All Things Blue and Gold.

Alex's Cub Scout Blue and Gold Dinner was held a few weeks ago and a terrific time was had by us all at the Western themed event.

The kids got to wrangle some "rattlers".

Notice the excited expression in Kata's face for the Cow Pie Flinging Contest.

And notice Alex's lack of enthusiasm at the same contest. Like mother, like son. I don't like dung. Even when I can freely fling it. But Kata (see below) what an arm!! Yes, it went in.

Bella had just woken up from a very late afternoon nap. And she was so Not In the Mood.

Nothing like a chicken drumstick to tear into. I know that you're in touch with that feeling. Yum. Bite. Tear.

And then it was our Den's turn for the Cake Auction. And they were really excited because they'd already received the Most Frosting Award.

And hey, the cake fetched a respectable $35, the third highest bid. Note our excitement!!

Wishing you a moment where you can tear into something and thoroughly enjoy it!


All Things Tea Party.

There are some famous tea parties out there. The Boston Tea Party. The Mad Hatter's Tea Party. All valid in their own way.

But then, there are our tea parties. And they have their own themes and uses. This one was the Track Break's Almost Over and We're Killing Some Time So Let's Have A Tea Party. I am sure you've attended these before. If not, next time, we'll be sure to send you an invite.

See, first we make the tea. And set out our prettiest tea cups and saucers. Of course, there are plenty of biscuit-like cookie treats in lieu of scones and sandwiches. Or in a pinch, we clean out the Girl Scout cookies from our pantry.

We wear our grandest hats.

Invite the finest of our dolls. Sometimes there are even surprise guests.

And when it's all consumed and put away, we feel better. Isn't that the very purpose of tea time? Not sure, but this theory works for us.

In the mean time, yes, you noticed that Alex got a haircut. Finally. And I completed the infamous Gryffindor scarf. Track Break can now, indeed, end.

Wishing you a tea break. Enjoy. And yes, watch out for those surprise guests, some of them can be quite deadly (that's a nod to my Twilight friends).


All Things I Wanna Help.

There are definite advantages to having grandparents around. One that comes immediately to mind is that they have a fountain of patience that parents seem to lack. Well, perhaps we don't lack it per se, it's just exhausted by the daily wear and tear of screams and pleas and shouts of "Mama!"

But a grandparent's patience is never worn down. They'll even let you mix heaping bowls full of cheesy goodness and squeal over your delighted expression.

For the record, my mom was making cheese pita...and Bella showed up to "help". A captured moment of sheer delight on both sides of the generational equation...

Wishing you a moment of sheer delight today. Could be something that you never thought you'd do again. Or something you thought you couldn't do. Hurry, February is almost over.


All Things Science Fair.

Alex was dying to enter the Science Fair again this year, especially since he met with some success last year. But, it was a struggle to get anything done this time. Because Alex is Off Track, we had trouble just getting the materials we needed from his school and in our overscheduled life, it was definitely a battle just to carve out the time necessary to complete the process.

But in the end, Alex buckled down and finished the experiment, he struggled over the write up but managed to turn it in -

And he was rewarded for his efforts -

Sometimes things take longer than you want them to, there are obstacles to overcome but there's also a drive that pushes you along that bumpy road and in spite of your desire to stop, you keep going.

Sometimes, you get rewarded for your perseverance. This was one of those times.

Wishing you a reward for your perseverance. I know you deserve it at as well.

And for the record, First and Second Place winners go on to the Regional Science & Engineering Fair at the University of Nevada, Reno. You know we will let you know our results there in March. Wish us luck!


All Things 100.

As every parent of an elementary scholar knows...the 100th Day of Kindergarten is a Big Deal. I mean it's the countdown to end all countdowns when you are part of it. And of course, Kata, our resident Kindergartner is in the Thick of It as usual.

So with the hundredth day upon us, last week, and also Valentines to write out for both Kata's and Bella's schools, we made it a family affair. Because that's what we do. You need something done? Call the five of us?? Trust me on this.

Alex is on Track Break still. So he gets to miss out on yet another Valentines Day. But if you think he wasn't part of the process, think again. He was the key. Sorting out all the cards for the girls and writing out Bella's name on hers. And don't worry he got to go to a sleepover that night with his BFF.

On the other side of the table, we were hard at work on our 100th Day Project. A festive vest made out of a grocery bag.

Kata, being Kata and a lot like someone else we know in our family, had to make things more complex than necessary. The project entailed wearing 100 things on your vest. Could have been buttons, or candy, or pretty much anything. Kata went with Disney Princess stickers...and...hold your breath for the formula...stamps! Yes, she had to do a combo. Fifty stickers and fifty stamps. If you think that was clever and fun - think again. With the Valentines Day Card process going on simultaneously, it was chaos.

Me - Kata, you have 48 stamps.

Kata - I do not. I have exactly 50.

Me - Yes, you do...see? 46, 47, 48. Ken, you're the accountant come count.

See Ken's happy face in the picture. Mhmmm. But once it was done, we were all thrilled, let me tell you. And she did a great job with design placement, didn't she?

The following day, the very 100th Day, I was in a frenzy. And Bella was napping. So I looked at Alex and said the magic words, "Go pick you sister up from school? Yes, by yourself. Hurry." And so he did.

He took his scooter and stood beside her, carrying her backpack on his scooter handles.

And I couldn't wipe off that look of brotherly pride, if I tried.

And her excitement at Big Brother getting to pick her up and them walking back by themselves. Now before you get too worried. This was an exception. And I am very paranoid, normally. But we literally, live just a few blocks away from the school. And they have no major streets to cross because our neighborhood backs into the school grounds. So...every once in a while, I let go...and we have a milestone.

I wish you a moment of Letting Go but I know how hard that truly is so I'll tell you to Hold On instead. If you're like me and my children, that little bit of reverse psychology will work on you. Go on, hang on, now.


All Things Happy Hearts Day.

Wishing all our friends and family, the very happiest of Valentine's days. We're going to enjoy it with an early basketball game and two ballet classes. And then after that, we shall see.

I am sure there'll be plenty of heart-shaped treats and yummy concoctions to feast on. And of course, plenty of hugs and kisses to go around.

We just wish we could reach right out and give you a huge, squeezable hug and a sticky, wet kiss like we all like to do. Happy Valentine's Day. Go and treat yourself to a little something delectable.


All Things Buttons.

Alex and I got to experience a Mother-Son Date when we stepped out to see "Coraline". If you haven't seen it yet, seriously, run to the theater, quickly. The 3D animation is so subtle, the artistry is truly magnificent and the story line is hauntingly accurate. Besides in two weeks, it will be replaced by the Jonas Brothers in 3D movie. There is no justice in this world, is there??

For those of you who don't know the Neil Gaiman (yes, I am mentioning him again...he bears repeating...and hey, he just won a Newbery Medal so please do check him out) story, it's about a little girl, Coraline, who wants nothing more than for her parents to pay more attention to her. I mean what kid hasn't thought that especially in our crazy, online 24/7 world? I know all my children have their hands up.

After her parents move into an old, decaying house, Coraline discovers a small door that leads to an alternate world where she meets her Other Mother who is kind and thoughtful and cooks all her favorite treats. Like breakfast for dinner - hey, I do that, too. But, in my world it's called Mommy-Has-Nothing-Prepped-Let's-Eat-Pancakes kids.

Alex and I enjoyed the movie thoroughly. And I plan to take Kata to see it as well. Bella's not quite ready. It is a dark movie but so enjoyable. If your child can sit through Snow White, The Wizard of Oz and The Nightmare Before Christmas, I believe they would be fine seeing the movie. If you are a grown up - go see it by all means. And marvel at the popcorn cherry blossoms and the tiny knitted sweaters on Coraline.

It was so magical, that we had to play with our own button jar. Here's Bella's version of Coraline. And yes, we are now reading the book together as a family. Once again, thank you, Mr. Gaiman for an enchanting, dark, funny, moving tale.

Wishing you an enchantingly dark moment. Go see the movie.


All Things 25 Random Musings.

Oh, some of you know the drill. I've been tagged, viciously by armloads of people I used to care about. And now I feel backed into a corner and forced to do this. So for all of you who tagged me and you know very well who you are here is apparently what you were so very curious to read-

25 Random Things About Me.

  1. I never realized what True Love was all about until my son was placed in my arms and I looked up to see my husband's face.

  2. Three kids later, I now know that a Mother's Love is "stretchy" and yes, mothers really do love all of their children equally, even when they are driving them absolutely positively crazy.

  3. I'm not sure what my natural hair color is anymore. I've been dyeing it since I was eighteen.

  4. I've explored every hair color shade from platinum blonde to bittersweet chocolate. I've realized that while I like extremes in politics, I don't like extremes in hair color.

  5. I prefer shades of red - in hair color, lipstick and shoes.

  6. I own over forty five pairs of shoes/boots. Most of them are higher heeled. Thirteen percent of them are red. Some of you are now calculating that, aren't you? Here's a hint - round up.

  7. I am a bookworm. There's a book in my car, my handbag and piles of them on my nightstand.

  8. Fictional characters amuse me, greatly, still. They always have and they always will. And they know who they are.

  9. Dust doesn't bother me. Dust bunnies amuse me. They always have and they always will. And they know who they are.

  10. I tolerate dogs. I love cats. We have a dog now.

  11. I like mint chocolate chip ice cream. I don't understand people who order vanilla or better yet, French Vanilla, like that would make a difference.

  12. I only use Madagascar Vanilla in my baking. Okay, sometimes Tahitian Vanilla, too.

  13. I had a 0.25 mm superficial spreading melanoma "mole" removed from my back a year and a half ago. I always wear sunscreen. You should too.

  14. I love taking pictures. I can easily save 100 a day to my hard drive. That's after editing them in Photoshop.

  15. I love coffee. A little too much. Especially in the morning. My eyes won't open without it. My moods won't swing without it.

  16. There are eight different cereals in my pantry. No, make that ten.

  17. I love American Idol. There I said it. And I don't care.

  18. I love red wines. They go well with small children and American Idol. Try the combination, it works.

  19. I love tea. The spicier the better. Good Earth Original. The fully caffeinated version, please.

  20. I cannot go to sleep without brushing my teeth. My kids can.

  21. My parents are my grounding wire. So are my friends. And I am grateful for both.

  22. I drive a tan SUV with a license plate that reads "MAMATXI".

  23. One day, I want to have a red convertible with the same license plate.

  24. I love words and I don't like numbers. That's why I married an accountant.

  25. My first thought was to place a hex on all who tagged me. But now I thank them for the opportunity to collect my Random Thoughts in one place.

If you actually made it through reading all twenty five items - congratulations and consider yourself tagged.

Wishing you a moment where you find yourself greatly amused at what your very own brain can spew out in the form of twenty five random bullet points. Enjoy and you are most welcome. And I promise no hex. Well, maybe, if you don't do it within the week.


All Things Mother's Little Helper.

What a crazy schedule we have this year. Alex and Kata are on two different tracks which for those of you not in a Year Round Multi Track school means that they are off at different times during the year. Alex's month off is February. Kata's is coming up in March. And to complicate matters further Bella's in morning preschool while Kata is in afternoon kindergarten.

If you actually followed that logic, I congratulate you and would like to explore further algorithms with you over an adult beverage. Let's just say that our Tuesdays and Thursdays would make a NASA Launch Check Off List seem simple.

But a friend of mine offered some assistance to me in the form of her older daughter. This past Monday, she suggested that her daughter come over and be my Mother's Helper. This would give the girl some practice to sharpen those babysitting skills and it would allow me a few hours of relative peace to get some things done around the house. As you know by now, I live for these types of win-win situations.

While Kata was at school, my Mother's Helper played with Bella. And let me tell you they were creative in their choice of activities - sidewalk chalk drawings, a quick game of golf, a romp with the dog in the backyard, reading at least a dozen Valentine themed books, four games of Go Fish and at least three trips to the bathroom all within the time frame of a three and a half hour gig.

When my friend came to pick up her daughter, the dear girl exclaimed, "Mom, I am soooo tired." My friend looked at me and I said, "Which one of us is going to thank the other first?" I was grateful for the gift of uninterrupted time and my friend was grateful for the opportunity for her daughter to develop a new skill and learn the value of childcare.

Sometimes gifts come in the form of an offer to lend a hand. Wishing you a moment where you lend a hand or accept the outreached one offered your way. You'll see that on either side of that equation is a good feeling.