Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Constant Princess




This book took me a little longer to read than I expected, but I was reading it at night in bed and I kept falling asleep!(I used to think it was a terrible thing that our bodies needed so much sleep, and then I had children and realized that if we didn't need sleep, our children would never sleep, and we would all go insane... LOL)

I digress.

In my opinion, The Constant Princess is one of Phillipa Gregory's better books, but it isn't as good as The Other Boleyn Girl or The Virgin's Lover. It is about Henry VIII's first wife, Katherine. What makes it interesting is that it features her life before Henry decided he wanted to set her aside to marry Anne Boleyn. This is the first time I have ever read of her as a young girl, or even of her early years as queen. I knew she was a queen that was loved by the people, but this book really does a good job of telling the reader why she was so loved. One of the things that Phillipa Gregory does a good job of as well is to include lesser-known history into her books. Not only does she emphasize Katherine in this book, but she also ties in how the Moors were driven away by her parents (Isabelle and Ferdinand), and with them the education and wisdom that they had.

What I didn't like about this book is that the narration alternates between a first person account of Katherine, and a third person account. It wasn't so much the writing style that bothered me, but that every time the book switched to Katherine's story the text was in italics. I personally find it frustrating to read several paragraphs in a row in italics.

The other thing that disappointed me was that brevity of the author's notes at the end of the book. I always like reading the historical accuracies and reading where the author has taken some artistic license, but there really wasn't much of that at the end of this book. I think I have just come to expect that historical background info with this author, and when I got to the end of the book and read only why she enjoyed researching it I was feeling let down... LOL

Content wise, this is a good book, and I do recommend it.

Friday, December 30, 2005

2005 in short review



I was straightening up my scraproom tonight, and decided I should take a picture of the books and magazines I was published in this year. (I think the CK Kids book actually came out at the end of 2004, but it plopped it in the picture anyway... LOL)It was a pretty successful year for me in terms of publication, and the truth is that I didn't have much time to really get too many submissions in for different things. I hope that this year is different in that regard. I hope that finishing up my Hall of Fame entry is a start to being better about getting my submissions in before deadlines and having time to make a more concerted effort to pay attention and prepare for calls for pages. It is the only real resolution I am going to make this year.

With the end of the year here, I have also been reflecting back on the year a bit. There have been some great highlights. Here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

* Exploring Washington DC, and being able to visit my uncle's place on the Vietnam Memorial.

* Seeing the Old North Church where Paul Revere had his lanterns hung.

* Fulfilling a dream by being able to explore Philadelphia and stand where patriots stood.

* Making new friends. There were so many new friends this year. In fact,I don't think I have ever met so many people that I just "clicked" with so well in one year before in my life. Especially friends like Katherine,whose friendship has left its mark in the most unexpected ways... LOL

* Seeing Johanna and Diane and Sarah. There is nothing like seeing old friends again and reconnecting. I miss you all.

* Taking Matt, Chet, and Faith with me to California. I loved every minute we got to spend together during that trip.

* Celebrating our ten year wedding anniversary, and spending a weekend away with just Jack and I for the first time in those ten years.

* Seeing my kids learn sign. I love that all of them combine ASL with their spoken words now.

* Being able to read 30 different books this year. That was because I spent so much time on planes, but I love diving into a book and coming away feeling like it has enriched my life.

* Eating queso and tres leche at Chuy's in Austin. Mmmmmmmmmm

* Seeing my kids perform with George Dare and being a part of Vegas' history.

* Seeing the Atlantic Ocean one week in Florida, and the Pacific Ocean the next week in California.

* Todd being a "Mud Mermaid"

* Being picked as part of the Scrap Village design team.

* Watching Beth with the kittens and the puppy.

* Matt performing as Junior Mint in a roadshow.

* Faith stealing the show with her Hippo solo.

* Shopping with my mom for Christmas.

* Todd being put in time-out, and always saying "I never do that again!"

* Ikea, I sure love that place!

* Racing through the mall in Texas to buy Katherine's purse five minutes before the mall closed.

* Spending Memorial Weekend at the time share with the kids thanks to Jolleen.

* Seeing Kyle lose his first tooth.

* Seeing Faith's front teeth finally start to come in.

* Winter CHA and Summer CHA (except for that the lack of heat in Atlanta and the lack of cool air in Chicago.)

* Discovering Shoestring Production's license plate albums.

* Being able to teach and visit with hundreds and hundreds of scrappers.

* Coming home from every show to a family who was happy to see me.

I know I am forgetting several other things that made me laugh, made me happy, or touched me in some way, but these are what I can think of right now. For the most part it has been a good year, and I am always grateful for the good years. Another favorite thing of mine is to see all of you who leave comments on my blog. It makes me day, and I thank you!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My Chatterbox 2004 Make It Meaningful Album

I finally got around to posting my Chatterbox album on Two Peas if you want to see it. I don't feel like uploading all those pages on the front page of my blog, and I haven't figured out how to add a photo album here yet, so here is a link to see the album.

I need to get ahold of Sara at Chatterbox again. My embellishment boxes that were supposed to be coming have never arrived. I wanted to use them for one of my HOF projects.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

3 of 10 complete

I finished my third layout for the Hall of Fame entry today. It is my favorite so far of the three. I have a couple more planned to work on tomorrow. I am getting the assignments out of the way first, and then working on the four of my choice. You know what??? It sure feels good to actually scrapbook again! I might actually get this all done!!

Christmas Report

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas! Ours was nice, and very quiet.

On Christmas Eve we went to church services, and Chet and Faith sang in the kids choir and played chimes. There weren't any good photos of it, so this is the best it gets... LOL


After the service, we let Matt stay with my mom so he could sing with the adult choir in another service and attend the midnight service with her. We brought the little kids home and sang Happy Birthday to Jack and ate some cake. This year we left cake and eggnog out for Santa. He and Jesse had spent the day putting together the trampoline my dad got the kids, so after cake the kids went out to jump for a while. I need to get some pictures of that because they love it!


The kittens wouldn't leave the tree alone, so I never put up my ornaments this year. I didn't want them lost or broken. It was Todd's turn to put the star on the tree, so Jesse lifted him up to do that. It makes Todd nervous to be up in the air like that, but he was so determined to put his star up that he got over it.


Every year we leave magic reindeer food to make sure the reindeer have something to snack on while they wait for Santa. All month long Chet has been asking me if Santa is real, and I know that next year there won't be any doubt in his mind at all. I love how in the end he decided that he wanted to help put out the reindeer food just in case Santa is real... LOL

I decided to not spend all morning on Christmas trying to take pictures. They never really turn out well, I never scrap them, and I wanted to be able to participate. I only took a few, but we had a good time opening presents. Beth didn't know what to make of all those presents under the tree. My brother gave her a little princess futon, so she sat on that all morning while she opened presents. The kids all got at least one thing on their list that they really wanted.

I got a nice present while Matt was opening his stocking. We always put PopTarts in the stockings. Sometimes breakfast is so late that if there isn't at least something to eat, the kids get a little edgy, so now they all get a package of PopTarts to snack on while they open presents. Matt got his stocking, and told me he loved having PopTarts. Then he told me that in his history class he was asked to write about traditions, and he wrote about how I always make sure their stockings have poptarts and ornaments. It means a lot to me that he not recognizes these little gestures as traditions, but that it is something he looks forward to.



After we opened presents, the kids played with toys and spent most of the day jumping on the trampoline. Later we ate dinner with my mom and Bob and George. After everyone had left and the kids were in bed, Jack and I watched Bewitched, which was a cute movie. I usually don't like Will Farrell, but he was okay in this.

I got some tall boots I really wanted in black and brown. I am going to be wearing a lot of skirts in the next couple of months so I can wear those a lot before it gets too hot! I also got a skirt, a couple of blouses, some very pretty jewelry, a green purse I love, and a couple of books. I love getting books or certificates to the bookstore. It always means I am going to make time to sit down and read. The first one is "The Constant Princess" by Phillipa Gregory, about Queen Katherine before she married King Henry.

Jack took yesterday and today off, and we have just been relaxing and letting the kids play. I started my Hall of Fame entry, and have two pages done. Today I am working on some more, and I hope to get all ten layouts done this week. That will give me a little time to tweak anything I might want to change before I have to mail it in. I feel really nervous putting this entry together, but a really tall redhead has said she will kick my butt if I don't get it done, so I have to press forward... LOL.

This has gotten really long. I'll be back later!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Birthday, Babe!



Today is Jack's 38th birthday! Happy birthday! I still think you are hot even with all the grey hair! LOL

Friday, December 23, 2005

Meet Mikey



This is our new puppy, Mikey. We have had him for about a week and a half now. We weren't really planning on another dog, but a friend emailed and asked if anybody wanted a heeler pup who needed to be hand fed. Mikey's mom was killed by a coyote when he was about a week old, and taking care of 6 newborn pups was a little too much for the elderly farmer his mom belonged to. So we adopted Mikey. I have never bottle fed any animal before, and let me tell you, it is nothing like feeding a human baby... LOL. That little guy is all kinds of wiggly and wild when he has a bottle!

Since this is Todd and Kyle's dog we let them name him, and Kyle decided that naming Mikey could be Todd's sole decision. Todd immediately named him Mikey. The funny thing is why he picked that name... it is because his favorite store is Michaels. He loves all the kid craft stuff there, and he wants to become friends with "Michael" so he can play with all his art stuff... LOL. A few minutes after he dubbed the pup Mikey, Todd changed his mind and wanted to name him Peter Parker. We all decided to stick with Mikey instead.

Mikey is already getting big and fat. He toddles around after us now, and it is hilarious to hear him growl and bark in his little pint-sized voice. He is getting pretty good at walking, and is working on running a little bit now. He has a mouthful of teeth coming in, and I am dreading the teething stages, but we will get through that. Beth loves to try to cuddle him, and she actually gets him to fall asleep with her a lot. I snapped this shot this afternoon after she decided he needed to take a nap with her.

Can you tell that Beth has been enjoying the Christmas fudge??

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas time is coming!

I can't believe it is only a few days away! I am mostly done shopping, but there are still a couple of things left to pick up. Tomorrow Jack and my brother have to go pick up my kids' present from my dad... he bought them a trampoline. They are going to be so excited! My mom is coming over on Christmas day for dinner, but other than that we are planning a very quiet holiday. We are getting up, opening presents, and then spending the day playing with new toys and watching movies. I am making a simple dinner... ham, scalloped potatoes, and steamed asparagus. I am going to put the potatoes together the day before so all I have to do on Sunday is throw them in the oven.

The kids had two performances this week, and there is nothing else on the calendar for the rest of the week. I am so happy about that. I have a couple of sewing things to finish up, but I don't have any other major plans for this week other than finishing up Christmas shopping. I managed to get my Christmas cards done and mailed this year... woohoo! I didn't make enough, though, so next year I know to double that number. Actually, I made enough for my list, but Jack took half of them to work to give out to his friends... LOL.

I am feeling better... thanks to all of you that asked. The cough is still sticking around, but the fevers and breathing issues are gone. This crud usually becomes pneumonia for me, so I am very glad it cleared up before it got that far this time! I am jsut really glad the kids didn't get sick, and I hope they stay healthy through Christmas!

I have had some questions about the Christmas blocks I thought I would answer really quick. Jack cut them from 4x4s. 4x4s aren't exactly 4x4, so he measured them and cut the pieces to be square. He used a regular tablesaw to cut them. I didn't sand the edges, although you could. I painted just the edges on the sides that had papers, and then I used ModPodge to glue the papers down. The rest of it was easy because even the letters already have adhesive on them. Have fun making your blocks!

I spent all day yesterday working on the dinner for CHA. I have 200 people coming now. I don't like to think about just how many people that is... LOL.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Weekend in Review

There were a lot of things I was supposed to do this weekend, but I ended up with a serious case of bronchitis that knocked me flat on my back for most of Saturday. I took most of my photos on my SLR, and I need to get the film developed, so I don't have a lot of pics to share today.

Friday night was Matt's final performance of the season with Red Mountain Music Company. They performed at Artemus Ham Hall. We were told our tickets were great because they were row B, so we were right by the stage. Well, those are great tickets if you are watching a single performer, or want to catch the lead singer of a band, but when your five foot four inch tall kid is put behind the taller people in the back of the choir, they are terrible seats.. LOL. We couldn't see Matt at all the whole time, but the choir did sound great. Next time we are asking for nose-bleed seats... LOL

Saturday morning I was supposed to teach a class, but I felt so bad by then that it felt like a really, really large person was sitting on my chest. I started a course of antibiotics that requires a lot of water, and I can see why. That stuff makes me feel like somebody has suctioned every ounce of water right out of my skin and eyes. I dropped my kits off, and came home to crawl back into bed for a while. Later that day I ran the kids over to perform for the kids who are hospitalized at UMC for Christmas. Faith performed her hippo song, and the whole crowd was clapping along with the rythym and cheering for her. When her song was done, the cutest thing happened. A little girl came up to her and gave her a little ceramic hippo. Faith thinks it is the coolest thing that has ever happened to her. The kids went caroling to some senior citizens homes afterwards with my mom, and I came back home to my sickbed for the rest of the evening.

Yesterday I dressed the kids all up in their new formal Christmas clothes. Matt was at my mom's church singing with the choir, so I didn't get good pics of all the kids together until afterwards, and I took them on my SLR. I did take this one on the way out the door with my digital, though. I lined the five of them up, and was asking them to smile. They weren't cooperating well, so my brother came to the door and told them to say "hairy butts". That cracked them up and they laughed for a good ten minutes afterwards! The kids had their Sign Design party yesterday afternoon, and then we went to a Christmas party at my mom's church afterwards. Since we ended up being gone all day, the kids went to everything in their church clothes and got a lot of compliments.


Todd was hilarious. I got him into his little suit and he kept looking in the mirror and saying "I am so handsome!" LOL.. yes, he looked great, but I also thought he looked like a little mafia dude. It is funny, because he and Kyle look so much alike, and they were in he exact same suit, but Kyle's personality made him look like a little business man, and Todd's made him look like an mobster. Here's Todd giving me a kiss... he is so fun!

Today I have nowhere to go, and I can breathe a lot better. We are going to clean our house, and then get some holiday baking done and finish getting all our Christmas decorations out. Normally our house is all put together the first week of Christmas, but things have been too busy this year! I also have some Christmas presents to finish putting together, and I have some shopping to do. I can't stand this rushed feeling, but I am going to let today be my one day this week that isn't rushed.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Centennial Celebration

Las Vegas has been celebrating its 100th birthday all year long. Yesterday was a time capsule centennial celebration, and Sign Design was invited to participate.

This is one of the two boxes buried in the time capsule. After a speech from the mayor, both of the boxes were placed in the cement capsule and buried in concrete. Then the mayor and assorted other people placed their hands in the wet cement and signed it.

Before the actual burial happened, our world-famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) mayor, Oscar Goodman arrived with his showgirl companions. Most people didn't notice he had arrived yet because they were participating in the pre-show that George Dare was putting in. I took advantage of the moment, and took Kyle over to meet him. Mayor Goodman and the showgirls were so nice to Kyle, and they were all very willing to take a picture with him. We have been teasing Kyle about flirting with the pretty girls all morning... LOL

Matt had let Faith up on his back so she could see the capsule burial better. I thought that was sweet of him, and I liked this shot.


After the burial, several other local choirs and Sign Design performed "Shine, Las Vegas" with the singer/songwriter George Dare. (This is Vegas' official song) I took most of the performance pics with my SLR, so this is the only one I have to share from my digital camera



While Mayor Goodman was giving his welcome speech, I turned around and George Dare was right behind us. I gathered my kids up real fast and took a picture with him as well. After the show he stayed after the majority of the crowds were gone, and he signed photos for all the SD kids. I thought that was really nice of him.

The kids ended up being on a couple of news segments last night, but the only channel that gave it any real coverage was channel 8, and I am disgusted with the commentary George Knapp had on it. He gave it a negative and sarcastic spin (called all of us who were there to watch this happen "curious gawkers") and he used it as a chance to aim some pointed barbs towards Oscar Goodman. However, we had a great time, and it was thrilling to see my kids get to be a part of our local history. It was a memorable occasion, and a rare opportunity, and this "curious gawker" hopes her grandkids or great-grandkids can be there to see this capsule opened a century from now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Christmas Blocks

The other night I was supposed to go to my friend Chris' house and make some Donna Downey photo blocks. I wasn't able to make it, though, and ideas for those blocks have been swirling around in my brain ever since. I still need to pick up my blocks from Chris, but in the meantime, Jack cut me this lovely pile of blocks from his 4x4 scraps. They are a couple of different sizes, but that makes them even prettier!



Now that I had this sweet little pile of blocks, I needed to start working with them since the kids were already trying to lay claim to them. (Toy blocks... who would think of blocks of wood as toys??? LOL)

Anyway... I started with my Christmas blocks. There are two Christmas releases from this year that I simply adore... Flair and 7 Gypsies. I bought both of them at the last couple of shows, and was just waiting for the perfect inspiration to hit for them. I painted the blocks with a medium brown, distressed them with a deep, rich red-brown, dry-brushed the papers and modpodged them on the blocks, dry-brushed my Pressed Petals letters and sanded them, then added the letters and stickers to the blocks. The black rub-on words are from What's New, and some of them didn't rub on very well. Now I am excited to go clean my house so my new blocks can look wonderful on top of the tv wall unit!







Monday, December 12, 2005

checking in



We had a good time at the party the other night. Unfortunately, we didn't get many good photos, but here is one of us as we were on our way out the door. We had dinner and stayed award for the the prizes to be handed out, and then we went and saw "Walk the Line." That is a very good movie! It was so nice to be dressed up and just out for a while... we need to do that more often.





Chet and Faith performed in a play about the angels being told of the news of the impending birth of Jesus. Chet was the trumpeter, and it was adorable. I am so happy he has a choir director that made sure he had a part he would enjoy and not feel self-conscience about. Faith had the closing line, which was a recitation of John3:16. We spent the morning working on her tone and inflection as she said it, and when she got up to the mic to say her part, she sounded so sweet, not rehearsed or monotone.

I am out the door now to get some errands run. I will be back in a bit to post pics of my 2006 planner!

Friday, December 09, 2005

big sale

Just an FYI... tomorrow (Saturday) The Fashion Bug is having a huge sale where everything is at least 40% off (boots and fine jewelry are 60% off)from 8am to 10 pm. I love Fashion Bug! I was in there tonight getting an outfit to wear to the party tomorrow. When I heard about the sale, I went and pulled everything I wanted for Faith, and the gals are being so great as to hold it all for me! Tomorrow I am putting it all on layaway (I love that FB has that option!) and picking it all up next week. I can't wait to see Faith wear the stuff I picked out for her!

I found a cute purple top to wear tomorrow, as well as a necklace and earrings to go with it. (I also picked up this blouse while I was there... love it!)I am wearing my black slacks and heels instead of the skirt I was planning on. If I like the way we look tomorrow, I will post some pics... LOL. Johanna, you know you wish you were here for this. Nobody makes as good a filling for a J and C sandwich as you do... heeheehee.

I went and got my hair cut today as well, and while the stylist was washing my hair she made a comment that has completely inspired me for one of the Hall of Fame assignments. I am so excited to have an actual starting point for my entry now. Next week I am spending everyday working on my entry. I am hoping that maybe some other random bits of inspiration will come my way this weekend as well!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

SIDELINED

I like to be a considerate wife. I like to surprise my husband with things he isn't expecting. That is hard to do, though, because this is a man that is very difficult to shop for. So a couple of weeks ago when he was watching the Cowboys play a game, I was thrilled to overhear him talking about the new sideline caps the team is wearing. "I want to get one of those" came pouring from his lips, and I was thrilled at how easy it would be to get him something he wants for either his birthday or Christmas. (He is one of the poor souls who was born on Christmas Eve, and being the considerate wife I am, I always make sure he has birthday and Christmas presents.)

Sounds easy, doesn't it??? I took Matt to the mall the other night to try on jeans and since we were there I thought I would stop in the store that carries all the NFL stuff. I walked up to the wall of hats happy as could be... surely picking up the new sidelines cap would be a piece of cake! Then the guy behind the counter dropped a bombshell on me. He told me that there was one cap they wore for six weeks, and then another for the next six weeks. I just know if I just pick one that it will be the wrong one, and I don't know how to figure out which is the right cap without asking Jack. I think I might be able to research the Thanksgiving game, and maybe someone will have a photo with one of the players in the cap, but that sounds so boring to me! So if any of you reading my blog are diehard Cowboys fans, and you know which cap it is he is talking about, could you let me know???? Thanks so much!

Schooldays




We have made it through the first few days of school, and life is good! All of the kids are enjoying being there, and some really good things are happening. It has been a big adjustment, but it is all good. I miss them, but I appreciate having a couple of quiet hours each day. Matt actually wrote me a letter yesterday thanking me for taking him to all his activities and thanking me for sending him to school. I worried the most about him, so to see him so happy has really been a blessing.




Of course, being in school means homework, which is something I never did like. It hasn't been too bad, though, and the kids are pretty good about getting it done pretty quickly.



This week has actually been busy with a lot of running around. I have a lot of parent meetings, IEP appointments, and the regular errand stuff to take care of, but I have found a few things to do with my time. For instance, I picked the house up an hour ago, and it is still clean... that is just amazing to me... LOL. Since I don't have to make breakfast and lunch and dinner for 8 people everyday, I have made some really yummy dinners because it doesn't feel like such a chore now. (tonight is homemade chicken noodle soup... mmmm) And I put up the Christmas tree with the help of the kittens, who thought it was really cool of me to put a tree up for them to play in. Today I am going to finish getting the rest of the Christmas stuff out.

Matt has his first big choir performance tomorrow night, and then a repeat on Saturday. Faith and Chet are part of a Christmas play this weekend, and Jack and I have his company party to go to. (I still don't have what I am going to wear completely figured out) It is another busy weekend, but when it is filled with holiday stuff it is worth every minute!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Memoirs of a Geisha


I just got done reading Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. Wow... it is a very good book! I love historical fiction, but I usually read historical novels based upon European royalty. This was a fascinating break, and an intriguing look into an entirely different culture. I started reading it with the assumption it was a true story... I think I had heard it was based on a true story, and just didn't know beforehand that it wasn't. (I know, it is a novel, but novels about the Plantagenet family are based on real people, and most of the best ones are based upon historical facts)So, the story isn't true, but the historical content in it is, and I recommend it if you haven't already read it.

Whenever I read a book I really like, I tend to get online and go find other related information and search for other similar books to read. Here is a geisha site that seems pretty interesting so far. Here is a quote from it that speaks to the part of me that loves to mix unusual colors together on my scrapbook pages. "There is just something about pairing unusual colours together to create a harmonious finish - much like putting a kimono ensemble together!"

This is a quote that was on my daily quote thingabobby over there on the side of my blog. I like it, so I want to keep it for future reference. As soon as I figure out how to add some extra bars to the sides of my blog (Sue???) I want to add a photo album type section to add my quotes that I like the most.

Learning without thought
is labor lost; thought
without learning is
perilous.
Confucius


Now I need to go get in bed. And I need another book to read. Any suggestions?

Monday, December 05, 2005

weekend survival

Matt and Chet competed in their first Lego League competition this weekend. I had to get the other kids to their practices, so Jack went to the tournament with the boys, and took ten really good photos for me. I am so impressed! The boys had mixed feelings about the tournament, but they do agree they learned a lot and would do it again. Here they are with their robot.


I mentioned that we spent Friday with Sarah and her girls. Faith had a great time! Here is Autumn, Faith, Rachel, and Chloe enjoying a Black Stallion movie together.

Chet and Faith performed Saturday and Sunday with their choir in a program called A Christmas Celebration for all Time. It was very nice to listen to. I don't have any great shots of it, but I did make the banner with one of them. I need to play with some of the pictures to see if I can get rid of the red tint the lighting caused. If not, they will all be black and white.

I am dealing with the kids starting school again today. I actually am burning off a bunch of nervous energy. I will post later about how it went with photos. Chet and Faith started this morning, Kyle goes this afternoon, and Matt starts tomorrow. This is a huge adjustment to make... I am glad they are feeling better about it than I am!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Chugging Along




The kids had two performances with Sign Design this week, which kicked off their Christmas show. I couldn't get any good pictures at all with my digital camera, so I brought my SLR and some 800 speed film to the second one. The pictures aren't blurry, but due to the graininess of the film, they don't look great either. I will try some 400 speed film next time and hope that gives me better results. The lighting is just always so bad, and they sign so fast that I don't know if I will ever get great shots! Faith has started her solo, which is "I Want a Hippopotomus for Christmas." She is so good at it! The boys are really good at practicing, and I think after he found himself onstage and unsure the first time, Matt has redoubled his efforts to practice, practice, practice and get all his signs perfect as well. I am just really proud of how hard they have worked to learn their songs and how they are incorporating their signing into their daily communications with each other. I am so glad this group exists here!






I needed to use up the last of the film before I had it developed, so I caught these two shots. Don't Kyle and Todd look so much alike?? They are our version of twins... LOL. Beth loves the kittens, and loves to cuddle the kittens. The kittens, well, they don't really share the sentiment, but I think it is cute to watch... LOL.

I did something today that was really hard for me to do. I enrolled my kids back into the public school system. I love homeschooling, but it has become too stressful for us, and things get in the way too easily for us. I have been in knots this week battling with myself over this decision. The kids are so excited, though, and the school has been awesome about working with me to make sure Chet is in the right program and Matt has all the resources he needs. Jack is (gently) teasing me about what I am going to do with myself next week when it is just Todd and Beth and I home most of the day. And I don't know how to respond. I keep thinking of all the things I should be able to find time to do in the daytime now... scrapbook, sew, make really nice dinners, get all the submissions for page calls done, submit my magazine articles on time, go shopping and only use one cart... I can do this, right? I am so full of different emotions... worry, relief, reluctance, anticipation. So I am doing what all good scrapping moms do... planning which photos to take for the first day of school.

My friend Sarah was in town this week, and I got to spend all day with her.Sometimes the timing for those things is just so perfect. It was nice to spend a leisurely day with someone I really admire when I was feeling so tense and worried. I would have sat around second-guessing myself all day if she wasn't here.

The rest of the weekend is packed for us. Tomorrow we have the Lego League Tournament, two choir rehearsals, one Sign Design practice, and then tomorrow evening Chet and Faith have their first big choir performance. I will be back sometime Sunday night with pics and updates. Have a good weekend everyone!

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