Friday, November 30, 2007

Leader of the Pack

Here’s a story from high school, specifically for some of my readers out there. Don’t worry, this is a very safe story girls…

It was 1998, and the school talent show was looking for participants. Of course, a talent show isn’t really any good unless you have those blatant “no talent” act. My friends and I checked the list.
So far, the list of competitors seemed pretty typical from solo singers to actual bands. You know, real talent. It was time to shake things up a bit.
The year before, my friends and I were a filler act for the talent show, and we crafted a creative kick routine, complete with black lights and white pantyhose. (Ooo, imagine the glow!) But this year, we were ready for the real thing. We signed up as an actual act.
First, we carefully chose our music. Leader of the Pack by The Shangri-Las. It was perfect…recognizable and fun. Then we practiced our lip-synch routine. Yep, that’s right. Our talent was pretending to sing. (And act. We had some stellar overacting in there.)
It was a big hit. We had “The Leader of the Pack” guy ride in on a bicycle and crash when the song goes into the part about the guy on the motorcycle. Meanwhile the “doo wop” girls were doing a swell job in the background. At the end, we even had an angel come and take “The Leader of the Pack” to heaven. (At least, this is how I remember it.)
So, here’s the kicker, though. We won the talent show. Yep, a group of no-talent people won. Of course, the talented people weren’t too pleased, but we sure had fun.

Ahhh, the simple joys of high school.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oh where, oh where has my Amber gone?

My talented writing friend, Amber, is MIA. (Missing in Action). Where could she be? Doesn't she know that if I go too many days without my Amber dose that I start to get cranky?

Do I need to start busting out high school stories to get her to talk? Don't challenge me. I'll do it!

Monday, November 26, 2007

We are weak

Steve and I have NO patience when it comes to gift giving. Before we had kids, we would always break down and have all of our presents open before Christmas Day. Birthdays are pretty bad, too. One of us needs to be strong in these kind of situations, but sadly, we are both weak.

For instance, this past weekend, I got Steve this really great coat for his birthday next month. I decided that he needed to have it to wear, so I gave it to him right away. Then today, I figured he should get an ITouch for his birthday/Christmas big present, so I ordered it and then told him about it. I even told him what I had engraved on the back. For the record, he'll be in London on his birthday, and I wanted him to have it to be able to take on the plane for watching movies.

So today, Steve informs me that my Christmas gift from the kids arrived at his office. He sent it there so I couldn't snoop. And believe me, I would. He brought it home and then with very little prodding, he said that Jack could decide if I could have my present early. Of course, my little man said yes!

Here's my lovely, wonderful present from my adorable husband. It's a Mom necklace with Jack and Anna's birthstones in little baby booties. And on the bottom of the booties, their names and birthdays are engraved. I thought I was going to cry, and I'm not really a sentimental kind of crier! So, we might not have any patience, but I have a fabulous necklace and he'll be enjoying plenty of movies on his way to London. If that's not a Merry Christmas, then I don't know what is!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Round-Up

We had a great Thanksgiving. We celebrated Anna's birthday on Thanksgiving. (She turned 2 on the 21st.) We had a Curious George theme going, complete with streamers and balloons. Both kids were pretty excited about it. Now all Jack can talk about is how it's HIS birthday next. Yesterday, I tried to tell him that his Dad's birthday was coming up in a couple of weeks. He seemed pretty upset by that idea. "But Mommy! You said mine would be next!"

I took the easy way out an ordered a turkey breast from the local grocery store. (For the record, I can do the whole turkey thing. I just wanted to have more party time, and it was SO worth it.) I went and picked it up Thursday morning, and then popped it in the oven. Come lunch time, we just took it out and sliced it up in less than 5 minutes. Wooohooo!

Anna got some great presents. Curious George clothes, pajamas and slippers from Grandma Vicki and then a big pop-up Dora the explorer playhouse from my mom. Grandpa Steve send this really cool wooden sled. Jack got her Curious George shoes. Uncle Scott and Aunt Maggie got her an awesome dancing Mickey Mouse that plays Hot Dog. And then we got her a realistic baby doll that just happened to be named Baby Annabelle. (Actually, I scouted out the dolls and deliberately chose this one because of the name. Sure it cost about twice the other dolls, but how cute is it that they had the same name?!? Yeah, I'm a sucker!) She did love her doll. Though, at one point she kicked it out of its stroller and took its pacifier. (See the photos.)

It really was a great birthday and Thanksgiving. When Anna was opening her presents, she would do this gasp thing. Her mouth would be open in disbelief and her hands were out, shaking in excitement.

After presents, we attempted to bust open a monkey pinata. At the time, it was pretty chaotic. All the kids wanted to whack it repeatedly. Anna and Alex were both crying in between their turns. Meanwhile, we were just trying to keep them from smacking people in the head. In the end, Steve had to cut open the pinata with a knife and we pretended that Jack actually busted it open.

On Black Friday, Vicki and I woke up at 3:30 a.m. to go to the stores for some deals. We were doubting ourselves around 3:35, but five hours later, we were actually pretty pleased with our deals. We only hit three stores during that time...Kohls, Target and Toys R Us, but it was fun. At Kohls (they opened at 4), we got our stuff and then stood in a line that wrapped completely around the store. We waited in line for about 45 minutes, but we found plenty of good deals along the way! It was fun.

So a good weekend at the Tornio household. I'm looking forward to hearing about other Thanksgiving happenings. For your viewing pleasure, I put together a photo slideshow from Anna's birthday. And, I'm also putting on the little video I got of the pinata fun. You might want to watch it a couple of times to truly appreciate it. The crying in the background is coming from Anna and Alex as they're having to wait their turn. And at some point, while Vicki is trying to contain Anna, she knocks her Grandma down!

Link to pinata video...


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pany days

This weekend we went horseback riding. A very nice guy I work with has ponies, and he graciously invited us over. Both of the kids loved riding the horses...and feeding them. Anna even learned why you shouldn't stick your fingers up near a horses mouth. She was fine, but just a lesson learned. These were the best ponies. The one the kids rode used to be at this place where they teach kids how to ride, so it was very nice and gentle. Here are some pictures of our adventure.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh, the things that kids say...

We've started a family blog with Steve's family, so now some of my posts will be on both the family site and then again on the Tornio site. I have this great Jack story that I've been telling to everyone, so I'm finally sharing it on the blog. This summer, we went to this working farm while my mom was visiting. While there, we held baby ducks, milked the cow, rode on the hay wagon, etc. Well, we have this little video of our farm trip, and the kids love to watch it. We were watching it the other day and it was about to come up on the part where Jack is milking the cow. Jack gets all excited and turns to Anna to say, "Anna. You want to watch me pee that cow?"

Ha! It still cracks me up every time I think about it.

I've been starting to think about Christmas shopping. I've actually done some good shopping already. The closer it gets to Christmas, the more I love the idea of shopping online. I do, however, have this weird desire to hit this after-Thanksgiving sale at the outlet mall down in Pleasant Prairie. They have a "Midnight Madness" sale, and even though I can't think of the last time I was up past midnight, I'm oddly drawn to the idea of going out at midnight after Thanksgiving. They have this giveaway where they're giving bags to the first 500 people. Five of the bags will have $500 shopping sprees and one bag will have a $1,000 shopping spree. Those are definitely better odds than the lottery! And they have giveaways for gift cards every hour. I'm a sucker for that kind of giveaway stuff. So I'm not sure that I'll actually do it, but I'm considering it. Are there any other crazy people out there who want to come to the Milwaukee area to shop at midnight? (I know, most people are actually sane enough to lay low on Black Friday.)

Monday, November 05, 2007


My dear friend Amber made the mistake of letting me know she can’t stomach the thought of putting cute little symbols or acronyms in her messages. Something about making her feel like she was 13 or something.
So Am, just for kicks, this posting is for you. ☺
Daylight savings time really threw us for a loop this weekend. And not in a good way. ☹
Steve’s day on Sunday (it was his turn to get up) started around 4 a.m. on the new time. WWTT! (What were they thinking!) FWIW (For what it’s worth), I was up a couple hours later, and it was clear that this was going to be a long morning until nap IYKWIM (If you know what I mean).
We watched some Shrek and did some playing, and then I decided to let the kids help me make bread to go with the beef and vegetable soup we were making for lataer. Yeah, WWIT (What was I thinking)? Actually, we had a lot of fun. They loved pounding the bread, using the rolling pin and dipping their hands in flour. By the end, they were LOL (Laughing out loud).
Later, they decided they needed to get decked out in their rain boots, sunglasses, hats and backpacks. I think they were planning an escape. HHJK (Ha ha, just kidding).
I got some pics (pictures) that I will share later. AW (Anyway), that’s all I’ve got for now ASAIK (As far as I know). Keep your FC (Fingers crossed) for more good stories later on. ☺

SYL (See you later).
TTFN (Ta ta for now).
BBS (Be back soon).
YCBNYH (Ya’ll come back now, ya hear)?

Okay I made that last one up. ☺


Thursday, November 01, 2007


Yep, I'm a slacker on the posts lately. I've been busy with all kinds of stuff. For some reason, I decided to take on the responsibility of organizing a family cookbook, so that took up a lot of time. Then I'm supposed to be giving a workshop to teachers in December in Tulsa about writing. I've been working on my presentation lately for that, too.

And then I've also been reworking a children's story that a publisher has shown some *slight* interest in. I don't want to get too excited, but I am trying to do some work on it now before the person interested leaves or something. :)

Just a quick Jack and Anna story. Almost every morning, Steve and the kids call me on their way to daycare. Steve has a fancy car where the phone hooks up to the stereo system, so when they call me, it's like I'm on this massive speaker phone. Every morning, Jack says..."Hi Mommy. I'm not going to have an accident at school today." And then he says, "You gonna pick me up Mommy?" All the while, Anna's in the background, saying "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" It's like she can't believe it's me.

It's pretty much the favorite part of my day (except for picking them up and they run up to me to give me huge hugs).

One more quick story. We go to this music class as a family on Thursday nights. Anna's favorite thing to do is....not singing, not dancing, not playing instruments. She likes spinning. Yep. Spinning around and around and around until she gets so dizzy that she falls and starts giggling. She's hilarious.

Okay, that's enough for tonight! Later.