Monday, December 16, 2013

Productive Day

This is our last week of school before Christmas Break & apart from a brief (very brief!) PTO meeting at tomorrow night's Christmas Show, I'm just a parent this week!

Today was one of those days where things fell together & was able to get so much accomplished.

I walked Sunshine into school where her homeroom teacher gave me an adorable hand painted ornament.  I knew she had something  for me as she texted yesterday to ask if I'd be in today.  So right off the bat, I start off my day with a pressie!

I got the PTO closet put back together.  Last week was our 5 day Secret Santa Shop.  While it wasn't my event, I was up there for a few hours a day for 4 days.  They took pity on me as they knew I was sick the weekend we set up & gave me Monday off.

When I left school I realized that my idea of going to the commissary wasn't wise.  The no-longer new manager has reinstated an old policy that limits purchases made before 10 am to 30 items or less.  Crazy manager lady, please.

So, not wanting to deal with silly rules, I decided to head to Target.  Cards for my brother, 2 nephews & Sunshine's 2 teachers--check.  More gift wrap--check.  A few little stocking stuffers--check.  Gift for Hunter's nephew--check.  Gift card for PTO Treasurer as a thank you from the VP & I for truly going above & beyond the call of duty---check.

A run to Sally's for hair color & other stocking stuffers (shush, my husband likes their foot files & nail buffers!)---check.

Michaels for 50 glass ornaments, paint & sharpies for a craft for 2 of our 4th grade classes and I was done with that part of town.

I headed to the commissary & was in and out in record time.  I also didn't get the crazy bagger which was a bonus.  The commissary has baggers who work on tips.  Most of them are teenagers.  Some are retirees & one is this really weird older guy who was a military brat back in the day.  I've gotten him to speak but mostly he sings bits of various 70s songs that he feels pertain to his customers.   Don't believe me?  One day he had a 40ish woman who was um, well, she had made some questionable clothing choices.  And she didn't choose wisely.

Ol' bagger guy takes a look at her and mid-verse of "Down By The Bayou" switches to "Witchy Woman"

Seriously.  If you've ever been to a military commissary & had the crazy bagger guy you know that I couldn't make this stuff up!

Made it home where I discovered Hunter working on a couple Christmas presents in the garage (his makeshift workshop).  Got our groceries put away & enjoyed my sushi for lunch.

I had time to color my hair and then make it up to school to pick up Sunshine & my friends' 2 kids as she and her husband were at a funeral.   We went to Cherry Berry for fro-yo which was yummy.

Sunshine & I hit up Kohl's for some shoes for her chorus outfit tomorrow.  I am not a Kohl's fan.  I find their stores to be laid out really weird, their associates are never to be found and I hate the whole front check out thing.

That being said, their intimates sales are great & my comforter set came from there.

But they stink.

We couldn't find tights for Sunshine in the girls department.  At all.  Not just her size, but NO tights, period.  Um, I realize it's Georgia but no tights?????

We moved onto shoes where I thought I'd stab someone.  Their shoe department is like that of Target or TJ Maxx---it's all open stock.  Only Target & TJ Maxx have some organization to their shoes.  Sunshine is roughly a 2 1/2 in shoes.  Kohl's has no half sizes.  I found some 3s but really, 2 styles that were appropriate for her.  I can't even begin to describe the sizes all mixed in together as it was truly mind boggling.

We left with a pair of shoes & the task of trying them on at home with tights on.  As I predicted, they are too big so tomorrow I have to return them & go on the Great Shoe Hunt 2013 while she's at school.  Pray for me that Dillard's can come through.

I also got all the gifts for Hunter's family wrapped & ready to go.  My mom's gifts are wrapped & ready to go along with the gift cards for my brother & his boys.  My other brother & SIL's gift is going to be ready tomorrow so we'll get it wrapped & ready for shipment.  I hate shipping gifts so late---I always worry they won't make it there in time!

Now I'm getting into bed for some quick time w/ my Kindle & then a good night's rest.  

Tomorrow's going to be "productive" too!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Better Than You Think

I like to think that I'm an optimist but really, deep down, I'm a realist.  I do tend to have a sunny view of things and expect that good things will happen but my gut will tell me when I'm being ridiculous.  Or when I shouldn't trust someone or something.  Ask my friends, my built in BS detector is amazingly accurate.  I don't know how many times I've commented about something not being right about a person while others tell me I'm not giving them a fair shake, or that I don't really know them, only to have them show their true colors & I'm proven right.

This isn't about me being right, but it's about being real about life.

Life isn't always pretty.  It isn't always fair.  There are times it's hard and there are times when things just downright suck.

But do they really?

A friend of mine shared this post on Facebook today.  Jackie is one of those people who makes things happen.  She's someone who dreams big and who lives big.  She mocks my love of Bloody Marys & has deemed them only fit to drink at brunch.  She also tells me when I'm fabulous.  Apparently I'm fabulous a lot in her eyes.  We all need friends like her.

So, if you're thinking that life sucks.  Or is so hard.  Or that it's so unfair, take a minute and read this.  Your perspective will change.

Even in uncertain times, it’s always important to keep things in perspective.
True wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
- Henry David Thoreau
  1. You are alive.
  2. You are able to see the sunrise and the sunset.
  3. You are able to hear birds sing and waves crash.
  4. You can walk outside and feel the breeze through your hair and the sun’s warmth on your skin.
  5. You have tasted the sweetness of chocolate cake.
  6. You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night.
  7. You awoke this morning with a roof over your head.
  8. You had a choice of what clothes to wear.
  9. You haven’t feared for your life today.
  10. You have overcome some considerable obstacles, and you have learned and survived.
  11. You often worry about what you’re going to do with your life – your career, your family, the next step, etc. – which means you have ambition, passion, drive, and the freedom to make your own decisions.
  12. You live in a country that protects your basic human rights and civil liberties.
  13. You are reasonably strong and healthy – if you got sick today, you could recover.
  14. You have a friend or relative who misses you and looks forward to your next visit.
  15. You have someone with whom to reminisce about ‘the good old days.’
  16. You have access to clean drinking water.
  17. You have access to medical care.
  18. You have access to the Internet.
  19. You can read.
The truth is, you’re doing better than a lot of people in this world.  So remember to be grateful for all the things you do have. 

Yeah, my life rocks too.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas. . .

We've enjoyed our Thanksgiving Break so much.  After the first three months of school being SO hectic, it's been nice to sleep in, be lazy, be busy for reasons that don't involve the PTO & to just enjoy our little family.For the last few years, we've made what we call our "glitterific ornaments"  Hunter & Sunshine are getting really creative with their swirls!

We went to see Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens.  This is my favorite part---the snowstorm.  We went to dinner with 2 other families and then to see the lights together.  The kids were good  & sat together while the grown ups sat together and had fun.  
When  you're on your 4th year of making glitterific ornaments, you need more places to display them.  The light in our dining room is a perfect place!

My new Ornament for 2013

I purchase a new ornament (at least one) each Christmas.  This is this year's addition.  Truth be told, I didn't put all my ornaments on the tree!  We downsized our tree (7' slimmer tree from a 7 1/2 ' Donner Fit that was like 5' at the bottom) which meant fewer ornaments.  I do put all of the ornaments that Sunshine has made, or that have pictures of her/us.  I have the Hallmark Penguin series that I started collecting in '89 up as well as a few other special ones (the '07 Spode bell ornament that was to remind me of the hardest year of my life).
If you read my last post, you know I'm a bit of a nut when it comes to my Christmas dishes.  I haven't bought a new piece (so far) this year but I'm sure it's a matter of time.  I have 8 bowls, sandwich plates & dinner plates pulled out for our daily dishes until shortly after New Year's Day.  I need to pull out the glasses & wine glasses.

Tomorrow starts back to school for Sunshine for 3 weeks.  They're going to be a crazy 3 weeks too.  We have our Secret Santa prep this week---getting everything wrapped, priced & ready to be put out either Friday afternoon or Saturday morning.   The following week is the actual SSS and then the week after that is the Annual Christmas Show.  Sunshine is in the chorus this year---we've tracked down a black skirt & white blouse for her chorus costume so that's good.  Hopefully, the director doesn't decide he needs props the day before the show.  It's happened before.   And, I think I may need to track down a back up photographer for yearbook pics.

And, I'm behind on my knitting for Sunshine's teacher.  *sigh*  Maybe my tradition of a feather & fan scarf for all her teachers is ending.  I could probably get it done if I focus & commit some time to getting it done.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


If you read my blog or know me in real life, you know that china (dishes, not the country) is a little obsession of mine.  I love it.  I'm always on the hunt for new daily dishes or to add to our china (now discontinued) or to Sunshine's from Hunter's grandmother (Royal Doulton Larchmont--also discontinued).

And that every year I add to my Spode Christmas Tree dishes.   

Truth be told, I have service for 8, complete with wine glasses, high ball glasses and serving pieces.  I don't really need anything new except for 4 more cereal bowls.

You'd think that with Christmas in roughly 6 weeks that it wouldn't be a problem to find them, right?

Well, you'd be wrong.  Wrong.

I'm sure Macy's or Dillard's have them available.   But, I don't want to pay their prices.   I want a deal so as a result, I've been stalking , I mean, going to Marshall's & TJ Maxx at least 2-3 times a week in hopes that they've put the Spode out.

They haven't.  Oh, they have a few pieces in boxes--serving platters, trays, candy bowls---all things that I have.

There is no open stock and I'm starting to get a little concerned that someone went in ahead of me and bought out all the open stock.

It could happen.

OR, maybe the stores are just late to put it out.  Let's cross our fingers, shall we?

I'll pretend that it's earlier in the season and will be all happy once the dishes are there.

I did manage to get most of Sunshine's Christmas shopping done, including stocking stuffers.  And it's all wrapped!

I am all excited that we're a week away from  the Georges Deboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau annual release.   I usually buy 5-6 bottles to enjoy throughout the winter.  So yummy!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pumpkin Patch V.2013

 Each year we make a trip to one of the local pumpkin patches.  Truthfully, I miss Sunshine going as part of a field trip.  This year we found ourselves busy on most weekends in October and so wound up going to Best Nursery on Monday afternoon after school let out.

Pretty painted pumpkins inside

Seriously, you're surprised she wants a pink pumpkin?!

 The benefit of going on a weekday is that very few people are there.   We wound up having the hay ride all to ourselves!

 My sweet girl and I.  I can't believe how much she's grown since the first time she came here as a toddler!

We brought home several small pumpkins to decorate the mantel as well as a pie pumpkin for Sunshine to paint pink this weekend and a larger one for "the family" that we'll carve.   I say "we"---Hunter and Sunshine will do it!

We've survived last night's Fall Festival and are gearing up for 2 parties today.  One is the birthday for Sunshine's bestie.  Fortunately that's a drop off party so I can great lunch & get ready for the 2nd party.  It's a costume party at the home of my former knitting mentee's parents.  I'm not sure what Sunshine is wearing (her Draculaura or another costume).  I'm going as Jessica Lange's character (Fiona)  from the current version of American Horror Story: Coven..  Should be a good time!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What Was It About Picking Battles?

Parents often hear the line "you've got to pick your battles" from well meaning friends and family.  There are numerous blog posts about it, it's a catch phrase whenever parenting "experts" are on tv or spouting opinions in their books, friends saying it to other friends.

Any parent who has a child oh, 2 years or older has done so.  Little boy wants to go outside without boots in the rain?  Big girl wants to have dessert before dinner?  Big boy wants stay up past his bed time?

There are so, so many times that parents have to make an "executive decision" when it comes to their child.  What's going to happen if your son wears Crocs in the rain?  Well, his feet will get wet & he'll be uncomfortable.  Your daughter wants a cookie or two before dinner?  Is it really that bad?  Will it set her up for a lifetime of unhealthy eating? No, she'll think it's the best treat, EVER!! and will go back to her regular routine the next day.

Sunshine is 9, going on 10. I don't know how many times I've compromised with her on things like this.  We've done dessert before dinner, she's negotiated a later bedtime, she's worn inappropriate footwear in the rain & has played in mud puddles more times than I can count.

The battle that's been ongoing in our house for the last couple years pertains to a specific toy.  The accursed Monster High Dolls.  

She's been asking for them for at least two years.  And it's not like she wants all of them.  She just wants one.  This one.  Draculaura.

If you read her little bio on the website you see that she's a lot like Sunshine.  She loves pink, smiling, laughing & encouraging her friends.  And the frilly umbrella?  So Sunshine.

I didn't write the blog post that I shared in the first link, but I could have.  I grew up with Barbie & while I certainly didn't resemble her, I did envy her 3 story town house with the elevator, her fabulous shoe collection and her hip 70s wardrobe.  It never crossed my mind that her figure was unattainable or that Ken might possibly be sexually confused.  She was just a great toy & sent the message that girls could be anything they wanted.  I've blogged about Barbie in the past.  While I do think her wardrobe's gotten a little, ahem, skanky, she is still a veterinarian, an astronaut, dog trainer, teacher.  Should her lab coat be the length of a skating uniform? Not really.

So, back to the Monster High Dolls.  Sunshine has wanted one of these dolls for seriously, two years.  Her friends have them, we offer some of the books at the book fair at school.  A trip to Target or Toys R Us is spent looking longingly at them.  Heaven forbid if one of their cartoons comes on tv.

Yesterday I was either too worn down or just decided to capitulate----I'm not sure which but I bought Sunshine the Draculaura costume (complete with the wig!) she's been begging for.  She's always worn her princess dress up dresses for Halloween so really, the cost for Halloween for us has been minimal.

I had the costume in my car and had taken it out of the bag as I was heading up to school after Target to do some PTO stuff (wrist bands & raffle tickets for Fall Festival) as well as bring some roses & candy to Sunshine's home room teacher who is back after maternity leave.  Since a friend (our VP) is sick, I offered to bring her kids home.  Sunshine put her back pack in the front seat of the car while the kids piled into the back.  She didn't see the costume.   After dropping off Kim's kids & checking out her daughter's birthday & Christmas presents (AG Saige & part of her collection), we got back in the car to head home as a visit to the pumpkin patch was promised.

As she was moving her backpack she saw it.  THE COSTUME.  Much squealing, much "Oh Mommy, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!" ensued.   She changed into it after we got home from the pumpkin patch and had to be told to take it off to do her homework.

So, my daughter is beyond thrilled & I'm not sure whether I feel I've lost the battle or whether it was a draw.
I think I'm claiming a draw.

Monday, October 14, 2013

I Swear, I'm Alive.

Honestly.   I've been crazy busy with various PTO things.  Let's just list them here rather than go on ad nauseum.   Book Fair (we did well, just not as well as I would have liked), Fall Festival prep is in full swing & while I'm not the chair person (no way am I THAT nuts!) I am overseeing it as the PTO President.  We have our first House Celebration this week & will be hosting a local martial arts dojo (right? Dojo?? Place.  Local martial arts place).  I think the kids will like it.  Their representative & I spoke about the theme being personal responsibility, team work. hard work, etc.  I also managed to book the 2nd House Celebration "talent"---Oxbow Meadows Reptile show will be coming to our school.  I MUST find something else to do that day because me & snakes?  Not good.  At. All.

 In the midst of Book Fair prep my sweet mommy came to town!  Each year our school hosts a Grandparents Breakfast in September.  Sunshine has never been able to attend as well, our grandparents don't live locally.  And we're firm believers that you don't "borrow" someone else's grandparents just for the sake of a glazed donut & grits.  Not that my child eats grits, but you know what I mean.

So, the week before Book Fair (and my birthday!), I drove up to the ATL airport to pick up my mom.  I think the last time I spent my birthday with her was in 2000 so it was a special trip all around.  She & I went to American Girl prior to heading home to do her Christmas shopping for Sunshine.  It's all wrapped & hidden away, just waiting to go under the tree.

Mom was here for a little over a week which was wonderful.  I'm so happy that she was able to share in breakfast at Sunshine's school.  I do think she was a little confused when the teachers (who are my friends) kept asking her to come back to they could ask her questions about me.  Hee!

We went to the Auburn/Ole Miss game a couple weeks ago---very fun but poor Hunter.  Our tickets were given to us through the WTB on post, who got them through another organization.  We knew they weren't great seats but they were free & it was a big game.  We got up to our section & realized we were in the 27th row.  I don't often get acrophobia, but when I do, it's when I'm climbing up to row 27 at Jordan-Hare Stadium under the lights!  

Sunshine & I took advantage of the long holiday weekend to go up to Atlanta & to American Girl this past weekend.  I had promised her that we'd go up on Columbus Day so she could check out all the holiday offerings in person.  On Saturday I got an email advertising discounted hotel rooms.  Well, we got a great rate at a hotel near the store & while she was in the shower on Sunday, I packed a bag for us & got it into the trunk without her knowing.  We went to Perimeter Mall first so I could go to the MAC store for 2 eye shadows that I can't get at other locations & to their Chico's.  Their staff is much nicer than the one here or near North Point Mall.  I managed to get a pair of $120 jeans for $36 & the purple pants I wanted were on sale too.  The best part was that I bought a smaller size!  I normally wear a 2 in their clothes (a 12 for everyone else).  They didn't have the 2 in the purple pants so I tried the 1.5 (a 10) & it fit.  WOO HOO!  While I haven't done anything special to lose weight, I attribute it to the 3% spandex in the pants.

So, Sunshine & I left Perimeter & made our way north toward Alpharetta.  I hadn't rehearsed *why* we'd be staying at the hotel so I just drove there.  When she asked why we were at the hotel I said "we're staying here tonight!"  "NO WAY!!!!!  But I don't have pjs!"   Sweet girl, mommy already took care of that!

Dinner at the Cheesecake Factor was delicious as always & we split the Reese's PB cheesecake after we got back to our room & settled in for the night.   I managed to embarrass her by cheering rather loudly for the Patriots as Tom Terrific managed to work his magic & win the last few seconds of the game.  Luckily the table next to us was a family full of football fans (also following the Pats game as well as the 49ers on their phones) who got my momentary lapse of decorum.

We're so proud of Sunshine---she's a good student and loves school.  I feel like we should take part of the credit as we've raised her with the expectation to always do her best & to strive for good grades, but her school also deserves credit.  SuperAwesomeSchool is just that.  It's super & awesome.  Our principal sets the standard and it trickles down.  I firmly believe that 99% of the people in the building (I'll say 2 are there for other reasons) are firmly invested in making SuperAwesomeSchool the best it can be.  And it shows.

Anyway, during Book Fair we hosted a Family Night.  Sunshine packed up a bunch of science books & brought them in hopes of hosting a "science corner" for the other kids.  SuperBookatarian, Kristine, thought it was a wonderful idea & let Sunshine run with it. There was much squealing, giggling & talking behind the fair as the kids looked through Sunshine's books on Chemistry, Biology & the human body.  Something about an eyeball broke up the group.  Sunshine then approached SuperBookatarian about keeping her books there in case anyone was interested in them.  While she thought it was brilliant, she encouraged Sunshine to bring her books home & to come back to pick some out to display.   As you can see from the picture, planets & the body are huge hits.  Sunshine goes back to the library early each week to put out new books as kids are checking out the ones on the display.  

I don't think I had that much initiative at 9 years old.  And I know I wouldn't have approached my school's librarian about having a science corner in the library of St. Francix Xavier School.  

I love that we're raising such a confident, outgoing, young lady.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Happy House-iversary day to us!  Four years ago we closed on our house.

 For old time's sake---Sunshine (look how LITTLE she was!) who was 5 1/2 when we bought the house, poses in the master bath.  The wallpaper & light fixture were SO early 90s.  As is the medicine cabinet.  Ironically, the house we lost (we were outbid) on St. Murphy's Ct had the same ones.
And the master bath after I painted.  The new light fixtures are eleven billionty times better.  Although, we still haven't framed the mirror.  Or replaced the medicine cabinet.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Our lives revolve around choices.  Tall, Grande, Venti.  Value or Supersized.  Appetizer or dessert.  Go to the gym or stay home.    Half full or half empty.

We also make a choice whether we'll be part of the problem or part of the solution.   As parents, the choices we make don't just impact our lives, but those of our children.

And that is pretty serious stuff.

There are some parents who never.  They never give credit to teachers when credit is due.  They never feel they need to follow school policy.  They never feel that their child could be at fault.  They never roll up their sleeves and pitch in but are quick to complain should something not go as planned.

Some of our parents will get on the FB page & whine.  They whine because something didn't come home.  Or they don't know when their child's class is doing a particular activity.  I've had teachers text me saying that we (the PTO), need to remind them to contact the teacher.   If you have someone's phone number and/or email, use it.  That's why you were given the info in the first place.  Yes, another parent may know the answer to your question but really, go to the source.

I've had parents and grandparents upset because I didn't know when a certain class was going to Book Fair.  Didn't I have that information at my house?  So that I could give it out at 10:30 at night?  ASK THE TEACHER!  We have one teacher who is notorious for not signing up for the Fair.  One out of 30 isn't too bad.  But every Book Fair, there are tons of people asking the same question.  None of them ever contact the teachers.

My favorite was an upset grandparent whose granddaughter didn't get to go to Book Fair.  1) it's not my fault & 2) when you go on a public forum to complain, make sure you're giving the whole story.  It later came out that the child didn't let her teacher know she had money that morning and asked to go to the Fair at dismissal.  She wasn't able to as she would miss her bus to day care.

Other parents have made utter fools of themselves in the Principal's office over their child's behavior.  Surely it can't be the child's fault.  It never is.  Twenty other kids are able to behave, do their work in a timely manner & follow the rules.  The fact that your child chose to put his belt around another child's neck in the boys room?  Not his fault.  True story, by the way.  What parent would be okay with their 9 year old doing this?  Wouldn't you be a little concerned about his future?  Not these folks.  They blamed the teacher, the other boy & who knows what/who else.

Another mother witnessed her son punch another student in the stomach in the classroom.  When he was called on his bad behavior by the teacher, the mother hugged her son & told him "let's go home, you deserve better than this."   Your son just physically hurt another student--and a girl at that, but HE deserves better?   This same mother put her name down for room parent and never did a thing.  Not in her son's class & not with the old PTA.  She did manage to show up for the Volunteer Luncheon.  I'm guessing because she deserved it. *eye roll*

Choices, people.  Problem vs. solution

We have some really great parents in our PTO.  People who generously give of their time, their talents, their connections.  The pool where we had our pool party has tons of our parents as members ( my family included), as well as board members.  One of the board members refused to take our check to book the pool party.  Shook his head and put his hands in his pockets.  He felt it wasn't right to take our money as he didn't have to schedule lifeguards for that event.  

We have other parents who have various business connections, through which we're able to receive generous donations.  One company donates soda & water for our Fall Festival.  These parents may not be able to give of their time, but they help out in other ways.

Other parents spend unreal amounts of time at school.  They're room parents, they're grandparents who pitch in to help.  They look at our school as a family where everyone helps in whatever way they can.

As the commercial says: choose wisely, my friends.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Whirlwind of a Day

Sunday started out a little hectic.  Sunshine had been complaining of an itchy eye for a couple days.  We'd been swimming after school on Friday & again on Saturday.  The pool had had problems with leveling out the chemicals earlier in the month and as a result, it smelled of chlorine.  Sunshine tends to let water accumulate in her goggles so I assumed it was the pool's fault.

On Saturday night when she went to bed, her eyelid was red & and eye was bloodshot.  I gave her some Benadryl & put some Visine in her eye to help with the redness & itching.

So, Sunday morning she woke up with a really, very, super red eye & eyelid.  Hunter generously offered to take her to the ER while I went through the house with Clorox wipes.  We were fearing pink eye & I don't do well with highly contagious illnesses.  

They returned with the diagnosis of a stye, as well as an antibiotic ointment & zyrtec.  The upshot was they did the grocery shopping for me too!  Since I was knee deep in Clorox wipes, I was very grateful!  Even though she wasn't contagious the doctor advised that she stay home on Monday.

Only my child would see a day off from school as a negative & bemoaned the fact that she wouldn't receive a perfect attendance award at the end of the school year.

The rest of the afternoon went well---Sunshine played, I did laundry & puttered around the house.  Around dinnertime, Hunter came in from the back yard complaining of pain in his right side.  Since he lives with chronic pain in his back, neck & wrists, this was a new ache.  And it didn't go away.  In face, nausea kicked in.   We decided to go to the ER.  

Sunshine & I waited while he was poked, prodded, gave blood, etc.  After 2 1/2 hours we left to get something to eat as neither one of us had eaten dinner.  We went back into the curtained area to wait for Hunter's CT scan results as well as the results of his blood test.   Both indicated appendicitis.  Finally the surgeon arrived & Hunter was brought upstairs.  

Several friends had called/texted and offered to bring Sunshine home as it was now after 11 pm.  She was scared & worried about Hunter so we decided to keep her with me.  She fell asleep shortly after we got to the surgical waiting room on the 2nd floor.  Since it was the early stages of appendicitis the surgeon felt it wouldn't be more than a 30 minute procedure.   It was after 1 when when came into the waiting room to fill us in.  Everything was textbook, went smoothly & we'd be able to see Hunter very soon.

We finally got home around 3 am & passed out.  Hunter was released that morning & is doing fine.  I think we've all caught up on our sleep & are back to life as we know it.

Still, I want a do over for Sunday.  It was way too crazy for my liking!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

4th Grade & The One About The Microphone

Yesterday was back to school for Sunshine.  Fourth grade, people!  FOURTH!  This cannot be right.  Sunshine is a little girl, not a big kid.  I am so confused.  There is comfort in knowing she's in class with friends--several of them since 1st or 2nd grade.

Her teachers this year are awesome.  She'll be changing classes and will have her home room teacher as well as another teacher for Social Studies & I believe, English Language Arts.  But still, 4th grade.  So cliche, but they really do grow up SO fast!

So, the microphone.

Despite all the years of singing along to records, tapes & the radio in my room, hairbrush in hand--I hate speaking in front of large groups of people with a microphone.  I don't know if it's the actual mic or whether it's just that whole large group thing.  One on one, I'm fine.  I will sit & talk to people's pets.  But running a meeting?  UGH!

Pretty funny for the PTO President to not like speaking in public, huh?  

Tonight is our school's first orientation night.  PreK -2nd is tonight & then the upper grades are on Monday.  Our Principal does a presentation on school policy/procedures & then I'll get to speak.  I've got a fair amount of thing to cover (introduction of board members, recognizing new parents, PTA vs. PTO, volunteer challenge, our FB group, spirit shop, August calendar) so it's not like I'll be done in a few minutes.  

My sister in law is one of those clever people who has taken her special set of skills & turned it into a successful business.  She's a career coach.  Specifically, she helps professionals who are lacking in the presentation/public speaking arena.

Her blog post the other day?  Hit home.  Hit a homer as she'd say (she loves sports analogies).   When I speak to groups, I find that I tend to speak quickly.  I speak quickly anyway---I'm a Northerner & my family is French.  It's just what we do.

I've taken Barbara's advice & have spent the morning practicing my presentation.  BTW, that whole French thing?  Yeah, I also talk with my hands.  By practicing, I found better ways to segue into the next topic or to bump volunteering after talking about the spirit shop since I mention that volunteer forms can be found there. 

I'm not going to lie, I'm still nervous about speaking & it's 6 hours away.  I do feel better prepared & having watched myself in the mirror I've come to realize that my mouth doesn't do that Lovey Howell-Yankee lockjaw facial expression that I'm convinced I do when I speak.   

Now, if I could only figure out what to wear, I'll be fine.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Holy Chowder, People!

The start of the school year is five days away and I am already wiped out!   This week was Verification Day (registration and; the meet/greet, basically) on Thursday and Friday (today).   I spent 4 hours at school on Tuesday folding t shirts, cleaning out our closet and working on another to-do list.  Wednesday found me at school again for for 3 1/2 more hours, followed by another 4 hour shift on Thursday (Day 1 of Verification Day) and another 5 hours today.

Our school asks parents to commit to 10 hours of volunteer time throughout the year, either at school or in the community.  Suffice to say I've done my 10 hours.  Our Principal and Assistant Principal don't believe me when I say I'm done with volunteering for the year & won't be back--I wonder why?!!

Thursday night's registration was crazy busy which was good for the PTO.  The school year hasn't started yet and already I have teachers hitting us up for money!  We give grant money to all faculty members.  Teachers with full time classrooms receive a little more than those teachers who are specialists & visit different classrooms throughout the day.  Our Media Center (and the Super Bookatarian) receives more, as do our Art, Music and PE teachers and Guidance Counselor as they have all students in the school.  

I'm often amazed by the behavior of adults.  It was announced earlier that a friend of mine who taught 4th grade last year would be moving to 3rd grade, which would leave 3 sections (classes) in 4th grade.  As the Principal started to do the roster, he discovered that the 3 sections would be close to maxed out for that age group and a 4th section might be necessary.  This impacted the 3rd grade registrants as they can't meet their teacher if the roster can't be competed right now.  

People, let me tell you, grown adults lost their minds over this.  There was one mother who literally threw a hissy fit in the middle of the hallway after one of the teachers explained the situation.  Then she came to the cafeteria where she threw a mild fit to one of the PTO board members.  I was helping another parent so I didn't hear the entire exchange but Super Bookatarian came to the rescue and tried to diffuse the situation.  Nope, hissy mom threw another hissy fit.

THEN. . .

she got on our Facebook page and began another rant about how HARD it was for her kids not to be able to meet their teachers (they met ALL the teachers for the grade levels) and not see their classrooms (they had the opportunity to see ALL the classrooms).  My VP and  I both commented that our children were in the same situation, as was our Treasurer and oh, about 275 kids.  Do we wish we knew who our teacher was?  Of course.  Will we be okay finding out on Tuesday before school starts? Yes.  Hissy Mommy then went on to say how they toured all the elementary schools in our district before deciding on our school and  purchasing a home in our zone.

Silly girl, so did we.  And so did our VP.  And a host of other families.

If you ever have to wonder why there are so many uber fragile children with a sense of entitlement walking this earth, look no further than their parents.

Kids are more resilient than we give them credit for being.  Sunshine has taught me this in her young life.  

So, my year as PTO President begins.   I'm glad that I'm surrounded by friends on the Executive Board.  Women who are strong, smart, creative and hard workers.  And who have a great sense of humor.  Something tells me we're going to need it this year!

Sunday, July 21, 2013


A friend of mine posted the following as her status on FB.  Her son is 7 & daughter is 4.  Or 3.  I can't remember.

Take kids out for lunch after church...
*no snuggling is not for restaurants. It's for home.
*sit down we don't stand in booths.
*take smaller bites (food shouldn't be hanging out of your mouth.)
*get back in your seat
*do we play with knives? No.

Why do we go out to eat?

She's a really good mom---active with her children at school, fun to be around & I'm sad that she'll be leaving us mid-year when they PCS (military move) to Texas.   Now, I haven't been out with her & her children but I've been in the same restaurant with them when they've been out.  Her son's a nice little boy & her daughter is darling.  I haven't seen them act up but like most kids I'm sure they have. 

My reply to her was this:

So they will know how to behave when they are older.   Hunter deployed so often when Sunshine was a baby/toddler that I had no choice but to bring her with me whenever I went out.  The upshot is she knows how to act in a restaurant, how to order her meal, how to treat the staff, etc.  Now, we don't always have perfect manners, but she's getting there!

I can remember various times we've gone out to eat that weren't entirely pleasant due to a tired Sunshine.  They weren't fun, but we got over it.  And we kept going out to eat.  

Why do people feel that educating their children is limited to reading, writing & arithmetic?  What happened to teaching our children HOW to interact with other people ---people that aren't their peers?  When Sunshine started spending money she had earned or received, we taught her to actually HAND the money to the cashier, not to put it on the counter or to throw it at them.   If it's an item she wants to play with in the car, she'll politely say "I don't need a bag, thank you"  or more often "the *insert item name here*  not in a bag, please"  

So, why do we go out to eat? One of my friend's friends said "so we don't have to cook!" & while I agree with her, I also think it's so our children can learn how to BE when they're out and about.

And so mommy can have a drink with dinner!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Can't Even Come Up With a Title For This One

So, this past week I received an email from saying that this weekend, I can "Find Your (okay, my) American Story FREE"

Many years ago, my aunt & 2nd cousin once removed (or some such distant relative---his father & my grandfather were first cousins) had collaborated on our family tree.  They were able to go back to France in the late 1500s on my paternal great-great grandmother's side & that we are descended from Nicolas Audet dit Lapointe, who was a Soldat du Roi (King's soldier).  They settled Quebec in the name of France.  Very cool stuff----think Mayflower Society but of Canada without the religious zealots.

About 15 years ago, I started to get involved in trying to get past my great great great grandfather, Antoine Gilbert.  Aunt Barbara & cousin Wendell could only go back to the early 1820s with him.  We know that he was born around 1823 & that he was most likely born in France (at least according to the Civil War records) but that's it.  My hope was that, with the help of the internet, I could find out more on him.  No luck.

So, fast forward to this past week---I decide I'll give this Ancestry thing a shot & see what I can find.  Of course, Antoine doesn't really come up.  His son George (my great great grandfather) does as does his son Philip. (my great grandfather).   In fact, old Phil's name comes up on a few family trees so I click on one.  It says that the tree is private but if I "ask nicely"---seriously.  Ancestry says to ask nicely.  The member might share with me.

The name that comes up?  My ex husband.

I hit "back" & selected the same option.   Same user name comes up.   Pardon my language, but what the h-e-double hockey sticks???

We don't have children together so really, my family tree shouldn't concern him.  While I don't wish him ill, I just don't see the need for us to talk or to be friends.

So, why does he have my great grandfather's name on a family tree????

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The One About Travelling With Sunshine

If you've ever met my child then you know that once she makes up her mind, there is no changing it.  I'm not sure where she gets that.  

This past week, we ventured to points North to take advantage of some family time----Hunter's dad's side of the family had their annual family reunion & my aunt and  uncle were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  Of course, they fell on the same day so while we were able to attend both, we weren't together for a good bit of the week.

Sunshine learned about Abraham Lincoln in 1st grade & has been obsessed with him ever since.  We had been trying to figure out when we could get a trip to DC into one of our trips to see family.  Since she and I were driving to Baltimore, we decided to stop outside DC, park the car and take the Metro into DC.

As we were heading into DC, she told me all she wanted to see was the Lincoln Memorial & science.  Specifically the Air and Space Museum.  We got off the Metro @ the Smithsonian stop and started the trek to the Lincoln Memorial.  We're used to hot, humid weather since we live in Georgia, but UGH!  Touristy stuff in this weather?  Just no fun!  

As we were walking, she'd protest that she just didn't want to see the Washington Monument.  Guess what, Sunshine?  Can't really avoid it.  Well, not without closing your eyes and tripping on the National Mall.  While the World War II Memorial held no charm for her, she did stop to take a pic at one of the trees as well as at the John Paul Jones statue.   

We made it up the steps at the Lincoln Mem. , got the picture and that was it.  Didn't want to stop to see the Vietnam Wall, again nixed the WWII memorial.  She did stop to comment that it would be fun to tour the White House. . . next time.
When we got back up to the Smithsonian area, we were sweaty, irritable and ready for air conditioning.  I convinced her that while the Air & Space Museum was really cool, that she'd love the Museum of Natural History.   

And she did.  A lot.  However, after about an hour, she was done.  DONE.  We hadn't even seen the Hope Diamond (I have before) when she asked if we could get back on the Metro  and head up to Baltimore to our hotel.

If your idea of a good time in a museum is to take your time and see every exhibit, don't travel with my child.  
Savage Mill Antiques Mall   Savage, MD
And of course, no trip is complete without a trip to the American Girl store!  The Tyson's Corner store is 2 stories and larger than the Atlanta store.  Sunshine had been saving her money toward this year's Girl of The Year (Saige) and we had an agreement that when she hit a certain dollar amount, that I would match it and  she could get Saige.  While we were at the anniversary party, my Mom gave her $20 toward her doll.  My cousin, Billy asked how close she was to meeting her goal.  We told him she was $10 shy and next thing we knew, he handed her $10 and told her to enjoy her doll.  
Sunshine with her dolls Elizabeth & Saige in Saige's hot air balloon

As much as we are happy to be home, we feel bad that we didn't spend nearly enough time with Hunter's parents but are hoping that a trip around the holidays will happen.  Actually, we're conspiring with his aunt to get his family down to GA for Christmas.   We'll see!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

All Shopped Out

Is it possible to be all shopped out?

I've mentioned one of my favorite antique/thrift stores before and the beautiful pieces we've found there.  Frequently, we'll receive flyers from local furniture stores and I'll imagine this piece or that piece in our house.   The truth of the matter is, we're all shopped out when it comes to furniture.

There are a couple things I'd like:  one more chair for the dining room,  a nightstand for Sunshine's room to replace the little shelves next to her bed, a different end table in the living room, but really?  Shopped out.

Our bedroom suite is a few years old and honestly, I don't see us replacing it anytime in the next 20 years or so.  I love it as much now as I did the day it was delivered.  It's been replaced by Basset already and looks nothing like their current Louis Philippe line, but that's okay---we love it.

We redid the living room (new sofa, love seat, coffee and end tables) a year after we moved and again---love it.   After several years of whining about wanting a chocolate brown leather sofa, I got it.

Our guest room fell together nicely with our old bed, an end table and small rocker from Hunter's grandparents & Hunter's old dresser.   Same thing with our dining room--our table & chairs magically coordinated with Hunter's grandparents' china cabinet.  And our sideboard came from Gina's here in town.  The artwork we had inherited, most likely because no one else wanted it, works in that room.

Which leads me to this past weekend. . .

We were in Atlanta while Sunshine went to a hair styling class at AG.  Hunter's aunt graciously put us up for the night & as always, a wonderful time was had at her home.  From the first time I met her, she was incredibly welcoming & kind.   I would go spend time with her during various deployments w/ Libby & then with Libby & Sunshine.

Anyway, we were shopping yesterday & I was able to find a new outfit for my aunt & uncle's 50th Wedding Anniversary party later this month.  After purchasing the outfit (along with a top & 2 pairs of shorts), I found myself shopped out.

I went into several other stores but just wasn't able to commit to anything.  My usuals:  Coach, Kate Spade, Le Creuset, etc---no money was spent!  

Strange thing, being shopped out!

Friday, May 31, 2013


The 2012-2013 school year is OVER!   Sunshine is officially a 4th grader!  Here she is on the first day of school back in August & today.  

Today was hectic but by noon it was over except for the clean up.  But, we did it---we shopped for food to feed +/- 100 kids, 5 teachers, various parents & siblings.  Our old grill has been donated to the PTO is finally out of our back yard!

I'm incredibly sweaty, nasty & stinky so tonight's going to be dinner in, a shower & sleep over with Sunshine.  Tomorrow we're back to busy with an AR celebration party with her old 1st Grade teacher.  Since I"m the AR Chairperson, she invites me to have lunch with her top readers.  This year we're going for sushi.  Then, tomorrow evening, we're going to a graduation party for Super Bookatarian's niece, who was my mentee this year for her Senior Project.   Much happiness & celebration all around!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

I'm not going to lie---this weekend has been a little slice of heaven.

It's not that we went anywhere exciting or did anything out of the norm.  But, it's been exactly what I needed.

Friday, I spent the morning at school--I started off at 7:15 with the school store, picked up money from some 3rd & 4th grade teachers for various events, met with one of the 1st grade teachers regarding the EOY luncheon on Tuesday.  The teachers have graciously invited the PTA Executive Board because, as one teacher put it "you're one of us" 

While I was in the 1st grade teacher's classroom, a fire drill took place.   I can't deny it, I broke into Sweet Brown  quotes.  The little things amuse me. 

After running home for lunch & a quick change of clothes, I went for a facial (since I'm being so forthcoming, it was the Signature Diamond.  Another little slice of heaven) which left me feeling like jelly.  *sigh*  My skin looked & felt amazing as well!

But, the last 3 days?  So restful & fun.  On Saturday, the pool we join each year opened.  We met up with friends & stayed for a few hours.    I wound up with a mild burn as I forgot out sunscreen so we borrowed from my friend Kim.  

On Sunday, I was still too red to get into the sun so Sunshine &  Hunter had a Sunshine/Daddy date while I went to AL to my favorite multi-dealer antique store.  No deals were found but the time spent wandering the different shops was quiet.  And relaxing.

Today, we slept in & spent more time at the pool.   When the kids kept saying how hungry they were, we decided it was time to head home for a cook out.  We finally got home around 6:30, showered & are winding down.  Sunshine & I will have a Mommy/Sunshine sleep over in my room tonight.   

Tomorrow it's back to the grind with the luncheon, moving our old grill up to school for the 3rd grade cook out on Friday (and for the PTO to use down the road) & shopping for breakfast items for Wednesday's 5th Grade Breakfast.

Then there will be 2 more days until I turn off my alarm until August.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


You know that moment when you realize you're done?  When something is the straw that breaks the camel's back?

This camel's back is broken.

We know my checklist for May has been unreal and tomorrow is THE final major event for the year.  Today  I received a call in the morning from our PTA President who has been an incredible co-chair for the end of the year House Celebration.  Kim was in a major tizzy over the placement of the bouncy houses/water slides for tomorrow.  First of all, the guy was late in doing the walk through with us.  Not cool.  OCD girls don't appreciate late.

We wound up having to have the water wars (think major water balloon fight with devices to lob the balloons) on the other side of the school.  So now our stations are separated.  Again, OCD girls don't appreciate separation.  Ever.  Don't mess with the flow.

But hey, if he wants his stuff set up a certain way, fine.  We'll have to accept it.

I managed to talk Kim down before getting ready to pick up Sunshine from school to go to her dentist appointment (braces are looming in our future) & then go back to school for the final AR Celebrations (Treasure Chest & Million Words Club).

This is when my straw broke.

The devastation in Oklahoma, while heartbreaking, seemed removed from me here in GA.   Until I was watching this morning and heard a reporter say that a class of 24 third graders was still missing.

I have a 3rd grader.  There are 22 kids in her class.

Tears started.

I said a prayer for peace for their families & thanked God that Sunshine is safe.

As I was getting in my car at school with Sunshine in tow a phone call came with the news that a mutual friend had died.

Lisa was truly one of a kind.  She was a Texan through & through.  She was an amazingly talented artist.  She called people "hon" & loved Gone With The Wind possibly more than I do.  She was an 80s metal fan & had some of the best 80s hair back in the day.  Her red curls were her trademark.   She was my first "crazy cat lady" friend & her love of animals knew no bounds.

Now she's gone & it hurts.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Eleven days of school remain and I am happy to say that I've survived the worst part.   To recap what's happened at school so far:

BOGO Book fair has been closed out.  I'm proud to say we did about $1000 more in sales than last year.

SuperBookatarian's niece nailed her Boards Night.  For the record, she told everyone that "Miss Laurie isn't old!"  She was referring to the stereotype that only old ladies knit & followed that up with the now-famous line of how I am NOT old!

Yearbooks were distributed.  The office staff graciously offered to help sell them as parents were stopping by the office to inquire about them.  We've had several thousand dollars in sales so far.  YAY!

The David Catrow visit was a huge success---the kids loved him & he generously donated all of his drawings for us to raffle off at Fall Festival!  The owl drawing he did will be framed & hung in the main hallway of our school as it's our mascot.

The Book Festival was rained out but moved inside the library instead.  Sunshine didn't want to meet Jane O'Connor up close but was too cute during the fashion show.  I could tell how nervous she was but once she started walking she spun around, whipped off her wrap & threw it over her shoulder, and did a curtsy in front of J. O'C at the end.  She never fails to amaze me!

Faculty/Staff Appreciation Week went a little awry.  My one day's worth of responsibilities somehow turned into 5.  The Sweet Treat Giveaway was over in about 45 minutes & 3 of our great teachers won prizes (a $50 gas card, $75 to Lowe's & $100 to Walmart).  Tuesday's breakfast wasn't horrible but I have this thing about being at school at 7.  Still, the teachers loved the breakfast & we had so many donations of food that we rescheduled Thursday's events to Casual Day & a coffee break.  Publix donated so many cakes that we served them w/ coffee (from the new Keurig we bought for the lounge) & drinks.

Wednesday's luncheon (you know, that one day that was my responsibility?!) went well but not without bumps in the road.  Ones that weren't my fault.

We had been contacted by a  national sandwich company (no, not that one.  Or that one) who was interested in catering our Faculty/Staff Appreciation Week back in March.  Since I have a need to plan things months in advanced, I contacted them & started planning.  A couple weeks prior, their assistant manager & I exchanged several emails as well as phone calls to plan the day.  3 Veggie Delight box lunches, 35 Ham Classics & 42 Turkey Classics were ordered.  I was thrilled to find out that our drinks (3 gallons of sweet tea, 3 gallons of unsweetened tea & 2 gallons of lemonade) were included.  And they sent cups, napkins & ice.

I realize that ice isn't terribly important in the grand scheme of things but it saves me trips to the cafeteria to fill up our ice bucket.

So, lunch was supposed to be delivered by 10 last Wednesday as our first lunch shift starts at 10:15am.  When they hadn't shown up by 10:10 am, I made my first phone call.   Oh, we thought it was tomorrow.

I KNEW I should have called the day before to verify.  I KNEW IT!

I was told it would be about 20 minutes (for 80 sandwiches & delivery???) but it would be there.

I spent the next hour apologizing and taking notes on which teachers would need to have their lunches delivered to their rooms.

And I kept apologizing.   Inconvenience me, whatever.  Inconvenience teachers on their lunches?  Not.Cool.

After 45 minutes I called back because really, 20 minutes had come & gone.  "Megan" at this establishment made a very poor choice when she told me that "someone" had called the day before to reschedule.

Megan, all I have to say to you is this:  Liar, liar, pants on fire.

I corrected Megan on her bigfatlie & told her that no, "someone" didn't call as I was the person with their manager on this luncheon & I know that I didn't call to reschedule so clearly she was lying to me.

Lunch finally arrived an hour & a half late.  Everyone assured me it was fine. And it was delicious & how much they appreciated all that the PTA did for them.

Their delivery person forgot our receipt which I will need for my audit & also forgot to let their assistant manager know to fax one so I need to either email their asst. manager or go by their location to get one.  Know this Megan, I am coming for you.

Thursday wound up being Coffee Break where the teachers got their Keurig as well as an amazing assortment of cakes & pastries courtesy of Publix.

Friday was the "Big Finale" where we gave away a present to each faculty & staff member (approximately 75 people).   Prizes from restaurant gift cards to a Charbroil grill were given out.  We had 2 moms who secured all the donations & purchases.  I'm in awe of them as I hate asking for donations.  So not my thing.

Sunshine's drama production was on Saturday.  Her costume came together really well & her makeup came out great (kudos, Mom for your mad character makeup skills!) & most importantly, SHE rocked her part as Bloody Mary the pirate.  And yes, we enrolled her for another year of drama!

Mother's Day cards were mailed in time to arrive on Saturday only I mixed up the cards for my mom & Hunter's.  Their cards from Sunshine were fine as they are called different things (my mom is Memere & Hunter's is Grandma) & well, Sunshine wrote their names on the cards.  Hunter filled out his mom's card but didn't write on the envelope.  That's my story & I'm sticking to it.

My sweet family gave me a Sephora gift card as well as bringing me Starbuck's for breakfast, fixing me a nice dinner with dessert & sweet cards.  I love my little family so!

Last night was our big PTA meeting.   When you dissolve your PTA you have to do several things in order to appease the state PTA.  We had done everything we needed to do thus far & in the official letter notifying State of our intent, we asked that if they were going to attend the meeting, that they inform us prior to the meeting.

So, our PTA President was a little taken aback when she received a phone call from our District Deputy at 4pm letting her know that he was very sorry he wouldn't be able to attend as the local council was having their annual banquet that evening.  I've been to that banquet.  We didn't miss much.

Please don't think I'm down on the PTA, they do a lot of good for children across the country.  The problem I do have is they're not doing much for our school and the money we give to them in the way of dues would be better used by our school.

So while we knew the Deputy Director wouldn't be attending, the nagging doubt that someone from another county could be there representing him.  Luckily, no one showed.

At the meeting, we had several people who spoke up during the discussion phase supporting us & our decision to make the change.  A member of our School Council gave us his support as did one of our 5th grade teachers.

There was one person who spoke up in dissent.   She was succinct & to the point in her comment.

That person was my child!!

How many 9 year olds do you know who would raise their hand to participate in a discussion at a meeting in a room full of adults?

Seriously, only Sunshine!

She stated that she knew the PTA wanted to switch over to a PTO & frankly, she didn't like it.  Thankyouverymuch.

So today I find myself as the first President-elect of the newly formed SuperAwesomeSchool PTO, effective 1 August.  

We're about 80% done with our incorporation process.  We have an EIN number, we have someone working on our 501(c)(3) status, we've got preliminary paperwork from our bank for the new account and we have start up money set aside.  As soon as the 501(c)(3) paperwork has been filed with the Georgia Secretary of State we'll be good to go.

And then the fun begins for next year!

Eleven more days. . .

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I can't even tell you how torn I am that there are 21 days left in our school year.  On one hand, it's been a GREAT year.  Sunshine's teacher, Madame Fabulous, truly has been fabulous and Sunshine has had a wonderful time being in her class.

But, the next month is scaring me.  Here's the breakdown until school lets out in 30 days:

May 1:  Close out BOGO Book Fair online (financial report) at home, meeting after school for the 5th Grade Graduation Week. Senior Boards Night for my mentee (Super Bookatarian's niece--which reminds me, I need to pick up a graduation gift for her) in the evening.

2nd:  Hand out yearbooks at school & do bank deposits from BOGO if I don't get to them on the 1st.  Shop for goodies for upcoming Faculty/Staff Appreciation Week.  Make copies to send home of little things the kids can do for their teachers the following week (bring a flower from home, a little sweet treat, pens/notepads, etc)

3rd: Author/Illustrator David Catrow is visiting our school & doing a performance at 9am.

4th:  Non-school related but still:  Sunshine is in the children's fashion show at the Children's Book Festival in town.

6th-Faculty/Staff Appreciation Week begins.  Today is Sweet Treat & a giveaway for 3 lucky staff members.

7th:  Breakfast for Faculty/Staff.

8th  Lunch for Faculty/Staff (I'm actually in charge of this one).

9th:  HOME!!!  Nothing major going on that requires me to be at school.

10th:  Our big Giveaway Day.  We'll have 73 items to give away to our faculty/staff members after school lets out.

11th:  Drama Kids performance.

12th:  Mother's Day.  Note to self:  pick up your cards when you run to Target tomorrow (5/1).  Put it in your phone NOW.

13th:  Yearbook Distribution.  Maybe an hour at school---not too bad.

14th:  Early Release Day & PTA meeting in the evening.  This is THE meeting where we'll take a vote whether to go PTO next year or not.  We're anticipating the state PTA showing up & causing a stink.  Google it---they've done it before!  

15th-17th--Nothing major is scheduled other than picking up t shirt order for our school store & final yearbook distribution.    Maybe I can actually get some down time.

18th:  Science Team Competition.  Sunshine has agreed to wear khaki.  This is major.  My child does NOT own anything khaki, nor will she consider it.  I credit Mrs. T (the head advisor for the 3rd, 4th & 5th grade science teams) for this one.  "Of course, Sunshine, you can wear a khaki skirt!"

20th-24th:   AR Celebration Week starts, along with our final House Celebration (GO BLUE!).  This week has me doing a final balloon parade, Treasure Box, Million Words Club handprints on the ceiling tiles of the library, hosting a party for 150 kids with 4 bouncy houses/water slides.  We also have our Awards Ceremony (Go Sunshine!!!!) for 3rd grade on Thursday the 23rd.

27-31st:  Tying up any loose ends with teacher grants, 5th Grade Celebration Week (kickball tournament, graduation ceremony), & just being a parent of a kid at our school.  PHEW.

I feel like I'm forgetting something.  Hate that.
Is it June yet????

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


My baby turned nine on Saturday.  Nine, people!  NINE!   The last year of single digits, ever.  In the Baha'i 
faith, it symbolizes completeness.  In Hinduism, it's "considered a complete, perfected, and divine number because it represents the end of a cycle in the decimal system."*   It's the number of Red Sox baseball great Ted Williams & Montreal Canadiens star Maurice Richard (two of my Daddy's favorite players).  

I'm officially the mother of a 'tween.  

We had a party for Sunshine at a local yogurt shop.   The owner happens to be one of the founding partners of the accounting firm that our PTA uses to do our EOY books & taxes.  He has been very generous with our PTA in the way of cash donations due to our PTA President's attention to detail when it comes to Spirit Nights at his school.  As it turns out, he's also the great uncle of one of Sunshine's friends.  

So, the girls gathered the day before Sunshine's birthday to celebrate our sweet girl.  Sunshine decided that she wanted to do doll hair & offered a choice of 4 different styles.  It was great to have them comment on her ability to do braids & buns for their dolls.  Obviously it's been a long time since I was 9, but I thought all girls knew how to braid.  Turns out it's not true!  So hair was done, dancing took place,  frozen yogurt & cake were eaten (not together) & much merriment ensued.  On the way home she informed me that it was the "best birthday ever!"

We spent her actual birthday at home so she could enjoy her birthday goodies & play.  We went to American Girl  & the Lego store on Sunday to spend some birthday money & then to Cheesecake Factory for a birthday lunch.  

Our Spring Break has ended & we're in the final stretch of the school year.  CRCT's (criterion-referenced competency tests---big in GA.  And prone to scandal in ATL.)  start this week.  Sunshine is a little nervous but should fare well.  She's already taken the Science portion as it was the test given to them to determine whether they were Science Team members.  Sadly, this doesn't count toward taking the actual Science CRCT.  

Also, Easter has come & gone and I'm still Sweet-n-Low free.  Did you realize that toothpastes have artificial sweeteners in them?  Not all, obviously, but a good deal of them.  I'm off to find a new brand!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Break

Spring has sprung and we're in the middle of Spring Break.  As I've mentioned in the past, Sunshine is obsessed with biographies of historical figures so we took advantage of a sunny Monday and headed up to Warm Springs, GA to The Little White House.  Last marking period, Sunshine studied about Eleanor Roosevelt and this marking period focuses in part on FDR so this trip was a no brainer.

Hunter and I went to the LWH not long after I moved to GA so some of it was familiar to us.  They've since built a different museum which holds various artifacts of FDR's.  The LWH is preserved as it was on April 12, 1945, which is the day FDR died.

Flags and stones from each of the 50 states.  We took pics of VA & VT.  Sunshine stopped at the GA flag to do the GA state pledge which was cute.

We had a nice Easter with friends but sadly I don't have any pictures of Sunshine's egg hunt in our back yard as she ran out the door before I was able to get out of bed & follow her!  Note to self:  next year tie her down!

We're having her birthday party this week as my baby turns NINE on Saturday.  I know, it's crazy.  She was 2 when I started blogging.  I'm having a really hard time with this birthday.  More on that later.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Monopoly '13

Let me preface by saying that on Christmas night in 1984 there was a game of Trivial Pursuit played in my parents' living room.  Triv, as we called it, was the hot new game.  Useless trivial knowledge would pay off in spades.  

So, we had 3 teams:  my Dad & Aunt Gert---both of whom were educated 50-somethings with all the life experience/knowledge that comes with being 50-something.  My brother, Michael, his then-fiancee & my cousin, Stephanie--all of them in their 20s with advanced degrees.  The 3rd team was comprised of my brother Todd & myself.  Todd was a college drop out & I hadn't graduated high school yet.   

Long story short, Todd & I won.  Todd is just naturally smart & incredibly well-read & me, I am nothing if not a font of useless trivial knowledge.  Accusations of cheating were thrown down, feelings were hurt & to this day, my brother, Michael , will not play Triv. 

Twenty eight years later, we're not really allowed to talk about "the game" when my brothers & I are together.  Todd & I don't gloat, but really---college drop out & non diploma having 17 year old?  We were the USA playing Russia in 1980 here.

This leads us to today's Monopoly game.  We had THE Monopoly game in my house today. Sunshine has been obsessed with Monopoly since both Hunter & I have it on our phones as well as on my Kindle.  So, when I found it at a consignment sale for $5 I figured it was a no brainer to get it.

We started playing this afternoon & I knew there would be problems as Sunshine & I argued over who got to be the dog.  I am ALWAYS the dog in Monopoly as it looks like Smitty.  So, I gave in & let her be the dog.

My strategy (or strategery if you're a Bush Republican) is the same----get the cheap rents & stick hotels on them early but don't drain your funds to do so.  Hunter isn't fun as he won't make deals & my possibly low point came when I offered Sunshine  $250 for Connecticut Ave so I could start building.  Hunter warned her about selling to me.  He told her bad things would happen.  I didn't press the matter too much but may have waved the money about.  

She sold Connecticut Avenue for $250.  And that's when I started building.  Hotels.  

When she landed on Vermont Ave in the next round & owed me $600 that she didn't have I felt bad because tears were starting & the "babbun" *  was appearing.  We helped her mortgage her properties & pay me.  She was left with about $45.

Things got hinky when she "found" $500 on the floor under the table.  She won the Free Parking money on one turn so maybe that's what it was.  It's too soon to call shenanigans on her hiding $500 on the floor.  Knowing of my habit of changing the rules mid-game as a child, I wouldn't put it past her but it's really not in her character.

Then Hunter landed on Baltic Ave & owed me $450.  He had a lot of properties but no cash to build upon them so when he landed on Connecticut Ave in his next turn he was too frustrated to mortgage everything & quit.   

Long story short, I won.  Handily. Sunshine held up her right hand in the "L" for loser gesture & put it to her forehead.  I felt bad & reassured her that she beat her father & that when I was little my father would NEVER let us kids win.  If we won a game against him it was because we truly beat him fair & square.  And I reminded her that she out lasted her father.  

She had more fun afterward setting up the houses & pretending the dog lived in them.  

As for Hunter, I fear that he will never play Monopoly against me again.  Ever.  And possibly not even on a team with me.

* "babbun" (or however you spell it) is a French-Canadian expression for pouting or in proper French, a moue.  My Mom's first language is French, the Canadian version--Southern Quebec to be exact,  which is peppered with words not found in most French-English dictionaries.  When I was little, sticking out your lower lip in a pout was known as "making a babbun"