Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Crisis and crafts

That pretty much sums up the week. At work it has been one small problem after another with something I am working on. I get calls from guys and I can tell by the tone of their voice that I don't want to hear what comes next. Today's first call was we think we completely killed the whole test we were doing, that set me up to be relieved hours later when they called back to say only 1/4 of it was unusable. Sometimes I feel like the priest to whom they feel comfortable confessing since they know I don't have the power to do anything other than help them fix it. Its equally exhausting and exhilarating trying to figure out how to put humpty back together again. Its funny, I am the only woman in this particular circle and it always falls to me to bring everyone back to the table to figure out what to do next--they will do it two by two but never involving everyone who needs to know. Job security!

After a run to camp in the morning, the full day of fire fighting then its off to Vacation Bible School. We are doing Group's Avalanche Ranch program. The last few years it has been absolutely exhausting. There have been 30-40 kids, we start with dinner, songs,then bible study and crafts and call it a night. It makes for a long day when it starts more than 12 hours earlier. This year there aren't a lot of kids from outside our congregation, the kids are getting a little older and know each other better and dare I say it has actually been enjoyable and only semi-exhausting. We have a new member who is a pianist for a dinner theater and she SO rocks! The music is awesome. With the western theme there is even line dancing.
I am the craft lady. We've done journals (in the picture above), t-shirts, boot birdhouses and bears for a mission project. The kids hated the journals, had a hard time doing the lacing and are still complaining about it days later. Other than that its gone more smoothly than I would have imagined. We are coasting now, tomorrow night is picture frames with portraits that Gman took to go inside--yes, these took too much effort to be called pictures, they were portraits complete with the entire studio set-up and green screen. Here are Boobah and PDQ for your viewing pleasure.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

For the love of books

One of the best things about vacation was having a chance to read uninterrupted. I read in the car, in bed, on the balcony looking at the beach and it was heaven. I happened to pick up In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner from Liz's bookshelves (thanks Liz!) and started reading it, it was great so I bought a copy at the next bookstore we came across. I can't say I remember seeing the movie come out but I have it in my Netflix queue now, I hope its not a disappointment. As soon as we got back I was hungry for more. I got Little Earthquakes at the library (actually 2 copies, leaving something else I wanted on the shelf) and I finished it last night. What a great story, great characters, it brought back the new mom memories in such vivid detail it had in me tears more than once. Definitely summer reading chick lit.

Lean Mean Thirteen the next numbered Stephanie Plum book is out and I am on the waiting list at the library. I have a couple more Jennifer Weiner books to read and I am waiting for Animal, Vegetable, Mineral that Tree turned me onto as well. Of course I have to find the time to read them but I always have at least one book going, I like to relax in the bath tub at night with my book and a little lavender oil as part of my night time, beat insomnia routine. I am always fighting the desire to read rather than sleep--I know that is bad and have been trying REALLY hard not to do it.

Anyone else feel like something is missing without a book in progress and one waiting in the wings? I'd say it is the biggest difference between Gman and I, reading for pleasure is pretty much a foreign concept for him. He likes listening to books on tape/CD but actually sitting down with a book just isn't his thing. It's also one of the things that I hope the kids pick up from me, I want desperately for them to be able to enjoy and lose themselves in a good book. What is on your summer reading list? Anything that you just can't wait to dig into? Happy reading!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Home Sweet (Quiet) Home

Ah, we are back home after our four-ish day road trip sans children. I think the first hour in the car we might each have mumbled a half dozen words. It was quiet, we were on the road, together in a car (not a van) and there were no car seats to be found. When we did speak half the time it was to ask each other if we were there yet, whine about it taking too long and pretending we had to pee--no, we really don't have any life without our kids.

First stop, Casa de Builder Mama. She writes about our adventures here. Although I look drunk and/0r high I really only had a couple of drinks, Lynchburg Lemonade--Yum-O! Mama and her family are something else. We had a great time hanging out, talking, eating and drinking with the whole clan. Monkey Man is so quiet compared to the two girls and there was no fighting, bliss. Liz showed off serious cooking skillz whipping up a fantastic dinner including the best cheesecake I ever ate. I was all ready to beg her to let me eat it for breakfast the next morning as well but instead she baked biscuits and sausage and egg casserole. Mmmmmmm She then showed us all around Richmond, including a stop to see her hubby and get the lowdown on the roofing situation in Richmond. It was fun to see someone really into what they do! Gman posted his pictures of our adventures here. And yes, that is Liz & I being rather irreverent in front of the Virginia War Memorial.

Stop two, Williamsburg, VA (pictures of that over at Gman's site as well). One word sums up our trip to Williamsburg HOT. It was 99 degrees, the sun was beating down and the humidity was high. Gman and I walked through the streets, took a few pictures, did a little shopping and headed out of town. I'd like to go back sometime when it isn't miserable. My mother has been dying to go for years. I am sure next time we'll have the kids and I really want to try out The Great Wolf Lodge which would certainly make up for the overdose of history. We were on our way to the beach shortly after noon.

Stop three, Virginia Beach, VA. We stayed at this hotel. Gotta say, the person who did their website has serious photoshop skills! It wasn't bad but it was pretty old and run down. The whole reason I booked us there was the availability of a king size bed--no one else seemed to have one--and the room with a jacuzzi. I love to take a bath and relax. Being able to take a soak and see the ocean was pretty much my idea of heaven. Loved the boardwalk between the hotel and the ocean, it was great for a walk in the morning as well as a night time stroll to dinner. Its not our usual family trip to the beach where things are quiet, laid back and there is little to do. I am not sure I'd want stay there for a long trip but for a day or two it was nice. We ate at Waterman's at Liz's suggestion and it was great. I was a little sad that I couldn't have seafood but I ate fish and tried to be happy about it.

So now we are back home. Last night we did nothing. Today we went back to work. I don't know what I was thinking before I left but I managed to be in meetings for all but a couple of hours today and the afternoon was 4 hours booked straight through. Tonight we cleaned up a little, I went to see my acupuncturist who declared me very relaxed, then I came home to a Gman prepared dinner (I can't remember the last time I was well and that happened!). Bless him for trying but we ate some kind of Vegan fake chicken product--eww. I guess I found the limit of my granola crunchiness! Tomorrow the children return. My mother says they are leaving around 9-9:30 tomorrow morning. Sound like they are anxious to return them?! PDQ lost her top front tooth today and I can't wait to see her. The trip was great but driving around today, alone in my minivan reminded me just how much I miss them!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

End of School, Weekend Visitors and A Grown Up Trip

My sister, nephew and brother-in-law are here visiting for the weekend. My sister surprised us last night with the news that there will be a new addition to the family in February. My girls are very excited and really want to have a girl cousin. This morning we got up and went the aquarium in Baltimore--always an adventure. Especially with a 2 y.o. who wants to run as fast as possible through the wide open spaces. It was Boobah's first trip as well, she was mostly interested in riding the escalator and holding my nephew's hand--obviously money well spent. Here are the girls and I in the rain forest.

Yesterday was PDQs last day of school? Where did the year go? Do I sound old yet?! I went to the end of the year party, the kids were excited and a little sad, as was there teacher. This was her first full year teaching, she had gone to the school herself as a kid and she totally rocks! I will miss her next year even if PDQ doesn't. Part of the reason for my sister visiting is so that she can take the girls back to Ohio for a week with my folks. That means Gman and I get grown up time, alone together, woo-hoo. We're heading out to see one of our favorite bloggers, stop in Williamsburg, VA and then on to Virginia Beach. Ah, peace and quiet. I don't know that we've ever done a road trip just for the fun of it, usually it had a purpose since he was here and I was there. More from the road...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Down with O.P.P.

I am so tired of finding little girl pee and less often poop sitting in my toilets! What is up with that? When they started potty training I was lucky to get them to go but they ALWAYS flushed. Now I feel like I have to be on potty patrol every time I leave the house so as not to stink the whole place up. They are doing better about wiping well and even washing their hands. Flushing takes what, a second? Isn't it a little ironic that the song by the same name was from Naughty by Nature?

When I was a residence hall director at my alma mater in the early 90s I also worked with the alumni association. They ran a story about the alumni part in the student paper The Marcolian. Someone came and took a decent head shot and it ran with the article. My mother was impressed, I'm doubtful anyone else was. One day I went into the newspaper office, I can't even remember why, I'd never been there as a student. Hanging on their bulletin board was that head shot of me with a thought bubble with that very line in it. The looks on the faces of guys that worked for me was priceless, they stammered and turned red.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

An Open Threat to Little Bunny Foo Foo

Little Bunny Foo Foo
I don't want to see you,
Eatin' up the garden
and makin' yourself at home.

And down came the meeeeeeeeeean Mommy
and she said:
Little Bunny Foo Foo,
I don't want to see you,
Eatin' up the garden
and makin' yourself at home.

I'll give you threeeeeee chances to stop eatin' up the garden
and if you don't, I'm turning you into food!

First it was the broccoli, every darned leaf--GONE.

Then it was the snapdragons, just the leaves but every bloom as well, they were yellow

Then it was the roses, the ladies at stamping insisted that bunnies wouldn't eat the roses because of the thorns.
This afternoon I actully *saw* the rabbit making herself at home to LAY DOWN by the rose bush to eat day lillies. Not only do I have a rabbit eating my garden, I have the world's laziest Mama Bunny. She dug herself a little indentation and flopped down so she could munch. I mean, I know what she feels like but come on, give me a break.When I went to get a closer shot she took off and I saw at least 4 little bunnies scurry with her and then another 2 over by the decimated broccoli. Come on, I got plenty of weeds. Pleeeeeeeease stay out of the stuff I'm actually TRYING to grow...or we'll have to eat you!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

My feet are in serious love with these shoes.

I just gotta say, I heard people rave about Crocs clogs but I just couldn't bring myself to even put my feet in them. I wear a size 10, a pair of big bright clogs where never going to do my feet any favors. Then my sister got these cool Crocs sandals and said they were the most comfortable things ever. I gotta agree. I tried them on in the store and then had to order them online because they only had neon colors. Mine are the chocolate and cotton candy, good name, even better feeling. My feet are so darned happy! I don't know if Stacey and Clinton would approve but I really don't care.

Speaking of love. Check out my eHarmony Marriage evaluation over at Maven Says.

I went for allergy testing this morning after my shrimp eating experience. Sure enough, I tested positive to shrimp, crab and lobster--if that isn't enough to make a crustacean lover cry I don't know what is. I was issued an epinephrine pen and advised to stay away from shellfish with the warning that the reactions generally get worse. What a serious bummer, I really love shellfish, I guess I will be a "turf" girl from here on out. While I was there she tested for environmental allergies, I'd always expected I had them but I never knew to what. Turns out to almost all tree pollen, cats, some molds and a HUGE reaction to dust mites. My wrist was itching before I even walked out of the room from getting tested. Two hours and a dose of Benadryl later its still red and puffy. That might explain my eczema and my allergy attacks turned sinus infection pattern. My instructions are to go home and put covers on my pillows, mattress and box springs. I am anxious to see if it helps.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Blog Blast...Tales from the School Cafeteria

When I went to school in southern Ohio many moons ago there was no cafeteria lunch. There were vending machines or you could bring your brown paper bag. There was a very strict rule though about eating IN the cafeteria. For some reason that escapes me now (we are having our TWENTIETH HS reunion this summer) we decided that eating outside of the band room would be cool. Yes, we were geeks thinking about total rebellion. So we hung out, outside the bandroom talking about boys and weekend plans eating our sandwiches and apples. Unbeknownst to us, the Vice Princial could see us from his office window as we hung out, no doubt looking guilty as hell because we were upstanding citizens breaking the law. He sent his henchmen for us and dragged us into his office. All but one of us were first time rule breakers, there were many tears. The others got sentenced to Saturday School. The Veep said he didn't actually see me eat anything and gave me credit for being Big Jim's daughter and let me slide. There was serious fury in our little circle about Saturday School and no one was particularly happy about me not joining them. I will say it was the only time in the six years my father was a teacher in my school that it worked in MY favor.

Wow, that was a long time ago. Now I'll actually have a daughter eating in the school cafeteria next year. Today they are having a trial lunch, I can't wait to hear her reaction to the chicken nugget and pizza extravaganza provided by the school to entice them into buying lunch next year. This has been something I've given a lot of thought to, face it, I am basically lazy and for the past six years my daycare provider has provided lunch for the kids. Next year I am faced with fixing at least one and perhaps two lunches everyday--things my kids will eat, that pack easily and last but not least are nutritional. My husband and I have both fought our weight nearly all our lives and want to spare our children that pain.

At the suggestion of Parent Bloggers Network, off I went to check School Menu and its parental counterpart Family Everyday, two sites that work together with School Food Services Directors to provide and promote healthy eating and physical fitness for kids and their parents. I read the first article on the Truth About School Lunches that filled me in on the requirements that the school must meet in their lunch offerings. It made me feel better about what needs to be offered by the school, I know that I need to play my part in making sure my daughters are well informed on what good choices are--considering that edamame and celery are two favorites I hope we are well on our way! The Family Everyday site is geared towards parents with articles and discussion boards on good nutrition, school lunch, and fitness. Its offshoot School Menu is definitely aimed at kids. Bright graphics, music, a general High School Music with and edge, kind of feeling. I'd definitely let my daughters cruise through hear and play the games focused on Veggies, Cheese and Knowing Your Fats. I was disappointed not to find my school among those with the menus linked to the site but know just where to find it on my school system website. Check out the sites, a good reminder aimed at the parent and child audiences how important nutrition is and how to make it fun!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

When did this place become a vineyard?

'Cause we've got an overstock of WHINE. If I could stick a cork in it, believe me I would.

I swear if it doesn't back off a bit soon my head may explode. Yeah, I know I threatened it before but this time I am telling ya the truth, really I am, my head is going to explode if I have to listen to one more complaint in that unmistakeable tone! Or maybe my ears will just bleed. I hope its the end of the school year and knowing that times they are changin' but for the the love of Pete, it. must. stop. NOW. (By the way, who the hell *is* Pete and why do we love him?) Gman and I are both done with it, between the steady stream of fibs (Mommy said I needed two $5 bills she told Gman, when in fact she needed one for school--the other she tucked away for herself, my little entrepreneur), the whines, the constant sibling bickering and yeah, lets throw a good pout from the stepson in just to make everyone completely miserable.

Maybe we are all preparing for the visit with the grandparents. They will come back, spoiled rotten and we will have missed them and all will be right with the world. Please?

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Get me some of them Mommy Beans!

Boobah: I want Mommy beans.
Me: Mommy beans?
Boobah: Yeah, Mommy beans. You know, the push out beans.
Me: Edamame?
Boobah: Yeah, eddy-mommy

That was several days ago and nearly every day she has asked for mommy beans. So today I was at the store and the mommy beans were on sale and caught my eye. I bought several bags. I came home, threw one in the microwave to steam and told Boobah. At that very moment she declared mommy beans to be her very favorite food. She proved it by downing nearly half a bag for lunch with a big smile on her face.

I don't know where we lucked out but thankfully our kids will eat nearly anything, as illustrated by the deep love for edamame. That's not to say that most nights at dinner she doesn't declare that she doesn't like whatever it is that we are eating. We make her take a bite and at least half the time she eats more of it. She almost always defaults to mac & cheese in a restaurant but she loves veggie sushi and green beans too. When I hear people tell stories of the kid who will eat only a certain brand of chicken nugget and never eats anything green I cringe just a little bit and thank my lucky stars that my kids are willing to take big steps into the world of food. I hope we are laying the groundwork for mainting healthy diets and healthy weight when they grown up despite our own less than stellar habits.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Bad Juju

I've been fond of the bad juju sentiment since they offered it up on Gray's Anatomy. It seems like we have some seriously bad juju at our house the last few days. Nothing earth shattering just enough to plant the "what's going to happen next" seeds in my head. I am cheap, make that frugal. I am infamous for the temperature at which I keep the house in the winter (58 at night) and I hold out as long as I can during the summer before turning on the AC. Last night I'd had it, it was hot and there was some serious humidity so we shut all the windows and turned on the AC. Things were pretty steamy but I'd just finished cooking dinner and we'd just turned on the AC so I didn't think much of it. We ate dinner, watched a little TV, were in and out of the house, I could hear air moving all was well at the house of the bad juju. We went to the gym and when we came home the house felt seriously hot. Hotter than it had all day. The thermostat declared "recovery." My first thought--what the heck is it addicted to?!

I opened windows, GMan tinkered with fuses and circuit breakers and his assessment was nothing is happening with the unit outside. Yippee! I was starting to panic until I remembered we have a home warranty compliments of our fabulous realtor! Gman called and got a claim number and the people to call. Of course no answering machine last night and this morning the phone was busy all morning long. Finally he got through, the verdict--Monday morning 8-noon. Ugh. Forecast for the weekend: hot and humid, highs near 90 with lots of humidity--chance of thunderstorms. Of course it cools down on Monday.

We will be playing "stay out of the house" all weekend long.

Please someone, take the bad juju away.

Blog Blast

Okay, speaking of potentially bad love juju, the folks at eHarmony marriage (a new site that offers an online alternative to marriage counseling) and Parent Bloggers Network are sponsoring a Blog Blast today--"You know you need a date with your spouse/partner when..." The first thing that came to my mind was You know you need a date with your spouse when the only sex you are having is hallway sex, you know when you pass by each other and say "f--- you." Usually its not that bad but I know we need a date when we start to get really crabby with each other because we haven't taken any time to be Gman and Maven instead of employee, parent, Sunday School teacher, volunteer, commitee member and on and on and on. I am trying out the new eHarmony site, stop back in on June 7 to read more about our experience with the site. In addition to that we leave SHMILY notes to each other in the car, on the mirror or in the others work bag. SHMILY stands for See How Much I Love You. Finding that little reminder that someone loves you and thinking about you can really pick up your day and remind you about your romantic link to your partner. I think I first read the SHMILY story in one of the Chicken Soup books but its repeated MANY times on the internet, the link above is just one of them.

If you'd like to write your own response to the question do it today and send a link to Parent Bloggers Network at parentbloggers @ and be entered for a chance to win $100 Amex Gift Card and $100 cash to have a special night out with your someone special!