Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My Crazy Life

So 90% of the time, the whole family commutes together. We all drive in, they drop me off at the office, then they go to hubby's office, where all three kids also attend daycare/preschool. In the afternoon, I walk over to his office, pick up the kids, and go home.

In the summer I maybe take my own car once a week, because DH is playing softball when we need to get the kids. Well, yesterday was one of those days. I drive my own car in (kids waving and blowing kisses from their car as we drive side-by-side) and park at work. 5:00 comes, and I finish up my work. At about 5:25 I leave the office and head over to his office. By foot. In the 95-degree, 110% humidity. I am not happy in my black pin-stripe pantsuit. I get over there about 5:35, walk around gathering the kids supplies, and am surprised to see our stroller in the lobby. Usually DH leaves it in his office.

At that moment it hits me. The car is back at MY office. DAMN. It is now too late to walk back, get the car, drive back, park and get the kids out of daycare by 6pm. So..i fill the kids sippy cups with water, gather everyone up, and tell them "Yayy..time for an Adventure!" We all leave the building and start heading to my office (about 6-7 blocks away). One block into it (the girls are walking, big man is in the stroller), my middle daughter says "mommy, its too hot, pick me up!". I just say no..mommy can't carry both of them, so we can walk slow, but we have to walk. They were remarkably good about it. We did all walk over to my office, I rewarded them with cream shakes from the Starbucks in our lobby, which we drank in front of my office fountain. Then we made a stop at the "cookie store" (Harris Teeter - local grocery which provides free cookies at the door), and picked up some groceries. Made it home around 7pm.

Totally cracked DH up.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Home Renovation - Part 3

The back is gone 2
Originally uploaded by MBooth_98
So..our living room is gone. Kinda weird, as that room is a BIG factor in why we bought the house at all. The concrete slab you see is where the floor of our living room used to be. Now our house ends at the kitchen (which is just behind the blue tarp). The part with the black tarp was a little loft area we had above the living room (which was down about 5 stairs). The slabs are still there, but will probably be gone by the end of this week. They are still about 4 days ahead of schedule. We have been through 2 complete dumpsters to date. So far it has not been too bad. We had about a dozen trips to the storage unit with different things. We have one room completely lost to boxes -- the den, but frankly it was just barely usable before. Luckily we had a friend (Duffy) staying in our guest room, so we couldn't crowd that too bad (although she did have several days of returning from work to a room piled high with stuff the contractors had put there). Right now it is still exciting to us. I'm sure it will get old shortly, but for now, we are still having fun imagining the new space.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Whatcha Reading?

So since I stopped breastfeeding, I haven't read much. When I was pumping, I would use that time to try and relax and read a book. Now, not so much. I am reading Word Freak, about the Scrabble Championships, but it isn't as good as I was hoping. Other than that my most recent books, are the Knot Fairy, Dora, and Junie B. Jones. If you have a kid, especially a girl, going into Kindergarten these books are GREAT! At first I was a little concerned -- the title character, is pretty much a big brat and uses awful language. I don't mean swearing or anything, but she calls lots of people "stupid" and "fat mouth", etc. But my oldest (who will go to Kindergarten in Sept) LOVES the books, and will say that she doesn't think Junie B Jones is very nice. I think they get that she is obnoxious and rude. We are already on book 6 of the kindergarten series (I think it goes to 17 or so) and there is also a First Grade series.

So..what are you reading?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Not for the Faint of Heart

If you are easily grossed out STOP READING THIS RIGHT NOW. If you are eating, you probably should come back to this too. This is really truly gross and gives me the creeps every time I think of it. Why am I sharing? Misery loves company.

So on Thursday we are driving our beloved PT Cruiser to work. We don't get to drive the little guy much, as the three kids pretty much have to be pried into the back seat. But we were driving it that day. As we went through the tunnel we take on the way to work we started to hear a funny noise in the A/C. When we came out of the tunnel there was a distinctive thudding noise. We thought, oh great, stopped using the A/C and figured we'd call the mechanic. Didn't use the A/C again that day and promptly forgot about it as we went back to driving the van.

On Saturday I took the car out for a quick trip to the store, turned on the A/C before remembering and got a yucky odor. Sadly, a familiar yucky odor -- dead animal. Got the car home, mentioned it to DH, and forgot about it again. It was probably 95 degrees on Sunday.

Monday I call the mechanic and we drop off the car Monday night. They call yesterday with the verdict. Dead mouse in the fan. Easy $85 fix. Here's the gross part (as if a dead mouse weren't bad enough). Due to the excessive heat there were now maggots and bugs all throughout the ventilation of the car and in the car. Say it with me, EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

Mechanic dealt with the broken fan and left instructions on how to deal with the rest. DH is a saint and was the one to drive the car home from the shop. Last night it was too dark and late to deal with. Tonight we will use gloves to dispose of everything in the car, and then set off a bug bomb. We also have to open the hood, and where they have no covered the fan with a screen, spray it with high powered bug spray. Then we need to go into the car and turn on the AC to circulate said stuff throughout the system.

Needless to say it may be a week or more until we drive the little guy again. My friend at work said she would just sell the car.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Support a Soldier

So, I don't know anyone who is over in Iraq right now. I know a few who have gone, but nobody there right now. While I have never supported this war, I of course, support our troops. But it is hard to know what to do (other then call for their immediate safe return) for the ones over there. Well, I found a great website that lets you do something. Its called "Any Soldier". Its a great site that lets soldiers post what they want (everything from magazines, to cookies, to phone cards, to underwear, to movies, to books, etc.) and when you register they will email you their address.

Duffy and I baked a few batches of cookies, and threw in some magazines, and some snack foods. Going out to a unit from DC today.

Easy and makes me feel like I am doing something...

Classes, scheduled activites on hiatus

So we decided that we will not have any classes or regularly scheduled activities for the summer. The kids are still young enough that we can get away with this, so we are going to! Their last classes were swimming and gymnastics this weekend. Now we are free until September.

This means we can work on going to the pool, geocaching, watching our house construction, etc. I can't wait! We started with a quick geocache after the last swimming class on Saturday. We went to find a cache we had tried once before. This time found it easy (note to self: follow the hints, not always just the GPS). The cache was at a nature center near our house, and the kids had the most fun stopping and watching a group of dragonflies appear to play hide and seek. Seriously. One would fly down into these bushes and wait. Then, after a few minutes, we'd see the others all flying around and eventually one would swoop down on the hider, and they would all go off until it started again. M was mesmerized. We had to pull her away, only by promising to go to the "cookie store" (aka Harris Teeter) for groceries. Gotta love the kids getting excited about grocery shopping!

Then we had a trip to the pool last night right after the last gymnastics class. Very relaxing, the 90-degree day had significantly warmed the pool. Everyone had fun, even big man, who loves splashing.

Here's to a less structured summer!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

So my brother pointed out that I have yet to blog on one of my favorite things -- baseball. Specifically, the Boston Red Sox. And what a great time to do it. Must gloat while I have the opportunity! The Red Sox are currently the best team in baseball, and have been since nearly the start of the season. They are 8 1/2 games ahead of their nasty rival whose name will not be mentioned, but begins with a Y (as in YOU) and ends in an S (as in SUCK!). Anyway, I have always been a baseball fan, and how can you not LOVE the Red Sox? (Josh, don't answer)

That said, we are a three-team baseball family. There is Her team (the aforementioned Sox), His team (the St. Louis Cardinals), and Their team (our local Nationals). We became season ticket holders from the first moment baseball returned to the Nation's Capital. Ok, we don't have a full season, or even a half, (we have 20 games), but we still count as season ticket holders. We have been to all (three) of the season openers, and many many games in between. When the girls hear the word "baseball" they automatically say "let's go Nats!". They can both sing "take me out to the ballgame" (even if some of the words are interesting). Big Man will be as enthusiastic, I'm sure, once he can speak.

There is something so relaxing, so SUMMER, about being at the ballpark on a warm day, drinking a beer, and taking in the sites and sounds.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My Gazillion Minutes of Fame

So in my job, I occasionally speak with reporters, and am sometimes quoted. Just last week I spoke to a reporter in Milwaukee for about 10 minutes. Of the 4-5 sentences she quoted from me, she uses the one where I spoke the word "gazillion". I was saying that there were a lot of things happening on an issues and I said there had been a gazillion. And, is if that was embarrassing enough, I get a call from a reporter from San Diego today, who left me a message that he saw my quotes from the Milwaukee paper and wanted to use me as a source for his article. I pray it is on the issue in question, and not on the use of the word "gazillion". My colleagues think its hysterical.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Renovation Week One - ahead of schedule - AHHH

So our renovation was to start this week. The contractors were supposed to do "site preparation" Mon-Thurs, and demolition was slated to start on Friday. That seemed silly -- why do demolition on a Friday only to leave for two days. We figured they would start on Monday, so we would have an additional weekend to clear out our existing living room (which will be removed to make way for the big great room). We figured wrong. They tell us this morning (Tuesday) that demolition will start on Wednesday. Ha ha. The room is about 1/2 cleared out. Apparently we won't be sleeping tonight. We will be going back and forth to the storage space. Such fun. Also, Direct TV is coming tomorrow between 9am-noon to reconfigure the satellite. Hope its on the earlier side, or their wiring might be gone!! Oops.

On the plus side, I will not complain about contractors that are ahead of schedule.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Food, food, glorious food

So this website shows what a typical family eats in different locations all around the world. It is very interesting, I think. Things I found surprising:

1) the family in Italy is so skinny - and LOOK at ALL THAT BREAD! My goodness! There have to be 20 loaves of bread in that picture!!!

2) how much soda the Mexican family drinks

3) I don't begin to have a guess where Konstancin-Jeziorna is. Not even the continent. (Hope I never get that one in our geography/world game, Duffy and dan!)

4) the family from Bargteheide spends over $500 a week on food??!! I didn't think Germany was that expensive.

Anyway, I was glad we weren't on there. Lord knows what we consume in a week, but I'm sure it wouldn't look good. There would be unbelievable amounts of yogurt. And a pathetic lack of fresh vegetables (although I did sign us up for a vegetable/fruit delivery service, so that should help).

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Home Renovation (part 1 of MANY)

So in about a week we are beginning our home addition project. Well, we aren't -- our contractors are. While we were adept at completing our deck and our basement finishing, a two story addition with deck and porch were quite a bit out of our realm. Anyway, next week the contractors will demolish our existing Great Room. Nevermind that we bought the house largely on the basis of that room; its a goner. In its place should be a Great Room twice the size, and a master bedroom/bathroom above it.

Our existing upstairs has three bedrooms and one bathroom. With three kids, the one bathroom upstairs is just a killer. And while the girls LOVE sharing a room right now, I'm thinking that may not last forever. But the bathroom was definitely the primary motivation.

Anyway, we've been packing up and putting in storage much of what is in our Great Room to prepare to live without one for the next many months. We have also thrown out, freecycled, or donated LOTS of stuff. I would say at least 10 of the large green lawn trash bags worth. Its been very liberating.

I'm am sure the next many posts on this subject will be rants about the hell of renovations. But for now I am relieved to have gotten rid of so much junk, and excited that the work is about to start.

Freecycle Rocks!

I have been using freecycle for about 2 years, and I have to say, I love it. I can't tell you how much stuff I have gotten rid of quickly and easily, AND how much stuff I wanted I got for free! If you don't know what freecycle is - its a website where people in your area list stuff they want to get rid of, and you email them if you want it. You can also post your stuff to get rid of, and even post "Wanted" for items you want that someone may have. It's really great.

I have only posted one "wanted" for a baby bicycle seat to strap to the back of my bike -- and got one within a few days. Other great gets are huge lots of scrapbooking materials, a nice train table, and some maternity clothes. I have also quickly and easily gotten rid of desks, filing cabinets, old Corian counter tops, books, an old garbage disposal, a broken printer, photo albums, picture frames, you name it!

If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Let Cami Run For President in 2040!

So there has been all this hullabaloo for a few years over what is known as the "Schwarzenegger Amendment" to the Constitution. Currently, Article II, Section 5, clause 5 of our Constitution reads:
"No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

This means that people who immigrate to this country and become citizens, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, can't be President. Now I have never had a real opinion on this issue. I guess I never thought much about it. Not being a big Arnie fan, it didn't do much for me. But just recently I was reading an article about foreign adoptions and within it there was a comment that foreign-adoptees can never be President, due to this clause in the Constitution. Well, that made me stop and think. And that is ridiculous. Then I thought about it some more and realized, that while my friend's daughter, Camille, adopted from China at 14 months couldn't be President; the child born of two illegals living here could be President. There is something horribly wrong with that. I don't want to get into the whole immigration debate, because I have awfully mixed feelings about it. But realizing that foreign adoptees aren't eligible to be President really ignited my fire about this Constitutional amendment.

I am writing my members of Congress today to push for this legislation TODAY. If Cami decides she wants to be President in 2040, she should be able to run!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Weekend from HELL

So sometime on Friday around 6pm my girls turned into monsters. And basically didn't stop until later afternoon on Sunday. First the middle one had worn shoes to school that hurt her feet and gave her blisters (don't get me started on the reasons why). So when we went to the pool Friday night she screamed when she got in the water, cuz her feet hurt. And continued to cry pretty much the entire time we were there, because she wanted to go in the water, but couldn't cuz it made her feet hurt. Then when she and her big sister asked for snacks I said they could have rice cakes (they love them) - three of them. They wanted candy also. I said no. Then big sister said she didn't only want 3, she wanted 5. I told her three or none. She kept it up, so I took them away. She lost it in a screaming fighting match through when we came home. Saturday they didn't want to nap. I told the big one she could lie in bed next to her little sister until she fell asleep and then she could go to our room and watch noggin. Instead, 45 minutes later I go upstairs and they are both watching TV in our room. I ask big sister if little sister had fallen asleep, but then woken up and joined her, and she says no. They both lose all tv for a week, prompting massive meltdowns by both. Little sister actually went completely hysterical (she also forfeited her love toy in the middle of the mess) for over an hour before completely exhausting herself and falling asleep. Then today they pull the same thing with not wanting to nap and are just generally pretty whiny all day. It is something in the air? It better not be the humidity, cuz we are just at the start of that!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Bitten by the Bee

I admit it, I am addicted to the National Spelling Bee. I watched the different rounds three different times this week, and have TIVO'd last nights final rounds, which I haven't seen yet. What is so compelling?? I have no idea. But I can't pull myself away. Although, given its over for this year, I guess I will have to.

I love the different ticks and rituals the kids go through before and while reciting the words. I love the deadly serious tone of the announcer and the judges. I guess I love how seriously everyone is taking spelling. It just cracks me up. But..I do have a few suggestions for Scripps:

1) no proper-name words. That's just mean. I saw several instances where the words were based on a Proper name. Like, say Megan..if I spelled it Meaghean (which would be SOOO wrong, btw). The word was Meagheanesque. And it meant, reminscient of the works of Megan. And derived from the name Meaghean. Now, really, what is the point of that?? If the kid had never heard of me, they would get it wrong, and why? I think one of the things I like about the bee is that kids can use logic. They can learn the origins of the word and the definition, and reason some of the spelling out. Proper names are just based on memorization.

2) no purely foreign words. They used the word "beurre" meaning butter in French. That is not an English word. The only time it is used here is on a French menu. Again, unfair.

That said, I love the bee and can't wait until next year. And, BTW, I can't spell a lick.