I hope that your Christmas was as wonderful as ours. I think Chad would agree with me that we would totally give up all our gifts just for the joy that is in the boys faces as they come downstairs on Christmas morning. What a feeling... Definitely one of the most precious of parenting moments.... Here is some excitement saved on film.
I just got an email from Killian's teacher with this picture attached:
This morning when they were doing writing she told them they could write anything they wanted to write about Christmas. This is sort of like the license plate game for those of us who don't teach kindergarten, so after the picture she sent me the translation:
"Happy Birthday Jesus! You are my Savior. Have fun at Bethlehem."
I have my last performances of the semester coming up (thank goodness) with my holiday strings playing at the Children's Museum in Uptown Normal on Sunday (at 1 p.m.; fyi this is my way of getting away with doing Christmas music, which I LOVE!) and my PJHS Winter Concert on Monday night at 7 p.m. At that concert we are raffling off a music stand (donated by The Music Shoppe and painted by Amy Orwig) tickets are only $1 each or 6 for $5; the best part is it is 100% profit for us!!! If you are interested in a ticket (come on you know you always wanted an orange stand with a python painted on it,) email me or comment and I can get back to you with info.
We survived the "Bowling Birthday" party. Monday was Killian's birthday, I took 1/2 personal day to go to school and take his treats as well as be able to put the finishing touches on the party. Here are the cookies, aren't they SO cute? He invited a ton of friends and got way too many presents, see exhibit B:
This weekend is the performance of Annie @ Normal West. Shows are tonight at 7 p.m., tomorrow at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Now if you read my previous post you will understand how I have been so busy. I am not physically conducting the pit this year, but have been involved in several other ways, let's just say I am tired from all the hours combined together, this week has been CRAZY!
Every year (for about the last 12 years, with the exception of the year I was in labor during the performance) I have played for a concert series called Grace Family Christmas at Grace Pres in Peoria. This year they have a new (beautiful) church out on Rt. 91 (by the Shoppes at Grand Prairie.) It is a long haul but a very rewarding experience both musically and financially. If you want to see it the concerts will be televised on NBC on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. They have already sold out all performances!!!
Another guilt for the first born, Killian's lost tooth count is 2 as of yesterday... I am remembering being so excited when he would get a tooth (which came in late and it feels like he is losing them early....) Yet with Cohen, I barely remember him getting teeth, isn't that terrible???
The cute part of this (not the guilty part) is that he lost the tooth after school on the blacktop and couldn't find it to bring it home to leave under his pillow. He wrote the toothfairy a letter that he left instead of a tooth, good news it worked!!!
Well, you may have noticed a short absence... things have been beyond hectic here. First there was work drama, not going to share, just going to say if you are not in "the business" for the kids, then get the H out!!! Then there was a visit to prompt care with both boys, Killian had sinus infection and bronchitis, Cohen had an ear infection and pneumonia... that was fun. After that we return home to really hot water, which ended up being a flooded basement and broken hot water heater, oh yeah that day was great!!!
Just when we thought things were looking up we sent Killian to school for his "feast" which is all he has talked about literally for two weeks and how he gets to be a "Canadian-American" so he goes to school only to have Mrs. Marcum (the school nurse) call me and ask me to talk to him about his tummy issues. He then begs me to not pick him up right away because the feast was about to begin, I have never felt so heartbroken for him... it was SO SAD. But, I bundled Cohen (still home sick) up and go retrieve Killian. He had picked up the noravirus that has been going around Unit 5. That was wonderful with projectile vomiting and diarrhea, within 12 hours I had it and then 24 hours after that Cohen had it. We were healthy enough to go have Thanksgiving at my parents house and a shopping marathon, but then on Friday morning Cohen was complaining about his ear again and the pain was so bad he vomited from that...so.... back to the Dr. we went. Then to top the week off Chad finally caught the noravirus by Saturday. So in case you missed all of that we were all sick (it sucked and I missed 3 days of work.) I hate to jinx it but we all seem healthy (except colds) today.
Very excited to mark something off my to-do list this weekend. Thanks to my wonderful friend Bobby, we were able to make all the b-day invites for Killian's friend party and the little treat boxes (that we will fill later with M&M's). Aren't they cute???
Sorry it's sideways (it isn't saved that way on my computer but for some reason it doesn't want to be the other way:( Bummer!!! But you still get the idea right?)
At what point did my excitement for school wear off? I have always made it a point to call going to work, going to school, on purpose, because if you like your job it shouldn't feel like work, but I cannot tell a lie, this year has been a struggle for me, it feels like work!
But just as I needed a little reminder... there is my blessing... Killian came home from school yesterday so excited, they started a new unit and it is going to be SO COOL. They learned all about the Canadian-Americans (mis-heard by Killian, really Native Americans) and he gets to learn about them and in the end they get to make their costumes and have a feast. He is thrilled that he will get to be a "canative" (pronounced k-nay-tiv) with his friends! I think after talking it through last night we convinced him that it is really Native Americans, but we are still happy to see his enthusiasm for school:)
I do, so I am posting a link to a cool Mommy blog I like to read: Inspired to Action
This blog does a weekly drawing that they like to call Motivation Monday, this week the prize is SWEET!!! It is a gift certificate for some Lisa Leonard Design jewelry. This link takes you directly to one of the things on my wish list (yes, I have a wish list on that site:) If you read in the comments from today's post you will see how I took action!!!
In two clicks you can help my blogger mommy friend Annalea win a great big prize!!! Think of the time it took you to read that sentence, you could have already done two clicks... Hmmm... I think you can help her out, she recently entered a design contest by submitting photos of Casa Hart. If you vote for Annalea's Sunny (wonderfully decorated space) she could win a trip with her hubby to NYC. Now just think, would I give two clicks to you? Vote here: Annalea's Sunny Room
In the car last night:
Killian: "Hey guys, what is the best holiday?"
our response: "Halloween?" (our thinking is that is where he was going since today is Halloween)
Killian: "NO, Christmas, because Jesus was born."
insert short pause.....
"Ok, so what's the difference between male and female?"
Chad is once again a more "hands on" parent than I am, but in this case I am really ok with it. While I was at a conference last weekend, he took time to carve pumpkins with the boys:) Cohen was really all about it, Killian was more of a designer (delegating work to daddy) and an eater (daddy cooked the seeds!) Here are some pics!!! Enjoy!!!
Interested to see what you think of the updates I have made to my school site, visit it and let me know: PJHS Orchestra Blog
I finally figured out how to make it look more like a website and a "little" less like a blog. I want to know if you find it easy to navigate and if you like the layout... Thanks for weighing in for me.:)
Today is the day of my PJHS Orchestra fundraiser. Dine in or Carry Out at any Bloomington-Normal Monical's and give them this flyer to donate 20% of your total to our orchestra!!! It is an easy way for us to be able to earn money with students having to "sell" things. Please consider pizza today!!!!
A few weeks ago I played a wedding where I felt like I was the string quartet on the Titannic (aka, I was going down with the ship!) As the ceremony went on the wind picked up, lucky for us there were some very gracious guests who decided to "help" by holding down our tent and "helping" hold our music on the stands. Not sure it made us play the best we have ever played, but we made it through anyway. I am posting a link to Damon & Chanel's wedding video because it is so unique, I have never seen anything like it, like their own personal music video. Everything looks so beautiful and romantic. *Note you will NOT hear any of our string quartet in this video:) Damon & Chanel's Wedding
I have told you before how behind I am on blogging, soooo behind.... Anyway, my mom and dad had a weiner roast when Alex & Libby were up visiting Dana and Greg, one of the activities was fishing, and Killian was super excited, until he had to touch the fish... thank goodness for Uncle Greg!
I am somewhat glad that other members of my family love their birthdays as much as I love mine:) This week was my niece's birthday, we had Amberpalooza... it involved lots of eating of great food and ended with a weekend trip up to Great America. It was our first time ever going to Fright Fest, which was so cool. Killian had never been to an amusement park and had a BLAST!!! He went on every ride that he was tall enough for including roller coasters. Fright Fest was awesome too, great decorations, huanted houses (including SAW Live which Amber and Chad were all about,) and zombies walking (and dancing) all over the park.
Spoiler alert!!!! We had a "photo shoot" with Chad's Aunt Margie and got some GREAT shots for our Christmas cards... here is a cute one of the boys, the pics on the side bar are also from her!
Thanks Aunt Margie!!!!
Do you think there was less guilt in parenting before the internet?
Chad took Killian in to the dentist this morning for his 6 month check. Now you may remember from previous posts that Killian had two "Sugar Bugs" before that Dr. Hall already had to fix. Today Killian was a rock star and behaved very well, even through 3 x-rays (which earned him an extra "prize" from the prize machine,) unfortunately his teeth did not cooperate so much:( 5 more cavities, yes, that's right I said 5!!! Did I mention that we haven't even finished paying for the previous two fillings... ugh... so just when I think I am the worst mommy in the world, the internet is there to remind me that yes, this is truly my fault, check out this website which in the first q&a says no soft teeth are not the problem, is the genes and bacteria the mother's pass on to their children that dooms them before they even start brushing!!! UGH... I would have still felt bad before reading this, but this definitely doesn't help.
PJHS is having a Book Fair at Barnes and Noble on Saturday Oct. 9th; any purchases that day will benefit our school and our classroom library initiative. Please consider going out, even if it is just to grab a Starbucks:)
Hair... What do you think? I have grown it out for December's wedding, which is now come and past (nearly a month!) and my hair is long. I enjoy it for pony tails, but seriously how many days out of the week is it ok to wear a pony tail as a 30-something? The curly hair thing saves me a day or two also, but that gets a little big.... Thoughts anyone????
Have you ever had the feeling sitting in church that the pastor is talking directly to you? I know, I know, if they are good at their job you are supposed to feel like that, but that is not what I mean. I literally leaned over to Chad during the sermon yesterday and said, have you and Vaughn been talking? Did you ask him to preach directly to me?
Yikes, here it is, I am going to lay it out there... I know you are going to find this unbelievable, but.... sometimes I struggle with priorities, I know, shocker right? I just always have the feeling that things need to be done and I am not a half ass kind of girl (pardon my language, but I couldn't think of a better way to say it.) If I am going to do something I am going to do it, and I am going to be awesome at it. (For those of you who remember this would be why the one lowly B on my transcript in all of my graduate studies nearly sent me to the asylum.) When I work, I work; I don't do much sitting and I really don't do well without a schedule. This is probably the thing that drives Chad crazy the most.
So here we sit, in church, the early service (already out of our comfort zone), listening to a sermon and I am thinking jeez, really Chad, did you have to ask for this sermon, I feel like our seat near the back is not far enough way, can everyone tell that Vaughn is speaking directly to me? His sermon today was titled, "Solid Ground in Shaky Times; Significance, not Success." (FYI, you can catch our church's sermons via the website or podcast, www.wesley-umc.com) Here is the basis of it all, when you look back through the years on your time, what is significant, what is important. Will my kids remember me tucking them in at night or will they remember that I had rehearsals? Am I spending quality time with them when we are together? What are my priorities? I know that I am being harder on myself than is necessary with this, but it sure did get me thinking.... So here is my challenge (we will see if anyone actually reads this,) what did you do that was significant this week??? Don't be shy.....
So... since I am finally done with courses (again) and I have promised Chad that I will not take any classes for AT LEAST a year, I am finally able to devote more time to marketing my string quartet. I have had my string quartet for many years now (only two original members, Ruthie and I) and have played many weddings. We have had a great opportunity to join forces with other vendors with Central Illinois Weddings. Basically we support and promote each other's businesses in hopes to increase business. I have been busy updating our brochures and business cards to also increase business. The bad news is if you google Topaz String Quartet you find someone else, booo.... Any thoughts out there, what do I do about this???
I am sorry that I suck.... I have been in a MAJOR funk. I am hoping to bust out of it soon and one of my goals when I do that is to make sure that I update this blog more frequently and keep you all entertained. Lots of things happened this summer that I need to catch you up on!
I have survived the biggest phase of recruitment. One of the things I somehow got myself involved with is planning the recruitment for ALL the 5th graders in Unit 5. I work on a team with two great colleagues which helps, but man is it alot of work!
It starts in the spring, contacting all the principals about visiting 4th grade classes to show them the options they have with all the different band and string instruments. The we must make a packet for them to take him to learn about the process and it has the registration form for them to choose up to 4 instruments to "try."
Then over the summer we basically sit around and HAND schedule HUNDREDS of 5th graders for 4 mini lessons on their choice of 4 instruments. They also have the option of two nights. Let's just say that it is crazy!
Then the first week of school (this week) we have the "Instrument Exploration" where they come and try their choices. Did I mention that every parent is given my email and phone number and that I get to be the bad guy and tell them when they want to change their mind a hundred times that it is NOT possible. It makes me very popular.
Anyway, long story short (ha) we just finished the two nights with over 500 kids coming through trying 4 instruments each, you do the math, it was busy. We will finish recruitment this week by going around to all 16 elementary schools to catch the kids who did not for whatever reason make it to the instrument exploration. The week after that we begin lessons. It is a great process, just mentally and physically exhausting!
One of my favorite holidays of the year:) We started out in Towanda at the Parade, then home for lunch/rest, then out to Ny Ny & Pa Pa's house to swim in the pond and run all over their land on all sorts of toys... then grilled out there with fam and friends, then fireworks from Lake Bloomington, great day!
Killian, Cohen and Gage @ Towanda Parade
Me and My Court:) So glad she was home for a few days!
Cohen and Papa riding around on golf cart (see the resemblance?)
Cohen and Killian in the Go Kart
Erin & I (don't mind my pond hair!)
Ny Ny and Cohen ready for Fireworks!
YEAH!!! Happy Birthday America & Happy Day I came home from the hospital:)
Well, it's official, I am old (just like Chad) I seriously had a moment a couple weeks ago when I didn't remember how old I was, now I know, and I am old:)
We celebrated my birthday together as a family by taking the day to head up to Shedd in Chicago, it was tons of fun!!! The boys loved all of it, and Killian even told me that I had the best birthday party ever. After the aquarium we made a pit stop at Portillos for dinner and a quick stop at IKEA!
Here are a couple pictures of Cohen's super cool b-day shirt that Courtney made, check out her blog: KalicoCrafts she does great work and will customize anything you want:) He wouldn't exactly hold still to get a good back shot, but the back says COHEN!
Let's just say Cohen partied hardy this birthday... 2 is a big deal you know... there were treats at Katie's Kids, treats at Annie's and of course Elmo cake for his party at home!!!! (the big cookie was thanks to the chef at Katie's Kids, the Elmo cookies were from Cookies by Design and the Elmo cake was by my talented friend Missy Baker.)
Killian enjoying some Elmo cookie:)
let's just say someone else figured out how to celebrate like his mama.......
Two months and counting until Dece & Jeremy's wedding!!! I have my dress, my flip flops for the reception, the ceremony music picked out and musicians hired, my hair appointment, have been tanning, running and counting too many calories. The shower is planned and invites are out (she picture, didn't Amber do a nice job?) and the bachelorette party is being planned right now. I don't think I will make my goal of losing 20 more lbs. but we will see what we can do.
Did I mention there is only 5 more days of classes until I am a free woman????