The time is 11:45pm.  One tired hubby is doing his best to fall asleep so he can get up the next morning and go to work and provide for his family.  Meanwhile his “endearing wife” keeps him awake chattering away about the fun festivities she has planned for the following week.

Because he is a good man, he kindly listens as I tell him about National Pancake Day and why it is celebrated, when I know that truthfully, he wants nothing more than to roll over and fall asleep.   OK so maybe there is one thing he’d like more than that, but I can guarantee you it had nothing to do with pancake day…

In case any of you, like me, get a little too excited over totally frivolous holidays, I thought I’d share with you the fun plans we have for this week at the circus.  While the circus dad patiently listened to my mid night ramblings, he couldn’t quite match my childlike enthusiasm.   It really is the little things that make me giddy.

Did you know that Tuesday is National Pancake Day?   IHOP is giving away free short stacks of pancakes in honor of the occasion.  Rather than braving the crowds at IHOP though, I plan to serve chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast at home, and crepes for dinner.  I am even considering making this recipe to make the crepes  a bit more dinner like.   I have  a feeling the kids will opt for PB&J crepes instead though.

But the fun doesn’t stop there.  Wednesday, is Read Across America Day and Dr Seuss’s birthday.   We are going to have Green Eggs and Ham for dinner.  We’ll also do a few Dr Seuss coloring pages and I plan to have everyone put their pjs on before dinner and after dinner we’re going to all snuggle up in the living room and read… I have visions of a few read alouds as well as a little SSR with classical music playing, pillows on the flour and perhaps some popcorn to much on…. doesn’t it sound delightful?  Isn’t it obvious to see why this circus mom couldn’t sleep?  I am sure it will go flawlessly without any grumbling or arguing or any other circus like antics to break the magical spell.    ha-ha…. a mom can dream, can’t she?

How about you?  Any fun plans for the week?  Care to join me in celebrating pancake day and or Dr Seuss’ birthday?

Ever since I saw the movie Space Camp, it’s been a desire of mine to see a space shuttle launch, up close and in person.  I’m not a space nut or anything, but I do find the whole concept of space travel fascinating.  And while I don’t have a technical bucket list, so to say, if I did, seeing a launch in person would most definitely be on that list.   Which, is why we switched our vacation plans around last fall and took our family to Florida, to try and see the last launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery and one of the last U.S. space shuttle launches ever.

But, as I wrote about back in November, the Discovery experienced some technical difficulties which postponed the launch until February 24, 2011.  Can you imagine if we had waited it out?  Can you say “Longest Camping Trip Ever!”  or “Mama is going bananas!”??

I am a friend of the KSC on face book and I have been following the updates since last summer.  (OK, so maybe I am a little of a space nut…or just a nut) and as the rescheduled date drew nearer there was a very big part of me that wanted to hop in the van, drive to Florida and watch it. 

Shuttle Discovery on Launch padInstead, the kids and I watched the take off on NASA channel.   It wasn’t the way I had hoped to watch the launch, but it was still a special moment none the less.  As we watched some of the preparations prior to take off, the kids and I were quite excited to see things that we saw on our visit to the Kennedy Space Center.  Because they had scheduled the launch for the week we were there, we got to see the shuttle  out on the launch pad.  It was cool to see it on tv and say, “Hey, we saw that!” 


As the minutes ticked by (we started watching an hour prior to blast off),my thoughts turned to the only other launch I recall watching on TV.  I was in first grade and our class had gone to the media center to watch the launch on a little tv.  It was a big deal b/c a teacher was on the space shuttle that time.  Many of you may remember that tragic January day in 1986 when the Challenger crashed.   As if he was reading my mind, my son asked, “Mom, if the space shuttle crashes, you’ll stop recording it right?”  A few minutes later he commented on how brave these astronauts were to risk flying into space.  He then led us in prayer for the safety of the astronauts about to blast off into space.    It was a sobering and touching moment.

IMG_9027As we got to T-10 minutes, we all got a bit excited.  We were eating popcorn and my youngest had dawned an astronaut costume.  The oldest 2 didn’t have costumes so they improvised with boots, coats, and winter hats…Hey, whatever works, right?

And then, it was time… 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1…BLAST OFF!!!

It was a successful launch, and right now the Discovery is in space on its way to the International Space Station.    There are 2 more launches scheduled for the space program… one in April and one in June.  I would be lying if I didn’t confess that part of me is still scheming to see if there is a way for us to go and watch one.   If not, you better believe we’ll be watching NASA TV those days…perhaps giving further evidence to the fact that I may indeed be a space nut.

Reading has not come without its share of battles and tears for my son.  Last year, he truly HATED to read and it was such a struggle for us.  I at times found myself wondering if I was really meeting his needs by homeschooling.  Part of me kept telling myself, “He is a boy.  He’ll get it, it just takes time.  Don’t worry.”  But another part said, “Am I doing a good enough job?  Should I push more?  Should I put him in school instead?” 

I tried all sorts of ways to make it more fun (like cramming my 9 month preggo body onto the floor of our closet).  I also started using incentives… like “read 10 books and you get a date with mom.”  (Hello frappuchinos!)  This worked some, but honestly, sometimes 10 books seemed like too loft of a goal.

I then stumbled across a carrot which worked wonderfully.


He and his sisters got a piece of gum if he read a book that day.  This worked well b/c the girls became instant encouragers… “Have you read your book yet today?  Let’s get our gum!” 

During the summer, I also had a friend whom I respect greatly, who has worked as a reading resource teacher with the county for years, evaluate him for me.  She graciously did and she instilled me with a great dose of confidence that yes, he was doing ok, and she even gave me some pointers for how to help him.

Fast forward 7 months and he is now a reading machine!

This December he brought home a book from the prize box at his tutorial.  It was called “The Wisdom of Solomon” and it was about a little Amish boy named Solomon.  Never in a million years would I have picked that book out for my son.  But, it was a turning point for him.  He was so excited about it.  Truthfully, it was a bit above his reading level, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.  He was thrilled to have his own book and he would pick it up and read it to himself from time to time.  Sure, he didn’t get every word on the page correct, but he did get the basic gist of each chapter. 

IMG_8808A few weeks ago we had a great room rearrangement at the circus (more to come on that in another post).  The girls now share a room and the boys now share a room.  As he was moving in with his little brother, I told him that perhaps since the boys couldn’t really talk as they fall asleep like he did with the girls, he could instead read.  I told him that one really cool thing that Big Kids do is stay up at night reading quietly in bed.  He thought this sounded so exciting.  He grabbed his Solomon book and eagerly got started. 

IMG_8944One night after they had been sharing a room for about a week, he came out after bed to show us that he had finished the book!   The look of pride and glee on his face is one I will treasure always.  Scott and I made a big deal about it and we took a trip to the library a few days later.  He was literally reading in line at the check out, on the way to the car, in the car on the way home….  I found a basket which I put by his bed for him to keep reading books in.  It’s been fun to see him return to the book shelf and pull out books I used to read to him when he was younger, which he now reads to himself.


He is so, so excited and proud about reading that he happily chooses to read as he falls asleep at night, when he wakes up in the morning, and during quiet time in the afternoon.  I found him reading to his sister on the couch today.  He no longer needs incentives.  He now reads for his own pleasure. 

Words can not even begin to describe the joy this brings to me.  Scott and I spent some time in Barnes and Noble last night during our date night.  We love to look around at books at the bookstore.  This time, we also spent considerable time in the Children’s section looking for books for him.  I am beyond excited about the endless possibilities there are for him now that the doors to reading have been opened.  We just learned about the Magic Tree House series and we bought him book 1 as a surprise.  He is already on chapter 6 tonight! 

I love that my 3 yr old will happily dress herself in the morning, without even needing to be told.  I need, however,  to work with her on not wearing clashing patterns...  checkered meets stripes…meets polka dots…


Oh My!!


Apparently, I also need to have the “less is more” discussion with her on make up application.  IMG_8953

Unless of course she plans to be a clown when she grows up. 

And yes, if you were wondering… I did in fact let her leave the house this way b/c

A.  I thought her sense of style (or lack there of) was precious..

B.  We were running late and I didn’t have time to engage in the ward robe battle.

C.  We were going to a friends house for art class, which even though this meant we’d see 8 other families worth of kids, some how in my head it didn’t count as going out in public

…makes me wonder which one of us will get more mileage out of these pictures in the black mail category… me as I show her future boy friends her cute little fashion sense or her when she asks “What kind of a Mom lets her kid go out of the house dressed like that?”

Without having to pay thousands of dollars to fly to the Caribbean for a few days, we in the Maryland area were blessed with a week of spring weather in February.  And the Circus kids and I soaked up every precious minute of it.  I had my kids outside as much as possible this week.  Biking, Swinging, Picnicking, digging, and wading…





Rumor has it snow could fall here next week.  And while I really want to whine and complain, begging for spring, I must remember that it is February 18th and we went barefoot today.  We were given a gift… a vacation from the norm.  I will say thanks for our reprieve and cling to the hope that soon enough we will have many more weeks like this one.


I truly am in awe of George Lucas.  Seriously, the man was a genius. 

My son is obsessed and I mean OBSESSED with Star Wars these days.  Literally, every question out of his mouth has to do with Star Wars.  When he watches the movies, I swear he is studying them… entranced by every detail. 

You think I am exaggerating, but I promise you, I am not.  The boy eats drinks, sleeps Star Wars.

And, he isn’t alone… there is a whole cult following of Star Wars junkies.

Which is what has me in awe. 

The movie first premiered over 30 years ago. 

30 years ago.

We are living in a whole new world, a world of cell phones, internet, google…

and yet this very same movie is captivating the minds and imaginations of children to a near cult like following…

It’s not just like the movie is followed by guys who watched it as kids and  enjoy reminiscing.  Though it is, it is also followed by children who are watching it with fresh eyes and falling in love for themselves.

Which brings me back to my first point, George Lucas is a genius, and I am in awe.

DSC03961Saturday our local library hosted an event with the 501st Legion’s Old Line Garrison and the Rebel Legion’s Terrapin Base.  They are both groups of Star Wars costumers.    The kids went in their costumes and now my son is eagerly awaiting the day he turns 18, so he too can “dress in Star Wars costume and visit kids at the library”.   (I had to tell him that this would be a great hobby, much like Daddy goes sailing, but that they don’t get paid for this… he will need another job besides dressing up like Luke Skywalker and talking about Star Wars).




The kids had a FABULOUS time posing with the various characters, and my son loved getting to pump them with detailed questions, while I was happy they got yet more mileage out of their Halloween costumes!


Well, it’s over… another great football season has has come to an end.  While the ending wasn’t quite as sweet as I wanted, it was to be honest, a WHOLE lot better than I thought it would be when the season started.  I never dreamed in August that we’d be having a Steelers party in February.

Looking back, it was a great season.  We had a ton of fun cheering for our boys in black and gold.  We had several family gatherings at our place to watch the game.  I went on a date with my dad to Pittsburgh to watch a game at Bettis’ Grille 36.  We even orchestrated our schedule so that we were in hotels for the 2 games that occurred during our family vacation.  It was quite fun parading around our Disney Hotel in our Steelers jerseys.  Scott and I went to an actual home game with my dad in December.  And, we had a fabulous play off run, culminating with a Superbowl Party!

As we left my parents house early Monday afternoon, we had the thought to try and catch the team as they arrived in Pittsburgh and  give them a hearty welcome home.  But, as much as we googled, we couldn’t find any information on their homecoming.   Man, I would have loved to been there to clap and cheer as the Steelers got off the plane.  Let em’ know we love em’ and we’re still proud of em’.  We weren’t quite ready for the season to be over, so we decided to drive a slightly longer way home and take the kids through the city.  For the first time, Scott and I realized that while we have been to the city of Pittsburgh several times, the kids have not.  So we drove them to Heinz Field.   And we walked up to the gates and showed them where our beloved Steelers call home. 


I’ve been to the gates a few times and inside three times.  Still it gives me a little thrill to stand there and gaze out at the stadium. It was a quiet, rainy day in Pittsburgh and as we walked around, I couldn’t help but think how different the atmosphere would have been had things gone differently last night. But, you know what, we walk away from this season with our heads held high.  Our boys played well.  And we can’t wait to cheer them on again next fall! 

We’ve been playing the song on repeat for weeks and now the day is here.  Pittsburgh isn’t going to the Super Bowl anymore they are AT the Superbowl!  And we are ready to cheer them on for their 7th Superbowl victory!


Even our dog Maggie is sporting the black and gold today!





A few weeks ago my FIL approached me about running in a local half marathon with him at the beginning of March.  Because I seem to require a race to motivate me to run, I was eager to accept.  However, it only left me about 7 weeks to prepare and I was not in running shape, having only run a handful of times since my son’s birth last June. 

I found some training guides online (both of which suggested 12 weeks to prepare) and spent a good amount of time face booking and e-mailing with a friend about my strategy.  I’ve pretty much settled into 2 short runs a week and one long run on the weekend, with the distances for both increasing each week.  This week my short runs are 4.5 miles and my long run will be 7 miles.  By the week prior to the race I will be up to 10 miles for my long run and I believe 5 miles for my short runs.  

This is the first time I have trained for a race using a treadmill.  I know it isn’t exactly like running on the road, but I do believe it is pushing me to run faster.  And let me set the record straight, my fast is a mere 5.0mph, which equals a 12 mm. 

Last week however, I sorta fell off the wagon, or the treadmill and managed to skip all 3 runs… I could list for you my many excuses for why, but they all boil down to just that, excuses,  so I will spare you.

Tuesday, it was time to get the sneakers back on and get back on track… after completing my 4.5 mile run, I was left with a few thoughts…

1.  Why have I not run using the TV on the treadmill before?  I can’t believe how much more enjoyable the run was thanks to Gilmore Girls on DVD…especially compared to merely staring at the numbers on my treadmill. 

2.  Skipping a week of running was a big mistake.  My legs were jelly when I finished.  Jelly

3.  Is there any chance I can bring Gilmore Girls with me for the 1/2 marathon? (any volunteers to run ahead of me with a portable dvd player strapped to their back) 

4.  I wish the race was the beg of April instead of the beg of March.

I have 4 weeks left to go… I hope to be better prepared than my last big run and at least finish knowing I did my best.

Some of you may remember my post last December (as in 2009) in which I shared one of Scott’s moments of sheer brilliance at the dinner table. 

Well, I feel the need to tell you that 13 months later and my kids are STILL eating their vegetables to spite their Daddy.  I am sure this says something of their character… for which we must spend some time rectifying, but meanwhile my mean spirited little children are eagerly gobbling up their vegetables. 

I had no idea it would last this long.  I thought for sure after a few weeks it would get old.    My son quickly caught on to the game, even quietly telling Daddy one day he knows it’s just a game he plays to get them to eat their vegetables… and still he’ll play along.  (much like Santa Claus)

The game is def best suited to my competitive second born.  I have seen her literally gagging as she tries to down her vegetables just so she can show daddy “ha, ha I cleaned my plate… your not going to eat my ears!”

There are some vegetables they prefer to others and I am not saying every day they eat their veggies without complaint.  But, over all this little game has been a huge hit at the circus.  My 3 year old will request veggies at lunch so we can e-mail Daddy and let him know we ruined our ears and when I made pizza last time, my 4 year old came in and asked “What vegetable we were having to go with it?”  

Sometimes it gets a bit old having the kids interrupting dinner multiple times to show Daddy their veggies in their mouths  and sometimes Daddy will forget and say, “Good job!” when they show him their cleaned plate… and the kids will laugh and say, “Dad, remember, your supposed to say bad job b/c you don’t want us to ruin our ears!” IMG_7864

  Just last night at dinner our friend said, “How long do you think this is going to last?”  I have no idea… but I do know that it worked… my 6 yr old now genuinely likes broccoli and they are all much more willing to try out new vegetables.