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January 31, 2010


So, all these blooms are starting to give me Spring fever, and it's not even February yet. There's something about the freshness about flowers that make me giddy. I'm really looking forward to Spring and all that comes with it. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the flowers that my local Trader Joe's has to offer.

January 30, 2010

toss up...

Okay, so today, was a toss up day for choosing a photo (and the day's not even over yet). So, here's the low-down. This morning I woke up super irritated with my hair, so being the impulsive person that I am, I pulled out my hair sheers and started giving myself "layers." I haven't actually looked to see how it came out, but after I did it, I just started laughing. Maybe I'm going neurotic...who knows. I just thought the experience was pretty funny.

The other pictures I chose comes from a field near my house. With all the rain and the appearance of the sun, all the mustard weed is popping up. And, it is pretty amazing. I'm hoping all the mustard lasts until Spring because that's when I do my kids' "wildflower" pictures. I might have to buy their outfits early this year.

January 29, 2010

dinner guests...

Last night at our den meeting, I had the boys make up place cards for our upcoming blue & gold dinner. They had to make a place card for every member of their family that they were bringing. I instructed them to write (for example), "Connor's mom" or "Connor's sister, Emma," which they all did. Then I noticed Connor making his place card for himself (pictured above). "Connor brings himself." I could not stop laughing when I saw his.

January 28, 2010


After picking up Connor from school today, I saw these amazing mushrooms growing in the tanbark at the park. There was a cluster of about 4 or 5 of them. I actually saw them a couple days ago, but I didn't have my camera with me. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw them still there. They were just too cool to pass up.

January 27, 2010

100 days...

Connor is celebrating his 100th day in school today. And, to help his class celebrate, I made these little mini cupcakes for them. Connor chose the colors, the blue buttercream frosting, and I used purple rolled fondant to cut out the numbers. I'm starting to play more with the rolled fondant, which is very cool stuff. Although, I must admit, I'm tempted to start exploring chocolate treats... I just have to keep asking myself, "Do I really need another 'thing'?" even though it's sooooo much fun!

January 26, 2010

more doodling...

I am having such a great time doodling with the kids. These were some little guys we made today. I grabbed these from my Ed Emberley fingerprint book. I should really take a picture of my fingers right now!!!!

January 25, 2010


Being the rainy day that is was today, my students got stuck in the classroom during their recess. So, to keep them from going completely bonkers, I pulled out some of my drawing books. One of them is by Ed Emberley, who uses a lot of color in the background and detail with a black pen. I absolutely love his style. The other was a book by Jennifer Lipsey and her "I love to..." series. I didn't post that picture, but we worked on drawing insects; caterpillars, spiders, ladybugs, butterflies, and snails. Fun stuff! I told the kids that rainy days are fun because on those days, we draw!

January 24, 2010

felt butterfly...

Emma and I had some mommy-n-me time today while Chris and Connor went dirt bike riding. Still feeling a little under the weather, we thought we'd keep things mellow. We made this little butterfly keychain for Emma's backpack today. Don't go giving me kudos quite yet...it came from a kit. Very easy to do, none-the-less. I might have to try this with my 4th graders next!

January 23, 2010

aunt donna special...

Today we celebrated Jessica's soon-to-arrive baby (my niece or nephew). It was at the shower that I got some inspiration. Pictured is what I like to call, "An Aunt Donna Special." Aunt Donna is the one who always makes some type of personalized thing. Connor and Emma usually get clothes with some adorable bear or train painted on. This was a toy chest that she painted for Jessica's baby. There was also a matching rocking chair...too darn cute.

January 22, 2010

snorting fun...

This photo cracked me up because Emma and I were sitting together laughing hysterically, when suddenly, she snorted. Of course the snorting made us laugh even more. She then thought the snorting was super funny and so she continued snorting a bunch more. One of the things I love to do is just laugh out loud, uncontrollably. I don't think we do this enough. I guess we ought to!

January 21, 2010

red vines...

Red Vines. Yup, these take me back. When I was a "tween," my friends and I used to love going to the movies. I always had to have my Red Vines. I saw these at Target today. HAD to get them. I remember I used to bite off both ends and use it as a straw in soda. Then, I'd eat it and it would be all gummy and chewy. Today I gave one to Connor. It was so funny. He bit off both ends and with one end in his mouth, he bent it so he could blow air through it into his ear.

My favorite thing to do was get a pack, open it, and let it get all stale...then I'd eat it. Nice and chewy. Yup....like I said, these take me back. They are still as yummy as ever. I could easily eat the whole pack (which I didn't).

January 20, 2010

derby car...

Connor's finished Pinewood Derby car. It makes me smile seeing how proud he is of his car. We've nicknamed his car, "The Hearse," for obvious reasons. The windshield wipers have a little Lightning McQueen feel to them. But, it's pretty exciting. Connor did most of it himself. One proud mama here!

January 19, 2010

colors make me happy...

Today, against my better judgment, I went to work. I really should've remained in bed, but I had a big grade level planning meeting scheduled for 1/2 the work day and I didn't want to miss it. When I got to work, I found that I had 9 kids absent. Who knows if it was the weather or the fact that most schools are breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria (apparently, the .02% that the antibacterial gels don't kill got to me). With so few kids and recess being restricted due to the weather, I thought I'd throw in an art lesson. What the heck, right?

A friend of mine told me about these fantastic art books, the I Love to... series. I ordered three of said books. 1) I Love to Draw, which Connor loves and wouldn't put down this evening...even did a few pretty good drawings; 2) I Love to Collage; and 3) I Love to Paint. I brought them to work with me and found a basic watercolor project. Since I had to leave for my meeting, I only had a short time to go over a little bit of technique.

So, I started with my sample (above). A bit choppy, okay. Mind you, the pencil marks are only there to show the kids where to start. I told them to, "sketch lightly," a skills they have yet to master. But none-the-less, they did a fantastic job. Some got the concept...most didn't. Of my favorites (because teachers NEVER have favorites), were two that came from kids that are such different poles, it's crazy. The first came from the straight-A, always listens, never talks, autistic boy, and the other from my troubled, I've been warned to wear my running shoes because he'll dash out the door when confronted, boy (the latter being my most favorite). I think what was so shocking was for this little boys troubled and confused existence, he chose the most soothing colors and worked the technique. It was truly beautiful, and something in today's simple, last-minute, rushed art lesson brought me closer to him.

Little samples of my boys' work (they were just too good to leave out):
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I do have to say, these did not photograph well at all. They are much better in "person."

January 18, 2010

by my side...

The past four days I've been molding my body to the mattress of my bed wondering if I'd ever see daylight again. During this time, I've left my bedroom once, watched my kids as they went off to their first basketball games of the season and then went off to spend the night at my mom's, watched Chris install a security system in the house, and slept a lot during the days, and moaned in irritation at night. During this time, I've pretty much been alone...or at least I thought I was alone. This morning I leaned over the bed to look out the window to find Charlie lying on the floor beside my bed. He's been there the past 4 days...being the loyal dude he is. Amidst all this crap that included fears of H1N1 and dying (because I can't lie...there were a few moments the past 4 days I didn't think I was going to make it), my faithful pooch has been by my side. I've been awakened by a foot being licked as it hung over the bed, the thumping of his huge otter-like tail against the side of the bed, window, or dresser.

For those that know me, know that Charlie is my first dog in many, many years, and I've put blood, sweat, and tears into this dog. He'll be two in a couple of months, and could put more blood, sweat, and tears into him, but he's such a faithful dog...always there by my side.


January 16, 2010


Looking at all the medication and my heading, "committed," one would think I ought to be in the hospital right now. Yeah, this flu, cold, sinus infection, or whatever it is is kicking my ass. I've now been bed-ridden two days barely able to scoot my shivering behind 5 feet to the latrine. So, I actually use the word committed because of this blog. Now, I kept asking myself how can one find happiness in the world of the living dead? Then, it hit me. Once I popped my 2 pills and multiple sinus sprays, I started to feel like I could breathe again. Then, I looked deeper. Reflecting on yesterday's post, I was blessed once again, but this time by family. I guess we tend to think that it's our family's "job" to take care of when we're ill, when really, it's a sacrifice that they make from their daily routines. My hubby drove around town all day toting the kids to their basketball games, back and forth to the grocery store and the pharmacy to get me meds, and the numerous trips back and forth to the bedroom acting as my personal assistant.

And, I can't forget my mom, who already makes sacrifices every day with her compromised health. Yet, her priorities lie with her kids and grand kids. My mom was here yesterday evening to make sure the kids were staying out of my hair (bless her heart), and she came today to take them for the night...giving me some peace and quiet. So, there is a light at the end of this tumultuous hell of a tunnel, and for that I smile.

January 15, 2010

feeling the love...

I was a little worried today after returning home from coffee with a girlfriend of mine, and I started to feel a little under the weather. Well, as the day progressed, I started feeling worse and worse...chills, horrible headache, and a cough that is keeping me from sleeping. I had plans with some friends tonight that I was so looking forward to, but I didn't want to expose anyone to this, so I had to cancel. I sent a text message to the same girlfriend I met up with this morning to let her know.

I then got a sweet text message her asking what I needed from the store since she was going. I declined figuring my hubby would get me what I needed when he picked up the kids (only to find my mom grabbed them instead).

Coming out of a light nap, Emma came in my room super excited saying, "Mavi's mommy brought you a present." She carried an adorable purple deco gift bag filled with cans of chicken noodle soup, tea, and honey...a care package, if you will. I as floored by the generosity, and every day I take on this endeavor of finding happiness, I am blessed with the generosity of friends. So, here I sit, blogging my entry for the day, sipping my wonderful Jasmine tea that is warming not only my body, but my heart as well. Cyndi, thank you so much for being such a caring and wonderful friend, and for being a part of my life. Love you!

January 14, 2010


What a day today was. Everyone, meet Lex! How can you not be happy and filled with joy on a day like this! Lex is the newborn of a friend of mine who was born this morning at 10:36am. I woke up this morning planning on heading to the hospital to see how she was doing. She was admitted yesterday, and with it being her first, we figured it would be a while. So, before I headed over I sent her a text. She didn't reply, so I knew that was good news.

As I had arriving at the hospital, Lex was being delivered. I got to hang out with the new mommy and daddy while Lex was in the nursery. It was nice having a little bit of time with them (actually more time since I spent about 4 hours with them last night in the hospital).

Today definitely took me back to the birth of my babies. Being in the labor and delivery room and seeing all the equipment and what my friend went through brought back some great memories, and the stories started to flow. I've been filled with a happy tingle today and was again amazed at how something so beautiful and innocent is welcomed into this world. Lex is a lucky guy to have some great parents. Yeah....it was a great day!

January 13, 2010

bed head...

While I was out on yard duty at work today, I noticed this kid playing...as happy as a clam. His hair is what caught my eye. His hair was disheveled, but he didn't have a care in the world about it. He was running and kicking a ball with the happiest of intentions. I think I'm going to try that one day...just roll out of bed, throw on whatever, and head out...not worrying about what other's think. Wow, imagine that...a world with no worries. That's my kind of world.

On a separate note, my girlfriend sent me a text message that she's in the hospital getting ready to deliver her first child. I popped in to see her and ended up staying for almost 4 hours. My next door neighbor was in the same hospital, but with much unhappier reasons. I wish them both well, and Cheryl...I can't wait to meet baby Lex!

January 12, 2010

pizza night...

It's Tuesday, and it's pizza night! Well, I should clarify and say that this is the 2nd Tuesday in a row that we've had pizza. We recently learned that the pizza place a couple blocks from our house has 1/2 off pizzas on Tuesday. I know, right? So, with the kids not feeling well, and with the three of us actually having a relaxing day off watching movies all day...what better way than to top off the evening with pizza. It also brings the whole family together (well, okay, not at the actual dinner table, but in the same house) for a family meal. Out of today's illnesses, came some great family time, and the best part...I didn't do a single thing to try to clean my house today! I just spent it with the kids (oh, and I snuck in a little nap, too)! Happy day! Happy day!

January 11, 2010

foil man...

There were so many cool things going on today that ended up balancing the not-so-good things. Well, actually, the only bad thing was my son ended up getting sick. Remarkably, my project must be helping because I wasn't near as stressed out about him not feeling well as I have in the past. Does that make me a bad mom?!?!?!??!

Anyhoo, the day started with my formal observation by my Principal. I did this really cool lesson on making and revising predictions (blah, blah, blah...right?). My kids were super awesome and well behaved, and I went into the lesson feeling totally calm and collected. **Usually, I'm a total stress case before an observation!

Next, came these awesome foil dudes that my students created. I have to start by saying that I had absolutely nothing to do with this project. Our amazing art teacher, Mrs. Pfeiffer, came in to do it with the kids today. I was busy getting some emergency sub plans ready just in case Connor didn't feel better, when I looked over and saw the awesome projects the kids were doing. I was floored at how creative they were and the imagination that came through on these.

Later in the afternoon we had this street beat assembly with two guys who built percussion instruments using recycled products, such as 5 gallon plastic paint buckets, garbage cans, an old tire center, and even some pots, pans, and an old metal dog bowl. these guys carried an awesome beat, but I wish they could've played more. they even did a little beat boxing.

Today was just a great day all around. I'm off to go read to my kids, something we love doing every evening.

January 10, 2010


If you haven't seen this movie...run out and rent it NOW!!! This is easily in the top 5 of my favorite movies of all time, and not just because Orlando Bloom is in it (but, it helps!). Everytime I watch this movie, it makes me cry. Out of sadness and failure, there is hope, love, and life. It's so inspirational, it seriously makes me want to hop in my car and take a road trip across country. Similar to the movie (500 Days of Summer) that I watched a couple days ago, I wanted to get up and dance. (okay, so I did and it felt great). The soundtrack and score are so amazing for this flick. If only iTunes had an award for best customer....

Since the holidays, I've been on a movie kick. I've been getting movies non-stop from Netflix, and I've been making it a point to go out to the movies, too. And I've been known to go out by myself because I love movies THAT much. But, more importantly, it's the music. The music that adds so much. I love the way music makes me feel...it can literally bring a tear to my eye or make me start dancing and singing. I've vowed to make music a daily routine this year, and to see as many movies as I possibly can. Next on my list... another all time fave.. Beautiful Girls!

January 9, 2010

awesome day...

I don't even know where to begin! I had that great of a day. It started with a morning walk with some mommy friends. This walk and the great conversation that came with it led to the photo above. Yup, we bought Emma rollerblades. So, my friend Lori and I were chatting about teaching the girls to rollerblade. The next thing we knew, we made plans to head down the the sporting goods shop and pick up a pair. I ended up getting a pair for Connor, too. I'll get myself a pair...in time! Emma was soo super excited about her new rollerblades. She kept trying to pull away from me so she could go on her own. I was a little nervous, but so proud of her confidence at the same time.

We then headed up to Hollister Hills to watch Connor ride with vroom-vroom (dirt bike) around the track. It's so neat seeing how good he's gotten, and how much he loves to ride.

Later in the day, Connor, Daddy, and Papa got together to start working on his wooden car that he needs to build for the Cub Scout's Pinewood Derby. Connor designed the car, and Papa showed him all the cool tools to cut and sand the wood. It was a great moment watching 3 generations of Ghiones working together. I get to work with Connor next...the painting, then it'll go back to Daddy and Papa to add the wheels.

We're ending the day with the family gathering to watch the season opener of Supercross on t.v. I doubt we'll all make it to the end, but having our family together is making memories.

January 8, 2010

arriba tequila...

A girlfriend of mine surprised me this morning with the most adorable snowman box and inside was the bottle of my dreams! Let me take you back and explain a little more. Another friend of ours makes the best margaritas. She let me on her secret...she adds a splash of almond tequila. The only thing was this...she only uses a particular brand of almond tequila. Go figure they don't sell it in the U.S. The only bottle I was able to find online was $50, and I wasn't about to spend that. I tried amaretto, but trust me, it wasn't the same.

I got wind that a friend was heading to Puerta Vallarta for her sister's wedding. I begged and pleaded for her to bring me back of bottle if she could find it there. When she returned, she gave me the news that she was unable to find it, and had heard that the company who made it had shut down. I was bummed, but obviously appreciative that she searched for it while on her vacation.

Then, she sent me an email yesterday with the best story. Apparently, after she returned from her vacation, her parents stayed a little longer. Knowing that she was on this search for almond tequila, they took it upon themselves to go out tequila tasting and brought back a bottle of almond tequila for me. I can't tell you how grateful I am...I haven't even met her parents, yet they did this kind act. (I'm sure they had a blast searching, too). This was my happy moment today...my moment of gratitude that reminded me of the great people I have in my life, even ones I have yet to meet! Thanks Erica, you're the best!!!

January 7, 2010

laughter with a self portrait...

Oh, what would I do without my mommy friends to make me laugh? No, that is not me in the photo...that is my friend, Amy. We met for coffee today after dropping the kids off at school, which in itself is a right of passage for me. I was telling her about my project this year, and why I wanted to do it. She really caught onto the "laugh out loud" part of my explanation. So, she grabbed my camera, made this hysterically entertaining face and snapped a photo of herself. We could not stop cracking up! Thanks for the laugh, Amy!

January 6, 2010

jan 6th...

Today I helped in my son's 1st grade class helping them cut out snowflakes from a pattern. I've always been a firm believer that if you make the effort to be a part of your child's life, no matter what the activity, they'll succeed. So, I volunteered to help in his class every other Wednesday. At first, I thought, okay, this is great...then it started to feel a bit like a chore. I mean, really, I could be doing a thousand other things during this time. After taking a break for the holidays, my son was really excited to go back to school. His enthusiasm was inspiration enough to keep me excited about seeing him "in action" at school. There's something very special about when they're young and so innocent...especially when they still love school. It excites me when I walk into his classroom and his face lights up knowing I'm there. I love being there for him and knowing he knows that I care.

January 5, 2010

desert...not deSSert...

I found this grapefruit at Trader Joe's over the weekend, and it took me back to when I was in college and I went on a camping trip down to Anza Borrego. It was actually a natural science class where we camped for 5 days, did some hiking, a lot of 4-wheeling, and oh, yeah...a little science investigating and observations! I took a couple more trips down there...there's just something about the warm desert sun and the blooming Ocotillo plants, Joshua trees, and the Cholla cacti covering the landscape. One of the things that grows remarkably well down in the Anza-Borrego desert is grapefruit. It's really neat to see all the date palms and citrus orchards growing out in the middle of nowhere...literally. Since the area isn't the most popular tourist attraction, as you drive through the town of Borrego Springs, you'll see roadside stands selling huge bags of pink grapefruit for $2 a bag. Most of the stands aren't manned, so you just drop your two bucks in a metal box and grab a bag of fruit. And it was the sweetest grapefruit I'd ever had...no sugar needed.

I haven't been back to Anza-Borrego in almost 10 years, but I'm looking forward to heading back down there. Maybe this year, perhaps?

So, I enjoyed my grapefruit today and the sweet memory of the desert. I'm so glad I bought two, so I get to enjoy this memory again and maybe make a new one!

January 4, 2010


I loved this image that I took today...not that it is compositionally the best or the exposure is the greatest (honestly, it's not that great at all). To me it was more the moment, watching my daughter float without a care in the world. I'm sure in her little mind, she was floating in the clouds. I doubt she was thinking about the failing economy or what she'll wear to school tomorrow. As I watched, I had a moment of calm come over me...a moment of peace, if you will. There's something about being a kid and living in the moment. If I had had my swim suit, I probably would have jumped in the water beside her, and floated away. I'll have to remember to pack my suit in the future.

January 3, 2010

flower patch...

As part of my "be creative" goal, I decided to paint a flower garden over my daughter's head board. It was okay for a first try, and I plan to do more around her room as the days, weeks, or months go by. There's just something refreshing about bright colors and flowers. Maybe I'm looking forward to Spring more than I realize. Although, I have to say I'm loving this warm weather we're having (in the low 60's this week). Regardless, I'm now inspired to do more. I'm debating about taking the plunge and painting a giant tree in her room to bring more of the outdoors in.

January 2, 2010


Who ever thought of chopping up a garbage-eating, mud covered animal into thin slices and then frying it up until it's crispy heaven? That's about as brilliant an invention as the light bulb. I say this as I sit in a dark room with only my computer and a plate of bacon...crunching away and licking the greasy tid-bits from my fingertips.

Yes, as unhealthy as it is, bacon is probably the single best thing that ever existed. Seriously, it's a simple pleasure, yet so versatile. I have to admit, I did something very indulging this morning, and came upon a new delicacy...simply by accident. While I was making breakfast this morning, I stumbled upon a bar of dark chocolate on my "goodie" tray in my kitchen. I couldn't help but sneak a small piece. Being completely impatient, I also snuck a piece of bacon as I cooked the batch. With dark chocolate residue still in my mouth, I took a bite of bacon. I can barely describe how yummy it was... the salty/sweet, the creamy/crunchy...mmmmm.

January 1, 2010

mr. stick

This is one of my stick bugs that I've been raising for a couple of months now. Yes, it's a bug, and yes, bugs are kinda creepy. But, there's something about the simplicity of their lifestyle that fascinates me. All they need to survive is a terrarium, rose leaves and a spritz of water. Seriously! They don't need fancy leaves or flavored water. Just something basic to fulfill a need to survive. Makes me think about all the excess we have.



I'm attempting to take a photo every day this year. We'll see if that actually happens. I'd really like to only use my Canon point-and-shoot to make it easier, but I'm sure I'll throw in a Nikon shot here and there. It's going to be a creative year for me...or at least I'm going to try to make it one. I'm hoping to learn some new things this year, or just continue other things I've done in the past. Basically, I need more "me" time...time to focus on my inner self and not so much of the stresses of daily life that consumes us. I'm going back to the basics and the simple pleasures in life.

This photo captured me, not because of what it was, but the memory it brings. Last month a group of us got together to make won-tons. It's a tradition of my friends that I was recently included in. It was a great day that brought together some great people, great conversation, and great food.