Friday, August 29, 2008

Day One

So I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the majority of your parents took a picture of you on the first day of school each year. My parents were no exception. And since so many of us are finding ourselves posting first day of school pictures of our own kids this week, I thought I'd let you into my past by posting some of my own first day of school pictures.

I've mentioned this before, but most of my childhood pictures are at my mom's house in the family albums. I got the box of reject pictures that didn't quite make the cut. You'll notice very clearly why many of these are rejects. And I'm missing some years all together. I know my mom has been working on scanning in all our albums. So one day I can be the proud owner of the non-reject pictures. Maybe I'll re-post this another year with the keepers.

I'm starting all the way up with 4th grade. I don't have any first day of school pictures for kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade. I thought for sure I did. Although if you asked, I could probably tell you what I wore. I have an unbelievably good memory when it comes to clothing. This remained my favorite outfit throughout the year.

6th grade (no 5th either) This was before braces...and tweezers apparently. And before any sense of fashion. What was the deal with my hat?

7th Grade. This was my first day of junior high AND my birthday. This still goes down in history as my worst birthday ever. Not one friend remembered my birthday that year because everyone was so caught up in the first day of school. Plus, I was at a new school. And not just any school, junior high. I had to get used to changing from class to class all day. And the only two friends I had going in to 7th grade got all their classes together and not one with me. I didn't know anyone in my classes. I came home and cried for a long time. I hated junior high. This is birthday festivities after school. That must be my cousin, Javin in the picture with me.

8th grade...definitely an improvement over 7th. Nice sneeze picture. Nicer legs. I was all about knee high's this year.

9th grade. First day of high school. Ahh. That's better. I loved everything about high school from day one. Especially this rockin' zipper dress.

10th grade. I'm pretty sure this was not the first day of school...just me trying on my first day of school outfit a couple days before. Yes, I still did that in high school. That explains the bare feet and lack of make-up. I know this is what I wore. Why? I don't know. I saw these pants at Express and thought it was awesome that these cute little 60's pants were in the stores. I thought it'd be awesome and funny to get some. They never quite caught on, but they seemed to be the pre-cursor to the ever popular capri's. The shirt is homemade. I'm pretty sure I made it, but it could have been my mom. Do you remember Mom?

No 11th grade picture.
12th. Yes. I'm posing. I don't really know why. But my clothing choice is a little more mainstream.

I even made my roommates take a picture of me on my first day of college at Utah State. Go Aggies. And I thought high school was includes some of the best memories of my life.

As a sad ending to this ever so fun post...I was putting my box of pictures away at the top of my closet and I dropped it. My photos that were nicely organized by year only moments ago, are now scattered memories all over my closet.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Healthy Competition...yet again.

I'm just realizing that it has been almost a year since Gray was born. I still think of him as brand new. And maybe that's because it helps me justify the 15 plus pounds I still have to loose. I keep's ok, I just had a baby. But with both of my other two, I had lost it all before they reached 11 months. I'm finding myself very frustrated with it all on a regular basis. I have worked very hard to loose this. From November to June, I lost 30 pounds. An accomplishment I should be much more proud of, I know. It's hard to be excited about 30 pounds when people don't notice because you still have so much to loose.

Although a whole new wardrobe sounds nice, I have a closet full of fall clothes in a smaller size that I'd rather fit into. I haven't been giving it much of an effort since I took a trip out of town at the end of June and it's time to start kickin' it into gear again. And there is nothing that motivates me like a little competition.

Those of you who entered the competition last time around must thing I'm insane. It was SO HARD! Because it was less than a year ago, I most certainly have not forgotten how hard it was. Likewise, I haven't forgotten how good it made me feel. I had more energy. I had better skin. I slept better. I played better with my kids. I looked better in my clothes. I was happier. I really feel I can contribute portions of all of that to healthy living. I think I'm motivated more by this than by the weight loss this time around. And I'm looking forward to feeling better.

Those of you who are new to the Healthy's not about weight loss, just about healthy living. Though weight loss was a nice perk. I won the competition and lost 16 pounds And the second place winner lost over 20 pounds.

This is the game (with a few changes from last time around):

Everyone participating puts in $20.

Points are awarded for each healthy decision throughout the day (I'll explain further down). Everyone keeps track of their own points and emails me their weekly totals at the end of each week. Emails must be turned in by Sunday or you get docked a point. I'll email everyone's weekly totals to all participants so you know where you stand each week. (I'll email that to you on Monday or I get docked a point.) At the end of 10 weeks, the person with the most points wins the big money. There will be monetary prizes for the top three players.

Points are awarded daily for the following (one point for each healthy choice):

  1. 30 minutes of exercise
  2. 15 additional minutes of exercise (a point for this 15 min is only awarded if you've already exercised for 30 min)
  3. healthy breakfast
  4. healthy lunch
  5. healthy dinner
  6. no sweets / soda all day
  7. 3 servings of vegetables
  8. 2 servings of fruit
  9. no unhealthy snacks
  10. 64 oz of water
Some of these points are a little vague, I know. But I leave it up to the individual to make decisions. You may choose any form of exercise you like. Whether you eat out or dine in...just make healthy choices. Try to eat balances meals. As for the unhealthy snacks...we all know what's healthy and not. Potato chips=unhealthy. Apple=healthy. We're using the "Honor Code" here. I found last time that this was very subjective. A healthy meal for some people meant to weigh all their food and really take it to the extreme. For others it mainly just meant not eating out or adding a salad to a regular meal. It's too hard to define healthy. Everyone can make their own decision regarding that.

There were questions last time about chewing gum...I certainly don't have a problem with that. And also questions about sugar-free sweets. To me, it's still a sweet and I say off limits. They're not really healthy, right?

There is a possible 10 points to be earned per day. 60 possible per week. Sundays are free days. NO EXCEPTIONS. You can't pick a different free day or switch Sunday out to meet your needs.

Everyone gets 25 free points to use throughout the competition. I changed this from last time around. If you really just need sweets or potato chips or something one them without missing that point. Or if you just can't seem to get in that extra 15 minutes of exercise one can still get points for it. Or if you just can't resist a Big it. It's up to you to keep track of your own free points. Halloween will take place during the competition...if you know that's a temptation for you, you may want to save them up. Or if you have birthdays or anniversaries to celebrate, or if you happen to get sick...again, save up. Some of you may prefer just to use 2-3 free points a week to help you get by.

If there is a tie, however, unused free points will be the tie breaker. It's important to keep accurate track of your free points. three winners get a monetary prize. I plan on splitting it 50%, 30%, and 20% respectively. Who couldn't use a little extra cash in time for the Holidays?

The competition will begin on Monday, September 8 and last 10 weeks; ending on November 16 (one year from when I began the last competition...ironic). There is a total possible 600 points. Your entry fee must be turned in (or in the mail) by the first week of the competition.

The more the merrier...and the bigger the prize money. So seriously think about it. And talk your friends into entering with you. I don't have to know you well, or know you at all. (Just a common friend or something would be nice...I don't want to give out my address to any random creep on the internet.) If you have friends or family interested, I'd love to have them. I'd like at least 10 people to enter...or I may cancel.

This is not some elaborate scheme to get your money. If that were that case, I'd ask for a lot more than $20. As a side note...once you've entered and committed your money, there's no going back. If you decide you can't make it half way through, you just money back.

Please let me know ASAP who's interested. I'm sending out a mass email about it, so some of you may get that, too. The competition starts in less than two weeks. I have an email address I opened for the last competition. I'll use it again. If you're interested or have questions, either leave a comment or email me at:

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Parker started preschool today. Can I get a whoop! Whoop!

I've been so excited for him to start. Not just for my 3 hours a day with just two kids, but Parker could really benefit from preschool. I can't say enough about how bright I think he is...of course I'm bias. I do believe, however, he is a little bit advanced in his level of brilliance. But his social skills are somewhat lacking. Maybe lacking is not the right term. It's more like inexperienced. We don't get out much. And Parker has never been to preschool before. I think this will be SO GOOD for him.

Kindergarten in Texas is like first grade everywhere else. It's all day. So his elementary school has a Pre-K program. Which is more like my kindergarten. It's three hours a day, five days a week. Which will be a MAJOR schedule adjustment for us. Especially considering we couldn't get him into the morning class. We're going to the afternoon class which disrupts nap schedules for all three of my crazies. I imagine will have a new routine in a month or so. Possibly even with earlier bed times. Can I get another whoop! Whoop!

We got to go to a back to school night last Thursday night to see the classroom and meet the teacher. It seems great. There are 13 kids in his class and two teachers in a cute little preschool room. I like that it's at the elementary school. There are a lot of extra opportunities. PTA starts right up with the Pre-K parents. And there is an auditorium with a stage and book fairs and a library and after school activities on occasion. There is an office with a principal. I think it will make the transition to all day kindergarten very smooth.

As I was taking the necessary first day of school pictures, I asked him how he was feeling about school. His response was, "Really shy. And a little bit excited and a little bit nervous." He's been nervous since we visited his classroom on Thursday. He is a bit of a shy kid, surprisingly enough. But he'll warm up in no time. He loves to learn and I can really see him flourishing in a classroom setting. I dropped him off without a hitch. No tears. Although he was VERY quite. We'll see how he does.

Does this look like a kid ready for preschool or what? Hard to believe he's so nervous.

He got to pick out his own backpack. And despite all my persuasive efforts toward the rockin' Burton or Billabong backpacks at TJMaxx, he picked Spiderman. I guess that's my concession. I never let him wear Spiderman's the least I can do.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Just Keep Swimming...

Does it still count as a Flashback if it was just a few weeks ago? The truth is, Reid fell asleep in the car while we were out today. I transported him safely and still asleep to his room. But when it was Park's time for a nap, I didn't want to wake Reid so I put him down in my room. I don't think he's sleeping...just playing. But I don't want to go into my room to search for Flashback photo's and disturb him. So this is what you get...but it's way better than a flashback.

My mom got Parker swimming lessons for his birthday. Great gift huh? We had no extra toys cluttering the house and I didn't have to pay for something I otherwise would have. Thanks Grandma B! I'm sure you've been expecting pictures.

The cutest part of the whole thing is watching the kids do warm-up stretches.

His teacher was Miss Brittany. She's the only girl who ever showed up in a one piece swimming suit and she wore a one piece every time. I really liked her.

Mr. Blake was one of the assistants. He liked to give Parker a mohawk, for whatever reason.

This is during Parker's favorite game, "Mr. Whale." He plays it at home with Reid all the time.

Hangin' out, waiting for lessons to start.

Reid liked to come along every morning. We arranged lessons at 8:00am so I wouldn't have to take all the kids, but Reid felt REALLY left out. So he came every morning but one.

Any guesses what Reid's doing here? Singin' in the Rain. He saw a light pole and identified it with that scene from the movie. (Which he's only seen a few times and not for a long time.) I was impressed that he put that together. I should have had video. He was singing and dancing and everything.

Reid insisted on wearing his cape everyday. Which I thought was majorly cute.

Parker did great. He started the session not knowing a thing about swimming and had caught up to the rest of the kids by the end. He still can't really swim, but it's a great start. He loved it. The teachers were darling and the prices were fair (in fact, they were the cheapest lessons in town). There were three instructors to 5 kids. I plan on enrolling both of my older two kids there next year. It was really great.

The worst part about the whole thing...they had to cancel the last day. There's a huge Cryptosporidium scare at all the pools out here. And a kid got sick in the pool so they had to close it down for a few days. The last day was supposed to be an awards ceremony and the kids show off what they learned. (We weren't allowed to get very close most days. Apparently it distracts the kids and they don't learn as much. I was hoping to get better pictures that day.) Then after it's over, they turn on all the water slides and equipment and the kids and their families can play for a bit. We were all bummed.

Thanks again Mom, it was a good experience.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Eight is Great

Back when I worked for a school district I took a group of 7th graders to a "Safe and Drug Free Camp." Where we all got enthused about having fun while staying away from drugs. I was the leader for Team 8. Creative name assignments, huh? So every time we entered a room, we chanted "Who is great? Eight is Great! Who is great! Eight is Great!"...over and over. Anyway, not the point, but that's where the title came from.

I haven't been tagged for a blogging game in a LONG time. But Jessica (Theobald) Ward, an old friend from back in the day, tagged me with this little number a few weeks ago. So as less than entertaining answers.

8 Things I am passionate about...
1. Education
2. Chewing with your mouth closed
3. My Family
4. um...BLOGGING!
5. The Gospel
6. Halloween costumes (or any costumes)
7. The United States of America
8. Friends

8 things I want to do before I die...
1. Get a PhD
2. Write
3. Run a Marathon
4. Learn all the words to REM's "It's The End of The World As We Know It" (and I feel fine.)
5. Raise a Righteous Family
6. Perform in a Community Theater
7. Throw LOTS of parties
8. Learn Patience

8 things I say a lot...
1. Oh my word!
2. Listen
3. Cute!
4. Great job.
5. Dude (that's what I call the crazies when I've lost my patience)
6. Awesome
7. Superhero

8 Books I have read as of late...
1. The scriptures
2. Preach My Gospel
3. Where the Wild Things Are (the answer to that is my house)
4. The Caboose That Got Loose
5. magazines count?
6. What about blogs?
7. Cereal boxes?
8. Bills? No?

8 Movies I have watched recently...
1. Spencer talked me into suffering through the DaVinci Code with him
2. Baby Mama
3. Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day
4. Legally Blonde
5. Hairspray
6. Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
7. The Incredible's
8. Thomas the Tank Engine

8 Bloggers I tag...
1. I never know who I should tag
2. I don't want anyone to feel like they have to play
3.But I don't want to leave any one out who wants to play
4. The Fam
5. Home Town Friends
6. True Aggies
7. Ohio Friends
8. Texas Girls

That about covers're all tagged. Play if you wish.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Show Off

I spent a little time this morning gettin' crafty. I've had an itch to do something creative lately, but my budget does not currently allow for much. JoAnn Fabrics had 50% off all clearance fabric on Saturday. I spent $1 on the outer fabric and $1 on the lining for my latest project...not bad, huh?

I sat down this morning with some newspaper to make a pattern for a new purse and three hours later I had a finished product. In that three hours I fed three children, broke up fights, got kids drinks, and repeatedly ran Gray to the other end of the house to buy myself a little time before he was unplugging the sewing machine again. I only had to unpick a seam once. It didn't turn out exactly how I pictured it when I was ogling the fabric at the store, but I am VERY pleased with my new purse. And I'm showing it off to you.


I wanted a lining to break up the two toned bag...something that POPS!
I chose this Asian inspired green print for a fun it was also on clearance.

You all have permission to be jealous of my mad sewing skills. Now if I could just learn to take a good picture...

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Little Bit of Jessica...

This is what Jessica looked like back when we met. Maybe a little younger, I can't remember exactly. Doesn't she look like Jenna? (her daughter) She just celebrated a birthday this week. So in typical Flashback Friday tribute to Jessica.

(Don't feel bad if I don't remember your birthday for a Flashback Friday. My memory is slipping and I only remember birthdays from a small handful of friends. But if you remind me of your birthdays, I'll be sure to do a post dedicated to you.)

I have so many memories of Jessica...from dolls, to school projects, to roller blading at Ontario Park. And now we have kids. I love that we've been friends for all these years.

So in totally random order...just a few of my memories of Jessica:

Jessica had the BEST 16th birthday bash. Her parents took a group of us to Palm Springs to stay in the sweetest resort (in fact it was the same resort Jesse's parents got married at on Saved By The Bell). It was complete with millions of pools, golf courses, water falls, a boat ride at the entrance and of course cute young men to drive us around in golf carts.

And speaking of Jessica's birthdays, this was a slumber party in elementary school. I remember not wanting to wear that outfit at all. (I'm the one in the white shorts and green striped shirt.) I felt so dorky and uncomfortable the whole looking wasn't the worst outfit being worn that night.

We went on the 8th grade trip to DC together.

A trip to Knotts Berry Farm with no adults...we were like 13 and loving some of our new freedoms.

Jessica performed with these lovely ladies at my bridal shower that her mom and Trudy threw for me. It was the best bridal shower I have ever been to...and not just because it was mine. Thanks Cindy (and Trudy).

Jessica and Melissa were the coolest girls in 6th grade. Seriously, I wanted to be them. They showed up to a 6th grade field trip just rockin' these matching sun glasses.

Jessica and I at an elementary school awards assembly.

8th Grade Luau.

Nicole's 18th Birthday at the dinner theater. We saw South Pacific and had front row seats. It was a blast.

Girls only beach bonfire.

A group of us met at my house to go to the Senior Dinner Dance together.

Christmas Party

Some school trip to LA to see Phantom...I always loved that dress of yours, Jessica.

Junior high...I think this was the last day of school or something.

Meeting in Salt Lake during our college years.

Junior High Dance

Scholarship Awards

Elementary school Science Fair

This is still nearly four years old, but more recent. Jessica married a guy from Kentucky and when I lived in Ohio, we'd meet up in Cincinnati every year during the holidays when she was visiting her in-laws. I came to plan on those yearly meetings. I'm really going to miss them here in Texas. Our families got along well.

Happy Birthday Jessica!