Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!

Goodbye to 2009 and many hopeful thoughts for 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas One And All



May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.
~Author Unknown


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Best Hot Chocolate Ever




So with the cold weather, hot chocolate is a must. To make a proper cup of hot chocolate you need 3 things - milk (NEVER make hot chocolate with water. ick. Always use warm milk - or half & half - or cream if you must, but never water); cocoa powder, and Bailey. The variety of Bailey's is up to you - I prefer caramel Baileys - but original or mint work well too. Heat milk, pour over cocoa, add Baileys. YUMMMMMMMMMM! That says winter to me!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blizzard-apalooza


So the DC area got hit by something like 16 inches of snow - a record for December and very unusual. The two plows did the best they could, but we still have lots of snow. The kids enjoyed sledding, although making a snowman proved difficult as this was the powdery kind of snow, and not the mushy kind. Hopefully we will make one tomorrow, as school is closed. They better have school Tues and Wed as I have LOTS of wrapping and such to do that I cannot do when they are home!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmastime is Here!


This was a perfect weekend for getting ready for Christmas! It even snowed! We put up the tree, put out a little version of the Christmas village, lit the porch and inflated Frosty in the front yard. It was great. I am really in the Christmas spirit! How 'bout you?


Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanks for the Memories

Big Man's summary of Thanksgiving:

  • I had Turkey (he did not - he refused to even try)
  • I went to Grampa's
  • Grampa has a dog
  • I ate a donut

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crafting it Up!

I have been doing all kinds of crafts for Christmas. And there are so many great ideas to be had online. My favorite one is One Pretty Thing. It finds all the best ones from the whole webisphere and puts them together. Great ideas every day - without having to visit millions of blogs.

Of all the things we have found, so far we have made this:

Lots more to go!

Still want to make these: boa feather tree - the girls will LOVE these!, memory ornament - isn't that the best idea!!, awesome ornament for some new babies friends are having,

Happy to get betting my crafting groove on again! That's what works for me this Christmas! For more Works for Me Ideas - visit: http://www.wearethatfamily.com/

Monday, November 30, 2009

Why does it feel like the Medical Establishment Hates Women?

so really? In the same week there is report that we need less mammograms AND less pap smears. REALLY? The day the mammogram report came out a colleague was having a lumpectomy for a a breast cancer tumor that could not be felt at all and was only detected through a mammogram. Now, she is over 50, and would fall under the new guidelines, but still. And to say no to self-exams? WHY?? That one I really don't get at all. How can that hurt? I get that mammograms are radiation and you want to limit that - but self exams???

Now I read that a medical study back in 2002 showed the same results - that delaying mammograms and spacing them wouldn't impact breast health. So I don't think it is some sort of conspiracy. But I have to say I don't understand it. Will be a good conversation to have with my ob/gyn.

Then there is also a study saying people should get pap smears less often. Again, really? I mean not that I relish either of these tests, but why is limiting them or delaying them make sense. Again, look forward to talking to my Dr.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So Very Thankful


Happy Thanksgiving one and all. I am Thankful for my wonderful family and my amazing friends. They make my life so much fun and so worth living. I can't thank them all enough. Hope you are all enjoying the day with your loved ones, as we are!

Here is a joke to amuse the kids at the dinner table:

What happened to the turkey when he got in a fight? He got the stuffing knocked out of him!



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Road Trip!

Along with more other families than we want to think of, we are hitting the road for Thanksgiving. We will drive 500 miles to my Dad's house to spend the holiday with him, his new dog (katie - a golden retriever), and my brother, sister-in-law and nephew. The kids cannot wait to meet the dog (they want to see the rest but the dog is ruling the roost now).

Also plan to see a whole bunch of high school friends I haven't see in more than a decade. I have officially not known them longer than I have known them. But thanks to Facebook, we will be again crossing paths. Looking forward to it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

No, I have not dropped off the face of the earth

I'm back. Really. After Hawaii life has just been crazy I have totally ignored this blog. Sorry. Quick recap of our life:

  • finally got over jet lag from hawaii, and had Big Man stop being mad at us leaving
  • went to Boo at the Zoo all dressed up
  • cleaning house like crazy
  • Halloween- including a big party that was a blast
  • lots of work
  • work trip to San Diego - should have been fun but was mostly just busy
  • jet lag after working 15 hour days and 3hr time difference
  • H1N1 shots for all 3 kids- yayy!
  • B gets walking pneumonia (diagnosed while at Dr for ear infection - I am such a good mom)
  • still trying to convince DH we need an RV
  • lots of packing;/unpacking
  • still working on girls new room

ok..all caught up. Here is our Halloween picture.



Monday, October 26, 2009

Calm as the Ocean, Calm as the Ocean

When K was an infant I heard a child psychologist speak and she said that regardless of what behavior your child was exhibiting your job as a parent was to act like an emergency room nurse. Deal with the problem without letting emotion, fear, etc enter into it.

Man is that hard. When my kids are tantruming it is difficult not to get caught up in the drama and emotion. I cringe when I hear myself yelling.

I thought this was a great article on Businessweek.com that talks about how to be a better boss at home and on the job. Now I am not anyone's boss at work. And despite the occasional protests, I AM the boss of my children. I thought this article was a good reminder of this technique.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Don't Say I Didn't Warn You

If you are a woman over 40 - do NOT do this. I did and it nearly gave me a stroke.

I was putting on some makeup, and had moved the little mirror in my office up too high to see, so I put it down flat on the table. Then I LEANED over it to put on my makeup. Oh, dear GOD, I should not have done that. You have no idea how horrible you look until you see all your skin sag down into the mirror. Honestly. I am 41 and look pretty good for my age. I recently got denied access to a bar, I look that good. (hee hee - true, but c'mon, I don't look 20!!)

So if you like to keep believing you are not an old woman, do not try this at home.

please someone do it - so I know it isn't just me

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Aloha!








Last week DH and I were in Hawaii - without the kids. I knoW!!!! Thanks to Nana, Auntie Ronnie, and some amazing friends, we actually escaped for a week in paradise!

We had a fantabulous time (although I think we could have been in Toledo for a week without the kids and had a great time).

Hawaii was amazing. We had been to Maui and Kaua'i on our honeymoon. This trip was for a conference (read - mostly free for me!) in Waikiki. We went early and spent 3 days on the Big Island. The most amazing thing about the whole trip had to be hiking down on old lava to see the lava flow into the ocean. SOOOOO cool. As my Dad said it is like seeing CREATION. The lava is literally making the island bigger. We spent much of a day at Volcanoes Natl Park. The Big Island also has lots of waterfalls and black sand beaches.

In Oahu we probably had the best time on our sunset catamaran sail (read - booze cruise) and snorkeling at Hanauma Bay.

All and all a HUGE success. Here are some pics to drool over.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In their Shoes

So what is the deal with kids shoes. I really don't understand it. First there are "toddler" shoes. They go from size 2-13. Then you move to "kids" shoes, which start at 1 and go up. When do they merge with adult sizes??? I am so confused. Do they go all the way up through kids sizes first, then adult? If so, I would think they enter adult at size 6-7 or something. Anyone get this???

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Little Boy Never Ceases to Amaze

About a week or so ago, Big Man decided he was potty trained. We had not started really working on this - were waiting for later this fall. But he literally woke up one morning and declared he was not wearing diapers. Daycare had told us they were more than ready to work with him ( I think he was the only one in diapers in his class), so we said, Ok. Packed up a bunch of clothes and underwear and off he went. He had a couple accidents the first few days. But that was it.

The scary thing was that he decided he wasn't going to wear diapers at night either. I explained to him that I was so proud of him and he was doing great - but his body might not be ready yet, and he might sleep through it. He insisted. I insisted. He work diapers 2 more days, and woke up dry both. So he is in underwear 24/7 now. UNBELIEVABLE! I expect some fall-backs in the next few weeks, but man, that was easy. (did I just curse myself??!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Give the Girl the Right Shoes, and She can Conquer the World!

That quote is attributed to Bette Midler, and I live by it. I kinda have a shoe thing. In fact, it has gotten so nuts that I am now collecting artwork of shoes. Oh yeah. DH has allowed me to hang them in my shoe closet. I think he doesn't want to think about the fact that I own them (or the shoes either).

My current pair of shoes are these beauties. Aren't they amazing? They were HAND-PAINTED for ME! I found a cool shop on Etsy where she paints on all kinds of things - including shoes. They are reasonably priced too. She will custom make them for you in whatever size. I cannot tell you how many compliments I have received on these.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Life - Written Down

So in preparation for our great vacation next week, I am writing down everything I can think of about the kids schedule to help out my mother in law. Obviously, the simple things like lessons (when they are, where they are, etc) are on there - but also what day each has PE (must wear sneakers), if they are buying/bringing lunch, etc. Honestly. You don't realize how crazy your life is until you have to write it out. How is there space for another thought in my head - I have no idea!

Monday, October 5, 2009

You Must Read This Book

I recently read "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. This book is soooo good. It is a novel set in the 1960s in Mississippi. It tells the story of a young white woman who decides to write a book about the experiences of black maids/nannies in her community. It is so great and so poignant - a friend of mine who read it said she had to keep putting it down because she was scared for the characters. We have not before had a such a great voice for black women during the civil rights movement and all the work they were doing to keep their families together and fed, and clothed, and housed. And what they had to deal with at work and at home and in their communities. It is a fabulous book and I can not rate it more highly. I strongly recommend you read it. What is really amazing is that it is a debut novel. I cannot wait to read the next thing she writes!!!

They have already sold the rights and it will be made into a film.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hawaii- bound!

So DH and I are going to Hawaii for a week soon!!! Without the kids!!!! (thank God for Nanas) We cannot wait. Honeymooned there 13 years ago and have wanted to go back. I have a conference in Waikiki (read: work paying!) and we used frequent flier miles for DH's ticket.

We are going to the Big Island for 2/3 days (mostly Hilo). We cannot wait to see the volcano. We have already booked a bi-plane ride over the volcano. Staying at an awesome looking B&B, and will have a rental car.

We will be in Honolulu for 4/5 days, staying at my conference hotel in Waikiki. We have booked a catamaran sunset cruise there.

Any other must -dos? Food recommendations?? We know we want to snorkel. Any other things to see/do (We have seen the wreck of the Arizona and Pearl Harbor before).

Would love any tips.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Natl Book Festival

Went to the Natl Book Festival this weekend. I highly recommend it if you are in the area. There are tens of authors - doing readings and signings, and lots of other stuff. The PBS kids tent had tons of coloring pages and other activities, and they had their own stage with Elmo and others. Also lots of characters (Clifford, Sid the Science Kid) around to meet your kids.

We love Mo Willems - author of Knuffle Bunny, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and the Gerald and Piggie series (among others). We stood in line 1 1/2 hours to get his autograph. That was a little nuts - and I wouldn't do the book signings again ( the lines were all insane) - but it was fun. The kids really enjoyed.

Another tip - do NOT buy your books there. The Borders tent to buy books had a 45 line to pay, and the books were not special - same as you would get at any bookstore.

Next year we will go and hear more readings and see more stuff - no autographs. Definately worth the trip though!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Evil Mommy

So I did it. Last week I sent all three kids to bed without supper. The reactions I have gotten have been interesting.

First, the story. It was last week and the kids had been up late the night before (back to school night). We got home from work/school and the kids were being really rambunctious. I was working with the girls on one drawing project, but they were all just sort of knocking off the walls. I went to start dinner, and realized I was still in my work clothes. I told the kids I would be right back (DH was upstairs on a phone call) and went up to change clothes. I was gone MAYBE 5 minutes. On the way back down I hear wailing and crying and screaming - from all 3. I get down and see all 3 kids crying or screaming, a shattered chair on the ground, and a bloody scratch on K's leg. I make sure K is ok, and then lose it. I scream " I don't know what the hell (yes, I said hell, bad mommy again) has been going on here, but you 3 can all march your butts upstairs and get ready for baths. You are going to bed without dinner!" All three kids are now wailing even louder but make their way upstairs. We did baths, read books, and put them to bed around 7:20 (normal bedtime 8-8:30). Once they were in the bath, none of them said another word about missing dinner. I went back up at 7:45 to ask K a question, and they were all crashed out. Hasn't been mentioned since.

When I have told other moms that I did this, the reaction has been interesting. Several have said, they couldn't do it - would feel too guilty. I have to say I didn't feel guilty at all once I did it. I felt a slight pang when it came out of my mouth, but they were all complaining about dinner (hamburgers and fries- what is wrong with these children??!!) and I know they all had a snack around 4pm. Others have said they really wanted to do it, but had thought it would make them a bad mom. Several have said they may try it now that I have done it.

I didn't want to be a trend setter in this area, and have no intention of making it a regular thing. But it was very effective at the time. (as it turns out we believe they were climbing onto the back of the sofa, jumping on the wooden chair and then onto the floor - eventually breaking the wooden chair). And I don't regret it at all. DH was also brilliant in deciding we wouldn't eat the hamburgers and fries after they went to bed - we ordered Outback, and we had the hamburgers and fries the next night (lest they believe this was an effective way of getting out of a dinner they didn't want). My children don't seem scarred in the least. And like I say, I don't plan to use this as a regular tool. But once or twice a year, when warranted, might not be a bad thing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I lost my mind.....again

Every year I say I am going to let each kid pick on activity and that is it. Yet, here we are about to start the fall with 3 kids, each with 2 activity. I did manage to put them all on 2 days (tues night and sunday afternoon) -but it is still nuts.

Putting aside the cost (which I refuse to think about) - the logistics are nuts. On tuesdays, it isn't too bad. DH and I both have to leave work at the stroke of 5. In the car are 2 packed bags (one for gymnastics, one for swimming). DH will grab Big Man and I will run and meet him at the car. We will plow through rush hour traffic to try and get to the elmentary school by 5:35. At the school, DH and Big Man will get out (with the swimming bag) and walk home. I will get the girls, toss them in the car and drive to McDonalds. I will leave them in the parking lot to change into their leotards, while I run in and get their dinner. They will eat dinner in the car during the 10 minute drive to gymnastics. Meanwhile, DH and Big Man will get home, grab something quick to eat, change Big Man into his swim diapers and swim suit and get to the pool by 6:30. The girls and I should get home around 6:45 - in time to finish up homework and get ready for bed. Big Man will arrive around 7:30 - just in time for books before bed (already dressed in his pjs).

Sunday is the bad one. Big Man has gymnastics at 1:30. He will then come home for a late nap. I will take K to swimming at 3:30. Ideally, Big Man will wake up in time for DH to take B to skating at 4:30. I can then pick up B from skating on the way home from swimming with K.

I am exhausted just thinking of it all. Why do I do this to myself???

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vacation Memories




(From top to bottom- skyline of NYC by K, T Rex at Natural History Museum by B, Statue of Liberty by K, Statue of Liberty by B)

So last weekend the girls and I went to NYC with Grampa. I was trying to figure out ways to make sure they remembered the trip - and things for them to do to keep them busy in restaurants and on the bus ride there. It couldn't be easier - some markers and blank paper.

The first day at lunch I asked them to draw some of the things they had seen. It was awesome - I figured I'd get 3-4 pics from each. I probably have 25 total. They just ran with it. They drew all kinds of things - things we weren't even sure they noticed as we walked around, but clearly they did!

I have now taken pics of the drawings (and scanned them) and we will include them in our scrapbook next to photos of the real thing. What a great memory - and SO easy! I just carried a large envelope with the blank paper and a pack of markers in my purse. When the finished the picture I would mark who drew it and what it was on the back and put it back in the envelope. INSTANT memories.

That's what works for me! For more works for me ideas, visit: www.wearethatfamily.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Big Apple in a Whirl




This weekend Grampa treated me and the girls to a weekend in NYC. I took the girls up by bus on Friday (lots of fun - it was raining and B got sick watching a movie - good times!), and we got there around 9pm. The girls were suitably impressed by the big buildings and all the lights. We were staying right in Times Square, so it was great to get out of a cab there and let them soak it all in. The next morning we were like a freight train - breakfast, Rockefeller Center, stroll down 5th Ave, Trump Tower, Central Park, HOrse and Buggy Ride, Museum of Natural History (to look for stuff from Night at the Museum!) - all before lunch! Lunch was all elegence at the Tavern on the Green in Central Park. The girls LOVED all the colors. Then we went to see Mary Poppins on Broadway. K got SOOOO excited when we surprised them in the lobby of the show. She was jumping up and down. We had tickets in the 4th row! The girls LOVED it. B (being 5) is so literal. She had to tell me every part of the musical that was different than the movie.

After the show it was the 3-story Toys R Us, more Time Square gawking, and dinner. After dinner - M&M world and collapse into bed. On Sunday morning we did a quick breakfast, then to the top of the Empire State Building, and walked through Herald Square and around the Macys. We followed it up with a Circle Line Cruise to the Statue of Liberty.

By that time the girls were kinda wiped. We headed back to the hotel, grabbed our stuff and a quick lunch. We caught an early bus back(nobody got sick - YAY!).

It was a quick, fun-filled weekend. It was great to see them so excited. Check back tomorrow for a great tip on keeping kids memories!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Implore You!

Recently Newsweek did a great article on the truth about the healthcare plan. You can find it here. It does a great job of ironing out the truth/fiction of the proposed law itself, as well as reasons why some of the falsehoods are so strongly believed.

I am not sure which iteration of the plan I prefer - but let me say this: The President's job is not to be our best friend. It is not to be popular. It is not even to be reelected. It is to do what he thinks is best for the country and the people. I believe President Obama is doing that. And without healthcare reform - people will continue to suffer. We need healthcare reform. People are paying too much for healthcare, and being denied services they need to improve their quality of life. We need change. And I trust our President to get it for us.

Mr. President - please don't let us down. Don't let ludicrous rhetoric and idiotic popular opinion polls dissuade you from this most important task. And Congress - same to you! You can do it. This is the time. PLEASE reform healthcare. It is the right thing to do!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Old Fashioned Beach Life

Last week we went to Rehoboth. We went for two reasons, really. First, we had nothing to do with the girls. There were few camps available - the only one I could find was going to be nearly $350 per kid. A great camp - but that is outrageous for one week. Second, I love Rehoboth and we got a great deal. Both Maryland and DC schools went back last week, so the beach was highly discounted. A 2-room suite at a hotel right on the boardwalk for $150/night. Can't beat it - cheaper than camp!

Rehoboth is like going to the beach in the 50s. (or how I imagine that to be!). It is a nice quiet, family town. A low-key boardwalk - with lots of pizza joints, ice cream joints, and cotton candy. There are lots of lifeguards at the beach. The hotels provide free beach chairs and umbrellas. You can miniature golf on the top of one of the boardwalk stores. And there is Funland. I LOVE Funland. Tickets at Funland are 22-cents (if you buy the 90 tix for $20 package) and some of the rides are 1 ticket! 1 ticket. We pay 50-cents around here just to ride the little truck in front of BJs. The biggest rides (there are only a few) are 4-5 tickets. At the county fair a few weeks ago we were paying $4-5 per ride!!! Funland also has carnival games with guaranteed prizes for $1-2!!! The kids love it, and so do it. Its been there since 1962, and still has a quaint atmosphere.

We had a very nice, relaxing few days. The weather was awesome (if not a little windy!). We had beach time, pool time, miniature golf, rented bikes, hunted for shells, and played. It was a really fun getaway. We did it a few days last year too and I hope it becomes a tradition!

Monday, September 7, 2009

First Day of School, First Day of School!

The bags are packed. The lunches are nearly ready. The checks are written. The school supplies are at the front door. Hair has been cut, nails have been painted, and dresses are hanging and ready. Let the first day of Kindergarten (for B) and 2nd grade (for K) come!


(edited to add pics!)

B is off to kindergarten, K will be in 2nd grade!!

Big Man isn't actually going to school, but really wanted to be in the pictures!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sorry

Sorry for not posting. We were on vacation, then I was feeling overwhelmed, and the last few days just weirdly blue. For no apparent reason. We are off for vaca for a few days this weekend/next week, but then plan to be back and ready to roll!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Almost Time to Get Off (on) the Pot

A few weeks ago Big Man moved into the Preschool room at daycare. He was only one of two kids who were not potty-trained (not a prerequisite for the class). Big Man plays with potty training - sits on the potty quite a bit, but rarely does much. I haven't started to work on it much yet. But last week the little girl who moved with him started wearing underwear. His teachers talked to Big Man about it, and said don't you want to be like Macy? Big Man looked them right in the eye and said "I not ready yet". hee hee

Sometime this fall I hope to complete my third successful potty training using the one weekend method. Big Man is a little stubborn (can't imagine where he gets it from), so I don't think it will be fun, but it would be nice to be diaper free finally!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Modern and Funky (and even functional!)

I am in the process of working on the new bedroom for the girls. We are moving them from their cramped bedroom to our old bedroom which is nearly 2x the size and has 2 closets. So, in working on planning ideas, I have been watching Craigslist to see if I can find any cheap desks or finds for their new room (much more to come on the room soon!). I have used Craigslist successfully two times in the last 8 months - first to buy this great piece, and then to sell concert tickets a week ago. It really is great. Anyway.

While I was there I saw an ad for a Frank Ghery chair. Frank Ghery is an architect who is known for modern, funky buildings including this cool hotel, and the cool Disney Concert Hall in LA.


Anyway, someone on Craigslist was selling a Ghery chair for $100. I checked and the cheapest I could find it was $790 online. hmm.. Now I do not need this chair. At all. I wasn't even looking for an outdoor chair. But man, it is cool looking.

So last night I finally went to see it. and LOVED it. So..here it is in my yard. Probably not its final home, but at least its there. Cool, huh?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Book Review - Shanghai Girls

Just finished Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (on my Kindle, of course!). She is the same author that wrote Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (which I also loved). It is a great book about two sisters living in Shanghai in the 1930s and their move to America. Its a very compelling book that kept me captivated on a long car ride with (sometimes) demanding children just behind me.

The character development is great - you can really picture the people in your mind. I really liked how it examined the bonds between the sisters. The depictions of race/culture relations in the US during that time were also fascinating. While a few plot happenings were expected - others were not. I recommend it!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Gone Nutty

My kids love Scrat from the Ice Age movies, and last week got even more chances to see crazy squirrels. The tiny town of Olean, NY (on the Allegheny River in western NY state) wanted to replicate the excitement of the Cows in Chicago or even the Pandas in DC. So they did squirrels. Hee hee

The kids loved them, and several times a day when we would travel through Olean we would have to seek their favorites out. Here are a few:



Gotta love small towns!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Three Year Olds


Big Man is just cracking me up these days. His newest game is Mommy/Little Boy. Except he is the Mommy and I am the Little Boy. We play it in the car, usually on the way home from work/preschool. Basically instead of hearing "mommy mommy mommy" he just asks the same questions starting with "little boy". But he really loves it.

Last night Nana was babysitting so DH and I could go see the Blondie/Pat Benatar show (it was great!). Nana kept seeing Big Man with wrappers, but he would not discuss them or show her where they are from. When we got home there were two boxes of fruit snacks in the trash. 2 boxes we had purchased this weekend, that each had 10 packs. We figured we had used 5 - leaving 15 unaccounted for. When we woke up this morning, I told Big Man he was going to show me the fruit snacks. He immediately said "I not a bad boy!". I said we would see, and he needed to show me the fruit snacks. When he was up and dressed we went downstairs and I showed him the empty boxes. He picked one up and lead me down to the playroom. He kept saying they were in "my house". Turns out he meant the cardboard house he had made at school. Inside were about 12 packs of fruit snacks and several empty wrappers. I thanked him for showing me where they were, and told him he was not to take food out of the pantry without asking. He said "I sorry mommy". Who could resist that face?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kindle Review

So last week I got a Kindle. I had been wanting one for a while, but the price (just went down to $299) and the fear of buying too many books kept me from it. Then my awesome MIL gave me some belated birthday money, so I went for it.

Got it last week. and so far I LOVE it. Truly. Although I could see how it could bankrupt me. One of the features I love is that you can "sample" any book you want to buy. So you can download a chapter to see if you like the writing. That is a great feature! Also, you can buy and download any book in about 60 seconds. SCARY! We did a roadtrip this weekend, and being the fast reader I am, I finished my first book on the way up. What to do? Download another one (or two) for the trip home. So great. Good news is most books are $9.99 (cheaper than even the big paperbacks these days!) and many classic books are free. I got 13 bobbsey twin books to read the kids for $.99 total!

Reading on it is not at all like reading on a computer screen. It looks like a print book. And the Kindle is so easy to use. I am totally hooked. I will miss being able to hand over favorites to friends, but I can tell them the titles! And how great is it to be able to have so many books in the palm of your hand (it can hold up to 1500!!). It fits easily in my purse and I can carry it everywhere. It also holds a charge for a long time! If you shut off the wifi (except when you are buying books) it can go for days without being charged.

So, while not a cheap expenditure, its what works for me! For more Works for Me, visit: www.wearethatfamily.com

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Up on the Farm

This weekend we went to Western New York/PA for a memorial service for DH's grandmother. She lived to be a ripe old 94 and still had her faculties -- we can all be so lucky.

After the service, there was a pig roast on DH's uncle's farm. It is a cattle farm and the kids LOVED playing with the cows, throwing rocks and sticks in the creek, climbing on the hay bails, and running around the barn. It was great for them to play with their 2nd cousins (we think - DH's 1st cousins kids?), whom they rarely see.

Big Man really loved the cows, asking about every half an hour the whole 4 hours we were there to go see the cows. At one point he asked to see the piggies. I explained that this was a cattle farm, and so there were only cows. Big Man looked at me and pointed at the roasting drum and said "Momma..they cooking a piggie right over there!" LOL....he got me there.

We had a great time with family and some awesome roast pork with Uncle Massey's secret BBQ. Gotta get that recipe.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A 3 hour tour



Ok, it was only a two-hour tour. When we do our crazy beach week with all our friends, both the men and women get to do activities sans kids. The men go golfing. The women have done a variety of things (segways, jeep off road, shopping/spas) but this year we decided to rent a powerboat and go out for a spin. One of the husbands said we were nuts. None of us knew how to drive a boat, and we would crash the thing. I kept arguing that they wouldn't rent the boat to us if they thought we could crash it. I was convinced they had come up with a way to make it work.

Of course, they had. They gave us a quick lesson, and told us not to worry - we didn't need to dock the boat upon return. We just needed to glide into the dock and they would come pull us in. PERFECT!

so we spent a lovey 2 hours out on the Sound, drinking wine, eating cheese and having a great time. Reminded us of our week in Paris last year.

So if you are on the Outerbanks and want something fun to do - rent a powerboat! I highly recommend!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Latest Obsession

Last week I wrote a post about a friend who is on across country RV trip with her family. Since then I have been a little obsessed. I think we need to get an RV. Seriously. We are a family of 5. Airline tickets are already expensive. Soon (now for some) hotels will require us to get 2 hotel rooms. This is all pricey. The kids eat crap for food anyway, so food we make in the RV will be perfect. I think this can save us a lot of money.

Actually, I am not sure we will end up saving money in the long run. But I think we will be able to take longer/more vacations for the same money. For example, next month we will go to Rehobeth beach for a few days. We will drive up and stay in a hotel that is about $275 a night. We will probably stay 3 nights. We could stay for $60 a night at the local campground, which comes with a swimming pool, playground and free shuttle to the beach. And that's not the best example.

The kids do fine when we drive 8 or so hours to Grampa's house in our minivan. I'll bet we can go MUCH further in an RV. Did you know DisneyWorld has a campground on property near Fort Wilderness complete with character dining, pony rides, etc for about $57!! And that is only a 13 hour drive from here!!

I totally think we should do this. Given the current economy you can get used RVs (class C) for $10-15k. Am I crazy?? DH kinda thinks so.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Birthdays, Birthdays, Birthdays

So B's birthday was in early June. But she wanted to wait to have her party at the beach with her friends. SUCH an awesome idea that made it really easy on mom. Like her big sister, B does not like cake. So..we had vanilla ice cream in the shape of a cake. B wanted a beach theme, so we did a sand castle cake with "Nilla Wafers crushed on the top. (note to self: this was awesome tasting!). For activity, the kids decorated beach balls (thanks Oriental Trading). Nice, easy, low key party!



Big Man's 3rd birthday is next week. But we are going to be out of town for a family thing, so we had a party this weekend. Again, very low key. Big Man loves Mickey Mouse and he loves bagels. So we had a breakfast party with bagels and cream cheese, followed by Mickey cake. Big Man was very happy!



Those are our summer birthday parties. So nice and easy. I love that to date we have been lucky and able to do simple home things for the kids!

Monday, July 27, 2009

On Two Wheels!

So much for not neglecting this blog...anywho.

K took a big step in the last few weeks - riding her bike WITHOUT training wheels! YAYY!

First, here is her on her way-to-small old bike, doing it.

Then, this is her taking off on her new (bigger) bike:



And if that isn't enough proof, here is a nice video:


videosorry this is sideways, forgot to do it on the FLIP.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What Will You Remember (or Regret?)

I have a friend who is doing an amazing trip right now. This family of four packed up the RV and is trekking across the country from DC to Montana and back for 6 weeks. I am sooo jealous. She (and the kids) are posting regularly from the trip and it sounds just amazing. They have seen so many things - amazing waterfalls, mountains, streams, lakes, and TONS of animals - moose, bison, all kinds of deer and goats, bears, etc. They have been to lots of National Parks and seen so much. They are also smart and put plenty of time in for the kids to play at the campsite pools and miniature golf, etc. Such an awesome trip.


Now those who know me know I am NOT a camping type of girl. BUT - I have done a one-week vacation in an RV (albeit with adults - not kids) and really enjoyed it. For a trip like this there is really no other way! I don't know if DH and I can get 6 weeks off in a row - but I am sure we can get 4 weeks. In the next few years we are going to come up with a way to do it. DH has never seen Grand Canyon. Maybe we fly to Arizona, and rent an RV there. Do Grand Canyon, Sedona, Yosemite? Hmm....

The quote my friend put on her blog is “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain

I think she is right.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

19

Number of "mommy"'s from the backseat during a 20 minute drive to work. The best part is that if Daddy answers he just completely ignores him as if he didn't hear him. Example:

Big Man - "mommy? what kind of car is that?"
Daddy - "its a convertible, buddy"
Big Man - "mommy? what kind of car is that?"
Mommy - "a convertible"
Big Man - "oh"

You would think with only one child in the car for the drive in the morning (the girls are at daycamp), it would get better. Wrong. It gets worse. My favorite is this:

Big Man - "mommy?"
Mommy -
Big Man - "mommy?"
Mommy -
Daddy - "Yeah, buddy?"
Big Man - "mommy?"
Daddy - "mommy's busy, buddy, what do you want?"
Big Man - "no! mommy"
Big Man- "mommy?"
Mommy -
Big Man - "mommy?"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Neglected

Sorry, I just have fallen out of my routine and am finding it VERY hard to get back. I exercised today for the first time in almost a week. It seems like summer started I have had a hard time focusing. My house has gone to pot and so have I!! Hopefully today is the first day to getting it all back..incuding this blog! Sorry I have been so bad at posting- and I have lots of fun stories to share including more beach adventures (7 women in a motorboat nobody knows how to drive, fun in the waves, birthday parties, etc) and other stuff (camp fun, learning to ride a bike without training wheels, etc).

Will get back to regular posting...I promise!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

This is Where my Husband Divorces Me

So we had a family variety show at our beach week. The men were less excited about said event. But they all participated. Here is our performance. I love how Big Man gets into it!
video

Monday, July 6, 2009

Back from the Beach


What do you get when you stick 14 adults and 14 children in one house with 10 bedrooms? LOTS OF FUN!!! We had such a great time on our beach week. The weather was amazing, the kids all got along, the house was great (although carpeting of any kind to absorb sound would have made it perfect), the ocean was calm (with enough waves to allow playing), and the food and drink just kept coming. It was such a great time. The only thing it lacked was sleep. With 14 kids all sleeping on the same floor (ok, the baby was in her parents room upstairs), as soon as one is up - they are all up. And it seemed like by 6am they were all barreling through the house. They did go to bed around 8pm, but the parents were all up much past that. Meant that this morning- when I went back to work, and woke up early to work out - I actually was sleeping in. ;)

Seriously, it all worked out so great. Each family was in charge of one dinner, one happy hour, one kids activity and one cleanup night. Was like clockwork. Even the family variety show was great. Will post more this week about the fun we had, but here are a few pics.