Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat

...or in our case Trunk or Treat.

We will be going to church tonight to participate in Trunk or Treat. For years our church and others like ours rejected the holiday of Halloween because of its pagan background.

Recently (within the past 5 or more years) or church has begun offering an alternative to trick or treating by providing games inside the fellowship hall and bounce houses in the parking lot during the day. Our pastor and his "crew" came to realize that they missing out on a real opportunity to minister to the people surrounding our church and the rest of the community by doing a daytime event. This is where the beginning of Trunk or Treat came to be.

So many people come to our event that we usually run out of candy. We have gathered almost double the candy this year, but expect to run out again. Last year we set up our truck for this event and had a really good time. We will be going this year but without the trunk.

Caitlin wanted a special candy bag so we gathered the materials...

Caitlin designed it...

I started cutting...

and finally I sewed it all together.
No pattern just pieced by eye. It felt good to have the sewing machine out again. It had been year.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trash vs Treasure

I came into my house after enjoying a pleasant fall outing with the kids and my mother. I looked at the living room and told the kids there was no way the t.v. or computer was coming on until the living room was tidy. There was lots of whining and complaining from the littlest until I told him that whatever I picked up was going in the trash even if it was treasure.

Caitlin cleaned the dining/homework/craft table off then began picking up all the things her brother dropped on the floor. (Believe me you don't want to know.) I wandered over to the living room side of the room and found James still sitting there so I began picking up cars and tracks. This was followed by a scream and a little boy hurriedly picking up his toys.

The other thing that James does is hide wrappers and toys and books under the two arm chairs. I told him it was his responsibility to clean up his mess. He refused so I told him the same thing as before. Only this time I said he had to decide which was trash and which was treasure. He got a plastic grocery bag and began the hunt for trash and treasure. In no time I had a small pile of treasure at my feet and James had a small bag full of hidden wrappers and old school papers. (He is quite the sneaky little boy.)

Hey, mom! Is this treasure?? You could blow into it like this...whoo whoo whoo.
I love seeing all of his "treasure."

Meanwhile, Caitlin got busy dusting (vacuuming) the shelves and was actually having a good time so who am I to keep her from having fun. It might have had something to do with the fact that she would get $10 if she did a good job and another $5 if she got to her brother's part before he did.

All that cleaning tuckered them out.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Crash and The Aftermath

...of the science project.

Caitlin and her friend have had no luck with their science project and tonight was the coup de grace.

I asked Caitlin to bring her project in from outside because it was supposed to get really cold and I didn't want the sprouts to die. She did and I told her, "Put it on top of the fridge so the dog doesn't eat it." She did. Then I asked her to make her brother some hot chocolate. She did. The she went to get the milk out the fridge.

That's where the crash comes in.

And the aftermath.

I think this project is kaput.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tales of Spiders & Jack O'Lanterns

My house is getting set for Halloween. It actually started the process by itself yesterday. I was on my way to the car when I noticed this:Does anyone know what kind of spider it is?? (Click on the photo for a larger view.) It is way up on the roof line out of my reach.

Usually when Halloween comes around I use whole pumpkins. No Jack O'Lanterns. No mess. Here is what they usually look like:

This year James learned about Jack O'Lanterns and wanted to cut up the pumpkins. The problem with pumpkins is they are kind of icky inside. I am well known for not liking anything messy. Well pumpkins definitely qualify as MESSY!
The things I do for my son.

But the end results were worth it!
James designed the traditional pumpkin. Caitlin drew the cat pumpkin. That was a hard one to do. The cat pumpkin is much larger than James' pumpkin therefor much thicker. The good thing about the larger one was it was dryer and easier to clean out than the little one which was stringy, wet and slimy.

This year we will be daddyless for Halloween so I will not be sponsoring a trunk for trunk or treat. Instead I will take James around the lot and let him jump in the bounce house and play some of the "carnival" games. He his most looking forward to a fishing game he saw last year.

What will those of you who like Halloween be doing?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Macro Monday

Mmmm. Juicy!
Originally uploaded by MommyVictory
Just thought these grapes were too pretty to pass up taking a shot of them.

Just another post for Macro Monday. Stop on over there and check out everyone else's work.

Happy Monday...even though it is almost over here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Just Catching Up

Report cards are finished...for the most part. I have done my part and they are on my appraiser's desk waiting approval. Hopefully, he pushes them through with few comments.

It was a very busy week here in Victoryland.
  • Friday, Football Friday Night Lights for the 8th graders. Gary takes all of us to one of our last outings as a four member family.
  • Saturday, dance practice for Caitlin's solo. Gary is still here to watch James. Thank goodness for small favors. Gary and I pack feverishly all the things he wants to have with him while he stays at the executive apartment in KC.
  • Sunday, we say goodbye and I stay home from church. We meet mom for lunch and plan for her Tuesday departure to visit one of my dad's sisters in Connecticut.
  • Monday, I am slated for jury duty but am exempt. I am worried that my exemption letter didn't make it there on time so I call them at 8:44 - one minute before I am supposed to be there to verify my exemption. I am cleared. There also is dance tonight, so no staying late at school. I did have to drive out of the area to pick up a travel sized set of Mary Kay skin care for my mother...ding ding ding...gas tank telling me "You are out of gas."
  • Tuesday, Mom drives herself to the airport because I can't take off of work. Caitlin has to go to her friend Lilu's house to work on a science project after school. It is all I can do to keep from telling them they are doing it all wrong. They soon realize it and have to start all over. This will probably not be a prize winning project, but they will have done it on their own. Biggest problem with Lilu's house is that she has two cats. Caitlin is highly allergic so when I pick her up, I take her to the grocery store for some allergy medicine. It takes her all the way until Friday to get better. The culprit!
  • Wednesday starts with Caitlin calling me at 7:30 telling me that she was having problems breathing. Being at school without a sub and no grandmother to pick her up and no husband to carry the burden, I do the unthinkable and tell her just to stay home and take a Benadryl. There is nothing I could do because we have to meet with the principal with a full report on each child how we think they are doing and what interventions we are using with them to ensure they are successful (read as pass the state assessment.) They call this meeting the State of the Union (SOU) and everyone frets over it. I don't. The day before I enter all of my info in the database, type up a brief summary on each child and put the summary in a pretty spreadsheet with bright colors. Problem solved. He likes colors. We stay up all night to get a past due Holocaust project completed in time for school Thursday.
  • Thursday, another traipse to Lilu's for more science project revisions and preparation of the display board. By now, Caitlin's allergy medications kicks in and she only wheezes slightly.
  • Friday is an early out. Fortunately, I remember this on Wednesday and make arrangements with a friend who lives out of town to come pick up James from school at 12:45. I promise her I will pick him up shortly after 4 p.m. .... Guess what! 3:45 finds me still entering comments on report cards finishing up exactly at 4 p.m. .... I think I am late. I call my friend and say I am just now leaving. She asks if James can stay until 7 p.m. because her son just got off the bus and really wants to play with James. I say yes. Gary calls. He tells me he is on the road to Tulsa to fish with his uncle because he couldn't bear to stay in KC by himself for the entire weekend. During the call, Lilu texts, "Can Caitlin spend the night?" After a short consult with Gary, he says yes. I drive home to get Caitlin and drop her off at her friend's house. 6:15 p.m. I text my friend to tell her that I am on my way to get James. She asks if James can spend the night. I say yes to save me a late night drive out to the country. .... Unfortunately, 9 p.m. comes around and James is suddenly homesick. After much listening, peptalking and the use of one Elmo doll, he agrees to try it a little longer and crashes in the bed. .... Can it be true?? I am home alone with no 5 year old in my bed?? Needless to say, I slept the whole night long.
  • Today! Packing brownies for an afternoon bake sale. Picking up the wayward daughter. Driving to dance lessons and playing videographer. Rushing to the Interstate in time to pick up James so my friend can get to a funeral. Stopping at the toy store to return a defective set of walkie talkies. Dropping off a gift card at a bridal shower that I really wanted to attend but couldn't. Getting a text message that previously mentioned bake sale is canceled due to lightning. Collapsing in my bed. Photo - Courtesy of Miruspeg July 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dance Like No One Is Watching...

...even when they are.

This guy Blaine Hogan is something else! You have to see this and tell me that it doesn't make you smile.


It all started here...Yep... even more smiles.

Happy Friday Dance Party #1 from blaine hogan on Vimeo.

We should all feel so free to dance like this no matter what. In the morning, I turn on my play list and make James breakfast. While he is eating I dance around the house. I wouldn't mind showing you the's the messy house I don't want to share on the internet. :-)

So tomorrow morning (or this morning if you are early morning blog reader) while waiting for your eggs to boil or your coffee/tea to brew, break out the tunes and have a little or a lotta fun. I will.

PS - Please, go on over and share some love with this Blaine here or here where I found the videos.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Am

Today is reading buddy day where my class meets with a second grade group of students to read or do other activities. I have been buddies with this class's teacher for awhile now and it has worked famously. This year is different because the ability of the class I am teaching. Her class is actually more advanced than my fourth graders. So we are always looking for something creative to do that they all can do.

Today we are writing poetry. It is a fill in the blank type of thing and fun to do. It's designed to be about yourself, but I thought it would be fun to do something with a fall theme. Here is my example for the I Am poems.


I am round and funny.
I wonder what will happen to me after Halloween.
I hear werewolves howling.
I see goblins running from door to door.
I want to be able to run with them.
I am a Jack’o’lantern

I pretend that I am someone important.
I feel like I could rule the world.
I touch the hearts of people with my funny face.
I worry that some might be scared of me.
I cry because I will only be around for a short time.
I am a Jack’o’lantern.

I understand why I am only here for a short while.
I say nothing because I am not real.
I dream that I could live forever.
I try to make people smile.
I hope someone will take my picture so I can be remembered.
I am a Jack’o’lantern.

By Annemarie Victory (2010)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Just in Time

I usually do things just in time. It's the procrastinator in me. Been that way since 3rd or 4th grade, maybe even 2nd.

Yesterday, I was the queen of procrastination and had to pay for it. My husband had this dresser(a found object):

It had a nice shape, but it was definitely worse for wear.

I had always had it in my mind that it should be painted. I never mentioned it because I am a starter not a finisher and I didn't want to be sans dresser. Since he was moving, however, I thought it was the perfect time to fix it up. I asked him to move it to the back yard or garage (he suffers from procrastinationitis too) and he never did, until this week when I was busy with school and such.

Saturday, I finally made it to the Home Depot, but when I got home I got distracted and forgot until Sunday. It was now or never since the movers were coming the next day.

I had him drag it out on the driveway and I got to work.
Sorry there is no after... It was still drying and now it is on a truck to Missouri.
Good thing I got it done Sunday!
Paint in the hair (and on the hands.)

This is what happened Monday!

On a bright note, the sun was shining, and from inside the house, I was certain it was bright enough to make a rainbow so James and I ran out in jackets to check it out. Sure enough it was there so I ran back in the house, but they then, this was all I could capture with my point and shoot.

I took it over to and edited it so you could see what I saw.

James also got a chance to play in the rain. It was the perfect surprise shower.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another Journey

Many have accompanied me on my journey through Norway. Thanks for keeping me company.

I am beginning a new journey...a manifold journey. My husband's job has relocated him starting next week to Missouri. I will be tackling "single" parenting again for the third time.

We will follow him in June.

I am also working on living more healthily. This will hopefully alleviate some stress from said move and single parenting. My first step is to join a website called Spark People. I think I am going to like it because it appeals to my techno side.

I am also trying my hand at journaling about my will find that over here: My Life On Track. It is mostly for my personal growth, but if anyone can benefit from my trials and success, you are welcome to come along.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Macro Monday

Well, I thought I would do this just once since I see Rieni do it every Monday. Lisa invites everyone to submit their macros via her Mr. Linky. These were taken at Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls.

Honey Bee

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Back to the Farm

Today we took our third trip to Sweet Berry Farm. We love going there for strawberries in the spring and to take pictures around the pumpkins and gourds in the fall. This year we made our trip early enough to get to see everything fresh and bright and picture worthy.
On the tractor ride. A rare group photo - of course my eyes had to be closed.

We wandered around through the different types of pumpkins.
This variety is called "Cinderella"


These are actually gourds, Apple Gourds to be precise.

These are called "Lunch Lady."

Click to enlarge these and you will see why they are called Peanuts.

The closest are called "Knuckleheads" and the gray ones are "Jarrahdale."
Who knew there were so many?

Taking goofy pictures is always at the top of our list.

So is wandering through the different "corn" field mazes (it isn't really corn.)
Trying to capture the sun through the stalks.

James got to ring the bell when they reached the end of the Kids Maze.
Children of the Corn - let's hope not.

Gary got to be the leader in the Texas Maze where we located various checkpoints.

The end is always the same...happy and tired.Too pooped to pop.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Food Free Post (Maybe)

I just realized how much time I waste on Facebook when I could be crafting or blogging or reading or exercising. Does that mean I am going to change? Who knows, but I thought it was time for some of my random thoughts to hit the blog page.

Other than the computer, what else has been taking up my time? Let see:
  1. School started over a month ago. We are well into the swing of things. There are still some school provided programs not in place yet, but I make do with what I have. My students are sweet, generally well behaved kids. It takes many of them much longer to learn things than the kids I taught last year. I am learning how to help them. When they make certain mistakes in math, it makes my head swirl because it is so beyond me how you couldn't get it after a week of daily tutoring and a week of lessons and teacher's aide coming around to help them individually whenever they are stuck. My coworker said, "You must have asked God to give you patience." I must have.
  2. Caitlin's dance season started even before school began. We go every Monday and Wednesday. I like the Mondays because we are home relatively early. Wednesdays, although late, are good because we don't leave until 6:30 so there is time to cook and rest (read as going on Facebook) before it is time to go. I like that I just crawl into bed when we get home. Today she had solo practice and then went to work a dance booster club bake sale at Wal-Mart. (In case you are wondering , this is her first solo rehearsal for this year.)

  3. Caitlin is also in band. It seems that eighth grade band is taking up more time this year than I remember from previous years. She attended a football game with the high school students and performed on the field with them. That was a fun experience. The next weekend, she participated in a day called Spirit Spectacular where all the bands from the district and the flag corps, drill team, cheerleaders and football team gather at the stadium to perform and cheer and show the parents and community what's in store for the year. She will be attending one more football game with the band in two weeks. The funny thing about the football game gatherings is they only keep the junior high kids until after half-time. At that point they are released to go to their parents. That means I get to go to the games, too. That's fine though because Texas Friday Night Football is an experience that one will never forget. (See the tiny red arrow?? Sorry it's so blurry.)
  4. James has started school - kindergarten - this year. He attends the school where I teach. I loved when Caitlin came to my school. She loved it, too. I am not sure about James yet. He is smart and funny and that "smart and funny" is going to land him in a world of hurt. They use a color system to monitor behavior where you stay on green if everything is good and move towards red if you are having problems. It goes green, blue, yellow, red. The first week he stayed on green. After that the color green was as hard to find as a four leaf clover. He has been on blue for most of the time. We have seen yellow two or three times. He is very honest about what happens. I suppose that is the positive in it all. His teacher is very sweet about it all, saying that he is just still learning about social skills. I am thinking, "What was he learning all that time in his private daycare that I was paying all that money for these past 5 years?"
  5. My mother and her sister live here - not together thankfully. Mom is a stay to herself kind of person. She is very independent and likes to go off to the mall or appointments without any company. He sister is always saying, "You should have called me. I would have come along." They don't always see eye to eye, so I spend every afternoon on the speakerphone on my way home listening to my mother's encounters with her sister.
  6. Finally, we are preparing for the departure of my husband. His job has asked him (read as do this or lose your job) to relocate to Missouri. For the longest time we thought it would be Indiana. I really looked forward to that, planned, poured over pages of internet information, etc. in preparation for Indiana. So I was really disappointed when they changed the location to Kansas City, Missouri. Not that there is anything in particular wrong with Missouri. I just had my mind and research set on Indiana. I have until June before my teaching contract is up. Caitlin is very involved in her dance team. We have a house to prepare for selling, and so on. Once my husband is in Missouri for about a month, he will be flying off to the Philippines
  7. Since Gary is getting to leave, he has been focused on having a few last hurrahs with some football watching buddies, leaving me to entertain the "troops," a.k.a the kids. My main goal is to maintain peace between the two warring factions: Older Sister vs Younger brother. It is an ongoing battle with periodic truces in between. During those times I smile when I hear the little one tell the older that he loves her or when the older one is helping the younger one play a game of checkers.
  8. Lastly, since coming back from Norway, I have been trying to look my health and fitness level. I still don't walk like I should, but I am very mindful of what I eat as evidenced in previous posts. I am starting a new meal plan this week. I will let you know how it goes. I have a coworker who heard about my plans from her nosy neighbor and asked if I wanted a partner. I do, so I am looking forward to this even though it will add to my shopping and cooking time. It will be worth it. --- Yes I know I said Finally and Lastly....Don't know how to rearrange the paragraphs, so it is staying this way.
I think about everything that keeps me busy, but then I think I wouldn't have it any other way...Except the moving business. I could leave that.
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