Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween - 8913oh style

All Hallows Eve. Our neighborhood, which I have bragged about before, does not let one down on this the night that kids ages 2 through 14 wait for all year long. Every year, we head out into the street at 6pm sharp. When the kids were small, our neighborhood was the perfect trick or treat utopia. 46 houses all of which are friends, ten thousand kids, a gate keeping em all safely contained and moms and dads walking at a leisurely pace around the block just one time . Home by 7:30 and Halloween was over. As the kids have gotten older, they have broadened their horizons. Our neighborhood has 2 sister neighborhoods which are set up just like ours. Last year we did 2 of the neighborhoods. This year we did all three.
We walked into the house at about 9:30 and figured we have enough candy to feed New York for about a week. The kids all agree, it isn't about the candy. They will give it all to the Bishop for his candy bowl next week. It is about being with family and friends here in 8913oh.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another hour, another post

So, you are thinking: What gives? I know, right. I have all these posts in one day. And my friends, I have lots going on this weekend, so the posting will not end here.

Tonight Jenna, Bret and Millie had a bunch of their pals over for a Halloween shin dig. Pizza, treats, and the usual suspects. They watched a scary movie on the jumbo screen and played Judge in the neighborhood. judge was briefly interrupted by the watching of The Office. Too funny since every kid here was like 12 or 13. Following that they ran around for a while longer and then it was goodnight to all of the little goblins. Regan is still here and is snoozing with Millie.

Joe was a little too old for the party, but he kept the cousins Tommy and Grant and their little friends away from the party goers by engaging them all in an Ultimate Fighter style game. Them against him. I think he let them win!

Go Wildcats!

A bird's eye view of my High School. Remind me why I live in Las Vegas. Some one? Anyone? Please?

Oh junior high. I can hardly remember a typical day in my life as a young teen. So I will take some artistic liberty with the instructions pertaining to this Writer’s Workshop and tell you about a day in the life of 17 year old Christine at Weymouth South High. GO WILDCATS. Much has changed since my day in the in the jock lot, but here goes.
1986, 67 Union Street, 6:00 am. I wake to my mom dragging me out of bed. So tired, I was up half the night. We would be at the the school until about 11:00 decorating the class lockers of all the senior football players with candy and balloons. As a cheerleader I had a a regular locker key to decorate lockers and also a key to the boys locker room to decorate the floor with balloons. Can you even imagine? I was a student and I could get into every single locker on campus. Later still, I would spend hours on my princess phone talking with Carol. We used to plan our weddings via these late night marathon phone calls. Who we were marrying depended on the week, but for this blog’s purpose I will go with Sean Lovell, Quarterback of the Weymouth North, (oh yes, rival team). Yes, I did . My senior year I had the audacity to date the Maroons QB. You know that I made a few enemies when I walked into Blue and Gold country the weeks before the big game wearing his jacket. But more about my ulterior motives in a later post. Suffice to say, it was worth it and the jacket was used in aprank the night before the big game! Anyhow, I was very lucky to have the mom I had because morning at my house meant a yummy homemade egg Mc Muffin. Pretty much every day, I could count on a nice hot breakfast courtesy of my mom. Another thing I must remember to thank her for doing for me. After eating I would lock myself in the one bathroom of our house. Yup, one bathroom. Can you imagine? But when you have a 300 year old house you make it work. I guess the old place was originally built with an outhouse, so I should be grateful that we at least had one. After an extra long shower…I was the only kid still at home, I would retreat into my room and get started on the outfit. For this blog, we will say it was game day. I would slip into my little spanky pants, brightest gold and my short blue cheer skirt. Turtle neck of the whitest white followed by a blue v-neck sweater piped in gold with a huge WS embroidered onto the chest, ankle socks and saddle shoes. Now back in the day, I dressed before doing the hair because I could not risk the chance of knocking down the bangs by putting on my clothes first. On to the hair. For some reason, I always did my hair in the bathroom while sitting in the sink cross legged. Bangs were worn as high as possible and my 5 foot two inches was at least 5 foot 5 after spraying them into place. Aqua net…noooooooo, I was a hairspray snob. Shaper by Sebastian. I still love the smell of that stuff. Earrings on, class ring on the right ring finger. Make up time. Blush, eyeliner, mascara and a hint of eye shadow. Finally, gold chain hanging up and over the collar of the turtle neck. Out to the kitchen to grab my books and my ‘coat’. Say bye to the parents and into my little blue Plymouth Valiant. I had an extra long drive way growing up and I could back up so fast. Just a few months ago I drove backwards all the way around the block to show the kids just how well I can drive in reverse. Out of my drive, shoot up Union Street across White Street and get Liz. Down central across Pond to pick up Carol and then make my way down Pleasant street to the school. As we enter the school parking lot students divide themselves, as they so often do, into one of two groups by choosing which lot they park in. The Jock lot, which is on the West side of the building or the Bug lot on the East. Jock is a pretty self explanatory term, but bug may be unique to my hometown. A bug was our slang for bad kids/druggies/ stoners, whatever. I of course head to the Jock lot, park toward the rear and we all jump out to sit in the hood of our cars for a morning social gathering. Ten minutes later we stroll into the gym entrance as a huge group and head toward our lockers. I have a locker on each floor shared with friends so we never have to carry our books anywhere. I drop off the last night’s homework assignment to my first period teacher, because I have to go do morning announcements inviting the student body to the game. After the announcemnets I stall in the office talking to Mr Steele, the principal , so I can get out of a few more minutes of class. Classes, classes, classes. All day long I think about how the senior class play is coming, whether we are going to beat North this year and if the student council has any big plans for homecoming. Before lunch I have Drama. I love love love my drama teacher, Ms Anastos, and have always had pretty good roles in the plays. This year I scored the lead in You Can’t Take It With You. Tons of my pals have roles too and my co-star is a really great guy friend named Leo Doyle. Leo has been in school with me since 1st grade, so we are pretty close friends. Lunch comes and of course we eat something like French Fries and a diet Coke. Can you imagine if they still sold that stuff in schools? After lunch I am given some sort of pass to go and decorate the field houses for the game. This turns into a gabfest with the other cheerleaders. After school, I have play practice until at least 4 and then it is on to the game. My parents come to every game no matter where it is and watch me jump and clap in unison with the other 11 girls on the squad. After the game, which, if it is my senior year , we probably lost, I head over to Papa Gino’s with most of the team and the squad and grab a pizza and more diet coke. I linger long to talk. (Who would a thought?) By the time I get home with at least one friend who is spending the night, it is late and a bunch of cars are in my driveway. We walk up the back steps and find my dad at the stove cooking something for 5-10 football players that just scoffed down a pizza a piece with us a Gino’s. They are loud and talking about the woulda shoulda couldas of the game. My dad is certain they will get em next time. They all raz me a little about Sean from North and my friend and I join them. After they leave and my dad goes to bed, we watch MTV hoping to see Adam Ant or Stray Cats and fall asleep on the family room floor.

October Days and Nights

Our little family

Millie's bread and her photo shoots with the cat. Millie learned to make bread at here Young Women activity last Wednesday. She is a talented little baker. Come to think of it, she is just a talented little girl. Love that girl!

Here are some photos of our volleyball girls. They are enjoying stake volleyball. Jenna calls all the Mia maids 'the big girls', which just cracks us up because she is like 6 inches taller than all of them!
All my scouts:
Finally some pictures of our Stake Court of Honor last night. Bret earned his Star and Joey, his bronze palm.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Adding the signature

Here are the instructions I got from Jori. Thanks for your helk Jori.

1. Open your blog and sign in

2. Open my blog in another window and click on my signature in one of my posts.

That will open the create a signature site. I did not register even though it says to do it. YOU CAN STILL GENERATE THE CODE with out registering for the site.

3. Go through the choices and create your signature in any style you like.

4. Copy the code

5. On your blog, go to Customize

6. Settings

7. Formatting

8. Scroll down to the bottom and paste the signature link into Post Template

9. Then your signature should be there every time you post new.

10. Ta-da!! =)
Xander says, "It's so easy I could do it!"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My "lasts" as a mother

So Jori got me thinking again. Darn that girl. She always gets me thinking! Anyhow, she was reading my last post, Music Memory Monday, and remembered a book she had told me about long ago. It is a book of a mother's lasts. The last changed diaper, the last night feeding, the last set of braces etc. As you all know, I have been finding my kids are growing too fast! So I have decided I want to document these 'lasts' as they occur. I am going to occasionally post some lasts here on my blog and aptly title them

Christine's lasts as a mother

I may even pull out a few memories of earlier 'lasts' just to savor them a little longer. But for now, I am starting with today:

Today as a mother I will sew my last First Aid merit badge onto a scout sash. (Along with 7 others.) Way to go Bret!

Today I took the day off school to take care of about 1,000 little things that needed my attention. One of these things was getting down to the scout office and taking care of our unit's advancements. Tomorrow night we have our stake court of honor. Bret will be recognized for his Star Advancement and Joe has earned a bronze palm. So today finds me sewing on a few patches from the last court of honor onto Bret's sash.

My John Hancock

So today, my pal Jori told me how to insert this cute little signature on my blog. Anyone interested in her wonderful instructions, let me know.

Thanks Jori!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Music Memory Monday

Reading Jori's Music Memory Monday post got me to thinking about lullabies. It also got me to thinking about how quickly my little ones are growing up. For Pete's sake Joey is a sophomore in High School. Can you say, "old"?

Anyhow, this train of thinking brought me to last week, Thursday night, I believe. In the middle of the night, I heard, a meek voice call out, "Mumma? Mumma are you awake?" Followed by whimper, sniffle, whimper. I got up and go to Millie's room. As I entered the room she said through tears, "Mumma, I had a really bad dream." I sat down and comforted her and she quickly dozed off, but me, I stayed awake for hours after. Just thinkin'.

It occurred to me that that little voice in the night could very well be the last nightmare that pulls me from my bed to comfort a scared child. Last time Joe had a bad dream he told me about it over bagels in the morning. Laughing about how foolish it seemed in the daytime, but how it had scared the dickens out of him during the night. "Why didn't you wake me?" I had asked him. "Mum, are you kidding? It was a bad dream. I just went back to sleep." I know I have been waxing nostalgic a lot lately, but really, where does the time go?

Back to lullabies. For the most part, Millie has always been a great sleeper. She slept through the night upon returning home from the hospital. And when I married Doug, Jenna and Bret were 5 and 6, well past the waking up at night stage. I did have the occasional call in the night from all of them, "I'm sick... I heard a funny noise...I had a bad dream." All of these instances found me sitting on their bed, reading them a story or just whispering happy things to them until they joined Winkin, Blinkin and Nod in dreamland. And you all know that every so often there is nothing you can do but invite the frightened or sick little one to the safety of 'mom and dad's room' so they can get a good night's sleep. Ya, with the three younger kiddos we had our share of camping on our bedroom floor.

But Joe, he was another story. Never slept a wink. That boy kept me up for the first 3 years of his life. He was wide eyed the second his was born. Always gazing around as if to take it all in. When he did start sleeping regularly as a toddler, he had these awful night terrors. He would wake us up screaming and yelling. His eyes open but he was still asleep. (In case you are wondering, yes, he walks in his sleep and talks quite a bit too. Freaked Doug out when we got married. But that my friends, is another story. ) Anyhow, Joe had two things that would calm him down during the night terror stage. The first was going outside to look at the moon. I think walking outside carrying him into the night air would gently wake him from his dream world. No matter how cold seeing the moon, be it full or a sliver, would calm him down enough to get him back in bed. The second, my singing to him, Once Upon a Dream from the original Sleeping beauty. (Was there a remake? I don't know.)

Sleeping Beauty is my favorite fairy tale, so the song is of course my favorite lullaby. My voice leaves much to be desired but Joe and Mill both rocked in my arms listening to me do my best to sing it to them after we finished reading our bedtime stories. Jenna and Bret have heard it a time or two as well although their memories of me will more likely include my reading aloud to them from chapter books. Nevertheless,

Once Upon a Dream= A house full of little children

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Here is a photo from the event.
Yesterday Jenna sang in the director's choice choir for our school district. Only 5 or 6 kids from Lied were chosen. They did well performing 3 songs that they learned during the EXTRA long rehearsals on Friday night and Saturday.

The performance was packed. We arrived early only to find seating toward the very back of this huge theater. It was a wonderful experience for Jenna and the choirs sounded wonderful.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

No more tagging. Forever.

Stop the madness! No more tagging!!!!

Just kidding my lovelies. Jori, you can go ahead and tag me any old time. Just know that the chance of me playing is about 1 in 10. But today, to appease the blogging gods and goddesses, I will oblige. Sorry it has taken me so long to get this one going.

1. Fact numero uno: I am the youngest child and ONLY girl in my family. Can you say daddy's girl. Yup, that's me. I grew up with a house full of boys, their friends, their music, their sports, their ideas, their way of reacting. I know, right. It sheds a whole new light on the me you thought you knew.
2. Not good at doing nothing. I have anxiety attacks on vacations. Really. I can hardly sit still for an hour at church. It is really hard for me to relax. My dad was awful when he first retired. So antsy and restless. That is how I fear I will be. Doug will be chillin' sipping a fruity beverage from a coconut. I will be organizing the natives into book clubs and lacrosse teams, or starting up my own school.
3. Can't touch this! I hate being touched by people. Hugs, pats on the back. Not me. I don't even like to get a massage. No touchy.
Now, my hubby, my kids, totally different story.

4. I have been to pretty much every concert that you would ever want to attend. Back in the day, before show tickets cost an arm, a leg and the hand off the other arm, I lived in Boston. Go get a map. Boston sits about an hour north of Providence, just east of Worcester and a few hours northeast of Hartford. Not too mention New York is a day trip. Anyhow, I mentioned the brothers and the music. I grew up listening to everything they listened to and then some. All the bands played each of those cities and you would find me and my gang driving around New England to catch multiple shows in the same week. From U2 ( three nights in a row at at the Garden) and INXS, to Elvis Costello and Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead , Eric Clapton, Stevie Windwood, Sade, and the Stones, to REM and the Cure. I was there. They Might be Giants played on my college campus many times as well as Psychedelic Furs. The list goes on. I was in Florida in a small place one night when Jimmy Buffet arrived and unannounced played a few songs on his guitar up front. That was something. Perhaps the most unforgettable was a date that took me to see James Taylor at Harvard. All acoustic, 100 person audience. I could see his fingers on the guitar strings.

5. I do not like only 2 foods; broccoli and canned tuna. OK, so the broccoli, love the taste, hate the belly ache I get every time I eat even one small tree. Whatever, I make do. Canned tuna, that is another story. Really gross. Taste, smell , texture, uggg. My brothers and my dad love the stuff. It reminds me of Friday nights at my parents' house. Dear old dad worked every Friday night at the K of C running the BINGO for the Catholic church. Now isn't it good to know that Catholics too have lots of things they call by initials. Kof C translates into Knights of Columbus. Loosely similar to Elders' quorum and/or High Priest group. The thing is the organization does a ton of service, but they also have a bar, pool tables and a dance hall for a meeting place, not a chapel. I DO NOT MAKE THIS UP. Anyhow, Friday nights are fend for yourself night at my parent's house because dad is off to the Kof C to serve the community by running Bingo for all the old ladies in our parish. My mom uses this night to read 2 or 3 books. Being that they are Catholic, she also does not cook meat on Fridays! So it is pizza night, or grilled cheese night, or in the case of my brothers and my dad tuna sandwich night. Or as my dad would say 'tuner sangwich', that is the Boston Italian way.I can not tell you how much I hate the smell of tuna. It is so , I dunno, tuna-ee. I know, this from the girl who would eat raw fish daily.. For years I escaped the tuna nightmare and then I met Doug. Lover of tuna sandwiches and I, lover of him. I had to deal. To make matters worse, when I met Jenna and Bret, they would eat about 4 things. Chicken nuggets with french fries , pizza, taco bell and tuna or egg salad. Oh help me. The first two months we were married I made them eat so many new things. They must have hated my little cooking guts. But eventually we worked up to vegetables and fish and now, they will both eat pretty much anything.

6. I can spin things. I was in drum corps and color guard for a few years in elementary school and junior high. Our church had a senior and junior corps. Our name was the Sancians. The senior corps was Spectra. I picked up a rifle at about 8 years of age and continued to spin things for the better part of my childhood. I was an indiscriminate spinner. In my corps and colorgaurd career I spun rifles and sabres, but at home, hockey sticks, baseball bats, brooms... You name it I spun it. I still spin to this day, to th edelight of neighbors' small children and 6th graders in foods class. I can really whip a broom around! Ask me next time you see me to toss a triple and catch it behind my back. No problem.

7. I am on The city of Las Vegas' child care licensing board. What a mouthful. I have been doing this for a few years now. Once a month I attend meetings to decide on applications for any sort of child care in the city. Be it a day care center director's licence or a home providers application to care for children in his/her home. We do it all. It has been pretty interesting and was kind of fun to be appointed to such a thing by the Mayor. Good old Oscar. I have an official spot in the city council room where I sit with a name placard and everything.
So there you have it. 7 random, little known facts about me. Don't you wanna play? I tag those who read this and want to play.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Top 200

Joe has been invited to attend a recruitment weekend at Loyola Marymount in LosAngeles. The top 200 players in the west were invited. We are really excited for him to attend. His coach told us he will be one of the few sophomores attending so be prepared for some top play. In the past only a few boys from our valley have been invited and they have all gone on to play in college. Quite exciting for our boy!

Here is a list of the schools that will be there scouting with Joe's top picks in blue italics :


Canisius College

Dartmouth College

Fairfield University

Georgetown University

Lehigh University

Hobart College

Syracuse University

Towson University

University at Albany

University of Denver

UMBC (University of Maryland - Baltimore County)

University of Maryland - College Park

University of Notre Dame

University of Vermont

VMI (Virginia Military Institute)

Wagner College

Yale University


Domincan College

Notre Dame de Namur


W & L (Washington & Lee University)

Whittier College


Arizona State University

Chapman University

Loyola Marymount University

Girls, girls, girls

They look so innocent.
Regan spent the night Friday after babysitting and the girls laughed well into the night, so morning came early for them Saturday. Brittany Thalman's family went out of town for the weekend so she also joined our ranks. The boys were significantly outnumbered. Doug snuck off to work, Joe was at lacrosse and Bret went off to Clay's house. The girls had the opportunity to go to the best of EFY. They loved the speakers and enjoyed being with the girls in the ward.
After we headed off to the BITE of Las Vegas. Jenna's mom picked up Jenna and Brit early so they could make it down there to see Secondhand Serenade. They made it in time and we came later to see Puddle of Mud and taste some food. The bands were good but the girls were less than enamoured with the crowd, so we took off and headed home to begin the evenings festivities. Jenna had planned on staying to watch Life House, but her desire to be with her pals got the best of her and she joined us just as we headed out for the night.
Now in most crowds being toilet papered is and insult, but in Mormon world, at least here in Vegas, it is an expression of friendship. Really. Joe was tp'd about once a week for 2-3 years. That is what happens when you are the only Deacon in a ward with 18 Beehives. Last night began the toilet papering era of the rising generation. I am happy to say I had my hand in the start of this great battle. Girls 1- Boys 0! Millie was so happy last night as we headed out, she leaned forward from the back seat and said, "Mum, you are so much fun. " I told her, I learned from the best. Here is my little shout out to Kristie Lytle. Queen of the late night young women activity!
So, if you are looking at my blog and see a picture of your house covered in wholesome white fun, know you are loved by the girls in the San Miguel ward. If we didn't visit you, you are not safe. Oh to the contrary. We have just begun

Friday, October 17, 2008

Another Week, Another Lab

I have not talked much about my job on this blog. Have I even mentioned my work? I do not know. I teach Home Family and Consumer Science at the middle school the 3 youngest kids in our family attend. To put it to you in a way you will better understand, I teach home ec at my kids' junior high. Ahhhh, now you see.
Yes. Really. I do. In this crazy world John Q. Public decided about 20 years ago that junior high aged kids no longer needed to learn to cook, or sew or take care of their families. (At that same time old JQP decided that auto mechanics and wood shop and things of the like were of little or no consequence too.) Anyhow, as it so happens I had been working part time as a strategist and grant facilitator last year when the feds pulled back on funding and poof, my little job went up in smoke. Part of my little job last year involved the teaching of one expo class. I got to come up with that one on my own and decided I wanted to try teaching a nutrition class. My principal offered me a teaching job, but said she could not offer me a half time contract, so would I consider full time employment. My first thought was "Kindergarten here I come." Half time, cute kids, coloring between the lines, the alphabet... but then she added, "Be creative, make me an offer I can't refuse." I turned my thoughts to the 6 unused kitchen labs in our school. The ones I used to demonstrate recipes last year for my class and the ones in which I occasionally let the kids cook. Every junior high in Vegas is equipped with a home ec room. I know, right. There are your tax dollars being put to good use! Let's build junior highs with home ec rooms for home ec classes that no longer exist. But either way I lucked out. I now have 5 sections of 'home, family and consumer science'. My course is a semester long course which means I get all new kids at the start of semester two in January. That fact makes me both happy (4th period) and sad (2nd period). Seriously, all of my classes are wonderful, just period 4 is extra full and extra chatty. I do love my job. Some say, find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life. I think I may have done just that!


Images from Camp 2008