Author: Ashley
•10:46 AM

Our last 2 weeks have been slow. It is just the calm before the storm, though. Last week involved testing for reading. Little Bit did ok I guess. Her actual scores weren't that great (about a 78) but she knew everything that she missed so I think she's just not thinking. I remember having problems on tests when I was little. I guess it is a developed skill. One example of her not thinking: yesterday I planned a fun activity for what we are thankful for. We don't have to do this extra stuff but it is a fun break. Or it should be anyway. The questions were similar to "what are you thankful for that is round, green, yellow, etc" I wanted to slam my head against the wall. Her answer for round: "thanksgiving." followed by "I don't know what round is." Soft: "a scarecrow."  green: "the leaves changing colors." I finally gave up. I know she's 6 but I just wish she would use some common sense. And unfortunately I can't teach that.

Little Monster is sick today. He runs the highest fevers! It is really crazy. And scary. Tonight daddy and him (he?) were playing the wii and when I went to check on everybody I could tell his fever was up. I checked it and it was 103.8!! CRAZY! It took a good hour and a half to get it down. It still isn't normal but it is better. He kept telling me this morning "I just want you to watch over me." It was rally sweet and mildly creepy.

Christmas shopping is going good/almost done! I think I have 2 more things to buy for the kids plus make a hooded towel for Little Monster and a quilt for Little Bit. Oh and I guess I need to shop for B. A lot of people are getting homemade gifts from us this year. And they are neat homemade gifts too!

My cat Quincy has been sick. He vomited 5+ times Saturday morning and we ended up at the vet with him. He has some majorly bad ear stuff going on but they can't tell what b/c his ear canal is swollen to the point they can't see his ear drum. I have no idea what we are going to do about that. Maybe Obama should pass pet insurance law. For all the good the new healthcare law is doing our family other might as well have been a pet insurance law.

My cat Gracee is licking her fur off. She's on meds for that.

Little Bit is currently using an eneuresis monitor. She had her first dry night last night. We have been getting up with her 2x every night when it goes off. But it seems to be helping. I will be glad to get a full night's sleep again. 

All in all, it sounds like we are falling apart over here (and trays not mentioning my issues) but it could always be worse!

Leaving you with picture of the rottenness I live with. This is what my cat Gracee begs to do ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY!! It looks so sweet right? Well after about 4 minutes of it, not so cute and sweet. Much hissing ensues (and that's not to mention all the noise she makes)

Author: Ashley
•7:47 PM

My son never ceases to amaze me. Yesterday, I randomly wrote a row of capital letters and a row lower case letters and he drew the lines to match them. I didn't have to help him once. We also talked about the words "cat" and "dog." I wrote them out yesterday and then tonight he asked me how to spell them. I sounded out each letter, he told me what it was, and then wrote it by himself. My favorite part was when he told me he didn't know how to write a "g" and then wrote it with no problem and no instruction.

I gave both of them octopus pictures today and asked him to put the correct number of dots on each leg. He never asked a question and got them all right. He also told me he was going to color something and everyone would "be so impressed."

Little Bit drew pictures of Peach, Luigi, and Yoshi. I love them. She also had to take a math test today and did a great job. She only missed writing the number 200 (she wrote 220) and reading one of the clock faces. I was impressed. It amazes ne how far she has come in 2 months. Hard to imagine where she will be at Christmas. Little Monster will probably be graduating from college by his next birthday.

Speaking of birthdays- Little Bit is supposed to have a party in 2 weeks and I can't get motivated. I think I might have too much going on in life. Just maybe.

Author: Ashley
•2:00 PM

My daughter turned 6 last weekend and we celebrated the weekend before with a big shindig. It is crazy how you invite a "few" people and there ends up being 16 kids and a bunch of adults (didn't count those). I guess all those friends and their siblings add up. They had a blast, though. Like every other little girl in America, my daughter loves Tangled so we had a Tangled themed party. A week before the party I wasn't motivated to even have one but thankfully I pulled it together in the end and put together a few cool things. Flynn Rider's wanted poster was posted on the front door. A friend's child got a Rapunzel toy a few months ago and I saved the small print on the back of the box. I used that as a guide and drew a bigger copy on posterboard. For her Fairy party last year I bought a TON of paper lanterns with the battery operated tea lights and never used them (didn't even remember that I had them until the party was over and they were the one thing that spurred the Fairy/Garden party idea). But I did use lanterns this year. Not all of the ones I had but a few. 

We hung posterboard on the fence and let the kids go to town with washable markers. I think this should be a staple at all parties and I plan (assuming I don't forget) to do this at every party from now on. If there's not an activity going on, just send them the fence to draw. We do have some marker on our fence now but it should clean off with a clorox solution. And if not, it adds character. Another option would be to use sidewalk chalk straight on the fence. I think I might go to our local newspaper and buy some unprinted paper. They sell the ends of the rolls for about $5 (and it is a ton of paper). Ok, back on track now--I am going to punch holes in all of the poster drawings and make a "book" for her. 

Trampoline, balloons, and children under the age of 6. Nothing more even has to be said. And I'm not sure if Little Monster is thieving the balloons here or taking back escaped balloons. I have a feeling he was thieving. Maybe we should have dressed him up as Flynn Rider. 

The cake was fun to make. Two weeks before the party I had decided to just buy cupcakes or a cake from somewhere. A week before the party I decided to ask my mom to help me with it. And 6 days before the party I decided I just needed help with flowers. Those are not my specialty but my mom is amazing at it! Hints on decorating a tower cake: use a dense cake (ex...I used THIS TRIPLE CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE...oh so amazing!! Double the recipe though...maybe even triple it), use the the inner tube of a roll of aluminum foil to stack the doughnuts on (it is a great size and really strong cardboard. I wouldn't recommend a paper towel roll since the cardboard is kind of flimsy), use moldable chocolate for any other figures that need to be created (I didn't even do a Rapunzel...just had her hair flowing out the window. Of course, every child wanted to know where Rapunzel was but I just told them she was hiding inside), and use dense doughnuts for the tower. 
I'm not sure where this tradition started but I always get something for the sibling of the birthday child (my parents and one of my friends do as well). Little Monster has been having fits wanting the Mario/Sonic Winter Olympics Wii game. I found it cheap on ebay so that was his present and I don't think anything else could've made him happier. I wish I had his reaction on video. We probably could've won money off of it. But here he is examining the game with Papaw   
After the party was over we drove to a park to release real lanterns (just like the movie). These were so stinking cool! I got them off of Amazon and they were worth every penny. We only released 2 (which means we have 8 more fun flying lanterns). A few people were really afraid of them catching on fire but they work just like a hot air balloon. So if there's a flame, they float up. When the flame goes out, they come down. I wouldn't suggest doing them around trees b/c they could catch a tree on fire but after they are above the trees, there is no worry (well, maybe birds?).
Author: Ashley
•1:12 PM
I have great memories of soft pastels. I don't have messy memories but whoa! Mess was everywhere when we ventured into the soft pastel world yesterday. Little Bit's assignment was to draw something she enjoys doing. When I came to check on her I saw a picture of a princess going home to her castle (bottom). Now, I love her drawing but seriously?? How do you teach a child to follow directions? So then it was the principle of the matter and she had to do another one. That one ended up being her playing on her swing set (also--soft pastels are hard to do neatly...not just the mess they make but trying to color with a rectangular block of...stuff). Little Monster wandered in and drew a "cominent." A comment? Nope. A cominent. No clue what that is but I asked him again last night and he told me the same thing. I'm not questioning it. It must make sense in his head.
p/s--can't get the font size to go back to normal. It looks like I'm super excited about this post but in reality I just can't work the computer.