Monday, November 30, 2009

Tagging the Christmas Tree and A Visit to a Gingerbread House

Every year, we tag our Christmas tree the weekend of Thanksgiving and then go get it 1-2 weeks before Christmas. We weren't sure about our "usual" place having enough growth but we stopped anyway

Tucker posed with the sleigh and reindeer like he usually does

...and then the search began!

We hiked up the hill and down the hill and sideways across the hill and then did it all over again, a few times!

After much debate...I mean, discussion...we decided on this one...

We also headed to one of the casinos to check out the gingerbread house made by Tucker's soccer coach...

Tucker went to visit the week of Thanksgiving and got to add his name to a brick!!!!

My Daybook

For today, Monday November 20, 2009

On My Mind...I can't believe tomorrow is December already! How did that happen?!?!

What We're Reading...I can't remember where I left off since I did this two weeks ago but I do know I am on my fourth book of the Shelf Discovery Challenge. I read: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, Are You There, God, It's Me Margaret and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, both by Judy Blume. I'm now halfway through Harriet the Spy and loving it! With Tucker, we're almost finished with James and the Giant Peach. He also finished all his books for the Reading Hall of Fame.

What We're Listening to...I'm listening to Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. We listened to Moonlight on the Magic Flute (a Magic Treehouse book) on the way to the Lego Kids Festival.

What We're I'm writing this, I'm watching the Grinch (I put Cindy Lou Who as my image this week; somehow I usually end up being called that!) Not thrilled about the DWTS conclusion but it was a good season and I'm glad Kellie made it as far as she did! Still not sure who I want to win Survivor and liking the Globetrotters on Amazing Race! We've had two "family movie nights" (we put blankets and pillows on the floor and watch a movie and eat snacks!) and watched Up and October Sky.

I am figure out what picture I want to use and order the Christmas cards by the end of the week.

Quotable Quote...We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather recognizing and appreciating what we do have ~ Frederick Keonig

In the Kitchen...trying to get back into a routine! Ham Steaks, chicken in the crockpot, new chicken recipe with French's onions, and not sure what else!

Around the usual, the laundry is waiting to be folded and more to be washed...dishes being cleaned in the dishwasher...need to take down the Thanksgiving decorations.

Coming Up This Week... home visits tomorrow night and Thurs night...Cub Scout den meeting Wed night...Cub Scout Boxwood Derby Sat...William's bowling birthday party Sat afternoon...Breakfast with Santa Sun morning.

A Picture Thought...I had a great time at my reunion show this past weekend. This is my friend Ramon, we were good friends all through high school and it was so great to catch up with him! (he's one of the band member's whose video I had on here.)

Lego Kids Festival

Last Sunday, we braved the crowds and went to the Lego Kids Festival in Hartford with Tucker's friend Isaiah, his mom Cori, and his grandmother Maria. It took us about 40 minutes to even get into the hall and exhibits and we spent the next four hours checking out the cool displays and figures! While we waited in line, we spotted Batman and Indiana Jones in the lobby so we had the boys pose with them!

Once inside, they posed with other various characters (including Michael!)

Tucker and Isaiah got to put together a few creations

The displays were amazing!!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Celebrating Thanksgiving

This year we all gathered at my mother-in-law's for a wonderful dinner! she and my sister-in-law Doreen made some very yummy food and we were all stuffed by the end of the day!

Eileen cooked a delicious 17 lb turkey for us all to enjoy! Here she carves it

We served dinner buffet-style this year!

Whenever we take a group shot, someone is always missing so Eileen suggested setting the timer on our cameras to get everyone in. There was a lot of discussion about where to actually put the camera but we finally worked it out

Though my mom and Eileen had been drinking wine throughout the day (that didn't come out quite right, but you know what I mean! LOL), after dinner we realized we hadn't taken the usual "wine" pictures

After a shirt break, it was time for dessert! Pumpkin pie with cool whip and apple pies with ice cream!! Yummy!

Thank you Eileen and Doreen for a great dinner!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Did You Know? Thanksgiving Version

Did You Know?
Facts, Figures & Folklore about the Pilgrims & the First Thanksgiving

Did you know that the Pilgrims trip to the New World aboard the Mayflower lasted 65 days? It was a cold and damp journey, and since the ship was wooden, passengers were not allowed to light a fire for warmth or for cooking their food.

Did you know that half of the 110 Pilgrims who had left England in 1620 survived that first year in the New World? In their second year, however, the Pilgrims flourished with plentiful food sources, thanks in large part to the friendship and guidance of an Abnaki Indian named Squanto.

Did you know that the first Thanksgiving took place in December 1621, when the Pilgrims held a three-day feast in Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts to celebrate their bountiful harvest?

Did you know that the first Thanksgiving feast was celebrated during the Pilgrim's second year in the New World? During the first year, the Pilgrims were nearly decimated by the brutally cold winter.

Did you know that the first thanksgiving celebration was held in the fall of 1621 by the proclamation of Pilgrim Governor William Bradford? He invited the neighboring Native Americans to join with the colonists in the three-day celebration, which featured games, races, bow and arrow competitions, and of course feasting of the bounty of the fall harvest.

Did you know that Thanksgiving didn't become an official national holiday until more than 200 years later, when in 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November a national day of thanksgiving?

Did you know that as many 107 million American homes will celebrate Thanksgiving this year?

Did you know that US Presidents issue an annual Thanksgiving Proclamation declaring the 4th Thursday of November as Thanksgiving? While President George Washington was the first US President to issue a Thanksgiving Proclamation, not all following Presidents followed the custom. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be celebrated on the final Thursday of November. In 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November and in 1941 the US Congress passed a law officially establishing the celebration of Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November.

Did you know that it is tradition for US Presidents to issue a pardon to the White House Thanksgiving Turkeys? Since about 1947 the National Turkey Federation has presented the President of the United States with one (and in recent years - two) live turkey(s) in a ceremony known as the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation. The live turkeys are pardoned and live out the rest of their days on a farm or, since 2005, sent to either Disneyland in California or Walt Disney World in Florida, where they serve as the honorary grand marshals of Disney's Thanksgiving Day Parade. While it is commonly believed that this pardoning tradition began with President Harry Truman in 1947, the Truman Library has been unable to find any evidence for this. The earliest Thanksgiving Presidential Pardon on record is with President George H. W. Bush in 1989.

Did you know that the most popular Thanksgiving dinner includes a menu of turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie? Then it's only fitting that Americans raise over 256 million turkeys. The biggest producer of turkeys is Minnesota, followed by North Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri and California.

Did you know that U.S. turkey farmers also raised just over 144,000 organic turkeys in 2005.

Did you know that there is no historical evidence that the first Thanksgiving included turkey, which is, of course, the centerpiece of today's Thanksgiving meal? There was, however, mention of wild turkeys in a book written by Pilgrim Governor Bradford.

Did you know that the average Thanksgiving turkey weighs 15 pounds? Hens can range from 10 to 18 pounds, while toms can be as large as 25 pounds. The most traditional way to prepare a turkey is to stuff and roast it, although some chefs -- particularly in the south -- swear by deep frying their birds.

Did you know that Americans raise 649 million pounds of cranberries, 1.6 billion pounds of sweet potatoes, and 998 million pounds of pumpkin?

In addition to domestically grown and raised Thanksgiving food, the U.S. also imports $5.2 million worth of live turkeys from Canada, $2.2 million worth of cranberries (also from Canada), and $2.3 million dollars worth of sweet potatoes -- from the Dominican Republic.

Did you know that there are at least three American towns named after Thanksgiving dinner's main course? There's Turkey, Texas, with 496 residents; Turkey Creek, Louisiana, with 357 residents, and Turkey, North Carolina, with 267 residents. There are also eight places and townships named Cranberry, and 20 places named Plymouth, after the location of the first Thanksgiving.

Did you know that the first National Football League's Thanksgiving Classic game was played in 1934, when the Lions hosted the game as a gimmick to get people to go to Lions football games?

Did you know that while there are many "Thanksgiving Day" parades held across the country, the most famous has to be the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City? The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is held annually every Thanksgiving Day and is televised nationally by NBC. The parade features parade floats with specific themes, scenes from Broadway plays, large balloons of cartoon characters and TV personalities, and high school marching bands. The float that traditionally ends the Macy's Parade is the Santa Claus float, the arrival of which is an unofficial sign of the beginning of the Christmas season.

Did you know that for many Native American people, Thanksgiving is cause for mourning rather than celebration? Although the First Thanksgiving included the Pilgrims' Native American neighbors, that spirit of cooperation did not last long between the native people and the colonists. The land and lives of the native people were pillaged and destroyed countless times during the early history of the United States of America. Racism and bigotry persist until this day. As a result, Thanksgiving has taken on greater historical significance for many Native Americans, who view that First Thanksgiving as the beginning of centuries of oppression and discrimination.

Did you know that Black Friday -- the day after Thanksgiving, which is widely touted as the biggest Christmas shopping day in America -- is actually not the biggest shopping day? In fact, the Saturday before Christmas has historically been the largest volume shopping day. Black Thursday ranks anywhere from second to fifth in Christmas shopping days.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Let's Say Thanks!

I got this as as an email and checked it out on and it is real!

If you go to this website, (click on the image below), you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!It is FREE and it only takes a second.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Parent-Teacher Conference

Michael and I met today with Tucker's teacher and got basically a good report. He is doing well in spelling (he gets 100s on his tests plus the five bonus words every week) and he is the best reader in his class at 107 words a minute! This is the same little boy who barely knew letters going into 1st grade and definitely couldn't read! However, when it comes to his classroom work, he tends to rush and has this need to be first (this is not the first time we have heard this nor do we deny it). This need of his to be first results in not only messy work but also answering questions wrong when he really does know the correct answer. Mrs Holmes feels that he shows a lot of "potential" to do better and would really like to see him slow down, take his time, and feels he will do better and feel better because he won;t have to keep correcting things he would have done correctly the first time if he hadn't rushed. We wholeheartedly agree with all of this and obviously want to see him do his best. the plan is to meet with him and his teacher after Thanksgiving break and discuss everything. She is thinking of working out a reward system of some kind involving the token system the school uses. I'm thinking this would be beneficial to him. She also would like to refer him to the Enrichment program (what used to be called Gifted) and feels it would be something really good for him, particularly as he gets into 4th and 5th grade when he would be able to go over to the middle school to take classes. However, she can't at this time because he really doesn't have the work to show that he should be in it. We are really proud of how well he's done/doing but also know he is capable of doing a lot more.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Battleship Cove

Though I wasn't able to go to Battleship cove with Michael, Tucker and the Cub Scouts, they had a lot of stories to share with me and Michael took a lot of great pictures!

Here Tucker gets up on his cot (not sure if this is the one he eventually slept on, there was a lot of switching around, apparently!

Tucker goofs around with his friends Chase and Mason

Michael poses with the three crazy boys (Tucker's under his right arm if you look closely!)

Of course, Tucker LOVES to check everything out!

Posing in front of the Pearl Harbor commemorative sign

A group shot with Mason's dad and Jared up on top

It seems like only yesterday...

....that Tucker was a HUGE Thomas the Tank Engine Fan! For Christmas when he was 3, Santa brought a train table complete with tracks and trains. Here he shows it to my mom

We went to see Thomas three years in a row. this was in 2005 with the Lego Thomas.

But all good things must come to an end...over the past year or so, Tucker has played with the train table less and less as a train table. More often than not, he used it as a table to play on than anything else. Our friend Mark and Kate had a beautiful son named Luke in August and we gave them the table (along with the tracks and trains)for Luke's future use! Here Mark and Luke pose with Tucker

There was some difficulty fitting it in Mark and Kate's vehicle; Michael and Mark had to take it apart to make it fit!

to be honest, it feels a little bittersweet to have the table gone. Not only has it literally been moved all around the family room but getting rid of it means that Tucker is growing up and I can't deny that any longer. But I know Luke will definitely enjoy it when he's old enough to use it!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Update on My Back...

I thought I'd let everyone know that I am feeling better.

I continued seeing my chiropractor the rest of the week and saw my MD on Thursday (in case he needed to write me a note for Friday, which he did). He also took me off the Percocet and Valium (!!) that the ER had put me on and just has me taking the Ibuprofen 3x/day and Flexiril, also 3x/day. The Flexiril is too strong for me and makes me very foggy so I've been managing with just ice and the Ibuprofen and taking the Flexiril at night. It doesn't have the effect the Percocet had (which was basically drop-to-my-knees or the Valium so I feel more comfortable taking it; I was really scared to take the Valium!) I did sleep until 10 on Friday which I haven't done in years!!! I think my body just needed to "sleep off" all the meds I've had this week!!!

I didn't go to Battleship Cove today with Tucker and Michael. I just felt it was too big of a risk to take. Michael called and they are having fun, running in all the puddles on the battleship!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Trip to the Emergency Room

I have had chronic lower back problems for years and having been seeing a chiropractor for treatment. Monday night I picked up a laundry basket and felt something pull in my lower back and immediately my back went into spasms. I put ice on it, took some Motrin, and tried to relax.

I stayed home on yesterday and went to my chiropractor. By this point it was all I could do to stand without dropping to my knees. I again spent the afternoon lying down or sitting on the dining room chair-the couches are too low and hard to get up from.

By 5:30, as I was making grilled cheese and soup, I honestly couldn't take the pain anymore. I could barely stand and my back was in constant spasm. I called my mom who came to watch Tucker (I didn't want to worry about keeping him entertained for however long we might be there or expose him to anything anyone there might have.)

We got to hospital around 7 and spent a good 45 minutes waiting to be seen. I ended up standing the whole time because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stand up and also the spasms are worse when I go from standing to sitting. when I was getting undressed, Michael noticed some bruising on my back, more mid-back, not really near the area that hurts. So after the PA examined me, I mentioned the bruises to her and she looked at them, then said she wanted to talk with the doctor. She came back in and immediately asked Michael"who did you say you were and what's your relationship" of course, he stuttered a little because of the way she asked. She then asked if I was sure I hadn't fallen. Which of course I knew I hadn't. then they wanted to take me to x-ray. well sitting up was not going to be easy not to mention walking and then getting on the table for the x-ray. so the lady came to bring me over to x-ray and I told I wasn't going to be able to walk so she suggested a wheelchair, "I can't push you on the stretcher because I have a bad back" so off she went. After she left I realized that would only be worse so Michael went out to find her and they came back with someone who was able to push me on the stretcher.

I will spare you the details of the x-ray other than it was extremely painful and then had to move me because I couldn't move at all by that point. I think the x-ray techs felt bad because they had to put me through so much pain and couldn't believe I hadn't been given anything prior to the x-rays. At one point, the PA came in to ask me if I felt "safe" at home, if I had fallen or had been hit. They thought Michael had hurt me! Of course I denied it and explained that I had had a chiropractic treatment that afternoon and he used a clicking tool that may have caused the bruising. (I bruise very easily)

They got the x-rays they needed and I was returned to my cubicle. They did give some percocet and a shot of something to ease the pain and spasms. Thankfully it is not a disc; it is a pulled muscle. I will be out of work for the next 2 days and follow-up with my MD on Friday. I sincerely doubt I will go back to work on Friday. And yes they did give me prescriptions for some meds which I filled this morning (and my chiropractor confirmed that the bruising was from his little contraption which he did not use on me today!)

So that was my little adventure, one I hope not to repeat anytime soon!

Happy Veteran's Day

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as "the Great War." Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Daybook

For today, Tuesday, November 10, 2009 (Better late that never!)

On My cousin's son, Nick, who is in Bridgeport Trauma Center. (I think he's 23). He was working on his girlfriend's car Saturday and the car fell on him and dragged him about 100 feet before they could stop it. He has lost one of his ears in addition to all the scrapes he update on our family friend who fell off the ladder : he's now at Gaylord, which is a sub acute, intensive rehab center in CT. He came out of the coma about 2 weeks ago but still has a lot of residual damage. The part of the brain affected controls memory and impulse control. Please keep both of them in your thoughts and prayers.

Outside My's a really nice day; this week is supposed to be in the 50s, 60s.

What We're Reading...Still working on An Old-Fashioned Girl. With Tucker, we're still reading The Magician's Elephant, in addition to his regular nightly reading. His favorites this week were: Lincoln's Two Boys and Creaky Old House. As part of a Reading Incentive at school, Tucker is reading books to be in the Reading Hall of Fame and has to read different types of books (Caldecott Medals, biography, poetry, non-fiction, and magazine articles). Toward this, he read a biography (Lincoln's Two Boys) and a Caldecot Medal book (Frog Went A Courtin')

What We're Listening to...finished The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners and need to get a new book!

What We're Watching
...the same. It's a three-way toss-up between Joanna, Kellie, and Mya on DWTS. Mya was AMAZING last night! I wouldn't be disappointed if Donny or Aaron are eliminated. Still not sure who I like Survivor. On Amazing Race, I like Meghan and Cheyene (sp?).

I am hoping... that my back gets better. I pulled something in my lower back yesterday and am having a lot of spasms and difficulty walking. I stayed home from work today because I'm having a hard time walking. I went to the chiropractor last night and will be going back this afternoon.

Quotable Quote...(in honor of Veteran's Day tomorrow) The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. ~ Samuel Adams

In The Kitchen...had all kinds of plans for new recipes but may have to change that because I can't stand long. I'll probably rely on the old standbys.

Around the house...laundry needs to be folded and the house could definitely use some attention!

Coming Up This Week...our first week without soccer!!...a home visit Thurs...Tucker's getting a haircut Thurs...Cub Scout Pack Meeting Thurs...Sleep-over at Battleship Cove with the Cub Scouts Sat-Sun...possibly beginning indoor soccer on Sun.

Some Picture Thoughts...I didn't get a chance to post about Tucker's last soccer game so here are some pictures!
Some game shots!

This is Tucker's good friend , Mason

The coach's son, Colin, was the assistant and the kids had a good time playing with him!

This was the third year Tucker and Gino have been on the same team! We're hoping for four-in-a-row!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Shelf Discovery Challenge

This one looked like fun!!

Hosted by Booking Mama, The Shelf Discovery Challenge will run for six months (November 1, 2009 - April 30, 2010). Participants must select and read at least six books mentioned in Lizzie Skurnick's SHELF DISCOVERY: THE TEEN CLASSICS WE NEVER STOPPED READING. After each book is read, the participants can then write a "book report" so they can share their thoughts with others.

After much debate, I have decided on the following books: