Wednesday, January 28, 2009 No comments
I'm sick of snow. We've had so much snow this year that Chloe doesn't get excited about it anymore. We're knee-deep in it and school is cancelled today. I just shoveled our sidewalks and driveway---I've decided I never want another corner house, too much sidewalk to shovel.

Chloe wants to watch Nogg*in and play "school" today. I think we will work on letter sounds and the 50 Nifty United States (I was a U.S. History teacher in a past life). I think if I watch the same Fran*klin again I may puke.

Going to check on the weather in Cancun now....

UPDATE @ 5:12 P.M.:

We made it through the day. We only made it through the letter C of our alphabet book before Chloe lost interest. We then played W*ii P*lay for an hour and half! Chloe loves the air hockey and the cow racing games. Apparently it was a successful day indoors because here is Chloe now--
asleep on the couch with the dog. How sweet.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Monday, January 26, 2009 2 comments
Today I co-oped at Chloe's pre-school and we celebrated the lunar new year as a class. Chloe's pre-school teacher, Mrs. S, was so fantastically supportive of celebrating as a class. I had approached her several weeks ago about the special celebration and she was totally on board with whatever I wanted to do. She was at school early setting up the special crafts I bought for the class to make and she had read up on the holiday, making notes to share with the class.

A few weeks ago I ordered some items through China Sp*rout--a Chinese New Year CD, CNY decorations and a book about celebrating the CNY with children. The book gave me lots of ideas and also told how to make the dragon for the dragon dance/parade. I also ordered Year of the Ox red envelopes.

Chloe was excited to have me at school today as well as celebrating a special holiday with her classmates, who knew nothing of the lunar new year. Yesterday, we went to the Asian supermarket and bought food for the celebration. Chloe and I also made our own fortune cookies.

Class started with the usual circle time and the Mrs. S shared the story of why the lunar new year is celebrated and she asked Chloe to share some about the holiday as well. Chloe shared how to say happy new year in Chinese, "Gung Hay Fat Choy!" and she was so excited to tell the class that we were going to do a dragon dance to scare the evil spirits away. In Chloe's excitement she also shared that she had been to Chinatown in London and fed her Dad with chopsticks. She remembered this, which is pretty impressive considering it was in 2006.

After circle time, the kids did crafts. I had bought and brought in four craft activities (a little over-zealous, I know). Two crafts, a Chinese New Year sticker scene and a dragon wand went home with the students in their backpacks. The other two we did in class. I had bought some Chinese new year stamps and a self-stick dragon decoration as well, so the students made those items. Every student wanted "Gung Hay Fat Choy!" written on their artwork, it was very cute. I purchased all the crafts kits from Or*iental Tra*ding.

After the crafts and a little free-play, it was story time. I had brought in this book...
and Mrs. S read to the class while Chloe and I prepared snack.
I made some lo mein noodles, chicken dumplings, a homemade fortune cookies with special, age-appropriate fortunes like "you will have a playdate soon" inside. We also brought mandarin oranges and chopsticks for every child too. The dumplings and the chopsticks were a hit.

After snack came the highlight of the day. I told the students about the dragon parade and how the dragon scares away evil spirits and brings good luck in the new year. We brought out our homemade dragon and Chloe banged a gong (a.k.a. a aluminium pan) three times to wake the dragon and then she drew in the eyes to wake him up. The kids couldn't wait to parade through the school halls in the dragon and each child took turns wearing the dragon mask. It was so darling and the kids had a great time.

I didn't think the dragon parade would end, but luckily the mothers arrived for pick-up and convinced their children it was time to go. Chloe and I handed out red envelopes to all the kids with chocolate gold coins inside.

The best part of the day was when several children came to thank me for bringing in the special snack, art and crafts and to help them learn about the "other new year".

Chloe felt very special and was so proud. She came home and wanted to work on the other two crafts immediately after school. Tonight we are going to continue the celebration by dining at a local Chinese restaurant that has special activities to celebrate the new year.

Happy Lunar New Year and Happy Year of the Ox!

What do You Get When You Take...

Thursday, January 22, 2009 No comments
One mother with too much time on her hands
One crafty four-year old
1 large box
1 medium box
yards and yards of felt
2 multi-colored feathered boas
lots of pipe cleaners
2 yellow party hats
2 yellow paper cups
gold wrapping paper
red duct tape
2 red tablecloths
glue gun
one fingered sliced open with scissors (my finger to be exact)
upcoming Mom's coop day on Chinese New Year (Monday, January 26)?


Yes, that's a dragon for Chinese New Year. I am the cooping Mom on Monday, so the class is going to learn all about Chinese New Year. We are taking the dragon to school on Monday to celebrate and Chloe's class is going to attempt a dragon dance. The only thing we haven't finished is the eyes---the class will have to wake the dragon before the dance by "opening his eyes" (according to Chloe we made a boy dragon). I'll have more updates on that Monday evening.

I Forgot this Photo...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 No comments
This is a photo of Chloe taken at ski school. She loves her racing bibs. She told me it made her go fast!

President Obama

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 1 comment

Chloe had a playdate after school today and we were eating lunch as we watched the inauguration. I got lots of questions (a former U.S. History teacher's dream). Here are my favorites---
  • Why is the music so sad? (Asked about the strings and oboe before the swearing in)
  • Why are so many people there?
  • Why is this historic?
  • My favorite statement was when Chloe said, "Hey, I know that guy, it's Barack Obama!"

And, from the U.S. History teacher perspective, the oath was actually administered late, President Bush's term in office expired at noon according to the Constitution, so technically speaking, having been sworn in already, Joe Biden was President for a few minutes while "Appalachian Spring" was being played.

Ski Weekend

Monday, January 19, 2009 No comments
We spent the three-day weekend skiing at Lake Placid, NY. We left early on Friday and spent Friday afternoon touring some Olympic Sites. We saw the ski jump and several people jumping. You can take an elevator up to the top and lookout. I never realized how tall the ski jump is!! It towers over the town, literally.

Saturday was very cold but we went skiing. The mountain had few people on it so lines were short. Chloe skied some greens and blues and even part of a black!! We met up with our friends and their children for dinner. Chloe had such a great time with her "Beach friends" (it is one of the families we go to the Outer Banks in July with).

Sunday Chloe was in ski school with her pals. Matt and I wanted to check on her and see how she was doing but we got a little too close and she saw us. She had a great time and told Matt that she wanted to go to ski school to learn and not from him--Ha! I guess she liked it because they stop to play. We had dinner around the fire at the hotel on Sunday evening with our friends watching the playoff games.

We had such a peaceful and relaxing weekend. Even though it was cold, the skiing was great and the hospitality was fantastic. We will definitely be returning.

Chloe and Matt in a bob sled at the U.S. Olympic center bob sled/luge center.

Chloe and Matt with the bob sled track in the background.

From the top of the ski jump. It doesn't really do it justice.

Some video from the weekend---one is of Matt skiing down and the other is of Chloe in her ski school class.

Its Colder Than a...

Friday, January 16, 2009 1 comment
Yea, that's a BIG old negative (-) sign in front of that 4. We're heading north to ski and that's our weather forecast. Its going to be cold all over the northeast---hasn't been this cold in 17 years. Yea! And we picked it to go skiing.

I guess we will determine if Chloe truly loves skiing as much as she does. You have to like it (or have a strong constitution) to ski in -4. Oh, and once the sun sets, I won't be heading outside to see what -16 feels like. I'm just looking forward to the warm up of 14 on Sunday!

Why did we want to go skiing here? Once we dethaw, I'll post photos.

The Need to Tell All---Stream of Consciousness

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 1 comment
Chloe is at the age where she feels compelled to tell everyone we meet all about our business as it streams into her mind and pours right out of her mouth. I've tried ever so politely to tell her that perfect strangers do not need to know where we are going, what we are doing or demand to know what a perfect stranger is doing and where they are going.I have also tried to make it clear that she shouldn't tell someone who is smoking a cigaretter outside a post office that it stinks (as she did this morning). It doesn't seem to be sinking in. Case(s) in point:

  • I had to go to the Junio*r Lea*gue office last evening to make some copies. Chloe came with me. Another meeting was taking place in the conference room and Chloe went right in to see what was going on (primarily because they had eclairs). From the other room, I could hear her ask, "Are you having a meeting?". I then heard her ask, "What are you writing?", to which someone replied that they were writing a "to do" list. Chloe then states, "My mom makes "to do" lists in a wire notebook. She wrote one today when I was at gymnastics. She was writing and wasn't watching me do a handstand so I had to yell, 'Mom, lookit." ---TOO MUCH INFORMATION
  • Today, Chloe and I stopped into our local bank. The branch manager brought Chloe a lollipop and was telling Chloe that he had a daughter her age which after putting the lollipop in her mouth, it must have triggered her to share this information, "My Dad goes to work to make money. His money goes into THIS bank. THIS bank has my Dad's money. My Dad shares his money with my mom and I. He brought me lots of money last night from work . You have to work to make money thats why my Dad goes to work. His work is like my school but I don't get any money. I get money if I do my chore chart but not at school. Do you know my teacher's name? Her name is Mrs. S...and Mrs. K.... Do you know who is in my class? I know all their names, their names are.... There are 16 of us in class. I can count to 16. Thats easy. What do those buttons do? Do you really have a daughter? Can I have another lollipop?". I responded with a "No, you already have a lollipop," to which Chloe responded, "But I can have another one, this is where my Dad keeps his money!"

I actually think there was more to it than that, I probably missed some of it. It seemed as if she was going on forever, enough that everyone in the bank had a glassy-eyed stare and couldn't get a word in edgewise.

Whose Toy Is This Anyway?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 No comments
Yes, we may have bought Chloe a Wi*i* for Christmas but Moma has just bought herself this:

And when the cats away, the mice will play this:

Mommy & Daddy have a little ski jump rivalry going on after Chloe is asleep. Let the games begin! (Of course, we're working on our balance--ha!)

Art Projects

Monday, January 12, 2009 1 comment
Chloe's Uncle John gave her a set of paints, paint brushes and art paper for Christmas. Chloe enjoyed painting with Uncle John while we were in Colorado. He taught her to use watercolors and how to dab off the paint.

We broke out the paints the other day and I wanted to preserve the artwork already created so I took some photos.

Chloe using an original technique to paint the background on her watercolor snowman.
Chloe putting the finishing touches on our snowman (it turned out much better than our first attempt together--which is below).
This is an Uncle John & Chloe creation.

This is a mommy & Chloe creation...more a hodgepodge.

This is another Uncle John/Chloe creation.
A Papaw and Chloe original.

And another Uncle John/Chloe creation.

What Do YOU Do on a Snowy Evening?

Saturday, January 10, 2009 No comments
Well, we have a dance party. Matt and I were scheduled to go out to a function, but due to snow it was canceled and we stayed in dancing to the tunes on the I-Pod (the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever to be exact!).

Room Makeover

The pantry that we made a very special trip to seek out. The wall space is not very wide, so we had to find one to fit.
Inside of the new pantry/kitchen storage.

Another storage device for potatoes and onions for the kitchen.

How come when you want to spend money it doesn't seem you are able to find the thing you want to buy?

We have been searching for some time to find a recliner and a pantry cabinet for our family room. Our room size is small, so we are limited in what we can fit into the room.

For the past few weeks we have been searching for these pieces of furniture only to not find them. I've had a hunch where I could find the pantry cabinet, so this morning, I put Chloe in the car with a stack of DVD's and drove to Lancaster, PA to search in Amish country for a pantry and BINGO--first stop we found one.

I didn't tell Matt that we were going (I did tell my mother so someone knew our whereabouts), I wanted to surprise him. Unfortunately, Matt is a super sleuth and logged into the bank account to see that Chloe and I stopped for lunch at Son*ic and that we had spent some money at an Amish furniture store. I knew I should have paid cash. We don't have Son*ics in our neck of the woods, though for some strange reason they advertise in our tv market which makes us crave their tator tots and fountain drinks even more.
Chloe says she had a good day because she got to watch 3 movies, see horses, cows and carriages, eat tator tots and talk to an Amish girl! It doesn't take much to make her happy.
I'm happy because we can clear some counter space in our kitchen and put our new pantry to good use.

Sidenote: Matt liked the pantry. It inspired us to seek out a recliner on Saturday (in the middle of a snow storm). We also got a bigger coffee table with storage. Our room makeover is complete!