Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gifts in the Mail


So I took part in an ornament exchange hosted by Abbily Ever After. A few days ago, my ornament arrived and it is PERFECT! Truly! There were actually two ornaments - the main one was a GORGEOUS blue butterfly. The cool thing about it is that my Mom LOVED butterflies. She passed away about 3 1/2 years ago, but every time I see butterfly stuff I think of her. So this is a perfect ornament on my tree to remind me of my Mom. The second ornament looks like a piece of that ribbon candy, that I happen to love. So cute! The ornaments came from Ice Cream Mama, who, although I don't know at all, managed to pick something perfect. Thanks!


Friday, December 14, 2007

Who Knew?

Who knew that a trash can is useful as both a food source and a toybox? Big man, that's who. My little guy loves going through the trash, finding "yummy" treats to eat, and lots of fun stuff to play with. Ewww. If you come to visit you may notice all our trash cans up on top of tables or other surfaces. Now you know why.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Betty Crocker I am Not!

I am one of those women. I admit it. I am one of those women who buy cookies and pass them off as homemade at a bake sale. I didn't mean to be one of those women, but here I am.

Our daycare has several bake sales per year. Being in a federal building, they have lots of hungry workers and we always make good money. I always participate. I think there are three kinds of contributions to bake sales -- truly, from scratch, homemade goods; boxed mixes that you bake, and store-bought stuff. I have always been in that second category. I buy the mixes from the store - add eggs, oil, water, whatever.and I always throw in something new - different chips, candy bars crushed up, nuts, etc. Then I figure it was kind of homemade.

This year my friend's daughter was selling cookie/brownie mixes as a fundraiser. I figured it was perfect. I could help her out and use these for our bake sales. So our bake sale is this week. Sunday night I go to the freezer to get the mixes out and am surprised by what I find. First, the chocolate chip cookies are already preformed - ready to just pop in the freezer. I felt a little bad about not adding anything, but hey - whatever. So I started those cooking.

Then I looked at the brownies. They were in a aluminum pan and the directions say "thaw and serve". What? Thaw and serve? Oops..these are cooked brownies that were just frozen. I turned to my DH and explained what it said. He starts laughing. I say, "if you think I am above cutting these up and packaging them for the bake sale you are so wrong". He keeps laughing. So I did. I let them thaw, cut them up, and packaged them for my bake sale.

Do I feel guilty? nope. They taste awesome! And this afternoon some federal worker will be happily enjoying it. Besides..I THAWED them all by myself.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My own litle sugar plum

So about a week ago I took the girls to the cutest version of the Nutcracker. It was only 50 minutes long, and in a very informal setting. It was perfect. It was actually at a storefront in the mall, only sat about 30 people in folding chairs, and encouraged the kids to clap for the dancers and boo and hiss at the mean Mouse king.

In preparation, we read the Nutcracker story and I explained repeatedly that there would be singing or talking - only dancing. They were so excited to go. We get there and sit in the second (of 2) row. K sits on my left, B on my lap, and Nana on my right. They were excited and a bit nervous about what was going to happen. The show starts and they are captivated. Then B starts to speak.

I've talked about how B is a very verbal child. Now, at 3 1/5, it is like my life is retold in running commentary. B started talking about the show - "look mommy, they are dancing and not talking, just like you said. You said there would be no talking and there is not, just dancing. Look at that pretty lady dancing, she is dancing and holding the nutcracker. She is very pretty and she is good dancer..." on and on it goes. She wasn't shouting but she wasn't exactly whispering either. Luckily the people around us found it cute. The best part was when the nutcracker was doing a solo. B says "mommy, why is that boy dancing?" I said he was telling his part of the story. She says, in a not so quiet voice "well, I just think he looks silly. Ballet is for girls not boys." At this point the room cracks up and I am certain the poor 17 year old who is playing the nutcracker can totally hear her. Hopefully he took it in the right spirit!

The favorite part for the girls were the costumes on the sugar plum fairy and other sweets. Afterwards they got to go take their pictures with the cast. Of course, they would go nowhere near the mean Mouse King. They loved it and immediately started asking when they could go again. B constantly talks about how she loves ballet "but not that mean mouse king".

Monday, December 3, 2007

Can't judge a book...

So I've had this personal little boycott of JC Penney going on for about the last 5 years. Why? I HATE their commercials. Over the last 5 years the majority of their commercials have revolved around the woman who needs to shop and the incompetent man at home who either can't take care of the house or can't take care of the kids without the woman. Really annoying, so I decided I just wouldn't shop there.

Fast forward to our house addition and ALL THOSE WINDOWS! I needed to get drapes and was having a very hard time finding ones that weren't $200/panel. I found these that I loved at JC Penney.com. I had a coupon, so I decided to end my personal boycott. Since then I couldn't be more pleased with my experiences. Although my drapes were on back order, they were very good at keeping me updated about when they would be coming. They arrived and were gorgeous. Then on black Friday I went there to buy my curtain rods for the same drapes. They had great ones on sale, I opened a credit card and got another 10% off, and the lovely saleswoman offered to group all my rods into bunches of $75 so I could use the stores $15 off $75 multiple times! I ended up getting them all for about 1/2 price! I was so psyched. About a week later I get a sweet note from the saleswoman thanking me for working with her - despite the fact that she knew I lived 400 miles away and wouldn't be back anytime soon!

A few days later I went to hang the drapes on the new rods, and I realized they had only sent me 14 when I ordered 16. I figured I was sunk since I they had been delivered about a month ago. But I called and they didn't question a thing. Refunded payment on the two that never arrived, and said they would charge it again when they shipped out the two.

I couldn't have asked for better customer service. I guess you never know!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Updates and some links

A few updates:

  • House - we are slowly moving stuff in. Fireplace is installed. Shower doors still being worked on. Will post pictures soon. Babysitter coming tonight so we can get some more stuff out of storage. Drapes look awesome, and the $99 rug I got at BJs works perfectly (especially until we can get mucho bucks to buy a HUGE rug).
  • Big Man - he is addicted to eating crayons. The girls never did this. Any tips on getting him to stop? He doesn't just chomp the tops off, he munches on them too. Ick.
  • K - my oldest has an issue with the seam on tights and socks. It must be right along the topside of her toes or she will completely lose it. It drives me nuts, because I think it is so ridiculous. However, a friend yesterday said she can relate and knows of others who have bought seamless socks and tights to avoid this problem. Really??!! I thought she was just insane.
  • My running - I am still doing about 2.5 miles 3x a week. Turns out the gym I wanted to join to run inside during the winter doesn't open until 6:25. Scary to say, that is too late for me. I was thinking I'd run outside, but what to do about the cold? A friend at work recommended REI. I got great polartek stuff that actually allows me to be warm without sweating when it is cold outside. So far (it has only been as low as 35) it has worked.
  • Xmas shopping - I have started and am getting there slowly. The hardest part is getting B to tell us what she wants. So far she wants whatever K wants.

While looking for some Christmas ideas, I stumbled on this awesome website. You can print out personalized Christmas stories for your kids, there are games, educational worksheets, etc. It is really great and FREE!

Any other good sites you can recommend?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Why Less Can Be More

When I travel for work I always get to stay at very nice, swanky hotels. Lots of glam, amazing bedding, plush towels, robes, etc. And its easy to get used to. But have you ever noticed that at those la-tee-da hotels that work is paying upwards of $270/night for, they nickel and dime you to death??!! At this last one in Las Vegas, the bottled water in the room was $8, if you went downstairs to the shop you could get it for the bargain of $6. For a small bottle of water people. And this is Vegas -- without a car it wasn't like I could hop over to the local CVS for supplies. My Dad (who came on my business trip with me) and I got room service one morning. I had a bagel and cream cheese and watermelon juice. Dad had an omelet, toast, juice and coffee. The bill was $60! $60!!!!!!!! I mean, it was really good watermelon juice, but what the (*#&$#

Last week when we went to DH's grandmom's for Thanksgiving, we stayed at a Country Inns and Suites. I cannot say enough about it. For $100 we got a one-bedroom suite (so the kids were out in the main part of the room on the pull out sofa). It came with full breakfast for free - including eggs, sausage, cereal, yogurt, pastries, bagels, waffles, juices, etc. And in the evenings there was a free dessert buffet in the lobby! Seriously, you can't beat that! They had an indoor pool and hot tub, and even a lending library of books - including kids books. It was so nice.

Funny how the places that get more money up front still charge you more, while the smaller joints give you more. Interesting...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dancing Like its 1999

So I LOVE 80s music. Its my favorite kind. Last weekend DH and I went with 5 friends to see a local 80s cover band. Oh my gosh it was so fun. We were all dancing like crazy. I haven't done that since I don't know when. And the other people there - I would say about 70% of the women (and 30% of the men) were dressed in 80s gear - off the shoulder tops, leggings with lace on the bottom, headbands, lots of bangles, etc. It was awesome. I can't wait to go see them again - I am already searching Ebay for my perfect look!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Things I am Grateful For....

Happy Thanksgiving One and All! I can't believe its really here, but if it is, I might as well start thinking about the holidays. In that spirit - a big THANK YOU to all my friends and family who make my life possible and FUN! It truly does take a village to raise a child, and with three of them, I need more than my share of village. I am so blessed and lucky to have it - from my MIL who has allowed us to keep our jobs, still function as a family, and keep us happy -- to my amazing friends who put up with me and my crazy kids and love us anyway.

And to the people who read this blog that I don't even know -- thanks! It makes my day to get your comments, and I love reading your blogs too!

Thanks all. May you have safe travels and a blessed holiday!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

35 days til Christmas??? )(#$(@*&!!!!

I am so not ready for Christmas. Usually by now I am 75% or more done with my holiday shopping. I am currently about 5% done - if that. Arghh!! We haven't started working on our Christmas letter - yes, we do one of the horrible tomes that recounts our whole year; haven't taken a holiday picture; and are just plain not ready. I don't know if its the house renovation, or just our crazy lives right now, but I am never felt so unprepared, and it is freaking me out. I really need to focus. Hopefully over the long weekend (somewhere during our 6+ hour car trips, perhaps?) I can at least make some lists to get me started.

Is it just me, or did the holidays totally sneak up on us this year??!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm back

I was out of town last week for a convention..thought I might blog a bit while gone, but barely had time to breathe! Anyway, I'm back now.

Updates:

House has passed all final inspections. We can move in whenever we are ready. Of course, when we packed up our house and put everything in storage, we had our good friend Duffy living with us and she could not only help pack - but stayed at the house while we shuttled back and forth to storage. We don't have the luxury anymore. So..at some point, we will get there and bring our stuff back in and get our new spaces set up. I can't wait. I just wish I had some time to do it NOW! Will post final pictures soon. It really looks awesome. And I love our new bed, which was delivered last week.

As I type nobody is sick...as far as I know. So far so good. K had a fever most of the weekend, but no other symptoms. We think it was a reaction to a flu shot. And Big Man cried for about 2 hours around 10pm last night. No idea why and he would not be consoled. Perhaps teeth? He seemed fine this morning. DH and I are nearly done with courses of antibiotics for sinus infections. A few illness-free weeks would be very welcome, please.

B continues to be both incredibly adorable and unbelievably annoying. I forgot this stage of 3. She is so cute and so verbal, but also so stubborn. Bless DH for not killing her while I was gone last week.

Big Man was so cute when I called while I was gone. He would start saying "mamamama" and then not understand why he couldn't find me in the house. I had to stop talking to him or he would just get upset. He was so excited to see me when I got back. He still runs right over to me when I come in from a different room - like he is not sure I am ever coming back every time I leave. Poor guy!

K had lots to report while I was gone. Her second tooth is about to come out - very wiggly. She learned a song and a poem for Thanksgiving. I assured her the cousins and Greatgrandmom will love to hear them. She is really starting to understand reading. She gets the concept of sounding out and has a bunch of sight words. Its very exciting to see and she is pumped!

DH is a saint for handling the kids all week (I was gone Sun-Fri)...even took them to their flu shots (which they were completely freaked about, but admitted barely hurt when they got them), and not destroying the house completely. I even got to stay an extra 12 hours and hear James Taylor in concert - yayy!

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Magic Words

I love the kids phrase "you get what you get and you don't have a fit". It is like magic with my kids. If you are giving them their dinner and one of them whines "but I wanted the red plate"..you just say the magic words and they let it go. Same with "her milk is more full then mine" or "but I wanted to shut the tv off" or even "but it was my turn to do it". I don't know why that phrase solves everything, but somehow it does! My oldest, k, has even expanded it to "you eat what you get and you don't have a fit". Given the few number of foods she will eat - this will be interesting to try out.

Our daycare has a phrase "I don't like it, don't do it again" to use when one kid is hitting another or stealing their toy or whatever. When K was 1 1/2 she went through a phase and I couldn't get her to stop hitting me. The teachers at school said she never did it to them. Then I heard them use that phrase with another kid. I tried it the next time K hit me, and that was the end of that.

Do you have any magic words that work for your kids?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

NO BOYS ALLOWED

(k is doing MUCH better, thanks for all the good wishes. I am cloroxing the heck out of my house, lets keep our fingers crossed!)

So I am a big believer in girl-time. Sometime you need to get away from the DH and kids and get with your girls. I have an amazing circle of close girlfriends that live in town (and a few out of town) and I am so lucky to have them around me. The core group started from college and has grown a bit from there. Most of us have known each other for over 20 years and we are still close. I am so blessed. Now we have kids that are growing up together. We all had kids around the same time - at one point 4 of us were pregnant with our second child at the same time - gave birth in June, July and August of the same year! There are now 11 kids ages 6 and under. It is really great.

And while we do lots of family events together, I love when we get together - just the girls. The husbands think we spend the time together bitching about them. I'm not going to say that has never happened, but really it is just that women can talk to women about more things than husbands or others care to hear about. I think that time is so precious, and love when we get the opportunity to do it.

Every few weeks we have a girls dinner (although we have been slacking lately - need to get back on that), a few times a year we go on a "girls weekend" away, and when several of us turned 30 we decided to do a week-long girls trip every 5 years.

At 30 we flew to Nashville, TN; rented an RV, and drove across the South. It was awesome. None of us were particularly into camping, nor had any of us lived in or driven an RV. But we had a great time (nevermind the smashing the a/c unit off the top of the thing, or Duffy nearly having a heart attack at my driving down rainy, wet mountain roads).

At 35 we stayed in a b&b in Santa Fe and did day trips around the area. So relaxing, and so BEAUTIFUL! We took a cooking class, did lots of shopping, ate GREAT food, saw opera, hiked, and even had mud baths.

Next year, several of us will be 40. We are renting an apartment in Paris for a week. I am so excited. I already have my plane ticket, and we aren't going until August. All of us have been to Paris before, so we are really just going to try and hang out - eat great french food, drink french wine, and enjoy the culture.

How do you all spend time with your girlfriends?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Down, but Still Fighting

The norovirus sucks. Really. My oldest, K, had it about 3 weeks ago. She had never been so sick. Luckily it only lasted about 36 hours. Then, last week, B got it. Again, lasted about 36 hours and we were all miserable. Then last night at 3am, K got it AGAIN! I cannot believe it. We washed all her bedding and stuff, but I realized this morning we forgot to throw out her toothbrush. Maybe that is it? ARGHHH. I am so sad for her. This thing really is awful - LOTS of vomiting, LOTS of cramping. I feel so bad. Tomorrow - full cleaning of everything - lots of Clorox, and throwing out anything questionable. Somehow neither the adults nor Big Man have gotten it - did I say that out loud?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Am So Important

No seriously. I would say that a good 70% of the time I am in my office, sitting at my desk. A few days ago I was out of the office at a meeting. When the meeting was over I checked my blackberry and there was a message from one of our assistants saying that "Mr. X" was waiting to see me. I was confused because I only know one Mr X and he wouldn't come by to see me - unless OH MY GOD - I had an appointment with him. I am now freaking out. I call the office and they confirm that it is indeed the Mr X I know, and thank GOD, he did not have an appointment, he just stopped by. Now I am really confused. This is a muckety muck. A big muckety muck. Think CEO of a HUGE company type muckety muck who, while I do know, and he does know my name, would NOT just drop in to see me. But, he has already left - not finding me there, so I head back to the office to see what is going on. I rush to our reception area and ask them if someone had been there to see me. They say, "yes, Mr. X was here" I ask if he thought he had an appointment, and they confirm, "no, he was at a meeting nearby and just stopped in". They hand me his card, assuring me it was indeed him. Just to check I describe him and they confirm. I am now baffled and kinda impressed with my star power. Let's just say I couldn't stop by this guys office and drop in to see him. At least I never would. That would be totally inappropriate. I sent him an email and apologized for missing him, and he said he was across the street at a meeting and thought he would pop in. Wow. At the very least it raised my status at work, and that can't be bad...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bumbo Seat Usage for Dummies

They recalled the Bumbo seat. They recalled the bumbo seat mostly because kids were getting out of it and falling off counters and tables. What kind of morons put their kids in these seats on top of counters and tables. And, moreover, left them unattended when they did. The recall is here. Seriously. The Bumbo says right on it "Never use on a raised surface. Never use as a car seat or bath seat. Designed for floor level use only. Never leave your baby unattended as the seat is not designed to be totally restrictive and may not prevent release of your baby in the event of vigorous movement.” Its imprinted on the darn thing. And now they are recalling it because stupid-as# people put the Bumbo on a table and left their kid there to topple off. Do we really need to protect ourselves from this kind of idiocy?

Don't get me wrong, I have accidentally let more than one kid of mine fall to the floor from a high surface. And I have been VERY lucky that none of them have been hurt. But do I blame the table manufacturer for making a surface without rails that my child could fall off of?

This just burns me for some reason. I love the Bumbo. It is so adorable! My baby loved the bumbo before he entered the stage where he just wants to run around putting whatever he can find on the floor in his mouth. Hmmm..maybe we should recall my vacuum cleaner for failing to continuously pick up all those pieces from the floor (despite not being run)....

Red Sox ROCK!

YAYYYYYYYYYYY. For the second time in three years my beloved Red Sox have captured the World Series title. I only wish my mom had lived to see it. Not once in her life did she get to enjoy a World Series win, and now we've had two. So awesome. Mikayla even put on her Red Sox shirt this morning, and she didn't even know what was going on (as the game was WAY too late for her).

In other news, Mikayla lost her first tooth yesterday! She was upstairs "napping" (not) and came down and said, "Mommy look!", she had her tooth in her hand. I didn't even know it was lose! Luckily Barnes & Noble was open late last night and we grabbed a Tooth Fairy kit. Very cute -- book and pillow and cards and stuff for her to send to the tooth fairy with subsequent teeth. She was very excited to find a dollar under her pillow this morning.

YAYYY Sox!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Big Man's Movie

This just cracks me up everytime I see it. You can make your own one here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Moms Have No Shame

So, I recently sent this picture to my friends and family for Halloween. One of them pointed out that she would never be so "brave" to send anyone a picture of herself as a superhero. It honestly didn't even occur to me to be embarrassed -- although upon thought, I certainly would NEVER have sent just a picture of me and dh like that. At least I don't think so. I think there is something about becoming a mom that takes away a whole level of inhibitions. There are certainly lots of things I do now that I would never have done before. For example, I routinely now will sing with the kids in the car regardless of who is watching from the road. Even at a stoplight, I just look right back at the person and keep on singing. I will also dance spontaneously with my kids pretty much anywhere - grocery store, walking down the street, mall, school, wherever. I think being with the kids lets you act like a kid yourself, and that's kind of liberating.

So there -- I posted this picture of me and my family as superheros for the whole Internet to see. Ha!

oh yeah, and GO SOX!

Simple Acts of Kindness

So recently my faith in humanity has been restored by some simple niceties by strangers. On Thursday I was coming back home from a business trip in San Antonio. I got to the airport early and got in line to get on standby for an earlier flight to DFW, where I had to catch my connection home. I had already tried calling to get on standby for the earlier flight out of DFW, but they wouldn't do it over the phone. Anyway -- while in line in San Antonio I started talking to a gentleman in front of me. He was getting on the stand-by list too. We both had our names added, and walked to a little restaurant across from the gate to wait and eat. We talked a bit more - we work in related industries. Anyway, the flight starts boarding and they start calling the stand-by list. The gentleman gets called and we bid goodbye - him wishing me luck with getting on. As he is boarding they announce that the plane is full. He turns and looks at me and I smile and wave bye. He walks up to the ticket counter and refuses his standby seat. He turns to me and says "you take it, all I have at home waiting is a dog, you can see your kids." I protest - I probably won't make the earlier connection anyway! But he insists and I get on. Isn't that the nicest thing??! Who likes sitting in airports?! It was so nice of him to do that and totally made my day (even when I didn't make the earlier connection in DFW).

On Saturday I ran into Target in the middle of the afternoon (always a mistake in our area as they are PACKED then) to get a copy of Mary Poppins, that I had decided we should watch with the kids that night. I got in the 15 and under line to pay and a sweet lady with probably only 5-7 purchases let me go ahead, since I only had one. So nice!

Things like this really make my day, and I have to remember to do them for others now and then and make their day too.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Just Call Me "Ma Mere"

Let me start off by saying I do not feel any guilt about sending my kids to daycare. I am a much better mommy for working, and they are more enriched then I could make them if I stayed at home (what with all the screaming, crying and tantrums - oh and they'd probably get upset too).
I also don't read "mommy war" or other "how she does it - type books". But this one was suggested by a good friend - who happens to be a sahm. The book is called "Perfect Madness" by Judith Warner. I am only about 1/3 of the way through it - but it has made me think. It makes me want to live in France. In the book the author talks about living there, and the completely different attitude about adult lives and parenting lives. From her description it seems as though the French culture emphasizes parents still leading adult lives while having children. Compared to the sort of frantic - must be doing something to enrich my kids lives every spare moment we have going on in the US today. People there certainly do things with their kids but they also do things without them - go out to dinner, read books, etc. They seem much less kid-focused. And not guilty at all about it. In fact, the author writes that the French would be perplexed by someone who was guilty about it. Very interesting, at least so far. Will probably provide bigger picture review when I am done.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Update - Big Man's ears, house

Big Man is fine. We talked to our Ped who assured us what was happening was normal (for a complication). DH brought big man to the ENT who was able to clear the tube. Apparently it took 2 people to hold big man down so the dr could do it, but he is fine now. So far so good. Course he has a fever for the last two days with an unknown cause, but that is just par for the course. Hopefully it was caused by the annoyance in the tube, and now that it is cleared, he'll be better. Least that's what I'm telling myself.

House is getting there..its the little things that take FOREVER. Deck is totally done (and we bought a new cap for the hot tub - builders lost it on day one), porch should be done today (maybe?), still waiting on delivery of the glass doors for the shower. I have a punch list that is about 35 items, we'll see how it compares to theirs on Sunday morning when we meet with them. Last night we went shopping and found our bed. I LOVE it. You can see it here - is that TMI? Considering this sofa as well, although not sure how it will coordinate with the existing one. Wanted a patterned one to fit better, but we'll see.

Fall is finally here!

Mean What You Say

So I have a friend whose kids are older - one is a preteen and one is a certified teenager. Whenever I have a weak parenting moment I remember a story she told me. About a year ago her 14-year old was copping quite the attitude (let me premise this by saying she is a charming, well-behaved girl!). Anyway, my friend and her husband had really had it. The husband said to his daughter - you will act respectfully or you will lose your right to privacy in this house. The girl, being a teenager, ignore him and continues with the attitude. The dad says - seriously, if you keep this up, I will take the door off your room. The girl doesn't change. Dad gets up, walks upstairs, takes the door off the hinges and gets rid of the door. The girl freaks out - I can't have no privacy! and gets a sheet to pin up. Mom steps in and says -- nope, dad said no privacy. Girl demands privacy - how will she get dressed? Mom points to the perfectly good bathroom next door with a door. The parents stuck with it for nearly a year.

I LOVE that story. Taking off the door -- how cool is that?! You KNOW their daughter thought that was NEVER going to happen. DH and I have always believed that when you make a threat or say you are going to do something while disciplining your kids (or whenever, really) you have to stick with it. Sometimes it is hard, when you say something crazy or that will be a major inconvenience - but you gotta stick with it. Whenever I get weak, I remember this story. You can always remove the door.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Real Quick - if you haven't yet - VOTE for HER!

This woman is amazing - raising three kids, going to law school, oh yeah, and fighting breast cancer. She is a finalist to win $10,000. Vote for her. You can only vote once per computer. Between now and October 28th. Go, do it now. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Almost Home Free


IMG_0224
Originally uploaded by MBooth_98
So..we are almost done. The bathroom is tiled (as you can see), the plumbing is now working, as is the AC. (oh yeah, and we replaced the ugly light fixture in this picture with a nice one) The only big things are the installation of the gas fireplace, the ceiling of the porch, and the soffits all around the roof. Pretty much everything else is cosmetic - touching up paint, closing holes in the plaster from the central A/C, repairing (replacing) the ceiling in the basement, couple moldings here and there. Possible final inspection next week..we'll see!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Flowers for Those of Us with Purple Thumbs

So I love gardens, fresh cut flowers, the whole bit. But I am not a huge fan of gardening. I like planting stuff, but I HATE weeding. Hate it a lot. So I rarely do it. I will usually plant a bunch of stuff (bulbs in fall and some flowers in spring/summer), but I rarely weed. Now I have found an even easier way to plant, and I am so excited. Dutch Gardens catalog (and website) has biodegradable bulb trays. These are trays that come pre-loaded with bulbs of your choosing, and you just dig a big whole and put the whole shebang in there, cover it with dirt and water. They even have special ones made for big flower pots. This is so freaking brilliant. I cannot wait to try this. I haven't ordered them yet, because they are about to start landscaping my yard, so I'm afraid they would pull them up if I started, but I LOVE these. Actually I think I will buy one or two of the ones for pots and plant those. Then I can see if they work. Will keep you posted - I am so excited to try! I still doubt I'll weed, but I will probably plant lots more bulbs!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Baby I Was Born to Run

ok..maybe not, but I did complete my first 5k today! YAYYYY for me! I had three goals for today -- finish the race, do not walk at all, and finish under 40 minutes. I made 2 out of 3. I finished at 40 minutes, 20 seconds. Bummer...I wish they had put the clock somewhere you could see it sooner. I didn't see it until I was about 100 yards away at 39.57. Oh well..very close. We had a good day - not too hot, and there were lots of racers. Their megaphone wasn't working so the start was a little weird -- first I knew we were starting was when everyone ahead of me started to run. I hit the play button on my iPod, but it didn't start, and so my first 200 steps running I was fiddling with that, but after that it was pretty good. My first mile was 12.54 at mile two I was at 25.57...I really thought I might make it, but oh well. I am very happy with how it went, and my DH and kids were all at the finish line. I am very proud of myself - 5 months ago I couldn't run for 60 seconds -- now I did 40 minutes and over 3 miles.

And, what do you know..the scale is finally starting to catch up!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Countdown -- only 26 days left

So we LOVE Halloween. Its the one holiday DH and I have always been into. We nearly always have a party (costumes strongly desired), decorate our yard like crazy, and now that we have kids, try and do as many Halloween-related things as possible.

With all the construction going on, the yard will be a challenge this year. First, the yard itself is full of crap - discarded shrubs and other greenery, lumber, assorted other building materials. Second, when they put the new HVAC system in, they had to run lots of ducts through the attic. I can't imagine how they did it, although I am sure they were cursing us the entire time. But now, with all the stuff we had up there (Halloween decorations, Christmas decorations, sizes of clothes I hope to fit in soon, outgrown kids clothes, my stained glass materials, etc) - you cannot move ANYTHING up there or find anything. It is awful. But I intend to try. We may not have all the stuff we usually get up outside, but we are going to make some kind of effort.

We also go all out on costumes -- for the whole family. And we wear them as much as possible. Last year, I was Minnie Mouse, DH was Mr Incredible, K was Violet Incredible, B was a sheep (or a Baa, as she likes to say - after her favorite stuffed animal of that name), and Big Man was a fuzzy monster. This year I decided we were going with a theme. We are all Superheroes. I am Wonderwoman (complete with strapless costume that wouldn't stay up in a million years- I'll be wearing a t-shirt underneath), K is Batgirl, B is Supergirl (a pink costume - not the traditional red and blue), Big Man is superman, and DH is Zorro. Ok, Zorro is a bit of a stretch, but the costume was so cool. We all look great as you will see in Halloween Cards in your mailboxes soon (and I may post here closer to the holiday).

We also try and do as many events as possible. Last year we had our party and Boo at the Zoo (which is this great nighttime ticketed event at our zoo with trick or treating and everything), where all 5 of us dressed up. The kids also had a parade at their school. This year, we hope to have a party, we have Boo at the Zoo, the younger two have a parade a daycare, K has a parade around the neighborhood with her school, and our neighborhood is having a Halloween block party with parade!! Yayy! I can't wait.

I'm not sure why I love Halloween so much, but I really do. I may even take the day off so I can be sure not to miss all the kids in their parades. What are y'all going to be for Halloween?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Surgeons Suck

So, as previously reported, Big Man's ear tube surgery went great. Until he took a late afternoon nap. When he woke up there was blood all over and in his left ear. I kinda freaked out. I reread our post-surgery instructions - NOTHING about blood. The sheet says there can be some discharge -- but I thought that meant clear fluid or the like. Anyway, I call the dr's emergency line, and - to give him credit - he calls me right back. Now I have never been a big fan of this dr. The first time we met (it was only about a week ago!), he was very cold, examined my son for about 3 minutes, and declared he needed ear tubes. But, he was very highly recommended, so I was like, fine. Yesterday prior to the surgery he maybe spoke 15 words to me. "Any questions? It will be over in 10 minutes". After surgery I think there were less "you've already made your post-op appointment? Give him these ear drops 2x a day". So when he calls back and I explain the problem, there is a bit of silence, then a defense "I'm very surprised to hear that." -- I'm like, surprised in that you nicked his brain stem and he is slowing dying? or surprised because this sometime happens but you didn't expect it to? or surprised that I would call over such a little thing?. He goes on about how his ears were "bone dry" after the surgery and he is really surprised. I'm still freaking out about it and he finally says that worst case he may have to take the tube out and reinsert it if the tube is now stuck up with dried blood. The blood was not currently flowing, but had dried and after wiping it off the outside of the ear, it still looked gunky going into the ear. So, the Dr says to just call and make an appointment, and he would take a look - but, btw, he was in surgery the next 2 days, so it may have to wait until Friday. Now luckily, big man doesn't seem to be bothered at all. I am calling the Drs today to see if I can get the next available appointment - with either dr in the practice. I figure it should take 2 minutes for them to look and see if its a problem. Hopefully we don't have to do this all again.

Now, I watch ER and Grey's Anatomy - I get that surgeon's are assholes. This one fits the mold perfectly. It just really bugged me that he was more offended that something hadn't gone perfectly in his surgery then worried about the impact on my son.

UPDATE - just went in to see the Dr. The left tube is clogged with dried blood. We have new eardrops that we hope will dissolve it. We go back end of next week and see. If they have not fixed it, then the Dr will try and suction it out (something he said we would have to restrain Big Man for) or, at the extreme, he can take the tube out (also something done in the office, and I imagine involves restraints). Lets hope the drops work!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Post-op Happiness

So big man had his ear surgery this morning. He was a champ. Last night he couldn't even sleep in his room, cuz they had painted upstairs and I could still smell it, so we made him sleep in a pack n play in the den. Then I had to get him up at pre-dawn for the surgery at 7:30. We got the hospital at 6:15 (they wanted us there at 6, but I thought that was nuts)..we got checked in and by 7:25 they were taking him in. Before 8 he was back with me. The thing they don't tell you is that when kids wake up from the anesthesia, they are "inconsolable" for anywhere from 5 - 20 minutes. The dr said that it is just their brain trying to figure out what is going on and work its way out. Luckily he wasn't thrashing or anything too much -- just crying a weird cry. After about 15 minutes he calmed down and within another 5 was drinking juice and eating crackers, and smiling up at me. We are now sitting at home and he is playing with his toys - happy as a clam. So far so good -- Dr said everything went fine, but the gunk in his right ear was really thick and sticky so its a good thing we got it out. Hopefully he will be feeling better. He is such a happy baby, its amazing, really.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bright Shiny New Room


IMG_0204[1]
Originally uploaded by MBooth_98
Here is the great room, pretty much done. I need to paint the switch plates, but otherwise I think its done. We are really happy with it! Aren't the ceiling fans cool? I really like them - kind of like propellers.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Random stuff...

I promise to post some new house pics this weekend -- the hardwood floors are down, and the great room is just about done - it looks great. Hopefully when we get home they'll be some progress on the upstairs.

Big Man is getting his ear tubes on Tuesday. I'm excited in that I think it will make him feel much better, but I'm not excited about watching them put him under.

I ran 2 3/4 miles today -- my longest yet, and I am now sure I can do my 5k next weekend - yay! If only my sneakers did not burn the ball of my foot. But having tried 4 professionally-fitted pairs, and having no luck, I am working with inserts that may help. I have stopped wearing my 10-year old shoes, which were killing my hips. These new ones kill my feet, but only while I'm wearing them (my feet are fine once they are out of them), and the rest of my body feels much better.

Things I hope to accomplish this weekend - 1) return pair of sneakers that don't work (will still have the one pair I'm stuck with from the last store to try and adjust with pads and such); 2) go to Home Depot - return tile samples and purchase PAINTABLE switch plates (which we asked for but the contractors didn't install), purchase paint for the downstairs bathroom, and look at medicine cabinets for the kids' bathroom; switch out big man's clothes for fall (and take out those that are too small); and finish marking clothes/items for Danis Duds consignment sale. We also have lessons tonight (gymnastics) and tomorrow morning (skating for K, swimming for B) and hope to go to Fall for Fairfax. The weather is supposed to be awesome. Maybe we'll even do some geocaching!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Yoga is NOT Stretching

Last night I took my first yoga class. (an aside -- those of you who only know me from this blog may be under the mistaken impression that I am athletic or fit or something. I assure you this could not be further from the truth! I am in the process of trying to lose about 50lbs on ww, and working to get into something other than couch potato shape. Seriously.) So anyway, I thought yoga would go well with the running and help me stretch out some muscles. I did not expect the degree of workout I got...and believe me, I didn't even do half the stuff!!

This yoga studio just opened up down the street from us over the weekend, and had classes that start at 8pm. I was so excited. I wanted to join Curves a while ago -- but all the ones in the DC area close at 8. Seriously, what is that about? My kids go to bed between 7:30 - 8 (at least we try), so I need something that starts at 8 or later -- yoga seemed perfect. The class was KILLER. I mean I liked it, I think. I will go back, but man was it HARD! You don't just stretch the muscle - you hold it there til it burns, then hold it another few minutes!!! I was sweating like a dog in under 10 minutes and then my hands and feet were all sweaty making it impossible to hold poses that I couldn't really hold to begin with. Definitely not what I expected. But good, I think. The last 10 minutes made it all worth it. We did this cool down and a inversion (which is basically where you try and get as many parts of your body in line above your head - without having to do a headstand, although that is an inversion too) that were awesome. It was very relaxing and really helped calm some lower back muscles that had been bothering me. Don't think I'll be a yogi anytime soon, but I will go back.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You Want the Good News or the Bad News?

So..the Good News is that K is really LOVING kindergarten - even before and aftercare now. In fact, this weekend she made a point of telling me that she did not want to go back to her old school. I asked her why and she said because she liked her new school so much better. I was so happy that she was happy.

Complete diversion - I was also grateful, because we are in a fight with our daycare/preschool about drop-in rates. Our school allows drop-ins for kids up to age 6, meaning that when K's elementary school was closed, she could go to school with her siblings, for a reasonable price. Well, they just nearly doubled the price, and we think its crazy. When we asked where they got that number (it was $75/day) they appeared to have few data points. When we asked why they would price themselves out of the market (for comparison, our school does day camp when it is closed for $46/day) - they said that they think it is reasonable. I pointed out that drop-ins were just free money - they don't allow drop-ins if it puts them out of ratio - , and they were like, well we only made $1000 last year on drop-ins anyway. That made me so mad. Do they know how much time I spent baking cookies for countless days of bake sales that make about $500 a shot. But $1000 is all of a sudden nothing. I was so pissed. So its good she doesn't want to go back, I'll take vacation days before sending her. Although it makes me sad, cuz I know her old friends - and her teachers who have told me they can't wait to see her - want to see her.

Anywho -- as I was saying. The good news is K loves school. The bad news is, apparently she has become a discipline problem. Yesterday DH got a call from her teacher saying the K was having trouble listening and following directions and would he talk to her (as the phone is handed to K, who of course, was sobbing). I was mortified. And, we had a regularly scheduled meeting with her teacher that evening. So, where I had been expecting a wondering meeting about how amazing my dd is, I am now dreading hearing about her behavior, and frankly am SHOCKED. She is actually a pretty good listener, and certainly doesn't pull this crap with us. So, we go to the meeting, and it was actually pretty positive. It seems only in the last few days has K acted like this. So I'm thinking that maybe in her new comfort zone she is just testing the limits. Not that it justifies her behavior, but maybe she was just trying it out??!! I don't really know. We have talked to her and came up with a solution where her teacher will make a chart and it will come home each day so we can monitor if she is behaving. The teacher thinks it will be resolved in 1-2 weeks. I sure hope so, or K will be mighty sorry.

Not to end on a sour note, it also turns out K is really good at math. On Sunday when we were coming home from the Nats game, she said she wanted to play the "adding game". I asked her how, and she said to give her numbers and she would add them in her head. So I started with small numbers like 2 + 3 and 4+1 and she was like, c'mon mom. So I started with 9 + 6 and 8+7, and she's getting them all. Then I try 12 + 7 - no problem. Then DH starts with 4+6+3 and 7+5+4. And she's doing great. I'm surprised, and so glad they have started adding already in Kindergarten. So last night I ask her teacher about it, and she says, "NO!" - they haven't been doing that - but she has noticed it too. K has counted backwards and once asked if they could just count by "3s". Weird. Maybe they did it in preschool??!! Not sure. But I can guarantee that along with their looks this did NOT come from me!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My Changing World

So things are really getting done at the house. The deck is nearly done, the great room is painted, trimmed and stained (the hardwood floor goes in monday), the bedroom is painted as is the bathroom and all three closets. They tell us the porch will be done this week (we've heard that one before). Our punch-list will be decades long what with all the lovely holes in our plaster walls from the central air conditioning - but it will be beautiful when it is all done. We really can't wait.

Here are a bunch of pics so far...

1) bedroom (with door of bathroom on left) - bed will be where the ladder is...





2) bathroom -- see the BIG shower!










3) Entance to the bedroom (bath on left, my BIG closet on the right)

Friday, September 21, 2007

I run, I run so far away...

Ok. So I'm still doing the running thing. I know to look at me, its hard to believe, but I am. I run 3x a week for 30 minutes. According to mapmyrun.com, I am doing about 2 1/2 miles or about a 12 1/2 minute mile pace. Pretty slow, but I'm getting there. The real amazing part is not only that I run 30 minutes, but that I do it at dawn -- actually, not even dawn - BEFORE dawn. When I get outside just before 6am it is PITCH DARK. The moon is brightly sparkling over my house. The first day I did it, I actually went back inside assuming I had messed up my clock when I set my alarm and it was actually 3am. But no, I am running in the dark and it will only get worse. When the weather gets colder I plan to join the community center down the street and run on their indoor track or on a treadmill.

My shoe situation is still bad -- I am running in 10-year-old shoes. Everyone who hears that nearly covers their ears. I am going to a different running store (Pacers) this weekend and god-willing will get decent shoes. I am very hopeful this will help with the severe pain and stiffness I get in my left hip! I have also registered for a 5k in just 2 weeks (gulp!). It is October 6th at 8am at Haines Point -- which is, thankfully, flat. I have yet to run 3k, but am not willing to get up any earlier on my regular schedule to try, so hopefully I can do it. I think I can. My goal is to finish in less than 40 minutes, but just finishing will make me happy.

I have also signed up for Yoga once a week. Hopefully the extra stretching will also help.

Who knows maybe in a few months when I turn 40, I'll actually be in some kind of shape!

la la la la la...I can't hear you

If I read or hear one more article about how to prevent ear infections I will scream. These always suggest the same things: 1) don't smoke near your child - nobody in our house, or frankly, anyone we interact with, smokes; 2) breastfeed - did for DD#1 for 13 months, DD#2 for 10 1/2 months, and DS for 9 months -- the latter two gave it up themselves; 3) limit pacifier use after 6 months -- none of our kids used pacifiers - they are all self-soothers. And yet, all three suffered with multiple ear infections. #1 and #2 outgrew them by 1 year. My big man is the worst. He has had a ton of ear infections -- at least two of which lasted more than 6 weeks. His current one he was diagnosed with at his 1-yr well visit. He has now had this one for almost 8 weeks. We're on the 4th different antibiotic (and I know they say you don't need antibiotics, but we have to try something!!) We final got a referral to an ENT doc. He goes next week. I am a big believer in tubes, so I am open to that, if that is recommended. While I will panic about putting him under, I hate to see him suffer when his head is killing him.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fast-forwarding Through Life

So I've recently been thinking about inventions and how amazing some products/technologies we now have. I was in a law office last week and saw a typewriter. It almost made me laugh out loud. I mean, when I started working everyone had a typewriter on their desk. Now you can't fine one in my office - anywhere! For a while we had one in the copy room, but it is now long gone. My all time favorite invention (next to the WWW) is TIVO. I LOVE Tivo. Seriously. I wish all of life was like Tivo - you would only have to live the parts you wanted and could skip the rest -- and you could fast-forward parts that were boring. Wouldn't that be great? With the exception of sports and Good Morning America, we never watch live television anymore. That's so 2001! hee hee. The biggest problem I have with Tivo is that I get used to it and hate when I can't use it. Like in the car when I am listening to the radio and I miss something - my first instinct it to just rewind. And it really bugs me when I can't!!

What is your favorite technology/product?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mars is Not Quite Far Enough Away

So one day last week I was having coffee with some colleagues. The two men were single -- one in his mid-20s, and one in his early 30s. The one in his twenties was saying that he had been dating his girlfriend for 3 1/2 years, and was thinking he'd have to decide about marriage soon. He said he just couldn't see it - how can you give up ever dating again? The other one agreed. I just stared. WHAT?? One of the biggest benefits of marriage is that you NEVER HAVE TO DATE AGAIN!!! (after being able to spend you life with the one you love, have kids, security...blah blah blah) I actually started laughing and told them this was the biggest difference between men and women. Men think dating is fun. Most women I know (I actually think, ALL women I know) disagree. Yes, new love, infatuation, etc is fun and exciting. But dating sucks. Trying to figure out another person and put yourself out there. Bye Bye. I pray I never have to do it again. One of my friends pointed out that if bachelor #1 still wanted to date - he was not ready for marriage.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Amazing Squash

So we went to the Great Zucchini yesterday. It was as bad as I remembered -- and the kids thought it was as funny as they remembered. Most of his jokes involve him hitting himself in the face, or splashing someone with water, or saying "whatever you do - don't do "x"" - while the kids do just that. In fact, I think I just gave away his entire act. Anyway, the kids really loved it. It was fun to watch them howl with laughter and dance around. Have you ever noticed that until you reach age 4, dancing and jumping are basically the same thing?! My oldest actually got to go on stage to "disappear". She went behind a sheet the GZ was holding, then ran (as we all watched) behind stage. It was so funny. She was very excited.

There was a great article in the Washington Post over a year ago that tells the REAL story of the GZ. He is really more like a bum with a gambling program. But boy, he really knows his audience. And I have to say, he came out and made a point of saying hi to us before the show (we got there early to get seats). I fear a repeat visit in our future.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Splash of Color




So they are painting the addition -- yayy! I LOVE the color. It is C2 paint- color Rickshaw. Looks great. They primed the upstairs today, but no color yet. Starting to think about shades on the windows. With 9 windows plus a french door, it will cost a small fortune! oh well... Can't believe we are getting close to finishing!



Alright, I've been told you can't see the color -- I think this picture helps:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Forever Hold Your Peace

I am cracking myself up recently. I have my DS, who just turned one. I am desperately trying to get him to talk. He doesn't have any words, per se..but babbles constantly. Its possible he now has momma and dada, but I'm not convinced yet. So I've been trying to get him to talk and use real words. Constantly try to get him to communicate.

At the same time, my middle DD, who is 3, will NOT shut up. Don't get me wrong - I adore her, she is the sweetest, cutest thing you could ever meet. But she has hit that stage where they need to hear themselves speak. She has always been VERY verbal. By 18 months she had more than 50 words. But somehow in the last 2 weeks she entered this stage (which I vaguely remember from DD#1, but clearly tried to put out of my head) where she is talking CONSTANTLY. A one minute car ride goes like this -

DD - mom, do we have tickets the Great Zucchini?
me - yes honey, for Sunday
DD - so mom, are we going to the Great Zucchini on Sunday?
me - yes
DD- this Sunday?
me - yes
DD - to the Great Zucchini?
me - yes, honey..this Sunday we are going to see the Great Zucchini.
DD - and we have tickets?
me - yes
DD - i love the Great Zucchini
me -
DD - Mom, I said I love the Great Zucchini
me - that's nice
DD - mom, do you know what?
me -
DD - mom, know what?
me - what
DD - the Great Zucchini says whatever we do, don't fall asleep..and you know what?
me - what
DD - we all went to sleep. (hysterical laughter)
me -
DD - mom, we all went to sleep (hysterical laughter)
me - i heard ya
DD - so mom, we are going to see him on Sunday, right?
me - yes
DD - he is so funny...we have tickets, right?
me - (silent screaming) uh huh

This goes on constantly. DH said he thinks something is wrong with her. I assured him it was a phase that would pass. NOT SOON ENOUGH. And why, exactly, am I encouraging language development in my DS?


(don't get me started on the private hell involved with having to go see the Great Zucchini, you'll probably hear about it next week)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

God Only Knows

So I finally found a Sunday School for my girls. I have tried for over a year to get them into one, but my church was NOT accommodating. They have their own school, and I think that if you don't go to the school, they don't care about educating your kids. Despite many attempts to receive early notification, by the time I received any information, the classes were always full. Anyway, I finally said, forget it, and found another church they could go to. We went on Sunday, and the funny thing is that they didn't even do any religious stuff, just crafts cuz it was the first day back after the summer off. But afterwards I asked K if she liked it. She said she had some questions. First, if God created everything - the sky, the moon, the flowers, the people - then who created God? I stopped laughing long enough to tell her that was a great question and she should ask them that next week in Sunday School (hopefully I don't get her kicked out on her second day). They she said, she could get that God created all those things - but (s)he didn't make Playdough, right? Cuz that would just be too hard. I suppose I should ensure my God-like status with her by making homemade playdough one of these days...

Monday, September 10, 2007

shhh....keep it under wraps

I almost wasn't going to blog about this, but then I realized that the dozen people who read my blog probably wouldn't destroy it. We went to the COOLEST place on Saturday. It was the cutest beach you ever saw, with shower/changing/bathroom facilities, and it was only an hour away and NO traffic. Seriously. It was called North Beach and is on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. It is tiny - like 100 feet across? But there were only about 10 other families there, and it was GREAT. The water was warm, there were waves to play in but NO undertow. You could walk out about 25 feet and it was still up to your chest. The kids LOVED it. The girls mostly laid on the surf and let the waves batter the heck out of them. I think they took home 10% of the beach in their suits and hair. I LOVE this beach. If we hadn't just spent all the money we have and will ever have on our home renovation I would demand we get a house there immediately.

I'm it

I was tagged by Lil Mouse to do the following: You must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

I am cheating and using my given middle name, as my current is my maiden name, and too long.

M - multi-tasking - the only way I get anything done.

A - artistic -- ok, not really, more like creative, but I don't have a "c" in my name. I love crafts of all kinds although am currently only into scrapbooking. I hope to get back to knitting and stained glass someday...

R - running - I am still doing it. Up to 30 minutes (about 2 1/2 miles) now -- working on training for a 5k. I have promised myself I will sign up for one this week. I can't believe I am still doing it despite having to get up before 6am and jog in the dark! AND the fact that my hip is suffering - hopefully I will start on a track/treadmill soon to help with that.

I - insane - the only word to describe my life. Having 3 kids and working ft is hard enough, but this house renovation is just putting it over the limit. I cannot wait til it is DONE.

E - energetic - that is, when I am not sleeping or wanting to sleep. So, for about 5 hours a day, I would guess.

I am tagging:

Jules
Julie
Erin
Alissa
M

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Off to School






Picture 004
Originally uploaded by MBooth_98
Isnt' she amazing? This is K charging off to the first day of Kindergarten. She was so excited. Despite the slight downturn after day 1, she was in a great mood this morning - no crying during dropoff, and had great stories and songs from the previous day. SUCCESS!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

First day of school, first day of school!

I will have to post pics later, cuz they are adorable. My oldest, K, started Kindergarten yesterday. She was SOOO excited - she literally ran out the door to get there. I couldn't wait to pick her up to hear how it went. She LOVED her class. Loved her teacher, had a blast with all the activities they did, and was very happy. She HATED before/after care. I guess because we did the pre-visit for her class she was ready for that -- but she didn't have any introduction to before/after care, aside from me talking to her about it. Basically, I drop her off in the cafeteria, and she can play games or do puzzles or the like (and eat breakfast) until the bell rings about an hour later. Then in the afternoon the same thing for about 1 1/2 hours til we pick her up. She said she didn't know anyone (there is nobody else in her K class in the before/after care, I think) and didn't like it. My guess is this will pass in a week once she gets the lay of the land. Meanwhile, DH got the bad end of the lollipop, as he dropped off today while she sobbed. Yesterday she was happy as a clam. Oh well.

Oh yeah, and boys SUCK. Even at 6. One of her best friends who she has known since birth and plays with regularly is in the first grade. He's a great kid really - he's my Godson, and his Mom is K's Godmother. They played at our house 4 days ago, and spent the week at the beach together 2 weeks ago. Anyway -- K says that when she waved and said hi to him on the playground he laughed and ran away. She was heartbroken. Her exact words "he doesn't care about me anymore". Arghhh...I hate cooties. And boys suck. I just didn't think I would have to deal with it for a few more years.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Home Sweet Filthy Home

So we are in that part of the renovation that is making me CRAZY. I don't have a clean house normally -- there is lots of clutter. But it is not actually dirty. Now every surface is covered in some combination of drywall dust or plaster dust. Yuck. For a while there we were losing rooms by the minute. They needed to get into this space or that space to try and put duct work for the central air. It was hard to remember we were actually going to end up with more space when it was all done!


On the good side, we got to pick out paint colors and fixtures and stuff. They are using C2 paint, which from what I've read, is really nice. The big room will be taupe, the bedroom is blue and the bathroom is kind of sea green. I can't wait to see what they will look like. For now here are some recent pics:


Monday, September 3, 2007

Just Stuff

So my DS, in following in the steps of his big sisters, had a Kleenex party yesterday. He was so proud of himself. He followed it up the next day with a wipes party. We have now moved everything to higher shelves.

Oldest daughter (k) starts Kindergarten tomorrow. She is very excited. Last week we were able to go for an hour and meet her teacher and see the classroom and play with other kids who were there. It was a great success. The only thing she is nervous about tomorrow is how to buy her breakfast. I told her we could bring it, but she want to try. Weirdest thing -- turns out her Kindergarten teacher graduated from the same little high school that I went to about 500 miles away from here. What are the chances? Its possible she had my mom as an English teacher. small world.

Not looking forward to the commute tomorrow. Congress is back, school is back, and everyone will be back at work. Oh well...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Vacation Summary


We had so much fun at the beach, I wish I was still there. Don't get me wrong -- it was insane. As only one house with 13 children (most in the 3-5 range) can be. But it was also great.

Our typical day -- kids up around 6:30 (ARGHH!) . Eat breakfast and let them veg in front of the tv. 9:00ish head to the beach. Let the kids frolic in the sand and waves (try not to panic too much about them being swept out to sea). 11:30ish head back to the house (3 blocks away). Get lunch together and feed everyone. 1-3ish nap/quiet time. Kids who don't nap are sent to 2nd floor to watch a movie. Kids who nap (most days average = 3 (2 of whom are babies)) go to their rooms. Adults get the third floor and read books, play Boggle or Mingh, and veg. Optional sitting on the deck listening to the waves encouraged. 3:30 - kids craft activity. 4ish head to the pool (out back). Hang in the pool as long as possible before kids dinner/adult happy hour at 6:30ish. Kids in bed (although not close to sleep) at 8:15ish. Adult dinner at 8:30 followed by games and eventually bed.

Adults also had a few outings -- boys went golfing; girls went on a tour of the upper beaches and wild horses.

Highlights:
  • getting the pools to work (electrical issue with the house) - we had a little kiddie pool that served as a waterfall into the big pool - very cool
  • kids singing with Tim, who played his guitar
  • Matthew's Wiggles bday party
  • tour guide passing out while in wild horse country (we can't make this stuff up!)
  • yummy happy hour drinks
  • watergun wars in the pool
  • Portuguese wine - yummmm
  • managing not to drown anyone (even those who fell in the pool and couldn't swim)
  • weird THUMP in the night
  • catching a fish at the beach (it was tiny and caught in a net at the water's edge)
  • Kathy break-dancing (LOL)
  • leftover Oreos and Ice Cream Sandwiches -- what the @(*#&@(*?
  • delicious dinners

Already looking forward to next year!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Yayy for me!

I forgot, even while on vacation I got up this morning at 6:15 to run. Despite being kept up by DS from 12:30 to 1:30, I did the full 30 minutes, meaning that if I do it 2 more times this week, I will have graduated CP25K. Today I also did my first run with somebody. Thought it would be too
hard, but it was fun! Hopefully my first 5k will feel like that. I plan to try and do one in Oct.

We're on vacation, we're on vacation!

So we got up at dawn to make it to the beach before the heaviest traffic. Made it here around 12:30 on saturday. Had some yummy NC bbq, and killed time at the playground in the middle of a shopping area. We were all here and ready when the house was available at 4pm. The house is well suited for
our needs, if not somewhat grungy. It's sad..you can tell it had been nice (granite countertops, beautiful wood floors) but the carpet and sofas are all stained and the house has clearly not been kept up. It is closer to the beach than I thought (right across the street!) And the pool is huge
(although they are having some electrical issues with the pump). So far we've had 5-6 nudie kids running around from time to time, and many propositions to sleep together (mostly to get the top bunk). From the 5 and 6 year olds. The first night the kids crashed around 9:45pm..last night it was
8:30! Love what sun and water can do to exhaust the little ones!!
You would not believe how much 13 kids this small can eat. There are about 5 slices of cheese left in a 5lb block after just one lunch??!! We are also going through minibagels and bread like crazy!!
Anway, will report more later, but suffice it to say we are having a blast!

Friday, August 17, 2007

12 adults + 13 kids = 1 BEACH VACATION

So tomorrow bright and early we are off to the beach. YAYYYY. This is a crazy, but awesome trip I look forward to all year! We rent a big house and 6 families head to the beach. We are outnumbered this year because someone went and had 3 kids !!??!!( ooops, that was me), but it should be fine. The kids range from 1-7, with most in the 3-5 range. They are all going to be in bunk beds on the bottom floor of our house. The adults are on the middle and top floors. The house is 500 ft to the beach, has a large pool, a kiddie pool, two hot tubs and an elevator. I can't wait to see it!

We've taken this same trip for over 15 years -- starting when we had just graduated from college -- no husbands yet and certainly no children. It has definitely evolved since then, but is still a highlight of my year. We have this awesome spreadsheet that outlines dinners for all week, cleaning, kids activities, etc. Each family is responsible for one meal, one happy hour (with drinks and appetizer), one kid activity, and one night of cleaning. Also the adult boys get one day out (they are golfing) and so do the girls (not sure what we are doing yet). We all pay a flat rate for room, and food and drinks. Works like a charm.

So..I'm off to the Outer Banks. Will post some pics and stories as soon as I am back.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Renovation Yuck

So we love how our house is coming along. We really do. But there is currently a film of dust and dirt covering pretty much EVERY INCH of our house. We Swiffer constantly to no avail. It is really gross. And for me to say that it has to be pretty bad. Its not like I live in a pristine home. Our house is full of stuff. Lots of piles of clutter around. But it is rarely DIRTY. It is now. Walking with your bare feet (as I almost always do at home) is disgusting. I am trying hard not to think about how much lead paint dust the kids are consuming. I am very glad to be going out of town again next week. Yayyy beach vacation. Bye Bye dusty dirty house.

Friday, August 10, 2007

3 amusement parks in 4 days is too many

So we did Dutch Wonderland on Monday. Sesame Place on Wednesday. And Dorney Park on Thursday. The first two were great. By Dorney park, I was parked out. DW was GREAT for little kids. Not very crowded, food was cheap (from a park perspective), and the rides were all age appropriate. Sesame was a bit more crowded, lots more expensive ($25 for an Abby Kadabee doll?!!), but still good rides and shows. Dorney is a big park - mostly for big kids/adults, but with a Camp Snoopy that was fun and a great water park. But I was kind of sick of it all. We took a break for naps and lunch and I really didn't want to go back. It started to rain, so I thought I'd be in luck, but it stopped so we went back. The water park was really fun, and the kids loved it, so I'm glad we did.

To do again I think we'd do 2 parks in four days. Even if we went multiple days to each, I think it will be more manageable. When the kids are older it will be easier too. With one of haviing to hang out most if the time with Big Man (although my friend Kathy who we are visiting up here has been a big help), it was a little hard.

Today we are off to Crayola Factory and the Please Touch museum, then we head home. Can't wait to see what the house looks like.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Family Vacation - Part 1

So we're on vacation. Part one of the plan worked great. After leaving the ballgame (Nats make second sweep in a row! Alas, this time to dh's beloved Cards) kids crash nearly all the way to PA. We are staying in these cute cottages, recommended by steph and josh. Cute, cheap, and very convenient - right in the heart of Amish country. Today we spent 7 plus hours at Dutch Wonderland. The kids loved it - oldest daughter (k) went on the roller coaster 4 times. Middle (I) didn't like the baby coaster at all, but loved these little sitting scooter types things you wiggle around on. She could've done that all day. She probably spent an hour on it total. Big man loved the merry go round. We all enjoyed it, although the humidity was killer. Tonight we are taking it easy with fast food for the grown ups and microwave tomato soup for the girls and pick up pasta and canned oranges for big man. Tomorrow we explore Amish country and Strasbourg railroad.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Porch, Ho!

So the house renovation is going really well. The back now has siding and a roof, skylights and most of the windows. This week they started working on the porch. Here is what it looked like two weeks ago (after they had pulled out most of the bushes and weeds and such):


Here it is now:





Isn't it so cool? The one and ONLY one good thing our idiot architect contributed to this project is the skylights on the porch. This will allow us to still have light in the front room of our house. You can't tell from this shot, but the triangle over the door goes with the one over the dormer on the left. I really like it.

As I am told happens with all remodeling, we are now officially hemorrhaging money. There is the overall project which we refinanced our mortgage to pay for (hey honey, after 9+ years of owning our house, we owe twice on it what we did when we bought it -- yay!); then we got a new hot water heater a few months ago to include the new bathroom; now we are upgrading the HVAC in the new space to provide for central air conditioning to the whole house; then we had them fix one part of the roof and realized it was probably just as big a problem everywhere and are having the whole roof replaced; we also have to move the gas meter from the front because of the porch. Everyday we look at each other and say "how many thousands of dollars did we spend today, honey?" never mind the fact that we have no grass or bushes or landscaping anymore... Oh well, its just money, right?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

August = vacation

For me, August means vacation. I have a job that limits when I can take vacation time. August is always a good time. So we have 2 weeks of vacations planned. Next week we will take our (previously planned for 4th of July) trip to Pennsylvania. We first will go to Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster. Then see Strasburg Railroad and take a buggy ride. Then we head north to Sesame Place for a day. Then off to visit friends in Allentown and go to Dorney Park. We end off the week with a trip to the Crayola Factory and the Herr Potato Chip factory before heading home. Will be a whirlwind of amusement parks. Poor big man will not be happy missing naps and will hopefully crash in the stroller.

At the end of the month we got to the beach -- the Outer Banks, specifically. This is a tradition -- I think it will be my 14th or 15th or so year. Maybe more. This year we will have 12 adults and 13 kids under age 8. in one house. It will be NUTS and very very fun. I can't wait. The spreadsheet for dinners, happy hours, cleaning and activities is getting filled. Yayyy!

Will try and post from the road next week, but not sure I know how. Beware of strange looking posts!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Gotta love being a mom

So DH has been working like a dog. He decides he is going to have dinner with us on Friday night, so we decide to make it fun for the girls. When I get them at daycare I tell them we are going on a "secret mission". They cannot tell daddy. We are going to get him to drive home the "wrong way" so we can get ice cream for dinner. They are totally psyched and can't wait to get started on the secret mission. When we meet DH in the hallway, they say that Mommy is going to drive us "home"..giggling all the way. DH plays along and says "what?! uh..ok" The girls are hysterical. Of course we get about two blocks away and oldest daughter tells DH that mommy has a "secret mission" way to get us home. Youngest daughter says "yeah..secret mission!" Then in stage whisper that could be heard several cars away say, "But mom, what about the ice cream?" OD says "shh..that's the secret mission"...YD says "I know its the secret mission..but what about the ice cream?" She repeats this about 5 times until DH and I are hysterical in the front seat. OD gets that Daddy is in on it, but doesn't get upset. It was too funny.

My son, Big Man, has been fighting an AWFUL diaper rash for almost 10 days. Two nights ago I decide to get serious. I spend about 10 minutes blow drying his butt. Yup. There I was, sitting on a step, holding the blow dryer on cool, pointed at my son's naked behind as he played with stuff on the edge of the bathtub. But know what? It worked. His butt looks much better this morning. I did it last night too.

I love being a mom.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cut Off From the Outside World

Ok, not really. But on Saturday morning when my MIL came by, she informed me that my phone was constantly busy. I picked it up -- no dial tone. So, I grabbed my cell and attempted to figure out who to call at the phone company. It was not easy. "0" did not work. I then had to call 411 to get them to forward me. I then had to deal with automated phone hell. Finally I got a person. I tell them my phone has no dial tone. First question? "are you calling me from that phone?" Um, yeah...i know how to dial without a dial tone. She transferred me to someone else. First question? "are you calling me from that phone?" What the #)(&$(#*@? Once we get past that, they run "diagnostic test" whereby they determine that the phone line is broken on there end, and they will have someone out as soon as possible, Monday morning. What? I have to live with no phone all weekend? They say they will forward it to my cell. That lasts about 5 hours. Then it stopped working.

Then on Sunday morning I go online to get directions to where we are going. Keep in mind we were surprised to still have Internet as they are both Verizon, and we assumed connected somehow. But, no Internet was working fine. Until about 1pm, whereby it was no longer working. ARGHH. Oh well. We'll see if them fixing the phone line fixes the Internet, or if we have to schedule that separately. Luckily DH is working so hard, he doesn't even miss his WoW fix.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bad Girls, Bad Girls

I am so glad my girls are not teenagers..or even pre-teens. I don't have to explain the Parises, Lyndseys and Nicoles of the world to them. What is going on? And WHERE are these girls parents??!! Seriously. Not that they aren't old enough to be responsible for their own actions -- but at least for Paris and Nicole, their parents are completely and totally enabling this behavior!!! Its not like the are earning the money they use to buy drugs and alcohol. (Ok, I'm sure the Simple Life makes them money, but not the kind for how they are living). What is with these people. I guess we had the decade of the bad boys back in the 50s..now its the girls turn? I'm over it. And so glad I don't have to explain this to MY girls.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

WOW!


100_5946
Originally uploaded by MBooth_98
Going up fast. We now have the exterior framing for the first and second floors. Pretty cool -- went up so fast! We are really liking it. Post holes for the porch in front are dug, and they will start framing next week. Not sure how we will be getting in our house!? Bedroom is big, but will be taken up by 3 closets and a bathroom. Not a whole lot of living space left over, but frankly, how much real living gets done in the bedroom anyway? I'd rather have the closets. We will have a window seat near the HUGE windows on the sides, so that is cool. Getting very excited about how it is all coming. Of course, we are just realizing how much more we will need to do. Landscaping alone will be a killer, but right now we have LOTS of mud, dead grass, and debris. Ahh well...it will all be worth it!

Daily Musings...

So..what's going on in my life?

  • home renovation going GREAT! Roof/ceiling on the first floor, when we left this morning walls were going up on the 2nd floor and posts were being dug for the front porch. The obliterated all plant life there yesterday (including my HUGE azaleas, but LOTS of weeds as well).
  • DH's work is INSANE. It will be nice when we all get to see him again.
  • Can't wait for vacation! Hoping to go to PA in 2 weeks, and then the beach at the end of August. YAYYYY! (has Congress gone home yet??!!!)
  • Still running..tomorrow up to 25 minutes with no stops!
  • Just had the BEST watermelon aqua fresca...think it would be even better with tequila!
  • DS turns one in 2 weeks!! It has gone so fast!

That's about it for today. Will post more pics of the renovations later this week...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Movin' on up!



100_5926
Originally uploaded by MBooth_98
So see the previous post for where we were about a month ago. Demolition complete, but just a big pile of dirt out back. Then we had a foundation. By the end of this week we have this! Wow! We are getting very excited, as things are really coming along! Our contractors signed a deal for another big job they hope to start at the end of Sept..so they are motivated to move quickly. yayy! They say we will have a second floor and roofing by the end of next week. The weather has been great, so that has surely helped. Looking good!

Friday, July 20, 2007

I DID IT!

I did it. Today I ran for 20 minutes non-stop, no walking breaks...20 whole minutes in a row. 5 weeks ago I could barely do 90 seconds. Seriously. I am so proud of myself. I have no idea how far I went (the program suggests time OR distance -- not both). I just run in random zig zags around my neighborhood, so there is no way to know. Think I'll wait a few more weeks til I worry about that. For now I am too pumped (although I'll probably be a little sore later)

And my $135 running shoes that I went to the specialty store to get and end up totally hurting my feet? The store says I can bring em back and they'll figure out what is going on and replace with something else, if necessary. yayy!

Now if only I could work on the eating. In the 5 weeks I have been doing the running program, I've gained 4lbs. URRGHHHHH. I am afraid to go weigh in at ww. But I probably need to in order to get back on the wagon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I feel like I was stood up...

So I am feeling weirdly discouraged. I have been working for about a week to prepare for this big event at work. Lots of writing, researching, etc..to prepare one of our members for this big presentation. Felt completely organized, totally prepared, was psyched. The event was this morning. I meet with our speaker this morning at dawn (yes, I actually got up pre-dawn to jog this morning - 8 minutes 2x! yayy for me!) went through all the prep..expected q&a's, etc. We were good to go. Get to said event, event starts, and about 30 minutes in, gets cancelled. For weird reasons, that are sadly, legitimate. I feel like I got stood up by my prom date. Now I'm all dressed up with nowhere to go.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Is there a Doctor in the House?

So in the last 10 days, we have been to the doctor's office 5 times, and we have one more visit scheduled for tomorrow. For the last five months (knock wood), the kids have been remarkably healthy. We maybe were home for one day with them from Feb-June. But when it rains it pours.

First, two Saturdays ago we brought bigman in to check if he had an ear infection. The answer was no, but in the 1 1/2 hours we spent waiting, DD#2 caught strep. We were back with her on Monday. Rapid strep said no, overnight said yes, so she was on antibiotics on Tues. On Friday we brought bigman back cuz he was getting more sick, and wanted to make sure he didn't have strep. He was fine. On Sunday, DD#1 has a screaming crying fit for an hour before I take her to urgent care -- diagnosis: swimmers ear. She is on antibiotics starting on Monday. Then DD#2 had her 3-year checkup on Monday. Tomorrow bigman has his regular checkup with the pulminologist. Oh yeah, and we didn't go on vacation last week cuz we had too much work. nice.

I am praying this grants us another 5-month reprieve. We really need a friend who is a doctor -- preferably family practice, or a pediatrician. Apply within.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Help! I'm being followed!

So. I have been doing this exercise program for about a month now. It is called Couch Potato to 5k (CP25K), and was designed by some experts on Cool Running.com. Now before you get the wrong idea -- I am not a runner. My whole life I lived by the mantra "I only run when chased". Seriously, even as a kid, I did not run. But for some reason this program seemed compelling. And, I realized something. I AM being chased. By a big old butt that I can't believe belongs to me. So, with my big butt chasing me, I have started running. The program is cool. Each week it alternates running and walking at increasing intervals, until, at the end, you can run for 30 minutes.

Currently I am up to running about 5 minutes alternating with three minutes with walking in between. It doesn't sound like much, but when the program started, I couldn't imagine running for 90 seconds, so this is big for me. The program is helped hugely by these free podcasts. They tell you when to walk and when to run. I can't imagine how people do it without these -- you would have to keep looking at your watch or pedometer constantly!

So..I can't really imagine myself running a 5k in a few months, but who knows? If you'd have told me I could run for 5 minutes without stopping (much less do it 2x in a 20 minute period, along with 2 3-minute runs), I'd have said you were nuts!

So far my funniest moment came about a week into the program. I hoped on the scale, figuring there should be a big loss, given I am now actually exercising. But nope. My first thought? What the (*#$, I'm not doing this for my health! Then I laughed, and realized, I am doing it for my health!

Hopefully, combined with weight watchers, in a few months, nothing will be following me.