Monthly Archives: February 2013

Click on the title of the blog post to view the entire entry.


slow and steady and exhausting


Still dwelling a little too much on Chloe’s school troubles from yesterday. I’ve been thinking about how she rushes through her work so quickly and what I can do to help her slow down. I really want her to develop good study habits and be proud of the work she turns in. Learning to keep track of her assignments and complete them on time is going to help her so much when she grows up.

It can be so exhausting as a parent to be the one who has to keep track of the kids’ homework. Trying to get them to let me know what schoolwork they have due is like pulling teeth sometimes. I have to keep questioning them and go through each subject to make sure they haven’t forgotten anything. I can’t even tell you how many times we have left Zach’s school and had to turn around and go back to get an assignment or two he left at school. His biggest problem is not turning his assignments in. They somehow get lost in his locker (or not done at all) and he just doesn’t seem to care. How do I get them to care more?

I don’t think I’m built for homeschooling, but I have thought about it more times than I can count. The public schools do the best they can and I do think the kids are learning a lot, but I know they don’t always get the individual time they need when they are struggling with a subject.

We are blessed to have two intelligent children who do pretty well in school. Just pondering things today and praying for wisdom in raising my two kiddos.

snow day 7


Looking through some old photos today and thought I’d share a little side by side from two Father/Daughter dances. Mostly because I am tired of sharing pictures of snow. (We had another snow day today!) I just like these comparison photos. Jake is doing so great with his running and you can see the difference in his face in these photos. He is shrinking before my eyes. Each week, he loses more and more inches off that belly and thins down all over. He’s making great progress.

I, on the other hand, have been pretty much a lump since Christmas. I just can’t bring myself to go run in the snow on slick sidewalks. Jake is the first person to tell me that’s just an excuse, but I’d rather run when the pavement is dry and it’s about 50-60 degrees outside. I definitely enjoyed it last fall and overall felt much better and stronger and healthier, so I will be starting again as soon as this nasty snow is gone.

It’s been a stressful day around here. Snow days are usually calm and relaxing for us, but I discovered that Chloe was supposed to be keeping track of her reading over the past six weeks on a reading log that was in the back of her folder. I completely overlooked it until today and I noticed that her teacher kept marking “0” next to “minutes read” along with her initials each week, but she never said anything to me about why they weren’t getting recorded. I totally dropped the ball on this by not looking more closely at her assignment packet, but I think the teacher should have at least made a note of this to me or at least been curious why Chloe’s minutes weren’t being recorded. I understand that teachers have a lot of students, but if it were me and I saw that there were no minutes being read for a few weeks in a row, I would say something. If she had, we could have fixed this a month ago. So, now, with only two days left of this project, Chloe will probably get an F on this. I probably shouldn’t be as stressed out as I am about this since there’s nothing we can do about it. I can’t help it. It’s that teenage girl in me that always hated getting bad grades. :(

The kids got haircuts today. I pretty much always do their hair rather than pay someone to do it for me. Zach’s hair was like a mop and Chloe’s had so many split ends, but they are both freshly washed and trimmed. Much better. I should have taken pictures of Zach’s before and after because it is a big transformation. He has Spring pictures coming up next week, though, and there was no way he was getting his picture taken with his eyes hidden behind those long scraggly bangs. ;)

The rest of our day will be filled with dinner preparations, browsing vacation rentals online, internet shopping w/Chloe and watching some Comedy Wednesday together.
kjn <3

monday’s list


It’s another list of our weekend happenings:

• I will start with today because I wanted to put the tree pictures at the top. This morning, the kids had a two hour delay due to fog. It annoyed me because it throws my whole day off. But when we got close to school, we saw the trees just coated in ice from the thick icy morning fog. It was just beautiful. I drove around for a little bit and took a bunch of pictures. It was the perfect time to see it, too. Just an hour later, it was melting away. Reminded me so much of Germany. That happened all the time when we lived there.

• Chloe spent Friday night at her BFF’s house, so while my guys were hanging out playing video games, I sorted the cards for my Seafoam Project Life kit and finally put them in the album. A lot of people do it as they go from layout to layout, but I prefer to put all the cards in the page protectors so all I have to do is put my pictures in and journal on the cards and I’m done.

• On Saturday, Chloe came home and brought her BFF with her to hang out while her brother had a soccer game. We had fun having an extra daughter for the day.

• Sunday, we went to lunch at my parents’ farm and then we all helped work on their new room addition. The guys put up drywall (even Zach helped) and us girls swept up after them. It’s coming right along. Came home and watched an episode of Chuck (we are working our way through that series) then I caught the last half of the Oscars. This year, I actually had not seen any of the movies that were up for best picture. We just haven’t seen many movies in the theater lately, but we will be renting a bunch of them. I heard good things about Argo, so I was glad that Ben (and his team) won. I also enjoyed Daniel Day Lewis’s acceptance speech. Have not seen Lincoln yet, but from what I’ve seen, he did amazing. And I am very much looking forward to seeing Les Miserables, too. Yay, Anne Hathaway! And my favorite … Hugh Jackman! <3

• More nasty weather on the way tomorrow and Wednesday. I won’t be surprised if there is another snow/ice day. I think at this point they’re going to start adding days to the end of the school year because I’m pretty sure we’ve gone over the allotted snow days for the year. Boo. :(

• Have a great week, everyone!

a year ago


taken last year. 2.24.12. my view out the kitchen window.

More snow has arrived and it was a stressful drive this morning. I know when the warm weather finally arrives, I will forget all about how much I dislike winter and winter drivers. I just don’t understand why people pull out in front of you on snowy, slippery roads without giving you time to slow down or why so many find it necessary to ride your bumper. Do they want to run into me if I have to step on my brakes to slow down for the person that just pulled out in front of me? I admit it. I am sort of a granny driver. But I’d rather be safe than sorry, and I’d much rather follow that rule we learned in drivers ed, where you are supposed to leave one car length per 10mph you are driving between you and the car in front of you, than crash into someone because I drove too close. ESPECIALLY on snow and ice. OK … my rant is over. I was pretty much in tears when I got home, so I had to get that out. Moving on …

On this day last year, right around this time, I was at the hospital with Kevin and Lindsey awaiting their baby boy’s arrival. I was not expecting the call from Lindsey the night before telling me she was at the hospital and needed to be induced because she had preeclampsia. Yikes! I was scared for her after I looked it up online and saw that the only cure is to deliver the baby. They induced her and baby Avery arrived only a few hours after I got there. He was a couple weeks early, but perfectly healthy, and Lindsey was just fine, too. If you watch Downton Abbey, you saw what happened to Sybil when she had preeclampsia and I could not help but think of Lindsey throughout that episode. It made me very thankful for the knowledge doctors have today to save mothers in that situation.

Just wanted to say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Avery today! Can’t believe it’s been a year already!

i need this


I am in dire need of sunshine on my face and warm breezes and the ocean and palm trees. I’m chilled to the bone today and had to look up some pictures from my ’11 trip to Naples, Florida, where I photographed a wedding. So warm and beautiful.

For some reason, I’ve been craving green smoothies lately, which I don’t normally drink in the colder months. It’s usually hot coffee for me until Spring. My morning was spent getting groceries and that included lots of pineapple, bananas, spinach, kale, and oranges. I am ready for those smoothies. I peeled two bunches of bananas and stuck them in the freezer in freezer bags. Totally easy to grab a couple and throw them in the blender.

Below is a green smoothie recipe I shared a couple years ago, but it’s still my favorite so I thought I’d share it again!

Get out that blender and enjoy! They are SO good for you!

tuesday’s list?


I missed yesterday’s “Monday’s list” because the kids had the day off school for Presidents’ Day, so this week it’s Tuesday’s list instead.

• The past week has felt like a blur and like the longest week ever all at the same time. Jake was gone to NYC for a work conference from Monday – Thursday. Time usually crawls by when he is away, but I was so busy that before I knew it, he was on his flight home. Most of my days were spent cleaning for Chloe’s house guests. Our house is very cluttery since we don’t have a lot of storage, but after all the cleaning and organizing and purging, it looks pretty good. If only it would stay this clean. LOL!

• Today is another Snow/Ice Day. The sixth this year. I am over it. The forecast last night called for rain turning into freezing rain turning into snow and I just had this feeling the kids would be home for another day. Jake drove very cautiously to work this morning and saw several accidents and even a roll over in the ditch. So dangerous driving in these conditions. I am thankful Jake made it to work OK.

• The lovely roses (above) were from my wonderful husband. He had his sister (Thanks, Brenda!) order me some flowers locally since he was still in NY until late Valentines evening. I came home to a vase sitting by my door waiting for me. Such a nice surprise.

• Went to Chloe’s Valentines party at school on Thursday. They played some games and had huge ice cream sundaes covered in lots of syrup and sprinkles and sour gummy worms(?). So much sugar. The chaos level shot through the roof as soon as they started eating. It was crazy.

• The birthday sleepover was Friday, which I wrote about in my last post. So much fun. Zach asked how come he never has sleepovers. I told him he can and I will hang pretty balloons all over his room like I did Chloe’s. He wasn’t a fan of that idea. :D

• Saturday, Jake ran in the Heart + Sole 5K. He got some pink hairspray and turned his hair and beard pink like he did last fall for the Bee Brave 5K. Ran a new personal best, too. In the afternoon, I took Chloe and one of the girls to a classmate’s birthday party and dropped the other at home. After that party, her friend came back to our house for a bit until her mom could pick her up. Then we went out to Mom+Dad O’s for a little birthday dinner/dessert for Chloe.

• Sunday, we went over to Missy (Jake’s sis) + Steve’s for a dinner to celebrate Jake’s mom, Shirley’s final radiation treatment. So wonderful. She said she is feeling great and was even able to finish radiation earlier than originally thought. It’s been a long road and we are so thankful that God brought her through it all.

• Uhhh … we are only a little more than a week away from March. How did that happen? Last year, on St. Paddy’s Day, it was really warm outside. I have pictures of the kids in t-shirts and shorts riding their bikes in front of our house. I want that. I want sunshine and 80 degrees. Please. ;)

birthday sleepover 2013


I’ve been a little busy the last couple days with Valentines and preparations for Chloe’s sleepover yesterday. The girls are gone now so I have a little time to breathe finally. ;) It was so much fun to put this together. I got some fun paper lanterns and balloons from Target and Mom came over and helped me blow them all up and hang them from the ceiling in our dining room and in Chloe’s bedroom. We did it while she was at school on Friday and she was so surprised. I also picked up some inexpensive notebooks with a place on the cover to add a photo, a couple packs of stickers and a couple items (paper clips and ribbons) from the dollar bin at Target and put them in little gift bags so each of the girls would have a little something special. It was a small party with just two friends here. Our house is pretty small, so that was about all we could handle. Plus, we wouldn’t have been able to afford it if we had more girls over since we did a big dinner out at Applebee’s. I know Chloe would have loved to invite all the girls in her class, but I told her next year when we are (hoping and praying and crossing fingers!) in a new, more spacious house closer to school and Jake’s work.

There was lots of laughter in our house. Lots of picture taking and making up routines and video’ing them. A nice dinner at Applebee’s, where the wait staff sang to Chloe for her birthday and gave her a little ice cream sundae and the girls + Zach also got desserts. Chloe opened gifts when we got back from the restaurant.

Then there were makeovers and movie watching and snacking and staying up until all hours. I think they all had a really fun time.

Yummy cinnamon rolls for breakfast with a glass of chocolate milk.

I am exhausted now from all the preparations this week and keeping up with the girls energy level last night, but so happy that Chloe had a special birthday celebration. <3

all about the girl


It’s a busy week around here and it’s all about Chloe with cupcakes for her class for her birthday treat, valentines for her class party tomorrow, cleaning the house for her birthday sleepover on Friday. Still have a lot on my “to do” list and I’m running on empty. I started coming down with a cold on Sunday evening and I’m pushing through, trying to keep going even though I would much rather go take a nap right now. Mom stopped by today and helped me out with some kitchen cleaning. She’s so thoughtful. Love you, Mom.

We had a surprise day off yesterday. I guess the roads were sheer ice in some places, especially back roads. I spent most of the day doing dishes and cleaning/decluttering the kitchen. It needed it. Badly. Not a very exciting day, but it was nice to have all that time to get things done without having to go anywhere.

I took Chloe out for breakfast this morning. Birthday cake pops at Starbucks. Such a healthy start to her day. But you only turn 10 once and we are sort of dragging her birthday out through this weekend. ;)

Tomorrow is a busy day, so I will wish you all a Happy Valentines Day now since I may not have a chance to check in here tomorrow. <3

pouf!


I made a pouf! That’s just fun to say. I was browsing around the internet the other day and I came across THIS LINK for a knitted stool called a Puff Daddy on a Norwegian knitting site. It looked simple enough. I just had to buy the supplies and go for it. And it was a really easy, relaxing project. I worked on it for a couple evenings while we watched TV.

I went with Lion Brand Thick & Quick yarn in Barley. I wanted to do a fun green shade to brighten up the living room, but the green they had at the store was hideous, so I went with this brown shade instead. The pattern mentioned both #15 and #19 circular needles. I went with the #15’s and they were perfect. I used a comforter that used to be on our bed that we were no longer using for the stuffing. Did my best to roll it up into a ball before I knitted it shut. Could not get the hole any smaller than what you see in the above photo. I followed their instructions, but it was challenging with the bulky yarn. I don’t mind, though.

Chloe has been sitting on it and we’ve been using it for a foot stool. It’s a fun little addition to our living room and even better that I made it with my own two hands. :)

Here I am looking like Dumb Donald from the old Fat Albert cartoons.

I crack me up! :D

monday’s list


Happy Birthday to Chloe! 10 years old TODAY! I can’t believe she’s in the double digits already. Slow down, years, you’re going too fast.

• A good full weekend. We enjoyed having a three day because of the snow day on Friday. Lots of knitting on my part. I made a pouf for the living room. Will share about that this week.

• Jake and Chloe went to the Father/Daughter Dance at school on Saturday night. They looked so nice all dressed up. If you follow me on instagram or facebook, you may have already seen a few pictures I shared of Chloe getting ready. :) They had a blast dancing the night away.

• Yesterday, we went to my parents’ farm and had a birthday celebration for Chloe. Mom made a delicious meal – ham for Chloe because it’s her favorite. She loved all her gifts from Grandma, especially the purple rug for her room. It was a fun time with family.

• Sickness has struck. Zach was home for two days last week with the bad cough, runny nose, etc. Well, Chloe and I got hit with it last night. Poor girl is sick on her birthday. But she has the most energy of all of us and she was up and moving this morning, getting ready for school, even with a snotty nose. She took cupcakes to share with her class for her special day. She couldn’t miss that.

• A busy week ahead with Valentines preparations and a class party and gymnastics and a sleepover for Chloe and another friend’s birthday party and a special dinner for Jake’s mom, Shirley, to celebrate the end of her radiation treatments!!!! Yeah!

I think I’m ready for Spring Break! ;)

AJAXed with AWP