Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Yet another year has come and gone and as 2007 is just a few hours away, I find myself reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new one. 2007 brings a chance for new beginnings. A chance to change the things that we are not happy with and a chance to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.

We had our typical New Year's Eve celebration. I made a bunch of appetizer and finger foods and we "have a picnic on the coffee table" as Allison puts it. This year Allison invited my sister, Alesia, so she came for the day and is spending the night. This picture of Allison and Curtis was taken tonight. I think it's my new favorite of the two of them.

I'm going to make this short but I wanted to take a minute to wish all of you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

Have Fun!

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man."
~Benjamin Franklin
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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Week in Review in Pics!

Hey Everyone! I tried posting last week but Blogger wouldn't let me upload pictures. It wouldn't let me again today so I finally accepted the newer version and SHAZAM, it let me upload as many as I wanted! is our week in review!

Allison's school Christmas party was last Friday and I decided to make gifts for all of her classmates. I took little stockings and wrote all of their names on them in gold glitter paint. Then I filled them with a box of crayons and a small candy cane in a treat bag. I had trouble getting my Microsoft Word to work so I had to write out "Merry Christmas from Allison" on all 21 tags! What a pain! We are so spoiled by technology!

Allison had 10 minutes to kill last Friday morning before we had to go catch the bus. I told her she could play in the living room but not to sit on the floor because she had black pants on with her Christmas shirt and it will collect lint from the carpet. She said "Okay, Mom." I never thought about it again until I walked back into the house after putting her on the bus. This picture is what I saw. She is just in love with our tree...just like me. I secretly put some of my favorite ornaments on the side where the couch is so I can sit and stare at them. I love getting up early and just sitting in the dark with nothing but the tree lights on. It is such a warm feeling. I love our "family" tree and all of the stories the ornaments tell. Apparantly, it is like Mother like Daughter in our home...the evidence is in the picture!

How cute is this snowgal? Allison brought it home from school last Wednesday and was so proud to present it to me! Of course, I was SO excited to receive it too! It is her FIRST handmade ornament! I couldn't wait to give it a place of honor on the front of the tree. It's the first ornament I see when I walk into the living room. I love it! She also brought home a tile that she painted with a snowman's face. It's "to put hot stuff on, Mom!" She said it with so excitement! I put it right next to Daddy's chair so he can put his coffee cup on it. She is so proud and I just love the things that she makes. Lately, she has had this thing for hearts. She draws them, colors them and gives them to us. Curtis put one in his wallet so every time he sees it, he thinks of her. I have them all over my refrigerator. Who would have ever thought that something so simple could fill me with such joy?

I needed four little gifts for some people at work and this is what I came up with. I bought the "JOY" tin buckets at Target in the Dollar Spot at the beginning of the Holiday season. I thought they were so cute and for a buck, I couldn't pass them up. I filled them with a couple of sheets of tissue paper in the bottom and 2 Irish coffee mugs with snowmen on them and six packets of assorted flavored hot chocolate by Land O' Lakes. They came out really cute and were a BIG hit! I had two of the buckets left over so I filled them with shredded red and green tissue (I put it through my paper shredder) and a couple of the Home Interiors candles in a jar and they came out just as cute too!

The picture below is a close up of my Nativity. When I sold Home Interiors the first time around I splurged and got it for myself, my sister, my Mother and my best friend, Susan. It's probably my second favorite Holiday decoration next to the tree. I remember as a child sitting and looking at my Mom's and thinking that I could just envision them being real. I am so happy to have a beautiful set for Allison to look at too.
The whole Nativity:

This picture was taken last Saturday, the 23rd. Poor Santa, he looks so tired! Allison had already seen Santa this year at the pancake and sausage breakfast at our church. However, I realized on Saturday that I didn't have my camera with me and didn't get a picture. Well, of course I HAD to have a picture of this event so we took her down to Zelienople where they have a free standing house erected each year for Santa to visit the kids. It is adorable. There is a tree, fireplace and toy boxes in it with a little front porch. It is decorated for Christmas and you can bring your own camera and they only take donations. Afterwards, we were hungry and Curtis surprised us and took us to the Log Cabin Inn for dinner. Even though I had TONS of Christmas prep to still do at home, I didn't stress about it. I just enjoyed this perfect night with my family.

This picture is of our tree. As I said above, I LOVE all of the ornaments and the stories that they tell. A few years ago, I started and "Ornament Scrapbook" for Allison. It is 5 x 7 and each page has a picture of the ornament on it with the story of when she received it, where it came from, who it came from, the reason behind it and any other important information about it. When she leaves home (sniff, sniff) to set up her own home, I will give her all of her ornaments along with the scrapbook.

Here is a pic of Allison in front of the tree. This was taken Christmas Eve after Christmas Mass. Do you see the skinned knee? She was so excited to go to church that when she was trying to get out of the car by herself, she got her foot caught in the seat belt and fell out onto the pavement on both knees. Poor thing!

I have been admiring figurines for years! I LOVE them but I didn't want to buy them myself. They are Willow Tree figurines by Demdaco. I mentioned them to Curtis last year and he gave me one of the ornaments for Christmas. He thinks they are creepy without faces. I think they are beautiful. He took Allison shopping and she picked these three out for me. I think she did great! When she saw the little angel holding the cat with short curly hair, she told her Dad "That one looks like me!" She's right! It does resemble her and it's my favorite. I also love that Curtis took her with him to pick them out for me. They are just that more special because of it.

And last but certainly not least! This little snowman is what Allison picked out at Santa's Workshop at school for me. She was so cute when she brought the presents home. They must have prepared the kids for us to ask what they were because she stood strong and wouldn't tell me. She did however ask me if I liked snowmen...too cute! It is my FAVORITE gift this year! He was in a little basket with three little candles and some red and green tissue paper. He is darling, don't you think?

Have Fun!
A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.
~Eudora Welty

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Yes Allison, I'm Jelly Belly!!!

I'm busy working on finishing up some Christmas preparations but thought I would take break and share a picture. This is of Allison cuddling with Daddy on the couch. Whenever she kisses and hugs one of us we tease her that we have a jealous belly. She'll look at us and say "Mommy or Daddy, are you jelly belly?" It's one of my favorite games that we play.

“I will not play tug o' war. I'd rather play hug o' war. Where everyone hugs instead of tugs, Where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug, Where everyone kisses, and everyone grins, and everyone cuddles, and everyone wins.”
Shel Silverstein

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Allison's 1st Christmas Program!

Wednesday night was Allison's 1st Christmas Program. Her Kindergarten class sang three songs and recited 3 verses from the Bible. It was adorable! The verses were her memory work for the last couple of weeks. When she brought it home, my first thought was that she will NEVER be able to memorize this! Well, much to my surprise, she had it memorized in a week. This picture is of her on the stage after the program. We were too far back to get a good picture even with the zoom. The outfit is compliments of Grandma Sandy (my best friend's mother). It was Maria's and she saved it because she loved it so much. I agree! She looked so grown up in it and festive! When I put it on her, it definitely needed a necklace and I pulled two of hers that were given to her at her baptism. She had never seen them before and since it was a special occasion, I thought it was time. The first one is a crucifix given to her by my sister and her Godmother, Alesia. The second one was given to her by her Grandma (Curtis's Mom) and is a guardian angel pendant with a guardian angel prayer on the back. She was so excited because she knew they were very special and "good" jewelry. I told her that she could pick one to wear. She didn't take as long as she usually does to think her decision over very carefully to make sure she made the correct choice. She picked the crucifix. I asked her why and she said "It's the more important one."I wondered why she came to that conclusion and she promptly told me "because he's our savior." She surprises me more and more every day!

These are the verses she recited with her class for the Christmas program:

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
Luke 2:13-15
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Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Thank you to all of you who snail mailed, emailed, called or stopped by to wish me a Happy Birthday. I love and appreciate each and every one of you! I thought I got by at work without anyone remembering but then I was called out of my office to the back where all of our employees had gathered with balloons and a cake to sing happy birthday to me. Even though I hate being the center of attention, it made me feel loved and special.

After tucking Allison in for bed, I cuddled with Curtis on our bed to watch a little television. I woke up over 2 hours later not knowing if it was 10:00 at night or morning. I hate when you do that and you think you have missed something. I thought Allison was late for school and I was late for work! Curtis said I fell asleep immediately. I must have been really tired! I went downstairs to redd up (Pittsburgh slang) the kitchen and my sweetie had already done that. He is so wonderful. He took care of dinner and everything. It was a perfect evening except for the head cold. I truly am blessed.

Have Fun!

“Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many - not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some”
~Charles Dickens
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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Day 3 & A Very Special Birthday Cake!

It's day 3 for Allison's incentive and so far it's working quite nicely. She is $3 richer and we couldn't be more pleased. Hopefully this trend will continue!

Today is my birthday and I feel like crap! No, not because it's my birthday but because I have this horrible head cold. My head feels like it's going to explode! However, as soon as I got home from work, Allison wanted to bake a birthday cake for me with me. LOL! I think this was the first time that I have ever baked my own birthday cake! I didn't mind though because she was SO excited to be doing this for me. If you have ever read my blog or even know Allison, she LOVES pink! So, she wanted pink icing and then she went for the basket of sprinkles in the pantry. Allison LOVES sprinkles too! They make her totally happy! In fact, they make me happy too! This picture is the finished project. I barely got to snap it before she chopped the cake up to serve me a piece! Too cute! It is a white cake (my very favorite) and lots of pink sugar crystals with pink, red and white hearts and jimmies (the Wilton Valentine mixture). It was delish...a little crunchy with all the fun stuff on top but oh so special! Doesn't she look so proud in the picture? I LOVE that girl!

Have Fun!

"Getting old ain't for sissies!"
~Bette Davis
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Sunday, December 03, 2006

I'm behind & Allison's Incentive!

It's December 3rd and I am behind in my holiday preparations. This is not how I had planned it this year. I planned to have almost everything wrapped up by now but I always seem to have a wrench thrown into my plans! Oh well, there is still time. I am not going to let myself stress about. It's not worth it! Whatever gets done, gets done and it'll be fine.

Allison has been having trouble behaving all the time. She has misbehaved for us, for the sitter, for the teacher at school and of course, NOT when she has gone to visit either set of Grandparents (Ya, right!) She is very strong willed and doesn't like to be told what to do. Curtis seems to think that she intentionally misbehaves to get a reaction from us or the teacher. He is probably right but SHHH, don't tell him! She is very independent and as her teacher, Mrs. Robinson said "She just digs her heels in and doesn't budge." Where does she get that will? ;) I keep telling myself that as long as we raise her with good values and morals, we will be thankful for her independence when she is a teen. I will pity the teen that tries to get her to take a drink or any thing else that isn't good for her. She probably will not only say "No way!" but if she keeps up this disposition, she will be giving that teen a strong case of why they shouldn't do those things too! Anyway, getting back to the 5 year old Allison. We are starting a new system to monitor her behavior on a daily basis. This is what we did:

(You can click on it to enlarge it)

This is our refrigerator. I have put up labels made from P-Touch for every day of the week and put a dollar bill with a magnet under each day. If Allison's behavior is good for the whole day, she will get to leave the dollar up and she gets to keep her movies (videos & DVD's). If her behavior is unacceptable, she will lose the dollar for that day and also lose a movie. Does this mean she has to be perfect? Of course not. It does mean that she will need to listen to the authority figure the first time they speak. We shouldn't have to repeat ourselves over and over and over again. She is VERY smart and knows exactly what she is doing. This system will hold her accountable and also measure her behavior. Are we paying her to be good? I don't think so. We are giving her incentive to change her behavior. Repetition is one of the most basic learning techniques. We are hoping and praying this will show her that it's so much better to just follow what she is supposed to do and not what she wants to do. At the end of the week, Allison will be able to keep what money is left. I told her that she can do one of three things with it. She can: 1. Save it to spend on our trip to Walt Disney World. 2. Put it in the bank. or 3. Spend it at the store on a toy. Of course, she didn't like any of my choices! She said that she wanted to "give it to the poor people." Isn't that sweet? She is such a good child but when her behavior is bad, it's really bad and REALLY frustrating! I'm praying this will be the thing that works. Time will tell. Oh and by the way, I can't take credit for this system. Marsha (Hi Marsha!), my best friend's sister told me about it. She said that her better half, Ron (Hi Ron!) read it somewhere and told her about it. Thanks Marsha & Ron! I'll let you know if it works!

Have Fun!

"Raising kids is part joy and part guerilla warfare."
Ed Asner

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