Monday, November 23, 2009


We had a very fun, exciting and exhausting weekend.
Family and friends all came out to support Jillie and Reagan in their musical production.
Grammie G flew in from Colorado.
Grandma & Papa drove in from Michigan.
Cousins from Colorado Danny, Jake, and Kyle flew in with Grammie G too.
Many good friends from around here came to the show too...
the Lewis'...

the Christensens...

as well as the Manzanares', Marielle Melling, the Warren's, Corinne and Amanda. The England's and Baroldy's were there of course since their kids were in the show too.

The girls did a great job. It was a real success and real learning experience for both of them. We are so proud of their hard work and confidence.

So far I can only post some footage from the first night. Jillie's mic wasn't working well and I wasn't always sure where to find Reagan in the chorus, so the video could be better. It may take a while for me to figure out how to edit segments out of the second show though so I'll just post some from Friday night.

Presenting Snoopy!!
Starring Jillie as Peppermint Patty and Reagan as a chorus member.

In this clip Jillie is in green (don't ask me why they decided Patty should be in a dress?!) Reagan can be seen occasionally behind Jillie's right shoulder.

In this scene I went back and forth to see each girl sing...
(Reagan's in the front row, 2nd from the end.)

And finally the song Poor Sweet Baby that Jillie sings all by herself to "Chuck". She is the only girl who had a solo song! She got even better laughs and applause on Saturday when her mic was working!

Can you tell we are so proud of and impressed by our girls?
We are!

And our winners are...

Well, I didn't really catch any blurkers with my giveaway- except Autumn. :) Some of those mystery visitors were not enticed by blogger tshirts and magazines I suppose. It's nice to have so many comments from my good friends though.

I've decided it's hard to do a giveaway when you don't have enough for everyone. :( I left the choosing up to the random number generator at
And our winners are...
**drum roll please**

Real Simple Magazine subscription...
#10 Shannon!!
(I've got your address so I can get that on it's way soon)

Blogger Tshirt....
#9 Caity!!
(Caity email me with your address and if you want medium or large)

Thanks for playing along gals!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Girls Weekend

**Don't miss out on my GIVEAWAY, the winner will be announced Monday**

Last Friday I got in my car, by myself, all alone, drove for about 5 hours, listening to whatever I wanted, singing as LOUD as I wanted (and it was LOUD and not real pretty), and no one was there to complain. Singing (and snacking) keeps me wide awake while I drive. I did wish my aunt Tami was with me though since I was singing along with Barry Manilow and that has been our thing since we were very small.

I was making good time across Canada- until I got to the US border into Michigan. Lucky me, I was "randomly selected" to have my car searched. Seriously? At 10pm I was told to pull my car over to the border office, bring in only my purse, but NOT my cell phone, and wait in the office for an undetermined amount of time. Thank goodness I didn't have the kids with me. I saw families with small sleeping children who had been on the road for who knows how long already made to come wait in this office. A few young women who were traveling together had already been there over an hour while their car was searched and they were interrogated about why they were traveling with sheets, a pillow and massage therapy brochures. Another woman had to explain all of the details of her complicated marital status. I guess I was lucky to get out of there sans interrogation in a half hour.

I met my mom and sister, Holly at a hotel for the night. So missed having Tami there this year though- she was home with the flu. We were up before the crack of dawn so that we wouldn't be late for the 8am store openings at Birch Run's Deer Widows Weekend.

We arrived in time to get our Win Big Bucks scratch cards. This year I won $10 to Banana Republic! WooHoo! :) We didn't bother to get our pictures taken with the "Bucks" who were there to get the ladies excited I suppose.
The crowds were crazy as usual. It's a big deal. The local media are out in full force to cover the craziness.
half way through the check out line at Gap

We had to implement the one person holds a pace in line while the others shop procedure in most stores. Happily Angie and little Miss Ellika joined us for a good chunk of the day.

Extra bonus, Angie brought a coupon to Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic for an extra 30% off that could be reused as often as we needed. That was excellent since most things were already marked down about 20-30%. Score. It was a great day with great deals, even better company, and some progress made on the Christmas list. It was exhausting too. Little tip: those chairs at Justice are really comfortable when you've been on your feet for 12 hours!

We wound up our shopping in time to beat the crowds to Applebee's for dinner. There we pulled out receipts and figured out who owed who what. Actually it was just me who owed them. This process was going on at many of the tables. After making sure the right purchases were in the right cars, I said goodbye to Mom and Holly. They headed 2-3 hours home and I drove down to Angie's. She graciously put me up for the night at her house. It was nice to get in a little extra time with her Sunday morning. Then I headed home, this time through Ohio, to a clean house and an awesome family!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Birthday Giveaway!

With my birthday falling on a Sunday this year, the entire weekend was all about my birthday. That's a good thing. :) Actually it started earlier when Greg got me the present I'd been asking for- a desperately needed new vacuum. Yea!
Saturday was a full day.... Making Christmas crafts with some friends at church,
then Kobe's basketball game, then lunch at a new to us restaurant called Root Five.
It is actually on Route 5 and it's right on Lake Erie.
We liked it a lot. After lunch we dropped the kids at home and went out to start Christmas shopping. Getting things checked off the to do list is a GREAT gift to me! Next stop was to the movies to see
We returned home after being gone for many hours. Can I just say again how nice it is to have a babysitter in the house. :) Jillie even helped Kobe make some brownies.
On Sunday I awoke to breakfast in bed, went to church, and was served lunch in bed before I gave in to a little Sunday afternoon nap. Doesn't get much better than that. I have a sweet husband and sweet kids.
Greg remembered that earlier in the week I mentioned that apple pie sounded good, so he bought us a half apple pie for my birthday dessert. YUM!

Got some goodness in the mail around my birthday too... An old friend, Heidi, sent a birthday card. Can you tell how rural a place she lives in when you see her return address?
Jill, the Good Mail Queen herself, sent me some of her famous quote cards! Lucky me! I had to laugh that she had to hand write "Good Mail from Jill" when she is the inventor and creator of the Good Mail Label. Guess someone needs to order her some labels from the Good Mail Queen's Etsy shop!

I also recently received some honest to goodness Good Mail- a note from someone I do not know in person, though I've read her blog from time to time. Her name is Claudia. She saw some of my comments on Jill's blog and decided to sent me a note.
She included this little bookmark and wrote on the back, "just a cute door". Love that she just added this little 'just because.'
So sweet. I love Claudia's Good Mail. Each piece is like a little work of art. :)

OK- Now I am cracking myself up with this. Because it is fun to receive, but even more fun to give, I am having a GIVEAWAY! Anyone who leaves a comment is in the running. There will be 2 winners! And since there aren't a lot of people who read this blog, you have great odds! :)

I have noticed lately that I've had some traffic from people and places I don't know, or who at least don't comment. I am inviting those people to come on out of hiding and say hi... then you can go back to hiding if you want.

So, here it is... you can win either a year subscription to Real Simple Magazine,
or your very own Blogger shirt (Women's size M or L).
I will pick the winners Monday, Nov 23rd. Good Luck!
Happy Birthday to Me! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


My 38th Birthday was a couple Sundays ago. I couldn't possibly do a birthday post about myself like last year's 100 List. For one, I didn't take Jill's advice about keep a running about me list so I'd have another 100 things to list. Most importantly though, how could I blog about MY birthday when my girls feel really gypped that I never blogged about their birthday's last June.

So, better late than never. Let me take you back to June 2009...


Reagan wanted a pool party for her birthday. It's always risky the first weekend of June in Buffalo, NY. You never know if it's going to be hot enough yet. As it turned out it was a nice warm day, though the pool was pretty icy. They managed to get in for a little while anyway.

First item on the party plan was- making rag tied flip flops. Cute. Fun. Simple.Reagan wanted a flip flop cake- my first time carving a cake out. Not my best experience with a cake. Ok, it was my WORST experience with a cake!! It ended up ok, but I think I'd rather just stick to drawing on the cake with frosting. The kids also had a water balloon toss,spent some time in the pool, lots of time warming up on the patio, pinata, presents, etc... I won't post more pictures though. I always feel weird taking pictures at these parties because of the girls who come in little bikinis. What's so wrong with a one piece anyway? :)
I should also mention that on her actual birthday she got to pick where we ate dinner and she picked her favorite place that she rarely gets to go because it's not very near us...
1. Reagan graduated from 5th grade and elementary school and was confident going into the middle school.

2. Reagan is not a drama queen. Even tempered, down to earth. If she does get overly emotional ever, we know some thing's not right.

3. Reagan chooses friends who are nice, good girls who are not drama queens.

4. Reagan continues to LOVE music- singing and playing her cello more often.

5. Reagan doesn't get nervous when it comes to performing. She doesn't appear the least bit nervous when she is singing a solo or duet or playing her cello to a crowded room.

6. Reagan's favorite sports are gymnastics and basketball.

7. Reagan's favorite shows are Wizards of Waverly Place, Phineas and Ferb, True Jackson VP, and Hannah Montana.

8. Reagan really loves being with her church friends and going to Activity Days with them every other week.

9. Reagan is very excited to turn 12 next summer which means going into Young Womens, going to Girls Camp with Jillie and I, and getting her own cell phone!

10. Reagan LOVES clothes and shoes. She LOVES to go clothes shopping, try on everything, and hope that someone will buy her everything!

11. Reagan is helpful and loving and an important part of our family! We love her SO much!


It's hard to believe we have officially entered the teenage years! Jillie's birthday celebration weighed heavily on her mind and heart for months leading up to the big day. Oh the drama of middle school! She wanted to have a party, but some close friends refused to get along with other close friends, so who does she invite? And then there's the church friends too... Greg decided to offer her a birthday trip with him instead of the party to make the situation easier. She was happy about that, although when it got closer, she did invite a few school friends to come over to swim and have a mini party on her actual birthday.
Again, I won't be posting lots of pictures, because of the whole scantily clad/bikini situation.

Another day she had a couple of church friends over too. At least these weren't big planning parties, just some friends hanging out. In the end she had 2 unofficial parties AND a trip with her Dad to Disneyland in California. Um, how did that happen?! :)
1. Is more responsible everyday. It's so nice to be able to leave the kids home and know that all will be well because she's in charge. Anyone need a good babysitter? She's for hire! :)

2. Jillie's confidence is growing and it shows. She is so impressive and comfortable when she sings or speaks in public.

3. Jillie's singing voice is so nice. She loves to sing whether it's popular music, show tunes, or hymns.

4. Jillie has taught herself to play the piano a little and enjoys trying to learn to play the hymns. I noticed this year that that is what she often turns to when she's in a bad mood. I'm glad.

5. Jillie prefers to be called Jillie over Jillienne or Jill. I always wondered what she would choose for herself and I wonder if that will ever change.

6. Jillie loves to play basketball.

7. Jillie's favorite class in school is Spanish. She excels in it. She was chosen at the end of last year to take 9th grade Latin at the high school this year. She ended up turning it down because it conflicted with her anchor position on MSTV.

8. Jillie always looked like a mini me- BUT all of a sudden her body is not like mine ever was. She is so tall and skinny now and wears the same size shoe as me. I wonder when the growing will stop. Size 1/2 skinny jeans are loose on her!

9. Jillie loves clothes and shoes and shoes and shoes and clothes and accessories and bags and accessories and clothes and bags....

10. Jillie enjoys filming and editing her own movies.

11. Jillie is a facebook fanatic.

12. Jillie is in tune with the spirit and really loves being with people and in places where she feels it the most.

13. Jillie is funny and mature, helpful and loving. We LOVE that she is ours!!

Oh, I'd better not forget the one other child I didn't do a birthday post for this year! Now we will go back to July...

Happy 5th Birthday
to Jackson!!

I hardly remember what we did for Jackson's birthday. That's probably because I hardly planned a thing. At the last minute we asked his best friend Cole to join Jackson and Kobe at Rolly Pollies for an hour of running and jumping and climbing and just having fun.

(In this picture you see Cole running down the trampoline, but in the mirror you can see Jackson running behind him and Kobe climbing in the corner.)
Jillie and Reagan got the house decorated including turning these red paper plates and a black plastic table cloth into Mickey Mouse plates.
The kids played outside and the rest of Cole's family came over for dinner and cake.
The cake. I asked Jackson what he wanted on his cake and he said, "J-A-C-K-S-O-N." He also said he wanted a 5 on it. It didn't hit me until it was done that it says "Jackson 5". It is fitting though because he is a BIG Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 fan. :)
On his actual birthday we asked him what he wanted to do most and he chose playing at the elementary school playground.
Done. We also ate dinner at one of his favorite places- Taffy's.
1. Jackson makes us all laugh every day. We don't know what we would do without him around here to entertain us!

2. Jackson is working hard on building his muscles now. He has had a really good attitude with his therapists (Speech, PT, and OT) and enjoys playing with them. He had to say goodbye to his long time therapists this summer and now is starting with the school's therapists.

3. Jackson is a whiz on the computer. He LOVES playing on preschool sites especially Webkinz Jr and pbskids.

4. Jackson's favorite toys are cars from the Cars movie, "G" and "JJ" his Webkinz Jr puppies, basketballs, and Wii games.

5. Jackson loves his family and tells us often. We just love him like crazy too!

Well, there we go! Birthday posts complete for 2009. Except for mine. Stay tuned. I'm cracking myself up over my next post already!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm a Wreckporter!

If you have never looked at Cake Wrecks, you must. They document "when professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong." (Although on Sunday they post "Sunday Sweets" which are beautiful and amazing professional themed cakes.) Last summer I found a cake wreck at the grocery store and I sent in a picture of it. They used it today on their site and now I can officially be called a wreckporter. (Mine is the Owl Troops.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fall Field Trips

October was chock full of field trips.

Kobe was the first with a trip to the zoo- I didn't get to go. Somehow he had fun without me ;)
(picture from

Jackson had many outings as a part of his unit on "Community Helpers." Since his preschool is located right in the center of the village these were mostly walking trips.
Our first community helper was a chef at a local Mexican restaurant.
The kids were fascinated with the ice maker and the walk in fridge. Brrrr...
They ended their tour with chips and quesadillas. YUM! Jackson loved those!

Another day was the tour of the village and our community helpers with walk- by's to places like the post office, fire station, doctor office, dentist office, gas station, barber shop, courthouse and the pharmacy.Finally we made it the police stationfor a chance to sit in a jail cell,
learn about all the things a police officer does, how to be safe, and take a picture with him and his police car.
That trip left me with a real sense of community as we walked around looking at all the community helpers that make our town run smoothly.

One community helper, a veterinarian came to Jackson's class. I was sure to be there too since Jackson is very afraid of animals and the vet brought her dog.
The vet asked the kids who else had a dog at their house. Jackson looked at me and said, "We don't have a dog, we have a TV." Great.
Jackson got more comfortable as he saw how obedient and well behaved the dog was. He said to me, "That's a good dog!! He's like a boy- a good boy like me!"
He still didn't want to be anywhere near the dog, but at least he didn't run out of the room screaming- which was a real possibility!

Next it was off to Zittels to learn about what farmers do for us
and have some fun too.

Finally the last Community Helper outing was to the Fire Station. Jackson was initially very nervous about this one. I think he thought there would be actual fire at the fire station. Once we were there he was very happy though.
(Gotta love the OP Quaker man logo on the side of our fire trucks)
I was very surprised that Jackson volunteered to try "Stop, Drop, and Roll" with the fire fighter
He even got in the fire truck by himself and put on the fire fighters mask too.
Good times. :)

Last but not least this month the whole family got to go on a field trip of sorts with Kobe. Kobe's teacher nominated himself for a local news channel contest called "Make Your Teacher a Celebrity Clown." The class created a video with their teacher who transformed himself into "Mr Funny Bones."
(picture from
They won! We won! Every kid in the class won tickets for their whole family to the circus and their teacher won the opportunity to perform at the circus pre-show.

Kobe (in the glasses and nose Mr. Muffoletto gave each of the students), Reagan, and Jillie with "Mr. Funny Bones."
Jackson enjoyed the entire circus the most. I caught the rest of the family looking pretty bored and tired after a while. We had a nice time together though. Big thanks to the most fun teacher anywhere!

October's been a busy month... but November and December promise to even busier!!
Here we go.....