It's what we do.

Target. You know.

So today while I was being super motivated I decided that being Old Mother Hubbard wasn't going to work out much longer. And since I'd already decided that going back to bed was out I showered, got dressed (in a SWEATER! It was 49*F here folks! What is that?) and then made up a list. I picked up Evan at the bus stop and we headed to the store. Since I want to make a sort of "life" journal out of my blog I have been taking my camera with me to strange places. Target, being an integral part of my life, was no exception. If you are wondering if people were looking at me funny, they were. No worries, I haven't been embarrassed since I was teen and had to go to the mall with my parents...

So the first person to look at me funny was this kid (so I took a picture):

Our conversation went something like this:

"Mommy?! What are you DOING?"
"Taking your picture"
"At Target? You are just going to take my picture at Target?"
"Yes, do you think that is silly?"
"Um...yes. Can I have Pizza here?"

So you know, the first round of weird looks and questioning wound up not being too painful, so I continued on. ;)

Doing our part to stop the spread of the flu:

Then a little lunch, or in my case diet Pepsi, I can't eat any more pizza. That is all they do in this city.

This is how I shop. I'm sure Lorraine is having a heart attack. I still put my purse in my cart. I won't learn until someone snatches it I'm guessing. Sorry Lor, I don't mean to frustrate you, it just comes naturally. Ask my mother. :) (Hi mom!)

Then I got busy and forgot I was taking pictures, so I looked funny while we shopped with a monster camera around my neck. It didn't help my headache at all. So after I did this damage:

I came home and ordered this:

Isn't that cute! I love Etsy, this is from knittybitties shop on

YAY me! Now I'll be fashionable next time I venture out to T's with my camera. (I really need to look into a little point and shoot for days like this don't you agree?)

Monday's Motivation: Ariana!

I have been suffering from insomnia since we got here. I think it has to do with the crummy mattress. If nothing else gets me back to Tucson and the heat, it will be that bed. So school days get me. I get to sleep around midnight, toss and turn all night, then have to start my day. I get the kids out the door and pretty much want to crawl back into bed. Today was no different. But I really need to work on my laziness, and besides we did absolutely *nothing* yesterday. By "we" I mean me. Shawn made 3 meals for which the children and I were grateful. Eggs for breakfast with bacon, grilled panini's for lunch, and Spaghetti with his homemade sauce and sausage for dinner. YUM! The kids did stuff too. They made messes. Took a bath in the giant tub since we are having some plumbing issues involving water and electricity in their bathroom, and made the most disgusting grime ring I've ever seen. Ewwwww. Then they made some more messes and went to bed.

So when I got up this morning and saw this:

and this:

I knew I couldn't just go back to bed.

You may be wondering why on earth I'm sharing pictures of my mess on the net...and I'll tell you. Because Ariana does it! I read her blog all the time (Please don't think I'm a stalker!) but her "realness" shines through and she posts her before and after shots of her house and it makes me feel a little better and it motivates me to clean. So I thought I'd copy her here and maybe someone else might feel a little push to get off the computer and pick up the mess. :) (Or not, but it motivated me a ton to get some "after" shots!)

Besides, I never got around to posting "lived in" photo's of the house, so this is a good motivator to get that done too.

You should check out Ariana's blog, she has three darling kiddos, a messy house she has to clean often (because she has three kids), she is honest, refreshing and she writes well and takes great photographs! Enjoy. I have a link in the column to the right if you want to check it out. You won't be disappointed!

So anyway, here are the after pics! I feel so happy when I look at them, plus it makes me feel a sense of accomplishment that I didn't go back to bed or sit on my booty all day when I really, really wanted to do nothing else!

Ahhh...hello pretty kitchen. You look lovely! (You are not truly lovely because you have a very poor design, but you are shiny and clean and pretty on the outside) Reminds me of a button Shawn bought once, it said "Nice face, shame about the brain". Kind of how we feel about this kitchen.

Hello clean, vacuumed living room!

The Dog Park!

Today we decided that after 3 days of solid rain, the kids and the dogs needed to get that crazy energy spent! They were so wired and hyper and I couldn't take the noise in our cold echoing house any longer. So Shawn found the coolest dog park ever. It is 30 acres. I cannot do it justice, so I'll just post pics. Everyone had a ball, the dogs are conked out downstairs and the kids seem a little more calm. ;)

When we first got there, this is what we saw:

Then we walked around the lake a bit to a huge open meadow area.

Some sights along the way:

Kira and Hallie walking along the path.

Here is the big meadow we came too. Lots of fetch was being played, Tasha and Hallie aren't interested in fetch, but they still went out to meet some new friends before we continued on the trail.

Kira and I were taking pictures of each other. She was taking forever so she got this shot first:

Lovely, I know. Don't I just look like the impatient mom here?
And another with my hand over my face:

Now we both were getting impatient and grumpy at each other, so I told her "Just one more and then I will take some of you instead". She agreed. This made her laugh and laugh, and then she wasn't too grumpy for her own little photo shoot. ;)

See how happy she is? Seriously I would be happy if I looked half this good in a picture of me. I wish I was photogenic! Maybe I wouldn't be so frustrating to photograph?

Evan of course was not interested, he let me get this shot:

Then we continued on and we met Max. Max loved Evan. Evan loved Max. Max loved tennis balls. Lots of other dogs had abandoned their tennis balls in the water, so Max collected them, and Evan and Kira threw them. He played and played. Our dogs were not interested in swimming, Tasha only got wet the one time when Shawn tricked her. Then she realized her mistake, swam back and stayed away. The first picture is Tasha freaking out and trying to get out of the water. After that is our buddy Max.

Our new neighbors...The Hawk family.

I think it is a Hawk. Maybe it's a Falcon. I'm not sure I know the difference. I do know they drive me batty with their high pitched shrieking "call" or whatever.

I guess you couldn't really call me a "bird" person, unless they are cute little yellow and green parakeets. Those little guys I cannot get enough of!

So, these two big birds have moved into our trees somewhere. They yell at each other all day, and they yell at us and our dogs for having the audacity to go into the yard.

They also create large blops of nastiness on our brick patio out back. YUCK. Thankfully we've had so much rain the past 2 days it has been cleansed for now.

Today though, Mr.(Mrs.?) Hawk (Falcon?)decided to chill out on the play structure and waited patiently for me to run in slippers across wood floors twice up and down a flight of stairs and change out my lens so I could get a good shot. How accommodating!

So, without further ado, meet our new, albeit, noisy neighbor:

Bad things always happen on my birthday. Today was no exception.

Well it isn't bad, as in someone DIED. Or entirely forgot me. And I've had years like that for sure.

But a part of my childhood came to a close today. Reading Rainbow aired it's final show. The thought of it not being a part of my children's lives is sad to me. It feels like a death for some reason. No seriously. I feel like crying. Isn't that insane? I feel a little silly, but it can't be helped. I *loved* this show. I love LeVar Burton. I loved the books and finding my own copy of a Reading Rainbow book on the shelf in my library just felt like finding a treasure to me!

I know that there will always be reruns, and you can probably even own the show on DVD or something. But after 26 just seems so sad that it is ending.

The show aired first in 1983. I was 7 years old. The age of my daughter now. I watched it every chance I had. I watched it in high school. It taught me to notice the author and the illustrator. It taught me to observe the art that makes up the pages of childrens books and to look further into the story, to listen and understand. It taught me to not judge a book by its cover but to look within.

From NPR: Grant says the funding crunch is partially to blame, but the decision to end Reading Rainbow can also be traced to a shift in the philosophy of educational television programming. The change started with the Department of Education under the Bush administration, he explains, which wanted to see a much heavier focus on the basic tools of reading — like phonics and spelling.

Grant says that PBS, CPB and the Department of Education put significant funding toward programming that would teach kids how to read — but that's not what Reading Rainbow was trying to do.

"Reading Rainbow taught kids why to read," Grant says. "You know, the love of reading — [the show] encouraged kids to pick up a book and to read."

I couldn't have said it better myself. Teaching kids HOW to read is vital. I agree. But teaching them WHY you should read? So important. I was fortunate to grow up in a home full of books, and two parents who read to me often and willingly. I am a self proclaimed book worm, I even spent my birthday morning reading in my jammies! What a treat. My kids are as fortunate. They have books coming out their ears, their parents both read to them often, and Kira loves to read to Evan. We have fostered a love of reading and instilled the "Why" of "Because you CAN!" along with all the million other reasons for reading.

But how many children out there aren't given this opportunity at home? How many children learned a love of books from LeVar Burton and his brilliant show and love of children and books?

The statistics for literacy in our country are appalling.

Here are just a few:

# Only 45 percent of fourth graders report that they read for fun on a daily basis. Among eighth graders, only 19 percent report daily reading for fun. (NCES, 2003).

# Fourth-graders who reported daily reading for fun scored higher on the NAEP reading test than peers who reported less reading for fun (NCES, 2003).

# Children who score at the 90th percentile on a reading test spent five times as many minutes per day reading books as children at the 50th percentile (Anderson, Wilson & Fielding, 1988).

So as something wonderful comes to an end, (on my birthday of all days! Geesh!) I want to give a huge shout out to LeVar Burton. I know he'll never read this, but even as a die hard Star Trek NG fan, I'll never forget his work with Reading Rainbow and how much a part of my childhood it was. Thanks for 26 years of teaching children WHY they should read. Well done my friend. And best wishes to you on your future endeavors!

Today was a rainy day.

It was pouring when I woke up at 6 am and at 6:30pm it is still coming down. It's been years since I've seen days of rainfall, and I like it.

I was pretty productive today. I made yummy enchilada's in the crockpot, did 4 loads of laundry, and baked cookies for the kids so they were hot and fresh when I picked Kira up from the bus stop.

Her attitude today was much improved as well, and so everyone had a fun, but rambunctious afternoon. So much energy and no place to expend it all day, makes for a loud house!

Here are my cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip! This picture is why I will never be a food blogger...that and I made these from a package that has you add butter and egg...but I digress. It's really all about the photography skills. :)

And one of Kira enjoying her cookie. Evan was not interested in posing today for me.

I changed my format again,

because I'm never satisfied, and now all my dates are gone and I'm not sure how to go back...AND I'm also posting in another window, because I have no idea how to post in the new format. This could be a problem.

If I disappear for awhile, no worries, I'm just working out the kinks of blogland!

The Accountable Kids far, so good.

So I brought this up a couple of times on facebook, but I wanted to tell a little bit about it here. This is a program that I am hoping will help Shawn and I incorporate all of our ideas about chores, and "allowance", etc. into one spot. It seems to have all of the elements we were looking for in one place.

Each kid has an accountability board. There are 5 pegs and each peg holds cards. The cards we are using right now are basic chores, things you do when you live in a family. Each day we have broken down into morning, afternoon and evening chores, and each time they complete the segment they earn a ticket. Each ticket is good for privileges in our home. In our case TV and Internet time. So essentially for now 45 min. can be earned each day.

The tickets are also used for discipline, in place of time outs.

There are also additional elements to the program that allow for working on a specific behaviour, special date time with mom and dad, and chores for cash. We haven't started those yet, because it is recommended you start off slow and add things in.

So far, so good. And I'm hoping that this really gets us back on track with the kids earning and saving their own money. Entitlement is unbecoming and unfortunately rearing it's ugly head in our home again.

So here are the boards, I didn't put much into them because I really wanted to get them up on the wall and put to good use. I think if we can really utilize the program when we take them down to move I will spruce them up a bit. For now, they serve their purpose.