Thursday, February 25, 2010

Shoot Me! Week 8 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans

This is me sitting on the couch with my leg up.

I am out of exercise commission. This is hard for me to take. Justin's and my routine has been disrupted by my injury. This all occurred Tuesday morning at Zumba class. I can be found at our local YMCA four to six days a week. I am at Zumba class every Tuesday and Thursday morning and sometimes on Saturdays. About 15-20 minutes into class on Tuesday we were reviewing some moves for the next song and something popped in my left leg and my calf muscle got very tight. I thought it was just a cramp so I went out into the hall to walk it off. But the pain was so bad that I couldn't hardly walk, so Justin and I went home so that I could soak in the tub. I spent the day icing and putting icy hot on my leg and taking Aleve. If I sat down for longer than five minutes, I couldn't hardly stand up again. I had to keep moving all day.

My family has had quite the reaction to the injury. Ashlin came home from preschool on Tuesday and found me on the couch putting ice on my leg. When she saw that I couldn't get off the couch and when I finally did how much pain I was in she came and held my hand. She then told Justin to hold my other hand because Mommy was hurt. Cara's comment after school was, "I guess you won't be going to the Y and exercising for awhile". My husband's comment was probably the best, "If you were a horse, they would just take you out back and shoot you".

Yesterday, I didn't stay exercise and my calf muscle would still hurt if I stepped wrong or if I sat for too long it would tighten up. Today again I didn't go to the Y, but I did do an exercise video at home to see what I could do on that leg. I think I may have pulled or strained a muscle. It will get better and I will back at it exercising again. I used to hate exercise, but now if I miss a day it bugs me. I almost look forward to exercise time now. It helps me start my day and gives me more energy throughout the day.

I am also having problems with my eyes. If you noticed, lately I am wearing my glasses quite a bit. I miss my contacts, but I cannot wear them right now. I am having severe dry eye problems. It is supposed to take about 10 seconds for an eye drop to absorb on the eye and my eyes are at 1-2 seconds. It is no wonder that my eyes hurt and have been red. The eye doctor has put me on steroid drops to see if this helps my eyes. If this doesn't work, I will be getting plugs put in.

All of this will pass in time, but I am not the most patient person. This is testing me.

Take care,


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Girl Scout Thinking Day

Last Saturday Cara participated in a Girl Scout Thinking Day. The afternoon was spent going from table to table completing crafts or activities and learning about various countries at each stop. First each girl decorated a brown lunch sack and then at each stop they received a sticker to put on their sack. After six stickers they had completed each stop.

Cara decorating a cupcake.

Cara working on coloring a caterpillar/inchworm.

For participating in the Thinking Day they also earned a badge for their sashes. Cara enjoyed the crafts, singing Girl Scout songs, playing games and eating cupcakes and fruit.

Take care,


Monday, February 22, 2010

February Make 'n Take

As I was going through some photos and trying to decide what to post about this week, I came across these photos from Make 'n Take Valentine's Day weekend at the museum. The girls love to spend a Saturday afternoon crafting. They go from one table to the next and I help Ashlin when she needs help.

At this table they made rosebuds. They used two Hershey's kisses, a small piece of red or pink tissue paper, a green pipe cleaner and floral tape. The rosebuds looked so real. This older lady told Ashlin to call her "Grandma" and she would help her finish the project.

Cara in line to start making a bag of fragrant rose smelling salts for the bath. She had to measure everything that went in the satchel.

The finished felt jewelry bags. Each of the girls made one. I had to help Ashlin quite a bit with this project. The volunteer in charge of the table helped Erica and Cara was on her own.

This is only a sampling of all the fun crafts they completed. Each month I am amazed at how many projects are created around a single theme. Usually there are about 10 crafts they can complete.

Take care,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shoot Me! Week 7 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans

It's that time of the week again when I participate in Carin's Shoot Me! Challenge. This is the mother's chance to be on the other side of the camera and make a memory for her children. You can view other mothers in photos over at Forever in Blue Jeans.

Can you guess what Justin, Ashlin and I did the other day? I know this is not the best picture, but Ashlin was trying her best.

I was vacuuming in the dining room and Ashlin came up with the idea of making a tent with three dining room table chairs, the banister, and numerous blankets.

You can only imagine how much fun they had! I never knew that it was a requirement to wear a hat when playing tent in the dining room, but according to Ashlin it is. They had so much fun putting books, pillows, blankets, dolls, stuffed animals, etc. in the tent. Justin even included his vacuum. You could hear Justin's giggles coming from the tent every once in a while. I think he may have had the most fun.

Take care,


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Annual Physical

Yes, this morning I had my annual physical. I just dread even thinking about it each year not to mention how I feel when I get to the appointment. But, this year I didn't think it would be so bad, but I did still NOT want to go. I HATE stepping on the scale at the doctor's office. Why does the scale at the doctor's office never read what the scale at home reads? Well, this year I knew I would be okay in that department since I have lost weight. Next step at the appointment was measuring how tall I am. Still the same in that area. Onward to the room for blood pressure and cholesterol screening. My blood pressure is always normal to low and that was the same.

Then on to the part I was dreading, the cholesterol screen. Last year, my cholesterol number was not where it was supposed to be. It was not considered high, just higher than what it was supposed to be. I was optimistic because I have lost weight, I have been exercising, and I have been watching what I eat. After my exam, the doctor comes back into the room to give me my cholesterol results and my overall number was HIGHER than last year. I could not believe it!!! He said that I should not be concerned because I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and that my problem is probably due to heredity. Total bummer!

But back to my weight, the scale is at a standstill and is not moving again. I am down about 15 pounds, but I need something to jump start the weight loss again. Since today is Ash Wednesday and I am Catholic, I have decided to give up sweets - meaning no candy, cookies, bars, pie, cake, etc. Hopefully eating less processed sugar and flour will get me going again. I have been watching my sweet intake, but maybe if I take it totally away the scale will move again. This is a huge sacrifice for me because I LOVE sweets. I will just have to get my sugar fix from eating fruit. I am not going to give up soda. I know soda is a sweet, but my consumption is down to about 1 or 2 cans of Diet Pepsi per week, which I don't think is too bad.

I am also trying to figure out how to change up my exercise routine to shock my body into losing more weight. Not quite sure what to do about this yet. I may have to try some other group classes at the YMCA. Any suggestions?

Take care,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Snack Bucket

Today is only Tuesday and Ashlin has already had quite an exciting week at preschool. Yesterday was the 100th day of preschool. To celebrate the day, the preschool class got to have an ice cream party. Each student had to bring 100 of an item to be used as a topping for the ice cream. Ashlin took mini marshmallows. It took her awhile to count them all out, but she did it.

Then yesterday she brought home "The Snack Bucket"! In preschool the snack bucket is one of the most important things you can be in charge of. The snack bucket ranks right up there with being the "line leader", being the teacher's helper, or even your birthday. Ashlin's turn comes up about once a month. When you have the snack bucket, you even get to pass the snack out all by yourself. This time we filled the snack bucket up with chocolate chip Rice Krispie treats. She was sooo excited that it was her turn. Last month she didn't get a turn because it was a snow day with no school on her turn (talk about disappointed!).

Take care,

Monday, February 15, 2010

Erica's Birthday Party

My post on Saturday was about Erica turning 7 years old. Today we are going to do a recap of her birthday party. Friday night we hosted a sleepover birthday party for Erica. When we asked Erica what she wanted to do for her birthday, she immediately said that she wanted a sleepover. Keith and I were both not too thrilled about hearing her say this because no one gets much sleep and the noise level is so high. But, we agreed that she could invite 5 friends from school. Erica struggled trying to decide which five friends she would invite.

In the end, all five friends came to the party. We served pizza for supper and then had cake later in the evening. At 11:00, Mom put a damper on the party and said that everyone had to lay down. A few girls were asleep in under 5 minutes and the remainder followed close behind.

The party was a success. There was a lot of laughs and no fighting. Keith and I survived another sleepover at the Leader household. Many parents told us that we were very brave for hosting the sleepover, but it wasn't as bad as we thought.

Erica chose a butterfly cake this year.

Blowing out the candles.

Everyone had to have a chance to blow out the candles next.

Erica and her party friends. Of course, Justin wasn't going to miss the photo.

Take care,


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy 7th Birthday Erica!!!

Seven years ago this morning at 10:42, we were blessed with our second daughter, Erica Pauline Leader. She arrived weighing 7 lbs. 14 oz. and had a whole head of dark hair. Erica was born one day before Keith's grandparents 70th wedding anniversary and Erica was named after Keith's Grandmother Pauline. She also arrived one day before a huge snow storm.

When Erica was first born, she was Cara's BEST friend. Now, Cara and Erica don't seem to get along as well. Erica and Ashlin are more Best friends now.

For Erica's 7th birthday, she got to have a sleepover and invite five friends from school. She made some tough decisions and finally narrowed her list down to five friends. We had pizza for supper and the girls played all night. Finally at 11 p.m. Mom said that it was time to lay down. The girls had all had a big day at school with all of the Valentine's Day activities, parties, and candy involved.

This picture was taken last summer at the Knox County Fair. We never miss wristband afternoon at the fair. The kids ride as many rides as they want for about 4 hours. Naturally, a break is needed for nachos and pop. Cara and Erica were Best buds again on this day riding many rides together.

Erica loves going on vacation. This picture is from vacation and was taken at a Children's Museum. Plus having her face painted is an added bonus.

This picture cracks me up. Cara and Erica did not want their picture taken. This was at their Spring Music Concert. Erica was in preschool and Cara was in 1st grade. All of the preschoolers had to wear their bright yellow Sonshine Preschool t-shirts.

Erica is a girly girl on occasion. She loves having her hair done and wearing make-up. Dance recital is the perfect opportunity for her to have her hair and make-up done.

Erica was only 2 years and a few short weeks old when she became a big sister for the first time. Erica was so proud of having Ashlin for a new baby sister.

This was Christmas 2004 when Erica was 22 months old. As you can see by this age her hair had changed from dark to blonde. Cara and Erica were still best friends at this age and had matching Christmas dresses.

Erica is our goofy, fun loving child. She can be shy and quiet until she gets to know you and then becomes very loud. She is always good for a laugh!

Happy 7th Birthday Erica!!!

Take care,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Shoot Me! Week 6 of 52

This week is Week 6 of 52 for the Shoot Me! Challenge sponsored by Carin over at Forever in Blue Jeans. You can check out other mom's photos this week as they step into the picture instead of taking the picture.

Forever In Blue Jeans

This week in honor of Valentine's Day I decided to post a picture of me dancing with my sweetheart. This picture was taken this past fall at Keith' s brother David's wedding. One of the girls took the picture. They thought it was funny that we were dancing. My husband does not like to dance, so, this picture is pretty amazing.

Take care,


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Visiting Grandpa & Grandma Leader

On Sunday we attended 9:30 Mass and then we headed for Bloomfield. Grandpa and Grandma Leader's church was having their annual soup, sandwich and pie luncheon. Who can pass up good home cooking on a Sunday? As always the choice of desserts was endless and we each picked a different one. The sandwich choices were egg salad, ham & cheese and sloppy joes. Then you had a choice of soups: chili, chicken noodle or cream of potato. The food was awesome as always! Then we headed over to Grandpa and Grandma's house to play.

Keith resting until Grandpa & Grandma got home.

Justin playing with the most popular toy at Grandpa & Grandma's house.

Ashlin played with the dolls.

Erica played restaurant.

It snowed the whole time we were there. Just what we needed, more snow. We headed home mid-afternoon to get homework done and be ready for the Super Bowl. It was a fun and quick trip to visit Grandpa and Grandma Leader.

Take care,


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Friends & Neighbors

Last Friday night, we had Mexican night at our house. Nicole (one of our neighbors) and I were talking about how we hadn't seen each other or talked in awhile. This is really bad because there is only one house between us. When the weather is nice, we see each other and talk every day, but once the weather gets cold and snowy we all head inside.

We decided Friday night was a good night to get together. We enjoyed eating tacos, burritos, salsa dip and chips and of course dessert of cupcakes and ho-ho bars. The food was delicious and then the adults all had strawberry margaritas and the kids had Shirley Temples. Our kids enjoyed playing with Tyler. We sat and talked about Scott's recent trip to Las Vegas and how we wished the weather would warm up.

During the warmer months on a Friday night you can find us outside on someone's deck enjoying a few cold beverages while our kids all play. We are hoping that these warmer months arrive sooner than later.

Justin and Tyler playing tools.

Justin got into dress-up like his sisters.

Ashlin and Erica really thought that it was warm when they were dancing.

Take care,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Our little girl is growing up

Ashlin is our little girl and she is growing up way too fast. In a few weeks she will turn 5. Where did the time go with her? I became a stay-at-home mom when Ashlin was born and I am a little sad that next fall she will be going off to Kindergarten.

How fast she is growing up was confirmed this morning at Parent/Teacher Conferences when Mrs. Nedrow told us that Ashlin is definitely ready for Kindergarten.

Last week was Catholic Schools Week and this picture was taken on Thursday morning before school. Thursday's dress was red uniform shirts and khaki pants because a photographer was coming to take a group picture of the entire elementary school. They had the kids all stand in the shape of a cross and the teachers lined the cross wearing khaki pants with white shirts.

After I got Ashlin dressed last Thursday, I told her that she looked like she was heading off to Kindergarten. She was so happy and I know she is ready to go to Kindergarten. But at the same time it made me sad to think that in a few short months, she will be wearing a school uniform every day and going to Kindergarten.

Take care,


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Shoot Me! Week 5 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans

Today is Week 5 of the Shoot Me Challenge. The Shoot Me Challenge is by Carin over at Forever in Blue Jeans. As a Mom it seems that I am the one always taking the pictures instead of being in some myself. Today's photo is me helping Cara with her Science homework and Ashlin just needed to cuddle with Mom for awhile.

Take care,


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Catholic Schools Week

This week is Catholic Schools Week, therefore, the week has a theme and every day brings something exciting for the kids.

Monday was wear a faith based shirt. Tuesday was sweats day. Today was dress-up day. Thursday is red shirt and khaki pants day. Friday is Mission Jeans day. Any day that my kids don't have to wear uniform is a treat, so they are more than willing to participate, especially when it means they don't have to tuck their shirts in.

Also this week, there are fun activities planned each day. Monday they had a morning prayer service and the special guest was the Mayor of Norfolk, who also happens to be an alumni of the school. Tuesday was a guest speaker. The speaker was John Cook (the University of Nebraska Head Volleyball Coach). Plus on Tuesday, classroom lessons were stopped periodically throughout the day to dance. The kids got to dance to YMCA, the Chicken Dance, etc. The girls all thought that was fun. Today was an all-school Mass and a community coffee with a festival of choirs this evening. Thursday, they are going to take an all-school picture. Plus, it is also the 100th day of school which includes all sorts of activities centered around the number 100. Friday the kids get to play board games in the afternoon and have an ice cream party. Sounds like a fun week to me.

Take care,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No More Babies

There will be no more babies at our house. That makes me a little sad to admit, but at the same time glad that we are past that stage with all of the kids. Last Saturday, the crib was taken down and stored away. We thought about selling the crib and matching dresser, but I'm like "what if" by chance there is another baby. This crib has been set up in a nursery for the past 9 1/2 years. Justin hasn't slept in the crib for the last few months, therefore, it was time to take it down. But, it still made me sad to store it away. I guess that stage of my life is over.

Now we move on to "Big Boy" things. Justin HATES being called a "baby" by his sisters. He even dislikes being called a "Little Boy". He is a "Big Boy". Granted he is not potty trained and is only 2 years old, but he thinks that he is a big boy.

Now if we can just get Daddy to let us turn it into a real "Big Boy" room.

Take care,

Monday, February 1, 2010

Valentine Heart Garland

On Saturday afternoon, I completed another Valentine craft project. This Valentine Heart Garland was easy, fast and cheap to complete. I found this idea over at Little Birdie Secrets. These ladies have some really creative ideas. I did make mine a little different than these ladies, but the end result is the same. I purchased my supplies at Hobby Lobby and the supplies cost me less than $5.00. I purchased pieces of felt (4 for $1), white bias tape ($1.49) and a roll of heat & bond ($1.79). I also used some buttons that I had laying around.

Take care,