Wednesday, December 31, 2008


After a quick run to Publix to pick up some black-eyed peas and other munchies for tomorrow....I started to look back on 2008. It occurred to me that I am looking forward to the new year more than usual this year. 2008 hasn't been a great year. It hasn't been terrible...Tim still has his job, we are all healthy, etc. But it hasn't been's definitely been a struggle at times. The best things about '08 are that we have all been healthy, and meeting our new friends - Famille Thomas from France. That was certainly a highlight and we feel blessed to have become friends with them. We look forward to many more years of exchanges wih our children and our families. Paige's dancing really progressed a lot this year, so that is a good thing as well. Both kids are good, polite, sweet kids...even with our challenges with Clay! Clay will say that getting his braces off in '08 was a highlight! All in all, we are lucky. So....onward to 2009. Tim and I will celebrate our 19th anniversary in February and Clay will start high school (yikes!!) in the fall. Hopefully it will be a good year. We wish all of our friends and family a happy, healthy and prosperous year!,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Today has been a busy day....first of all, I am (finally) writing this on MY laptop - which has been out of commission for a while due to a virus. I knew I had a virus, but just didn't have the time or the money to deal with just wasn't using it. Finally had our computer guru out to fix it today. If any of you are also dealing with viruses...apparently the new one going around for the past couple of months hitchhikes in on java updates - and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Today was Paige's appointment with the scoliosis specialist at Nemours. The bad news is that her curvature is a bit worse than we originally thought - about 25 degrees, and she will have to wear a brace. The good news is that (for now) she will only need to wear it at night. She will need to go in and have x-rays every 4-6 months to follow the progression. The hope is that the brace will help prevent any further curvature while she is still growing (probably another 1 1/2 to 2 years). Also, she can still do ballet - which was a huge concern to her! So now we wait to hear about an appointment to have her fitted for the brace, then we wait for it to be made...she will probably be wearing it in another couple of months.

So those were the big things today - my laptop and the doctor visit. Tim left for work this morning and will be back late on the I will have the Hoppin' John waiting for him! He is terribly superstitious about what he calls my "southern voodoo"!! We fnished our Lord of the Rings marathon last night and now I feel bereft! I am already missing my LOTR fix! I am defnitely gonna have to get those books back out and re-read them.....

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Two Towers was fabulous - can't wait to see the final part of the trilogy tonight. Legolas is still my favorite character....I can't believe I've never seen these before!

So yesterday I swept up the pine needles, vacuumed...and then went and read a book! I'm so bad! But really, what's the point while my kids are still home from school? I figure I'll get everything spic and span's not like the mess is going anywhere....

My whole bookworm family has been lying around reading since Christmas - hard to resist a good book when everyone else is reading too! I think I may go back and re-read The Lord of the Rings (AGAIN!!).........

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Yesterday was spent packing some of the Christmas stuff away - Tim has to go to work in a couple of days so we need to get it done. The house always looks so large and empty when everything is packed away! Naturally, there are now pine needles and dust everywhere so today I am planning on getting some cleaning done.

Last night we watched The Fellowship of the Ring. Although I have read the books several times...somehow, I never saw the movies. Tonight we will watch the second one, and tomorrow night, the third. What fun! I'm glad I didn't see them when they came out...and then had to wait a year for the next one. This is much more satisfying...and, can I just say...I love Legolas! Definitely my favorite character.

Tomorrow, Paige has another rehearsal for her Grand Prix variation and after I drop her off I am planning on heading out to Sephora to use my gift card, then some grocery shopping, and more cleaning! Tuesday is Paige's appointment with the scoliolis doctor at Nemours - I am anxious to hear what he has to say.

Well, enough procrastinating! I'm off to vaccum, dust, sweep, mop and do a bit more packing!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Clay and Paige Speak Again.....

PAIGE: Christmas was awesome! I got a Vera Bradley backpack-y thing, and a bunch of Vera Bradley notebooks and stuff, and a really cool calendar. And a bunch of other really cool stuff. Like new pointe shoes with expedited shipping! Ha ha. But now I have a cold....and I don't feel good. Poor Paigie. I got a bunch of books for Christmas too and they are really I am going to go get back in bed and read them!

CLAY: Christmas was good. I got a stereo and lots of good books. I can't wait for my French friend's package to arrive. My sister is getting sick. My dad got my mom an ipod, and Paige and I got her an i-tunes gift certificate. I also got a "clocky" which is an alarm clock with wheels. You can hit snooze one time and then the clock rolls all around beeping until you get up and turn it off. Oh joy. We have had lots of friends visit and it was fun to see everyone. Oh yeah, my braces are off now. My teeth feel slimy! For Christmas, my uncle and his fiancee came over for Christmas dinner. We ate a lot, but still have a lot left over. My mother is an awesome cook!

I'll write again NEXT YEAR!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Old friends and good times!

I want to start this post by thanking everyone who came to see Paige in Nutcracker - it really meant a lot to her (and us)! I hope you enjoyed it.....

Monday we all slept late and then ran around doing some last minute Christmas shopping. Yesterday was more of the same, with a bit of grocery shopping and a run downtown for (what else!) ballet thrown into the mix. Yesterday afternoon our good friends from North Carolina came over. They are in town for the holidays to visit family and carved out a little "Van Kuiken" time....and we are so glad they did! We had a wonderful, festive, pre-holiday Chinese dinner (Love Ming Moon!) and then went outside and made s'mores around the fire pit....and talked and laughed and laughed and was a lot of fun. I think the kids were all a bit awkward around each other at first - it has been three years since they have seen each other, and that is a LONG time in the life of a child! But, they quickly remembered each other and got along great. The two Tims are both quite funny - I'm not sure if they bring out the best in each other or the worst...maybe a bit of both. Suzette and I have always gotten along since we met years ago in a bible study group....she is a voracious reader like me and a ton of fun to be around. She brought me a big bag of Trader Joe's stuff...yum, yum! We miss them, but it was great fun to get together!

Today I have absolutely nothing planned until this afternoon. I plan to sit around and be lazy! OK, OK, I might bake some cookies with the kids....and get a head start on prepping stuff for the Christmas dinner tomorrow...and the kids are acolyting at church this afternoon....but other than that! Then we will have our traditional Christmas Eve pizza dinner....I hope you all have a wonderful and peaceful day and a joyful Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


The stage at the Florida Theater..............

The final performance of Nutcracker was this afternoon. I am so proud of Paige - she really did a great job, and the "acting" was hilarious! Since most of the cast are either members of the Florida Ballet, or students at the training center - it is fun to watch the kids a year or two older than Paige and envision her dancing those roles in another year or two. Hard to believe she will be that good...but other parents I have spoken to assure me that from this point (age 12) on the progression happens rapidly. I can't wait! This was a big year because she finally made the jump to Act I and to dancing en pointe. Of course I am completely biased, but in my opinion, Paige was one of the best dancers out there (surprise, surprise!) Unfortunately, we are not able to take photos during the performance so I do not have photos to share with you. We feel a bit bittersweet about the final performance....happy that Nutcracker is finally over and sad as well!

So, you are probably thinking that Paige (and me!) will finally get to relax a bit, right? Wrong. Now she starts training in earnest for the next big event, which is the Youth America Grand Prix in Spartanburg, SC at the end of January. Her first rehearsal for that is Tuesday. Ah, least tomorrow is free!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A big news day!

Another beautiful sunrise.........
Playing soccer with Kieran
That's right - no more "tin grin" for Clay!

So, it finally here....opening night for Nutcracker. I am so excited to see Paige in it. Tonight, Clay is going to be my "date", and Dad will have an evening to himself. Tomorrow night I am going to see it with a friend and her daughter, who is Paige's oldest friend - and definitely a BFF!! Sunday is when we will go as a family to see it. Paige is very, very tired....but excited also!

Yesterday was a big day - the last day of school (and exams for Clay) for my children, and..ta da! Clay got his braces off, and our good friends from Washington state (we haven't seen them in about 8 years!) came for a quickie, almost 24 hour visit. It was wonderful to see them and the kids all got along great. Hopefully, we'll see them again soon - maybe spring break? hint, hint....

So...just a quick update, and now I am off to apply stage makeup to my sweet, talented daughter's face and then she is off to opening night....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Hi. This is Paige. Clay is studying for exams. I am glad that 6th graders don't have to do exams! That would stink. There's 9 days until Christmas! Yay! There's 3 days until Nutcracker!! Yay?! My new pointe shoes are awesome. They are the same thing as my old pair, just a whole lot prettier! I'm actually nervous, because the bon bons are really bad this year. They don't know what they are doing - still! They keep standing in the middle of the stage when it is my turn to dance. Aarrggh! Hopefully they will move out of the way on the actual stage. Other than that, Nutcracker is going tres bien! I think it will be a good show.

I want a bunny for Christmas, but mom says no. :( OR anything Vera Bradley. Not to sound like a spoiled brat or anything, but I really like the patterns. I am also hoping for a scented eraser. Clothes. Any good books, and Taylor Swift's Fearless CD. OK, Mom says all I am getting is those new pointe shoes (with expedited shipping). Hmmpph!

I don't think it is fair that Clay got a pet when he turned 11 and I am 12 1/4, but I don't have a pet. Of my own. Mom says maybe this summer. If I could get a bunny I would want one that is trained to go on a leash! That's so cool!!!!

That's all from me until after Nutcracker.
Yay! Tim is home. Somehow he managed to get displaced off another he is home for a few extra days. Thank goodness. A big thank you to whomever chose his trip for their IOE!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Just to balance everything out.....

This morning I walked into Clay's room to gather dirty clothes and get a load of laundry going and let me tell you - it was a disaster! Seriously, the bed is not made, clothes EVERYWHERE, his bathroom was a huge mess....just totally disgusting. I was going to take a picture to post on here in case anyone doubts just how bad his room is...but I am too embarrassed! I mean, it is really gross. The thing is, it was pretty clean when I was in there yesterday - so this apocolypse happened in 24 hours!!! I looked in his soccer bag for the inevitable dirty socks, etc. which he never remembers to put in his dirty clothes hamper and found canteloupe slices - uneaten - from two weeks ago!! I kid you not! So, yeah, he did a wonderful, helpful thing in getting dinner and setting the table, etc. But you see what I deal with most of the time? By the way, I did not gather dirty clothes (basically, they were everywhere) I just walked out and shut the door. There is a limit to what a girl can deal with, ya know?

Today is a crazy day (and obviously, I am procrastinating about getting started by being on the computer). I found a recipe for a Chilean cookie which I plan to make this afternoon, need to run to the post office, and I made an executive decision that Paige is going to miss ballet today. For several reasons - first, Clay has a tutoring session this afternoon to help him prepare for his English mid-term and well, I just cannot physically be in two places at once...something's gotta go, and today it is ballet. Secondly, I think Paige could use a day off before we hit this there you go - no ballet. Thankfully, Tim gets home tonight so that will make life a bit easier as far as getting both kids where they need to go. Clay's English exam is tomorrow morning and he still has to write his essay for the exam and type it up. Which means I need to look it over and "edit" for him. And let's not forget - he needs to clean that room!!!!!

P.S. OK, I confess. I am totally cheating on Paige's Chilean food that she needs to bring in. I found a recipe for alfajores which is a homemade sugar/butter cookie with homemade caramel ...yeah, um, too much work for for me this time of year! SO...I am using some break-n-bake sugar cookies and a jar of caramel sauce. Sshhh....don't tell.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What an awesome kid!

OK, so Tim and I have had our issues with Clay - getting him to focus on studying, cleaning his room, being nice to his sister, etc. But I have to say, we must have done something right - he is just so thoughtful and sweet. Last night I called him on the way home from picking Paige up from rehearsal and asked him to throw a frozen pizza in the oven. We came home to Christmas music playing, the table set (albeit with paper plates) - and pizza prepared a la francais - with an egg in the middle. I know, it sounds strange - but it is really good. Clay learned this when he was in France last summer. Tonight when we walked in - again, he had set the table and made a salad, water pitcher (with lemon slices, no less) on the table, Christmas music playing, french bread sliced....And, by the way - this was a true dinner salad - he added a can of tuna fish (protein) and a can of asparagus (vegetable) so the salad had everything! Clay rocks!

Honestly, I get mad at him for something and then I always feel guilty because he really is such a good kid.

A busy week ahead....

This is shaping up to be a BUSY week - Clay has midterms all week, which is pretty stressful for him (AND US!) and Paige has her regular ballet classes- plus Thursday night is dress rehearsal, Friday am is the technical rehearsal and the opening night is Friday - then performances all weekend. Clay is getting his braces off Thursday afternoon and we have company coming Thursday (all the way from Gig Harbor, Washington). We are so excited to see them. Kieran was Clay's best friend when we lived there and those two boys were inseperable. It will be interesting to see how they connect after 9 years!

In addition to all that, Paige's big project on the pyramids is due Monday and Tuesday she has to bring in a food item eaten in Chile (for Spanish class). Which means Mom (moi) gets to find a recipe online and cook on Monday! Paige will also have to check in with all her teachers to make up any work she will miss on Friday since she will be at the tech rehearsal. BUT, the good news is that after this week things should quiet down. Thank goodness. I am worn out.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Pointe Shoes

The old pair - with banana "juice" and ink stains - very worn out!
After sewing the ribbons and elastic on, you have to "crack" the shoes...basically, break them! This is so that your foot can move and pointe, and so that your leg will go over the box when on pointe....
Paige's new pointe shoes, after she has sewn the elastics and ribbons on. Next step - burning the ends of the ribbon and elastic so it does not fray......

So, Paige's new shoes obviously arrived and she has been busy sewing. If you are wondering why I don't sew for her....I used to, but the last pair of shoes Mrs. Byrd told Paige to take out what I had done and do it herself! She said that Paige needs to know how to do it in case she has a loose ribbon before a performance, etc. Also, that it is her responsibility as they are her shoes. Have I mentioned that I love Mrs. Byrd?!?!!!! I know I have mentioned how specific the fitting of the shoes must be, but even after the shoes are fitted there is a routine to be followed. First, you have to burn the ends of the ribbons and elastics to keep them from fraying. Then you have to "crack" the shoes - bend them in half until they crack. This makes the shoes easier to dance on, and you almost CAN'T dance in them unless they are cracked because you can't get over the "box". The box is where the toes go and it supports the dancer's body when en pointe. Finally, Paige will have to break the shoes in a bit before the performances next weekend. Very painful and blister forming - but part of the process.

On another note - the soccer games. OK, still no wins for the boys, BUT they have scored! Thursday night's game was awful. I won't mention the school we played, but it was a "Christian" school - and those boys were very violent. For some reason, the refs haven't been calling fouls - even when they are obvious! One of our players, a 6th grader, was tripped by another player and fell. When he was on the ground the other player stomped on his arm. Clay (and the rest of the team) said he did it on purpose, but I didn't see it. Anyway, not only did the ref not call a foul on the other player - he yellow carded one of our players who said "Ref, it was number 10". So yesterday, we found out that the 6th grader who had his arm stomped on is in a cast. Yep, the other player broke his arm. Unbelievable. He said that the other player said, "Sorry - not really". Last night was a JV game. Again, unbelievable. The other team's players were throwing their elbows in our player's faces, etc. No fouls were called. I think maybe our team needs to get a bit of the "Zidame" attitude, and give it right back. No more Mr. Nice Guy!

Tim left for work this morning, we're off to Nutcracker rehearsal in a little while (again), and Clay is studying (I hope) for mid-terms.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Well, the middle school team has a perfect record...of defeat! Poor kids - they are now 0-5. The thing is that there are some really talented players, but they are just not playing as a team. Plus, there are only 3 8th graders (including Clay), and 4-5 7th graders...the rest are 6th graders, so relatively inexperienced. It's tough, and very frustrating for Clay! On the plus side, their warm up suits finally arrived (now that it is no longer cold!) so Clay has been wearing his "oh so cool" jacket to school.

I drove all the way out to Arlington to the dance store this morning to get Paige's new pointe shoes...and they didn't have her size in stock. Called around to every other dance store in Jacksonville, and no one had her size. Yikes! Finally, I found a place online that carried Bloch Heritage AND had her size...had to pay to have them overnighted, but they should be here by Friday. That child really needs to take better care of her stuff!! Apparantly, this particular kind is hard to find (no kidding!) and then they are sized to a particular kind of foot....i.e. narrow, high arch, toe size, etc. so...very specific. I was a bit surprised because we have never had this problem before - but then again, this is the 4th TYPE of pointe shoe she has been in because her foot has changed so much since she began on pointe. Hopefully, she has learned her lesson - that pointe shoes and bananas do not mix!

After that, I ran to Costco which was a madhouse (I guess because of Christmas) - totally crazy. On the way home I decided to go to Whole Foods which had it's grand opening today. I have been so anxious for them to come to Jacksonville...anyway, it was also a madhouse. Absolutely packed, and crazy. I felt like I was at Disney World. BUT - loved it!!!!! I only managed to see about half the store because there were so many people in there, but it is now officially my favorite store! I can't wait for the Whole Foods Mania to die down....

So, now I am exhausted, but still...being the wonderful, self-sacrificing kind of mom that I am...I will drag myself off to battle the usual traffic to take Paige downtown, wait 2 hours for her to finish, and then drive her home. Aaahhh....the things I do for my children.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

MORE Tim time!

Tim got a vacation drop for his trip this week - he doesn't go to work until Saturday, which means he will have been home with us for almost two weeks! First, UAL "bought" his trip because of training (someone wanted to go to Amsterdam for their IOE, hmmm....imagine that!) and this latest one ...basically, he traded it for vacation days next year. It has been nice having him around - especially for me, as I have a helper to help me drive Paige downtown and go to soccer games, etc. And of course, I love having him around anyway.

Yesterday was spent on Christmas cards and finishing up packages - but I did it and got everything out in the mail yesterday. Yay! No chatty notes in the cards this year, as I feel this blog is enough chatting for anyone. I hope to get some chatty notes from others though! (hint, hint)

Paige informed me on Sunday on the way to rehearsal, a banana got squished in her dance bag and smeared all over her point shoes. Oops. Her shoes have slimy stuff on them and a big ink stain from where she had written her name inside them. Since she cannot wear them on stage, it means I have to drive all the way to Arlington (about 45 minutes) to get her new ones. Aarrggh. I am a bit frustrated with her, because if she would put her shoes away properly instead of just shoving them in her bag, this wouldn't have happened. Oh well, c'est la vie! I did tell her though - OK, I will go get them....Merry Christmas! I think I will take the empty box they came in and wrap it and put it under the tree.

Clay has another soccer game tonight - keep your fingers crossed that they win!! Poor kids - they are having a terrible season! On another note, he got 102 on his History test yesterday. HOORAY, and HALLELUJAH! Maybe he has really turned over a new leaf. Let's hope he keeps up with his studying this time!

Now, I am off to the grocery store since we have very bare cupboards - with my hubby home, a teenager and a pre-teen - I can't seem to keep food in the house! I think I'll make spaghetti tonight, and maybe bake some Christmas cookies for the cookie jar......BTW, I am going to get the bare minimum at Publix today because....DA DUM!!! Whole Foods grand opening is tomorrow!! I am so excited...thanks, Santa!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Frisbee Golf, etc.

Thomas the turtle is enjoying his fresh, clean water in his tank................
It is a beautiful, crisp, cool day here in North Florida....the boys are playing frisbee golf. Poor Paige hasn't been in any pictures lately - she is always at ballet!!!!
Our family movie night didn't quite pan out....our DVD player has apparantly given up! It is a few years old, and just...froze! Fred Claus. Instead, we turned out all the lights in the den and we all just talked. We talked about school, who is "going with" whom, rumors, what the kids are looking forward to, etc. It was really fun. Maybe we should change our Saturday family movie night tradition to Saturday family talk night.

Yesterday, I dropped Paige at Nutcracker rehearsal and my mom and I went to the mall. Yes, on a Saturday two weeks before Christmas! Amazingly, it wasn't bad - which is indicative of how bad our economy really is. Usually I wouldn't be caught dead at the mall on a weekend two weeks before....Anyway, I did get a couple of things for the kids and the last box of stuffing mix at Williams Sonoma. Since we didn't do Thanksgiving here this year, and so didn't have all the fun leftovers - I told Tim I'd make a turkey and all the fixin's for Christmas. I love that stuffing mix from WS!!

Today, Paige has rehearsal again (what else is new, right?) and the big plans are to clean out the turtle tank and clean the house up a bit. How is it that it can be completely clean...and two days later look like a bomb exploded in here? I just don't get it!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Clay can act! I was surprised by how good he is (although I really shouldn't have that I think about it he always has had a bit of a flair for the dramatic!). As you can see from the pictures, he didn't play a girl. Apparently, they didn't have instead of playing sisters they played brothers. Or, as Clay put it - they changed genders! Anyway, he was very funny and very good. Now we are thinking...hmmm, maybe we should let him audition at Douglas Anderson (the arts school in Jax.)

Other news...we have decided to take our house off the market for a couple of weeks - just until after the holidays. We started looking at the calendar and realized that for the next two weeks Paige will have class or rehearsal every day of the week except Tuesday (and I think Clay has soccer games both Tuesdays) so just the logistics of keeping the house ready to way! I doubt anyone will really be looking anyway, so....

Our plans for this weekend are...Nutcracker rehearsals as usual (what else?), Clay has an essay to work on and studying for mid-terms, Paige has to finish up the pyramids project, I would like to finish up Christmas shopping and shipping out packages, and the kids want to make Christmas cookies. Saturday we will have "family movie night" and watch Fred Claus...and that's about it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bye Bye Braces!

Yay!! Clay gets his braces off in 3-4 weeks! He will have to wear a "positioner" for about a month, and then he will get his retainer. Paige also had a dentist appointment, and although she will also have to wear braces (the Dr. said 100% chance, not a surprise to us!) she still needs to lose 4 baby teeth - so we get a 6 month reprieve for her! Clay is VERY happy.

Tomorrow is Clay's drama production at the school. He is excited, and relieved. One of his friends who is in the other production has been sick, and Clay was tapped to fill in for him. Clay was sweating bullets about that. Luckily, the boy was back at school today, so all is well.

Clay has midterms in two weeks and has been studying, studying, studying (about time!)...keep your fingers crossed that he does well. I am glad they are right before Christmas break, so he can just relax and enjoy the time away from school.

A boy from church passed away the day before yesterday. He was 21 years old and had Cystic Fibrosis. He had a double lung transplant a year ago and his body rejected the new lungs. It is very sad and the kids feel it keenly. When our church started up again 3 years ago Billy was the one who trained the kids to be acolytes (alter servers). He was very sweet and gentle and patient with them and was truly a beautiful spirit. The kids will acolyte at his funeral.

That's all the news from the VK household for today (both happy and sad) - I'll update everyone on how Clay does as a GIRL in his play!! I can't wait to see it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

decorating update

So, here is how the tree decorating REALLY went....I did it. No music, no hot chocolate, no help. Yep. My little helper - Paige - is at ballet. Clay is busy with homework. Tim took Paige to ballet for me, but even if he WERE here, decorating is not really his thing, ya know? No Norman Rockwell moments for the VKs. Bah Humbug (not really - I LOVE CHRISTMAS!)

So, the tree is decorated, all the rest of the Christmas stuff is out...I am going to take a hot bath and read a book - I deserve it!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....

Tim and I have been working today on getting all the Christmas decorations down from the attic, so naturally I have been sneezing all day! I decided to take a break from the dust to post something on here. Hopefully we will get the tree up tonight and the kids can help me decorate. It is always a trip down memory lane..."Remember when I made this in boy scouts?"...."Remember when I made this one in 2nd grade?"...etc. etc. We'll put some Christmas music on, sip some hot chocolate and finish up the decorating!

The big drama yesterday (other than my "mommy dearest" meltdown!) was that Paige couldn't find her pointe shoes before rehearsal - anywhere! Total panic....anyway, long story short...she found them at the studio. Thank goodness. Those puppies are expensive - I don't want to have to buy another pair until I HAVE to! (Probably in another couple of weeks, but STILL!)

Clay has three soccer games this week, but will only be able to make one of them. Wednesday the kids have a dentist appointment after school, and Thursday is his drama production. It should be pretty...interesting...he plays a girl! Ha! I can't wait to see it!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Good News, Bad News.....

So, the good news this morning was that someone wanted to look at our house...the bad news was that because the market has been dead the past couple of months, well...I haven't been keeping up with keeping the house ready to show. Plus, we just returned from Michigan and still had suitcases in various states of unpacking, laundry piles, etc. I was in pure "Mommy dearest" mode this morning - a whirling dervish shreiking, yelling, cussing...everything BUT yelling, "no wire hangers!" AND, still had to run Paige downtown to rehearsal during this time frame. I was a bit stressed! Anyway, we got it clean (mostly)...I'll admit that those empty suitcases were used to hide a bit of our, ummm....junk. It is so nice when it looks like this - why can't my family keep it looking nice all the time?

It was a bit of a frantic start to my day. Thank goodness we didn't need to be at church today - the kids weren't on the schedule, although I HAD been planning on attending the advent wreath making...oh well, there is always next year! I am ready for my cup of coffee now though!

Tim arrives home tonight and we will get all the Christmas decorations down from the attic and set up...Clay and I pulled down some stuff yesterday. I love how my house looks with all the decorations up.

It is shaping up to be a busy week. I still need to schedule Paige's visit to Nemours, get the cat in to the vet, the kids both have dentist appointments, Clay is in a play at school on Thursday, soccer game Friday, the usual downtown ballet relay, and next weekend begins the final sretch for Nutcracker rehearsals....both Saturday AND Sunday all afternoon until the performance, and hopefully the showing today is indicative of the market beginning to perk up - so more showings!

Good news about our friends in France. Olivier arrived home safely yesterday. I am off to brew a pot of coffee and (finally) read the paper - until I have to head back downtown to pick up Paige.

Friday, November 28, 2008


We arrived on Monday to a snowy, snowy day in Michigan! The kids were absolutely ecstatic. They have both seen snow before, but were really too young to remember. We had a nice visit with family, but are so glad to be home.

I found out when I arrived home that the father of the children we did the exchange with over the summer, Monsieur Olivier, is one of the hostages in the Trident Hotel in Bombay. Please everyone keep him in your prayers....

Monday, November 24, 2008


Ugh....woke up at 3:00 am this morning (?!?!?!) to try to catch a 6:00 am flight to Michigan...I believe I have mentioned...I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON!!! This stinks! Anyway, we're off to brave the friendly (?) skies....

Happy Thanksgiving everyone........

Sunday, November 23, 2008


We have been busy packing for a quick visit up to Michigan to see Tim's family for Thanksgiving. Yesterday Paige had a friend over to work on a project for History - building a model of one of the great wonders of the ancient world - theirs is the pyramids of Giza. I made chicken tetrazzini for dinner and my mom came over....look how much taller Clay is than my mom now!!! Today Paige has Nutcracker rehearsal from 12:30 - 4:30, Clay will be working on a report which is due when they go back to school on December 1st, and I will be packing for cold, snowy weather. Tim left this morning for Amsterdam, and will meet us in MI. We are planning to leave on a 6:00 am flight in the morning....hopefully everything will work out. So far, the flight still does not look too full - but the weather is supposed to get nasty - freezing rain turning to snow. Yikes. The kids are excited about seeing snow, so I hope we do not get too delayed AND that we don't get bumped! The joys of non-revving!

I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing, peaceful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

An explanation from "Mom"

* The heat is on....both kids are walking around in t-shirts and shorts - no wonder they're freezing! Put some clothes on!

* Yes, after Paige's huge growth spurt of this past year the pediatrician thinks she has a slight scoliosis of her spine (12-15%). We need to take her to a scoliosis specialist at Nemour's Children's Hospital. Her pediatrician said this is not that unusual in pre-teen girls but that we need to follow it carefully. We will keep you all updated as we learn more information. At this point, the doctor said it is slight and is nothing to be concerned about.....
CLAY: I am cold. Extremely cold. I still have to clean my room and clean the turtle tank. My week was good. I can't wait to go to Michigan...where it will be COLDER! Brrrr. I hope it will snow. So long....

PAIGE: The back of the house is freezing! I am so cold. I have to clean my room, it is kind of messy. I am glad that there is no school for another week. My arm is in so much pain still. I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and I had to get the tetanus shot. I also had to get a meningitis shot and the flu-mist. The flu-mist felt weird...they sprayed stuff up my nose! My spine is crooked. I have to go to some doctor person at Nemours to get it looked at. It happens to girls sometimes when they are growing. I grew 4.5 inches since my last checkup, and gained 13 lbs! The doctor said I might grow to be 5'3"! Yay! TTFN.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Feeling yucky.......

Maybe I overdid it yesterday....I feel terrible today. I had an eye exam this morning, and that is the only thing I have accomplished all day! I am just dragging, and SO tired, and I just feel yucky! I told Paige she is going to have to miss ballet tonight - I just don't think I can do the drive. I will pick Clay up from soccer practice in an hour...and then the kids can heat up some frozen chicken noodle soup for dinner - I am going to bed! I think I will take a tylenol pm tonight - I don't know what it is with me not being able to sleep lately. I just lie there thinking about stuff....Tim says, "well, stop!" Like it is that easy...

Anyway, last night probably didn't help. It was freezing! Seriously - I think we got down to 28 last night. It was very windy at the game and I had to sell tickets...bbrrrrrr.......
Unfortunately, the boys lost again. However, they played very well the second half of the game - and Clay played great. He played defense the first half and then the coach had him playing everything after that. His first JV game is Friday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I have been feeling a little under the weather the past couple of days, but I took a nap yesterday and went to bed early last night and am feeling a bit better today....

Tim left for Munich this morning and today is going to be filled with running errands, scheduling doctor appointments, eye exams, picking up the expensive, specialty cat food which I can only get at the vets (don't ask!!), making an appointment for a haircut for moi, selling tickets this afternoon at Clay's soccer game...and then cheering him on, laundry, grocery, and hopefully a bit of cleaning as well! Thank goodness I got a good night's sleep last night - I am exhausted just looking at that to do list!

For those who have been following this blog, you know that I have been fascinated by our resident eagles. Sunday night PBS had a show about eagles which was very informative and interesting. I still don't know what all of their calls and cries mean. I think the chirping, trilling sort of sound is calling to the other one to come back...but who knows? Anyway, I absolutely love watching and listening to them.

Well, I suppose I have procrastinated long to tackle that list!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Busy Sunday

The kids had to acolyte at church this morning, and Paige read...home for a quick sandwich, and then we are off to take Paige to Nutcracker rehearsal...the rehearsals start to get longer as we get closer to the performance (only a month away now). I am hoping to talk Tim into heading back to pick her up this afternoon so I can lie down for a while. I haven't been sleeping well and am just exhausted today. Plus a bit of a sore throat...I hope I am not getting sick!

Anyway, as the kids wrote yesterday - it is looking like another busy week for us...lots going games, ballet, tests, doctor appointments, etc. Gotta run to take Paige to rehearsal now...more later.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

PAIGE: I can see the floor of my closet - I am so happy! I have been cleaning my closet all day (it wasn't really my choice). My room is pretty clean too. I never knew my room was that big! My week was OK. Nothing exciting happened - oh, during study hall on Friday we had an assembly with the Lost boys of Sudan. It was really cool and very sad. I hope next week is a little more fun. We have a lot of tests coming up. The week after that is Thanksgiving Break! Yay! I think we are going to Michigan - I hope it snows!!!!!!

CLAY: My room is cleaner than Paige's. It is beautiful. I am doing homework and I am hoping that at 8:00 tonight, my lovely, darling parents will let me watch the Florida State game. I might go run outside after I write this to burn off some energy. I can't wait until Thanksgiving break. Yahoo! My week was terrible - I had school, and we lost our first soccer game. The good news is I made Junior Varsity. Yay me! Next week we have 2 home games (1 middle school, and 1 JV) BUT I also have a LOT of tests next week. So, I better go study.....

Friday, November 14, 2008


Look closely in the top photo....THAT is the Space Shuttle Endeavor lifting off (as seen from our dock on a very cloudy evening)...ok, ok...I know it isn't even centered in the photo and it barely shows was hard to see. We have a beautiful full moon (you can see it hiding behind the clouds in the photo with the kids) but it is cloudy and was playing peek-a-boo when the shuttle lifted off. Anyway, it was fun to watch - it always is and WE were able to see more than you can in the photos. :) Now we are all headed off to have family movie night - Get Smart - popcorn and all!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Clay had his first (middle school) soccer game this evening, and they lost 3-0...aawwww. Clay played well though. Tonight he played defense, and I must say that I am always surprised when I watch him play - he is very fast and very aggressive. This picture was taken during half time. The JV coach was there watching and Clay will be playing JV as well as middle school. They have a very young team - lots of 6th graders - so hopefully as they gain experience they will start winning more!

Other than that, not too much news from the VK household...Tim and I are still trying to get some stuff done around the house. I try so hard to get things organized while the kids are at school...and then they come home and it looks like a bomb exploded in our home. Why do I bother?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tim didn't go to work Sunday....he has had a bad cold and his ears were bothering him, so....he's home for a few more days. We are going to try to get some things done around our house...our pool pump has been making a horrible, high pitched, whining sound...which I think means it is not long for this world! Tim is going to try to get a new one and get it installed, and paint our bathroom. Somehow last year, with all of the updating and moving around we did - we just never got around to that room. I went yesterday and picked a paint color. MY goal for the next couple of days is to go through the kid's closets and weed out clothes that are too small or are summer clothes and try to get a bit organized!

In the meantime, we still have school, ballet, and Clay's first soccer game tomorrow. He informed me yesterday that he had the wrong type of shin guards and wouldn't be allowed to play unless he had the right yesterday was spent running around getting paint, shinguards, lambs wool for Paige, etc. Not a terribly productive day, but necessary.

Tim noted the other day that some people glide through life effortlessly (it seems), while the Van Kuikens just seem to lurch from one crisis to another!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Watch the Body Talk........

We just got home from The Florida Ballet's Watch The Body Talk , which is their fall performance. It was wonderful (not just because Paige was in it!). The first piece was a contemporary ballet set to music by Rufus Wainwright - very cool. The next one was called Sea Interludes...also sort of a contemporary ballet. Finally, Fairest of them All, which was a modern adaptation of Snow White. Paige played the young Snow White - and I know I am biased, but...she was fabulous!! I couldn't get any photographs during the performance, but these are from afterwards as Paige was walking out the stage door. The stage makeup looks heavy in these photos, but barely shows up on stage.

We were truly impressed by the ballet pieces. As I said, they were sort of modern and I just wasn't expecting something so unique and cutting edge in Jacksonville! We are very lucky to have such a wonderful program here, and very grateful that Mrs. Byrd invited Paige to participate. She was the youngest trainee (and definitely the smallest) in the production and I think she did a great job. Now I can't wait to see her in Nutcracker........

A few words from Paige and Clay:

PAIGE: I am Snow White tonight. The technical rehearsal is this afternoon starting at 1:30 but they don't know if there will be enough time to go home so I might have to be there all day. The performance is at 7:30 pm but my call ( that is when I have to be at the theater) is 5:30. I am going to take a good book with me! I also have to bring something to eat in case there is not time to go out. It is funny because usually when there is a performance at the theater they are really strict about no food!

CLAY: I am the best. My room is almost clean. Maybe Mom and I can go somewhere today. That would be fun. Paige has a ballet thingamajigger tonight. Oh joy. I hope it is like the Nutcracker, because I liked that last year. I am looking forward to next week because in History we are going into the World Wars. I love that era.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Busy weekend...

This will be a busy weekend for the Van Kuikens....Paige's performance in Fairest of them All is tomorrow evening. Tonight is the dress rehearsal, tomorrow is tech rehearsal and then the performance. Sunday Tim has to go back to work and Paige has Nutcracker rehearsal, then I have to drive her out for another performance of a Fosse broadway number - Bye Bye Blackbird - then back to the studio for more Nutcracker rehearsal! Yikes! Ah well....I just hope she appreciates all this work. Clay is less than thrilled about all this running around on Sunday. Well, Tuesday will be his turn as the middle school has their first soccer game.

I will try to get some pictures of Paige's performances up this weekend, and possibly an update as well......

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

feeling lazy........

Tim arrived home last night - it has been a LONG 10 days!! He and I have been sitting around the house, both of us feeling lazy and tired...basically doing nothing. I think my migraine is finally fading away, so I am feeling much better...just drained though. I'm thinking about trying to get moving and heading out for a Costco run. Then again...maybe I'll just lie here and think about doing it tomorow....hmmm......

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I hope that I didn't offend anyone with my post yesterday - I think I have just been biting my tongue for months with all the negative emails and comments I receive (the kids aren't the only ones who have been given a hard time), and I was feeling excited from the rally. I guess the final straw was when we walked out of the rally feeling happy and proud, and a bunch of - I don't know..troublemakers, I guess - started yelling stuff at people coming out of the arena. Someone had hired a plane with a banner with a negative comment to fly overhead. I just really don't understand why people have to make it personal - and attack your intelligence and patriotism, etc. simply because you disagree. It is also difficult to explain such behavior to my children - because I don't understand it myself.

Anyway, if my earlier post seemed excessively defensive - sorry about that. I would never want to impose MY views on others. I think that we should all be free to make our own decisions based on our own criteria and I definitely think personal and negative attacks (whether of the candidates or of ME) should be off limits. It should be about the issues. Period.

Whatever happens with the election results - I am so glad this nasty campaigning period is OVER. Enough, already!

OK, enough of that...on to other topics. I have been fighting a migraine for the past two days. It goes away for a couple of hours, then comes back. Miserable. I think I really need to see another doctor (great! You know how I love that!) and try another prescription. There has got to be something that will work! On a more positive note - some of you know that I had an MRI (follow up) done a few weeks ago. Everything is fine, and I don't even need to continue with follow up MRIs anymore. I love Mayo Clinic - they are very thorough, and test anything and everything - but wow, what a pleasant environment and excellent healthcare! Anyway, I am healthy and fine (except for this darn migraine).

I hope everyone reading this is doing well - blue or red, I love ya! If we were all the same, life would be very boring!

Monday, November 3, 2008


Warning! If you are not fond of Barack Obama - read no further. Leave this site now and check back another day.

If you do choose to read on, and you support the other guy, please be advised that I do NOT want to hear why you think Obama sucks, is not a citizen, is Muslim, is a terrorist or any other fictitious stories which you have heard and not verified.

You will not "convert" us, you will not change our minds. We have already voted. Yes, we did look into both candidates and their positions and we chose the candidate whose policy and outlook most closely resemble our own. We respect your opinion and hope you will respect ours. If our vote bothers you, we are sorry. Whomever you support, please vote tomorrow.

Now, if you feel brave and daring and on! Otherwise...check back another day....

Obama Rocks!

Still here? Ok.....The kids and I got up early this morning and headed downtown to the arena for a Barack Obama rally. It was so cool! The energy from the crowd was much hope. The kids loved it. I was a bit worried about the crowds - there were literally thousands and thousands of people...but everyone was polite and respectful and well-behaved. I didn't hear any negative comments which was another worry. Everyone was upbeat and positive. Barack Obama is an amazing speaker - he makes you feel as though he were speaking just to you, yet really gets the crowd going at the same time. I think the kids learned a lot about him and his message. It was also good for them to see just how many people LIKE Obama. Orange Park is quite insulated - heavily Republican - the kids have been given a bit of a hard time from some of the other children who have seen my "Soccer mom for Obama" bumper sticker - they have handled it well, but it was good for them to see that Mom and Dad are not alone and have good reasons for voting for him. I am trying to teach them to learn about the issues and why they are important and how they affect us. Anyway, it was wonderful, exhilarating, exciting and hopeful and we LOVED it!

PAIGE: The Obama thing was really cool. The people in the front row were really lucky - they got to shake hands with Obama. We did the wave - that was fun. They played music before he came and everyone was dancing. SOME were dancing a little too much, if you know what I mean. Two old men had a dance-off. I liked them both. Mr. Obama talked about tax cuts and medicine stuff and education. I liked what he said. He told one story about a lady who attended a rally in Ft. Lauderdale and then after that she sent an email to Obama saying her son was sick (I forget with what) and her insurance wouldn't pay for what he needed and they couldn't afford it. Her email said when the campaign is negative or you feel like you can't talk any more - think of us, and keep going because we need you. That story made me sad. Yes We Can! Yes We Can! Yes........

CLAY: I liked hearing the comments from the crowd. I also liked how he was funny and made his point also. Everyone was nice and energetic and excited. It made me feel filled up with energy too. It was cool to see the Secret Service agents. I liked chanting Obama! Obama! He is so dignified, but he also looks like someone you could run into at Publix. Everyone was dancing, and we did the wave. Two old men had a dance off - that was fun. I hope he wins.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

More from Clay and Paige

Paige: I went trick or treating with my friend Sarah. I was a Dutch girl, she was a boxer. We went around her neighborhood in a golf cart, because her little brothers got tired. It was fun. Everybody gave us more candy because we were with her little brothers (twins). One of them was an army guy, the other was a power ranger. They were cute. Today I have rehearsal for Fairest & Nutcracker. Also I have a costume fitting. I get to see what color dress I will wear for Nutcracker.

Clay: Go Obama! I did not go trick or treating this year. I stayed home and partied with my wonderful mother. It was a lot of fun. Our first soccer game is November 12th. I will be playing for the middle school team and also for the JV team. I might, maybe, kinda-sorta, perhaps be a sub for Varsity! Obviously, I don't know yet.

Paige: Mom made awesome Halloween snacks for us. The eggs (eyeballs) were the best, the "fingers" were REALLY realistic looking! Mom had a vicious gorilla mask on. It was hard to see out of though. Clay was Clay. That is a costume all by itself. Ha ha. All the girls like my brother - it's kind of creepy. 6th, 7th, 8th, and even some 9th graders like my brother. I don't know why. He acts all nice to me whenever other girls are around, but at home he is still grumpy and mean. Every time I see him at school there are a million girls around him. Weird!

Clay: My mother insists on having a "professional" cut my hair, when she could do the same thing for a lot cheaper...hint, hint, wink, wink... The reason all the girls like me is because I am amazing. Isn't it obvious? JK. Ha ha.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Clay's "costume"

This is Clay's costume....AND he doesn't want to go trick or treating at all. I was basically begging him..."C'mon, just a couple of houses..." Nope. He's not going. He wants to stay here and give out candy - except the thing is...we don't GET trick or treaters! We are too far back I guess - no one wants to walk all the way down our driveway. So....I guess this means my baby boy is growing up. :(

Oh well, he was amazed at the food. He said, "Mom, you rock!" Yeah, I guess I do.....

The Little Dutch Girl

Eyeballs and severed fingers!!

I started feeling a bit Martha Stewart-y today...I'm not really sure why - maybe it was guilt because I yelled at my kids last night (even though they deserved it!) and maybe it is because it is Halloween and Tim is coming home tonight, but I made a big pot of chicken and noodles, did two loads of laundry - including one which I had to SCRUB at because Clay left a pen in his pocket which bled all over everything, but I did manage to get the ink out! - swept, mopped, went to the store, and made after school snacks of severed fingers and eyeballs for the kids!

The kids were a little iffy about trick or treating this year. I think they really just want the candy! Paige is going to a friend's house to trick or treat with her. She is going to be a little Dutch girl. That's really a stretch, isn't it? I will try to post a picture later tonight. Clay will probably just hit a couple of houses in the neighborhood wearing his regular clothes and a mask. He is much too cool for costumes (??) but mean old mom is making him do something! He and I will probably watch a movie while waiting for Dad to get home.

Tim does get home this evening, but is only home for one day, then back to work for another three day trip on Sunday. Thankfully, he will be home Tuesday evening to watch the election results with me and then is home for a few days (including for Paige's performance next weekend as Snow White).

Nothing special planned for this weekend - Paige has rehearsals (what else is new!) but other than that I think we will just take it easy and relax! I hope you all have a happy, chocolatey halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Old friends............

I love hearing from friends! Yesterday I spoke to an old friend in Washington state that I probably haven't spoken to in about 4 years!! It was wonderful catching up and hearing all about her family. I also spoke to another good friend in North Carolina that I talk to more often - but it is still always good to hear what is going on in her life. It seems that as my children get older and more involved in their is easier and easier to drift apart. My old circle of friends here in Orange Park has done just that - I rarely hear from anyone and feel rather isolated. I suppose it is inevitable, but I do miss everyone! I think that we all need to make a real effort to keep up with our friends - old and new, near and far! Any of my friends out there who are reading this - I want you to know that I treasure each and every one of you...I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When life hands you lemons...............

Our lemon tree is LOADED with lemons! Yum Yum. You know what that is time for Tim's famous vodka tonics. If anyone wants to come visit - we'd love to see you!

The sunrise picture was taken this morning as we were leaving the house for school. Yikes - imagine how dark it will be next week after the time change. I absolutely HATE getting up while it is still dark. I may have mentioned...I am NOT a morning person!!

The other pictures are of Paige with our cat, Roxy and one of "our" eagles and a coot drying himself. Yesterday was chilly, but beautiful - crisp and sunny. We have a pair of eagles that have a nest near our house. We see them everyday - and they are so fascinating. I have been doing research online...trying to find out what their various calls mean, but haven't had much luck. One of them stays on the boathouse while the other one is "fishing". The one on the boathouse cries and calls to the other one constantly....very different calls. When they are both on the boathouse and I walk out to the dock, one will fly away immediately - the other one will stay there and isn't bothered by me at all. (obviously, that is the one in the pictures). Anyway, they never cease to amaze me - I love "our" eagles!

Poor Tim tried to get home last night between trips - just so he could sleep in his own bed - but the flight was late, so he was forced to get a hotel room in D.C. We miss Daddy! Yesterday was a relatively easy day for me, because Paige didn't have ballet. The next few days will be crazy with both ballet and soccer (that same old problem of having to be two places at one time). To make things even crazier, CSX has closed down the entrance to the kid's school to do maintenance on the RR tracks. We now have to enter and exit the school by the back entrance - which is ONE LANE. Yeah, fun. Now, I wonder why they couldn't have scheduled that for over Thanksgiving or Christmas break?

I did finally order tickets for the productions Paige will be in. Not too bad for Nutcracker, but seriously waiting until the last minute for the Snow White is next weekend! I managed to get fairly good seats though. I can't wait to see her dance. The studio where she takes is for professional dancers and is not geared towards making the parents happy - no viewing windows. The only chance we have to see how our children are progressing is when they perform - and I am always impressed by how much better Paigie has gotten!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Paige had a project in history - to make a timeline of her life....which really cracked me up, because she is 12 years old!!! Anyway, this is her timeline above (I think if you click on the pic, it will get bigger). Paige and I were digging through old pictures this weekend trying to find some of "important" events in her life....of course, being her mom, I thought EVERYTHING was important..."Paige, remember, this is when we were at the beach and you were tired and wrapped up in a beach towel and took a nap"....."Oh honey, remember when you wore this tutu everywhere?"......"Oh, look! This is you hugging Daddy before you went to school when you were in 2nd grade..." You get the idea. It was sort of sad though...looking through all of those pictures - because I still think of her as that little blond toddler, and she is growing up. It makes me sad how quickly my children are growing up because I feel like I need some "do overs". If I could do it again I would spend more time with them just playing...and less stressing over whether or not their rooms were clean or the laundry was folded or whatever. You know, when the kids are grown and have their own families, they are not going to remember whether or not our house was always clean but they will remember spending time with mom and dad (I hope). So that is my just enjoy being with my family....the rest will take care of itself, right? Right?

Clay AND Paige share some thoughts....

CLAY: I am tired. I don't like SATs. Soccer is going well. I am very tired and cold. I can't think of anything else to say.

PAIGE: Good morning. I am tired, also. SATs were pretty easy - yesterday was reading and reading comprehension. Today is math. I don't know whether or not to be excited or nervous. I hope tomorrow is science or social studies. Those are some of my favorite subjects. Mrs. Byrd, my ballet teacher, had a HUGE book that was like a giant time line starting in bc going into 1990 when she bought it. I was telling her how cool it was and she told me that she had majored in History. Cool. I think that is what I want to do!

CLAY: I want to be a marine biologist. I like history too, though.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I am NOT a morning person!

I am having a hard time getting going this morning! It is chilly - that is part of it (although it sounds like it is going to be really cold tomorrow!) - also, I didn't sleep very well...and I am just not a morning person. I will say though, that if I HAVE to be up early (and not cuddled up in my warm bed where I want to be) a beautiful sunrise makes it - somewhat - worthwhile. I snapped this picture this I grumbled my way back to the coffeemaker....

I am trying to get going here and head out for my walk, but maybe I'll wait a bit until it warms up. I got up and made my kids a healthy breakfast of scrambled eggs (instead of the usual cereal) because they have PSAT testing this week. Don't I wish I was the kind of mom who did that every day! Oh well, if I did it every morning they wouldn't appreciate it, right? Since my Donna Reed moments are few and far between, my kids really appreciate them! Actually, I feel more like a drill sergeant than Donna Reed in the mornings....but seriously, if I didn't remind them to brush their teeth every day I think they would walk out without doing it! Eewww, gross. Ditto for making their beds, feeding the pets, grabbing I stumble around in my morning fog sipping coffee and snapping out orders....

OK, almost done with my second cup of coffee, feeling a bit more human, and off for my walk....
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