Sunday, December 19, 2010

Keep the Sabbath Day Holy.

In church today we had a lesson on keeping the sabbath day holy. It was a nice reminder for me. It is one of the ten commandments, and I walked out of the building with a renewed commitment to try and better observe this special day of the week. Here is what I see upon my exit:

How am I doing in my run for mother of the year?

Please note the hobo gloves he wore all day after he stole them from Grandma Pat.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Particular Tree Has a Visitor!

What is this guy doing in my tree? Doesn't he know he is NOT welcome.

Tiny's Two Day Program!

I love this kid. He was putting on quite the show for everyone. I was/am so proud.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Two of These Things Do Not Look Like the Others...

I have a very "particular" Christmas tree. In years past, I would allow the kids to put their homemade ornaments on the back side of the tree, but they are now old enough and have caught on. I came home to this the other day:

Mrs. Kathy, please note my especially particular ornament added to the tree tonight. Can you see it? Christmas trees do not photograph well unless you use a Hubble type lens. In fact, I'm a little embarrassed by the way it looks on camera.

Kinder Christmas Program!

The other night we attended Maverick's Christmas program. What I thought was so funny is that each child was allowed to choose their own part to play in the nativity. My child chose to be the lamb. Is that strange? No king/wise man, no star, no Joseph...lamb. His grandmother and my grandmother will be proud when they hear his choice.

Pictured with a very "wise" friend, Braden

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kindness Makes A Difference!

Fuddle Tattoo (and muscle arm trick)

Ice Skating (one RV student was doing spins-amazing for first try)

On Saturday, Katie and I had the opportunity to attend Kindness Makes A Difference Day. I am the liaison for Rancho Viejo, so I had eight students attend. I asked four different teachers to select two students they felt were in need of kindness. This year was different for me than last year because they weren't "MY" students. It was still a wonderful, humbling experience, but I only cried once instead of eighty times.

K.I.D.S. is a local non-profit that brings kindness to children around the Yuma area. They are also the people behind the cuddle kits received by children in the pediatric unit at the hospital. (live link not working)

My students and probably around 160 others had their faces painted, hair done, ice skated, snacked, chose a gift for a loved one, wrapped the gift, walked through The Christmas Village (each building had an activity) and met with Fuddle (mascot) for a photo. The cherry on top was Santa arriving with hundreds of gifts for these awesome kids.

A couple of my students are saving their wrapped gifts from Santa for Christmas because these will most likely be the only gifts they receive.

I wish I could have taken the entire Rancho Viejo population. They all deserve an experience like I had Saturday. I bet I benefited more than the students.

As I professed last year, "Kindness truly does make a difference."

Katie Kat!

My sister, Katie, was down for the weekend. I am always excited for her visits, but I always feel bad because it seems so busy when she comes. There was never a dull moment, I'm afraid. She can't call four days at my house a "vacation." I bet she drives home with a renewed appreciation for her life...and birth control! Just kidding, Sister.

Electric Light Parade!

Due to the time Bob had put into The Christmas Village, the light parade float took a back burner. Of course, the day before the parade he and Chris got serious about our entry. We did not win this year, but we feel good about our efforts. Time was very limited.

Bob already has a plan for next year. Watch out, Yuma!

Ice Skating In Yuma!

We took the kids to ice skate on media night at The Christmas Village. Mallory loved it. I think she would have gone all night. Maverick enjoyed it and didn't want to leave, but they were shutting the place down.

Special thanks to Carla for helping them get fitted with skates!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lights With The Lemmon Family!

Each year my kids go to look at lights with Tom and Patty and some of the other cousins. This year I even went along to help with crowd control in the bed of Bob's truck. We went after to Jason and Zulema's for some hot cocoa and muffins.

I'm hoping we were just out looking too early in the month because no one really had lights up. Good thing my kids go every year with their Auntie Joan.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Humblings.

I have the honor of working with the migrant students (52 last count) at Rancho Viejo this year. I do a pull out program three times a week with 4th, 5th, and 6th grades.

As I explain to my students, "Migrant means your mom or dad might move with the lettuce." (just in case you didn't know)

We work on reading, writing, and English skills. Today, my lesson was based on the word "tradition." We discussed different traditions families all over the world have. I left off Christmas. We spoke of Easter, birthdays, 4th of July, etc.

When I felt ready, I pulled out the book "The Night Before Christmas" and shared with my small group two specific traditions in my home during the holidays. I always give my kids new pajamas on Christmas Eve, and I always buy a new Christmas book and read it to them before they go to sleep (also on Christmas Eve).

I told my students I was going to share one of my books with them, and I began to read. I would take breaks here and there to go over vocabulary they might be unfamiliar with and allow the students time to share anything personal.

At one point in the story I paused and one of my 4th graders said, "Santa doesn't come to Arizona though."

I went on to learn that he has had visits from Santa in the past, but since he's been in Yuma Santa has not been by.

My heart dropped. I felt terrible guilt for sharing my traditions and excitement about the holiday season while this boy and so many others (especially at Rancho) will go without.

It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I appreciate Rancho for keeping me in check. I love my job. I love the staff I work with. Each one gives more than the average. We have an amazing group of kids on campus, and I walk away feeling good about what I've done each day. What a blessing!

Today was a reality check and a reminder to not only remember the true spirit of Christmas but to pass it on to children.

I would love any experiences you have had giving charity/service during the holidays. I have big plans for our family this year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mother Of The Year!

One day I may write a book, and I already have a title in mind. If I get around to a second book it will be entitled "Mother of the Year" and blow your mind.

I had a mother of the year moment yesterday.

Strider was born with PPHN and tested positive for Strep B, so he was seriously ill. We were flown to Tucson on his second day in this life, and for the next two months our lives were hell (sorry Ms. Martin). During this hellish tour we were also told Strider had a hole in his heart, but it was something we could worry about later. It felt like they were saying, "Let's just see if this kid even lives through this ordeal first."

When he was around 18 months I was notified that the Tucson docs were in Yuma and wanted to see him for his heart. I took him in, and he was out of control. He would not sit still long enough to even listen to the heart much less do any further testing. I was told to come back when he was three.

Last week, I received a letter in the mail notifying me of Strider's heart appointment. The doctor walks in the exam room and listens to his heart. He tells me a murmur is still present and further testing should be done to determine the seriousness, but the test runs between $4-5,000.00. He must have been told I do not have insurance and tells me to give them a call when I get some medical coverage. He proceeds to tell me just as long as it's in the next two to three years, so if surgery is necessary it can be done before the child is seven years of age.

I told him I probably won't have insurance in the future, and here is his response, "Well, I wouldn't go mortgaging the house or anything, just give us a call when you get insurance."

Here is what I wish I could have said:
It's a good thing because I already mortgaged my house in order to pay some other medical bills, sir!!!

Do you realize you are looking at a million dollar baby? Good thing we had insurance back then, but 20% of a million is still a lot!!!

So, you are telling me that that sixteen year old girl in the waiting room with two children will have her son taken care of on the government's dime, but my children who are lucky enough to have two parents who work hard for a living, pay taxes, and try to do the best they can will not be able to provide the medical attention their children deserve?

Of course, it's me we are talking about I said nothing. I just held my son tight and walked out...ashamed, embarrassed, and hopeless.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Moving Day!!!

HSOY's Dog House

Bob At The Hilton

Bob Covered In Dust...the last several months

The Back Of The Gingerbread House

The Treehouse Kids' Club

One Part Of Three For Santa's Workshop....Those are not candles. They get bulbs on top once it's in place.

Bob is moving the village tonight. He and several drivers will be pulling out of Tom Lemmon Drywall around 11:00, and I will be on the curb cheering them on. Here are some of his creations loaded up and ready to go. I am so excited for Yuma! Opening night is December 10th at The Quartermaster Depot. I'm sorry the pictures are so dark. I tried to get there before the sun went down. No such luck.

Two Thanksgivings!

We went to Grandma's for First Thanksgiving. We had to go without Bob. I lost Bob to the Christmas Village he's building for the Visitor's Bureau long ago. Then we headed in town and had Second Thanksgiving at Tom and Patty's. It was a busy day, and I was feeling very under the weather, but we ate well and laughed much.

I sure appreciate all the trouble our hostesses went through this year. Thanksgiving is typically my favorite holiday. We make time for family, we eat, and we give thanks. It doesn't get too much better than that.

My favorite part: Games with my brothers in law.


I won't post too many pictures as examples, but I jumped on to blog Thanksgiving and was loading my photos on the computer. I was feeling bad about how few I had taken (blame it on sickness), and I see there are 66 pictures!!! I'm watching them load, and I'm seeing a lot of child nudity. Lots and lots of butts is all I'm sayin'. Looks like two boys and a cousin got a hold of my camera. Too much funny.

Monday, November 15, 2010


My new prized possession is now crushed. Any guesses?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Obligatory Halloween Post.

We all know how I feel about Halloween. It's just one big stressful, wasteful, idiotful (my own word) day.

As far as Halloweens go this one was a little less painful than usual.

There was one funny thing. Tiny wanted to be a gorilla, and he saw this costume at WalMart and insisted it was a gorilla. What Tiny wants...Tiny gets.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Quick To ASSume!

I don't know that I specifically said it was the boys who spilled the paint. I was quick to assume it was them. A day later I spoke to the boys about the incident, and they informed me it was a sister that caused the paint to spill.

Said sister wanted them to get down from the scaffolding. They would not listen, so she shook it to scare them into coming down (my boys don't scare easily). They didn't come down, but the paint sure did.

Pictured is our carpet forever ruined, the paint can, some handy artwork found in the gameroom, and today's mess in our storage pantry.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"You May Not Want To Rush Home."

I was just about to leave work today, and I'm chatting with some of my favorite ladies when I get a text from Bob that reads, "You may not want to rush home."

I opened the attached image to find this:

Now, I'm posting this for a couple of reasons. The first reason is because these types of "incidents" are what started this blogging craze of mine. If you are new to my blog please read posts past. If you are a veteran of the blog then you might need a good laugh or a reality check, so please feel free to review. The second reason is I want to remember this forever. My husband took care of everything, as always. "No complaints" (past post, as well). Third and most important reason for blogging this is to document my mother's reaction...

Let me begin by saying this is not the same woman who raised me. It just can't be. I call to tell her the boys knocked a gallon of black paint off the top of some scaffolding in our game room, and it's everywhere. Her response? "Well, you're lucky it was just paint. It could have been a lot worse, Babe. It could have been one of the boys."

Who is this lady?! Friends, do you have any idea what would have happened to me if I were to spill a gallon of anything on her carpet when I was a kid...much less black paint? One time I snuck nail polish into the bedroom (huge no no), and my sisters and I were doing our nails. We were taking a rest, and the bottle spilled on the headboard (nickel size). Of course, Mom smelled trouble and came looking for the open bottle of polish. I have never seen her more mad than that moment.

It's official. The evolution has occurred. Pat Downing is a grandma.

I did fail to mention, I tried to get the polish off by scraping it with a metal cuticle tool.

Special thanks to Jesse's Carpet Cleaning for coming to the rescue. Beautiful work with a smile.

Kibbee Is Progressing...At Least I Think She Is...

This is Mallory's third year in gymnastics. I'm so impressed with her and her accomplishments. Some of her moves come naturally, but she has really had to work at others. Some of the kids on the teams seem to do it all with ease and grace while others struggle. Before each practice I tell Mallory, "You don't have to be the best. You just have to work the hardest."

After practice I will ask her how she did, and I will ask if she was the hardest worker. This includes no whining. I hear absolutely zero feedback from any of her coaches, but from what I can tell it seems she is holding her own. Mind you, I am no expert, but I'm so proud of her and her constant efforts.

The teams from Gymnastics World had their first performance this weekend.

Monday, October 25, 2010

This Is A Joke, Right?

My sister, Katie Kat, and her awesome friend, Robert, were perusing a new bookstore today and found this little treasure.

She of course, texted me a photo of it right away.

Unbelievable on so many levels was my response.

1. Who needs Cliffs Notes for a Nicholas Sparks' book?

2. This little, yellow book means professors and teachers out there are requiring a Nicholas Sparks' book to be read for their classes.

3. There is actually a teacher's guide to go along with this gem. Unreal.

4. I am floored that someone has the audacity to shelf this yellow book along side truly great Cliffs such as Jane Eyre, The Good Earth, Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird.

5. I especially love the photo featured of Slick Nicky right on the front cover. That is sure to sell some copies.

Thanks for the smiles Kat and Robert!