Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas At Our House

As many of you know we recently moved to Florida from Arizona, so you would think the lack of "Winter Wonderland" weather during the holidays would be normal for us by now. But for me, it's not.

As I watch the weather reports for the north eastern states I can't help but be a little bit jealous of those who get snow and that deafening silence late at night after a snowfall. Not so jealous of the lack of power, but I actually miss driving in the snow, oh so carefully. I miss shoveling snow - but only a little bit. I'm a Marylander by birth and experienced several snowy Christmastimes that were warmed by a fire in the basement of our home. It really was sweet.

So now that we are in Florida, preparing for yet another move (see previous posts here and here and here for why we are moving AGAIN...) we are also preparing to celebrate Christmas and Amanda's birthday. Amanda's birthday party is this Saturday - Beach Theme... yes, only in Florida and perhaps even Arizona and California can you get away with this just days before Christmas.

So for those who are interested, here's a little peek into our home at this crazy time of year.

This would be our Christmas tree - notice the lack of ornaments at the bottom? This is the tell-tale sign that our little WMD is busy at work. All of the ornaments are inching their way up the tree, screaming in terror at the sight of Hayden.

This is an ornament we learned to make in Enrichment!

This is an ornament we taught the YW to make. It's super easy!

Our Nativity...

Our Advent House thingy...

and our Stockings hung on the entertainment center with care...

Next years decor will be fan-tabulous in our new home. I have GRAND ideas! Grand, I say!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Teaching our Children

The New First Grade:Too Much Too Soon

This article says it all. I just wish I knew what I could do about it. I'm afraid that I will turn into "That" mother. You know the one I'm talking about. She's got her nose into everything, playing devils advocate, questioning authority, advocating for her children at all costs, asking the questions that everyone wants to ask but is too timid to. Hmm...it doesn't sound so horrible after all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

whaa?...2 posts in 1 day?

$5075.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth.

Holiday Bake-fest?

I'm quickly realizing that I am not a normal mom. In fact, perhaps I am a bit lazy. As a talk to friends and read blogs I find that nearly every mom has had a baking marathon in the name of celebrating Christmas. I didn't grow up with this - if I did, I don't remember. I've always admired the idea of baked a dozen different sugary treats and passing them out to friends and neighbors. But quite honestly, I'd be impressed with myself if I was able to pull off baking two different dessert items in a week.

I actually bought a 25 lb. bag of flour at Sam's Club last month in anticipation of my 1st Annual Bake Fest. I had grand ideas of all the wonderful treats I would make. Cookies, brownies and cinnamon rolls being my limited repertoire, I thought it was time I delved into unchartered territory and make some traditional Christmas treats.

But alas, the energy is gone. I'm lucky my tree is still standing and we are only 3 days behind in our advent calendar activities. I did however manage to make a total of 5 homemade ornaments with Amanda.

I'm still in a bit of denial about our move and have only managed to fill 2 garbage bags with stuff I don't feel like moving. We did manage to get rid of 3 large items in a curbside giveaway. But I've yet to pack one box. The thought makes me nauseous. I really hate moving.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Soundtrack of My Life

I've been meaning to make a playlist for this blog for a while so here it is!
Thank you Kristy, for inspiring me to "get up offa dat thang" and take a stroll down my musical memory lane! Some of the songs on my list are old favorites, while a few are ones that I have found recently that spoke to me. There were a few songs that I wanted to include but couldn't find, including Sarah McLachlan's "Ice Cream," and Tori Amos' "Twinkle". But if you click their links you can see performances of the songs on YouTube.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Say whaa ??

I received a note from the principal at Amanda's school today. It seems that Amanda's teacher resigned effective last Friday.

Poor Amanda... she still to this day tells me how she wishes we still lived in Arizona because she misses her Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Easton. I'm afraid all Amanda's teachers will be measured next to Mrs. Easton and none will ever really compare. She was beginning to "bond" with her new teacher but now she has a substitute whom she absolutely loathes. I've never known Amanda to be so unhappy with another adult as she is with this substitute teacher....except me - she's been pretty irritated with me.

So now she'll get a new teacher (hopefully?) and finish out the school year. Next year she will be going to yet ANOTHER school because we are moving into another district. If she (we) survive all this change, we'll be super heroes!

Life just gets more interesting every day...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


We found a new place to live! It's super new and cool and uhh...wait...

What were we thinking? I'm taking donations for super sturdy child gates for the stairs. On the upside, my otherwise muscle-less legs will soon look like this!

How hot is THAT?!??
I know...you're all jealous, I know...
If you too would like ripp'n hot legs like these, come on over and help us move in!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Family Photo

Okay, every year I attempt to take a family photo (usually at Christmastime) without employing the help of another photographer. Don't ask me why we put ourselves through this torture. Maybe it's because of all the funny outtakes we end up with. Maybe because Michael loves to watch me set up the camera timer and go running into the picture, only to end up looking the worst of all of us. But when it's all over, and I hate my picture, I don't have the heart to make my family start all over and get it "done right". So here are the pictures.
Some are good, some are not. Some are just funny.
I love the individual shots the most...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Okay, so it looks like we need to find a new place to live. Our landlord just declared Chapter 7 Bankruptcy so things could possibly move along faster than we thought... the big word being "possibly".

I really don't like all this uncertainty and it's really putting a damper on the Christmas holiday. I'd like to put up the tree and decorate, but now I'm focused on legal matters and packing and purging. It just plain stinks. And Amanda, poor girl, is worried that she'll have to go to another school when she hasn't even gotten used to this new school.

I'm going to set a date to put up our tree and decorate anyway. I really don't want these Scrooge's to screw up our Christmas Spirit... it's just going to take a little recovery time for Michael to come around.

We've had some bad news about Michael's health lately and we really want this to be a great, memorable Christmas. I suppose we can't avoid it being memorable now - but I'm really gonna have to work on the "great" part. It's all attitude, I know, I know...


Tuesday, November 20, 2007


So after talking to the banks lawyer, we can take a small breath and relax just a little. It seems that they haven't served our landlord her summons because -get this - they can't find her. So, until they actually find her and serve her papers they can't really do anything. But how long can that go on?

Even so, the lawyer said that even if they were to find her today, they wouldn't be able to get a court date till like January and wouldn't be able to evict us till March. So as long as everything the lawyer said is true, then we can relax and enjoy the holidays, whilst keeping a lookout for other places to live.

Amanda is begging to be in a two story townhouse or house. She just may get her wish.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Just when I thought things were going well...

Our household woke this morning at 7am to the sound of our doorbell ringing. Apparently the person we've been writing our rent checks out to since July has been served foreclosure papers and it's quite likely that we will be kicked out of our home in 20 days. We'll lose our deposit. I *just* painted our living room last week and started decorating a little to make this place more home-like. We've powerwashed the exterior, trimmed the bushes and trees nicely and FOR WHAT? She hasn't made a mortgage payment since June - before me moved in!

All this and it's my husbands birthday - Happy birthday to him! We didn't get to do any of our traditional fun stuff that we do for birthdays because we were too busy freaking out.

I'm so mad! What a waste of time and money! I thought we'd be here for another 2 years!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

These are a few of his favorite things...

Hayden made out pretty well as far as birthday gifts go.

Exhibit A:

So could someone please explain to me why these are his favorites?

And does the "government" test our vacuum cleaner parts for lead paint?
Is China making those for us too?

I didn't do it...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Hayden!

Hayden had a great 1st Birthday! Poppy George, Auntie Debby, Uncle Danny & Auntie Marilyn all came to celebrate Little Gremlin's 1st year of survival in the Gove home.

They all came bearing noisy gifts to Hayden's delight, and Auntie Debby brought her famous Homemade Mac & Cheese! Hayden LOVES Mac and Cheese and stuffs fists full of it in his mouth!

Here are some pics from the party!

Hayden didn't blow out his candle...he grabbed the flame and out it went!
It freaked us all out, but it didn't bother him a bit!

Hayden stuffing his face with carrot cake...yummy!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

achhh! How funny is that?

Okay, I signed up to do Google ads on my site 'cause, well, why not? They're not too big and they seem to be related somewhat to the content of my blog. Except this one ad that apparently clung to my site because my son is named after their cleaning system.

Hayden Central Vacs - Free Shipping Units, Install Kits, Accessories.


If I had a (really big) ladder...

I'd almost be done painting our living room... but I don't have one. I hate how everything is left unfinished. Especially when I have family coming over. Oh well. What can I do...

I've decided to leave it till next week and concentrate on cleaning the rest of the house that has been neglected since I started this painting job. It's all going to look great when it's done, it's just not going to be done as soon as I would like. :(

My favorite part is the milk chocolate brown paint around the breakfast bar (or as well like to call it, the junk counter). It makes me go running to the pantry for chocolate chips!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I K E A !!!!

Can I just say how TOTALLY EXCITED I am that we are getting an IKEA here? Granted it's a little bit of a drive, but it's only a little bit farther away from us than the one in Tempe, Arizona was.

I'm already making my list. I have halted all shopping (starting tomorrow) until November 14th. I *might* have to rent a Uhaul for the day. Okay, not really, but the thought did cross my mind as I talked to some IKEA fans in our ward about the upcoming event. I won't be camping out for 2 days to get in though- I'm not that crazy. Okay, yes I am. I would do if I didn't have kids. But I do. So I won't.

I plan on getting a bunch of frames, new bowls and cups for the kiddos that MATCH, instead of the junk our dishwasher warped. I want to get some kitchen stuff and baskets, LOTS and LOTS of baskets for organizing. I'm hoping to find the perfect area rug for our living room as well. I also plan on taking advantage of the FREE CHILDCARE -Woo hoo!!!

Now if only IKEA had magic wands to quickly organize the garage into a neat and tidy dream... someday, maybe!

On another note, Hayden is not sleeping well at all. So none of us are... except Amanda. That girl sleeps through the smoke detector alarm and huge thunderstorms. We are considering something that might be a little strange, but I just have this feeling that it might work. Has anyone ever hung a hammock inside their house? We think he might sleep better in a hammock. He wakes up screaming just because he turned over and the bed squeaked. He loves the rocking motion... We have a hammock - just don't know if we should put bolts in the ceiling of a house we are renting...ya know? Any comments welcome!

Monday, November 5, 2007

So I didn't make it to Sam's Club...

... but I did make it to the Tax Collectors office to get my car registered. Yes, that right - here in Florida you go to the Tax Collectors office to get your car registered or renew a registration. And the office is like the size of a small bank. AND the lines are short. AND the people who work there are super nice and helpful. SO REFRESHINGLY WEIRD!

I got Mod Podge, 4 cute outfits for Hayden, a Steam Cleaner and 2 gallons of paint all within an hour! Gotta love strip malls! And I got the steam cleaner we really wanted at Linen's N Things with a 20% off coupon from Bed Bath and Beyond! I saved $60 WOO HOO!!!

When Amanda got out of school we headed over to my favorite thrift shop - Sweet Repeats. We always find great stuff for her there for super cheap. We got a beautiful Christmas dress for her that I am sure was originally like, $80 for just $13. She also picked out some tap shoes (because she "wants to dance like Chim Chimney Chim Chimney Chim Chim Charoooo" from Mary Poppins) for $4.00. Hayden got a bunch of stuff too - toys, more clothes for $2.00 a piece.

Tomorrow morning it's back to work painting this place. I can't wait till it's all done and I can sit back and enjoy it all.

Sam's Club will have to wait till tomorrow I suppose...

Big day ahead of me...

I have so much to do today and all of this week. On the list today is to buy a new carpet steamer 'cause the piece of crap-o-la that we bought 3 years ago is a leaking and clogged at the same time NIGHTMARE.

I've done my research and have decided on the one I want... now I have to get 'the deal'. I'm shopping around and trying to get the best price 'cause these suckers ain't cheap. (Pun intended... sorry, that's all I got.)

We're painting the living room and I've discovered that we didn't get enough paint and the pitch of the ceiling is way too high and I need a bigger ladder. And I need it like, tomorrow because the relatives are coming over for Hayden's 1st Birthday party on Saturday and I want it all to be DONE.

I also need to go to Sam's Club and stock up on food storage stuff plus some of the regular essentials... Milk, Bread, Highly fattening and ever so scrumptious appetizers, and at least 3 other items "I never knew I needed till I saw it".

I also need to get Hayden his birthday present.

Then I have a bunch of artsy fartsy projects to do, but I think I'll wait to do those tomorrow night while the paint is drying...

Wish me luck!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Chickenbutt is getting older...

I LOVE this picture I took of Amanda in Sarasota... and I hate it. She's 6! She looks like such a young lady - she's growing up too fast!

One hundred and five dollars later...

I need a haircut

I got my hair cut about 4 weeks ago and have hated it ever since. It's horrible. I mean, I went so far as to check the BBB to see if anyone else had complained. I have considered sneaking a peek at the "license" said hairstylist had posted by his station to see if it's brand new or just plain fake. But that's kinda hard to do with a 1 year old boy in tow. I really miss my hair stylist back in Arizona. I know you all are thinking, "Ohhh, Amy has a favorite hair stylist - how fancy sha-mansey of her". But oh no, I'm talking about Kathy - at Great Clips. Which is why I thought I would be safe going to a Great Clips here in Florida. Uhh. No.

So now I am looking at the more expensive places and HELLO? Since when did it cost $100 for highlights? I'll go get my $12 bottle of sunshine at Walgreens, thank you very much! I want a real haircut, but I am sooo scared to go anywhere now. Seriously, how hard is it to cut a layered bob? I get home and there is not a layer in sight. I look like a boy with a long bowl cut.

And no, there will be no pictures - it's THAT embarrassing.

On a similar subject, I've never had my brows done, and I want to, but I'm scared. Any tips, suggestions, things I should avoid? Anyone ever do that thing with the string where they pull each hair out?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween and Stuff

Why is it that when ever I paint my nails I am immediately hungry for finger food? WHY WHY WHY????

So, this year for Halloween I decided to turn over my budget for a costume to my husband so he can get totally decked out. He's going as Jack Sparrow, and Hayden is going as Jack Sparrow, the mini-me version. Amanda is going as a purple witch. I am going as "the-mom-who-didn't-get-a- costume-so-she's-wearing-this-green-shirt-and-jeans-with-a-headband-with-pumpkin-antennas-

Honestly, I think I turned into an "old mom" overnight. I've always been a dork, but really....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

cool site of the century!

Memo To Me - Free Reminder Service

I LOVE this site! I am such a forgetful person, especially when it comes to birthdays. I've marked calendars and then never looked at them again - cause, you know, it's all up here in my brain. - NOT!

They send you great little reminders and you can determine when they remind you - weeks ahead and days ahead... Now my sister and her kids won't hate me for forgetting the kiddos birthdays. Because it TOTALLY SUCKS when you do, and then what? What do you do? Make things worse by calling a week later and saying, "I suck...I forgot your birthday...how was it anyway??"

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blast Back Six Years

With Hayden's first birthday coming up I just had to search the hard drive for some pictures of Amanda on her 1st Birthday. What a contrast! Amanda had a mouth full of teeth when she turned one...Hayden barely has his two bottom front teeth.

Amanda was very wild and animated. Hayden is wild, but more curious and determined. I wonder what Hayden will think of his first taste of cake?

Why I Love My Little Family

I can't imagine what my life would be like if I didn't have my Honey Bunches of Frick'in Oats, my Chicken Butt, and my Little Gremlin (formerly known as Little Man and WMD).

I love HBFO because he still thinks he's like, 19. He loves hiking and nature and football and shares all of this with his kids. I love that even when he's exhausted from work he will still give me a nice back rub before bedtime no matter what. I love that he eats my weird dinners all gone, even when they suck. I love how sweet and patient he becomes with our Little Gremlin right when I am about to lose mine. I love that he loves his job and wants to share his day with me. I love him even though the man can drop 13 lbs. in 3 days just by getting sick. - That's just not fair.

I love my CB because she is the sweetest big sister her little brother could ever ask for. Every once in a while she'll just say out of the blue, "Mom? I'm so lucky to have a little brother. Hayden is so sweet...I love him!" It just melts my heart. I hope they stay this close as they grow up. I love that she is nice to everyone, especially the underdogs. She's the best friend anyone could have. I love her artwork and creativity. Give the girl a box full of art supplies and she's the happiest girl in town! I love CB because she doesn't care what others think about her. She dances like no one is watching - ALL THE TIME. She is brave and smart and drop dead gorgeous. I can say that - I'm her mother.

I love my LG more than I ever thought a person could love someone. He is a total cuddle worm and I love it - except when I've got to go pee and he's clinging onto my leg. He doesn't just smile for anyone but when that boy smiles, it brightens up a whole city block! He saves his biggest, brightest smiles for when daddy walks in the door. This makes daddy so happy, so it makes me happy too! I love him because he was an answer to my prayers. I love that when he sleeps with us I wake to him staring at me and making little puffing sounds, as opposed to the face slaps and nose pulls of the past. I love that he already knows the value of the remote control and seeks possession of it all times. He is my sweet, curious, little weapon of mass destruction, recently promoted to gremlin and I am smitten.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My six year old has been spouting off language that I just don't know about. I mean, I know she's growing up and all, but it's just weird.

Last night it was "Oh - My Bad," in response to having spelled a word wrong. Nothing horrible. Just weird to hear coming out of my daughters mouth.

This morning it was a very loud, "OH, MY, G*D - that is soooo weird!" I can only assume she got this from (A.) school, (B.) Disney Channel, or (C.) someone on the bus.

There's a family in our ward here in Florida that has started up a Cottage Style School called The
Wilford Woodruff School. Tuition is high, but is waived for your kids if you teach there. It's somewhat similar to a Montessori style of learning but more akin to Homeschooling in a small group charter school, if that makes any sense. At least that is how I have perceived it from those I've talked to about it. It's tempting in some ways, but it also feels a bit isolating.

I guess what it comes down to , what it has always come down to , is that I really need to be reinforcing at home the stuff I find important for her to know. I just find it incredibly hard to compete with the 8 hours a day influence she gets at school.

Perhaps today I will make up some gospel-focused spelling words for her to learn!
Atonement would be a great one - I don't think I really understood the meaning of this word until I was like, 16.
Reverence is another good one - she really used to struggle with this, but lately she has become quite the little example for reverence - at least in sacrament meeting.
Faith would be a great sight word, as would Heaven, Baptism and Hope.
Integrity will probably be the first word we work on. It will also be the easiest to explain and for her to relate to.

So that's the plan for now.

On a lighter note, check this out - it totally cracks me up every time I watch it!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I'm a new transplant to Central Florida. Before I moved here I lived in Laveen, Arizona and the differences between the education systems of these states is startling. I really miss the community of the Montessori school my daughter went to in Arizona, though I am finding that the standards and expectations of the schools here in Florida are much higher and it leaves me quite torn.

Sometimes I wish we could go back to Arizona - mostly because I miss my friends, my daughters friends and her school. I feel like my daughter is being suffocated with test after standardized test that will ultimates determine how she is labeled throughout the rest of her career as a student. And what bugs me more about these tests is that she was never properly prepped on how to "fill in the bubbles" nor was I informed prior to the test that she would be taking these tests. I personally think they are quite unreliable, especially when taken in the 1st grade.

And now my little girl (who I think reads quite well for her age) has been tossed into some "No Child Left Behind" program where she will be tutored once a week in reading. Apparently she is below grade level? What? The testing scores they gave me say she's between middle of 1st grade and 2nd grade.

Will she really be a smarter, better person because she is going to a micro-managed Bush Administration A+ school? I doubt it.

Really - What do I want for my daughter? Self-Esteem and a Love for Learning or High Standardized Test Scores....hmmm....

Oh, if only I had the temperament and patience to home school my kids....


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