Saturday, December 29, 2007

My Heart Is Sick

Bailey (the dog) is sick. I gave her a rawhide on Christmas. She threw up all that afternoon and through the night. Took her to the vet. He gave her a shot and told me to call back the next day to let him know how she was doing. By the next day she wasn't walking very well and wouldn't get up on her own. I took her back in and she was admitted to the "doggy hospital". By yesterday morning she was doing better and the doctor had a diagnosis of pancreatitis. One more day on IV fluids and we brought her home this morning. Initially she seemed to be doing much better but now as the evening has progressed she seems to be in pain again.

Though there is no love lost some days with Psycho Dog, it still makes me sad to see her sick.

Related to this, Grandma D and I had a miscommunication which has upset her and in turn upsets me. Puts a churning in the pit of my stomach when this happens. If only I could be the better person that people expect me to be.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Prove it!

An equine anatomy lesson...

Did Santa bring a girl horse or a boy horse?

Bella says it's a girl. Ryan says boy. "Prove it!" he challenges Bella.
"Well, Mommy told me that boy horses have a bump at their bottom and girl horses don't and there's no bump on his bottom."

"Well, elves don't make details like that." He pauses. How can he convince his sisters that the horse is a boy? "Prove it again. Prove it a different way."

What started this whole conversation? I think they were styling the horse's mane and talking about whether or not it looks boyish.

Mommy says... It's a toy so it works just like your imagination. It can be whatever you want it to be in your own mind.

And in case you were wondering about the whole bump on the bottom thing... Grandpa bought the girls toy horse figurines at the museum this summer. One of them ended up with a stallion. I was merely pointing out the difference between the key anatomy features of a stallion versus a mare. And we were in a restaurant so I did not specifically mention the scientifically correct name of the part in question. I don't think I called it anything. Just showed them that one horse had something the other horse didnt.

Your welcome.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone!

"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas."
-Peg Bracken

Wardrobe Malfunction

So here's my dilemma of the day...

Can I get myself fat and pregnant before 4 p.m. or do I go out shopping for a new Christmas dress?

It turns out that the dress I thought I was going to wear is a bit larger than I remembered. None of the other dresses will work either. I have too big, too summery, too short for church, or too fancy.

I did tell Ron though that if we don't find one that I will wear my beautiful black velvet dress that he made me buy before the last MC Ball. People dress up for Christmas, right?

Wish me luck...

Cable Guy or Government Spy?

Seriously folks... I'm starting to wonder. It is 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve and the cable guy is outside my house working up in his cherry picker. The repair guy has been here 4 or 5 times in the past week and a half. Ron noticed the other night when they showed up at about 10 p.m. I told him that was the third or fourth time he had been there. And now they have decided to come in the middle of the night. What could possibly be so important?!

Customer service is not what it once was. I find it hard to believe that a company would actually send a repairman out immediately even if it is 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve. Which means it must be something else. A government spy perhaps putting in a wire tap...

And now, thanks to my genetic inheritance, you can read about it here, live, while it's happening! My mom would always complain that if she were awoken during the night, she wouldn't be able to fall back asleep. I never understood it. Until I had kids. Now I suffer from the same malady. Someone or something wakes me up and then I'm stuck for at least an hour, sometimes two or three hours, before I can fall back asleep. I'm not sure if it is a function of motherhood or age but either way I'd rather I could still sleep the way I used to.

Bailey the guard dog alerted me to the repairman. Woof! Woof! Woof! ($(%*@#( What is that dog barking at now? Oh, look! The cable guy is back again. In the middle of the night. And he's blocking my driveway. Hope I don't need to go anywhere... Ha, ha.

On the subject of blocked driveways, and since I'm already awake and sharing my complaints with the world, I'd just like to say that I am done with construction traffic and noise. The two houses across the street were torn down last spring and it has been one loud noisy traffic-y year since then. I'm tired of jackhammers. I'm tired of people blocking my driveway. And right now, really, I think I'm just tired!

In other news, the mice are getting tricky or my mousetrap is getting rusty. Mouse #4 was able to eat the peanut butter and walk away without setting off the trap. I set it again and caught him the next night. Now Mouse #5 has pulled the same trick. I set the trap around lunchtime yesterday while I was cleaning the kitchen and when I checked it last night before bed, the peanut butter was gone again and no mouse in sight. Hmmm... If he gets away again, I'll have to set the other trap that we haven't used yet. Do mousetraps wear out after only less than a month?!

And now lets finish this up on a positive note (since Ron says my blog is always so negative)...
I finished (with Felisa's help) all of the Christmas cards. I've even given my list/labels a much-needed overhaul so I expect the 2008 cards to go more smoothly. My bad address return rate will hopefully decline and more friends and family will see our smiling faces in their mailboxes. the last batch of cards for this year will go out tomorrow which means for the first time in a long time, all of my cards will be postmarked BEFORE Christmas! They won't arrive before Christmas but let's be reasonable folks - this is me we're talking about after all!

Grandpa R arrived today. Well, technically yesterday. The sun's not up yet and it's before 6 a.m. so it still seems like today. It will be nice to have a visitor for Christmas. After travelling back to NM for Christmas after Bella was born I decided it was just too crazy to try to fly, in winter, with kids and gifts, for Christmas. So now we just spend the summer travelling instead! Plus, having more kids around at Christmas makes it seem actually like Christmas. The first few years that we were married, Christmas always seemed strange the years we stayed home when it was just the two of us. Oh and Bailey of course...

Alrighty then... guess I'll go check my email and surf the net for awhile and hope that it makes me sleepy...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Family Reviews

I'm behind in recording our activity reviews... When we are on vacation, after each stop/activity we do a "favorites" review. Apparently they like doing it more than I realized because they have been reminding me to do favorites after a few recent activities. I dutifully recorded everyone's favorite but then neglected to post it here.

Bella's School Concert-
Bella: singing Kaluba
Felisa: the singing
Mommy: Dreidel song
Lana: Happy Holiday song because it was the most animated and happy
Ryan: trying to sing along with every song

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Extra Cookies for Felisa

I think Felisa should get extra cookies tomorrow when Aunt Lana arrives (bearing yummy cookies of course!). I mentioned a few times this week that we need to try to keep the house clean (we cleaned up for Ryan's party!) this week since Lana is coming to visit. This afternoon, Felisa brought Othello to me to play. I won but we called it a tie. Then she asked if she should clean up in Bella's room. Gee, tough question. How about, Yes! Please! Go clean up! And she did. Did a pretty good job. A little messy in the corner by the closet but the middle of the floor is clear, the comforter is spread out on the bed, and the animals are all back in the bin.

And as if that weren't enough, she then decided that it was pretty messy downstairs too and that's where she is now, cleaning. Yea!

See what I mean - voluntary, good cleaning deserves extra cookies!

In other news...
Ryan's party went well. I finished the last of the preparations just minutes before I left to pick them up from school. The kids seemed to have a good time. Games, pizza, superhero capes, and chocolate cake... what more could you want?!

I worked so hard last week that I have been pretty much useless this week. Could be hormones or maybe just excess cloud cover. Or both.

Can't think of anything else...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Every Living Thing

Every living thing eats something. (says Ryan) Even monsters. (says Bella) Even sea sponges. (says Ryan) Even the Grinch. The Grinch eats glass. Sounds painful to me but Bella says that monsters eat different stuff than humans.

And that my friends is your second grade science lesson for the day with free supplemental Kindergarten material. :)

I missed Church last night (says Felisa). This moment of guilty conscience brought to you by the Preschool curriculum!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

No Time to Breathe

But that's okay because I can't really breathe anyway what with this darn cold and all! Remind me next time I go to the dentist with a cold, I should take Sudafed beforehand so maybe I can breathe a little tiny bit through my nose and not suffocate when they start spraying water in my mouth and oh help I can't breathe!!!

Preps for the big Justice League Super Hero party continue. Right now I'm feeling sort of in control and ready. By noon tomorrow I will be panicking because I'M NOT READY!!!! Ack! And when will I get ready for my crop Saturday? Probably Saturday morning at about 6 a.m. Is it Sunday afternoon yet? I'm ready for my nap!

And on that note, I'm off to bed. Just thought I'd share with the world that I can't breathe.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


It's here folks... the first snow of the season! Much to the delight of the children, it has been snowing oh so lightly all day long and we've accumulated maybe as much as two inches in the grassy areas (it's mostly melted slush on the roads) so they are outside playing for all it's worth. Which is good because it will all be melted by tomorrow most likely and since the weather forecast for Monday is a high of 60-something degrees, it may be awhile before we see any more snow.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Winter

As I looked out the back door this morning, the cold gray clouds, the bare trees, and the leaves blowing about the porch made me shiver. Wow, I thought. It really looks (and feels!) like winter now.

A little later, I went to Ron's computer to upload more photos. He had the weather page up and it had snowflakes on it. Snow! Completely caught me off guard. Had I somehow missed all the usual area hype and panic over snow?

Current forecast for tomorrow... about an inch of snow, sticking mostly in grassy areas only. So we shall see. The weather guys are all actually downplaying it. Guess they don't want to get our hopes up since it is the first snow of the season and as most snow around here - won't amount to much.

Monday, December 03, 2007

It's all fun and games...

... until you need a bobbin!

Working on sewing a dozen superhero capes for Ryan's party coming up on Friday. I'm not exactly what you would call a seamstress but if the machine is already threaded, I can sew a straight line.

Unfortunately, my bobbin ran out. So I had to make a new one (that took about 3o minutes to figure out how) then get the bobbin back in place and re-thread the machine. That one was a little trickier. After watching me struggle for about half an hour, Ron took pity on me and gave it a shot. That bobbin refused to cooperate. After about an hour of muttering and puttering and trying again and again, it finally worked. Ryan had come to see what all the fuss was after Ron gave up and must have given the machine a magical touch because finally, finally everything was back in working order and the sewing can resume.

In other news...

I'm coming down with a cold. Of course. Because it's not like I'm busy or anything this week (or even this month!).

I have a cub scout leaders meeting tonight which puts a cramp in my sewing schedule.

I killed another mouse. 3 dead, 1 released.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Mice Like Peanut Butter

About an hour ago, that was a bad thing. Not anymore.

The past two nights I have been avoiding my kitchen duties and leaving clean-up for the morning. Which means I haven't been setting the mousetrap. This morning I decided to just go ahead and set the trap, figuring the mice would find it tonight when they wakeup and start foraging through my garbage.

I was wrong. The peanut butter smell was so great that it woke one up early. I was sitting here at the computer when I heard a snap. Eeewww! I don't want to hear it! It's bad enough that I have to deal with the dead, stiff mouse. I don't want to be present for the actual dirty deed. So, needless to say I felt really bad. I even had to leave the room for awhile because I just couldn't deal.

Fast forward to now. Ryan wants lunch. No bread left in the kitchen so I head out to the pantry room to get another loaf. I pull out a partially chewed loaf of bread from the basket. Argh! That, Ryan, is what I'm talking about when I say the mice will start eating our food. Time to kill another one.

So now I don't feel so bad anymore about the one that died an hour ago. I'm not happy about him choosing to do it while I'm in the room but at least there's one less mouse eating my food now.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Circle of Life

So as I was setting the mousetrap last night, Ryan came into the kitchen and of course wanted to know what I was doing. I told him I was going to catch the mouse. How did I know there was a mouse in the house? As far as he knew, the one I captured the other night was the only one. I explained to him that I had vaccuumed up all the mouse poop the other day and now there is more fresh mouse poop. So, he says, when you catch the mouse, what are you going to do with it? Let it go outside? Ummmm. No. The mouse will be dead, I tell him. Oh. He thought that the traps just caught them by the tail but didn't kill them. Unfortunately it only happens that way in cartoons I told him. This trap will kill the mouse. At this point I'm getting a little nervous because I can tell he's on the verge of being upset. I don't blame him. I'm feeling conflicted about the whole process myself. Why do you think it took me a week to get around to buying mousetraps? For one thing, I don't want to have to face the dead body and the disposal task. For another thing, I don't like to kill animals. On the flip side, if I allow the mice to stay under the kitchen cabinet, feasting on garbage, they will eventually reproduce in great numbers then get even hungrier and start looking for food in the cabinets. I don't know for sure, but I imagine they could also harbor diseases harmful to humans. Out in the forest, the mice and the hawks and other natural predators keep each other in balance. Here in the suburbs not so much. Are the mice endangered? I doubt it. Am I allowing for a larger problem to develop if I do nothing? Yes. Could I choose a live catch and release trap? Yes but they recommend releasing 5 miles from your house in a wooded area which I find impractical for this area. So regular mouse trap it is.

I explained the predator/prey aspect as well as the mass reproduction and disease aspects to Ryan. I told him that I don't mind the mice living anywhere they want in my yard, outside the house. But I just can't allow them to live inside. In this case I must become the hawk and kill the mouse. He seemed okay with it.

Fast forward to this morning when I found the dead mouse behind the garbage can. I felt sad that he died. Then before the kids were up and aware of what I was doing, I dumped the body behind the shed to let nature finish things off. I hope no other mice come to die in my traps. They should just set up camp in the back woods instead.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Quote and some trivia

"Christmas isn't Christmas until somebody cries."
-Donkey in Shrek the Halls

That made me chuckle. It's true!

And now for your trivia bit of the day... What is the dog's name in How The Grinch Stole Christmas? Answer: Max.

Any guesses as to what I'm doing tonight? Did you guess watching Christmas specials on TV? Probably. But I bet you didn't guess that I'm also folding laundry.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."
- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Found this on a marathon-training site. (And no, I'm not planning to run a marathon!) A friend is training for a half-marathon and asked if I would like to run. I went to the website to see what sort of training is involved as perhaps I can run with her from time to time. But NOT in the race!

Career Planning

We went to see Santa on Monday. Santa was great, spent a few minutes actually talking to the kids. Guess it pays to on a Monday afternoon early in the season – plenty of personal attention. There were only four people ahead of us in line and not too many behind us.

As we left Santa’s Snow Globe, we received a coupon for Chick-Fil-A. I hadn’t eaten lunch yet and the kids never turn down a chance for French fries so we went to get a bite to eat after we played in the mall’s children’s play area. As we were eating lunch, the kids were discussing their latest career aspirations.

Bella has changed her mind and will now be a rock star. And a mom, because you can be two things. No more teacher for her!

Felisa has also changed her mind. She is now planning to be a horse rider. And a mom. Originally she was planning to only be a mom.

Ryan, not to be outdone, as decided to be a writer (which hasn’t changed) and to make money, he will be a ??? (oops - now I can't remember. check back for the answer!). I asked him what happened to his librarian job. He said he had forgotten about that one. When I reminded him that he used to say he wanted to be a Milkshake Maker he laughed. Clearly he had also long since forgotten about that one too!

In other news…

Ryan won first place in the Young Author’s contest! Yippee! Yahoo! Looks like “Boxy the Fat Pig” really is a winner. The look on his face when Ron told him was priceless. Amazement and excitement and joy. I’m so happy for him. Sets the standard high though for future writing!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Mouse In The House

That's right, folks. A mouse. A live mouse. In my house. In my garbage can to be exact. And now that mouse is very cold and sad. And lucky to be alive but cold and sad all the same.

I was sitting here at the computer and I heard a noise, kind of a sizzling noise. Ron had just changed the filter on the refrigerator so I wondered if perhaps there was a leak somewhere in the line that was dripping on a hot dishwasher part, since the dishwasher was still warm from the recent washing. I decided to investigate. I do not, after all, wish to burn the house down. So I walked to the kitchen sink and stopped to listen. I could still hear the noise. So I opened up the cabinet door under the sink and a movement caught my eye along with the noise which was louder now. Holy %*^^$(#! There's a mouse (oh I hope it's a mouse and not a rat, I think) in my garbage can! Now can I get it out of the house without setting it loose in the kitchen? Ryan! Open the back door! Quick! Very carefully I pulled the garbage bag up out of the can and hold it closed. The sad mouse is sad because I had just recently taken the garbage out so he didn't find anything to eat. He was also sad because the empty garbage can made it impossible for him climb back out and make his escape. The sizzling noise I had heard was actually the sound of his tiny little mouse paws trying to climb up the slippery plastic walls of the garbage bag.

Garbage bag in hand, clinched tightly closed, and held oh so gingerly, I dash out the open door to the back porch. Now what? I head for the edge of the grass, set the bag down, and step back into the light. Ewwww!!!! Live mouse! In my house! Ewwww!!! Can I just say that I prefer my mice stuffed? Though I bore the nickname Mouse for all of my years as a Girl Scout Camp Counselor, I did not receive any special live mouse loving skills during that time. I did bring home a dead mouse in my suitcase one weekend. I guess he ate too much of my towel and died of a tummy ache. I even had the job of disposing of several dead mice we caught in our house one winter in Colorado. Luckily though, no real mice in my life since then, except at the pet store. Until today.

Now here is where I put forth my confession. For the past week or so I have noticed some suspicious black looks-like-mouse-poop bits in the cabinet next to the Cascade. But, being the Queen of De Nial, and seeing no other signs (i.e. teeth marks), I just shrugged it off. That option is officially no longer available. Darn.

So I guess that means we have to stop by the hardware store tomorrow to stock up on mousetraps. I don't really want to kill them but allowing them to live in the house and eventually move up from garbage to fresher foods isn't really a good option either.

In the meantime there is one hungry, cold, sad mouse in my backyard. Oh and it is Full Moon Day. Does this count as a family activity? Watching Mommy freak out a little while catching a mouse and settting it free?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Heat Wave Expected

Everybody get ready for a heat wave... I'm ready for winter (finally) so I'm expecting a heat wave. Based on the fact that I spent about 3 hours yesterday sorting the rest of the summer/winter clothes and inventorying the winter coats, hats, gloves, boots, etc. I am expecting a heat wave that should last at least a week or two! If only I were a faster worker...

In other news...

I am allergic (or sensitive perhaps) to sulfur. I had forgotten apparently. I always tell the doctor that I am allergic to septra when they ask for drug allergies. On a related front, I am generally not a fan of red wine. I'm thinking it must be because of the sulfites. Last night at dinner, Ron was drinking wine. I tasted it. I thought, oh that doesn't taste too bad. So I drank a little more. About an hour later, the headache started. A multi-point vise grip squeezing my head. Ouch! Not debiliatating but definitely uncomfortable. There's a bit of it still hanging on this morning.

Ryan's cookies won Best Tasting in his Den. It's a good thing they did because, seriously, these are the best cookies ever! And to prove my point, I've been eating them nonstop since last Wednesday night. Not good for the diet but oh so good for the taste buds!

I ran the Turkey Trot a week ago. 5K. My time was 30:36. About 45 seconds slower than last year but much faster than I felt like I was running at the time, especially with the minimal training I did this year. Maybe next year will be better.

Oh and I almost forgot this one - a tick. A big ugly disgusting deer tick (looks like this - the one at the top of the page and the one in the third row, last on the right) on the living room floor last night. Ryan found it first. Thought it was a shell. Picked it up. It moved. He freaked out a little then tossed it away. Told Ron and I about it (or so he says - neither of us heard him). A few minutes later, as I was walking through the living room I saw a bean or something on the floor. But wait - it has legs. That are moving. Eeeew! What is it!?! Put it in a bowl so I could look at it some more. I just could get over how big and bean like the body looked compared to the tiny legs at one end. Ron used his super information finding skills and found a picture. It was a tick, just as he had guessed. Then he made me kill it. I wanted to spray it with chemicals or something but he told me to use a shoe. So I sandwiched it into a paper towel, put on my shoe, and stepped on it. Bigger eeeewwww! The shell cracked and squished. Yuck, yuck, yuck!

I'm getting a haircut today. I've decided that I like the new short hairdo and so does most everyone else so I guess I'll keep it going for awhile. After the haircut, I'm off to the Donut Store with Felisa to buy food for Thanksgiving. 7 adults, 5 kids, and lots of fun!

Now it's time to get these kids out the door to school!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Labor of Love

We started the sugar cookies last night. Ryan decided to go old-fashioned this year (his words) for the Cub Scout Bake-off and chose Aunt Lana's sugar cookies as his entry. The batter has to chill overnight so we made it up last night. It took a long time... and we both had tired arms by the time we finished mixing the batter. As we were working (with the two girls watching of course!) we talked about how hard Aunt Lana must work every year when she makes all of her delicious cookies for the people she loves. We always love her cookies but we will have an even deeper appreciation this year as we devour her scrumptious creations.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I'm not sure what it is but the last few days I have been feeling very jangled. Over-stimulated in excess. I have come to recognize over that past year or so that I don't respond well to repetitive stimulus that I cannot control. Also multiple concurrent stimuli.

Also this morning, I am supposed to be working. I have a project for a client to have done in about a week. And a beginner's class to teach tonight. But I just can't think or work when other people are in the house. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the multiple concurrent stimuli of trying to think and focus while other things are going on around me. I even prefer not to do mindless chores like folding laundry when others are around. I have no idea why.

So, if anyone has a cure, please let me know. At least consider yourself warned that Grumpy Mommy has been hanging around lately. Approach at your own risk.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Who wouldn't wanna be me?

I heard that song on the radio the other day, "Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me" by Keith Urban and I thought to myself "Hmm... that would make a good blogpost title." And lucky me, I didn't have to wait long for the opportunity to use it!

Yesterday after we picked up Felisa and Corey from school, Corey needed to go potty. Of course we were already in the parking lot by this time so Shani took him over to his customary spot in the bushes by the dumpsters. I loaded Felisa and got ready to head out for gymnastics class. Somehow Corey had managed to pee on Shani's hand and she was grimacing and we laughed a little at the joy of it all and then I drove off. As I left the parking lot, I commented to Grandma R that it just isn't motherhood if you don't get peed on.

(insert suspenseful music and foreshadowing galore!)

We start to drive down the block. Felisa announces that she needs to go potty. The power of suggestion perhaps? I asked if she could wait 5 minutes until we got to gymnastics. No, she says. Okay. There really isn't anywhere to stop here, no bathrooms. So I ask her again. Do you have to go right now in the bushes or can you wait until gymnastics? I figure this will help her (and me) decide how desperate she really was. In the bushes, she says. We have rounded the corner at this point and I'm thinking maybe we can pull in at the doorstoop of the elementary school, leave Grandma in the car, and run inside to use the bathroom there. No sooner than I have asked the question and formulated the plan does Felisa say, Noooooooooo!!!! I'm already going!!!!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

Alrighty then. I guess I'll pull over into this empty pool parking lot and change Felisa's clothes. What was that I just said about parenthood and being peed on by your kids?!

When we got home from gymnastics, I pulled the soggy carseat out of the car and left it, with the wet clothes, sitting in the carport. I left again right away to meet Ron for lunch. Then it was time to pick up the big kids from school. Then I was too lazy to go out in the rain to take the cover off the carseat to be washed. Then it was dark. Then Ron and I went out for dinner (gee, isn't it great when the grandparents come to visit!!!). When we got home from dinner, I brought the carseat inside and left it in the foyer next to the hibiscus tree. It's late, I'm tired, I'll deal with it tomorrow, I think to myself.

Now it is Saturday morning and I decide that I really need to just take the darn seat cover off already and quit procrastinating. I bring it up into the living room and pick the dirty clothes up off the seat. And it's alive! The seat cushion under the clothes, full of pee and cracker crumbs has attracted the ants that were living in my hibiscus tree (they moved in and set up camp in the plant pot while the tree was on the porch for the summer and I haven't decided yet how to get them back out of the pot). They are crawling all over the carseat. Ewwww! Quick! Where's the vaccuum cleaner?!? I suck up a few of the ants and a couple crumbs but it's not really working all that well since everything is wet (remember the rain? And the pee?). So I get some paper towels and bleach spray. And clean and vaccuum and disassemble the car seat. Finally all apart. I put the seat cover and the clothes in the washer. I go outside in my pajamas to freeze my buns off while I hose out the car seat. And I think to myself... Who wouldn't wanna be me?!

In other news:
We went to Arby's this morning after collecting food for the Scouting for Food drive. The Kids' Meal bag had mad libs on it. After we did the mad libs, Ryan went back and read the "Words of Wisdom" section exactly as it was printed... The adjective bird gets the noun. A watched noun never verb. etc. Then he read this one: A noun a day keeps the occupation away. Then he created this funny one:

Ryan: A noun a day keeps the teacher away.

Editorial comment from Grumpy Mommy...
Frustration: trying to think and type this post while Ryan reads me the jokes from Boys Life (all 3 pages of jokes of course), Bella runs and hops back and forth past me, Grandma cleans and plays the piano, and Felisa tries to talk to me. AAAAAGGGGHHHH! Leave me alone! My overstimulated brain can't handle all this simultaneous input!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hammer Time

20 Boys... 20 Hammers... Hundreds of nails... One hour... 20 birdhouses... A Miracle!

We had Cub Scouts tonight. A joint meeting of the Wolves so we had about 20 boys present. The project of the evening was to build a birdhouse. The leaders of the other den precut and drilled the wood so all the boys had to do was hammer in the nails. As an assistant leader I was making the rounds, helping out where I can. Several times I offered to hold the wood steady while the boys hammered in the nails. Talk about taking the life of your fingers and thumbs in your hand (okay that doesn't sound right but you know what I mean!)! But the boys all did great and no one hammered my thumb! My ears are still ringing from all the hammering but that's another story!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Haunted Housewife

See the Haunted Housewife run screaming from the house.
I give up. I quit. It's just not fair!
What could possibly have caused such Halloween terror in TypicalTown, America?

Read The Haunted Housewife to find out...

Do you remember those books? Choose your own adventure. I liked them. I even tried to write one once. Now I'm going to write another one. Are you ready?

Once upon a time there was a Happy Housewife. Let's call her Ruby. Ruby woke up early one Halloween morning to face her morning workout torture. Unfortunately before she could even make it out the door to the gym, she was faced by the gaping dishwasher and the over-flowing sink full of dirty dishes. Bummer. No Dish Fairy came to visit last night. Oh well, she thinks, the dishes will have to wait. Boot camp torture comes first!

Just over an hour later, Ruby returns home, tired and sweaty. Dutiful and loving wife that she is, she immediately starts a pot of coffee then turns to face the Dish Monster. Time passes. Children wake up. Children are called to breakfast. Children are sent to dress in their cutest Halloween clothes. More time passes. Panic sets in - why aren't the lunches made yet? Why do you have so many tangles in your hair? Put on your shoes! Put on your coat! Hurry, hurry, hurry! We're late! Does Ruby get a shower after her workout? No, of course not. But that's okay. After a couple errands, there will be time for a shower later.

The morning passes. Ruby returns the library books, checks out some new library DVDs, buys milk and a snack, and returns home with just enough time for a very quick shower.

Should Ruby
a) take a quick shower
b) wait and take a shower later

But wait, she thinks. I'm worth more than just a rushed shower. I'm worth a long, hot, take-my-time shower. I'll take a shower while Littlest Child eats lunch and watches the new DVDs. Ruby gathers some newspaper clippings for her friend Shanita, cleans out the car console a bit, then heads to PreSchool Land to pick up Littlest Child.

Fast forward... Littlest Child is watching Dora so Ruby heads upstairs for her long-awaited shower. Oh look - the shower bucket is full. Ruby empties the water into the garden then turns on the water to warm up.

Should Ruby
a) take a shower
b) decide to give the shower a quick scrub before she gets in

Ruby decides that she should really give the shower stall at least a cursory scrub before the mildew comes to life and attacks someone. She very carefully removes the shower bucket that has accumulated another 3 inches or so of water in it and puts it on the rug next to the bathtub. She squirts a little Soft Scrub on the shower then rubs it in with the scrub brush. Somehow in her ultimate gracefulness, Ruby manages to knock over the bucket, spilling the water all over the rug and the bathroom floor. Alrighty then, she sighs. Guess I'll be cleaning the whole bathroom today. It wasn't the plan for the day but it needed to be done.

Two hours later, Ruby is showered and the bathroom is clean. The first load of rugs has been washed. Littlest Child has become bored of Dora and wants to help Ruby. They do a little vaccuuming of the bedroom then head down to the laundry room together. Put two rugs in the dryer. Discover the rubber backing from the other two rugs is coming apart. Decide to throw them away.

Should Ruby
a) check the deep sink to see if the rubber backing has clogged the drain
b) go on about her business as if nothing is wrong

Ruby and Littlest Child put towels in the washer, turn it on, then leave to pick up the Big Kids at Big Kid School.

Fast forward about an hour. All the kids are home. Oldest Boy has assembled his bow and arrows for his Halloween Archer costume. The missing rocket has been returned by Nice Neighbor Lady and another rocket has been swallowed by the Very Tall Pine Tree. Ruby decides to go see if the rugs are dry or if they need to be hung outside on the sun.

Eeewwww! What was that? Why is the floor wet?! Oh no! The deep sink is clogged and overflowed. Why is it that Ruby's hard work cleaning the bathroom has been rewarded with a flooded laundry room? Why? Why? Why?

Should Ruby
a) run screaming from the house. I give up. I quit. It's just not fair! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!
b) call her friends to vent her woes, laugh at herself, and keep on keeping on.

An hour or so later, the laundry room is mostly soaked up. Dinner is cooking and it's almost time for trick-or-treating. Oh and don't forget the icing on the cake... while mopping up the mess, Ruby discovers that the washer was set for Extra Rinse. Because, really, there wasn't enough water on the floor already today!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wonder Woman Stuffed Zucchini

Come close... I'm about to give away an old secret family recipe for Wonder Woman Stuffed Zucchini. Do you have your pencils ready to copy it down? Okay, here we go...

1. Make regular stuffed zucchini for dinner. Decide there is enough stuffing left to make stuffed zucchini again soon.

2. Put extra stuffing into a freezer bag. Decide not to label the bag because of course you will remember what is inside. Place bag in freezer.

3. Wait about a month.

4. Decide to make spaghetti. Now that it is actually fall and you have no fresh tomatoes on hand, decide to use some frozen spaghetti sauce you made over the summer.

5. Remove bag of frozen spaghetti sauce and leave to thaw on counter.

6. It's getting late. Decide to warm sauce on stove while you cook noodles and prepare garlic bread.

7. Stir sauce.

8. Look very closely and wonder to yourself... "WHAT is that?!!?" After all, it looks like spaghetti sauce with meat (probably ground beef) but wait - is that rice?

9. Have lightbulb moment. Oh yeah! That's the extra stuffed zucchini stuffing I was saving. Maybe I should have labeled it. Duh!

10. Debate whether or not you should still have noodles. Decide to cook the noodles anyway since the Bella won't touch the stuffing if her life depends on it.

11. Come up with a creative name to sell this latest creation to the diners... How about Wonder Woman Stuffed Zucchini?! The zucchini boats are invisible just like her plane is invisible!

12. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy with a slice of garlic bread and a glass of wine.

And finally... (this last step is optional)

13. Tell Husband what's for dinner. Laugh. Forbid him to stop for a free taco at Taco Bell on the way home. Force him to eat your special secret family recipe. You may have to go out later to get him the taco anyway so use your own judgement on this one.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pass the Earplugs!

There are 6... count them, 6, kids about 10 feet from me playing "jump to our deaths!" Which, actually is fine with me. I just wish they'd do it silently! The joy and hilarity of it all is about to rupture my eardrums.

Okay, they really aren't jumping to their deaths. They're leaping down 2 steps onto a fuzzy blanket. This is safe because 1) it's only two steps down and 2) they are going one at a time. And at least one parent is expected to arrive in about 9 minutes which will reduce my total number of charges to 4. And technically, I have to keep 3 of them anyway. So if they can refrain from actually killing themselves or getting hurt in any way for the next 10 minutes I'm home free!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Individually they're fine but...

Last night was Homecoming. Ron was the designated photographer for Melissa and her friends. He met them after dinner, took a few great shots, then came back home.

This morning we were talking and Ron said... I don't want to have any teenagers. I think I'll have to sell ours before they turn into teenagers. Why, I asked. Well, individually they're fine but get them into groups...

Hmmm... sounds like a few Marines I know. Individually they're fine, but get them into groups. Ugh!

So anyway, even though Melissa came home late, everything seemed to go well. I didn't get the official report yet since I went to bed as soon as she got home last night and needless to say, she's not awake yet at 0900 the next morning. I'm not in favor of teenagers because I don't want to have to stay up late waiting for them to get home. 013o is definitely past my bedtime. I was expecting her at 1 (per her other mother's instructions) which is still past my bedtime, but apparently Ron approved her delayed curfew. Hmm. Guess we'll see about that "struck by lightning" promise when the Real Mom gets home tonight!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Diamond Is A Girl's Best Friend

Apparently Bella has an imaginary friend. Her name is Diamond. She is the only one in her family who is invisible. She lives in the field of the white dandelion just through the woods.

Who knew!?!

It is kind of nice to hear Bella telling about Diamond. I rarely hear her speaking of imaginary things. Is it because she's the middle child who never spends time alone with me? Is it because she is so quiet that she never talks about anything? I'm sure I don't know and I probably never will know.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's Just Hair... It Will Grow Back...

or in other words... Wow! That's short!

I went to the salon this morning, compliments of my neighbor. The hairdresser recommended cutting it short. It will look good, she says. It will make you look younger, she promises. I, being incapable of saying no, discussed it for a minute but ultimately caved in. After all, as I tell the kids all the time, it's just hair. It will grow back.

An hour and a half later I'm looking at a pile of hair on the floor and a girl with very short hair in the mirror. What have I done?!?!?

Do I look younger? Not that I can tell. Do I hate it? No, but I'm not sure if I love it. I don't think my hair has been this short since my mom took me out back with scissors and a garbage bag during the Lice Scare of 5th Grade and cut it all off. Not even when I cut it "short" upon graduation and commissioning. What I miss already are the options. I can no longer wear it up or wear it down or curl it. It is what it is.

I have no other opinions yet so I've got my fingers crossed that every one will love it and think I look 10 years younger.

And if not, that's okay. It's just hair. It will grow back. I hope.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ryan Tidbits

A new diet plan... recommended for scaredy-cats... The Chicken Diet.

How it works? Imagine everyone is a monster, scream and run away, A LOT, which burns lots of calories. Apparently he got it from a Scooby book. Of course. Scooby, monsters, running away...

At first I thought he meant scaredy cats should eat a lot of chicken but then he explained it to me. Maybe I should try the chicken diet.


Darn... there was another really good one and now I can't remember what it was. Maybe it will come to me later.

Wait - I remember now!

Felisa is the #3 leader of the house. Don't mess with her. Seriously. Daddy is the #1 leader, Mommy is the #2 leader, and Felisa is the #3 leader.

Almost a direct quote. I don't even remember now what we were talking about at the time but I thought it was hilarious the way he said this.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

To tote or not to tote

Well, it seems we're in the big leagues now... Ryan has soccer. Bella has cheerleading. All the kids have swimming lessons. Which means I'm spending a lot more time away from home, with ALL the kids than I used to. And that means I have to come prepared... chairs to sit in, blankets/towels for the ground, entertainment for Felisa, hair bands and comb for Bella, snacks, water, etc.

I've always been one to tote around a lot of stuff - just in case. And I don't mind bringing everything but the kitchen sink. I just don't like looking as though I've brought everything but the kitchen sink. The last few weeks spent at the various activities has shown me that a lot of the items I'm bringing need to come to all the places we go, so I should have it all in one bag that is always ready. Another reason to have only one bag is that Ron likes to travel light. He gets impatient when I have a lot of stuff to round up and transport. So if I only have one bag, I can just grab and go, thereby avoiding the dirty looks and the exasperated sighs.

We've graduated from diaper bags (woo hoo!) so now I'm searching for the perfect "bring everything but the kitchen sink to every place under the sun" bag. I read a review of a bag over at Family Travel Gear that has lots of pockets and compartments so you don't have to dig around in the big black hole trying to find what you're looking for. Sounds good to me... one place for water, one place for snacks, one place for the cheerleading horses (ask Felisa about that one!), etc. I don't want to buy a bag sight unseen but I like the idea of pockets. I saw a couple bags at Tuesday Morning this morning that looked promising. The purple bag was smaller, and it was purple, but it was $50. There was another sport duffle with a mesh pocket for the soccer ball, but it had no price. And so the search will continue for a few more days at least...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

To the Moon and Back

Ron put the seat down in the minivan the other day and discovered the kids' messy litte secret. Crumbs and indescribable ick everywhere. Deep down inside I knew it was there. I was just living in denial. So Felisa helped me while I spent a good two hours scrubbing and vacuuming and vacuuming and scrubbing until it's back to normal. I would say good as new but we all know that's not possible after 3 kids plus friends and multiple road trips. I think I vacuumed enough crumbs to lay a path to the moon and back. I even found a sticky shrivelled strawberry leftover from the drink Ryan spilled at Sonic in Kansas.

(Yes, I'm a terrible housekeeper... lazy and messy too. What of it?!)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Plateau Already???

So I started my sugar-free candida diet on the first day of school, Sept. 4. I made remarkable progress in the weight-loss department and some progress in the yeast killing department. It has been only 2 weeks and I feel stalled out. Week 2 seems a bit early for a weight-loss plateau. For one thing, I am finding the weekends harder to stay strict to my restrictions. For another thing, my weight has been fluctuating back and forth between 172 and 173 for the past couple days which is making me crazy frustrated. My daily calorie intake is 1/2 to 2/3 of what is was over the past 6 months to a year at least. I have been exercising again, which had dropped off during the summer. I'm doing everything right and have what seems like nothing to show for it.

What is the cause? My little cheats? The carbs in my cheats could be disrupting the low-carb effects of the candida diet. Not drinking enough water? Hormones? Not nursing? The last time I did this battle with the yeasties beasties, I was nursing. Apparently that burns a whole lot more calories than I realized because last time it all just seemed to melt away - all 40 pounds of it.

Will I wake up one day and have dropped a pound or two? One can hope. In the meantime, I guess I'll just keep plugging away. On the plus side, I ate out twice today and still kept my calories to under 2000. Pretty darn remarkable if I do say so myself.

Oh and if you want to spy on me, here's a link to my FitDay journal.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Little Mama

After yesterday's crazy hectic schedule of school and after-school activities, today's easy pace is especially welcome. I'm still feeling a bit under the weather but better. I got to sleep in until 7:30ish. Ron gave the big kids breakfast. I picked a suit for Ron and packed lunches for Ryan and Bella and then nothing else. No exercise, no shower, no taking anyone to school (R and B have a ride in the mornings). I have nowhere that I MUST go until 3:00 when I pick up the big kids. And it's great!

Felisa has been playing with her baby doll this morning. She changed the baby from her pajamas to her clothes. She played a game with her baby - she strung up the barrel of monkeys (hanging from my finger of course because there is nowhere else in the house to hang them from) then let the baby knock them down. Then she gave the baby her teddy bear and played some music so she could go to sleep. I was babysitting with the baby asleep on my calf while I folded laundry but then Felisa decided the baby doesn't like to sleep on pokey legs (did I mention no shower today?!?). So she moved her to the pillow and shushed me multiple times (I guess I was folding too loudly). Then after the baby slept on my pillow for a few minutes she moved her to the baby's crib. Unfortunately the baby was crying when she woke up from her nap because Mommy Felisa was gone. They played a little more while I made some breakfast for myself. I called Felisa down to have some eggs with me. She came with the baby and told me she would have to eat with only one hand as she was holding baby in the other arm and the baby doesn't like to be dropped. I have to agree that in my experience, babies do not like to be dropped. And then... when she was done eating, as she was getting up from the table, the baby knocked over her water cup and made a big mess. I have to agree once more... in my experience, babies make a lot of messes!

Isn't it amazing how many universal truths there are to being a mommy? And so far, it looks like Felisa will be a great one.


In other news...

A reportedly very annoying (according to Bella) little boy cut Bella's hair during math yesterday. The teacher called to report the incident and told me that she handled it very well. I'm glad. And of course Bella has so much hair, you can't even tell. Unlike when Felisa cut her own hair a few months ago.

Ryan's soccer coaches are working them hard in practice. Or maybe he was extra tired because of his cold. He has some good coaches this season and lots of friends on his team so we're all happy about that.

Bella got to use pom poms at cheer practice yesterday. Raising that cuteness quotient even higher! First home game is in a week and a half.

I made my kids (and myself) sit out in the hallway (on the cold, hard linoleum floor) to chow down our McD's dinner while Bella was in the gym cheering. The sign clearly says "No food or drink in the Gym - Water Only". Next time we'll probably just eat in the car after we drop her off - more comfortable. But anyway, after we ate, we moved into the gym so we could be more comfortable (a carpeted floor!) and so we could watch practice. Another family came in with burritos, spread a blanket (they get points for being careful), and started chowing down. I was a little annoyed that they weren't following the rules (you know me - I love people following rules!) but didn't say anything (you know me - avoid confrontation at all costs!). Happily, the coach came over and told them they couldn't eat in the gym because we would lose our practice space if caught. So there.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Trip to the Carnival

We went to the carnival last night. Splurged on the 50-ticket sheet that cost $40. I thought it would be nice for the whole family to ride the ferris wheel, and at 4 tickets a person, that was 20 tickets right there.

*We rode the ferris wheel for 30 minutes (yes, I checked my watch). About 10 minutes of the actual continuously spinning ride and the rest of the time loading/unloading passengers, two gondolas at a time.
*None of us was too big or too small to ride.

*We rode the ferris wheel for 30 minutes. 20 would have been plenty.
*There was a four passenger per gondola limit so we had to split up and couldn't ride together as a family.

So was it worth almost $20 to ride the ferris wheel? I think so. It was the first time for all of the kids. There was a nice breeze and it was fun to look down over the park and the people below. Of course, it may not be worth $20 to do it again next year. We may try the "ride all night for $20" night next year. Three kids times $20 is $60. Which seems like a lot. But we ended up spending almost that much anyway if you add in the snacks and the attempts to win a goldfish. And the kids only had 3 rides each other than the ferris wheel. If it was ride all night, they could go through the mirrored fun house to their hearts content. Although it wouldn't be cost effective for Felisa to go on the $20 night since she's only tall enough for about 2 of the rides. Do you think she'll be 42" by next fall? Probably not.

All said and done, it was a nice couple of hours. It was pure torture to watch Felisa eating her melting ice cream cone. I wanted so bad to just lick it a few times to stop the drips. But I didn't. I did eat a couple of Ron's nachos though... those were borderline forbidden foods unlike the death-on-a-cone ice cream. Or should it be life-on-a-cone since it would feed the yeastie beasties and let them live to see another day?!

Friday, September 07, 2007

So Far It's Working...

Well, the very special, eat-nothing-and-be-very-hungry candida diet is working. I'm down 3 pounds this week and am slightly less itchy. I am not any less witchy yet but hopefully that will come. :)

As I swallow the tastes-like-dirt supplements I remind myself that this is for my health. I want to be healthier. I do. But in the meantime I also want donuts and cake and bread. And coffee... don't forget the coffee. But, since I am incapable of drinking it without sugar, I will no longer drink it. I'm feeling better today than earlier in the week. I may even be productive today. On Wednesday, after sending all the kids to school, I ran two errands then came home to take a nap. So, a little less than productive this week but hopefully that will all change once I get used to my new eating habits and evict a few more of the Yeastie Beasties.

Now off to pretend to be productive... My kitchen corner shelf arrived yesterday. I wasn't expecting it until Monday so maybe I'll have to tackle the kitchen today instead of ignoring it for a few more days. Maybe I'll even finish it sometime soon so I can progress to the next room on the list. Any votes on where to go next?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Possibilities Are Endless...

The first day of school... for two out of three anyway...

Despite the insane first day of school traffic and parking issues, Felisa and I were able to drop Ryan and Bella off for their first day of school. Second grade in a classroom UPSTAIRS - wow, the big leagues! And all-day Kindergarten. All day. As in whatever am I going to do for the next six and a half hours. Bella decided she could walk to class by herself even though Ryan offered to walk with her. I did ask him to walk with her to the stairs so that I would know she was headed in the right direction. And so they went... It seems strange to have two of them gone all day long but I feel much more comfortable with things now that I've been through it once already. There is less UNKNOWN to stress me out.

So... that leaves Felisa and I. She was sad this morning that I wasn't packing a lunch for her and that she wasn't going to school today. She immediately cheered up when I told her she could go to the Donut Store with me instead. Because really, donuts are way better than school. At 0930 we were done shopping. Which leaves 6 hours until we pick up the other kids. I'm sure I will soon be used to it but for now that 6 hours stretches out before me with so many possibilities... we could go to WV even and still be back in time. We won't. But we could!

So far Felisa has played Scooby Doo (with me), put together a puzzle (by herself), and is playing upstairs. I've boiled some eggs (need some quick no-sugar, no-wheat breakfasts now that the Yeast Wars have begun in earnest once more today), put away the groceries, talked to Shani on the phone, ate a snack of 3 baby carrots dipped in hummus, and considered cleaning my office.

3 1/2 hours to go... soon it will be time for lunch and a trip to the library and dry cleaners. Or maybe just to the library. We have to leave something for Thursday's entertainment!

Oh and in case you're curious... you can check out my FitDay food journal here. I've joined a 10-day challenge at Shrinking Mom to log what we eat for 10 days. You can view previous entries also and see what a difference the yeast wars makes to my diet. I usually eat without even trying as many calories as I've had so far today, even with my Starbucks (sort-of) cheat sugar-free soy latte. Amazing. And what would be even more amazing would be if I lost weight again like I did the first time. I've found though, that to keep it off, I can't go back to my old ways. The Yeast will find me again like it did this time. I can do it.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

And another one gone and another one gone...
And another one bites the dust!

As I mentioned the other day, our TV is broken. The repairman called Tuesday morning to tell me they had discovered another problem that was causing the original problem. Which means the TV wasn't fixed yet and may not ever be fixed since the part they need has been discontinued. We should find out next week sometime whether Ron gets to buy a new TV or not. We've been using the portable DVD player to watch movies in the TV room all month. Yesterday that one died as well. Now what will we do?!?

This morning we decided to pull out the TV/VCR from Ryan's room that has a Scooby tape stuck in it and plug it in to the cable box to see if we could get TV back. The tape came out (but is broken). The TV works (once we found the remote - a 15 minute search!). But it's not accepting the cable input for some reason. We have ABC and CBS, a little fuzzy but in color. We found PBS in fuzzy black and white. So, cartoons in B&W on a 13" TV... definitely better than nothing. We could try another video tape but I'm afraid to upset the delicate balance we have going now.

In other news...
School open houses this morning.
Corey's birthday party today - I can't believe he's 3 already!
Swimming this evening.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


"If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers." -Edgar W. Howe

5 days and counting...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cows and Sheep and Pigs, Oh My!

In celebration of the last day I have to drag my children around the Farmer's Market of the summer, I decided we should go to the special market. The one far away with not as many booths but oh look - it's on a farm! With real farm animals! Cool! Turns out Ryan has been here before on a school field trip (a good mother would have remembered that fact!). In any case, we all had a fabulous time touring around the barns and seeing all the animals and taking pictures of all of them just in case we forget what a pig looks like.

And next week... I get to go to the market all by myself! And buy, or not buy, whatever I want! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Why Is the Sky Blue?

Because the moon is red...

Full Moon with a Full Lunar Eclipse today. Too bad we couldn't see it. If we lived in Oregon though, it would've been perfect.

I woke up at 0530, as promised, to check the moon situation. Light clouds and a moon that is setting too far to the west to see past the trees. I even walked all the way to the far end of the block, in my pajamas, to make sure I couldn't see the moon. Ask Bailey - she was there - she'll vouch for me. So, I decided against waking up the children, putting them in the car, and driving all over town to possibly see part of an eclipse in the half an hour we would have remaining before the sun came up.

Another full eclipse is expected on Feb. 21, 2008. I hope the elements cooperate so we can see it!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pink Girl

I often manipulate, I mean guide, my children by giving them choices. As in... choose what I want you to do/have or else choose nothing. For example, you may have carrots for snack or nothing for snack. Choices are important, after all. That way they feel in control even though they aren't.

Unfortunately, Felisa has been paying attention. She has discovered the pattern. She wanted to wear pink today (which happens almost everyday!). As happens more than I like (I am the Queen of Matchy-Matchy after all), she chooses tops and bottoms that don't quite go together. Her pinks just weren't jiving so I offered to help. How about this nice pink shirt with a flower on it... goes great with these pink flower shorts! A match made in heaven! But no. Felisa says I want to be just plain. Okay then... how about these pretty (mostly pink) striped shorts to go with that plain pink shirt? Nope. The choice was plain pink or nothing. Which is pretty much almost exactly what she said to me. Alrighty then... I think I'm in control but really I'm not. Obviously.

In other news...

My children seem to have bladders of steel. A few other children we know will have to go potty almost immediately after drinking. Not my kids. Oh no. They can go practically all day without a potty break. Unless of course we are headed up a mountain pass with no shoulders or other stopping places available... then it's an emergency! I would say that falls into the Murphy's Law subset of Steel Bladders. Corey is here this morning and has had to go potty twice in the past half an hour. Not just any potty but dancing all around the bathroom, HURRY I GOTTA GO, potty. I asked him how many gallons of juice he drank this morning. He said Cranberry Juice. Still don't know how much (probably only one cup!) but I don't think he qualifies for the Bladders of Steel Club.

It's time to do the laundry... How do I know?
Sign #1: After Ron left for work this morning I discovered the basket of clean laundry dumped out on the bed. Which means his underwear drawer is empty. On the plus side, there is clean underwear available... just not where it belongs.
Sign #2: When I went to take a shower I realized my towel is still downstairs in the dryer. Along with all the kitchen towels and washclothes. But that's okay - I didn't do the dishes last night anyway so I hadn't missed them yet.
Sign #3: The dirty baskets are full. Instantaneously since Ryan had been building a stockpile of dirty laundry in his room. Putting his clean clothes away is usually how I discover Mt. Laundry (he's supposed to be putting them in the central laundry baskets daily but that doesn't always happen...). I haven't folded any laundry in, well, in a while, so I haven't been to that side of his room (the view of Mt Laundry is conveniently blocked by the bed so no one will see it unless you go all the way in). Now that the mountain has been relocated to my bathroom, it is most definitely time to do the laundry.
Maybe I'll even fold it and put it away this time. Maybe.

The Tale of the Town of BeetleBug... done. The Tale of the Town of Pumpernickel is coming up next. This is where Ryan's transformatron robots live. I'm not sure of all the details (my eyes tend to glaze over mid-story) but it involves tricking people into looking for the enemy in false locations. Mt. Everest... Eiffel Tower... I don't know. You'll have to check with Ryan to get the whole story.

Okay kids are hungry... time for a break.

One hour later... snack has been prepared and devoured. Corey has had another potty break. :) The dishes are done. The Play Triangle (similar to a love triangle but slightly different) of Ryan-Bella-Kana has been moderated. Dinner is started in the crockpot... taco night! Turns out we're out of coffee... found the empty bag on the counter amidst the dishes. Guess I'll have to go to the store after all. I need lettuce for the tacos. (I planted a fall crop of lettuce yesterday but I'm pretty sure it's not ready to pick yet!) I was going to text Shani and ask her to bring some (along with lunch for her) when she comes back from work so I wouldn't have to go immediately to the store but now that we need coffee also I'll have to go to the store anyway. Now the question is when will I go. I have to stop by the library today or tomorrow to return videos. We have uniform pickup for Bella tonight (conveniently located next to the laundry). I also need to get a 2008 calendar now that our schedules for the year are starting to come in. Looking back over the last few years' calendars it looks like Bella's turn to pick and next year will be Felisa. Which means we should go to the mall sometime this week. And while we're there I'll get the rest of Bailey's thank you gift for Grandma D. We could go to the library and the mall tonight after uniforms. Tomorrow morning the TV repairmen are coming back - alleluia - to install the repaired mother board. Which means we will have to spend the rest of the day watching TV in the TV room since we've been without it for over 3 weeks now. (Not without TV entirely of course - that would most certainly be torture - just TV in the main watching room.) No time for errands tomorrow.

And still more exciting news in the life of me... I think the yeastie beasties are back in full strength. I've had a feeling for awhile now that they are still hanging around but have been trying to ignore them. After some internet research on recurring canker sores as a symptom of candida (I've lost count I've had so many in the last couple months) I think it's time to go to battle. I've set the first day of school as my sugar-free start date. It's not going to be easy but I really wouldn't mind being happy and healthy again. And hopefully skinny and cute but that's partially another issue.

And now I'm off to... well, off to do something anyway! Never a dull moment!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

And the winner is...


That's right folks. Ron is the winner of the "Get your lazy butt out of bed first" Race. The prize? The chance to do whatever you want without any children accompanying you, all in the least-hot part of the day. I would say the coolest part of the day but cool does not exist in August. Not even at 6:30 in the morning.

Which means... Ron is out on his bike. Should be home soon. Which means I need to get my lazy butt upstairs to give the kids breakfast then get dressed so I can dash out as soon as he returns. I've got important things to do after all... farmers market, dry cleaners, whole foods... whoo hoo! Look out world, here I come!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Card Playing Advice

A little advice from Felisa for those of you card sharks out there...

"You have to shovel! Don't forget to shovel!"

See, all this time you thought you were supposed to shuffle the cards. Turns out we were wrong.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Squished Penny Museum No More

I am so sad! I was just visiting a local blog that I hadn't been to in awhile. The blog where I first heard about the squished penny museum. Apparently the museum has been closed. I never got to visit. I'm so sad! I remember loving the squished penny machines as a child and I have been introducing them to the kids. They now faithfully point out every machine we see on our travels and when there are multiple designs to choose from, they lobby in favor of their choice. I had been hoping to arrange a visit to the museum this fall. But now I won't be able to.

Guess it's true... you snooze, you lose!

Shania Twain Therapy'll cure what ails you, ladies!

So the pity party is over folks... time to move on... go make someone else depressed why don't you!

I'm a new woman now... thanks to Shania Twain. Okay maybe that's exaggerating a little. I laid on the couch for awhile yesterday afternoon, enjoying the pity party. Our evening plans were cancelled so Ron and I were discussing alternatives. I told him the house was a mess and I was fat. He was nice enough to pretend that he didn't know what I was talking about. Then he suggested getting up off the couch as a plan that may yield better results than my current plan (staying on the couch until I die). I resisted for awhile but eventually I ran out of excuses. I had taken Bailey for a 20 minute walk but hadn't done any real exercise. So I changed my clothes, borrowed Ryan's CD player (because he has 3 and I don't have any!), stuck in a Shania Twain CD and off I went, into the 90 degree heat to burn off a little frustration.

I haven't run with music in a long time. I liked it. I think maybe I should do it more often. It really distracts from the pain and agony of running so I can get a little farther down the road before I wimp out and walk. The down side to my running with music is that I was using a CD player. Talk about feeling old-fashioned and conspicuous! No one runs with anything other than an Ipod these days. I told Ron I need an MP3 player (which I have been thinking about for awhile but yesterday sealed the deal for me!) so I can run with music.

So what did Shania sing to me that helped? Well the first song was Up! As in, it can only get better from here. A good positive message to get me started. Then there was one about "not just a pretty face", women are powerful. And finally, one about getting in touch with your inner "Juanita". Works for me!

So, did I run far or fast? No. But I ran. And I sweated. And I listened to a little brainwashing music about how strong I am. And I sent Ron out for Chinese food for dinner. And I finished off the evening watching one of my new favorite shows, Psych, and eating cheesecake leftover from our night out Thursday.

Now a new day has dawned. Bailey woke me up at 0645 to be let out. I almost went back to bed but the sun was up and I was awake so I made coffee and have been enjoying a little quiet time surfing the net. I'm still fat and my house is still a mess but I'm ready to face it head on again. I may not win but I'm not ready yet to give up the fight.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I Need A Plan, Stan

A trend seems to be developing... when I return from our annual big trip, I am slapped in the face by the fact that I have gained even more weight. Oh and I live in a pigsty. I made my bed (well, I haven't actually but you know what I mean!) and I don't want to lie in it.

Add this to the mini New Year's Resolution phenomenon that I seem to experience at the beginning of the new school year... This year I will do better. This year I will be organized. This year I won't be too lazy to do anything. This year...

And yet, here we are. I have gained all the weight I lost after last year's vacation gain plus one pound. I still live in a pigsty. And I'm still lazy and hardly organized.

I am overwhelmed. I know not where to start. What I really want to do is curl up in a little ball in the corner and bury my head in the sand.

I suspect that getting back to my exercise routine and losing a few pounds will improve my outlook and my energy levels. I have gained enough that I can no longer get by with my clothes. I have to actually dig out the fat clothes. Which I hate. Seeing any difference at all will take a few weeks or months to notice though and in the meantime I can't stand this messy house but I have no energy or desire to get my fat butt up to deal with the mess.

I also have a history of unfinished projects. I am easily distracted. I am often interrupted. Most likely something else will come up that is more of an emergency and whatever I was working on will fall to the wayside and just become more of the mess.

An endless vicious cycle. Mess. Depression. More Mess. More Depression.

Which came first? The energy to improve the outlook or the improved outlook that generates energy?

The Rest of the Story

Here it is... the rest of our vacation story...

Big Trip 2... Day 28... July 26, 2007... Thursday

0615 Up and time to start packing while downloading pictures from my camera to Ron’s computer.

0743 Leave hotel.

0756 Walmart done. Picked up 2 CD players and 3 bottles of water. Total $45.

0805 Stop at McD’s for breakfast. Get gas. $2.95/gallon. Weather: 62 degrees.

0817 Arrive at Dad’s apartment.

0842 Leaving Dad’s place, heading eastward and homeward bound.

0954 Lots of lightning near Limon.

1111 KANSAS and time change which makes it 12:11 p.m.

1:32 p.m. Stop in Colby for gas and lunch at Sonic. Felisa fell asleep right before we arrived and she won’t wake up. I order something for her to eat later. Ryan spilled his drink in the car while I was in the bathroom. It is 92 degrees in Colby. Once we get back on the road, it is movie time. Now showing… Night at the Museum

3:22 p.m. Stop in Phillipsburg to Felisa can go potty. Next movie Magic School Bus

6:11 p.m. Leaving Marysville where we stopped to play on a very cool wooden playground.

6:23 p.m. “I can’t hear because I have my sunglasses on.” Felisa says. Stop for gas in Marysville - $2.89/gallon. Temperature is a steamy 92 degrees. Back to the humidity already. Yuck!

6:30 p.m. Stop at Hardees on the other side of Marysville – everyone is hungry. Finally getting back on the open road.

7:25 p.m. Taking an inventory of the crops we see as we drive.

7:50 p.m. Movie time yet again. Now showing Chicken Little

8:10 p.m. Crossing the Missouri River and into MISSOURI.
9:00 p.m. Stop at hotel in Cameron, MO. This hotel has a pool with a slide. Yea, fun!

Big Trip 2... Day 29... July 27, 2007... Friday

0807 Leave hotel after breakfast.

1100 – 12:30 p.m. As promised, we stop at Mark Twain’s Cave. Last year we walked around Hannibal and saw the buildings (Tom Sawyer’s house, Becky Thatcher’s house, the white-washed fence…) and I promised when we came back through Hannibal again, we would see the cave. So, here we are…

Favorite Parts of the Cave:
Ryan – Stories from the book that the guide shared with us on the tour
Bella – Yogi Bear (rock formation)
Felisa – Horses in the gift shop
Grandpa F – the cool darkness
Sheila – the stories

After the tour we cross the Mississippi River into ILLINOIS!

1:00 p.m. Stop for lunch at Fazoli’s. Bella ate about a million garlic breadsticks. How that girl lives on bread and water alone I will never know.

3:00 p.m. Arrive at Great-Grandma’s house

5:30 p.m. Dinner. Beef and Noodles!!! YUM YUM YUM!!!

8:00 p.m. Walk around the block. We let the kids go check out the railroad tracks and so we end up at the park. How did that happen?!

9:30 p.m. The kids are in bed and I get to watch Psych

Big Trip 2... Day 30... July 28, 2007... Saturday

0715 Wake up.

Uncle Ron stops by with Teegan. Donna swings by as well. Teegan had fun coloring and playing with the kids.

12:00 p.m. Lunch. Grandma’s chicken salad – YUM!

1:45 p.m. Walmart

3:00 p.m. Stop at Dairy Queen with Grandpa. I’m not sure we’re going to be hungry in time for dinner though. Those were some very big sundaes! Grandpa and Grandma F used to bring Shannon and I here for ice cream cones when we visited in the summer.

After we get back, Felisa and Grandpa played cards. Felisa is becoming quite the card shark. She was playing a combination of Go Fish and Old Maid. At one point Dad asked her why he had more cards than she did and she told him “Because you’re going to lose!” Okay then – as long as we all understand the game plan!

6:20 p.m. Dinner of leftovers

7:30 p.m. Walk to the park. Play on the merry go round and the see saws. Dad and I even got on the see saw to play!

Back home… Get ready for bed… Do a little pre-packing. Refill the snack box (it’s almost empty!!!).

Big Trip 2... Day 31... July 29, 2007... Sunday

1030 All packed, loaded, photographed, and ready to hit the road.

1045 Stop at the Bushnell Highway Café for breakfast with Great Grandma. After breakfast, we say good-bye to Grandma. She heads back home and we try to navigate our way through the cornfields towards Peoria.

1:00 p.m. Drop Grandpa F off at the Peoria Airport so he can fly back home to Colorado. We are officially on our own now as we head for home…

2:00 p.m. Talk to Allie for awhile as I drive. She’s coming to Vienna this week so we’ll get to see her. Yea!

2:40 p.m. Stop for Felisa – she lost her book.

3:00 p.m. Stop at McD’s for a play/potty/coffee break. I check my map and realize that once again we will miss the Christopher Columbus boat in Columbus since it is closed on Sunday and Monday. Grrr!!! How many times do I have to drive through Columbus before I get to see that ship!?!? Oh well – on to Plan C.

4:03 p.m. INDIANA!

4:38 p.m. Felisa and Ryan are asleep. Bella watches Minty Christmas with the headphones so I can listen to Toby Keith. He is one of my new long-term favorite Country singers.

4:59 p.m. Time change? I guess we already passed it because the cell phone says it is 5:59 p.m.

6:41 p.m. I am noticing LOTS more traffic since we have gotten back on the interstate today. No more lonely empty cornfield highways.

7:15 p.m. To drive all the way through or not to drive all the way through? Is there anything worth seeing between here and home? Could we actually make it all the way back home tonight or is it too far?

7:22 p.m. OHIO!

7:30 p.m. Talk to Shani.

9:20 p.m. Check in at the hotel on the eastern side of Columbus. Take the kids swimming. The guy at the desk said he’d keep the pool open for an extra hour so the kids could burn off a little energy.

10:30 p.m. I’m hungry. And a random snack from the car just isn’t going to cut it. So… load up the kids in their jammies and go out searching for a Taco Bell. We’re going to have a little “Fourth Meal” action tonight. And… the moon looks full. Could this be a full-moon adventure??? Perhaps…

11:30 p.m. Watching Shark Week on Discovery Channel. Our favorite sharks:
Bella – Angel shark
Ryan – Great White Shark and the Prehistoric Shark
Felisa – the baby sharks

And as long as we’re on the subject of favorites…

Best Part of This Vacation:
Felisa – Seth’s Birthday party
Bella – Going to the pool
Ryan – the whole trip (which I would not accept as an answer so he narrowed it down to the museums)

Favorite Part of Vacation in General:
Ryan – doing lots of things
Bella – seeing people
Felisa – coloring (really her answer is “no comment”)

What Do We Miss From Home While We Are Gone?
Felisa – My friend Cameron/My ponies
Bella – Grandma Duffield/my other pink poodle
Ryan – Friends/my teacher/alone time

Big Trip 2... Day 32... July 31, 2007... Monday

0545 Wake up. Shower and watch the news

0630 Wake up the kids

0700 Breakfast at the hotel – lots of business men around this morning. No other families.

0735 Stop for gas. $2.52/gallon which is the best price from the whole trip. Temperature 72 degrees. I fixed the broken door… the gas cap was open a little which is why the side door wouldn’t open last night. Duh!

0815 Zanesville. Stop to find stuff. Stuff that the kids have dropped onto the floor of the car. I’m getting a little cranky and am ready to be home again.

830 Gearing up my brain to not be on vacation anymore… starting to think about all the things I have to do at home.

0835 See a prairie dog in the median

0838 Girls are asleep

0842 Pass a minivan with 2 tricycles on top


0924 I think we need a mountain house in WV to go with the beach house in NJ


0949 Washingon, PA – we almost got lost! Almost ended up on the wrong highway. Oops!

1003 Ryan found a map of VA and WV so he can follow along as we drive.

1015 Feeling a bit of eco-guilt. I have begun to feel very consumptive by the end of the trip. Maybe next year I can try to address some areas in the pre-trip planning. I think it’s mostly the increased use of disposable items.

1021 WEST VIRGINIA (again)!

1038 Passing Cheat Lake and Fairchance Road. I love those names!

1040 Ron called to see where we are.


1155 Leaving the Cumberland exit. We had stopped at Arby’s for lunch and potty break.

1:01 p.m. WEST VIRGINIA (again?!?!?)

1:22 p.m. VIRGINIA! Woo hoo! Finally!

1:57 p.m. The gas light is on. Uh oh!

2:13 p.m. Stop in Marshall, VA for gas.

2:50 p.m. Home sweet home. Total miles for this year: 6,750!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

We're home!

In case you thought we had dropped off the face of the planet, I just wanted you to know we are home now. We had a busy final day in CO then we left to drive back which meant 4 days without internet access. And now that we're back, it's the usual song and dance of too-much-to-do-and-not-enough-hours-in-the-day...

I'm going to work on updating the final days of our trip amidst all the laundry... cooking... bathroom cleaning... never-gonna-finish unpacking... so stand by!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Casa Bonita, here we come!

Big Trip 2... Day 27... July 25, 2007... Wednesday

Started the day with breakfast at Chik-Fil-A. We ate then the kids played in the play area for awhile. Then I decided to go find an outdoor playground. I knew where there was probably a school (since I had gotten a speeding ticket in that area when I was in college and late for work at Burger King and my ticket cost extra because I was in a school zone). So, we found the school. Took the kids to play while I rested in the shade reading Ryan’s book – Scholastic Early Reader Classics, War of the Worlds. I have never read the original book but I did see the movie with Tom Cruise. The kids weren’t too interested in playing so we left soon after arriving. We went back to the hotel where we discovered Felisa (or was it Bella? I can’t remember anymore.) had left her cup at the playground. I typed a little for the blog then we went to the pool. When Ron came back from class we got ready to go to Denver. On the way out of town we went back to the school (at which point Ron found out about my speeding ticket story) and found the missing cup. Whew!

1200 Leave for Denver.

3:00 p.m. Arrive at Casa Bonita (the Pink Palace) for mediocre Mexican food, yummy sopapillas (I almost had to bribe the waiter to get him to bring me more baskets of sopapillas – what happened to the all-you-can-eat-sopapillas?!?), and great entertainment. Ron took the kids through Black Bart’s cave while I stayed at the table eating sopapillas. (Hmmm… wonder why I gain 10 pounds on vacation every summer!) Felisa and Bella were very scared and Ryan was scared just a little bit.

Our favorite parts of Casa Bonita:
Felisa – the princess in the water
Bella – Everything
Ryan – all the shows and the jungle
Ron – taking Felisa through the cave
Sheila – Black Bart’s cave (and the sopapillas!)

After lunch at Casa Bonita we drove over to Louisville to visit Dar and her family. We enjoyed Papa Murphy’s Pizza for dinner and Dar had the kids help her make cupcakes for dessert. Scott was able to join us also. The kids played well and we enjoyed a great evening with friends. Before we left Ron rearranged the car for the trip home. Then he drove an hour and a half back to Colorado Springs while the kids and I slept.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Good morning sunshine!

Big Trip 2... Day 26... July 24, 2007... Tuesday

The question of the day... did he miss us or does he feel guilty for not coming down for Seth's birthday? :)

Ron got up early for work. At 7ish he left and told me the dryer would be done at 0735. Which means he already did the laundry (he was trying to do it last night but someone else was ahead of him and not watching the time/moving their clothes from washer to dryer in a timely fashion. I joked that he just wanted me to do the laundry not him.). After I got tired of listening to the guest above us walking back and forth across their room 500 million times, I got up. I discovered on the desk a Starbucks mocha and an entire ginormous pumpkin scone. For me! Wow... I don't even know what to say.

Turns out I needed that scone for energy. My morning workout compliments of the Hilton...
Go downstairs and to the opposite end of the hotel to get the dry laundry. Turns out the laundry is not all the way dry and I didn't bring any money for the dryer. So I continue my exploration to yet another far corner of the hotel to see the pool. Then back all the way to the original far corner of the hotel and upstairs (the elevator is too slow so we've been using the stairs) to get money for the dryer. But I only have 3 quarters. So I go downstairs and out to the car to see if I have another one. When I get to the car I realize I forgot the car keys. So. Back upstairs to get the keys and back downstairs to the car. In which there exists not a single quarter. This time, though, I was planning ahead. I already have my dollar so I don't have to go upstairs before I trek to the lobby for change. Get the quarters and walk all the way to the ends of the earth, I mean hotel hallway, and re-start the dryer. Now, back upstairs and down the long hallway to my room. Phew. I'm tired. Good thing I decided to take my shower after I did the laundry!

1000 Went over the mining museum. Ron said he stopped in the other day while out on a bike ride and today they are having demos of the steam shovel. We arrived just in time. A lot of what was said went over the kids' heads (the girls for sure and maybe Ryan too) but it was still pretty cool to see the big shovel operating. We also got to see the trammer running as well as the different steam engines inside. We panned for gold, unsuccessfully once more, and tried on miners suits. Over all a pretty good visit.

Our favorite parts...
Ryan: single-jack handrock mining activity and the miner's suit
Bella: miner's suit/panning for gold
Felisa: her new rock
Sheila: steam shovel demo

12:10 p.m. Sonic for lunch then back to the hotel room.

After lunch we went to Mardel, a christian/teacher store. Big. Nice. Lots of selection.

Back to the hotel room. I tried to watch Back to the Future III while the kids played noisily around me. After the movie we went to the pool.

Ron came home and joined us for swimming. The kids had lots of fun jumping between us and from the side. Bella and Felisa demonstrated their newly acquired skill of putting their face in the water. Ryan swam freestyle the entire length of the pool without stopping and without putting his feet down on the bottom. Our constant swimming is starting to pay off. Hopefully we'll get a couple swimming playdates in next month and I'll have to try to be better about keeping them in swimming lessons over the winter. It's just expensive and a total pain to take them to the pool for 3 separate classes each session.

Grandpa F met us for dinner at Ted's Montana Grill where much delicious bison was consumed as well as the biggest pecan crusted trout I have ever seen (oh and mac-n-cheese for Miss Picky). After dinner a wild game of chess. I didn't think it would take Ryan and Ron so long to beat the girls and I. After all, I have basically no idea how to play and the girls aren't much better. After the game, we stopped in at Claire's. I guess they went there with Melissa a couple weeks ago so now Bella is in love with the Princess store. Great. Everyone got $5 to spend (Felisa did a last minute bait-n-switch and spent $6.50 but oh well - I was tired of waiting for them to pick something! They even had hot wheels for Ryan.)

We walked back to the hotel but Ron made us stop at the ice cream shop first. I had mentioned it but changed my mind. He made us go anyway. Under duress :) , we went inside. The girls got vanilla with sprinkles. Ryan got neon blue cotton candy with jelly beans and I got cheesecake with graham cracker crumbs. Yummy. Of course we had to eat it drill seargent style... the four of us sat on the bench eating while Ron paced up and down the line barking out commands... You're dripping! Use a napkin! Eat faster! Hold it up straight - it's dripping! Eat faster! Yummmmmm... I definitely recommend drill seargent ice cream!

Finally, back to the room and bedtime!

Monday, July 23, 2007

North to CO, Take 2

Big Trip 2... Day 25... July 23, 2007... Monday

Spend the morning eating my last NM breakfast burrito (thanks Grandpa!) and loading the car. As usual we have managed to accumulate lots more stuff than we started out with. Luckily it all fits. Elena brought Philip and Seth over for us to watch while she took Thomas back to the doctor for a quick TB test check. When she got back it was time for everyone to say goodbye.

1000 At the gas station... current tempurature is 80 degrees... total miles driven so far is 4300. Wowsers!

1012 Starbucks drive thru. We haven't even left town yet and they are already arguing over CD players.

1036 Past the casino and onto I-25 N.

1135 Amazingly I am able to find Scott's parents' house but unfortunately they are not home. Oh well. Better luck next time (and maybe a little advanced planning on my part would help!)

1158 Cop blows past me and stops the guy that just passed me. Good thing I'm not speeding.

12:00 p.m. The leapsters have reappeared. I'm surprised they still have a charge left. I don't think the kids have played with them since TN.

12:25 Las Vegas for lunch.

12:55 p.m. McD's food on board and movie set up. This stop took entirely too long.

2:01 p.m. Was that an ostrich?!

2:36 p.m. Colorado!!! (again!)

Things I like...
wide open spaces
old buildings
seeing history

4:30 p.m. Arrive at Travis' - finally. Today's drive seemed long. We had a yummy dinner and the kids had fun playing with Emma and her toys. Didn't get much meaningful adult conversation, thanks to the 5 kids in the house, but it was a nice visit all the same.

8:15 p.m. Headed to the hotel. Listening to School House Rock.

8:45 p.m. We made it! Home sweet home... for a couple days anyway!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Day After

Big Trip 2... Day 24... July 22, 2007... Sunday

Wake up at 0830... everyone is tired from yesterday's festivities. Coffee and pancakes for breakfast. Feeling lazy so decide to go to late church. Shower and get into my church clothes. Clean out the car a little so there is room for Grandpa and Grandma to ride with us.

After church everyone is starving so we come home and heat up leftovers from the birthday feast. Elena brings Thomas over for lunch on their way to Target. Thomas decides he'd rather go to the Dinosaur Museum with Ryan. Didn't we already go to the dinosaur museum? Why, yes we did. But Ryan decided that he should go again since he missed his favorite part, the planetarium. And Grandpa of course says yes. Mean Mommy says he should just live without the planetarium and go next time we visit. Grandpa wins. So the boys head off. Turns out the planetarium was closed so they watch the IMAX movie about Greece then go to Explora. Meanwhile, Elena and I go to Target. We bought the diapers on our list and a few other things as well because, well, it's Target. Elena drops me off to hang out with the girls while she goes home to unload and collect her other boys.

Dinner here... more BBQ and rice. And Elena said that whoever finishes their broccoli gets birthday cake for dessert. Yummy!

The kids are all tired. There is more arguing and crying than usual. Even Seth is an unhappy guy - very out of character for him. I made Philip sad when I told him we were packing to leave tomorrow.

8:00 p.m. The McL's head home for bed. I get my kids changed and ready. Most of them are asleep by 9.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Seth

Big Trip 2... Day 23... July 21, 2007... Saturday which 3 pool-deprived children turn into wrinkly, shivering prunes while causing their mother's toes to split... (but more on this later)

Wake up with a full house (from the sleepover the night before). Manage to get my coffee and post to the blog before the older 3 take over the computer for an hour of fun with Google Earth. They went to the Grand Canyon, Egypt, here, and our house in VA. Plus a lot of other places too. It's one of Thomas' favorite activities and my kids are willing travel-mates.

Elena came around 10:30 and the women-folk headed out to hunt and gather at Costco. I did not find the great green chiles that I found last year but I did get a new flavor of potato chips - Buffalo Bleu. Does anyone think I can get them home without turning them into crumbs or having them self-combust in a hot car? I also had a nice conversation with the sausage sample guy about how VA just doesn't offer such great flavors of Aidell's sausage. He had green chile and habanero as well as roasted red pepper and corn chicken sausages. In a big package no less (the standard 4 sausage package just isn't enough to feed my family of 5 you know!). We finished it off with a mocha freeze from the food counter then headed up to finish up the party preps.

Grandma and Elena did a lot of prepping while I sort of watched the other kids. I even got to hold Seth for about an hour right before the party. The kids asked at least 50 times if it was time to change for swimming yet. Finally, we headed over around 2:30. We got in about 20 minutes of swimming before the thunder arrived (who invited the thunder I want to know!). Spent an hour or so shivering and snacking in the clubhouse and telling the kids every 10 seconds that even though the rain has stopped, that doesn't mean the lightning and thunder won't still kill you. Finally at 4ish we got to go swim again. Grandma and Grandpa showed up with more food so we ate then swam. The girls got cold so I went back home to get dry clothes for them. And when I got back, they wanted to swim some more. So we swam. Then it was time for cake. We ate the super-yummy birthday cake that Elena made then ... can anyone guess what we did next? That's right. We swam. And swam and swam and swam. All the other kids were out of the pool, changed and ready to go and my pool-deprived children were STILL SWIMMING! Which means I was still swimming since I am the official floatie for Felisa. Finally we got everyone and all of the toys out. Finished cleaning the clubhouse. I walked back with 5, passed out snacks, and started a load of towels and bathing suits. By this time it is 8:00. Which means we were at the pool for 5 hours. Yikes! The good news is that it was cloudy so I didn't have to stress about sunburns. The bad news is it was cloudy so we shivered a bit. Lots of fun was had though either way!

Cousins headed home. Bella fell asleep immediately. Ryan was not too far behind. And Felisa sat in the kitchen eating more blueberries and chanting "I'm not tired. I'm not. I'm not. I'm not." She was definitely the only one! I finally convinced her to go to bed with me where I discovered that my 4th toe on each foot (next to the pinkie toe - does that make it the ring toe?!?) was split underneath. Ouch! Guess the kids marinated me for too long in the pool today!

And that's it. One successful 1st birthday pool party for my sweet nephew. He won't remember a thing but we'll show him pictures and tell him all about it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Fun with Grandpa

Big Trip 2... Day 22... July 20, 2007... Friday

Usual wake up and coffee time... got the kids ready and headed out for the museums with Grandpa. We went to Explora, the children's museum first. They didn't have the life-size lincoln logs out that Ryan wanted to play with again but the kids had fun doing everything else. I didn't particularly enjoy it but at least there was a second adult to help keep track of everyone.

Our favorite parts of the children's museum...
Ryan: the marble maze
Bella: the fountain
Felisa: the light one (I have no idea what she's talking about.)
Grandpa R: the electricity and battery activities
Sheila: the fountain

And since one museum clearly wasn't enough, we went to the dinosaur museum across the street next. That one was more fun for me, especially since I had never been before. The kids go everytime we visit, I think, but I usually escape to go shopping instead.

Our favorite parts of the dinosaur musuem...
Felisa: the horses (was it the horses on the wall or the horses Grandpa bought for the girls?!)
Bella: the cave
Ryan: well, we didn't do his favorite thing (the planetarium) so he had to choose another... the redwood trunk with the annual rings
Grandpa R: the dinosaur that made whining sounds
Sheila: the seismosaur's loooooooong tail

Last stop on our field trip was lunch. We went back to the winery/bistro place that I stopped at on Monday. Lunch was delicious. Felisa had to go to the bathroom four times during lunch. That girl ALWAYS has to go to the bathroom in the middle of a meal which drives me absolutely crazy!!! We would've only had to go twice today but her poops were stuck. Joy, joy. Guess we need to drink even more water than we already are here in the desert. And just once I'd like to go to a restaurant and eat my entire meal before having to escort someone to the bathroom.

Back home... Elena brought the boys over then went back home to finish decorating Seth's birthday cake. She finished in record time once all her "helpers" were otherwise occupied. Felisa and Philip managed to stay drive for about the first hour or so but Grandpa soon gave them hose privileges and all the kids were soaking wet. I was able to escape for a yummy dinner at Gardunos with Elena and Jared.

After dinner we hung out for awhile, eating Rice Krispie treats and planning the menu for tomorrow's party. Then Seth went home and the other two boys spent the night. I disappeared into my room to help Felisa fall asleep then just stayed here, out of the way, watching TV.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Swimming with a duck

Big Trip 2... Day 21... July 19, 2007... Thursday

0820 Wake up. Grandpa made french toast for breakfast. The kids and I decided that Grandpa could move in with us and cook us breakfast every day at home.

Bella says she want a french poodle party for her birthday. Pink poodles and Eiffel Towers... got it. She'd better not change her mind since I bought an Eiffel Tower statue at Hobby Lobby this morning! After Hobby Lobby I went to Learning is Fun, a new teacher store in Albuquerque. I must have been a teacher in a former life since I love to shop at teacher stores. They're right up there with office supply stores. What can I say... I'm weird.

Across the street from the teacher store was Schlotsky's - score! I had a BBQ chicken pizza to round out my annual Schlotsky's dining experience then stopped at the grocery store on the way home. I decided spaghetti would make a good easy dinner to feed everyone but I forgot to buy the italian sausage. Oh well.

Elena brought the boys over for the afternoon. Thomas had to go to the doctor for his Kindergarten check-up so the others stayed with us. The kids played nicely together for the most part. They completely rearranged all the pillows and mattresses in the bedroom and Double Trouble found the water (of course!). Grandpa got a picture of Felisa and Philip sitting in the fountain basin, up to their chests in water. What is it with those two and water?!!?

Elena and Thomas came back. More hanging out. Everyone wanted to swim but a storm was brewing so we decided to wait until after dinner. Elena and I made spaghetti, garlic bread bagels, and broccoli for dinner. Jared came over then Elena took Philip with them to run errands. Grandpa stayed home on nap duty for Seth. I took the remaining four kids to the pool. We had the place all to ourselves except for the duck who flew in and swam with us. He swam little then checked the pool deck for bugs to eat then swam a little more. I asked the kids why the duck was swimming in the pool instead of the duck pond outside the fence. Ryan said "I think he was kicked out of the pond club." Finally everyone was shivering so we got out, dried off, and came home. Hot shower and bath for everyone then popsicles for dessert. The cousins went home for bed. My kids decided on Pink Panther for movie time then fell asleep almost immediately. I watched TV until about 10 then went to sleep as well.

Another fun day with the cousins...