Finally Recess
Time to sit back and have a cup of coffee

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Spoiled Rotten

I turned 26 this weekend boy did I get spoiled!  My class surprised me with a beautiful cake and then had flowers delivered.  To top it off they brought in lunch from Chiloso's - Yummy!
I was testing students all day Friday.  So when the flowers arrived I asked the little guy I was testing, "Did you know about the flowers?"  He said with the most assured smile, "Yes, I planned it!"  So stinking cute!!!!

Saturday, Jeff sent me to the most fabulous spa for the entire day.  I had a massage, body wrap, pedicure, lunch, and had my hair shampooed and styled!  That evening, Jeff and I went to the most amazing dinner at Charlie Palmers.  It was phenomenal. 

I could not have asked for a better day.  I have the best class, family and husband to celebrate turning 26 with!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Things to Make My Life Easier

Life is hard but when we find things that can make our lives easier I think we would share the wealth!  I fully believe the motto "Work Smarter and not Harder".  So here are some things that are making my life easier.  Some cost money and some you probably already know, but for giggles and grins here goes!

  • With Caitlyn starting Kindergarten we have been picking out her clothes on Sunday night for the week.  We pick out everything down to panties, shoes, socks and bows.  I will not allow her to stray from this outfit for any reason because I do not want to start any habits.  Sunday nights can be challenging when we are getting everything ready for the week (including dance clothes) but I am so thankful every morning when she brings her clothes down or comes down already dressed.  I'm just wondering why I don't do this for myself yet?
  • Just last week I started ordering 2 meals a week from a lady that makes homemade meals in her home.  I had heard about her last year and pondered doing this but felt like I needed to be making meals for my family.  Honestly, that didn't happen very often and we ended up going out to eat or "the bewitching 5 o'clock hour" (when everyone wants your attention, the dog, the kids, the meal, the mail, the laundry, the phone, someone at the door, etc) happened at our house while I tried to make dinner and it wasn't pleasant at all.  I ended up stressed and on top of that I had dishes to do and papers to grade and was extremely tired.  All I really wanted to do was play with my children.  Buying a couple meals a week allows me to do this.  I come home, warm up the oven and hang out with the puppies and the kids.  It is so much more relaxing and the dinners are fabulous!  This is a great business endeavor for stay-at-home moms!
  • I bag up carrots, goldfish, veggie chips, grapes, and any other snacks that I can for easy grabbing during the week for lunches and snacks.
  • I make lunches and prepare snacks and water bottles at night.
  • Keep shoes in a basket at the front door until we can put them in the right place every couple weeks.  We can always find shoes in our closets or at the front door and we don't have to search all over the house or trip over shoes.
  • Work from a list 
  • As I'm working or cleaning downstairs and I find things that belong upstairs I put them on the stairs and vice-a-versa upstairs.  Then when I make a trip upstairs I always make sure I don't go empty handed and if I'm really lucky they have already made their way upstairs without my help!

Things I try to do and would really help me out if I did them on a regular basis:
  • Clean off the counter every night
  • Do the dishes every night
  • When I think of it, do it, right then!
  • Put the laundry away immediately.
  • Do a load of laundry every day.
  • Stay off the computer until after 9:00.
What are your tricks to save you time and make your life easier?  I would love to know!


    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Happy 3rd Birthday Brent

    It doesn't seem long ago that we rushed to the hospital to have Brent.  
     
    But today my baby turned 3 years old.  WOW!  He his a a walking, clearly talking, sweet baby boy that is (PTL!) potty trained.
     
    He is checking out his independence more and doesn't really care to hold my hand as much.  He can do "everything" himself and it is no longer his favorite thing to give me hugs and kisses (they are now quick and let's get it over with.  BOO!)  But if I take him to the deer lease and let him run and play all day long, he will be so tired that he will snuggle and sleep with me around the campfire and I love that!

    For his birthday we took him to Chuck E Cheese and of course he loved it.  His favorite thing to do there is play football, basketball or ski ball.  Do you see a theme with this boy?  He could really care less about opening his presents because all he wanted to do was play.  But we forced convinced him.  He got 2 new trains for his track, a Toy Story Lego set, a sand box in the backyard, a new basketball that is coming, and a book from Grandpa and Grandma.  He is a very blessed boy.

    Caitlyn was so excited to celebrate Brent's birthday all day!  These two precious angels also got to enjoy homemade chocolate chip cupcakes from our dear friend Miss Jenn.

    Happy Birthday Brent!

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Aunt Betty

    Aunt Betty in her element (cooking a big breakfast for everyone)
    Jeff had lost touch with his great Aunt Betty and Uncle Sunny for the majority of his life.  I remember sending them an invitation when we got married but they were unable to make it to our wedding because they lived in Australia at the time.  They recently moved to Missouri on a beautiful farm with deer that attracted Jeff and tractors and barns that Brent adored.  But even more than all these things we all just loved Aunt Betty.

    She was strong and dynamic.  Outgoing and funny.  She lived to take care of others and could flat run circles around me and a handful of others at the same time.

    Her cooking was phenomenal. She insisted on making everyone's favorite at each meal and she made the best jam that she would send home with us every time she came.  It did not matter what time of day or evening we got there she would get up and offer us something to eat.  I'm not just talking about a snack or a sandwich but a complete meal.
    She loved her babies
     We played cards late into the night and between each meal (and she won 9 out of 10 times), we drove into Branson and shopped, and we stayed up late into the wee hours talking.

    She would repeat stories sometimes but I didn't mind.  I would just take it all in.  I loved hearing about Jeff's family and how important family is to her.  I enjoyed when she pulled out the photo albums and we found a few pictures of Jeff when he was little. 

    Uncle sunny and Aunt Betty at the annual 4th of July celebration
    She bottle fed calves when needed
    She insisted on having the children come and stay with her for a week in the summer and she came to see us too and went to the Great Wolf Lodge water park.  She loved the rides!
    Our final picture at Great Wolf Lodge

    Aunt Betty and Uncle Sunny loved each other so much.  They didn't just live together but you could see their love.  They checked in on each other throughout the day and doted on each other.  I loved seeing their love.

    Aunt Betty lived fast and furiously and she died the same way.  She was diagnosed with lung cancer the week before July 4th.  Sadly, she died 2 months later on Labor Day.  Jeff and I are still in shock.  She was an amazing person and we wish we could have reconnected with her earlier.  We are beyond grateful that we had these years with her.

    Caitlyn had a hard time with Gigi and Chauncey dying so Jeff and I were nervous about telling her.  She only asked if Uncle Sunny would still live at the farm with the the barn and immediately started talking about Chauncey.  It does make it kind of tough because we are not going to Missouri at this time because  Aunt Betty did not want a service so we will go to Missouri when things settle down to check on Uncle Sunny.  I'm sure it will be more real for Caitlyn at that time and actually for me too.

    Time Flies

    So much has been going on around here.  I'm amazed at how fast time flies.  

    • Caitlyn has lost her first tooth and is watching daily for new tooth to grow in (which is happening).
    • Sadie is already learning to go to the door and ask to go outside most of the time!  Yippee!
    • Brent turns 3 tomorrow.  Wow!  Talk about flying time.
    • Caitlyn started school two weeks ago and is doing really good.  She knows both word walls and already knows who she is going to marry.  Not bad for just starting school.  Haha!
    • Hunting season has finally started for Jeff again.  At least one of us is thrilled.
    • Brent is potty trained.  I was almost beginning to think that wouldn't happen.
    • Teaching a grade level the 2nd year at the same school is sooooo much easier and I love that.
    • Our family took our first hunting trip together (all four of us) this weekend and we stirred up a lot of dust.
    • We have enjoyed a Rangers game with great seats even if it meant melting, literally!





    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    Fundraiser for sweet baby Brynn in China!

    One of my teammates is adopting a baby and will be bringing her home from China at the end of the year sometime.  Below is a post from her blog that gives each of us an opportunity to support them in bringing Brynn home.  You can check out how cute Brynn is and the story of her adoption here.
    Did you know there are hundreds of millions of children worldwide who have lost one or both parents.
    Every 14 seconds an AIDS death leaves another child orphaned.
    Approximately 88 million orphans live in Asia.
    Approximately 45 million orphans live in Africa.
    Approximately 14 million orphans live in Latin America & the Caribbean.
    Approximately 1 million children live in public care in Central and Eastern Europe
    More than 800,000 children pass through America’s foster care system each year.
    These statistics do not even include the UNKNOWN children living orphaned both here and abroad that go uncounted, unnoticed and unloved.
    Quoted from the girls at 147millionOrphans
    In a few short months there will be ONE LESS orphan!  
     Brynn Olivia Ai Xin will be a daughter and sister, she will be the loved member of a family.
    Please join with us in our first fundraiser to help bring Brynn home!
    All of the proceeds will be going towards our "mandatory orphanage donation fee".  The week before we leave to get Brynn, we are required to wire $6,000 to the Pingdingshan City Social Welfare Institute.  This money is required and will go towards Brynn's past care expenses and towards the babies who remain behind.
    Fundraiser Details
    We were selected to be a part of the Hip Mom Jewelry Adoption Fundraiser.
    Click here to order your necklace today!
    You have to enter our family code MCINTIRE10 for us to receive the credit.
    The code needs to go in the area that says "discount coupon". It will take $1 off the order and then you will know it worked. You can also put it in the comments section.
    Please help us spread the word by posting this information on your blogs and facebook pages, forward it to your email list, and tell all your friends!  We are praying that God will use this fundraiser to help us bring Brynn home!
    http://hipmomjewelry.com/    The fundraiser only applys to necklaces ordered under the Adoption link.

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    Back to the Grind and catchup

    Today was my first day back and surprisingly getting up at 6:20 am was not too difficult.  I can attribute that to my wonderful children who have kept me on schedule ALL summer long though.  It was a good day back and fun to see all my co-workers.

    Today, I finally found a new dance studio for Caitlyn.  We have been fortunate to have a dance teacher come to the daycare during the day and teach her but now that she is going to Kindergarten we have to find another place.  I had no idea how hard it would be to find an open spot at a good time in a good area that I wouldn't have to drive all over town for!  Today I finally found it!!  She will dance 45 minutes every Monday.  Now we have to buy new shoes (ballet and tap) and I'm sure she has out grown her tights too.  She keeps getting soooo tall.

    Our precious Sadie (chocolate female lab puppy) is home now and doing so good.  Brent keeps saying, "She's adorable."  We have started feeling her teeth more and Brent is a big fan of that though.  It is cute to see Sadie attacking Brent because I know she isn't hurting him.  He is laughing so hard, not sure if he likes it or not.  She is breaking us in good with all her puppy accidents!  Caitlyn keeps bringing her toys from her room and saying that she doesn't like them anymore and Sadie can have it.  She is so sweet!

    Caitlyn and I have been reading a chapter book together, Ramona and Beezus.  It brings me so much joy to know that she can comprehend and finds enjoyment in reading.

    Caitlyn lost her tooth.  My baby!  She is 5-1/2.  I can't believe it.  I will have to tell more about it because what she wants to do with her tooth fairy money is a post in itself!

    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    Sadie's Charming Fate

    We brought our new puppy home yesterday at 7 weeks.  We are so excited because she is the cutest, spunkiest little thing.  She was born on June 27th and is chocolate.

    Sadie was the first pick of the litter
    Her name is special.  On AKC papers a dog must has 3 names (Sadie's Charming Fate).  One of Jeff's best friends growing up had a yellow lab named Sadie and he learned a lot about training and hunting dogs from Scott and Sadie.  Sadie and Chauncey (our first lab) got to hunt together too.

    Her middle name Charming, was in Chauncey's full name Sir Charming Chauncey.  Fate is important too but I won't make it public on this blog.

    Every time she kisses Brent it is the cutest thing because he says, Momma she sdoes (love)s me. Caitlyn was determined to call the puppy Chauncey when we brought her home, but she has forgotten and become completely smitten with the new puppy.

    This is night we picked her out
    Our first night went surprising well, she slept until 6 am until she started whining like crazy.  Whew, I forgot about that!!   I just got to clean up her first accident and she is running around like a spaz, but did I mention she was super cute?

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Good, real good

    I always look forward to the summer because I desperately need a break and I long to spend uninterrupted time with my children.   But the adjustment period at the beginning of the summer is always so tough. 

    It always takes us about 2-3 weeks to work out all the kinks and get used to being around each other 24/7 again and throw in a couple vacations and that gets us into July. Now out of nowhere they've called me up and tell me I have to be at school in one week.  What's up with this?  I just got my act together, we are in the best groove and I'm loving this life. 

    We have gone to the water park almost each Thursday, to a secluded neat park in the early (for me) morning hours, eaten lunch with dad, played and shopped with our neighbors everyday, had picnics in my classroom, played choo-choo trains, dressed up, read chapter books, played Barbies, tossed footballs, rode bikes, swam and swam and swam some more.  It has been the absolute best summer. 

    This summer we have finally potty trained Brent and Caitlyn has her first loose tooth.  Jeff has taken both kids to the deer lease TWICE by himself!  And they will go back again during hunting season!!  This is all big stuff baby!

    When I first held my Caitlyn and Brent I fell in love and I just couldn't imagine that each day I would fall in love more and more.  It just keeps getting more and more fun.  WOW!

    It is sad to see this summer come to a close but it has been good, real good!

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Salute to Fallen Soldier Jerod Osborne


    My friend and neighbor Jenn and I loaded up the kids and took them out on State Highway 66 between 2:30 and 3:30 today to wait in the 99 degree weather during nap time because a fallen soldier from Rockwall was coming through on his way to Rest Haven.  We defiantly wanted to show our support.
     It was about 45 minutes before we saw the motorcade but the kids did a nice job of waiting.  Before we came up to the street I explained to Caitlyn about soldiers, wars, respect, honor and many more questions.  It took so long to explain it all to her because I was trying not to choke up.  She has such a hard time with death (Gigi and Chauncey).  She did really well about that but cried because of the fear of loud noises of the motorcycles when the motorcade actually took place.

    About 5 minutes before the motorcade got to us a man pulled up and joined us.  He was so nice and took pictures.  It was so helpful, considering we had our hands full with our little guys.


    Brent made me so proud and waved his flag so sweetly.  It was a life changing event to honor Jerod Osborne. He was just 20 years old.  Just a boy.  He was killed by a roadside bomb while serving as a U.S. Army combat medic in Afghanistan. It is truly amazing to see what our fallen military receive and deserve. 

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    Another day at HFalls

    We had a blast at Hawaiian Falls again today.  I remembered my camera today!
    Brent finally got brave enough to go on this slide.  Last time he was aiming for it and the big bucket of water dumped and he would have nothing to do with it.
    We came home tired and unfortunately a bit burned under the eyes.  I forgot to reapply sunscreen.  I can't stand when I forget to do that.  We usually only last about an hour at our pool but we will go for about 3-4 hours at the water park.  Big difference.  Anyway, nothing better than a long nap after a day spent in the water!

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    Bedtime Funnies

    Bedtime can be cuddly, full of giggles or just flat out miserable and with tons of protesting.  Tonight was a night full of giggling.

    We started the evening brushing teeth and jumping all over the bathroom.  Then Brent and I hid from Caitlyn in bed.  It was so cute because he would say, "Shhh!"  and then start giggling like crazy.

    Caitlyn finally picked out a book to read and then we got busy reading.  It was a dictionary book I'd had since my childhood.  Brent would listen, think about it, then stop me by putting his hand on my cheek and say, "Mom, let me tell you something." He would be back a couple of words wanting to add his thoughts.  I would say yes or the correct response and get back to where we were in the book. 

    This kept going on to the point that I was tickled and Caitlyn was ticked.  I had to add in "Brent be quiet, just listen."  To which he would reply in a whisper voice, "Okay, I'll listen."  Then the cycle would start again. 

    Caitlyn's response in all this, "Mom, put him to bed.  Put him up!" 

    How could I get mad when he was patting my face so sweetly?

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    12 Puppies

    We are getting a female puppy out of this precious litter.  This momma dog had 12 puppies between Saturday and Sunday.  Wow!  There are 6 girls and 6 boys.
    They kind of look silly right now with their eyes shut and they don't even make much of a sound besides grunting.  But aren't they still just adorable! 

    I know two little ones at my house that are going to be in puppy heaven!  Who am I kidding, they already are!

    Sunday, June 27, 2010

    Toy Story 3 and a Carnival of sorts

    Yesterday morning Jenn and I took the kids to Bounce House sort of Carnival right up the street.  It was incredibly hot and our little ones would only get in the original bounce house of jumping, no slides or fancy obstacles.  Which is a good thing because I would probably have to go through it and get them out.  It was only about 96 degrees at the time so we only lasted about 20 minutes and then head to Chick Fil A and it's literally cool indoor playground.

    Last night Jeff and I took the kids to Toy Story 3.  They both unbelievably adorable in their 3D glasses (so wish I had my camera).  They both did so well in the movie and were very into the action.  At one point Caitlyn even screamed out!  Ha! I love the idea that toys could have a life after kids leave the room and have relationships, but wouldn't it be great if they took the initiative to organize themselves too.  Or maybe that is really why our toys are ALWAYS mixed up!

    Last but certainly not least our puppy was born last night.  The momma dog had 5 females and 4 males.  So we will bring our newest addition home on August 14th!!


    Friday, June 25, 2010

    New play areas for Summer 2010

    If you ever check this site you might have just fallen out of your chair, cause there is a new blog.  About time.  Right?

    I hope you are having a great summer! We are!  It just keeps getting better.  Ages 2 and 5 are so fun and yet in my household there are still naps every single day.  Ahhhhh!  The life!  I am soaking up every single minute friends.

    Yesterday we used our season tickets to Hawaiian Falls and it was a blast.  We met up with a ton of teachers and their kids that I work with.  Caitlyn took off on the slides in the kiddie area this year with no prompts and no fear.  She swam long lengths underwater because the other kids were doing and she was so outgoing and brave.  I love that about her.  Brent enjoyed jumping off the edge of the pool and swimming around in his life jacket.  When he went to bed last night he asked me, "Can we go to the water park again tomorrow?"

    Today, my dear friend, Jenn and I went to IKEA.  We were newbie's there and had no idea what to expect.  WOW!  Today we just scoped it out but next time and many times there after we are going to tear that place apart.  I'm pretty sure we are both making some pretty serious plans.  I love how they have kid areas set up too.  Our little ones can't wait to go back and play.  HA!  We tricked them into thinking it was their playground.

    I'm so super excited because we are getting a new puppy and she is being born tonight!!!  A chocolate lab and we are thinking of naming her Sadie.

    And just because I might not ever blog again for months on end, here is a picture of Caitlyn in her recital costume.  It's the only picture I have on this computer that is current.




    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    JPEGs

    My children have officially turned into JPEGS.  I never blog, upload pictures or scrapbook anymore.  But I still take pictures.  It is fun to go back and look on my camera.

    That's all, just thought it would be good to blog this month.  LOL

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Let your Imagination go & a kiss!!

    Today was Dr. Seuss's birthday.  In his honor, Caitlyn and Brent's school had a parade and they were to come dressed up as one of Dr. Seuss's characters.  I have known about this for a month but in true Stephanie style I procrastinated until the last minute.  I really wanted to just keep the kids out of school today but....  I kept on going and those creative juices finally came out.  

    You might not agree.  But this is not the time to say!!

    Caitlyn decided she wanted to be the puppy.  You know from the book Hop on Pop.  This book is made up of rhyming words and then a sentence about it.  

     
    You can see the words on her tea cup.  
    CUP
    PUP

    Pup in Cup.
    Then I made sure to put from Hop on Pop from Dr. Seuss so everyone was sure to know we were on track.

    We took a brown t-shirt, head band for the dog collar, another headband and attached dog ears and then made the tea cup.  Oh yea, and eye liner for the nose and whiskers.  FREE!  She was so excited and in to it!

    Brent was supposed to be green eggs and ham.  But of course he wouldn't even put it on for a picture much less a parade.  It was a green pillow case with an egg yolk and a pig!  Super imaginative.  But isn't that what Dr. Seuss is all about.

    Bedtime is all telling around here.  I love reading with my kids.  Right now Brent loves having songs read to him.  He loves Twinkle Twinkle, Jesus Loves Me and the ABC Song. 

    Caitlyn and I talk about her day.  Yesterday I found out she had a bad day at school and she had to write a note of apology to her teacher.  She copied my handwriting and did surprisingly well.  Tonight she informed me that she and Luke (a boy in her class) have been kissing.  Really?  Even on the lips.  I'm not sure to believe her but I checked with everything she told me about her behavior yesterday and everything was true to a tee.  

    My little girl.  Ugh!