Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wordless Wednesday!

He always has to add a little of his own personality to every situation!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Break Homework?

Now that everyone is healthy again, it is time to get some work accomplished. Can you believe that the girls have homework to do? Over the Christmas Break? In Kindergarten? Yep, they do. They have 10 small assignment to do.

When I was in Elementary School, Kindergarten was half day. During that half day we had show and tell, recess, and nap time. I am not sure how I am able to tie my shoes in the morning. Not only that, how did I ever graduate from high school and college? Half day Kindergarten with no homework and a nap! It is a miracle that everyone over the age of 30 isn't drooling on themselves!

It certainly is a whole new world, isn't it?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's A Festivus Miracle!!!

A very normal trip to the mailbox revealed a long awaited surprise for Chris and I today. Inside the box that normally holds nothing exciting, just the usual bills and junk mail, was a very nice check from the US Treasury.

Now, this was not a surprise check. A trip to our accountant last spring left us knowing that someday this check would indeed come. It seems that there are SOME "inconsistencies" in the tax code that we did not know about. These inconsistencies meant the difference between paying thousands to the IRS and getting thousands in a refund. So, we promptly had our accountant prepare amended returns for the last 3 tax years. And then we waited. Two of the refunds came to us in a somewhat timely manner. The third, and of course the largest, was a different story. To date we had received many letters, all saying the same thing, we have forwarded your paperwork on to such and such department and they will contact you in 45, 60, or 9 million days! Seriously, we really need to think about what we are doing before we let these people take control of our HEALTH CARE!!!

So today, out of the blue, it came!!! What a great surprise. Well, maybe not so much, I had been praying that this day would come soon. All things in his time.

Now it is up to us to be good stewards of the money that we waited for. We will finally be able to finish the shower remodel that we have been working on for two years. We will also be able to take care of a few neglected health related things. We are going to kick one of our bills to the curb! And finally, we will put a good chunk of it in our savings account to help us rest easier in these somewhat uncertain times.

Christmas Wrap Up

On Christmas Eve we went to visit Santa. We had planned to go a few days earlier, but with everyone getting sick, this was the first chance we had to go.
Santa made everyone feel better for a few minutes.
The trip to Ghirardelli for a piece of chocolate helped too.

Ready for bed in our new Christmas Eve PJ's! All three pairs of pj's were fleecy and warm. Too bad it was a warm night in FL. Maybe we will have a few cool nights in Jan. or Feb. to wear these.

After all of the Christmas Eve festivities were over and everyone was ready for bed, cookies and milk were left out for Santa. He seemed to enjoy them. All that was left in the morning was a splash of milk and some crumbs on the cookie plate!

Look what Santa left for me! It is a small box, but it packs a big punch. Inside was the "Guitar Hero" for Nintendo DS that CJ asked for. If he looks a little tired and thin, he is. He was still recovering from the cold/flu that he got the day that Christmas break started!

Can I open these now? I am pretty sure the "Littlest PetShop Club House" that I asked for is in that big box!
Caitlyn still wasn't feeling very good. Can you tell by her eyes?

New clothes for my "Baby Alive!"
That is exactly what I asked Santa for! He is such a good guy.

I know Santa must have brought something for me too. Where did he hide that stocking?

Yeah! Santa brought me exactly what I wanted!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2 Days til Christmas

Oh no, here we go again. Sick kids for Christmas! CJ started getting sick on Friday night when we went to see the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT. He was feverish and sleepy all day Saturday.

Saturday night Caitlyn said that she did not feel good. By bedtime she had a 102.9 fever and CJ still had a fever too.

Sunday both kids spent all day sleeping. Every time they woke up they had fevers. We gave them Motrin and back to sleep they would go.

Monday...more of the same with the addition of 'flu' symptoms for Caitlyn. CJ even felt bad enough that he did not want to go to the Cub Scout Christmas party that we were invited to that night. By Monday night CJ was better, but he had been sleeping all day.

Today, Caitlyn is about the same. She is still a little feverish, although the vomiting has stopped. CJ doesn't have a fever anymore but he is still very sleepy and hasn't eaten much since Saturday.

So far Caley hasn't shown any signs of coming down with this illness. I am hoping that she makes it through Christmas without getting sick. And maybe, if we are very lucky, the other two will have recovered by then.

Why does it always happen at Christmas?

Back by Popular Demand!

Is it "Roy?" Is it "the Molenator?" No, it's the Tooth Fairy! (If you have seen "The Santa Clause 2" you will appreciate those names) Yep, she was back again. Sunday night Caley had to give in and let dad take out another tooth. She fought it all day long. By bedtime it was really hanging by a thread. She couldn't even brush her teeth without feeling like it was going to fall out and be washed down the sink. So, it was dad to the rescue. He barely had to touch the tooth and it was out.

Caley was very upset. Now she is missing both top-front teeth. The most upsetting part for her seemed to be that, now she looks like Caitlyn. She is so worried that people will not be able to tell them apart, since they are both missing their front teeth. Oh sure, it is just the teeth that confuse people. Not the fact that they look identical in almost every way!

Everything was all better in the morning when Caley woke up and found the Webkin that the Tooth Fairy left for her. This is her first Webkin, so it is very exciting!

To be continued..............

Saturday, December 20, 2008

5 Days til Christmas - It's a Tradition!

One of my absolute favorite things to do during the holiday season, is to go to the "Candlelight Processional" at EPCOT. It is absolutely, hands down, the best show that Disney puts on all year long.

The show consists of a 50-piece orchestra, a 450+ mass choir, and a celebrity guest reader. The celebrity guest reader reads the traditional Christmas Story while the choir and orchestra perform a selection of Christmas songs.

The reader, the night that we saw the show, was Abigail Breslin. She is much younger than the readers that they normally have, but she did a very good job. One of my favorite songs from the performance is "Rejoice With Exceeding Great Joy/We Three Kings. I have the entire performance on CD, and I listen to it many times during the holiday season. It is very moving and I can never seem to get enough of it. I am already looking forward to next year!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

6 Days til Christmas

Listen to a great rendition of the Christmas Story. I heard this on the radio this morning and I loved it. So, get something that you like to drink (coffee, or hot cocoa) and a Christmas cookie or two, sit back and enjoy! Click on the link below to listen to the audio version.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

7 Days til Christmas

Holiday Party Day at School

Today was "Classroom Holiday Party" day for our kids.

In Caley and Caitlyn's class they made reindeer hats, watched a Berenstain Bears Christmas video, ate lots of sugary snacks, and exchanged gifts with the other kids in their class.

In CJ's class they brought in snacks to share. After eating the snacks they had free time to spend on the computers or playing games with each other.

Both of these parties were fine, but neither of them were what I remember having as a kid.

We spent most of a day partying... if I remember correctly.

We had a room mother who would plan a whole day of fun activities, and food.

I also remember having school assemblies.

At the assembly there would be some type of Holiday Program.

My kids had ONE whole hour to have their party today.

I just can't help but think what a shame it is that this is what our schools have become.

When did this happen?

How did everything get so watered down?

When did we decide that there was absolutely no benefit to letting kids be kids once-in-awhile? They already have very little PE, recess, or fun time.

Why do they also have to put a one hour time limit on having a party?

Is one Holiday Party really going to make that big a difference in the amount that they learn this year?

I don't think a half day to let loose and have some fun is too much to ask.

How did we ever let our schools get this way?

I hate to bring up such a negative topic this close to Christmas, but I think it needs to be said.

We, as parents, are responsible to watch what the schools are doing.

Are they being run the way that you would like?

It is worth taking some time to think about it, and maybe start to look for ways to make some changes!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

All of these Christmas festivities are exhausting!
Take a look at more Wordless Wednesday stuff and a post about Jon & Kate plus Eight (one of our fanvorite shows) at

Sunday, December 14, 2008

11 Days til Christmas - Lights, Lights, Lights!!!

With the boys off on a camping trip, the girls had a chance to have a long awaited "girls day." Since it is Christmas time, we decided to go the The Disney Hollywood Studios to see the "Osborne Family lights." We arrived at the park right around lunch time. We caught the end of the "High School Musical" show and then headed back to "Toy Story Mania." The ride opened last summer and we have not had a chance to experience it yet. Yesterday was no different. By the time we got there all of the fastpasses were gone for the day and the wait was 80 minutes. Maybe we will get to ride it next time.

Next we headed over to "The Great Movie Ride." It is one of my favorites. After the ride we had some lunch and went to find a spot to watch the 3:00 parade, "Block Party Bash."

After the parade we did a little shopping and got ready for the "Beauty and the Beast" show. Both of the girls love that show, we see it everytime we go to the park. I have to admit, it is a great show. We have seen it so many times that I can now see the small changes that they make from show to show. But, it never gets old, we still love it!

After Beauty and the Beast, we walked to the back of the park. The girls insisted that we go on "Star Tours." I think they did this in honor of CJ. They are so used to going on it with him, they feel like a trip to the park just isn't complete without "Star Tours."

Finally, it was time to go see the "Osbourne Family Lights." They were bigger and better than ever. Disney added more lights, they make the lights "dance" to several different songs this year, and the snow was amazing. Sometimes the fake snow is very fake. This year there was so much of it in the air that it really did look like real snow. It felt like real snow when it hit your face too. The weather cooperated by giving us a nice cool night, so we got the full effect of being in a "white Christmas."

We ended the night by taking in the 8:00 showing of "Fantasmic," and doing a little shopping on our way out of the park. We had a great time, it was strange to just be at the park with just the girls, but we could definately get used to it!!!

Good Work CJ!!!

Friday was an exciting school day for CJ. Every Friday Tildenville Elementary recognizes several students from each grade for the hard work that they have been doing. This week they recognized students who had made great progress in reading. CJ was one of three fourth graders recognized this week. To earn this recognition CJ improved on his last benchmark test by 20 points!!!

This was very exciting news for me. I have always known that CJ could get good grades in school. Up to this point he had just not chosen to show his true abilities. I am so proud of him for finally letting himself and everyone else see his true abilities. Great job, CJ!!! Keep it up!!!

As a reward for his hard work, he got to choose the book that he is holding in the picture.

The t-shirt that he is wearing was also a gift from the school. Every student at Tildenville got a new shirt on Friday. The shirts were a reward for achieving an "A" on the fcat and for being a "Five Star" school. Congratulations Tildenville!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday Thought

I found two things to be thankful for today. It is a rainy, dreary day in Central Florida, not a day that you would normally think of as "Thankful." But, if you think about it enough, there are things to be thankful for everyday.

1. I am VERY thankful that I found gas for $1.56 per gallon at the BP on US 441 in Apopka. Wow! For someone who drives a very large gas guzzler, that is fantastic news. I was able to fill my tank for $34.00 & change. That helps a lot two weeks before Christmas.

2. I am thankful for the cool weather that we have had in Florida this fall. We have not had to run the A/C since before Halloween. I love cool weather! It really helps to put me in the Christmas spirit. And, as an added bonus, it helps keep a little cash in the checking account!!!

Thank You!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In the Spirit of the Season!

15 Days til Christmas

Here Comes Santa Claus!

Every year, the City of Winter Garden sponsors a night when Santa Claus rides up and down every street in town.

Santa's Sleigh is mounted on a parade float that is pulled by a fire truck.

The sleigh is escorted through town by a Winter Garden police car and another fire truck.

The police car and fire trucks drive with lights on and sirens blaring.

Santa's helpers throw candy to the kids as they pass by.

It is something that the kids look forward to every year!

(the picture isn't the best, but you get the idea)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

16 Days til Christmas

Crazy Cold Remedy

This sounds crazy and you will want to laugh. I know it did. I received an email about this and normally I would not pass it on. But today, my husband Chris tied this and it really worked. He woke up this morning with chills, fever and just feeling lousy. After trying this crazy cold remedy, he went back to sleep and woke up a few hours later feeling 100% better. Who knew? So, here goes, if you or your kids happen to get one of those horrible 'holiday season' colds, give this a try.

To stop persistent night time coughing and other symptoms of the cold, rub Vicks VapoRub generously on the bottoms of your feet or your children's feet at bedtime. After applying the Vicks cover the feet with socks. Even heavy, deep coughing will stop in about 5 minutes and stay stopped for many hours. It really seems to work and is more effective in children than even very strong prescription cough medicines. In addition it is extremely soothing and comforting and you will sleep soundly.

Like I said, I am usually skeptical of these things, but we tried it today and it really seemed to work. I am a big fan of anything that keeps me from loading my kids up with cough medicines, cold medicines and prescription drugs. I hate to give them any of that stuff if I don't absolutely have to. Give this remedy a try. Even if it offers a little relief it will be worth it!

17 Days til Christmas

This was just too perfect to pass up. Hope it gives someone a laugh or two!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

18 Days til Christmas

Wow, what a weekend. Our town had it's annual 'light up' event on Friday night. Saturday morning was the 'Winter Garden Christmas Parade,' Saturday night Chris and I had a Christmas party with his co-workers (going to parties with a bunch of cops is quite an experience, that is another whole blog post), and today we had a little Christmas get together with all of the Cub Scout Pack 220 Leaders and their families.

Here are a few pictures from Saturday's parade. Our Cub Scout Pack had a "Christmas Camping" themed float in the parade. Chris and CJ rode on the float. The girls, grandma & grandpa and myself all watched the parade this year.

Here comes Goofy!

Our Cub Scouts make their entrance

CJ and Chris on the float

I hope I never see CJ doing this in a parade!

Friday, December 5, 2008

20 Days til Christmas

Light Up Winter Garden!!!

Tonight was the annual 'Light Up Winter Garden' celebration.

This is a picture of Caitlyn and Caley during the lighting ceremony.

It was much busier there this year than in years past, but we still managed to have a little fun and watch them turn on all the lights.

I will post some pictures of the lights when I can get back to Downtown Winter Garden on a less crowded night.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

21 Days til Christmas

This was not a very Christmasy night for us, but it was an important one. Tonight was the last game of the Winter Garden Little League season. The Yankees played the Diamondbacks and won by a score of 12 to 8. At least I think that was the score, the game went on really long and I am not sure the score keeper was completely paying attention. It was a great season with the Yankees keeping their #1 spot all the way to the end. CJ had a great time, he learned a lot and made some new friends. I guess that means we will be back at the Little League field in the spring!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

22 Days til Christmas

Dear Santa...

Today was 'letters to Santa' day.
All three kids came home from school excited to write their letters.
This was the first time the girls wrote their whole letter by themselves.
Last year they were in Pre-K and just learning to write.
Letters to Santa are a great thing for moms.
It gives me a list to shop from too.
Whatever Santa is not going to get, I can.
Luckily everyone is thinking kind of small this year, there aren't any outrageous requests on their lists.
Tomorrow the letters will go in the mail.
In past years, we have received a post card back from Santa, thanking the kids for their letters.
The post card is always post marked 'Christmas, FL'.

Too cool!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

23 Days til Christmas

I got "blog tagged" today, by Kelly @Our Family Ramblings. So here goes...

5 (or more) Things That I Love about Christmas!

1. I love to look at all of the decorations and lights that people put up on their houses and businesses. It looks so pretty and "sparkly" at night.
2. I love the music. There are so many great songs and I love the local radio stations that play Christmas music only from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I wish they would carry it through to New Years.
3. I love all of the Christmas movies. "It's a Wonderful Life" is my favorite. I could watch it everyday, if there was time.
4. I love the special events that go on around town. We have a cool one in Winter Garden called "Light Up Winter Garden." We will be going to it this Friday night.
5. I love the candle light service at church on Christmas Eve.
6. I love all of the cookies and special foods.
7. I love wrapping the presents and making them look nice. It is a big job, but I like the creative part of it.
8. I love going to the "Candle Light Processional" at EPCOT. It is a family tradition of ours, and I can't wait to go this year.
9. I love the cooler winter weather, and the crisp-blue-sky days!
10. I love doing anything Christmas related with my family. That is what it is all about!

I could list a lot more, but I have to stop somewhere! ;-)

I tag;

Melody @Melody's Harmony

Monday, December 1, 2008

24 Days til Christmas

Tonight, in honor of the Christmas season, CJ gave us all a lesson in kindness. While we were at our Cub Scout Den meeting, the group was working on putting together a "Santa's Workshop" themed skit to perform at our upcoming pack meeting. We asked the boys if any of them would like to play Santa. Two boys came forward. To help us decide which boy would get the job, we had them tell the group why they would make a good Santa. The first boy went, said his piece and that was that. Then it was the second boys turn. As my co-den leader was asking the boy why he would make a good Santa, CJ decided to blurt out an unkind comment referring to the boys weight. OMG! I was in shock. I immediately asked CJ to apologize to the boy, which he did, but the damage was done. The other boy got upset and needed to leave the room. Luckily another leader came in the room at the same time with some announcements for the group. I took that opportunity to pull CJ aside, we had a little talk and went out to find the other boy to apologize to him and talk about how wrong it was to say something like that. Needless to say, CJ and I had a long talk on the way home and a punishment was handed out.

When something like this happens I think all parents immediately think to themselves, "Where did they hear that?" Or "Why would they say something like that?" The answer to both questions is, they learn it from us. They learn it from t.v., from movies, but mainly they learn it from listening to all of the adults around them. Think about how many times each day we make disparaging comments about other people. We talk about our relatives, our friends, acquaintances, politicians, actors, sports stars, and the list goes on.

The lesson that I learned tonight is...Take the advice that I gave to my son. Think before you speak. Is what I am about to say going to hurt someone? Would I want someone to say that about me? Would I say what I am about to say to the other persons face? Am I being KIND?

It is the Christmas Season, a perfect time to work on being a KINDER person.