Sunday, December 19, 2010

Project 365 Week 51

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Well here it is one more week to go before the new year.  Wow. I can't wait to get all these pictures in a book and have a very nice keepsake.

Well this past week was so very busy, but I loved it all.  Here is a peek:

Both Talented Kids

Andrew had his youth orchestra holiday program today.  Bella got to narrate Twas the Night Before Christmas.  This shot, believe it or not, includes both of my kids.  Andrew is the cellist with the red tie.  They are singing a part of Stille Nacht.  Their dad is the conductor and one of his friends took this picture.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

These snowmen cake pops won me Queen of the Cookies at my cookie exchange party...again!!  I won last year with my reindeer cake pops.  This year I got a great gift from the gift exchange!!  It was such a nice evening.

Middle School Holiday Program

Here are half of my Sixth Grade chorus.  Rich sat closer than he usually does so he couldn't get them all in one picture. 

Upper School Holiday Program

This is the only picture I got from the Upper School Holiday program tonight.  It was a great evening, and my students did a great job.

 Teacher Gifts

I finished up all the teacher gifts tonight.  I stamped sterling silver blanks and made these.  They turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Oh My Darling Clementine

When most kids say mom can I have an orange they want to eat it.  My daughter wants to decorate it.  She is so cute...and the orange is too.

I Think I'd Rather Have Cookies the market today and this cracked. me. up.  Someone is after my own heart.

In Summary:  What a great week. I am so blessed with such talented kids, my own and my students.  Next week is going to be even better.  I can't wait to get to Iowa and get my hands on all of the kids that I miss so much!! 

More Later (including a Bella dancing video, details from my cookie party, and some random thoughts)

- A Ro

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We Wish You a Merry Hodgepodge

First of all let me say I love these questions!!  Nice job Joyce!! Head on over answer and link up!!

1. What does it mean to have the 'holiday spirit'?
It means enjoying the giving, the doing something for others.  Focusing energy on family and the real reason for the season.

2. What sits atop your tree (s)? Why?
I have an angel on top of my tree.  It sat on top of my Grandma's tree for as long as I can remember.  The angels name was always Amy (my name) so when my Granpy died and she had to move she gave it to me as her tree wasn't big enough any more.  She holds an ornament that has my dad's name on it (he died about 8 years ago).  A VERY VERY special tree topper.

3. When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back?
I really never do, I don't have to.  I am lucky to be surrounded by people who do it for me.  My wonderful husband is at the top of that list, constantly patting me on the back and telling me how wonderful I am.

4. Which of your senses is most sensitive this time of year?
All of them.  Good things to taste.  Beautiful music to hear.    Nieces and nephews to hug and kiss.  Wonderful sights to see, and oh those smells. I just can't pick.

5. What do you have too much of in your kitchen?
Dog is my secret ingredient.

6. What do you do for meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Big meal? Breakfast tradition? Open the cookie tins and have at it?
I have it pretty easy.  Every Christmas Eve we get invited to our friends house for a big meal, and all I have to bring is a dessert.  Christmas morning is Cinnamon rolls after we open our stockings from Santa and then we always travel back to Iowa that afternoon, so it is airport food for us that day.  The next day is the holidays with the family so I just help out with all the fixin's.  I am a very lucky girl.

7. What is the best thing about winter?
I say this as I am experiencing 80 degree weather, but I love the USUALLY crisp air and chillier days.  I also love this season and getting a little snow when we go back to Iowa.

8.  In Summary:  Again I always feel like the luckiest most blessed girl when I get to share a little about my life with you all.  I have an amazing family and an equally amazing life, and thank God for all those wonderful senses, I am enjoying every one of them.

More Later

- A Ro

Monday, December 13, 2010

Project 365 Week 50

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Wow!!  Week 50 where has the year flown to?  We here are busy getting things done for the holidays and having so much fun.  I love this time of the year.



We had a get together/meeting today and I got to play hostess.  I love setting out snacky items and everything goes good with Starbucks coffee!!  It was a great event.


Go Go Go Joseph!!

We had our first set of auditions for our High School spring musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  We have so many talented kids here at this school.  I can't wait to get started.
Art Class

I got to take Bella to her art class today.  It was very fun to see her at work.  She is such a talented gal.

Senor Bella

Everytime I would talk to her she put on her finger mustache and it was so cute.  She really cracks me up!!

They're Here

Christmas orders are starting to arrive.   I LOVE giving and shopping for gifts.  Now where to put everything???

Fifth Grade Sale

Every year the Fifth Graders come up with an item to "manufacture", advertise, and sell.  They sell to the rest of the school and the money goes to a charity that they all vote on.  Bella decided to make cake pops.  So we spent most of the evening making and decorating these.  She did most all of the faces.  I think they turned out SO cute!!  I now have 8 dozen snowmen cake pops to do for my cookie party...sigh.

Senorita Bella

We had our Lower School holiday program today.  Bella sang, played tone chimes, danced, and her art work was picked for the back cover art.  She really can do it all, and look at those brown eyes...gets me every time.  More pics and video to follow.
In Summary:  Again, I do have a son and hopefully this avoiding pictures phase will end...right??  My Bella, however, still loves pictures and really loves to make silly faces in them, lets just face it she IS silly.  I love the holidays but getting everything ready, PLUS a million holiday programs really wear me out.  I wouldn't change a thing!!

More Later

- A Ro

Thursday, December 9, 2010

There is a Story in There Somewhere...I Promise.

Here is the deal.  For those of you that don't know me I teach at the same school both of my kids go to.  It is very nice thing.  We all get in the car in the morning and drive our 25 minutes and then get in the car after school to go back home.  Very nice, one trip, one stop. 

Why am I telling you this?  I'm getting to something, I promise.

Our school's sports seasons are divided into three tri-mesters.  All of the practices are after school.  You can do regular P.E. during the day, but if you choose to participate in an after school sport you then get a free period during the school day.  I'm telling you...the high school students love those free periods.  Anyway you, as a student, need to participate in two of the three trimesters.  My son Andrew takes the first season off, does winter baseball conditioning for the second and plays baseball for the third.

Why am I telling you this?  I'm getting to something, I promise.

During the third tri-mester Andrew does baseball after school and I have the high school musical rehearsals. 

Note:  Thank goodness, it is not THEE High School Musical rehearsals because. seriously, besides pre frontal lobe 10 year olds, who could put up with that for an entire tri-mester???

So it is VERY convienient as we both get done about the same time.  However, the first two tri-mesters aren't so great.  The first one I have rehearsals and Andrew sits around and the second one Andrew has practice so Bella and I sit around.

Why am I telling you this?  I'm getting to something, I promise.  Although as I keep writing I am fearing that when I get to the actual story it will be one of those You-Had-To-Be-There stories and you won't find it nearly as amusing as I did. 

Well don't say I didn't warn you.

So the past couple of weeks (as we are in the second tri-mester) Bella and I have been trying to find stuff to do while we wait for Andrew.  It is usually only about an hour and a half wait, but that is a long time when you are just sitting around - Bella.  And not enough time when you are trying to get and errand done - Me.

Yesterday we decided to try to squeeze in an errand.  Bella is performing with her Dad's orchestra this Sunday for their holiday Christmas concert so we needed to get an outfit for her to wear.  Now I know that I am ususally on top this kind of thing planning and scheduling just the right day to go shopping for this outfit that I knew she needed weeks ago.  Uh...yeah...right, which is why I chose the hour and a half I had yesterday as opposed to the endless hours weekends ago. 

I could go into why those endless hours didn't include shopping for a holiday outfit, but then you'd really be lost when I actually got to my now not so funny story that I originally wanted to tell you, which by now I am fairly certain you are wishing you could have the last few minutes of your life back...sorry.

So off we rush to Kohls to find that perfect holiday outfit in under 90 minutes which has to include the drive there and back.

This what we found at Kohls: (and I am being very serious)
This one we found in Bella's size.  Please tell me that there are no longer 10 year olds that still want to dress their dolly in the same outfit as they are dressed in.

We also found this one in her size too. 

Seriously Kohls.  You are now dead to me.

So luckily there was a Target just around the corner in the same shopping complex, but now we were working on about 45 minutes.

OK, people, THE story is just about to emerge.

We were driving down a little street-ish thing between two stores to cut to the back side of the shopping center.  This little street-ish thing is a lined road that two cars can fit on easily, one going each way.  There is a four way stop at the end because, due to the tall buildings surrounding this street-ish thing, your view of the parking lots on either end is blocked.  So they want all cars to actually stop before entering the parking lots.  So Bella and I still laughing at our recent Kohls trip, pull up the the four way stop when all of the sudden a biker, who didn't stop at his stop sign, turns down our side of the street-ish thing.  He clearly wanted to go down the street-ish thing but was absolutely flying and took his left hand turn a lot little wide and ended up in front of me.  He quickly realized that he was going to run square into the front of my car thus ending up flying over my car via my windshield a la action hero albeit teenager-dressed-in-target-red-and-tan-with-only-his-name-tag-as-a-shield action hero, so he quickly averts left and hits the curb so hard that he (pardon my lanugage, but my one of my father's favorite phrases is the only thing that works here) goes ass over appetite and does some sort of triple lutz spin move that he doesn't quite land.  I am thinking he is dead.  Bella is sitting in shock and the other four cars at the four way stop are motionless.  I throw my car into park (as I was already stopped) and am ready to dash out with all of my extensive first aid training ready (this includes a prayer that I won't have to remember how to do a tournaquet or any sort of CPR) when he suddenly jumps up in front of my right bumper yelling "I'M OK, PEOPLE, I'M OK" gets back on his bike and continues down the street-ish thing.

Everyone at the stop sign just sits for what feels like a couple of minutes.  I am SURE this young man is certainly NOT ok, but he is long gone. 

I know it is totally NOT funny, but when I think back on it I can't help but laugh out loud.

I admittedly am the girl that laughs until she snorts at the American Funniest Home Video of the people falling.  They seriously

So I thought I'd leave you with a Christmas themed people falling video, sorry the video seems to be cut off on one side.  If I was a real blogger I'd know how to fix that...sigh.

Nothing says Happy Holidays like people falling into a Christmas tree. 

Maybe the long read was worth it after all...or maybe not.

More Later

- A Ro

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Feel Good Hodgepodge

It is time for a joyous hodgepodge from Joyce.  Just click on her button and head over to her blog.  Answer the questions and link up.  It is tons of fun...and an easy, she does all the work.  Think of her as a bloggers personal elf.  Except she isn't short, and doesn't have pointy ears...oh you know what I mean.

Have fun!!

1. Have you ever been on a real sleigh ride? How about the warm weather version - a carriage ride?
When I was in high school we took a choir trip to New York and a few of us took a carriage ride.  It was a lot of fun.  I also did all the hay rides during October when I lived in Iowa.  Those are always fun.  Truth be told I'd rather be riding an actual horse than sitting in the carriage.

2. What's your policy on 'chain mail' know, the emails you receive that are often some sort of poem/blessing/good wish that ask you to send it on to 10 or 12 friends? Do you delete without opening, read and trash, read and trash and then worry you won't be blessed/lucky/protected? Do you delete the sender from your contacts or just go ahead and send the love onward?
Well since I haven't received my check from Microsoft yet that was promised a few weeks ago, I'll be giving them up.

just kidding.

I hardly ever read them, I never forward them, but also don't hold it against anyone who does.  If it makes someone happy to put it in my inbox then I am more than happy to have it.
3. Who is your favorite character in any of the Christmas movies and why?
Well Clark Griswold makes me laugh the most, but I really LOVE Buddy the Elf.

4. Share a favorite quote.
The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loudly for all to hear.

yep...I'm a singer...I practice that daily.

5. What's your favorite holiday scent?
hmmmm...not sure about this one.  Here is the deal.  I love to bake at the holidays but I don't bake anything really all that "holiday-ish"  Just the usual cake pops, and sugar cookies.  I love candles but don't buy them for myself so the ones I have aren't my favorite smells.

OK long story short...probably my mom's apple cider...Oh yeah Michelle and Stacia...its coming.

6. Does the Christmas season stress you out? In what way?
It really should.  I have a big family to buy for, numerous job related holiday activities (concerts, assemblies), teacher gifts to make but I LOVE this time of the year so no stress in anyway!!  I won't allow it.
7. What's the best thing about your life right now?
What's not good about my life right now.  I mean really.  I have an amazing husband, wonderful kids and step kids, an extended family of nieces, nephews, sister, sisters in laws, brothers, brother in law, mom, step dad....all who love me very much.  I have an amazing job and get to do what I love.  Not to mention all my students.  My life is amazing, and I couldn't ask for more.

8. In Summary:  Bring on the holidays I'm ready...but not too fast I want to enjoy EVERY minute.

More Later

- A Ro

The Late Show With A-Ro

Getting up at 4:15 this morning for my date with a treadmill was very hard.  As I was trying to slog through my 3 mile run on that $8&;% treadmill (have I mentioned how much I hate to run on a treadmill??) in between deciding on what outfit I could wear that didn't require ironing and how I could sneak out at lunch to avoid having to come up with lunch, I realized that I didn't get much sleep last night.

You see I have this problem.  I talk and walk and do odd things in my sleep.  And last night I remember waking up and sitting on the edge of the bed and staring at the sliding glass door and thinking that it looked weird and that I needed to fix it. 12:30 a.m. I needed to fix the sliding glass door.

Rich tells me all kinds of stories about how I wake up in the middle of the night.  Sometimes I am choking.  I mean violently coughing.  I sometimes remember these episodes and then remember him stroking my hair and telling me I am going to be OK and getting me to lay back down.  Sometimes I talk to him, and sometimes I just startle myself.

Sounds very amusing doesn't it.

I have always done weird things when I am sleeping.  Mostly it is just having conversations that I don't remember.  However, there was one time I thought the ceiling was coming down upon me, similar to the scene in Star Wars where the walls start to come together when they are in the garbage bin with that big slimy snake thing, but only different.  Andrew was walking up the stairs and must have startled me because I suddenly felt the need to jump down the stairs and save him, probably breaking both of our legs but avoiding being crushed by my apparent Star Wars-esque fate, but I quickly realized that Bella was sleeping in the same room and I needed to save her first.and woke up enough to realize the reality before I got to her bed.

Phew...and all Andrew could say to me was "Mom are you having a seizure?"

He obviously did not appreciate my extreme love for him or remember how upset Chewbacca was when the pole wouldn't stop the walls and they were about to be crushed.

My loving brothers used to take full advantage of my condition when I would come home from college.  You see my bedroom was the first one off the hallway across from the kitchen and my brothers, still in high school, would be up late studying (wink wink) and would come into my room when I was asleep just to see if I would talk to them.

Ah, the joys of having younger brothers only 21 months apart.

Now I am afraid that I have passed this sleep disorder on to my son.   You see when I go to wake him up in the morning I am often greeted with absolute coherent nonsense.

Me:  Andrew honey it is time to wake up (gently rubbing his back)

Andrew:  OK mom...but I first need to finish making up my starting pitching rotation.

Me:  (realizing that my son isn't quite awake although eyes are open and he is looking right at me) OK honey you can finish that as soon as you get out of the shower.

Andrew:  NO MOM IT HAS TO BE DONE NOW (caps = stern voice)

Me:  OK honey just wake up and we can get it done


Talk about stating the obvious.

We usually get a good laugh out if it all and a couple of nights ago at the dinner table we all sat and shared our Amy/Andrew wake us up comedy routines at great length.

I am glad that I am such a source of laughter.

I am glad that I have passed on the late night entertainment gene to my son.

Future wife can thank me later.

More Later

- A Ro

Monday, December 6, 2010

Project 365 Week 49

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Again, this time of the year is just flying by.  I am enjoying every minute of it.  Sorry this is so late, but this weekend was very busy (as all of ours are).

Please enjoy peeks at the last few weeks of this wonderful year.


Artist Bella

Here is Bella's latest art work.  It is her first oil painting.  I am so amazed at her artistic talent.


Athlete Bella

Today was Bella's sports assembly.  She was touted as the defensive player that the other team hated to play against.  I was so proud of her.

Shoes Glorious Shoes

I got my free gift from DSW in the mail today.  This bag makes me happy.  Not as happy as shoes, but almost.

 ...And the Stockings Were Hung...

This is one of my favorite sights this holiday season.  All of our stockings hung together.  It makes me very happy.


Bella's Fractal

Bella got to do art in math this week.  This is her finished project.  This picture doesn't do it justice.
Wow What Big Eyes You Have

How much do I love this girl.  She is smart, funny, beautiful, and...SILLY!!  She created big eyes for her and cut slits in them so she could see.   Did I mention she is practical?

Yep...Saturday Night At Target

What do you do on your Saturday night??  I go grocery shopping and go to Target.  Make that WE go grocery shopping and go to Target.  Bella and Rich went too.  It is actually a good time to go...not very busy at all.  I am more than sure that I'll be gracing these doors a dozen or more times before this season is over.

In Summary:  Yes I do still have a son, just not a photogenic one.  I obviously have a very talented daughter whom I love dearly...and from the looks of it we spend a lot of time together.  I am very happy to be in the holiday season even if that means daily trips to Target...and free bags from my favorite shoe store.  I am such a lucky blessed gal.

More Later

- A Ro

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Happy Place

I miss these people.

I miss them a lot.

I miss other people that are not in this pictures, don't get me wrong.
Don't worry I'll see you soon.

These pictures sure do make me happy

...very happy.

Thank you joining me in my happy place.

More Later

- A Ro

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Way It Is

There are a few things on my heart and mind today, and since this is supposed to be a blog about me and my life...I choose to share.

Today Bella and I went out to pick out stockings for Rich’s kids to hang on our mantle.  We did this because they are now a part of our family, and we want them to be included and have stockings just like the rest of us.  I care for them and want to include them, as they should be included. 

 (I ordered their initial pins today...and now I only wish I had big school pictures too)

An anonymous commenter has told me many times that Rich's kids don’t want to be part of my family, that they don’t like me and don’t want anything to do with me.  I have been told that they throw away my gifts, smash them in the driveway, and that I need to leave them alone.

I can’t do that…I won’t do that…they are part of my family now.  I will do everything I can to make them feel like a part of our family and make them feel wanted and loved.

So anonymous commenter…comment away.  Tell me all those things…it won’t matter because I will continue to treat them like they are my family, and care about them. 

It doesn’t matter if they throw away my gifts.

It doesn’t matter if they smash them in the driveway.

It doesn’t matter if they take their stockings and give away every single item in them.

It doesn't matter if they tell you how much they hate me.
It really doesn't even matter to me if they ever choose to look me in the eye and tell me they hate me.

I will continue to give them gifts, do fun things with them when they are with me, to love them, care for them, support them, and be the best step mom I can be.   They will get their stocking when I see them in Iowa.  They will have an ornament on our tree.  They will have pictures on our walls. They will get birthday emails, and birthday cakes, and they will know I care.

Because they are now a part of our family.

Because I care for them.

Because love will always conquer hate.

So comment away.  You can promote hate and exclusion.  I will promote love and acceptance.

More Later

- A Ro

The Hodgepodge...Hurray

It is that time of week for us to put on our hodgepodge thinking caps and join Joyce in being random.

1. What is the most interesting thing you've done in the last year?
Well the word interesting somehow conjures up something that may or may not be good...and, well, interesting is not a word that usually describes me.  I usually look for ways to be the norm, in an exceptional kind of way of course.  After all I am a diva.

As you can see I am just stalling because I can't think of anything interesting that I did last year.  I mean I did have the most amazing and life changing wedding last year...but interesting?  I did run a 10K against my better judgment...but interesting?

well I tried.

2. What is your most meaningful family heirloom?
I would say that my boxes of pictures would be my most meaningful family heirloom.  I don't really have anyTHING that is an heirloom.  My mom might think of something and remind me.  Pictures mean the most to me.
3. What food festival would you most like to attend? If you're not sure click here to see a list of possibilities.
all of the above.

4. you love it or is it considered a four letter word where you live?
I love snow when I am in California and don't have to deal with it.  I love snow when I am home in Iowa for the short week that I am there.  I think it is a four letter word when I have had to deal with it for months and months.

5. Can you ski? Do you ski? Are you any good? 
No.  No.  and No.

6. What quality in your spouse or best friend are you most thankful for?
Rich is the most even keeled guy I know.  He is level headed, handles crises in a very calm manner, and doesn't usually get his feathered ruffled.  He also will admit when he is wrong, and always makes me feel adored and loved.

He is just dreamy!!

7. Describe the coziest spot in your home.
Right now it is on the corner of my couch with a chaise section.  I have a pillow, a blanket, and my Christmas tree in full view, and then add in the fireplace (which we have not fired up yet)...I love it.

8. In Summary: I am not very interesting, I love snow, but won't ski.  I love old pictures, food, and my amazing husband, especially cuddled up on my couch.

More Later

- A Ro