Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Picture redemption

Does anyone remember our soccer team photo incident? Look here or here if you don't remember. Or I can wrap it up in a few words for ya.

They were terrible.

I'm still a little miffed that I actually spent money on those stupid pictures. I think I might have a better camera than the photographer. I should start charging. :)

We missed Nolan's last t-ball game because it was the same day as Campbell's 2nd birthday party. I hated to skip it but wasn't sad about missing out on the heat. Since we missed the game, we just now got around to getting our trophy and team pictures. I was scared to look after the soccer pictures. But my cutie patootie was back in full force.

Now it's time for soccer again. Since Nolan finished his last game scoring three goals, I'm actually looking forward to what this season has to offer. I'll make sure that I'm not a deadbeat mom again and miss his first goal.

I just wish it was November now so that practice wouldn't have to start during the 107 degree heat.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Zoodles of fun


I was recently contacted by Zoodles to review their educational website and tell them what I think. Hmmm, an educator mom who wants engaging EDUCATIONAL activities for her children during the summer? Sign me up!

Zoodles basically scours the web to find the best educational content out there (games, puzzles, and videos) and puts it all in one place, presenting it to kids in a safe, simple web browser that adapts to your child's age and skill level.  What this means is that a 3 year old would get games teaching shapes and numbers, letter recognition, attention and listening, and much more.  A 5 year old would get games teaching early reading, addition, creativity and exploration, etc.  All this learning is wrapped in engaging play that features some of their favorite characters.

We'd been to Starfall, PBS kids, and Nick Jr. websites before, but once you were on there, you were stuck. It was really hard for my 4 year old to navigate from one website to another. The Zoodles browser has all of those same great websites and many more that I've never even heard of! I love how you can set up profiles for each of your children based on their age and ability level.

The Zoodles browser is always free for kids to play, but for parents who want more control over their child's experience, Zoodles also offers a paid Premium Membership.  With premium membership, parents can set play time limits, block ads, promote certain subjects to their child, and block unwanted sites and shows.  You can also get great information about what your child has been playing – from the skills he or she has been building, to the sites he’s been visiting, to how much time he or she’s spent playing specific games.

Every week I get a recap of what Nolan worked on. Last week, for example, his main focus was reading. With the premium membership, you can set up which subjects you want your child to focus on or perhaps they just need more practice in a certain subject area. And I love that you can even put a time limit on it.

I really love how easy it is for Nolan to use and he can do all subjects in ONE place. It's so exciting for me that he's learning! Rule 101 in education, you get a child learning when they're reading something THEY are interested in. Where was this when I was a kid?

Everyone that signs up for Zoodles gets a 14 day trial Premium Membership.

But I get to have my first giveaway!!!  

Zoodles is offering one of my readers a FREE 3 month Premium Membership. 

How to enter:

1. "Follow" me through Google under my Follwers heading on my sidebar and leave me a comment letting me know.

2. "Like" me on Facebook at TexasMacks, and leave me a separate comment letting me know.

That's it! It's my first giveaway, so please humor me and make me feel like people actually read this thing by entering.

Make sure to leave an email address where I can reach you in case you win!
I will pick a random winner using Random.org and the winner will be notified via email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before I pick another winner.  

The giveaway will end Sunday Sept. 5th at 9:00 p.m.  CST

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wishing for fishin'

My poor son has been asking me to go fishing since Memorial Day weekend. Tonya, my sister, lives on over 25 acres just south of town and I told him that we'd go soon. Well, then life happened. Swim lessons, t-ball, 100 degree heat,  and most importantly Tonya was diagnosed with breast cancer. We packed up the family and I cooked dinner for her and her family after her first round of chemo. And so the boys finally got to go fishing.


I think Nolan thought it was going to be more exciting. He doesn't know yet that fishing is a whole lot of waiting. Just as they were about to give in, Justin caught the biggest fish he's ever caught. His Daddy Mack would have been so proud. Nolan kept talking about how dirty that fish was. There was lightning all around so they threw the fish back and headed back. 

Of course the camera battery died and so I barely have any shots of them but my niece Madison did catch this one. He's like a little kid, so proud of his catch!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Duck Duck Goose

It was one of those weeks. You know when you put your head down on your pillow and you think about your day and feel like all you did was yell at your children. Please tell me I'm not alone. I felt awful. It all boiled down to one thing. Weather. This insanely ridiculously hot weather. It's too hot to even go check the mail. The boys were running crazy in the house driving me nuts and just had huge case of cabin fever.

I knew that I had to get them out but didn't know how I was going to make it without melting. So after I cleaned up dinner, we went to get some ice cream at Sweet Sammie's. Wow, you pick out your own cookies and ice cream and get to make your own ice cream sandwich. Although, Nolan doesn't like ice cream (I know, it almost makes me think he's not mine).  It definitely helped cool me down.

Even at 7:30 at night, our car said the temperature outside was 107. I know it wasn't that hot but the heat index definitely made it feel like that. We couldn't handle another day of the heat keeping us from having some fun, so we headed to the park at 8:00 at night to feed the ducks at Trinity Park. I would have gone at midnight but figured that probably wasn't conducive to duck feeding.


Those boys were launching that bread like they were Nolan Ryan on the mound.

Then we heard some loud quacking and we caught a glimpse of a herd of geese in the distance.


In the cutest fashion, we observe a little duck parade doing their march and waddling just as fast as their little webbed feet would let them.


I'll admit that since some of them were the size of Campbell, I was a little very nervous about what they would do to my little Campbelloni holding a loaf of bread. So we played it safe and stayed up high.

My boys needed this. I needed this.  It was the perfect thing for us to do to get out of the house, get outside, and make me feel like a good mom again. For the first time that week, my head hit the pillow without guilt.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Operation Organization 2010

I don't know what it is about to-do lists. It's another one of those love/hate relationships I have. I hate making them but I love crossing things off and accomplishing my to-do lists. This summer one of my things on my list was to get a hold of my laundry room. It was bad people, real bad. Don't believe me?

I told you. And that horrible shelf was something we put in when we moved in. It had ZERO storage.

For years I never really saw the point of decorating it because…well, because it's a laundry room for goodness sakes. But it's the first room we come in from the garage and the dryer was a huge dumping ground for anything I was carrying when I unloaded the car. The poor mirror hook fell off the wall because of the amount of junk we had hanging on it.

So after a little bit of paint, storage solutions, and sweat, we turned our nasty laundry room into this!

I love our mail station. I just dump our mail in there and then go back when I actually have a chance to go through it all.

We found this cabinet on clearance at Home Depot for $75. I bought the baskets at Hobby Lobby and they are the perfect place to store scarves, gloves and other items that we couldn't find storage for. Justin added the shelf for the laundry basket and it's so nice to keep it there instead of on top of our mini fridge that holds drinks and the overflow from our kitchen fridge.


The hooks are so great. They really help keep things organized.

What I love the most I think is the lighting. We decided to try the track lighting and I'm convinced that lighting really does make a room.

I wish that I would have done this years ago. It's so funny how I didn't think laundry rooms mattered. But I think because it is the first and last room we use when we leave, it really did make a mental difference. In my mind, it was a reflection of the chaos in our house.

Next, if I ever get around to it…we changed our dining room into an office/scrap room. I'm in love. Best decision ever. Justin's working on paintings of the boys to put in there so we're not quite done. I'll have to pester him and tell him everyone is dying to see it. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Boys and their toys

There is something about having kids that makes you take a new perspective on things. Trees are miraculous in their eyes, motorcycles are amazing and don't even get them started on firetrucks. I mean really, we talk about them all.the.time. since our visit to the fire station. I don't think I've ever seen the inside of as many firetrucks in my life as this summer. This time made it #3 for us, but it has yet to get old for the boys.

The boys went to a birthday party for one of our close family friends. We knew that a firetruck would make an appearance at the birthday party, and it's all Campbell talked about for days. He greeted me with "I see fireworks (aka firetrucks) mommy?" every morning.

So finally the big day arrived and it was all they could have imagined. By the way, what a fabulous idea. The firetruck stopped by for about 20-30 minutes FREE and the kids climbed all over it and they even gave goodies to the kids. Yet another reason why I love firefighters.

It was blazing hot (no pun intended) but they didn't even care it was over 105 degrees outside.


It took a good 5 minutes convincing Campbell to give another kid a shot at "driving" the firetruck. He was not happy about giving up that driver's seat.


Finally, the heat was a little too much and we thought we might have to use the hose to hose all of us off.

We all went inside and cooled off. It was definitely a party that the boys won't soon forget.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Day

It's official, summer is over. The first day back was Monday. I've been working in my classroom quite a bit moving and getting it set up, but my first official day was Monday. Since Nolan was almost 4 months old, he's been in the same school as well as Campbell. I think I was more nervous about their move than me moving to another school.

But the first day couldn't not have gone any better. Nolan was so excited that he couldn't fall asleep the night before until after 10:00 (he is SO my child) and he tripped in the hall on the way to his room because he was so excited and walking so fast. In fact, they had Open House and he was upset that he had to wait the whole weekend before he went back.

The backpack was a pretty big deal in this house. Nolan wore it proudly and Campbell wanted one desperately. So he has his own little mini backpack on order. He wore Nolan's at first but it was literally the size of him so we'll have to adapt.


I made sure that we got up in plenty of time just to take a couple of pictures. Campbell's newest smile consists of closing his eyes and saying cheese. Gotta love those awkward smiling years already starting.


The boys are doing very well with their new teachers and bonding quickly. Nolan barely missed the Kindergarten cutoff being a September baby. In one way, it's hard to believe that he's going to start Kinder next year and be at school with me. On the other hand, I can't believe I'm still paying for daycare for him. I'm thinking, "Are you ever going to start school, kid?" I know that extra year will really help though and those school years will fly by in a second. So I'll just cherish this last year without him in school. 

I'm so excited about this upcoming school year. So far, there haven't been any tears during drop off which always helps make my day easier. Now if I can only get Nolan to take a nap at school.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Ok, I'm going to act like this didn't happen back in June and that I'm just now getting to it. Don't judge. Our church had their VBS back in June, as in the first week of summer. I said, don't judge!

The boys loved it, especially Nolan. The theme was Journey to the Congo and he had a passport that he had stamped everyday, and Justin and I even helped with the arts and crafts! I never realized that 20 minutes either goes by in two seconds or takes months depending on what age group you're working with! Yet another reason I teach 5th grade.

To finish up the week, we had a Spring Fling that Saturday. There was a 5K that I missed due to lack of sleep. I had been studying all week to pass my teacher certification, doing VBS, and of course being a mom. So once again, don't judge. I made it to watch the firemen come and show the boys their truck. They loved every minute of it except the siren. You know my children and loud noises. They can't handle it except they sure seem to do okay with their own noise level.

And it wouldn't be our fashion to see a firetruck without telling them thanks without cookies. This was all of Nolan's doing. I love that he's thoughtful without coaxing. It makes me so proud of his character.


Don't you know that Justin was acting just like the boys. It's fun to see my 36 year old husband still likes to dress up.


They had a table where kids could plant their own flowers and learn about recycling and composting. By the way, we're officially granola. We're composting at home! Although ever since Justin told me he found maggots in the composting bin (all part of the decomposition process), I've officially designated that as a "Justin" duty.

It was a great week to kick off our summer and I'm so glad that we have such a loving church home.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Goodbye Daggett

Say it isn't so…summer is wrapping up. I mean that only in school terms, not in terms of weather. Summer in Texas doesn't stop until October.

I have some big news. I'm changing schools! It's bittersweet. I love Daggett Elementary. It's was my first school where I taught. It held my hand when I thought I made the worst mistake of my life by making a career change from the corporate world of merchandising. It put teachers in my life that I cherish and will always consider friends. And the kids. I only pray that the kids at my school will be as sweet and smart as my kids at Daggett. Well, minus a couple ;).

I'm so thankful for my time there and what it's done for me to help me grow as a person and a teacher. I have so many memories. In the three years that I was there, I had a baby, I lost a very dear co-worker of mine, and I celebrated Daggett's centennial. Did you know that Daggett is the second oldest school in AMERICA (that's been open consecutively)?!? Here we are, can you see me smiling?

As I was packing up my classroom, I had one of those I hope this is a good decision moments. I don't know if it is, but I just have to believe that it is.

We had a little summer get together and a little goodbye party. I love these girls. They make me laugh, calm me down when a kid drives me crazy, and they give me wonderful ideas. They are my family during the day.

Here is my 5th grade team. We had everything set this year to be a team and each teach different subjects. Then I go and mess everything up by leaving. I will miss these girls so much. You can count on them for ANYTHING.

And it wouldn't be a party without a dessert. We had some bite size sopapilla cakes that were DE-LISH!

As much as it hurts to leave, the excitement about my new school is hard to contain. It's half the driving distance from my house, they offer child care for their teachers, and it's an exemplary school! Triple bonus is that eventually the boys get to go to school with me! I feel like this was really a door opening that I couldn't close. I only pray that my experience at my new school will be as rewarding and dear to my heart.

Thank you Daggett for all the wonderful memories!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Flags, More Fun

I'm a firm believer that laughter is the best medicine. It absolutely warms the soul and heals the body. We headed for Six Flags on the hottest day of the year because that's how we do things around here in Texas. My assignment (self-assigned) was to make sure that everyone was laughing and having fun even if our clothes were wet from sweat. It was Tonya's idea to just go have fun before the start of her chemo this week. She had her first chemo treatment this week, by the way, and all went well!

Sidenote: Tonya had an MRI done last week to make sure the cancer had not spread to her brain and it came back clear! Praise God for this first bit of good news since this journey started!

Tonya took Nolan and went to the small rides. Madison took off with a friend, and so I hung out with my two youngest nieces and got to ride real rides! There is something so therapeutic about screaming and you better believe that all three of us girls screamed our heads off.

I was so exhausted that night and could hardly make it to church the next morning but it was worth all the sweat and all the exhaustion. Because I saw for one moment that we're not going to let cancer stop us from being a family and doing fun things.


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