some good ideas, dear blog-readers. Santa's special elf wants to reward this sweet husband of mine.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Nov. 11 (Wedding STORIES)

Okay, I have permission from LL to share our wedding stories. She's right...they are totally intertwined.

We were first year teachers. I'd been dating H for a while. She and S had been dating for a shorter while. We knew we were going to marry these boys, but when? We had a holiday from school, so we were cleaning our apartment when we came across a calendar. We sat on her bed and picked our wedding dates. I claimed October 2001, she claimed September. Then we called H and invited him to lunch. We dropped the bombshell that The Benson's would marry on October 6, 2001.

The conversation went like this:
LL: H, we decided something today.
H: Oh, yeah. What?
Me: That we're going to get married.
H: Of course we are.
Me: No, we decided WHEN we're going to get married.
H: Oh, really. When?
LL: October 6.
H: Sounds good to me.

Please notice that it took both me and LL to engage me to H. Also note that he had no objection to this plan. That's so him...he just goes with the flow.

I left the engagement of LL and S to them. He refused to get married in September, so they decided to marry in November.

My wedding plans went off without a hitch--although we did change the date from the 6th to the 13th because everything we wanted to booked for the 6th. Something about bad luck if your anniversary falls on Friday the 13th left that date open. We got EVERYTHING we wanted--photographer, florist, location, etc. Our wedding was completely perfect.

Because S is from a tiny town, their wedding got bigger and bigger and bigger. They decided to do a destination wedding. All was going well. Dates were determined. Tickets were bought. The families and close friends made their travel arrangements.

Then our nation was rocked on 9/11. Our entire lives were altered in the matter of an hour.

LL and S decided it would be best to not travel out of the country with their families and closest friends just two months after that due to the extreme levels of security related to flying. What if another situation happened while they were away? What if they continued with their plans only to have all flights leaving the country shut down prior to the wedding?

So, the plans changed. LL is my wedding hero. She planned a wedding in under 5 weeks. Bought a wedding dress. Lined up caterers, photographers, locations (although the church did have to change their fall festival to accommodate the wedding plans--thank goodness S is from a tiny town), wedding parties (including their attire), etc, etc, etc. And she still pulled off being my maid of honor!!!

LL's wedding was completely perfect. Everything was beautiful. And I got to be there--even more perfect for both of us!

Remember all the tickets the families bought? They went on a huge vacation together another time.

So, LL, I'm so glad you went on a special date with a PAID babysitter. I almost fell out of my chair when I read that! I can't wait to hear all about it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Nov. 10 (Oops...)

Okay, okay...yesterday morning was complete mayhem at my house as I packed the car for M and I to leave town! I can't believe I dropped the ball on posting every day this month. Maybe I'll do a double post this week and make up? Will you accept my apologizes if I promise to do that?

I'm at my parents house. M had a blast with them last night and all day today. When I arrived, she was exhausted and playing in the tub. Both Nona and OB were entertaining her. I'm sure she wonders why Mama and Daddy don't pay as much attention to her!

My adventure was...well, an adventure. I'll post about it next week. I so enjoyed getting away and being with some friends overnight. The trip wasn't quite as informative as I had hoped, but I did buy some fabulous books.

He was super nice. I'll blog about that later this week, too.

(That's my real-life best friend...she's been married 6 years today. I hope she checks the blog sometime this weekend. I'll have to ask her if I can blog about her wedding story. She should write a book about it.)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Nov. 8 (Girl's Night Out)

Some of my friends have started a monthly Girl's Night Out. Each friend signed up to be the hostess one month and she decides what activity, venue, food, etc, we'll enjoy that evening. Tonight was my dear friend Donna's turn to hostess (remember she was the cake savior of the big pumpkin b'day party!). We had a wonderful evening at the local pottery studio. What a blast! I made a sweet little ornament to add to M's collection and a really cool coffee mug with a lid for my tea. I can't wait to see how they actually turn out. Painting pottery is such a unique experience because you can't imagine your product until you actually get it! I love the fun and mystery. Hey, that's sort of like knitting!

When I took my attempt from last night, my friend Peggy just laughed at it. She quickly unraveled it and got me started again. I must say this second attempt is looking MUCH better. I can't wait to have more of a product to show you. If I can knit, YOU can knit. Trust me.

Tomorrow, M and I are heading out of town for the weekend. I'm going to a festival about 5 hours away and dropping M off with my parents along the way. As all moms can attest, I love my daughter more than anything, but I am looking forward to a weekend away. I'll be back with her late Saturday evening and we'll spend all day Sunday with my parents before coming home. It's going to be a fun, busy weekend and I am very much looking forward to it.

Get your phrases ready! I'm blogging Phrase Friday tomorrow morning before I leave for work. I'll get on Saturday night to blog a bit, too, so I can keep up with this whole blog every day for a month thing.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Nov. 7 (Knitting)

I had my very own private knitting class tonight. I learned to cast on, knit, purl, and cast off. All in all, I'm pretty proud of myself. I'm still rather clumsy. When I got home to work on my project, I dropped stitches all over the place. I didn't spend a fortune on the yarn, so I'm not really worried about it, but I would like to know what happened and exactly how one begins to drop stitches. I have enough yarn that I think I might start over again tomorrow to see how I do. I am so excited that I'm learning how to do this new hobby! The local knitting/yarn store has the MOST beautiful yarn I've ever seen in my life. They also offer really neat classes. I hope I'm good enough soon to take a class.

Pictures soon, I promise!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Nov. 6 (Wonderful Shawl)

Tonight....ah, the first night of complete freedom. The thesis projects were stamped and mailed today. I promised to hem my nephews' pants, however when I got to them tonight, I realized that I didn't have any khaki thread. I returned the pants to my SIL, wrapped myself in my hand-made shawl (a gift from my co-teacher), and sat at my new patio table and in my new swivel rocking chair. The wind was chilly. There was a nip in the air. I was warm and cozy, snuggled in my shawl, rocking in my chair, sipping Hot Cran-Apple Toddy.

H asked if the shawl really kept me warm.
"Yes," I replied. "Try it on."
So he did.
And then he grabbed my glasses.
And our Mrs. Claus hot mit.

And we laughed and we laughed and we laughed.

What a perfect night.

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Nov. 5 (MBS)

These are most definitely not MBS, but the story that goes with them qualifies.
These images so depict where M is in life right now. Completely yearning for independence, but not quite brave enough yet.
"No, Mommy. ME!"
So I let her go...all by herself, up those tall, tall steps to the big, BIG, BIG! slide.
About 2/3 of the way up (two or three steps after first image), she started crying, but it was too late then.
She had to finish by herself.
And she did.
With lots of sobbing and squeezing tight at the bottom.
A sucker fixed it all.
My sweet baby so wants to do everything by herself, but she's still MY BABY. I'm trying to let go and she's trying to go. Somehow, we keep finding ourselves squeezing tight at the end. And I am so thankful.
For REAL MBS, click below. I'm sure you'll be TREATED to some great pictures this week.

little bsm button

Nov. 4 (Random Thoughts)

Nothing particular to post about today. I was going to give you a little insight into the public education system where I work (specifically about how we place special needs students), but that seems too taxing. So, I'm just going to post a few random thoughts.

1.) Supper club went GREAT last night. Dinner was late (around 8:30), but turned out very nice. After dinner, the men wanted to smoke cigars on the new deck while the women wanted to play games. We turned on the Wii and had a pretty intense boxing match. Then we calmed down and bowled for a while. I have no idea what the men discussed, but they seemed to have as much fun as we did.

2.) My thesis projects are going in the mail tomorrow. It's 7:13 EST right now and I'm heading off to write my arts rationale. As soon as that is complete, I'm printing it, putting it in the envelop and everything will go by snail mail to my professor tomorrow. I meet with my thesis group to finalize everything tomorrow afternoon and then I am COMPLETELY finished!

3.) H did get me knitting class for my birthday. My fingers and brain are ITCHING for something creative to do. I can't wait to start a knitting project. On top of knitting, I need to design our family Christmas card. I also have a few sewing projects to work on. I have a large stack of photos I need to scrapbook. I can't wait for a little bit of free time!

4.) I'm reading The Magician's Nephew so I know what's coming before I read to my class. It's REALLY a great book. I highly recommend it to anyone with school age children. It is a wonderful read-aloud. I think even older elementary, middle school children would enjoy reading it with an adult. I love how CS Lewis interacts with his audience.

5.) There are at least 8 loads of laundry waiting for my attention downstairs.

6.) I'm going to start my weight loss trek again tomorrow. It's taken a while since the miscarriage to feel up to tackling my weight. I've planned a menu for the week, so no eating out and I actually want *gulp* to go to the gym to walk! Something must be wrong with me. Seriously wrong.

There you go--random things to read about. Tomorrow is MBS. I've got an idea to post, so check back tomorrow!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Nov. 3 (Supper Club)

I can't believe I've posted three days in a row! YEAH!

We're hosting supper club tonight at our house. I've been so stressed out the past two weeks that I've just come to a major decision to NOT let this stress me out. It will be what it is. If the house isn't perfect, that's okay. The food will be delicious and the company wonderful.

Here is the menu:
Appetizers when the guests arrive (pepper jelly and cream cheese)
Soup: Tomato and roasted red pepper
Main Course: Creamy Herb Polenta and Bistro Italian Sausage and Chicken (recipes below), steamed vegetables, and bread with herbed oil
Dessert: Cannoli
Beverage: Spiced Cran-apple Toddy (recipe below), Bellinis, Soft drinks, and sweet tea (we are SOUTHERN, you know)

Games to follow dinner if anyone would like to play.

Creamy Herb Polenta (AMAZING)
4 T butter
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 c. hot water
2 c. polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1/2 c. whipping cream

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, saute' corn in butter. Add Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in hot water and bring to a boil. Gradually add polenta, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer. Cook until polenta thickens and grain is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in whipping cream. Serve hot. Serves 8.

Bistro Italian Sausage and Chicken
1 1/2 lb. Italian sausage, removed from casing
4 chicken breast, cut into thin strips
2 lg. bell peppers, cut into thin strips
2 med. onions, cut into slivers
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. flour
2 T. minced fresh basil OR 2 tsp. dried
1 T. minced fresh tarragon OR 1 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 c. dry white wine
2 c. chicken stock
1 (15 oz.) can solid pack pumpkin
1 c. whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cook sausage thoroughly, stirring to crumble. Reserve drippings. Transfer sausage to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. In reserved dripping, cook chicken strips until done. Add peppers and onions. Cook until crisp tender. Remove chicken, onion, and bell pepper from pan. Cover to keep warm. In pan drippings, saute' garlic briefly. Stir in flour, basil, tarragon, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook a few minutes. Stir in wine and cook off heady alcohol. Blend together chicken stock, pumpkin, and whipping cream. Whisk into the pot creating sauce. When heated through, add previously cooked sausage, chicken, peppers, and onions. Heat through. Serve over hot pasta or polenta. Serves 8-10.

Hot Cran-Apple Toddy
1/2 gallon apple juice or cider
2 c. cranberry juice cocktail
peeled zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 c. (+/-) brandy
1/2 c. ASPEN mulling spices

In large saucepan combine first 3 ingredients. Bring to a gentle boil. Add brandy and ASPEN mulling spices. Stir to dissolve. Serve hot. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 3 quarts.

If you decide to use any of these recipes or have any cooking tips to share, please do! I'd love to know some of your favorite fall recipes. Now that the thesis project is over (almost), I want to start being a real wife and mother again--okay, okay, I want to attempt at being a real wife and mother.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Nov. 2 (Phrase Friday)

Okay, y'all. It's seriously time for you to play along. Don't leave me hanging out here in the land of cute phrases all by myself! Leave me a comment or post a link to your blog and we'll all head over there to read your fun phrases for Friday! (Mom--aka Nona--come on and play! Surely one of us said something cute when we were little!)

Here are a few cute things M is saying now:

1. She has a cousin named Joshua. She calls him ISH-OO-AH (ish as in f-ish, oo as in oo, that's so cool, and ah as in ah, cool water on a hot day)

2. ya-dee-o means radio. It took about 3 mornings before I realized she was asking for me to turn the radio up. She would repeat ya-dee-o UP! all the way to school. Finally I realized Thursday what she wanted. Ah, the peace that brought on our morning commute.

3. We have a chocolate lab named Mocha. Every single dog and horse we see is called Mocha. Every now and then she'll label the other animals correctly, but everything from the tiniest teacup puppy to the most gigantic stallion is a Mocha.

I think three might be enough this week. I'll save some more for your complete and utter enjoyment next week. Or maybe she'll develop something cute between now and next Friday.

Remember, I'm posting every day in November. Be sure to leave a little comment when you drop by!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Nov 1

I've heard of something about blog every day for the month of November or some-such-nonsense. Of course, I can't walk away from a challenge. I need to find the actual name of the challenge, so I can fully participate.

So, here is the first post for November. And it's a funny school story.

You've heard of the novel (and major motion picture) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? Well, little did I know that it was part of a series...and it's not the first book. (Sorry, Mom...must have read the cliff notes on this assigned reading!) It's actually the second book. So, my students and I decided to use some of our free book order money to order the entire collection. The order arrived Monday. Tuesday afternoon we busted open our new novels and I started reading #1: The Magician's Nephew. (Please keep in mind that I've never read ANY of these books--teachers should always preview everything!) It's a fascinating novel, actually, but probably entirely too difficult for 7 and 8 year olds.

Here's the scene:
We read chapter one. It's good. The kids are enthralled. They can't take their sweet little eyes off me. When we come to the end of chapter one, they BEG me to read chapter two.

We read chapter two. It's even better. However, they get a little antsy. By antsy, I mean they are starting to count the ceiling tiles, picking dirt off the class rug, counting the leaves on the tree right outside of our window. But there are one or two who are still watching me.
Then Digory and his Uncle get into a rather heated discussion (the characters in the story). I notice that the students start to settle back down.
The argument escalates. The children return their attention to me.
The argument reaches a pivotal moment. The room is silent.
Digory says to his uncle, "If I was a man, I'd punch you!"
My room ERUPTS. My kids are falling all over themselves laughing and hooting.
I hear things like "Little boys shouldn't say that to a man!" "His uncle's gonna knock him out!" I'm trying not to get tickled at their response until I hear "Yeah...sometimes I feel like that, too."
That's when the teacher looses control of herself. Sometimes, you have to laugh with them or you'll go crazy yourself.

Today we read chapters 3 and 4. They can't get enough of this. C.S. Lewis is a fantastic author and uses some pretty amazing techniques to keep his audience engaged with the text. I can't believe that 7 and 8 year olds are so enthralled with this story's very advanced. I'll keep reading it as long as they'll listen.

PS: I'm going to start a teacher blog...does anyone have any ideas how to protect it so the identity of my students are protected, but the parents have access? I'll definitely send home a permission slip to post stories about the children. I'm hoping it will be a place for parents to talk with one another through comments, etc, and for me to post questions for my students to answer, as well as just give the parents a small glimpse into their child's day. I'd love any ideas or suggestions or leads to other teacher blogs. Thanks!