Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our Field Trip to The White House

It's not often you get to step foot into the White House. Yesterday was a day we we'll never forget!  Joe got tickets for a White House tour through his job.  So we bundled up and headed down to D.C. for our self guided tour.

Standing in a place rich in 200 years of history was awe-inspiring.  To think of all the presidents and company that have stood within these same walls from that long ago was such a neat feeling.  I wish I could have slowed down and captured every detail and then started over from the beginning again.

There were too many Christmas trees to count, all decorated beautifully.  Portraits of presidents hung on the colored walls. 

If I could have broken the rules and stepped over one of the rope barriers, this would be the room I'd do it in.  The Library.  Ahhh.  Looks so warm and inviting (despite the poor quality picture taken here).  I'd love to spend a few hours thumbing through the books that line these bookcases.

This was another one of my favorite rooms.  The East Room.  A huge portrait of George Washington hangs in this room.  The bodies of JFK and Abraham Lincoln once rested in this room after their assassinations.  In 1835, Andrew Jackson created a winter wonderland for children complete wih a cotton snowball fight.  Abigail Adams once hung her laundry to dry across this room.  Meriwether Lewis had a bedroom in this hall at one point, partitioned off by Thomas Jefferson. Neat stuff.

This year's official Christmas tree in the Blue Room.  This tree is 19.5 feet tall! The official tree originally was put up and decorated in the East Room until Jacqueline Kennedy had it put up in the Blue Room and decorated it.  Since then many of the first families have chosen this room to set it up in.  There is a nice view of the monument through the windows in this room.

View from the Green Room window.  Love these huge pillars.

The State Dining Room.  I love the portrait of Abe over the mantel.  This is a white chocolate gingerbread replica of The White House.  Weighs over 350 pounds!


Two of my absolute favortie trees in the place.  I love the REDS! Picture on the right is in the Red Room.  Picture to the left is entering the foyer. 

An orchestra playing Christmas Carols in the foyer.

Hall leading from the East Room towards the foyer...with my favorite Christmas trees and favorite boy.

These were just a few of my favorite pictures.  Wish I could share them all with you.  We ended our day saying, "We were in the White House today!"  A very cool experience that I hope we get to do again one day.

The kids are now doing their writing assignments on their trip to the White House.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Our "B & B" Experience

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!  We sure did.  Went to my parents and had the best turkey I've EVER had.  They got an outdoor convection cooker and injected their turkey with cajun spices.  Oh myyyyyyy...was that a GOOD turkey. So juicy and full of yummy flavors.  Not your traditional turkey and something I will do maybe for Christmas or next year.  We have two convection ovens and I have yet to figure out how to use them. 

Friday we got a pretty tree and put it up.  As we were moving it, I reached in and found a nest inside.  There's probably a bird out there still looking for it's home! :(  We put up all of our other decorations while listening to Christmas music and drinking eggnog.  I love Christmastime! Our house now smells of fresh pine...ahhhhh.

Cute little nest

Saturday I got to go out with my honey and get a cup of coffee at Starbuck's.  It was nice.  The kids wanted us to go out "because we never go out alone" (Jared) and so that "they could make some Christmas presents for us" (Jenna).  So we got some coffee and then looked in a few stores.  When we came home we were greeted with the biggest surprise. 

It was our very own Bed & Breakfast!

Our host & hostess:

Christmas music was playing, the tables were all set, with candles and pretty glasses and a menu for each of us. The house was spotless.

Before sitting down and deciding on what we would have for dinner they showed us the upstairs.  Our bedroom was all cleaned, bathroom cleaned, two robes folded and waiting on our chair (LOL) nice white towels hanging, samples of lotions & soaps, bed made! The works! 

We were escorted back down the dining room where we had a tough time deciding on what to pick from the menu.  We both decided on lemon iced tea, salad, veggies & dip, garlic bread and chicken noodle soup.

The happy couple

Busy at work in the kitchen

After dinner we were offered pedicures and back massages. I chose a pedicure with peppermint oil. 

What a great 4 day weekend!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Poem of Love

The earlier part of today was a not so joyous day with my firstborn,  pre-teen, strong willed child. 

*Gasp* Did I just say that out loud in front of God and everybody!?

Yes, we have our down days just like we have our up days. 

It was just one of those days. I will spare you the juicy details but at least mention there were not a lot of smiles going on.  In fact, we were getting ready to go run errands and I said- "If we can't go out with a smile then we need to stay home." One stayed behind.  I won't mention her name. *wink* * wink*

So, the boy and I ran out and did some shopping and ran errands.  We were gone for a little longer than I'd planned because all the Christmas stuff is out everywhere! I am so in the mood for Christmas. So we slowed down the pace and looked around at the decorations.  He added a few things to his Christmas list and I tried on some shoes.  (I'm about to go old lady on some shoes cuz my dawgs is barkin!) I realized time was getting away from us so we finished up and hurried home.

Once we got home I went up and hugged my girl and told her that we missed her and that it wasn't the same without her there.  She showed me some neat little "pockets" she made on the side of her dresser.  They were pretty neat, actually.  She used half of a cereal box, a pretty tissue box and another little box to hold pencils, pens, and a slot for books. Underneath was a nice padded area with pillows- a little book nook.

So, as she was showing me her neat creations, a paper on her dresser caught my eye.  I saw "Mom" on it which instantly grabbed my attention. Considering how the day went earlier I thought for sure it wouldn't be good! Ha. I was just about to make progress on reading it when she saw me and quickly got a hold of it to hide it from me.

I asked, "Is it bad?"


"Well let me read it then..."



"Noooooo...I'm too embarassed..."


After begging and bribing she gave it a second thought and said, "Let me read it first." As she began re-reading it, I stealthily moved forward and snatched it from her! HA! Such a nice mom I am.

To my surprise it was a poem titled "My Mom". It went on to say how she has the best mom who is kind to her...And that she loved her mom. And her mom loves her...just the way she is.  When something bad happens her mom reaches over and gives her a hug and says "it's ok".

That's when all the frustration from the earlier part of the day just melted away.  I hugged her tight and told her how much I loved her...and her poem!

Friday, November 12, 2010

There Goes My Painter's Tape

It's a beautiful day today! Bright sunshine and around the mid 60's.  I love fall days like this.  I'm glad the kids are home and able to get out in the fresh air and use their creativity.

I looked out the window and found them making a "road" up our alley.  Much to my disappointment they were making the "yellow" line blue...with my painter's tape.  But *sigh* I'm happy to see them out playing together. 

I find that they have created "Jenna's Driving School".  Where kids can come and get their license. (That's a scary thought).

Here is the driving course...

             Founder and Chief Commanding Officer        


                                Doer of Commands--Er--Student

Throughout the driving course one must demonstrate adequate driving skills.  The student will drive up one side of the road, make a turn into the designated parking space.  They will then turn around to come out of the parking space, exiting the garage, and merge into traffic being careful to use their turn signal.
Demonstrating proper way to enter traffic using signal
Designated Parking Area
(i.e. messy garage)




  The Rules As Follows: 
1. You must put your blinker on when turning.
2. Stay on the right side of the road.
3. You must complete your drivers test to get your license.
4. To pass someone you have to cross on the wrong side of the road.
5. Listen to the police officers (if you hear a siren pull over). 

Instructor's Clipboard

Upon completion of the course and passing the driver's test the student will be issued a "Maryland Driver's License":

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Going Marbles

*Clink...clink...clink...clink...* is what I've been hearing today.  It's the sound of marbles in a jar.

The day began with Jared showing off his hand made paper Bakugan collection. 

Showing off his paper Bakugan's. 
To the left is a "real" Bakugan
Jared's own created Bakugan's. Most of these he gave names to.  Pictured here are "Sting Lash", "Jet Kore", "Bee Striker", "Bone Crusher",  Alpha Hydronoid", "Hammer Gorom", "Cross Buster", "Ghost Freak", Spider Fencer", "Fear Ripper" and "Tigrara"

I'm not sure what all the obsession with Bakugan is all about...but he is really into these things.  They are miniature transformer-like things that fold up into little balls.  They are magnetic and stick to these cards that have metal in them.

The day only got more intense when we saw a pack of 3 new ones that he HAD TO HAVE at the store today.  "Please, Mom. Can I get these????? I'll pay you baaaack...pleeeease?? " I told him, "Sorry. Not today, Bud."

His wheels turned on ways he could earn some money to buy them himself.  I reminded him of our marble jars at home.  Both he and Jenna have their own marble jars.  When they do chores they can add marbles.  Each chore is worth a different amount of marbles but range from 5 all the way up to 40 (that's for cleaning the whole basement toy room when it's a mess! Ha.).  He was so excited he could hardly wait to get home to get started.

He enthusiastically:
Unloaded and loaded the dishwasher-- *clink...clink...clink...*
Cleaned the kitchen & dining room-- *clink*
Cleaned the entire messy basement--*clink clink clink clink clink clink clink...* (you get the picture)
Cleaned the yard, the stairs, living room, foyer...*clink...clink*

Meanwhile, I'm feeling like Cinderella's evil stepmother as I sit in my cozy chair!  But on the inside I'm just in love watching this cute little guy working so hard :...(

He's already a little more than half way to the top of his jar. Go Jared!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We Have A Contract!!

Thought I might get your attention.  Although, it may not be the kind of contract you're thinking of.

(You'll have to pardon the sappiness of this post.  I am getting ready to go out of town for 2 days and feel like I'm leaving for a year!)

We have had the talk with our kids many times about how "one day you're going to grow up and move out and not want much to do with your old mom and dad..."  Jenna gives us a look that says 'Yep, and it's gonna happen sooner than you think." Jared, on the other hand, looks longingly into our eyes and says, "I will NEVER EVER leave you.  I don't EVER want to move away OR get married. Ever.  Because I love you." 

My heart swells and we both look at each other with moist eyes. "Oh. It'll happen one day. Believe me", I say. "You're going to have one beautiful bride and she's going to be a lucky girl."  He says, "Nope. Never."

One day, after having this conversation again, and him promising me that he will NEVER move out, I tell him that I want this statement in writing.  I told him I want a signed contract.  So when the day comes, and he's all grown up we can show it to him.  He was all for it and determined to prove to us that he will feel the same way then as he does now.

So, my husband drew up a contract.  Here it is, signed and dated by our sweet little guy.

I dread the teenaged years when this kind of stuff will gag him and he will rather be with his friends than us.  But for now I will relish in the delight of having him love us with all of his heart!

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Perfect Set-Up Gone Awry

Before our school year started I agonized over where the best spot would be to set up our "school room". I'm the type of person that has to have stuff put away at the end of the day.  Clutter makes me go cookoo!!  I need clean surfaces- even if that means junky drawers! Ha :) I decided on our basement.  That way even if things didn't quite get cleaned up by the end of the day it would still be out of sight.  Plus it offered the most space for all of our supplies along with our sewing and craft area. I had such a great set up down there. We got a nice big desk and had everything organized.  I even set up another family room down there so they could sit in a cozy chair with a lapdesk and do their work there if they chose to do so.  Maps were hung on the walls along with our history time line.  It was perfect!

I'm not even sure we completed a full month of school before the kids started migrating upstairs to do their work. Nooo! This isn't the way it was supposed to be! Jenna moved completely up to her room and Jared decided he wanted to sit at the dining table where there was natural light.  I told them both that was fine but STUFF HAD TO BE PUT AWAY or else mommy's head would start spinning.  Still some things would be left out at the end of a busy day and piles would begin forming along with shoes & coats & crumbs! Oh my!

It's been a few weeks now and it looks like they aren't budging on moving back downstairs, much to my disappointment and despite my cajoling.  I decided to move all of their books and supplies that they use everyday up to our living room so they can sit and do their work at the dining table.  I cleared half of the armoir out, which is what used to be our game chest.

Each of them has a door to put up their schedule and anything else they might need to hang up.  It's almost like having a locker- they like that :)  Hopefully this set up works for us...for more than another month!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Little Getaway

We just returned from a two day excursion to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA.  We had originally planned to go on our annual Hershey Park trip, but after thinking about it (for 1 second) the kids decided on Great Wolf instead.

We had two things going on for us: 1) They offer discounts to home schoolers and 2) We went mid-week and got an even better discount.  So we saved quite a bit between the two.  We pretty much had the place to ourselves for the majority of the time.  No lines and crowds made it really nice.  The Howlin' Tornado was DA BOMB! It was a 4 seater intertube ride with a CRAZY drop into a HUGE funnel that takes you 30 feet up the sides.  Oh yeah! My throat is still sore from screaming.  The people who send you down the slide like to pick on mommies- and most of the time I was the one to go down BACKWARDS.  Waaaaa!

I love this place because they are so family friendly and they go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable & easy.  Even though check in isn't until 4pm they allow you entrance into the water park at 1pm.  Also, on check out day, with check out at 11am they allow you to check out and stay as long as you'd like at the waterpark.  They stay open until 9pm and have private showers, changing areas, clothes dryers, shampoo/soap, towels.  Reeeeallly nice.

So now that I got all of the good news out first, the bad news was that my little clumsy-muffin broke her toe...hmmm...maybe 2 minutes after our arrival to the waterpark. Probably more like 30 seconds, actually.  She was able to walk on it and enjoy herself until we got home and had it x-rayed.  Now she is sporting a cool velcro shoe! She is rockin' the velcro shoe.

Here are a  few pics from our trip.  We are really looking forward to going back.  All the talk we heard about it was legit- Too legit to quit!