Friday, November 27, 2009

A lesson from Ellen

As I was putting a few things away in Ellen's room, I happened to notice this piece of paper on her desk.  Intrigued,  I picked it up and could make little sense of it!  When she got home from school, I asked her what it meant.  She said that it was her notes on all the the good things happening in her life.  She makes a list of fun things that are happening and when she wakes up every morning, she looks at the list and it helps her look forward to the  day....Oprah would call it a "gratitude list"!   What are fifth graders grateful for?  On Thursday,  it was Bquest (an enrichment class that she has two times a week with several of her good friends in which they do a lot of fun projects);  telling everyone that she was getting braces the next day - (big excitement in her life);  Mrs. Inman - her favorite teacher;  Two more days till "brake" - that would be a week off of school for the Thanksgiving holidays (gotta work on that spelling);  Mrs. Laureen - another teacher she likes;  and two more days till her friend's birthday party that was going to be at her grandfather's farm.  (Love the artwork!) When she was explaining all of this to me....she looked up at me and said with a very "Oprahesque" air....Mom, you should try really works.  You are happy all day when you remind yourself about all the good things you have to look forward to.   Now, getting braces (subject of next blog) would not be on my "Happy list", but what a great lesson this little girl who is always smiling taught me!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Our Mascara runs faster than yours!

Sara had a burst of creativity and it fell upon the trophy won by our Cross Country team for district.......if you are not a cross country runner, you won't know that the abbreviation for Cross Country is XC and in another burst of creativity, one of the team members came up with the slogan....Cross Country girls are XC.....which is what the bottom of the trophy labeled (see next pic).  I thought the whole thing was quite clever and is a good lead in to the recent state championship saga.  It has been a long haul for Elizabeth and all her "illnesses" but despite the setbacks, she surprised everyone including her doctor and practically killed herself to be able to run in state.  With only the last three weeks to start getting back in shape she placed 19th in state and their team which has won state for the last two years, tied for first.  St. Thomas and Episcopal both scored 75 points but because the sixth runner for Episopal (which normally is not scored) came in ahead of our sixth runner, they were declared state champs and we are runner up this year.  No third state ring for Liz and Sara was hoping for a first.  The top seven runners on a team are able to run in state and Elizabeth was our fourth runner this year!  We are so proud of her as it was a monumental feat to be able to run at all.  She is running with 50%  of  her lung capacity.  Sara battled shin splints all year and ran well but was an alternate this year for state......she will be there next year!  Anyway, it was a fun two days in Natchitochs, LA, hanging out with the team, their parents, our girls and we are sooooo proud of them! 

Girls are XC! 

Ready to Run!

Elizabeth and her coaches

Prayer  before the race

Let's go win a race and boy do we look XC with our breathe right nose strips on!  Complements of Coach Rosendo

Good luck hugs....the little dark headed girl on the right bottom corner of the pic is Malia Cali and she has won the Heisman trophy for Louisiana and is now in the top six finalist for the nation.  They are flying her to New York and will announce the winner in several weeks.  There were 56,000 applicants and she is in the top six!  Awesome girl not only in sports but in every catagory of  life! 

They are off......only three miles to go.....Elizabeth looks determined

This is my favorite photo out of all the pics I took!  The other two girls are Carmen and Jordyn; both Juniors with Elizabeth.....both great runners.  Carmen placed second in state, behind Malia (who was first and cinched her four year streak of being first in state four years in a row); Jordyn came in 7th and Elizabeth was 19th.....ironic that they are in that order in the pic!  You can see the concentration on their faces! 

Elizabeth was at the end of the race here and the end of her rope!  At this point her lungs are killing her but she found a bit of strength to kick it in.  It is so painful to watch her and when I look at these pictures, I am sooo glad this season is over!                                                                                         

Lumberjacks topple the Lions

Ryan Gambel plays football for Stephan F Austin and last weekend they came to town to play the SLU Lions.  The game was predicted to be close but ended up being quite an upset!  The whole family attended and it was a fun event, especially to see Ryan in action!                                       

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween - never too old to dress up

This year Ellen decided she wanted to
be an Octopus and she saw an idea that was
in Family Fun magazine that she wanted to
try. It involved buying a large hooded sweat shirt, cutting strips and sewing them to make the "legs". Last but not least, she colored black dots in the middle of those stick on circles that you use for pricing items at garage sales, and glued them onto the legs to look like the "suckers". I was a bit skeptical but the overall effect worked.

Cutting the legs

Gluing on the "suckers"

The finished product! She made the eyes out of starfoam balls. What the picture doesn't show is the fact that it was about 90 degrees and of course we have to pick the costume that is made out of a sweatshirt!

This was created from the mind of Sara! They bought a 30 foot piece of felt and made a tube out of it.

Then they sectioned into four sections

Bet you didn't see this one coming! It was a very cute costume but it did present one difficult problem........can you guess what that was? It involves bathrooms!

A BLAST FROM THE PAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last year the girls were a bit hampered by the fact that Sara had just had knee surgery, but that didn't stop them. Sara just donned her hospital gown and Rachael dressed up as her Doctor....
Dr. Do Fuss! (Dufus). Ellen was a package of jet puffed marsh mellows....when she came home and announced that was what she wanted to be, it took a bit of thought to pull that one off. We got some visquine from Home Depot, stuffed it with small blown up white balloons and then we googled the brand name of Kraft jet puffed marsh mellows on the computer and printed it out. One of my personal favourites is the "dress up box" that Rachel is wearing as well as Sara in the shower! The "trick or treat" pumpkin bag was pretty clever too......Laura took a Halloween trash bag, taped it to a Hoola Hoop and made it look like it was full of candy. These girls have a long history of making creative costumes!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Plan LA to L.A.

I have been wanting to write about this but in the hustle and bustle of life did not get around to it yet....however, yesterday Elizabeth burst into our room breathless with excitement~Mika had replied to her facebook email. Now, to backtrack......several months ago, Elizabeth announced to Gary and myself that they (she, her sister and several friends) were going to attend the Mika Los Angeles, California! We just let her explain the plan, in which she had already checked flights, made arrangements to stay at a friend's house and would "just take a cab to get wherever they needed to go!" For anyone who doesn't know who Mika is and is feeling very old at this point....join the the club! Mika is an artist from England that, according to Elizabeth and Sara, is one of the top ten artists world wide but is not well known in the United States because he has not done a concert tour here...until now! So.....we listened to the well thought out but completely ridiculous plan of "LA to L.A" and told Elizabeth and Sara that it just wasn't going to happen despite the fact that they could pay for it themselves! Note to self.....quit encouraging your child to save money! You would have thought it would stop there, but NO...........they figured out that he was playing in Philadelphia and "Plan LA to L.A. became "Plan LA to PA"! The new plan was to fly to Pennsylvania and have Aunt Julie pick them up, take them to the concert and then they would fly home the next day as this concert date was on a school night.....this was the new and improved, much safer version! The morning, after Gary and I were presented with Plan Number Two, we opened the refrigerator and saw all of our Coke cans and egg cartons decorated with subliminal messages......on one can the C and the E were scratched out so OK was visible; other cans said "You wouldn't deny God, why would you deny Mika? Mika is good....No is bad; say Yes, it is an "egg"cellant choice and on and on! Trust me they pulled out every trick in the book to convince us to let them go! In the end, good parenting won out but the spirit of adventure that lives inside both Gary and I really wanted them to go! Privately, we would discuss it and say that it makes no sense, is too dangerous, cost too much money and is not feasible but a small part of us wanted to say what the hell, they are great and accomplished girls, you only live once and wouldn't it be great to be sixteen and get to fly to a concert that you desperately want to attend. Even Aunt Julie got on board and was waffling with us! However, hard as it was, we had to make the right decision and Plan LA to PA was DOA! This all happened about a month ago......but Elizabeth being the number one fan that she is, found Mika's real facebook account. Although you couldn't request to be his friend (he doesn't have that option), you can send him a message. So, she did.......just a friendly message that described how she tried to attend his concert but that "Mom" (why does Dad never have to take the rap?) wouldn't let her fly to his concert in LA and that it sucks to be sixteen; however, she hoped his tour in the United States would be great. She signed it "Love today"~Liz. That is the title of one of his more popular songs. Whatever she said got his attention, cause a month later, she got a one sentence response from him (or his secretary!) which said..."Well, thanks a lot, tu es Divine!" French is his second language according to Elizabeth! Regardless, it not only made her day, but her month and her year! And, it reminded me to document this whole experience! One day, mark my words, she and Sara will attend a Mika concert......maybe I will go with them!

All washed up!!!

Funny how you can plead, nag, explain, beg, scream, and threaten with no good results on an issue with your children, and then hit upon the one small proverbial "needle in a haystack" that will actually motivate your children to actually follow your directive.......a good example of this is how we solved our regular morning battle of getting to school on time. I tried everything (with no success) to get the girls to get out of bed, get dressed and leave on time to ensure that they were not tardy After many miserable mornings, and finally a letter from the principal regarding their excessive tardies, I came up with the "Get up and Go bag". This was a bag full of special treats and if they got up with their alarm clock, made their bed and were dressed by 7:00 AM, they got to choose a treat from the bag. Along with their favorite candy, I even put things that I would normally buy them like new toothbrushes, lotion, chap stick, name it, it was in there. (even new underwear!) It worked like a charm and within 24 hours our mornings magically became a piece of cake! The girls were up and at it without a word from me and at 7:00 choosing their "treat" from the "Get up and Go Bag"!

My latest challenge is laundry! When I say mounds and mounds of laundry, that is an understatement. The two older girls have track practice everyday and sometimes twice a day, which means two sets of dirty running clothes, their school uniform, two towels and wash cloths on a daily basis and even more if they go somewhere in the evening! Not to mention, that it is much easier to try something on and if you decide not to wear it, just throw it in the dirty clothes! So last night, I casually mentioned that we were going to have a little contest to see who in the family could produce the least dirty clothes and the winner gets two tickets to the movies. The contest runs from Tuesday night through Saturday morning and if they wear something dirty to school (obviously dirty) they are disqualified. That is to keep them from getting too over the top as they would wear the same shirt everyday to "win" the contest! I guess this will only work if you have competitive children, but the response was unbelievable. They all started strategizing immediately.......they were planning how they could reuse the clothes they run in all week.....telling me how they would use the same sports bras everyday, reuse the same pajamas every night, pick one towel and hang it up every night then reuse it and laying out their clothes for the week to count how many pieces they would have to use by Saturday! Sara was waffling on whether she should shower or not that evening but after I announced the contest, she decided that she better shower in order to keep the one pair of pajamas she planned to use all week clean. Ellen is in the contest too but since she doesn't have practice everyday, she has be at twelve pieces or under to win. I too am in the contest...and let me tell you, I am now thinking about laundry in a different way! I am taking the washcloth that I used to wash my face last night and reusing it for my shower this morning....hanging up my jogging pants so they will air out for another really changes the way you do things! On Saturday morning we will count the pieces of dirty clothes between the four of us and it will be interesting to the results of this little experiment! Typically it would be at least 150 if not more! I am sure to have some creative ideas of how to conserve clothing based on the ideas that were flying last night not to mention a few cases of "Athletes foot" as they plan to only use one pair of socks for the week! So let the games begin and the wash will end!