Monday, December 12, 2016

Winner, Winner, Robot Dinner

Each month at my school we have a team building meeting with all the teachers and support staff.  I know that doesn't sound super fun, but I have to admit that they are usually very entertaining. On Thursday of last week we had our meeting and we split into teams and basically played an Escape Room type game.  I happened to be on the winning team, so I scored a Dunkin' Donuts gift card. Cha-ching! And THEN they were raffling off an Amazon Echo Dot, which I also happened to win.  Double CHA-CHING!  I guess it really was my lucky day! The dot is pretty darn cool- it plays music on command, gives me the weather, let's me Google things about Grumpy Cat, tells me jokes and even lets me order things from Amazon, which I did for the first time yesterday.  Who can pass up the Garth Brooks Ultimate Collection double CD for $1.69?  I couldn't say no and lose money on the deal.  But seriously, is this not the future??!! When I was a kid, I had to write things down on paper and mail them to people to communicate long distance.  Now there is a named robot in my kitchen that instantly connects me to ESPN radio broadcasting live from the other side of the country. Exciting times, friends.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Rosa 2.0

Well, I put it off and dragged my feet as long as I could, I guess.  But Cindy now has a bunny. Again. A sweet member of our ward raises Rex rabbits and he graciously decided that Cindy could have one for free.  So now we got this guy (or girl- Cindy has yet to try and really figure out what we're dealing with here):  

Yes, tiny. Yes, crazy soft. Yes, adorable. And Yes, completely at the mercy of Cindy the 12 year old because this is not my pet.  It lives and dies by her hand, I cannot get involved.  Cindy has not named it yet, but has been taking suggestions on Facebook.  She wants something that is kind of Christmasy so she will always remember when she got it.  So far Tinsel and Ginger (a.ka. Gingerbread) are winning.  Personally, I'm pulling for Vixen.  Or maybe Grinchy McGrinchface. (Wait, that's my nickname.)  At any rate, good luck little fur face!  May the odds be ever in your favor :)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Recital Time

Luke had another official piano recital last week! After taking the summer off from piano I was worried that he was not going to have the interest (or the memory) to get back into the swing of things with piano lessons, but once again he continues to impress me with his pleasant disposition and willing attitude.  He worked very hard on his recital pieces- let's be honest, I still hear "Shadow Chase" in my sleep and probably will for a few months- and he turned in an impressive performance. Spring recital, here we come!

Luke: Piano player, artist, ladies man. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Officially Christmas

This year's Choctaw ornament finally arrived!  This makes #11 in my little collection and I think Cindy and Luke are finally getting as excited about these as I have always been.  This year's ornament features the Choctaw Nation's official chapel, which oddly enough reminds us all of a Mormon chapel.  It's not a 3-D, color raccoon with a wagging tail, but it's still pretty nice. Christmas may now begin.

Monday, December 5, 2016


I finally figured out what the Florida equivalent of snow is.
It's acorns.  
Holy crap, is it acorns.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Brian Quickie

Brian called me today so we could catch up on things.  Eventually the conversation turned to Liverpool, our shared favorite English Premier League soccer team, which is currently ranked #1. In years past we've ended the season ranked about #7, so this surge to the top has been quite thrilling to watch.  I expressed a little reservation about finishing at the top by saying, "I'm not sure we can actually hold on to win the championship, but for right now, I am enjoying every minute of it."  Brian immediately cut me off.  "Whoa, whoa, just hold on there! We live in a new world.  Donald.Trump. just got elected president, so CLEARLY any thing that you think has absolutely no chance of happening, totally has a chance. Dream big, Jess."  Well, in that case, let's talk about the Bucs...

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Everything Else That Happened In October 2016

What about everything else that happened in October?

Cindy got inducted into the National Junior Honor Society....

I made a giant fire in my backyard that almost burned down our entire property...

We took secret pictures of Luke because he was sleeping with his eyes open again...

I found Salted Caramel flavored cheese at Aldi...

Luke earned a bunch of scout awards and refused to hug his leader...

I won free entry into a local 5K from Orange Theory fitness.  And I won my age group! AND, Jacob came to watch me race, which, let's be honest, was way better than the medal :)

Cucuface totally betrayed me on National Cat Day...

 Luke had some soccer games and Cindy came to "watch"...

One of Jacob's former soccer players at the high school got baptized!....

We finally went to the outdoor movie for South McKeel!!!  Too bad it was the latest Ice Age...

Luke played some more soccer games and Cindy came to "watch"... (i.e. find a dog to kidnap and love forever...)

And we spent some time at 2Infinity trampoline park, where Luke finally mastered the taller warped wall and fell into foam pits and could barely get out.  Oh wait, that last one may have been me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween 2016

Halloween officially started with the Bartow Halloween parade, that I did not go to for the first time in 10 years.  Too much going on for me, but luckily Davina had mercy on my children's poor souls and took them with her kids for me.  

Here is living proof that Cindy once ate a piece of fruit.

The next day was the church Fall Festival, my fourth as Primary President and I would say that I think I finally figured out how to do things right!  So, I guess it's time to be released? Isn't that how things work?

Let's see, what is a costume that is super cheap and super easy?
Oddly symmetrical grapes, yes, perfect.

The kid's pumpkins turned out great this year!!! (And not just because we got them pre-hollowed out and for FREE from the Middle School at McKeel.)  Cindy went with the classic black cat and Luke had me really worried with this tiny, intricate design he drew by hand with thick black marker.

But you know what? I will shut my doubting pumpkin hole because he completely pulled it off!

Behold the Grumpster!

The kids are pretty good at knowing what they want to be for Halloween with at least some time for me to figure out how to pull it off, but Cindy left it down to the wire this year.  Luke was easy.  He knew he wanted to be The Flash, and after convincing him that I would somehow make it so the lightning bolts on his head did NOT look like bug antennae, he was happy as a clam with this Amazon special.  Cindy was "Hyper Kyle" from the Studio C sketch but finding adult footie pajamas was not a good last minute plan.  Thankfully Wal-Mart had something to work with and there wasn't really much left for me to do after that.  I'll take it!

We Trick-or-Treated with our usual group over in the Bailey's neighborhood. 
 One quarter mile loop and we were done :)

Candy angel, anyone?

This had to be my favorite single piece of candy.  Literally.

A sealed mini bag filled with ONE single candy corn that was broken in half.  Careful, Brach's, that serving size is getting a little out of hand.

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Lunchroom Quickie

I know, I know. The last post I wrote was about the lunchroom, but it continues to be the greatest source of simultaneous horror and entertainment I have ever stumbled upon.  In particular, I get to enjoy the daily tattle tale reports from my dear sweet second graders.  And usually I respond to these reports in one of two ways: 1. I completely ignore them and say "Just eat your food."  OR 2. I make a confused squinty face and silently walk away.  This covers everything from "He told me to shut up" to "She's irritating me with her pickle." However, I wasn't sure how to react today when one of my repeat offenders called me over to his table to say that his friend, "Keeps telling the lunch lady that I like her and want to take her to Applebee's." Neither of my standard reactions covered this one because I looked at that kid in total shock and said, "Is Applebee's still open?"

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Hitchhikers Guide to The Lunchroom

Just in case it has been a long time since you ate food in a school cafeteria, I am here to give you the heads up on how things work in there now a days.  My 55 minutes per day of observing child lunchroom behavior allows me to save you the embarrassment the next time you show up to eat with your child at school.  I mean, you wouldn't want to pick up an apple and just take a regular bite like a moron, would you?  I didn't think so.  When in Rome, people.

How to Eat....

1.  A whole orange:  Mangle the entire fruit to shreds trying to open it, then take half the orange and squeeze the juice out into one of the empty foam compartments in your lunch tray.  Suck up the juice with a straw.  Throw the other half of the orange in the garbage.

2.  Pizza:  Pull the entire cheese topping off in one single, slimy sheet.  Roll up said cheese layer into a big cheese cigar.  Eat cigar, then throw the rest of the pizza in the garbage.  

3.  A corn dog: (There are MULTIPLE options with this one, this is just one suggestion) First, take the corn dog off of the stick.  Next, remove the outer corn dog jacket and break it up in to small pieces.  Eat the hot dog with lots of ketchup and airplane noises.  Finally, take the corn dog jacket scraps and mash them up into one giant ball.  Place the whole ball in your mouth and then torment your neighbor with the remaining stick. Throw the rest of your food in the garbage. 

4.  Grapes (or grape tomatoes):  Place cup of grapes on your tray.  Walk to your seat with said tray. Look back at your friend who is walking behind you and miss the table when you go to set your tray on it.  Enjoy the superior rolling motion of grapes as they scatter in all directions.  Ask the lunch lady for replacement grapes. Repeat process.  

5.  Pringles- Open the small container.  Take pointer finger and insert into the stack of chips and poke them repeatedly until they all break into pieces the size of confetti.  Accidentally knock the container over with your elbow.  Wait until the fifth time of being told to pick it up to place in garbage.

6.  Chicken drummies- Hold chicken by the bone.  Squeeze ketchup all over the drummie and eat it, making sure to get ketchup on both cheeks and forehead.  Throw the rest of your food in the garbage.  
7.  Chocolate chocolate chip muffin-  Struggle for 4 minutes trying to open the muffin.  Once a cafeteria worker has opened it for you, proceed to crumble up the entire muffin until it looks like a pile of ground beef.  Eat with spork.  Throw the rest of your food in the garbage.

8.  Vegetables: (this includes broccoli, corn, baked beans, carrots, succotash, sweet potatoes, red peppers, cauliflower, salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, and/or brussel sprouts) -  Take from lunch lady and place directly in garbage.

9.  Pulled pork-  Use spork to "frost" the pile of pork with a healthy coating of butter.  Eat with a look that says, "That's not as good as I thought it would be."  Throw the rest of the pork in the garbage.

10.  Chocolate milk-  Struggle unsuccessfully to open the milk container and finally get so upset that you rip it open all the way down to the milk level.  Pour directly in lap.  

11.  On-the-go juice powders:  Open the packet poorly, so as to make the powder come out both sides of the opening.  Tilt the opened packet upside down one inch to the left of the opening of the water bottle, making sure that none of the powder gets inside the water bottle, but that all of it lands on the table, your shirt and your face.  Wait until given a wet paper towel to clean it up for the real magic to happen. Throw everything within a 20 foot radius in the garbage.  

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Luke Quickie

Just now Luke came walking up to me wincing and holding his left hand on his right shoulder.  When I asked what was wrong he said, "I just drank a bunch of milk and now it feels like there's a hole in my shoulder."  I, of course, did what any great mother would do.  I laughed my head off at him!!! What the heck does that even mean???!  I seriously could not stop laughing.  Poor guy was a little offended that approximately zero cares were being given about his pain, but it's just kinda random, wouldn't you say?  I eventually rubbed his shoulder and told him to quit drinking so much milk (I could totally be a doctor), and the situation seemed to resolve itself.  Luke, you never disappoint me :)

And now for something completely different:

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Deep Thoughts

A few weeks ago Jacob got a call from an acquaintance needing an emergency DJ because they had hired one that did not show up for a birthday party.  After he called to tell me we were leaving soon for Clearwater Beach, I hung up and immediately began thinking in my head about the music for this party.  It went something like this....

"Let's see, she is turning 40, so that means we are going to be playing what?  70's music?  No, wait, is that right?  Let's see, if she is 40 now........ that means that she was.....carry the one.......18 in.........1993.  HOLY CRAP, 1993.  I GRADUATED IN 1997."  

*Silence and deep thought the rest of the ride home*

The party turned out to not be a big deal at all, not sure why they even hired a DJ to be honest, but the hotel was right on the beach and I got to see a killer sunset.  The bartender even put the tv on the BYU vs Utah game for a short time until everyone realized they were watching a BYU vs Utah game, and then they immediately changed it to the SEC.  I didn't really want to watch it anyway...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hand Me My Wand, Dear

Last Friday was "Frozen Day" in 4th grade at the school.  The kids were going to be studying the ice age and the science of snowflakes and reindeer ventriloquy or something like that, so all the teachers were dressed as characters from the movie and the kids were allowed to dress up as well.  Luke didn't really mention this fact to me ahead of time but after we were at school for about 10 seconds and he could see how seriously all of his friends were taking this day, he came to me in a panic begging me to "make him an Olaf costume."  Now, I admit, I am good.  Sometimes I am even real good.  But making an Olaf costume basically out of nothing was a little beyond my capabilities.  Or so I thought! I actually went to the teacher workroom and found things in the recycle bin to put together three pieces of coal, a carrot nose and three little hairs that I attached to my black headband and BAM! You're welcome, Luke.  You won't really appreciate this until later, like maybe when you are on your mission and someone urgently asks you to make them a snowman costume out of nothing. And in that moment you will think "Why do you need a snowman costume, President?"

Yoo-hoo, big student blow out!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Roadie Awards Vol. 5, Studio C

During our time in Utah, Studio C was holding a live taping at BYU.  We entered the drawing for free tickets, but alas, my email was sadly overlooked.  So we decided to go the hard route and do the old standby line.  

Cindy's best gal pal Charlotte and her family happened to be in Utah as well, so we joined forces on our adventure.  

This was the line for standby tickets just before noon when the line was supposed to begin forming.

Charlotte and family made signs in hopes of garnering support for our quest to get inside for the taping.  

We made it to the front of the line and were given a standby number of 10.  They didn't seem too optimistic that we would get in, but they did promise that we would be able to watch the live feed from upstairs and perhaps have a visit from some of the cast members.  

We had until 5pm to wait around, so we decided to spend our time in Provo by:

Cozying up to Jeremy...

Kicking it with Matt...

Reenacting a little shoulder angel...

Battling the brutal summer crowds for a bowl of Whoosh Cecil and Graham Canyon at the Creamery on 9th...

Hitting the classic Orem Nickelcade and finally winning 100 tickets on the super prize wheel of fantasical amusement...

And checking out the new Provo City temple.

We finally made it back to the broadcasting building to wait in line and find out our Studio C fate.

We didn't make it in :(  Michelle, Cindy and her friends were pretty disappointed, but just as promised, we were shown to the overflow room where we got to watch the entire live taping AND.....

We received a surprise visit from Adam and James!!

They didn't have time for autographs, but after a short Q&A they ran around the room for high fives.  I asked Cindy, if she knew how it would end going in to this experience, which one would she have chosen?  Get in to the taping or meet these guys?  She said meeting the cast was way better.  Secretly, I totally planned it that way.  I am just that good of a mom.  

Yeah, okay, so I didn't really hand out any "awards" in this post, but you know what? You know who deserves an award?  YOU.  Thank you, loyal Sweeneyville reader for not giving up on me and my attempt at blogging about my summer vacation before Halloween.