Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ann!

I admit, I am a little late with this.  Having a baby born at Christmas throws an interesting spin in the season.  But, we try to make her day extra special.

Ann's birthday is December 23rd.  What a day.  But, being a Christmas baby myself, I was prepared for this.  Normally, we celebrate her birthday the weekend before schools get out for winter break, but this year, she wanted to go to an ASU basketball game for her birthday, so we celebrated her birthday the day before on the 22nd.

We had lunch at our house,  and then with my family and some friends, we went to the ASU game.  We were surprised how well attended the game was for ASU being out.

My dad event got to meet Yosef.

Here are some pictures from Ann over the years:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Catch up on Thiry Days of Thanksgiving

Day 11 - I am thankful for my health.  I am very blessed that I rarely get sick. 

Day 12 - I am thankful for my children's health.  We have had no major health issues and that is something to very thankful for.  I know several parents who have children with major medical issues and I can not imagine what they go through.  I try every year to say "Thank you" for this be giving to a local children's hospital.

Day 14 -  I am thankful for my husband's health.  He has his aches and pains, but he is able to work and be active with us.

Day 15 - I am thankful for our health insurance.  I know it is there if we need it.

Day 16 - I am thankful for the opportunity to go to Grad School.  There are times (like right now) that I question if this is the thing for me.  But, I know anything that is worth your time will give you struggles.

Day 17 - I am thankful for my Girl Scout Troop.  To be able to help my girls experience things they may not be able to experience and help them grow is incredible.

Day 18 - I am thankful for the parents of my Girl Scout Troop.  I am blessed that they trust me as their daughter's leader.  But they are active in helping me with the troop and doing whatever is needed to make their daughter's troop the best one they can have.

Day 19 - I am thankful for my fellow grad students.  We have a good time together, build each others confidence and make this experience more pleasant.

Day 20 - I am thankful for the facility in the math department.  They are there to hear my out,  guide me and push me.  I don't think I could do it without their support.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

30 days of Thanksgiving Days 7-10

I am behind again,   but here we go:

Day 7: I am thankful for my husband.  He is there to support me, to tell me I am nuts, and to push me.  I don't know if I could survive one of my classes this semester without him!

Day 8: I am thankful for Mark.  He is there to challenge me, to help me learn to keep my cool and to love me.  I know he'l always be my little boy.

Day 9: I am thankful for Ann.  She is what a free spirit is.  Because of her, I have some of my best friends.

Day 10: I am thankful for Patrick.  He is there to make me always feel special.  His charm brings a smile to my face every day.

How are you thankful for the people in your family?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Catching up with 30 days of Thanksgiving

I need to catch up my my 30 days of Thanksgiving!  I am only 6 days behind, so here it goes:

Day 1: I am thankful for my husband.  I know he will always is there for me, to listen to me and challenge me.

Day 2: I am thankful for my kids.  They bring so much joy to my life and they also challenge me.  I would be a totally different person without them.

Day 3: I am thankful for all the opportunities I have to make the world a better place.  I love volunteering and I wish I had more time for it!

Day 4: I am thankful for my health.  Right now, I have a cold and I am miserable, but I know I will bounce back from it!

Day 5: I am thankful for Boone.  I am so lucky to live in a town where I can trust the people around me and know my kids will grow up with a love for the outdoors.

Day 6: I am thankful for my kids' health.  We have had minor scares around the way, but nothing compared to some of my friends.  I am so lucky that I don't have to worry about what food my kids eat, when they get a cold or if they get a cut.  I know their bodies can handle it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Ben!

Two Saturdays ago, we celebrated my stepson's birthday.  We don't have him on his birthdays for most years, so we do a celebrate on the Saturday closest to his birthday.  

We were suppose to go hiking for his birthday, but due to a miscommunication, we went to Howard's Knob Park for his birthday.  As you can see in the picture below, Howard's Knob is the highest park in the town of Boone.

My kids are rock climbers, so they enjoyed climbing all the rocks that were in the park.  They even scared some of the adults that were with us being on ledges so far up, but I have learned to just not watch them.

Mark really liked playing on the rocks.

It happen to be peak weekend up here, so the colors were unbelievable.

Afterwards, we went out to eat and then have cake at home.  Ben wanted a lemon cake with lemon icing and mint chocolate chip ice cream.  It was sour!   He thought it was good though.

After that, Ben wanted to go to Tweetsie Railroad for their Ghost Train.  It was a cool night, so the kids had to modify their costumes.
He had a good birthday!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Reflections on a Girl Scout Camping Event

Last weekend, my troop participated in the annual Service Unit Camporee.  It's when several Girl Scout Troops get together to camp and there is a common theme.  It's suppose to be a great way for the girls in the different troops to get together and get to know each other.  As a leader of a younger troop, it is a great way to introduce my girls to camping for a weekend and have all the events covered.

For several of my moms, this was their first girl scout camping experience.  I knew some of the leaders are very gossipy (doesn't that make me sound like a contradiction, but it is what it is) and I don't chose to participate in that kind of activity.  In a way, I hate when people gossip in a situation like this, as I am concerned that they are talking about me.  But, I am there for the girls in my troop to make sure they can have the best event possible and I think it is the same for the other moms that came with me.  So, I didn't allow it to bother me too much.

One of my moms was really bothered by it.  She noticed the behavior of the other adults and came to me very concerned about their behavior.  I didn't have any solutions for this, but I reassured her that I did not want to participate in the behavior and I too was bothered by it.  As the conversation went on, she wondered what kind of troop leader they were if this was their behavior was in front of the girls (and she admitted too that this was a sort of contradiction on her behalf as well).  She even spoke to one of the organizers of the event as well.

What was I suppose to do?  The last line of the Girl Scout Law is to be a sister to every Girl Scout.  I want my girls to have the best possible experience in Girl Scouts and I am worried about them seeing the behavior of the other leaders.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My 100th post!

Remember when you were in Kindergarten and there was big celebration on the 100th day of school?  You had to bring in 100 things and you came home with a 100 hat?  You counted all sorts of things and had a blast.  My kids always wanted to bring in 100 grains of rice.  That was not fun to count.

Well, I am here with my 100th post.  It kinda snuck up on me.  So, I think I should celebrate my 101st post.  How do you think I should do it?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Girl Scout Camp for adults!

Has it been seriously 2 weeks since I last posted?  Well, as you can see my life has been busy.  Our new routine has pretty much stuck.

This weekend was different.  I had to go to Girl Scout Camp without my daughter or my troop for training.  This was the first time since I had been married that I was not staying in the same place with either my husband or my kids.  I could not believe that when I realized that.

So, one of my fellow troop leaders and I took off to the training Friday night.  The training did not start until Saturday morning, but since it was a 2.5 hour drive, we figured we would go Friday.  We got to the training site.  We got to meet some other leaders and learn some new songs.

Saturday started training.  The first class was a three hour class in fire building.  This class covered a whole lot more then fire building.  Knife safety and fire starters were also talked about as well.

The next class was outdoor cooking.  My family is into cooking, so I knew how much you could do outside.  The climax of the class was each group being assigned a part of the meal to cook.  Well, my class gets dump cobbler.  It's one of my husbands favorite things to make and I could do it with my eyes closed.  I can send you the recipe if you ask me!  I taught everyone how to make it.  We also did foil packets, soup and french bread.  Pretty much anything you can make in a kitchen, you can make outside.

The last class was the overnight experience.  It was talking about how your girls should plan the camping trip.  The other leaders were very afraid of this.  I am all for it.  I think the more control you give the girls, the more fun they have.  I can't wait to for our first camping trip where they can plan the meals and such.  We have an overnight in November where I will let them plan the meals.  As one of the facilitators said, make sure to pack your own meals.

I had an awesome time and learned a lot by listening to the other leaders.  I am hoping our first trip will be the end of March.  We'll see how it goess.

Friday, August 31, 2012

A new routine

This was my first full week of school.  Things are going good so far.  We have developed a new routine around the house and the kids have taken to it great. 

Mornings are very similar to how they were last year.  The kids are up at 6am (well, this morning 5:30 as someone changed their alarm clock.) They have until 6:30 to eat and then they go upstairs to get dressed and they have to be ready at 6:45.  Then we all go to the bus stop (lately the kids have been ready at 6:40 so they run down to the bus stop.)

Then, Matt and I go to the Student Rec Center.  Him and all the kids have their own student ID's.  5 days a week, Matt swims.  I join him three days a week and lift weights the other two days.  I have seen a big difference with this.  My pants that were tight now fit comfortably.  Matt has lost a good deal of weight for only being two weeks into this routine.  It is amazing how swimming every day has changed him. 

Matt is getting on me for using the kickboard all the time.  He is trying to push me to get rid of it.  So, next week, I will start every other lap without a kickboard.  It is fun to see how he is pushing me just as I am pushing him. 

The kids have handled the afternoon very well.  3 days a week, they get off the bus without me, but we meet at home about the same time as I come from the other end of the neighborhood. 

This weekend is going to be nice as we have NOTHING planned.  We are going to go hiking ( I will post about that) and actually make it to the farmer's market.  We will savor this weekend as soccer games probably start next weekend and scouts will pick up soon. 

Have a good weekend!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The first quiz

Yesterday, I gave my first quiz ever.  I thought it was really easy and my students should have been well prepared for it.

I was wrong.  I was looking forward to making them cookies Sunday night as their reward.  That is not going to happen.

The average was somewhere in the 60's.  I am shocked.  These questions were homework problems and review from Algebra II.

I am breathing.  This is not my fault and I am not going to take it personally.

I was worried as they have through Monday to drop and add classes and I did not want an empty classroom on Tuesday.  So, I talked to one of the profs around here about it and he made me feel better about the situation.

Look of this as their wake-up call.  They need to do their homework.  They need to seek out help if they need it.  They need to pay attention in class.

After that talk, I feel a whole lot better.  I am glad that this happened now and not three weeks from now after their first exam.

I am breathing.  If they drop my class, it is not about me.  They are in college now and able to make their own decisions.

They all need to take this class at some point.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's here......

The day I have been dreading or being excited about has come.  It's my first day as a Graduate Student at ASU.  So far, things went pretty well.  The morning went really smoothly.  The kids got up and we were out the door in time.  I got to work out for a whole 15 minutes.  I got to class 15 minutes early and a lot of my students were waiting.  I think they understood what  I was saying.

So, I am now off to lunch.  My students have an online quiz for homework, so I am waiting on the results.  Then I have class at 1pm.

Have a good day!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Flashback Friday

In celebration of my Girl Scout Troop Bridging to Brownies tomorrow, here is our first dedication ceremony:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mark's birthday party

Poor Mark.  He wanted to go camping for his birthday.  We set a date, mailed his friends and ............ they were all out of town that weekend.  So, we tried again last Saturday night.

We went camping at one of our favorite site, Price Campground, which is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It's great as you can drive in, find yourself a spot, see a ranger and hand them $16 and you are set to camp.  The site consists of a tent pad, a picnic table and a fire ring (what were you expecting for $16?)  There is a bathroom (no shower facilities) within walking distance.

For a group of boys, this is awesome.  They set up tents, went biking and hiking.  My 2 year old niece could not find enough acorns.  We had a fairly large group as my parents came up as well as my brother and sister-in-law and my niece.  Mark invited four of his parents, and most of the dads decided to camp with us as well.

We had hamburgers and corn for dinner.

 For his birthday dessert this time, Mark wanted brownies.  The wind let us do candles for just a few minutes.

Of course though one parent brought the fixings for s'more.

The interesting thing the boys and dads constructed was a hammock village of sorts.  Mark wanted to sleep in a hammock and so did one of his friends.  One of the dads also slept a hammock as well.
That night, there was also a meteor shower.  The kids stayed up until 10pm as they could watch it.  Some of the kids saw things, others did not.

They were all up by 6:30am, ready to go.  It was hard to keep them quiet though as the other campers around us were still asleep.  We started breakfast, cleaned up and were out by 10am.  The boys were very dirty and tired.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Patrick's First Day of Kindergarten

Today was Patrick's first day of Kindergarten.  The school rotates the Kinders in, so he will have tomorrow off and he will meet his full class on Monday.   He was so proud to get off the bus today!

So, I had to ask him how his day went.  He said that his favorite part of the day was going to the playground.  He said he did not nap during nap time, but had to stay quiet.  I asked him about his teacher and all he said was her name was Mrs. Blakely.

Patrick did get in a disagreement with his sister on the walk home from the bus.  He was very convinced that there was only 100 days of school (they must have talked about the 100th day of school party) and Ann said that he was wrong.  It went on and on and on.  Apparently, the idea of a party stuck with him.

I did okay today.  My stepson was home with me (he doesn't start school until much later in August), so I was not by myself to get upset.  We will see how Monday goes when he goes to school and I will be home by myself.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Happy Birthday, Matt!

Happy Birthday to an incredible husband and father!

(BTW - We have done a lot of traveling lately, so that is why I haven't posted much.  I will be catching up over the next few days!)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mark

Nine years ago at 7:17am, my first born decided to make his appearance in the world.  It was a fairly long labor, lasting about 24 hours, but Mark made it safely, with some hiccups along the way.  I am glad he is here.  There are times when we fight like cats and dogs, but I know he loves me as he has to get a hug and kiss every night before he goes to bed.  So, here's to you Mark!

Mark's baptism.  He was one week old exactly.

 Mark at three.

 Mark's first day of First Grade

 Mark's first 5K.  He beat me by 6 minutes.

  1. Mark 6 weeks ago.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Catch UP

Life has been crazy around here, so I have very little time to write.  But here are some big things going on here:

1.  The kids and I went to Pittsburgh last week to visit my family.  I will post about that soon.
2.  I will be teaching my very own class in the fall.  Trying to wrap my brain around that.
3. School starts in 2 weeks and we are trying to squeeze everything in.

What has been going on in your world?

Friday, July 13, 2012

4th of July Boone Style

Boone, being a relatively small town, goes full out for July 4th.    The parade is a fun yearly tradition.We were all in the parade this year!

 Patrick was particularly proud of being in the parade!

After the parade, the town had watermelon and cake.

Afterwards, we had a big "linner" and then went to park for some baseball fun and the fireworks.  At the end of the parade, the moon looked particularly interesting.

I hope everyone had a fun 4th!  What did you do?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mother Daughter Camp

Two weekends ago, Ann and I made what may be our yearly trip down to Ginger Cascades for Mother Daughter Weekend.

We were able to meet up with some friends we met last year at Mother-Daughter, Michelle and Katie.  After staring at each other, the girls started talking.  It was like they saw each other last week.  Michelle was able to bring a mom and daughter from her troop in Winston, so the three girls had a wonderful time together.

We arrived Friday night and it was hot!  It was the hottest weekend of the year where we are, so it took a few minutes to get used to.  As soon as we got settled in our cabins, it was time to go to sleep.  It was hard to sleep as it was so hot.

Saturday morning, there was a flag ceremony and breakfast first thing.  Then it was off to canoe (a true test of having to work together with Ann) and then we were in the pool and then it was lunch.  Boy, was I starving.  We had a little bit of free time, then it was time to Cascade.  There is a natural waterfall that the girls love to slide down on.

After cascading, it was time for a craft and then dinner.  Again, we were starving.  After dinner, they had a treat for us as the staff brought in a Zumba instructor from another camp to lead a Zumba session for us.  Being 95* at this point (around 7:30) and on a black top, it was hot.  It was fun to watch Ann try to dances out being a ballet dancer.  She said she could not move fast enough.  But, she and Katie stuck it out.  They had a very small coffee laced milkshake for a snack and I think the caffeine hit them.  After that, we went to the lake for songs. Katie, Ann and I did not make it to the end, as it was close to 9:30PM at this time.  They were very tired and they needed a shower and some sleep.

look how tired they are!

Sunday morning soon came and it was time to pack up and leave.  After breakfast, we said our goodbyes and our hopes to see each other next year.  Then it was back to the real world for Ann and I and we made it back to Boone just in time for church.   

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It's a blog party

Welcome from!
 She is having a blog party today and I decided to join in the fun!

Welcome to my blog!

I'm Amber, a mom in the mist of a big transition in my life:

I have been a stay at home mom to my four wonderful kids and an all out volunteer for the last 9 years.  But, my youngest is going to kindergarten in the fall, so I am off to my newest adventure:

Grad School at ASU.  So follow my story as we go from a stable house to complete I don't know what.

I would love for you to going in the adventure!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Going Through Discovery Toys

One of the ventures I took about a year and a half ago was into direct sales.  A lot of my friends sell Mary Kay and I was being recruited.  I did not think it would be a good match for me as I don't wear make-up and I am awful about taking the time to take care of myself except for working out (and there are many mornings I am half way through my work out at 6:30 and I wonder why I am doing this to myself).  So, I tried selling Discovery Toys.

I thought it would be easy as the closest consultant to me is in Raleigh and most of my friends were moms.  Was I ever wrong.  Maybe selling is not for me (but I can get excited about selling some Girl Scout cookies as you know).  So, after a little over a year of trying and it not working, I gave it up.

I do have some toys left over from my kit.  If you are interested in any of the following, send me a comment or an email:

Go, Go Caterpillar,613,179.aspx

Retails $18.50, asking $10

Flip Flop Faces:,632,181.aspx

Retails $20, asking $10


Retails $18, asking $10

Busy Bugs:

Retails $20, asking $10

Rainfall Rattle,602,179.aspx

Retail $13.50, asking $7

Caterpillar Shape Sorter:

Retails $20, asking $10

Ring Around:,605,178.aspx

Retails $10, asking $5


Puzzle Island

Retails: $15, asking $8