Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of 2008

I have to say it has been a banner year. The kids are all great and family and friends are relatively healthy. Work has been busy, but I have been successful. I lost about 37 lbs (give or take), had some great family vacations, an awesome girls trip to Paris, celebrated an awesome Presidential election, ran another 5k, loved taking the girls to Disney, and totally enjoyed our home addition. My only new year's resolution is to get back into a regular routine for exercising and family dinners.

Here's to 2008, and an even better 2009!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Once in a Blue Moon

Once in a while I do something and think "I'm so glad we did that". One came this Thanksgiving while we were in MA visiting my Dad. On Thanksgiving day, K started to spout out all she had learned about the first Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims, etc. When she finished talking, I turned to her and said, "you know, Plymouth Rock is only about 40 minutes from here." She said, "IT IS??!!! CAN WE GO??" So we did. The next morning we all hoped in the car and headed out to Plymouth Rock. We saw the rock, the Mayflower II, and the exhibits. And we took pictures and saved brochures and stuff for K's teacher. On the Monday after Thanksgiving she brought everything in. Her teacher let her do an impromptu show and tell to all her classmates about Plymouth Rock AND let her make a display on a bulletin board for the whole class. (How cool a teacher is that?!!)




She was so proud. And I was so psyched we just did it - instead of thinking "uh..its 40 minutes away, and its cold, and I don't feel like going, etc". We just did it and it was so worth it.

I love when sometimes we are spontaneous and just DO IT!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Present? What Present?

So a few weeks ago we went to play Rock Band 2 at a friend's house. The kids loved it and immediately wanted it for Christmas. We had already talked to Santa so they were worried he wouldn't bring it. We suggested we could ask Nana or Grampa or someone else for it. About a week ago they told Nana she was bringing it for them. lol. On Christmas eve they mentioned it several times and said they really hoped they would get it.

Well, Christmas morning comes. Nana had brought Rock Band and we just covered it with a blanket. They opened everything and were happily playing all day and never mentioned it. We asked them several times if they got everything they wanted and they assured us they got every last thing. Finally last night, DH and I wanted to play it. We asked again if there was anything they didn't get. Nope. I said, really? Like a game you wanted us all to play together? blank stares. Finally K says "Hey! we didn't get Rock Band". We said, are you sure? We had pulled the blanket off it hours ago and nobody had noticed. They walked around a big and finally saw it. So we got in a few games last night. It really is a blast. It will be great when the girls learn more songs than just "we got the beat".

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmastime Is Here

We have been being very Christmasy for the last few days.

Over the weekend I took the girls to a local production of the Nutcracker. It was a big step up from the very streamlined production we saw last year. This had scenery, and all the acts, and gorgeous costumes. We all loved it.

On Tuesday I found this great website that lists local houses with over-the-top christmas decorations. It was awesome! We went to about 6. The best were the house with probably 150 inflatables and a porch full of decorations. We got out and were able to walk all through it - very cool. Then the most beautiful house I have ever seen. SOOO tasteful! They even broadcast on their own FM station with synchronized music. We got out and stood in front for about 15 minutes. Truly spectacular!!
Then on Wednesday, we went to see the Water-skiing Santa. Oh yeah. There was a Frosty in a dinghy that got chased by the Grinch on a waterski. Then some elves, and a penguin (and a panda?!), and finally the reindeer leading Santa (all on water skis!). Really funny.

Then of course, we went out for Christmas dinner, and to church (where the kids were great). Before bed we called Norad and talked to a very nice elf who assured us that Santa was presently in South America but would arrive in Arlington, VA in just a few hours so we needed to get to bed ASAP.

We had a fabulous Christmas morning and day with family and friends. And then last night we all went down the National Christmas tree so the kids could throw pennies in the trains that run around it.
All in all a perfect Christmas holiday. Hope you and yours had an equally delightful time!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Little Boy

Everyday at daycare we get a summary of what the kids today. One day last week, we got the best one EVER.

"Today Big Man and his lady friends had a birthday party in the housekeeping area. They each had a piece of birthday cake, a cup of tea, and celebrated with their babies (dolls) on their laps."

hee hee. Lady friends. I love that. My DH said he agreed it was cute, until he got the baby doll part. Hee hee... i love that.

He is all boy (give him a toy and the first thing he will do is smash it to the ground), but man enough to play with the ladies and their dolls. I love my Big Man.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yes Dear, Welcome to the 21st Century

So I finally have used Craig's List. I am a HUGE freecycle fan, but have never used Craig's list before. I have looked at it, but never participated.

Well, last night I bit the bullet and bought something. Last year when we did our addition, we added this big open window between our kitchen and great room. I love it, but the problem is we used to have a large pot rack hanging on the wall that now has the window. So for the last year all of our pots and pans have just been hanging out on our countertops. And it drives me CRAZY!!!! After all the cooking/baking I have been doing in the last 2 weeks, I had had it! So I went on Craig's list and started looking at buffets. Actually I started with Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn, but wasn't prepared to spend $1500 to get what I wanted. Yesterday on Craig's list someone was selling this:



Actually they were selling it along with a dining set, that I do not need/want. So I emailed the guy and asked if he would sell just the buffet. He said yes, for $100. $100!!!!! It is not the right color wood for my dining room (which is all dark wood), but for $100 I couldn't turn it down.

I went to get it last night. This sucker weighed a ton! The guy helped me carry it out, but I seriously thought I was stretching my arms from the weight. I called DH on the way home and told him I could NOT help get it in the house. Luckily our neighbors were still up.

It works great. Holds my pots and pans perfectly with extra space. I am so happy. I wish it was darker wood - but love the pattern. Would I lose that if I stained it? Or would the lighter parts stay lighter? Any suggestions? I guess I could also tape off the different squares. Hmm..

Anyway, I have finally joined the rest of the universe and embraced Craig's list. Great first experience.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who is this Crazy Cookie Lady?

In the last 5 days we have made:

1) Glazed Lemon Cookies
2) Rollo-pretzel Turtles
3) Sugar Cookies
4) Muddy Buddies (snow pillows)

Its been a little crazy, but fun. Highly recommend all the above recipes. Easy and great! And if you think you know sugar cookies - the Pioneer Woman's are awesome! And the egg glaze she uses to color them make for really pretty cookies!! This weekend I hope to make her chocolate candy cane cookies and my mom's favorite - buckeyes!

I usually make one of the above, and that it is. Not sure what has gotten into me. But the girls have been having fun. Even Big Man helped with the muddy buddies!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Its Pajama Time

Last week K had "spirit day" at school where she got to wear pajamas all day. In the morning she had a panic attack that she would be the only one in pjs when we got to school. I promised her that other kids would be wearing pjs - and even the principal. She thought that was hysterical that the principal would be in pjs. Then on Sunday, K and B were in their Church pageant. B was playing a "pajama kid". It meant she got to wear pajamas in the play and she was very psyched. Then B had "pajama day" at preschool. She was bummed that she couldn't wear her footy pajamas (I said she had to be able to wear shoes), but loved being in her nightgown all day. Luckily it was 60 degrees here today and they even got to play outside in the jammies.

I wish I could go to work in my jammies one day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Merry Christmas to Me!

Yayy! I got my Christmas ornament(s!!!). Julie was hosting the 2nd annual ornament swap. Last year was so great, so I was excited to do it again.

About 2 weeks ago, I got an adorable little pear ornament in the mail. No letter, nothing. Then I got a comment here from my secret santa saying more was on the way. Well, the rest came yesterday. Kristen was my secret santa and she sent me the coolest stuff! Not only did I get my pear - but I got a cute green snowflake and a gorgeous acorn. My kids LOVED playing with the bubble wrap - and point to the pear when the sing the 12 days of Christmas (which is CONSTANTLY!) The acorn also came in a GORGEOUS box that I will be immediately wrapping a gift in and passing on! Also, she said most of the stuff came from Etsy, a site I ADORE! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Go check out the ornament exchange - some great new blogs to read!

Don't these look great on my tree?


Thursday, December 11, 2008

High Kickin'

We took the kids (along with a bunch of our friends) to Baltimore last weekend to see the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. And I have to say it was. Very cool show - amazing stage design - nearly all the staging was done through this gigantic big screen that took up the entire stage, and provided all the backgrounds and some cool special effects. It was really very well done. Everyone enjoyed it. Even Big Man who kept yelling "Santa" every time he saw the big guy. Will be interesting to see how the breakfast with Santa at church goes this weekend.

We have been trying to plan a trip to NYC to see the Rockettes at Radio City for several years. Even though we started in April last year, it still didn't work out. We have 18+ people all together and the logistics are just insane. Maybe next year. But this traveling version of the show was really great - I highly recommend (and we were sitting literally in the highest row of the whole joint and it still was great!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Phil Collins - watch your back!

yes, I realize how much I am dating myself in the title!

So on Sunday we went over a friend's house to play Rock Band 2. Oh my gosh - I LOVE this game. Seriously, it is AWESOME. We have Guitar Hero already - but this is SOOOO MUCH better. The kids loved it too! I love the karaoke aspect..and I really loved the drums. ALOT. The drums were so much fun to play and I was much better at them than I expected. I played instruments when I was growing up (piano, violin, guitar, and finally trumpet for about 6 years), but never percussion. It was so fun playing the drums. K loved to sing and B liked the drums too. Big Man just wanted to do or "help" with anything.

We are really hoping Santa (Nana) brings us one this year.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Things they know....

So one day last week when I went in to wake up the girls, K was talking and 2x in the course of a sentence called me "Dada". So I was joking with her and B that I was NOT Dada, and did I even look like Dada? So then we were going through all the ways I don't look like Dada - I don't have a beard or moustache, I'm not a boy, I'm smaller than Dada, etc. Closing out the list K says "you wear pajamas." LOL It still cracks me up. Yup - when discussing major characteristics of mom and dad, the fact that dad sleeps naked makes the list. Gotta love it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Disney - part 2?

So I have to take a work trip in January to Orlando. I was moaning to my friend about the fact that I was going on January 16th - the day BEFORE my birthday in the year that Disney is giving away free admission on your birthday. She looks at me and points out that Jan 16 is HER birthday. So now we are looking into both going. I will have to work some on the 16th, but if we stay over til the 17th we could both go and only pay for one day. Hmmm.... Disney sans kids - sounds like fun!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Homemade Christmas

So I am working with the kids to try and make their presents to family, friends, teachers, etc. So far we have made:

1) String Bowls. These are cool. You take colored yarn and drench it in white glue. It takes a LOT of glue. Then you blow up some balloons and attach them to a paper cup or bowl to stabilize them. Then you drape the strands of yarn all around the top half of the balloon. After it dried, we also painted more glue on so it was crunchy (I have also heard you can use fabric stiffener). When all that is dry you pop the balloon (which does this cool crunchy deflating thing), and detach it from the bowl. Waaalaa. Very cool. We are going to make more of these.

2) Felt Animal Pens. I saw these here. Basically they are just ballpoint pens dressed up to look like animals. We made a dozen or so over Thanksgiving.

We also plan to make:

1) homemade melted crayons - I have been collecting old crayons to make a bunch of these babies.

2) Rollo Turtles - These are soooo awesome. Seriously. Oh my GOSH they are so good.

Any other cheap and easy ideas?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Still Alive

So I caught a horrible cold on the trip back from MA from Thanksgiving. We had a great Thanksgiving visit with my Dad. Dad and DH played bridge a few times at the National Bridge Tournament that just happened to be in Boston while we were there. We went to see Plymouth Rock and Mayflower II after K went on and on about the story of the first Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims coming over to Plymouth Rock. So we were actually educational. I joined the crazy mobs on Black Friday morning. I hadn't planned to, but couldn't sleep all night and found myself wide awake at 5am, so I figured - what the heck. I am now done Christmas shopping for the kids. Oh yeah!

I have pretty much been a slouch since Sunday. I went to work on Monday, stayed in bed all day yesterday, and am back at work today. I feel like I am on the mend, but will be much happier when I am well.

On the plus side, this is helping with my weight loss. I started the carb-deplete cycle of my diet plan again this week, and being sick I am not even hungry!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Count Down til Christmas

Disclosure: I am completely stealing this idea from Anastasia at The Gift.

I know, I know. Its just Thanksgiving. But really - Christmas is only 27 days away. I LOVE Christmas. I like the shopping, the traditions, the lights, the music, the excitement, the Nutcracker, family and friends celebrating - really everything about it.

I have decided to put up some version of my Christmas Village this year - you know, those Department 56 ceramic houses that crazy old ladies decorate with. LOVE EM! I haven't put it out much in the last few years cuz I have these crazy kids who would break play with them. But this year I am going for it. We finally got our plasma tv hung on the wall (after about a year), so there is room to put some on the entertainment center. We just have to keep them out of the reach of Big Man (and probably B.)

We are putting up our tree on Sunday. I can't wait. I also promised the kids we could bring out blankets and sleep under it the first night too. Not exactly what I planned as a school night, but ah well...

I have a bunch of shopping done, but still more to do. But I love it. I know there are people who don't, but I do. I love picking out just the right thing for each person. I am even making a bunch of my gifts this year. I even love wrapping. And seeing all the gifts under the tree.

So bring it on - I love Christmas and am glad the season is here!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In Thanks

wow..so much to be Thankful for. My amazing husband who deals with lots of crap and does his best to be an equal partner with the kids. My crazy kids who keep me insane and in love. My MIL without whose support and assistance we would be even more crazed. My Dad for his love and encouragement. My girl friends - who make my life fun and are the best friends anyone could ever have. For my job - and my DH's job which we are ever grateful to have. Our house, which we love and are also so grateful to have. For our health and that of our friends and family. So many things.

I hope you are with friends and/or family today and have much to be grateful for.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Grocery Shopping Fun

Grocery shopping with the kids almost always means "the cookie store" aka Harris Teeter. My kids will do anything for one of the free cookies they give away so we nearly always go there. But this week a Giant near our house got the "scan it" program. Has anyone else tried this? Its fun!

Basically when you go in the store you scan your "bonus card" and they give you a scanning gun. Then you scan your groceries as you put them directly in your grocery bags in your cart. Then we you checkout you just hand the scanner to the clerk - and don't even unload your groceries. You can then give coupons or whatever and you are done. So COOL! It was fun and efficient.

Apparently people will be randomly selected to check their individual grocery bags - but every once in a while that wouldn't be bad. I loved doing it, and I think it was faster.

I recommend you check it out!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

He Loves Me

So my son, age 2, has a SERIOUS Oedipus complex. According to Wikipedia (that font of all knowledge ;) ) this is supposed to peak between ages 3-5. If Daddy so dares to hug me or God forbid kiss me in front of Big Man, all heck breaks lose. He will start yelling "No Daddy!" "MY MOMMY" over and over and over. Even if we are in the car in the front seat and Big Man sees DH lean over and hold my hand - he goes crazy. I think it is cute and funny. DH - not so much. If we aren't even at the peak yet, this is going to be a long pahse. Anyone else had this? Any suggestions on how to deal with it?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Arghhhh...WINTERRRRRR

Winter has arrived. The weather report said it "may" hit 40-degrees today. I am so not ready for this. Just last week it was in the 70s (ok, so I was in Florida at the time, but still!). I can't beleive how cold it is. Time to pull out the hot chocolate, I guess!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wouldn't It Be Nice

So I am driving to work with B. It is just the two of us in the car. As we get on the highway, right before the bridge, we hit our regular traffic.

B says "Mom, I wish God had created fastpasses for cars. Then we could just speed past all this traffic."

I say "me too, baby"

She proceeded to flesh it all out the whole way to work.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Disney in Pics






(exhale) That was FUN!

Wow. We had such a blast at Disney. It was totally exhausting but also totally fun. We only made it to Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios - but it was GREAT! The girls were so into everything- they loved the rides, they loved meeting the characters, everything. Highlights:

1) Girls being called "PRINCESS" everywhere we went after having their Bippity Boppity Dos
2) B "screaming like a little girl" on Thunder Mountain - 5-6x
3) The girls faces when the met the Princesses
4) K's look of pure joy when she came off Space Mountain

It was such a great trip - and I will get into more detail (with pictures) soon. Thanks for all the great tips!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Disney Day One

So DH and the kids arrived today, and we met in the lobby of the Polynesian. Kids were ecstatic. Room wasn't ready (and I was still in a suit), so we grabbed some lunch. About 45 min later, we had our room, got our stuff, changed and headed towards the Magic Kingdom. Managed to give the girls their first ride on the Monorail in the front car - bad idea, now they expect it every time! Saw Pluto just as we got in, and the girls loved using their autograph books. Took the train around the park to Frontier land and just had time to ride Splash Mountain. K loved it - B was not happy with getting wet and the big 50-ft drop at the end. But later has said it was really fun. Then we went back to 1900 Park Fair for dinner with Cinderella and Friends. It was a HUGE hit. They loved the food - the characters - everything about it. HIGHLY recommend this one. I have to say, each of the characters took their time at our table - esp. Prince Charming. He looked through their autograph books at all the pictures - insisting on finding "his page" himself. It was very sweet and the girls loved it. They stayed up til 9pm (when we thought the fireworks were) and saw the Electric Light Parade, but still no fireworks. They went to sleep with the promise we would try and wake them at 10pm for fireworks.

Unfortunately I have to go all the way back to my meeting to work tomorrow (it was a $50 cab ride!) for about an hour, but that is life. Hopefully I make it back in time for our lunch at the Crystal Palace with Pooh.

Friday, November 7, 2008

One Day Til DISNEY

Woo hoo! Tomorrow dh and the girls come to Orlando for our Disney trip. I am already here for work. I cannot WAIT!!! We have all the character dining reservations, the Bippiti Boppiti Do reservations, and other plans. It is going to be great! Any last minute tips?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NaBloPoMo

I really wanted to do NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) - where you do a post every single day for a month. But why is it in November?? November is a crazy month for me. I always have at least one work convention out of town - sometimes two. And there is Thanksgiving. November just isn't a good month for me. I am thinking of doing my own version of NaBloPoMo for myself in January or February. I think that would work more for me.

Props to all those who are doing it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

wow


It is a new America. I couldn't be more proud of my country (and my state! Yay VA!)

Some of my neighbors had fireworks - real fireworks - last night. how cool. I have had very little sleep, but couldn't be more happy.

(ok, perhaps if Prop 8 had failed overwhelmingly in CA..still holding my breath on that one)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

VOTE

VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE

i have nothing more to say today

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Wrap-Up

So Halloween was great! First, last weekend our neighborhood had a little parade and party for the kids. They all loved it. Then on Friday, all the kids had parades at school. K has a school parade/walk for the homeless. I got to go on it with her and it was great. Her teacher was dressed as a tree - very cool. The younger two get to trick-or-treat in the office building where the daycare is. I didn't get to go, but DH did. Big Man was hysterical. On the way into school that morning, I had his Kung Fu Panda costume in a bag. He grabbed it and would not let go - "my panda". Then when trick-or-treating, his pumpkin got so full that his teacher said it nearly weighed as much as him. But nobody else could carry it for him - "my candy". Gotta love 2 year olds.

Then we all left work/school early to get the house and all set up for evening trick-or-treat. Nana came down so both DH and I could take the kids around. We had the fog machine and scary music running in the yard. It was great. The kids had a blast going out - Big Man even did his kung fu routine for a few folks. When we got home the kids LOVED being the ones to hand out candy at the door.

On Saturday we had a Halloween party. About 45 people - split evening kids/adults. A little crazy but really fun. We had lots of theme food - bat wings (chicken wings), jumbo candy corn (cheese pizza striped to look like candy corn), mummy dogs (pigs in blanket), bones (soft pretzels), and more. It was really fun. We invited people from work and school too so it made for a fun mix of people. The kids all had a blast playing together.

Yesterday we spent the whole day de-halloweening our house. Got the yard all cleaned up and everything inside put away as well. Normally we may have waited a week, but since we will be at Disney next weekend (YAAY!) we had to get it done asap. Then K and I went on the annual hunt for after-Halloween sales to get more stuff for next year. We scored some scary skeleton fence, some more serving platters, and a few more gravestones for the yard - all at 50% off. Gotta love it!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Why I Will Vote for Obama

I have hope for our country. Hope we can return to the prosperity of the 90s. Hope we can get our troops home safely. Hope we can provide for our citizens - with quality healthcare and education for all, affordable housing, aid to the poor, fair wages, and equal treatment. I believe we can once again be a peaceful nation. I believe that eventually we will return to budget surpluses like we had only 8 years ago. (!!) I believe people of all faiths, races, gender, and sexual preference should have the same rights.

I believe there is one person who can get us there - and that person is Barack Obama. And yes, he does NOT have direct experience to be President. NOBODY does. It isn't a job you can train for. There isn't a Presidential apprenticeship program. But Barack Obama has lived a exemplary life. He was born to a white single mother, and a black father he only wanted to know, raised by white grandparents who didn't have much money in a largely white community. He worked his !#*off, got scholarships and attended some of the finest universities in the country. He graduated at the top of his class from Harvard Law School, and instead of going into corporate law and making MUCHO bucks, Obama instead became a civil rights lawyer and teacher. He has been a "community organizer" (since when is that a negative term??!!), educator, state senator and US Senator. He has an impressive record of collaborating with Republicans and Democrats, of passing important legislation dealing with ethics, healthcare, education, human rights and poverty issues. Upon taking the oath of office, Obama immediately joined forces with one of the most conservative members of the Senate (Tom Coburn) to develop a website to track Federal Spending.

Obama will NOT raise taxes on people making less than $250,000. He WILL raise taxes on people making more than that amount. I have no problem with that. People with those types of resources are able to avoid taxes on more money than most people have. I believe Obama will greatly increase the numbers of people with health insurance. He won't get them all - but he will make a HUGE dent - without threatening the quality of care or coverage. I believe Obama will work to keep our troops safe- by keeping them out of needless wars that aren't ours to fight,and providing them will all the resources and benefits they need and deserve. Obama will regain our standing in the international community as a peaceful, respectful, caring nation. Obama will jumpstart our economy and bring jobs back to America. Obama will promote alternative energy - both eliminating our dependence on foreign oil and improving our environment. Barack Obama will continue to work to make America the place it can be for EVERYONE. And that is why he will get my vote.

Franky, John McCain scares the $*&# out of me. I think he is an American patriot. If this was the John McCain of 5 years ago - I would still not be voting for him, but I would respect what he stood for. I don't anymore. He is a scary old man who has lost his way and lost touch with the American people. He can be highly irrational (demonstrated by both his well-known temper, and his ludicrous selection of a VP candidate who isn't qualified to serve on the Cabinet - much less a heartbeat await from the Presidency); he is a HAWK of the highest caliber, and will have us invading Iran before the end of 2009; he will deny rights to women and gays; he will continue the Bush tax cuts for the rich, ignoring the middle and lower class; he will expand the number of people without healthcare - while destroying employer-paid plans for the rest of us; he will grow the deficit and continue with the same policies we have suffered with over the last 8 years. Instead of being a strong advocate for veterans, John McCain has actually denied improving educational benefits for veterans- less they have greater options than to stay in the military. John McCain is bad for America and, if he gets elected, we will all know it sooner rather than later.

Barack Obama gives me hope. He makes me believe. Barack Obama is the future of this country, and I hope the future is now.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Standing Tall, Standing Proud

I am a liberal and a lobbyist. There I have said it. But when did these become bad words??

Liberal is defined as "favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs; favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties; of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies; free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant." Why are these bad qualities? I think these are great qualities. But all of a sudden "liberal" is thrown about as if it were a horrible thing to be. Well, I am a liberal and proud of it.

I am also a lobbyist. Lobbyists also have gotten a bad rap due to the despicable actions of Jack Abramoff and the like. Lobbyists are defined as "A group of persons engaged in trying to influence legislators or other public officials in favor of a specific cause." Again, why is this bad? We ALL need lobbyists working for our interests. Lets say you are a mom, teacher, lector at your church, and soccer coach. You want someone making sure teachers get fair pay and decent work conditions; you want someone making sure your church is free from prejudice, subject to generous tax benefits, and able to continue its good works; and you want to make sure your daughters and sons have equal opportunities to enjoy sports. Well - you also have your personal views - about social issues, tax issues, defense, etc. So - you pay dues to groups that help promote your different agendas. Maybe you are in a teachers union or association - that group probably employs lobbyists to work for your causes. Same with your religious group and your soccer association. Lobbyist simply work for the good of the members who hire them. Most people have some kind of lobbyist working on their behalf. If you are a member of an association (AARP, NRA, AMA, ABA, AFL-CIO, National Assoc of Retailers, Natl Assoc of Small Business, NFL, Major League Baseball, Chamber of Commerce, Natl Restaurant Assoc, American Nurses Assoc - I could go on and on) - then you probably have lobbyists in Washington looking out for your industry, your interests. And this is a good thing. You can't watch out for all your diversified interests at the same time. So you watch out for you - and you pay dues to associations to watch out for your other interests.

So there I am - I have put it out there. I am a liberal and a lobbyist - and proud of it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Signs of Fall

Over the weekend we made applesauce. It was a big hit with the kids (well, the thought the end product was ok, but they loved making it). It was pretty simple - about 6-8 apples, some water, a bit of cinnamon, a bit of vanilla, cup of sugar, and some lemon juice. The kids loved peeling and coring the apples. And dumping everything in the pot. They also loved the mashing. We used a potato masher and just crunched it all up when the apples had softened. Makes me truly think of fall. (well, that and the 50 degree temperatures!!!)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Alive and Kicking

I am still here. I have not died or fallen off the face of the earth. I had a crazy business trip last week, then came down with an annoying cold that took away my will to do much. I still have the cold, but am on the mend. Anyway....

Great thing to recommend - Mama Mia, the movie SING-A-LONG version. I went last Monday with some girlfriends. I can't say I would recommend the film without the sing-a-long part. But with it - it was awesome. SO MUCH FUN. We went to this great local theater that has tables and chairs and full menus (including bar) instead of regular theater seating. It was really a blast. The place was packed and everyone was singing (they put the words on the screen below the movie) and getting into it. A great girls night out - I highly recommend!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Our Crazy Weekend









So this weekend was pretty nuts. Fun - but exhausting! Twice a year I participate in this big consignment sale, where I buy the vast majority of the kids clothes, and sell some old ones too. It was Friday night. DH was away this weekend, so I left work at 4pm, picked up all three kids and got home in time to meet the babysitter. Then my friend Holly and I drove out to the sale. We got there right at 6pm when it opened - and almost were able to skip the massive line. We were there for about 3 hours - which I know seems crazy - but there is all kinds of stuff, and you need to pick it out and sort through it then stand in the line from hell to checkout. It was great though - I got TONS of leggings for K (as requested), a few things for B, and LOTS of adorable Elmo stuff for Big Man. I also got dress up clothes for all three for a wedding we are going to in 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, my BF from college drove down from PA with her 2 kids and relieved my babysitter about 8:30pm. I got home and crashed! The next morning we all got up and went to the Fairfax City Festival. It was really pretty great. For $5 each the kids had free run of all the rides. They really enjoyed it. And my favorite 80s cover band was the lunchtime entertainment - even better! We met various friends there over the course of the day (we were there from 11am - 4:30pm!) and finally headed home.

At 6pm, said friends came over and we had dinner for 12 kids and 8 adults. One friend provided spaghetti and meatballs (already cooked!) and dessert for the kids. I made a quick chicken and pasta dish for adults.

On Sunday morning we woke up and dropped Big Man off with Nana. (A few weeks ago Nana pointed out that Big Man was rarely alone - especially with someone other than Mom or Dad. Since she is taking him for 5 days when we go to Disney, we decided we needed some dry-runs). The rest of us headed to Cox Farms for the Pumpkin Festival. It was fun - although VERY crowded. The kids enjoyed the slides, goat petting zoo, and the hay ride. It was pretty hot out - turned out I sunburned my face. Luckily none of the kids seemed impacted.

Last night we ordered Outback in cuz I was too tired to cook.

This morning my friend and her kids left, and I brought K to school. B and Big Man are off for the federal holiday, so Nana is home with them. I am at work. Finally getting some downtime. ;)

Tonight our (2nd run) local movie theater is having a sing along to Mama Mia! Yay!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Countdown to Disney

So this week we finally told the girls about our upcoming trip to Disney World. We are going next month for 5 days, and I have been planning this since April. I CANNOT wait. But we didn't think we could tell the girls until at least 30 days out. We had Mickey Mouse call the house and talk about an "upcoming trip". Then I asked the girls why Mickey would be calling about a vacation?? K slowly got it. Her eyes got big, and she said "are we going to Florida?" And I said "yessss"..then she said to "D...D...?" I laughed and said "Disney World!". Both the girls screamed. They are so excited. They were a little sad that Big Man would not be coming with us - but I explained that he was too little and would get too tired. I made them a Disney Countdown calendar using Home Depot Mickey-head paint chips. Each day they will rip one off, and that will tell them how many days until we go. Tonight we are going to show them the video Disney sent us about our trip. Man, this is going to be fun!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

$5000 - a drop in the bucket for healthcare

Under current law, the health insurance benefits provided by your employer are exempt from taxes. Under Sen. McCain’s health insurance plan, this exemption would be eliminated and instead families would receive a $5000 tax credit to purchase health insurance. This tax credit would NOT go to individuals - but directly to the health insurance provider. Given that the average annual cost of health insurance for a family of four is $12,000 that is still a hefty price tag for consumers. Add to that the fact that many employers are likely to stop offering coverage, and the price on health insurance could skyrocket (since employees generally pay less than individuals because they are purchasing as part of a pool). And if you are old, unhealthy, or have a pre-existing condition – forget about it. The Urban Insitute reports that the McCain plan would make insurance coverage less accessible and affordable for those with high health care needs. Although the plan would increase coverage among the currently uninsured, it would reduce the number already covered by employers, leaving about the same number of people uninsured. Even worse, since the value of the credit doesn’t increase witph time, it is likely the number of uninsured will start to climb dramatically after 5 years.

By comparison, Senator Obama’s plan would provide government subsidies to allow low-income workers to obtain health insurance. The Urban Institute anticipates Obama’s plan would reduce the number of uninsured by 18 million in 2009 and by 34 million in 2018. There are currently 45 million Americans without health insurance, according to the Census Bureau.

Although Obama would not get to "universal coverage" - it would take a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Want to Play a Game?

So our girls LOVE games. Virtually any kind of game will do. They particularly like Uno, Hungry Hippos, and Connect Four. Just recently we pulled out our old Nintendo 64 and showed them Mario Cart. They have also tried Viva Pinata on XBox. DH and I like games too, so it has been fun. The difficult part is figuring out games we can all play. Four of us can pretty successfully play Mario Cart, but we haven't figured out what to do with Big Man. Often he is happy sitting on someone's lap while we play.

It is also hard on K, who wants to play more advanced games, but with Big Man around, it is hard to keep him from taking pieces or otherwise messing things up. She really loves Rush Hour Jr, which is hard to play with Big Man around, cuz he wants to play with the cars.

Any good family games you would recommend?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tax and Spend


Ok...so there has been a lot of talk about the tax plans of the 2 Presidential candidates. I think this chart says it all! Basically, the more you make the more you benefit from the McCain plan, and the less you make, the more you benefit from the Obama plan.
Now, we (DH and I) make plenty of money. And I certainly would love to pay less in taxes. But seriously - just look at the directions of the taxes in the chart. Does that look right to you?!!?? Should the greatest tax cuts be gong to individuals making over $2.8 million dollars??!!! Honestly? While the middle class sees little to no change? This just says it all to me. I'll get into the healthcare debacle later..but on just taxation alone, I think this chart is very illuminating.

Monday, October 6, 2008

We Are READY!


Halloween is a big deal in our house. This weekend we got the yard mostly set up. The kids can't wait to wear their costumes. I so wish I could get on tape Big Man doing his Kung Fu Panda moves - it is so priceless!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

America and the World



Reported by Reuters (on a study by the Pew Institute) - the opinion of America from people around the world dropped by more than 20 percentage points during the Bush Presidency. And that is the overall number.


-- Number of people abroad who viewed America favorably in 2001: 58.3 percent
-- Number of people abroad who viewed America favorably in 2007: 39.2 percent

-- Number of people in Great Britain who viewed America favorably in 2001: 83 percent
-- Number of people in Great Britain who viewed America favorably in 2007: 56 percent

-- Number of people in Indonesia who viewed America favorably in 2001: 75 percent
-- Number of people in Indonesia who viewed America favorably in 2007: 30 percent

-- Number of people in Germany who viewed America favorably in 2001: 78 percent
-- Number of people in Germany who viewed America favorably in 2007: 37 percent

http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS15591+29-Jan-2008+PRN20080129

I think regaining World respect is something that will be critical for the next Administration.

Monday, September 29, 2008

On the Road Again

So this has been a crazy 6 days. On Thursday I was in Orlando for a presentation Friday. On Sunday I left for Charlotte for a presentation this morning. On Tuesday night I will take a train to Princeton, back on Wednesday. I NEVER travel like this for work. Really. I usually travel 3x a year. This has been a little crazy. Looking forward to Wednesday when all is back to normal. But I am getting a lot of reading time in!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The First Debate - live blogging

My stream of consciousness while watching the debate.....

McCain says he will veto all out of control spending bills - really, like Defense??!

McCain says "people who are under indictment are in control" - do you think that includes Republican Senator Ted Stevens from Sarah Palin's home state??

McCain thinks our business taxes are too high and should be cut. Are there any real Americans who care about that - seriously, is he that out of touch??!!

They are fighting over their tax plans. McCain appears to think it is inappropriate for Obama to consider people making more than $250,000 rich. I'm sorry - DH and I make a lot of money - but I think $250,000 is a GENEROUS definition of rich...should be lower....

McCain is saying some defense spending is out of control...interesting.

I love when "liberal" is used as a vicious slur.

McCain just said he thinks we should freeze spending for all except DEFENSE, entitlements, and veterans care -- ahh, that's more like it!

Why does Obama's hair look kind of green?

oh dear LORD...McCain is still talking about victory in Iraq...we won't come home until we have victory. ARGGHHHHHH

Is there anyone who doesn't think that a President McCain would have us in Iran before next summer?

blah blah...who can name more foreign leaders/regions...

Apparently McCain wants us in Iraq forever.

FINALLY Obama starts talking about state of economy vs defense spending

And...its over

My Bad

I have been a bad blogger. This week has been crazy at work - and I have 3 trips in the next 7 days. I don't usually travel - but I have been doing a lot in the last few weeks. All is going good. I am LOVING my diet. I am down 28 lbs since July. 28 lbs!!!!! Woo hoo! And I don't feel all hungry or denied. I am also more committed to exercise - both running and that killer b$(*$ Jillian's 30-day shred video.

Was in Orlando this week for work and picked up some Disney Dollars to give the girls when we tell them about the trip. We plan to tell them around the 8th of October. (I am making a countdown calendar to help them see how far away it is.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Our Crazy Fun Weekend

So this weekend was a little nuts. Saturday morning K and I get up and go to her first ballet class. It was really good, despite being only 30 minutes when it was advertised for 45. Then back home, after stopping at Goodwill so I could get a super short spandex miniskirt for my 80s outfit later. K also found a cute shirt and we got a ton of great books - all for like $12. Gotta love it. The girls then played their new Viva Pinata for a while. Its actually pretty cool - you build a garden which attracts all these animals and you have to make it work.

Then a quick lunch for everyone, and naps for the younger two. Then K and I went to her first soccer game. I will have to post some pictures later, but she really rocked. Given she couldn't name even one rule of soccer on the way to the game, I was somewhat concerned. But she did SOOOO good! She was ready to jump in there and try and get that ball. I was so happy for her.

Then back home (after the mandatory stop at the ice cream man), where I finally painted the hallway I had taped 4-5 days ago. Got the first coat up before I had to shower and change into my 80s clothes (oversized paisley blouse, black micro mini, black capri tights with lace on the bottom, white lace socks, saddle shoes, and big poofy hair with bow). I ran out to get money and chicken nuggets (we had a McD coupon), and back to find our friends and their 2 kids waiting. The babysitter was there and the four of us headed out. (BTW - my babysitter is awesome and nuts! For all five kids we usually pay her $25/hr..she sent an email last week saying that was too high and we should only pay her $20!!!) We went to dinner at a restaurant near the theater where the show was going to be. We were a few hours before the show so we got a few looks from diners at our outfits. By the time we left the place was full of 80s fanatics! Bon Jovi wigs, off the shoulder shirts, lace gloves with fingers cut out, pegged pants, etc! We headed to the Legwarmers show, which was totally awesome! We stayed until they finished - about 1:30!! WAAAAYYY past my bedtime.

We got home, and the kids were all sleeping! Hit the hay for a few hours, then dealt with 5 awake, slightly hyper, hungry kids. Got them fed and the 4 oldest to Sunday school. I went grocery shopping while they were there, then picked up my 2 (our friends picked up their kids from there). Home for a little bit, then off to the Nationals game. It was such a beautiful day for baseball. Kids got their cool free backpacks, and we stayed to let the kids run the bases.

By the time we got home we were all crashing. Quick dinner (turkey quesadillas - K had to sit there for 90 minutes to eat hers!), baths, and bed. I ran to Target to get new crocs for B (her current pair actually had a hole in the bottom of the shoe!), and some groceries we had missed. Home around 8:45, watched the Emmys until 10:30...then crashed.

A long weekend, but lots of fun! And now, back to my crazy overscheduled Monday!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Things I LOVE About Parenting

One of my greatest joys of being a parent is seeing how my kids treat each other. Now, my kids are little, and I know the sibling wars are coming, but for now, it is so cute.

Big Man LOVES his big sisters - especially K. K can do no wrong in his eyes. And she knows it and loves it. She is the first to run and get him his blanky if he is getting upset. If he is crying she will go pick him up. They are sooo cute together.

B worships K as well. She is always wanting to do and say exactly what K is doing/saying. If K is wearing a dress, B wants to wear a dress. If K is jumping, B will jump. And K does a pretty good job of putting up with it. They share a room - and often a bed. I love when I come up to check on them and they are like puppies sleeping - all piled on top of each other - legs and arms all around. It is so cute.

K is really a great big sister. She is amazing with Big Man and puts up with B's following her every step. Not always - apparently yesterday morning she told B she hated her (which lead to a discussion about the use of the word hate), but usually she puts up with it and tries to help B when she is doing things beyond her skills.

It is really just great to watch.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Its the ECONOMY, stupid

Remember back when we had a surplus??!! It was only 7 years ago. Yes, 7 years ago. And now we are in more debt than ever, our economy is in ruin, and our financial markets are failing.

And John McCain is ahead in the polls. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE, PEOPLE??!!!

President Bill Clinton left office in 2001 with a federal budget surplus of $127 billion. Checkout this cool graphic my friend Dave did to show what the deficit looks like now: http://www.crunchland.com/users/dsf/9trillion.gif

Household median income (adjusted for inflation) fell between 2001 and 2006- to $48,200 from $49,158 in 2001. Now that is only a difference of $1000 - but that is alot of money if you are the family making $48,000!!! The number of Americans living in poverty has gone up nearly 5 million between 2001-2006. And these are only numbers from 2006!! Wait until the 2008 numbers come out!!! Nevermind the housing crisis, or the collapse of Wall Street.

How many more corporations will the government (ie taxpayers) have to bail out for people to want this to STOP?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Overscheduled

I am officially one of those moms. I have totally over scheduled my poor 6 year old. She has soccer (one practice a week, one game on the weekend), ballet (once a week), and swimming (once a week). So now on, she goes to school. At 6 (or hopefully a bit before) I pick her up at extended day, have her put on her shin guards and socks, and walk out to the soccer field. At 6:45 (15 minutes early) we get up and walk back to our house (thank GOD our house, the school, and the field are so close!). When we get there, B is waiting in her bathing suit, with a grilled cheese sandwich in her hand for K. We all climb in the car and drive like crazy to swimming across town. On the way K eats her "dinner". We run in, and both girls do swimming. Not sure when K puts her bathing suit on. Last night we managed it after Extended Day (under the soccer clothes). Too crazy.

Sadly, Saturdays may be the same way with Ballet 20 miles away, and Soccer games moving around in terms of time.

Meanwhile B only has swimming, and Big Man gets nothing.

Ah well....the joys of parenting!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How Can This Be???

I stole this from Minivan Mom. I LOVE it.

America is Scary

* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."
* If you grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, you're a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack, you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
* If you name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

* If you graduate from Harvard law School, you are unstable.
* If you attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system, while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant , you're very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.
* If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

Seriously. I read these polls and I cannot believe it. What is going on in this country??!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yay for Me!

Courtney at Ramblings of a Working Wife and Mom gave me this sparkly award! This lets me highlight some wonderful blogs that I read.



Here are the rules:

1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
2. Link to the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs. (or however many you want - I did 5)
4. Put links to those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you have nominated.

Now my turn to nominate others for the award:


1. Amy from A Family Story

2. Shelli from BagMomma

3. Minivan Mom

4. Pam at Random Thoughts

5. Laura at Lunatic Fringe

Friday, September 12, 2008

Countdown to Disney

So I am sooo excited to tell the girls about our Disney trip. I can't wait to see how happy they are going to be. But I know (and DH reminds me) that we can't tell them too early, cuz they don't really have such a great handle on time. And they will be asking when we are going every hour of every day.


But..last week I found a way to do it. I took a bunch of Mickey Mouse paint sample ears from my local home improvement store, and I am making a countdown calendar. That way they can rip off one mouse-ear a day and they will see how much time we have left. We also plan to use Disney's Enchanted Call to let them know. I can't wait. But we are still going to wait another month..and tell them 30 days before we go.


Can I wait that long??? We'll have to see. If anyone as any other ideas, I'd love them!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Racking Up the Frequent Flier Miles

I don't travel much for work. Usually 2-3 trips of 4-5 days per year. Not so much. But in the next 30 days I have 4 trips already scheduled. I am trying to keep them short (I was in Miami for 7 hours on Wednesday), but will definitely miss a few mornings or dinners. The good news is that I will be building up those frequent flier miles that I decimated when I went to Paris!

I hope to get a lot of reading done. Anyone else have plane time-killers? Although napping is appealing as well! Maybe catch up on all my ITunes Podcasts.... hmm maybe it will be nice to have some time to myself!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

YES YES YES!

ok..i can't take it any more. My posts over the next few months will disappoint and upset my MIL. And for that I am very sorry. But I just can't keep quiet anymore. MIL -- please stop reading my blog for the next 60 days. thanks!

Please go read this article. She is so right on! Its Gloria Steinem on Sarah Palin. And it is awesome. "This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need." YES YES YES

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cleaning Frenzy

Every once in a while I get a cleaning/organizing bug. I had finally had it with my pantry. Unfortunately I don't have any "before" pictures, but I promise you - it was a disaster. The doors did not close all the way, and when you opened it, stuff would fall out. EVERY SINGLE TIME. It was impossible to find things, and people we scared to open it.

Last Friday I went to nirvana the Container Store and got some great bins for less than $3 each!!! I know!!! Anyway, they fit my pantry perfectly. So we went home and the kids' activity was helping me empty the pantry and sort all the crap into piles by type - sauces, canned fruit/veggies, soups, snacks, etc. Fun for the whole family (actually the liked it). We put it back into the storage bins, and back in the pantry - tada - an organized pantry with doors that actually close!!!


After that success in the kitchen - I moved into other rooms. I started to deal with the hazardous waste site disaster we call our old bedroom, the closet in Big Man's room (which held all my too small clothes that I have now moved into my own spare closet), and the dvd's in our living room. I am still feeling the bug, so who knows what might be next!

Friday, September 5, 2008

wow!

Did you all notice that Tatiana de Rosnay, the author of Sarah's Key, commented on my post reviewing her book?!! Is that the coolest thing or what! She sure has some awesome publicists to come across my little blog with a review.

Customer Service Announcement

Did you have any line of open credit (car loan, mortgage, credit card, student loan?) between January 1, 1987 and May 28, 2008? If you didn't I would be SHOCKED. So - that means, basically everyone is entitled to 6-9 months of daily monitoring of your credit file plus unrestricted access to your credit report and your credit score!!!

Apparently there was a big national class-action lawsuit against on of the major the credit reporting agencies, and to settle they had to provide this service. But you have to sign up by September 24, 2008.

Do it - there is no reason not to. The website to sign up is www.listclassaction.com or call 866 416 3470.

The full article on it is here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/27/AR2008062700153_pf.html

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My CRAZY girls

So here are my girls jamming to music at the last day at our pool. I swear there was music - even though you can't hear it here!


video

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Day of School

Look at my big girl -- off to 1st grade!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Book Review - great find!

So, given that I was just in Paris (have I mentioned that, hee hee), I have been reading a bunch of books that take place in Paris or have something to do with it. Before our recent family trip, I ran to our public library to grab a few books. In the "featured book" section I found a book called Sarah's Key. It was such a great read. It is a book about the French treatment of Jews in WW II. It was really fascinating, and took place in the neighborhood we stayed in - le Marais. I highly recommend it. I read it in one day - a day where I spent 10 hours in an amusement park with my kids. Probably got through the whole thing in 2 hours. I couldn't put it down. A bit sappy, perhaps, but I loved it.


frustratingly - it appears the author is French, and all her other books are yet to be translated....

Friday, August 29, 2008

Finish the Sentence

I saw this Meme on Diary of a Modern Matriarch and thought it looked fun. Rules are easy -

Finish the sentence.


Maybe I should learn to use my sewing machine.

I love the smell of stove-cooked popcorn (not the microwave crap).

People would say that I am busy!

Tomorrow I will start coming up with a plan to clean our old bedroom.

I don’t understand why people still support President Bush. (sorry, I really don't)

I lost my sanity long ago - thank God, or I would go crazy!

Life is great, fun, exhausting, joyous.

My past involves good times with good friends and family.

I get annoyed with close-minded people.

My idea of a good time is hanging out in my kitchen with my friends and our families.

I wish I had about 10 hours more a day!

I have low tolerance of ignorance.

Never in my life have I been water skiing (and not regular skiing since I was about 6).

High School was fun.

When I'm nervous I realize I am probably doing something good for myself.

I'm almost always doing six things at one time.

I'm addicted to decaffeinated raspberry ice tea.

I want someone to clean my house.

I am not going to tag anyone - but feel free to use!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Olympic Fun

So I didn't blog about it - but I had so much fun watching the Olympics this year. Introducing my girls to the Games was such fun. They were mesmerized by gymnastics, swimming, diving, synchronized diving, equestrian, synchronized swimming and volleyball. They really loved it. It made it such fun to watch with kids seeing it for the first time.


Of course now we have a fish named Nastia. I begged them to name our new fish Michael Phelps, but no go. My DH was like "what, who? I think you got her name wrong". ummm...nope

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Amusement Park Vacation

So last week our daycare was closed. It always is this year - we still have to pay, and frankly, I'm not sure why they close, but they do. So, just like last year, we decided to go to Pennsylvania for a quick easy vacation.

On Sunday we went to the Nationals game (don't even talk about how they are playing), and in about the 6th inning, left to go to Lancaster, PA. The kids slept almost all the way, and we arrived, quickly checked in to our cottage, and headed for Dutch Wonderland. I LOVE this park. Designed for younger kids (i would say under 10), low-key, inexpensive, etc. They also let you come in after 4pm if you are buying tickets for the next day. LOVE that. So we spent a few hours, and reintroduced the kids to the park.

The next day (Monday) I spent over 10 hours in the park with the girls. OY! DH and Big Man went back for naps mid-day but we hung in there. It was actually great. They went on every ride and while DH was gone, we went to the water park. They have these great gigantic water slides (4 stories or more) that you go down in a raft. They were SOOOOO much fun. We also saw lots of shows and just had a great time.


The next day we went to a big farm that had hay chute slides, a petting zoo, a corn maze, and the like. It was fun and a nice change. Then, at lunchtime we got in the car and drove 1 1/2 hours to Sesame Place. We had 2 day tickets (they are really all they sell - for a CRAZY Disney-like price!!!) so went in that evening. I was concerned that Big Man would be afraid of the 6-foot Elmo and the other characters. He was a little hesitant when we first went in and saw Super Grover, but then we went to the Abby Cadabby show, sat in the front row, and Big Man was enraptured! He really loved it. When we went back the next day, he had an Elmo shirt on, and LOVED repeatedly showing it to Elmo whenever we saw him. The girls liked it too. K even got to dance with Ernie during the parade!


All in all a great vacation and a nice family getaway!


Now back to work and reality!!


Want more vacation stories? Visit We Are That Family for the Sizzling Summer Vacation Spectacle starting Friday!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Democratic Convention

Why oh why do I have to stay up so late to see Michelle Obama?? I am tired, but I don't want to miss it. On the other hand, I wept to see how well Ted Kennedy did. As a Massachusetts transplant, I love him. I have to - its inbred when you are born in Boston. But he was so brave and strong to get up and speak at this meeting. And so inspirational...

Food Fun - Part II

So after our first week of teaching the kids how to eat like people (where every single night was a screaming, hysterical, sobbing mess), the kids got a break because we went on vacation. I wasn't going to make them actually order stuff they won't eat from a menu.

But tonight we were back at it. Actually last night, but that was just pasta, bread, and applesauce - and they eat that all the time. Tonight was steak sandwiches, hash browns, and broccoli. And -- AMAZINGLY -- there was no crying. There was even a bit of enthusiasm. What a miracle!!! They didn't happily eat it - but they did eat it - most of it. It was awesome. And like I said, NO FUSSING. I'm sure it is a temporary bloop, but I will take it!!

Tomorrow is salmon - something neither my husband or I eat. I am the worst New Englander ever - I don't like snow - I don't ski - and I don't eat fish. My Dad, when he was growing up, his mother served dry fish sticks EVERY single Friday. So when he got married, my Dad told my mother he would not eat fish - ever. My mom loved fish, and used to get it at restaurants, but we never had it at home. So I never got a taste for it. But it is so good for you, so I want to try and like it.

So, tomorrow night lets hope there are not 5 sobbing, hysterical people at my dinner table! Wednesday night is terryaki chicken.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Healthy Eater 101

K is a horrible eater. Has been since she was a toddler. Now, at 6, she eats NO vegetables, and NO fruits. Seriously. She eats baby food banana/mixed berries and she eats applesauce, but that is it. She also eats no meats. Chicken nuggets only. No hamburger, no hot dogs, no grilled chicken or chicken in any form other than nugget, no red meat, no pork, no turkey or other poultry. She is pretty much surviving on dairy (yogurt, cheese) and grains (bread, bagels, cereal, pasta). She will eat peanuts and cashews to help with protein and she likes quiche (with cheese only, of course).

B, at 4, is a much better eater. She loves all fruits, many veggies, but is also bad on proteins. She will eat chicken nuggets and grilled chicken pieces - but that is about it. She also like nuts, but does no like eggs. Worse, K has started to wear off on her and she is getting picky.

Big Man eats everything and lots of it (he moved up to the 20% at his 2-year checkup - yay!).

This is something I have wanted to work on for a while, but just haven't had the will. A few weeks ago, the straw broke the camels back. I had taken the girls berry picking and we made a beautiful strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry pie. It smelled soooo good. B eats all these berries and LOVES them. She also like bread. So pie should be right up her alley. I knew K would scoff at it. When it had cooled and I cut a slice for B, she refused to even taste it. I was so angry. I actually left the room and went upstairs so I didn't just kill them. When I came down I was still really pissed. I basically told them that I had had it. They were not going to continue to eat like they were and when I got back from vacation we would all eat as a family. Whatever mommy (or daddy) cooked for dinner was IT. Nothing else unless you clear your plate, and no snacks when they come home from school (they get a snack at school at 4pm).

This week we started it. And what a joy it has been. Monday I played it easy on them - homemade chicken strips and McDonalds french fries. I actually went to Mickey Ds and bought the fries. Big Man gobbled it all up and wanted more. K and B sobbed to the point of hysteria all through dinner. DH decided that they could not leave the table until they had finished their plates. They had about 4-5 small pieces of chicken. K finally finished around 8:15 (15 minutes past bedtime). B didn't finish until nearly 9:15, after I had coated each piece in grated cheese.

Tuesday we had pork tenderloin with rice and green beans. The rule was you could leave the table after you had tried a bite of everything on your plate, but no more food unless you finished your dinner. This got all three of them screaming crying. Big Man liked the rice and green beans, but the pork was too much chewing for him. He had two pieces, and cried when I wouldn't give him yogurt. I could not get him to understand he had to eat the other two first. But I didn't want to break the rules in front of the girls. K and B again had sobbing crying fits. B eventually ate enough to get a cheese stick. K ate one piece and was done.

Tonight we are having chicken Marsala with pasta. Should be lovely. I think we are in for a few weeks of this, but I am hopeful we will someday have our nice, pleasant dinners. At the very least, I think I am going to need a nightly glass of wine with dinner to get through all the tantrums!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

His Expression Just KILLS Me

We had a lot of picnics in Paris. We would grab some baguettes, some cheese, some wine and some pasties and just pop a squat. One day, while picnicking near the Eiffel Tower, I decided to get a group picture. I carefully set my camera up on top of some plastic cups and set the timer. As I ran around my friends to drop into the picture, I slipped and slid on the grass and sort of ended up sliding into my spot. It didn't hurt, and was completely hysterical - especially the way I am looking happy and perfect in the picture while all my friends are looking at me.


But the best part is in the background of the picture. Over my shoulder is a police officer. He saw the whole thing and has the most priceless expression. Here it is blown up:



He looks so appalled. I can barely type this it makes me laugh EVERY time. He actually jumped over the little fence to come to my aid. He had a little hanky out for me to wipe the grass stains off my leg. I just couldn't stop laughing.

Here is the pretty version of the picture:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Just Can't Help Myself

So my middle child is a trip. Truly she is goofy, silly and just plain loco. Last night was no exception.

K came downstairs about 40 minutes after bedtime and said that B was singing loudly and refusing to stop. As she is saying this she is in our front hallway, and I see B sneak around her, go through the dining room and into the kitchen. K continues to complain and B pops out of the kitchen into the hall in front of her and is singing, strumming an imaginary guitar, and doing a kind of ho-down dance. I got out one "B, go to sleep!" before I just lost it. I was totally cracking up right in front of them. B kept dancing and singing and K started laughing too. In a few minutes we got them both upstairs and back in bed.

That girl is just crazy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Potty Tales

So while we were in Paris I had the joy of experiencing the public toilet. In Paris they have these sort of large tin cans that serve as individual public toilets. They are really kind of cool if you don't think about it too much. They used to cost money, but are now free. You push a button on the outside. If they are unoccupied the little bright silver door slides open. It automatically slides closed behind you. Once inside, you will see this:
Now, if you are like me, the first thing you will notice is that there is no drain. NO DRAIN. So where, pray tell does the waste go? I couldn't figure it out, so chose not to make any deposits. BTW - above the toilet contraption are a mirror, toilet paper, and (supposedly) hand sanitizer. I wasn't sticking my hands anywhere near any surface in here, so I never found out about the sanitizer.


Now comes the interesting part. You turn the handle to open the door to get out of the tin can. When you do, the door automatically closes behind you and locks. You will then see a sign outside that says "occupied". You then hear lots of commotion from inside and what sounds like an industrial shower. Thanks to the miracle of Google, I now know why there is no drain. Apparently the entire unit flips up into the wall and is thoroughly washed out on the other side (the waste disposal side). Then it flips back down and the door unlocks and is again available. It is kind of neat when you think of it. Where the waste goes from there I have no idea (nor do I want to know. Similar to my lack of any interest in the "sewer museum" my friends went to while I read a book outside. For me, the less known, the better).


Anyway, we also visited one of Paris' most beautiful public toilets that does not resemble this contraption in anyway. It was near the church of Mary Magdalene, and was GORGEOUS. Here are some pictures. I couldn't' get any really good ones due to the big sign that said "no pictures" - in ENGLISH. Seriously, why do the French think we would take pictures of bathrooms? Seriously! (hee hee) Anyway, these were Art Nouveau and very cool. Gorgeous tile and VERY clean. I highly recommend them if you are ever in need in Paris.






Monday, August 11, 2008

Girls Gone Paris


We had such a fantastic trip. Great weather, amazing food, beautiful sites, and of course, amazing friendship. It was a perfect week. We walked, ate, and drank ourselves silly. Crunchy bread, yummy wine, creamy cheese, sweet glace', and scrumptious pastries. Despite all of it I only gained 1.5lbs - we walked ALL OVER. I will do a bunch more posts in the next few days (my perspective on public toilets in Paris, a story that will make the 7 of us laugh til we cry, and more), but lets just say it was AWESOME.