Saturday, February 27, 2010

Camping in their Bedroom.

Yesterday dad had a rare half day at home. Since Theo began treatment for alcoholism he's been going through intense outpatient therapy as well as attending frequent AA meetings. He is doing incredible, and celebrated one month sober this week! Most days we see him for 1-2 hours in the evening, so having him home for a whole evening was a real treat. I made sure to schedule several events for him and the boys. Tee-hee.
First, the boys wanted to build a snow man. Sure, I know how to build a snow man, but since I injured my knee, I can't kneel, and therefore would suck at rolling balls of snow. lol. So, I promised the boys daddy would build one with them Friday. Here you have their result:

I ran out and used the awesome snowman kit from grandma Anita years ago, to finish him off. Hunter and Ben were quite proud of him. As you can see, we still have tons of snow on the ground here, and Spring seems like it's an eternity away.

Next, prompted by my $10 Buzz Lightyear sleeping bag find at Walmart, the boys concocted an elaborate night of camping indoors.

Ben insisted we make smores. He said we had to go to the store and get the stuff for the smores, adding, "We have graham crackers in the cabinet, Mom, but they are not good anymore. And we have no marshmellows, so you need to get the big kind." For the record, the grahams we had in the cabinet were fine, he just thinks he knows everything.

Dad made smores in the kitchen, and we all indulged in a few (I counted them, of course).

The boys brought up Ben's old Thomas the Train tent, and Ben's camoflauge sleeping bag. Here Hunter gathers more pillows and stuffed animals.

The $10 sleeping bag came with a compass and a flashlight. Good deal!

Ben was so tired, he was ready to fall asleep as dad was tucking them in.

Hunter, on the other hand, is ready to play with his flashlight for hours, or, er um, sleep. Right.

G'nite kiddies.

In the end the boys played in the tent for hours, and ended up falling asleep side by side in their top bunk, as the tent lay deflated on the ground. You can be sure Hunter yanked the sleeping bag into the top bunk with him, though. And the whole experience was worth the effort. They had a blast.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The rest of the pinwheel pages.

I am definately headed to the scrapbook room sometime today, I have the urge to make things. After a week of creativity lacking, I am stoked. Totally sealed the deal when the boys wanted to look through daddy's Iraq scrapbook this morning, and then asked, "Where is the Mickey Mouse one, mom?" You know mom, the one from the trip to Disneyland we took over 2 years ago... Yeah I am lame mom, and I am so working on finishing that album today. Hunter even brought me the embellishments and pictures, proving he knows his way around my scrapbook room way too well.

Anyhoot, here are the rest of the layouts from those adorable little boy pinwheels I fashioned last week. I will be making a tutorial on how to make the pinwheels this week, so get your paper scraps ready. ;)

You can click on each one to enlarge them for a better view.

Pardon the slight peak at Hunter's winky. He doesn't like clothes.
Update on the Weight Loss: I lost 1.6 lbs this week, totalling 15.2 gone so far. Feeling good, and ready for another successful week to come.
Have a long post coming full of pictures of a romantic mini-album I finished last week.
Happy scrapping all!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

He might not look smart....

but this little bugger did fabulous on his Kindergarten entrance exams! He scored 92%! He confused a rectangle with a diamond (we haven't reviews shapes in like 2 years, since he learned them!) and he didn't know the difference between a quarter, dime, and nickel. Otherwise, his soon-to-be-teacher seemed thrilled, stating Ben is "More then ready to roll!"

Theo and I both went to public school in very different locations.

I grew up in southern California, in San Pedro. I went to 7th St Elementary school until 6th grade. The school was somewhat large, with about 100-120 kids in each grade. The class sizes were about 25-27 kids to class (this is from memory). I learned cursive in 3rd grade, and multiplication in 6th grade. I collected Hello Kitty. I did well in all my classes. Wore stretch pants and layered socks. Had lots of kids who barely spoke English among me. I was good at tetherball, probably because my fat ass didn't have to move around too much. I had a crush on Joe Sias all 6 years I was there. It was what it was. I loved it.

My Middle School was much different. Our town was split by economic standing quiet sharply, and Dana Junoir High, circa 1991, held most of the kids with less money, while Dodson Jr. High was up on the "hill" and had more of the kids with money. Dana had "bus" kids, or kids who were driven in from Compton, yes Compton. With them came rival gangs, as in rival to the gangs pre-existing in San Pedro. Also with them came opportunities of the kids who could not get into the San Pedro gangs to venture out and join gangs from Compton. I knew tons of girls who got pregnant and vanished from class, whose boyfriends were stabbed, shot, or beaten by gangs. I was threatened several times, how dare a white girl date a Mexican guy! There was ample drug use and alcohol at parties. I had my first drink, and drunk, at 12. My favorite (not really) thing? Being made fun of for knowing the words to rap, because, duh, I was white, shouldn't I be listening to Metallica? I once stepped in urine in a stair well. Outside of my time in musical theatre, I don't think I learned anything the whole time I was there. Truly. Not a fucking useful thing.

I went to Dana during the LA Riots (April 1992). I had to stay home for a week. I could see the smoke from the builings in Long Beach and South Central. The month after I stayed home on Cinco De Mayo, too. The racial tension at this time was volatile. Not safe to be out during those times as a white girl. I was in a unique situation, also being a fat and somewhat poor white girl, I could not attract the attention of the elite whites who attended the same school as me, who seemed less subject to mockery and threats. After all, the were blonder California beauties, and I was a lousy dressing fat girl who didn't fit in any one group. I have heard things have lightened up in the neighborhood since then. Still, I am weary of evening setting foot in that part of town when I visit. I wouldn't send my kids to school there for any reason.

Sure, this experience made me tougher than shit. I have an abrasive don't-fuck-with-me side that's never quite gone away. I know it has helped me in my life immensely.

I still can't get over what it felt like the first time I set foot in Carl Sandburg High School in Illinois, in 1995. I was dumbfounded, and speechless. I had never seen so many white people in my life! I felt like we were doing something wrong just walking around being white. The school had so much money, so many resources, and books, and clean hallways. So much fresh white paint, and preppy white boys (I don't think I had ever seen one of those in real life outside of Zach Morris on TV). I tested into the lowest level classes above special education in math and science, no thanks to my delightful California education (I was signed up for honors classes there!) Once I got to know people, I realized most of the girls I knew had yet to kiss a boy! We played spin the bottle at my 12th birthday back in the 'hood! lol. Needless to say, I got to see the public school system at it's very best and very worst.

Meanwhile, my cousins used my grandmother's address to attend a private Lutheran school. I can remember being a young 12-year-old bitch, saying things about how sheltered their lives would be, blah, blah, blah, the mean older cousin I was. But you know, now I am very jealous. There they were getting this quite, safe, Christian education while I felt like I was sometimes fighting for my life. I so wish I was exageratting.

My husband's situation was different. He moved around a bit from Boston, St. Louis, and Peoria during his youth. He was amoong few white kids in his Peoria school, and was sometimes threatened for it also. But he had size, strength, and athleticism on his side. He was also receiving a supreme education. My husband is a genius, literally. Once he and his family settled in a small (population 300) town outside of Peoria, he fit into a nice crowd, had great girlfriends, played vasrity sports early, and soared athletically and scholastically (he even did scholatic bowl!). His overall public school experience was levels better than mine.

When given the opportunity to buy a house, Theo and I jumped at the chance to live in the school district we are in now. We are so lucky! But a new opportunity to send our kids to a private school has surfaced, and we've jumped on it. Ben will be going to Christian school, with a class size of about 5 kids, and a wonderful teacher who will encourage him to love God.

Life has changed so much!

PS: Why all the swearing. Like a good Lutheran, I'm giving up foul language for lent, and I plan on using this as a spring board for getting rid of the potty mouth for good. :)

Scrapbooking: Pinwheel Embellishments with a Boyish Twist.

One of the latest trends in scrapbooking is making pinwheel fans from paper. Frustrated and jealous that I have no cute girlie girls to scrap about, I blogged here a few weeks ago about all the adorable circle-inspired cuteness on pages I've seen lately, and pledged to try my own versions on pages about my boys. Here is a sneak peak at my proof that not all pinwheels need to be pink and centered with rhinestones and flowers.

Thanks for sneakin' a peak. More pictures of the full layouts to come soon!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Love

I threw up a handful of decorations in the dining room this week. I made this banner from some glitter letters I found for pennies in the clearance bins at Joann's, felt hearts and tinsel garland found at 90% off Christmas decor last season.

I put out several red candles I have had for years, many of which are hand me downs.
My mom made this tiny pillow in the eighties and I have been carting it around ever since. I put a ribbon on it this week, and hung it.
Made these Monday at brunch with some girlfriends.

We started out our Valentine's Day at church. The chapel is being remodeled, so we had service in the fellowship hall. Here is Hunter, in his black corduroy suit, walking up the steps to sing.
Ben rounds the steps to sing, too.

Ben is surrounded by his buddies, Sydney and McKenzie. Hunter's face itched, and he scratched it through the whole song.

While the boys were at Sunday school I started the Red Velvet Cupcakes, a family Valentine's tradition.

Love the color of the batter.

The boys get home, nap, and then play with their presents. Both boys got some Nerds candy, and chocolate covered marshmellow hearts. Ben also got a Spiderman counting book, and a Transformer's book.

Ben worked on this house all week, but I finished the roof for him today. I think the "gumdrops" were too tedious for him.

I looooooove cupcakes.
Never enough pictures of cupcakes if you ask me.
Dad helps Ben with his numbers.

Ben made these decrations a few weeks ago. Hunter's were hanging up, too, but they mysteriously vanished. Bet he had something to do with it.

Ben and Hunter made these a while ago, too. Ben's is on the left, and Hunter's on the right.

Hunter made this at Sunday school today.
Here are the cards I made for Theo and the boys.

Brotherly love.
Me and my boys.

My love and I.

Me. See my necklace? "J" and "love."
It is our dog Laura's 5th birthday today. We gave her one of the cupcakes, too.
Laura loves sweets, I can't believe she didn't grab this right out of Theos' hand.
Hunter eats his cupcake.

Yum! Cupcakes as big as his head!

Ben loves his cupcake, too. So much frosting it looks like an ice cream cone.

Oh, and heck yeah I had one. I am a baker. I will not live a life without sweets. I'm working on baking in moderation. And eating the baking in moderation. lol. This one was worth ever single point!!

Ben was totally unaware he had frosting on this nose.

I love this picture of Hunter and Ben interacting while eating cupcakes.

Cupcakes = Joy

After cupcakes, sledding again! Here goes Hunter!
Hunter on his way up the hill.
There goes Ben!
Ben flips on the jump. He is so brave!

Hunter goes down with sheer joy in his face.

I fell down and re-injured my bad knee. I slipped on the ice. I sat in one spot for some time. The kids loaded up on the sled beside where I was sitting.

Me, still sitting. Here comes all the kids again.

Rather than limp down the hill, and risk fallingagain, I went down on the sled with Hunter one more time. We made air twice over some bumps, and so much powder flew in our face I couldn't see Hunter's eyes when we got to the bottom. It was awesome!

Happy Valentine's Dayeveryone!