Friday, May 30, 2008

Fun Ways to Exercise as a Family

So DH and I could use some more exercise. And after a scary series in the Washington Post about childhood obesity (although my kids have no weight issues yet), I have decided we need some family exercise. I think we start with a half hour walk. I proposed this to the girls earlier in the week and got lukewarm response. So I decided I would make it a game. I made a bunch of Bingo cards to use on our walks (see pic). Each of the squares has a picture of something we might see on the way - a bird, a fire hydrant, a porch, a swing, a squirrel - stuff like that. So last night we tried it for the first time. Oh my gosh, they LOVED it. It was more like a scavenger hunt to them. The only part that was bad was that they were screaming whenever they found one of the things. They were so excited, but they were scaring people. Seriously, a guy jogs by with a dog - and they are both like "DOG DOG DOG!!!!" at about 50 decibels. And the guy nearly hit a telephone pole. They want to go again tonight, so if we can tone it down a bit, I think it will work out great!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ooooh..that face!

Big Man has a funny face he likes to make. He kinda scrunches up his mouth and nose and makes this angry face. This is my attempt to take a picture. The best part is that he knows it is funny, and he can usually only hold it for a second or two before he cracks himself up.

Oh my can you not just want to adore that face?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Shoes, shoes, glorious shoes

I LOVE shoes. Really. I think shoes can totally make an outfit. Some of my favorite shoes are bright colors that I usually have no more than one outfit they work with. Currently I adore my teal sling back pumps. Coolest thing is that I had an hour to kill on the way to give a presentation. I ran into a DSW looking for teal pumps. And there they were - in my size! LOVE THEM! I also adore my suede faux-crocodile pink pumps. Currently I have nothing to wear them with, but I love them just the same. I also love my shiny merlot patent-leather pumps that kill my feet. They look so awesome...I just need to be sitting down.

When we were building our addition last year, one of my criteria was that I never wanted to want for closets again. So, our bedroom looks like a cross. It started as a square, but all four corners are used. One is our awesome master bathroom with huge shower. The other three are closets!!! And two are mine. Here is my favorite thing in my big closet - my shoe shelf. Not all my shoes are in there yet, but I LOVE it. I feel like I am in a shoe store when I go in there in the morning to pick out my shoes for the day.

My favorite place to buy shoes - Great shoes, good deals, and free overnight shipping. Free returns too. Couldn't recommend more.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sometimes a Little Effort Goes a Long Way

On this Memorial Day weekend it's hard not to think about all the soldiers who are away from their families and risking their lives in service to their country. Personally I think the war has always been a horrible idea and that the best way to support our troops is to bring them all home immediately. But this post isn't about that - it's about them.

The conditions some of our men and women in uniform are living in are simply abominable. They have little running water, little sanitation, horrible quality food, etc. And we as a people should not allow this to continue. I have been using this site - for about a year. The site was started by a soldier as a way to let his family know what supplies they needed overseas. It is now huge. It allows members of the military to post a little about themselves, their unit, and what kinds of things from home they could use. The most commonly asked for goods are deodorant, Gatorade (or other powders you can mix with water), baby wipes (to help keep them clean in all the sand and dust), and beef jerky (easily portable food). I have been sending boxes over there and I can't tell you how much they appreciate it, and how good it makes me feel to even be able to help that little. Last year I even did a drive at work and sent nearly 10 large boxes over their for the troops.

Check it out - read the stories, see what kind of horrible conditions they are being subject to. And think about the next time you go to the grocery store or Target picking up a few extra items and sending them to a soldier in need. Not only will they get needed supplies - but it is really a boost for their morale to know that even strangers are thinking of them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fear of Weather

My K has been petrified of tornadoes recently. She saw this picture on the news and has had bad dreams and the like since then. Arghh. We have tried to explain that we don't really get tornadoes here (not exactly true), and she has nothing to worry about. We looked at a map of the US and showed her Kansas and showed her all the mountains in between here and there and explained that the tornadoes would never make it that far. We also have talked about what we do when we have bad weather and what we would do if there was ever a huge storm like a tornado. We told her that we have had several hurricanes, and explained that although we lost some trees, we were not in any danger. Anyone have any other thoughts?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Where Have I Been?

So this is a map of the US and all the states I have visited in my life. I did not include places where I have only been to the airport. Guess I need to visit more northern states. And not sure how I have managed to miss Alabama all this time!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ahhh...finally a break

{B using the ramp}
{Big Man giving High Fives}

{K trying it freehand}

Work has been NUTS! And because it wasn't enough, we had a conference in town last week. Nothing like 15,000 of your members to get your adrenalin pumping. Bottom line - I survived. I think the kids thought I had lost it. I worked a bunch of late and early hours (including SATURDAY!!!) So DH and I decided to dedicate Sunday to them.

First, we went to a theater to see "Sesame Street - Dinosaurs". Its a cute video that features Abbey Caddaby (the girls current favorite) and Elmo (Big Man's favorite). The theater had a great deal - cheap tix, cheap popcorn and lemonade, and followed the movie with story time (a book also about dinosaurs), sesame coloring pages, and free pizza! Great deal!

Then we went to a local mall (it was raining) and let the kids play in the play-area for a while. After lunch and naps, we headed to a local bowling alley. The kids had never been bowling, and man, did we have fun. They really loved it. The alley was great, and not only had bumper guards, but even these little metal ramps the kids could use to push the ball down.

We followed it up with dinner at the local chili joint. A great day - and very relaxing.
Maybe one of these days I'll clean my house.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Splish Splash!

A few weeks ago K was invited to a birthday part at a splash park. It was in Chillum, Maryland. Being a VA girl, I don't know MD at all. I know Bethesda, a little of Kensington, and a tiny bit of Baltimore. But other than that - I'm lost. All I could figure was Chillum was F-A-R away, since I had never heard of it. We were running late, but got in the car and turned on the GPS. Turns out Chillum is right next to DC - just across the border. Really close - about 20 minutes from our house, and it was a GREAT place.

A really cute indoor water park - a bunch of slides (probably almost 10!)..splash pools, etc. It was really clean too. We went on a rainy, cold Sunday and it was mostly empty! I have no idea how much it costs, cuz we were at a birthday party - but it given its a public park, I imagine its pretty cheap. Anyway, if you are local - I highly recommend! It's called Rollingcrest-Chillum Splash Park. Great place to get away with the kids!

Friday, May 9, 2008

They Say the City Lights are Bright

My B is sick today. But normally she has a very sparkling personality. I knew this - but usually she has been somewhat shy around other people. Until recently. She has now figured out that an audience is golden.

It started out a month or so ago. We were at the final class of K and B's gymnastics. The teachers were giving out ribbons. The kids could walk up on the "stage" get their ribbon and bow, curtsy, or wave to the crowd. Of the 22 kids - 21 got their ribbon and shyly waved. B was the last kid called up. She shyly went up, took her ribbon, then turned to the crowd and did a perfect curtsy. It was sooo precious. I can't believe I didn't have my camera.

Then a few weeks ago we started swimming lessons. We found a time where all 3 kids go to class at the same time at the same place. Perfect! DH goes with Big Man into the kiddie class, K goes to Swim 3, and B to Swim 2. Mom stands ready with towels. So, DH and Big Man get done and head to the showers. I grab B and head for the girls' showers. K's class goes 10 minutes longer, so she stays in the pool. I get B in the locker room and push her into the communal shower. She was the only one in there. After a minute or two I tell her I want to go check on her sister in the pool. We run through our normal security drill (Me - so, if someone comes in and says, "little girl, there's a pony outside - want to go for a ride?" what do you say?? B - NOO! YOU ARE NOT MY FAMILY!) OK, check. So I pop outside the locker room to check on K. As I come back in, I hear very loud singing. I walk over to the shower, and there is B...dancing and singing at the top of her lungs, up and down the length of the shower. She has a group of toddlers and moms watching her from the locker room, and she is having a BLAST! It was so funny. I had never seen her like this around strangers. I would have taken video, but it was probably child porn, since she was naked.

Anyway, this is her routine every week at swimming now. This week as we were getting her bathing suit off, she said "time for my show!", and off she went. she comes!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Weird Inside the Beltway Things

So I have been thinking about life "inside the beltway" as we call things DC-centric here. There are a few things that I think would be very weird to those outside. First, is Line Standing. This is an actual occupation here in the DC area. Companies provide individuals to stand in line for Congressional hearings, which are often held in tiny rooms that fill up so you cannot get in. These companies charge upwards of $40/hour for line standing. Some employee college students (I would think would be the perfect candidates) but often, they are adults.

The other thing is slugging. Wikipedia tells me there are other cities that do this, but I have never heard of it outside of DC. The practice of slugging is used when there are many HOV traffic lanes during rush hour, and people need carpoolers. "Slugs" wait by designated stops near the entrance to the highway and get picked up as a way to speed up everyone's commute. I think it is such a cool idea. I don't know if I would ever do it (although I know people who have), out of fear of getting in a stranger's car. But in the DC area there have been no cases of slugging abuse ever documented. There is even a cool website that gives the appropriate etiquette for slugs and places where slug-lines are commonly found.

What is a unique thing in your area?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Food and Drink Pairings

Now I know I had a recent post about wine, but don't go thinking I'm getting all foodie on you. I had to share this sign I saw at a recent stop at Burger King. Seriously. Burger King. I prefer the Sprite with the Tendercrust. You?

Friday, May 2, 2008

You Must Be Out of Your Freakin' Mind

We had Big Man's evaluation for speech therapy last week. Actually, they evaluate you for all development - motor skills, speech, emotion, cognitive, etc. The ladies who came to do it were great, and it was fascinating finding out what they read into my son's actions. Basically they played with him for 45- 1hour and then wrote up some basic findings. When they were done they went through them with me. At one point one of the ladies was playing catch with Sam. Then Sam turned and threw the ball to the other lady. They were happy to say this demonstrated "initiative play". Okey dokey. He scored at or above age level for all the motor skills and cognitive skills, emotional, relationship, etc. Basically, he just doesn't seem to want to speak English. So he qualifies for once a week speech therapy. Yay! Now I am working with insurance and the like to work out all the pay-fors.

But the funniest thing that came out of the session was when one of the women asked if I had started him on potty training. I started laughing and pointed out that we don't even let him in the bathroom because he drinks from the toilet. She did not laugh and said she thinks he is ready (based on WHAT??) and we should start working on that. She even put it in the formal written report.

Is she high? Seriously. He is 21 months (ok, 22 now). I easily potty-trained each of my girls at 2 1/2. You expect me to start earlier for my caveman-like son? It still cracks me up every time I think about it.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tastes Like Summer

So one of my friends introduced me to Vinho Verde. Oh my goodness - it is the lightest, crispest, summery wine you will ever try. It is on the dry side, but has a bit of effervescence - soooooooo good. I highly recommend it. It comes from Portugal, and sometimes you can find it at Trader Joe's. Extra benefit - its cheap! I've seen it as low as $6! Enjoy!