The past week has just gone and gone and gone. Good stuff all- but boy am I pooped!
Zazzafooky’s Pet Photo Contest! Please, please take just a minuteto go vote for my pic so I can win a pet portrait and some PetSmart cash! And the glory- don’t forget the glory
You can vote here.
Wow! If you have a girl in your life, you need to check this book out! It is a step by step guide for everything a girl should know. I loved it because the things in this book are fun activities, many of them that are being quickly forgotten in our overly plugged in world. You don’t need tons of money or the latest gear- you need imagination and patience and it will teach you skills like how to play 4-square, how to press flowers, how to do 5 Karate moves & how to tie your hair up with a pencil. It also had section on dealing with tough friend situations, finances and a great one page section on boys that basically said be yourself- you’re good enough. The whole book was old school fun for the new age girl- focused on balance, growth, confidence and happiness. I loved that the book also included a lot of feminist facts and pointed out some of the remarkable women of our time.
The book was also very gender balanced. One might worry that a book with the words “for girls” in the title that it is going to be all lipstick and sparkles, but it isn’t. The book includes the periodic table of elements. It includes how to make a volcano, which is something I loved to do when I was a girl. It teaches weather patterns and clouds and how to build a campfire- all things that I remember learning when I was a girl, but which might easily be forgotten and passed over in today’s world.
We need kids who get to be kids. I want mine outside in the mud being imaginative and figuring out how things work. I want mine to understand how to use today’s technology, but not to be so encumbered by it that they miss out on the simple pleasures of this world. It frightens me that children are so easy to placate and pacify with a screen in front of them. I see video games like Guitar Hero and can’t help but wonder why in the world a parent would buy that rather than a real guitar and a few lessons. Our kids need to be building real skill. They need to be trying things out, seeing where they fit and what makes them tick. This book is loaded with ideas at a level a girl could understand, and should be in the library of every parent who ever needed a cure for boredom. ]]>
What a day.
I went to Sherwin Williams today. It is the only place locally where you can get a gallon of paint to match the base housing paint. I am going to be painting my house from the waist down tomorrow. Maggie has spent the past six months going all Jackson Pollack on the walls and it is time to return them to their plain old cream color. I think she’s mostly over the color all over the walls phase. At any rate the novelty seems to hav worn off.
Sherwin Williams is located in the seedy part of Fairfield. It is not a place I go a lot and I usually go with a friend just to make myself feel better. This time it was just the kids and me. On the way home I stopped behind a few cars at a red light. I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw an old boat of a beater car speeding at my stationary tail. It did not slow down or seem to notice that there was a line of cars stopped until the very last second and I knew that this rust bucket was going to rear end me. My eyes were wide in panic, my foot heavy on the brakes so I didn’t go crashing into the cars in front of me, and muscles that I didn’t know I had tightened in anticipation.
The junker’s tires screached for a good ten feet as it tried to stop. I sat in horrified silence while my brain said, “AHHGGGGGGG!” Somehow, the brakes worked and their car gave mine only the lightest tap of a hit. And then the extremely ghetto couple in the old car laughed at me and sped away without stopping to asses for damage. I. Kid. You. Not.
I sat there, stunned, momentarily blocking traffic while my body began to unclench. I’d been having a moderate fiboromyalgia flare. I hadn’t been feeling great, but I was managing. As my body slowly unclenched, this catapulted me into a pain level so high I’ve been nauseated from the pain. Seriously.
The car has no damage, thankfully. The kids had no idea that we were in an accident.
Now, cross your finger that i win something from NaBloPOMo! If I can’t have Kerflop’s web redesign, I’m hoping for an itunes gift card. Although I will of course, accept any prize and be totally stoked.
Here, I pay through the nose for a simple cut (blow dry extra), and there’s no bonus.]]>
I would have worried about those scores if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to be asked to review Jump Start World 1st Grade. This awesome PC game arrived in my mailbox totally unexpected. In fact- I totally forgot that I had agreed to review it -ha! As luck would have it, it showed up the last day of school before the week long Thanksgiving break that I was certain was going to put Jonas and his mischievous little mind out of my good graces for the holiday season. That Friday had gone particularly bad at school, and I was really quite worried about his progress.
Cue the game. Jonas’ mood improved substantially upon seeing the box, and mine improved as I watched him play the game with no assistance from me. (Always a plus, I am totally against kiddie learning games that require mom to sit there and hold their hand. I can do that without paying thirty bucks for some “baby-smart” aide.) This game gives vocal commands and is set up simply enough for a five year old to use it. It also has graphics impressive enough to get his attention, and just enough character options to keep him engaged. Jonas was hooked.
I let him play on his own for a day before I walked over and asked to see the reading section of the game. Jonas quickly showed me a game that said letter sounds and asked him to identify the letter they matched with. I watched, feeling very relieved, as he correctly identified 25 out of 26 letter sounds correctly- in about 90 seconds. That he could do this with so much proficiency was news to me since he is so uncooperative with the testing. Seeing him excel at this and the other games gave me enough information on my son and what he knew to walk into his conference totally knowing what he did and didn’t know- and that felt good. There were no surprises.
I was also happy enough with the game to pick up a copy for my niece for Christmas, really good tools should be shared, right?
Another bonus to this is that Jonas has been very quick to share with Maggie who can attempt to play some of the easier games. He has also been more willing to do his homework and show off his knowledge. I think he was hitting a rut where all of the rote learning was wearing on him, and this brought a little bit of fun back to the table. Mama’s feeling good.]]>
We were meeting another friend of mine at Temple Square that day and the plan was for me to go home with her for the next few days. She picked me up and when she asked me how I was I said, “I think I’m engaged.” The time passed in a haze because that was all I could think about.
When I got back to my dorm on Saturday night Chris picked me up and we drove over to his grandparent’s house to catch a late movie. As soon as we opened the door, Grandpa came running with arms wide open and crowed, “Welcome to the family!”
He gave me a big hug while Chris hissed through clenched teeth, “I haven’t asked her yet!”
“You two can’t pull the wool over my eyes! I know what’s going on here!”
Chris looked totally defeated. I just about fell down the stairs from laughing so hard.
The next day Chris was bringing me over for Sunday dinner. I had an inkling that he would propose (I wonder why). We drove past the main entrance to the Manti temple, the place where we both wanted to get married. I expected him to drive up and stop, but he didn’t. The poor guy was trying very hard to be suave and everyone was spoiling his romantic plans. As he passed the main entrance I figured he would drive up the back way, which is exactly what he did. He took me out of the car, sat me on a boulder and proposed asking if I would honor him and his family name and be his wife. Of course I said yes.
He then told me that he knew he better do it before he brought me home for a family dinner or he’d be forced to do it right there in front of everyone, which was true. As soon as we arrived we were bombarded on every side, and the wedding plans began. ]]>
The following week marked spring break, a season in Utah marked by blooming flowers, no classes and people getting engaged so fast it’ll make your head spin. Being an out of state student in a tiny town who had never set foot in Utah before being dropped off there for college, I had nothing to do and no car to do it with. So Chris proposed that he take me up to Temple Square to see the sites and that we spend a few days there.
Because we are very goodie two shoes, straightlaced Mormons, we arranged to have me stay at a friend’s house in Provo while Chris stayed with his friends. The next morning my friend dropped me off at Tyler and Amber’s place where Chris was. Tyler was in class at the time and Chris was in the shower. Amber practically jumped me. She immediately began to assess the depth and future of our then three week old relationship. She asked me if Chris and I had talked about marriage, and I said that we had but not seriously. The conversation then turned to less threatening topics, which was a relief.
The second my husband to be stepped out of the bathroom Amber pounced and giddily said, “Let’s go ring shopping!” Chris and I were shocked. He was wondering what the heck I had told Amber. You see, his ultimate plan had been to ditch me with Amber and go ring shopping with Tyler, but he hadn’t shared that with anyone. It was supposed to be a surprise. I was in shock, but trying not to look like I cared too much either way because I didn’t want to scare him off, but I didn’t want him to think that I was opposed to the idea. Amber gleefully dragged us out the door.
She took us to what is probably the fanciest, most expensive ring store in all of Utah. There wasn’t a ring there that wasn’t set in platinum and I don’t recall seeing anything less than a carat on display. I watched Chris go white reading the $20,000 price tags and I kept thinking, “Isn’t that like a down payment on a house?” Thankfully, it was time to go pick up Tyler from his class, and so we left the ridiculously posh jewelry store.
When we picked up Tyler and explained, much to his surprise, what we were doing, he suggested that he take us to the jewelry shop that he had purchased Amber’s ring in. He drove us to the Orem mall.
A few months earlier I had been at this mall with a guy I dated casually when I had been stopped dead in my tracks by a beautiful wedding dress in a display window. I had no serious relationship at the time and no intention of wedding any time in the near future, but when I saw that dress my heart skipped a beat. I have never been the kind of girl who read through bride magazines and planned lavish fairy tale weddings; I had never had my head turn over a cake or a ring or a dress, but this dress was perfection. It was modest and simple in design, but with intricate details that resembled vintage trim. I was absolutely breathless, and I said, “I hope that dress is around when I get married.” The ring shop Tyler took us to was directly across the hall from this dress shop.
Chris and I began to look at rings. He gravitated toward thicker bands and massive rocks, while I favored much more delicate settings. However, in both of the ring stores we had visited, I didn’t see a single ring that made me want to wear it for the rest of my life. Chris and Tyler were sitting down to talk to the jeweler and he shooed me down to the other end of the store. I sat down in front of a ring display and there it was, the most lovely, delicate setting for a ring that I had ever seen. The engagement and wedding bands intertwined gracefully and the wedding band held four smaller stones around the center engagement stone. The edges twisted between smooth and brushed gold. I asked the sales girl to show the ring to Chris and tell him that I wanted something along these lines. Apparently she knew the look on my face because when she quietly brought the ring to my almost-fiancé she said, “This is it. This is the ring. If it isn’t this ring, she’s not going to say yes.” I didn’t hear what she said, but needless to say, Chris was taken aback! He leaned over toward me and said, “I thought you wanted white gold,” which I did. The jeweler immediately confirmed that he had the same set in white gold, and it was done.
Chris then handed me a five dollar bill and told me to go look around and get something to drink. He did not want the entire surprise spoiled, and I know after what the salesgirl said he didn’t want me there telling him to get a huge diamond!
Kicked out of the store with Amber I decided that I might as well go over to the dress shop and see if that gorgeous wedding gown was still there. It was, and it fit like it was made for me. It really was perfect. I took down the information on the dress for later. How many women can say they tried on their wedding dress while their boyfriend was buying their engagement ring?
Well, we caught up with the guys about a half an hour later. Chris was in shock. He had just emptied his bank account, and his surprise was pretty much ruined. I was very much on edge.
Part 5 Tomorrow! ]]>
Microsoft Student. It is a great program following in the footsteps of other Microsoft greats like Encarta and Office, except this one is geared for those really tough homework headaches your kids bring home. I, for one, will be a rockin’ English tutor for my kids, but if they come home with a math question harder than 2 plus 2, I’ll be belly up in seconds. Microsoft Student is a fabulous resource for parents! It can help with Math, English, and more, and it is up todate on the latest topics in our ever changing world. Check out these stats:
Microsoft Math is a collection of powerful tools that give your student the confidence to solve challenging problems in a variety of math and science related subjects.
Research & Information Tools include a full version of Encarta Premium 2008, the #1 best-selling encyclopedia brand, for the past 8 years. Discover how Encarta Premium’s trusted features can help your kids find the most up-to-date research and information on a wide variety of topics.
Foreign Language Help ensures that students can use Microsoft® Word for all their foreign language assignments.
Learning Essentials provides templates, tutorials and toolbars that walk your student through the process of creating papers, reports and presentations that will make them proud of the work they do.
Basically, if your kiddo (or you) have a question, this program can help. If you simply need to build skills or if you as an adult need a quick refresher course on a principle you’re shaky with (I’d personally like to see everyone look up the English section on using plural pronouns with singular subjects and how that is a big no-no, since that’s a writing pet peeve of mine.)
It’s another great tool!
Riding the carousel at the Dickens fair. Good old fashioned fun.]]>