Christmas Un-wrapped: 2010

This year’s gifts for Little Guy included some Scooby Doo items, as previously mentioned. He was thrilled to get an actual Scooby Doo stuffed toy, which he got to open Christmas Eve. Christmas morning he found Santa had left him a Scooby Doo Mystery Machine by the fireplace. He later told us he was happy with his Mystery Machine but had told Santa he wanted a big one. His daddy replied; “You got a big one; see it fits all the characters inside and had the ghost computer, ghost trapping net, and all kinds of things in it!” To this little guy replied; “No, I meant a big one, that our whole family can drive around in!” Of course.
Little guy also got camera suited for his age. So far, we have about 100+ pictures of Scooby Doo, the Mystery Machine, and some unfortunate photos of family members who would rather have not had their picture taken.
The teenager got some technical gadgets and gizmos and so far his favorite appears to be a version of the old fashioned erector sets where you can make a vehicle of some sort complete with a motor. He’s kept himself pretty busy with that as well as playing “Scooby Doo” with his brother.
The hubby seems happy with his mundane gifts. I kept it simple this year and bought him some shirts in basic colors so as to avoid prior year’s catastrophes with oddly colored periwinkle pants and other such atrocities.
Perhaps the best gift of all was the gift the hubby gave me. When I opened the box, this is what I found inside:
iphone case
I laughed hysterically thinking he’d fashioned a redneck iPhone case! He said actually it was just an “IOU” for getting me an iphone case. Still hilarious, nonetheless.
Here’s a little slide show of some of our family’s holiday festivities.

Slide Album: Christmas 2010

 
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. I’m looking forward to a brand new year and have planned some creative and intriguing posts in the upcoming months.

Un-Recommendations & Funny Bathrooms

Since we have an Internet presence and have recently been on the receiving end of some very poor customer service the hubby and I thought this would be a good place to share and vent. Kind of like when Heather Armstrong of Dooce went postal on the Maytag folks. But not quite.

So, let me tell the back story of our products. A while back we decided to research bidet attachments for standard home toilets. I’ve always wanted an actual bidet and frankly am surprised they aren’t more prevalent here like they are in Europe. But the awesomeness of bidets is not what this post is about. Real bidets require extra bathroom space to install them and even bidet toilet seats require electricity, something not available in the water closet areas of either of our bathrooms. So our research led us to a product that attached to the toilet, had its own water hose and required no electricity. At an affordable $100 price tag, we bought them for each bathroom. The hubby was able to quickly and easily install them and they worked great. Then as time went on, specifically about a month or so after the warranty ran out, we had problems. One of the units had the “arm” that attached it to the toilet break. Sadly, that part is plastic and not replaceable. We asked. The other unit in the hall bathroom had another problem. The spring that is supposed to retract the nozzle back underneath the rim of the toilet stopped automatically doing its job. This meant that when anyone bumped into the lever (which is positioned right outside the toilet seat) it would remain in that position; a position that caused it to shoot water into the air. This event occurred whenever we’d brush by the side of the toilet to start the water for the little guy’s bath. It also occurred when other toddlers were visiting for playgroups resulting in some serious flooding. And perhaps most amusing of all, it occurred whenever Daddy was in the bathroom giving little guy his bath and little guy thought it would be loads of fun to squirt Daddy. Good times, my friends, good times.

But the bottom line here (pun shamelessly intended) is that we have two malfunctioning bidet attachments that are not repairable. Apparently the company must have determined that making an all plastic unit that’s not repairable is not a great idea and recently started making all metal units. Of course these units cost nearly twice the price of the older models. When we contacted the company about our problem the most they were willing to do for us was to give us a $20 discount of the cost of the new metal units. After further conversations with the company pointing out that would mean our spending an additional $300 over and above the $200 we’d already spent with them they basically said “too bad.” Naturally, we’re not willing to spend that kind of money nor would we consider doing business with a company that does not stand behind their products or make any reasonable compensation towards customers who’ve spent a significant amount on now faulty products.  The offending company is called The American Biffy Company at www.biffy.com. Again, this is very much an un-recommendation to do business with these people. As far as bidet attachments themselves go (when operating properly) I cannot recommend them enough! We’re currently researching new options for replacing these units so if any readers out there know of any good options for us to try, feel free to share them with us! In the meantime, we’ll just be trying not to flood our bathroom.

A Very Scooby Christmas

As my blog readers and Twitter followers are aware, little guy has a Scooby Doo obsession.

I think it all started back when we all suddenly saw Teenager’s startling resemblance to Shaggy. Things took off because of course Teenager had to introduce his little brother to the classic Scooby Doo shows which are available thanks to On Demand TV viewing. Since little guy is rarely afraid of anything and loves Halloween with all the monsters, ghosts and “scary guys” he is enthralled with the shows.

Things progressed from there to the point that he now refers to both the family car and Daddy’s car as the “Mystery Machine”, the latter being especially hilarious since, as the hubs puts it; “It’s a mystery whether or not it will start.” Then he insisted upon calling his parents Fred and Daphne, although it’s hard to complain about that one since for a while I was Velma.

So, after hearing him call his little stuffed puppy Scooby Doo for the last few months we decided it might be time to get the kid an actual Scooby Doo for Christmas. Along with this, I hear Santa may be bringing him a complete set of figures of all the Scooby gang along with a Mystery Machine. We are really hoping this will mean we can go back to being Mommy and Daddy.

Conversations with Little Guy: Brothers Playing

The newest thing around here is Little Guy's love for all things Scooby Doo. Ever since he saw an episode of the show and noticed his brother looked just like Shaggy he's pretty much been singing the theme song non-stop.  He likes to "play Scooby Doo" which involves his family members assuming the various, Little Guy-assigned roles; generally I'm Velma. (the story of my life- always a Velma never a Daphne!)
Recently, while we were busy getting ready for Thanksgiving and the boys were in Little Guy's room we heard this little exchange between them over the monitor:
LG:                Buhbuh (little guy's term for his brother), let's play Scooby Doo!
Teenager:  All right, I'll tell you what, I'll be the monster, I'll hide and I won't say anything.
LG:                Blissfully unaware of what this meant:  Okay!
So we peek in and see that Teenager is in a corner playing his PSP while Little Guy plays. Brotherly togetherness at its best, right there.

The Roller Skating Story

Recently I was thinking about a story from my own childhood that perfectly illustrates my accident-prone nature; what’s now become known as a part of my “I-Love-Lucy-tendencies”.

Flash back to the late seventies. My mom, dad and I were visiting relatives in the Seattle area including two female cousins, around my age. At this point in time, roller skating outdoors is particularly popular. The cousins and I throw on our skates and start skating around their large cul-de-sac. The older of my two cousins tells me one of her favorite things to do is skate down the hill that starts at the top of the cul-de-sac and slopes down steeply toward their house. She demonstrates to me how this is done; she starts at the top and swiftly zig-zags back and forth so as not to pick up too much speed. I try next. I start out at the top of the hill, manage a zig and part of a zag when I panic that I’m unable to do this move and start to head straight down. I begin to pick up some serious speed as I head down this step hill. At this point in time all I’m thinking about is how I just need to get to the bottom and eventually stop myself because I’m pretty sure the sparks now flying off the back of my metal wheels would be a fire hazzard if not for being in very green Washington state. From off to the side I can make out my oldest cousin yelling something about how I need to zig-zag and I think my younger cousin was probably watching in horror. What I didn’t know at the time, were that the rest of the relatives sitting upstairs at the kitchen table watching out the window. They saw this whole thing unfold and were wondering where on earth I was going to stop.

So, I’m zooming towards the house and my plan at this point is to simply get to a stable place where I can stop myself. To this day I don’t know how I managed to do this, but I stepped up onto the curb, still going at lightning speed and then stepped up onto the raised walkway towards the front door. I made it to the door thinking surely I would simply be able to put my arms out and finally stop. I went straight through. If this were a cartoon there would have been a cut-out shape of me left in the door. As is was, I tore the door off the hinges and landed on top of it in their entryway as my horrified family members came running from the kitchen asking if I was okay. I remember exactly what I said at that moment; in my stunned state all I could mutter; “I’m ok, but your door isn’t.” I don’t know how I made it through this incident in one piece. I had some aches and pains, some bruises and a little dent in the middle of my thigh that still exists today, but I was for the most part “okay”.

Scenes, Seasons and Milestones

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I love Fall and look forward to this time of year. It kicks off when the weather first starts to cease being blistering hot with a much anticipated segue into Halloween. Now I’ve already shared with you our Halloween festivities and of course it’s not yet Thanksgiving. In between these two favorite holidays of mine are two other very significant events. Our anniversary, as you saw me mention in my last post, followed shortly thereafter by Teenager’s birthday.

This is a year for milestones; just as we hit our five year anniversary mark, Teenager will have a milestone all his own. Turning 18. I can hardly believe it. The official day and celebration does not take place for another week or so, but it’s coming fast and I’m still in amazement that it’s been nearly 18 years since my darling baby boy was born. And naturally I can scarcely believe it’s been four years since my other darling baby boy was born! Frankly, I’m not sure which one is the cause of more of my gray hair; the Teenager or the Toddler! I think it’s too close to call.

As my oldest becomes a “young man” (yeah, I know it’s “technically” an adult, but the kid isn’t even out of high school yet!) and I reflect on all he’s done in his life thus far, I could not be more pleased or more proud. Last week, Hubby and I had the opportunity to attend his school production in which he had several roles, including a great acting role along with singing. It was very entertaining and so fun to see him up there performing! I was just so proud.

I wrote a post about Teenager last year at this time when he turned seventeen and it’s hard to believe another year has already gone by. I won’t do too much more mommy-gushing since I covered a lot in last year’s post, but I will sum up by stating his most recent GPA was 4.0 and that’s with two advanced placement classes. And again, he’s an awesome big brother.

During our recent family shoot that I shared some of with you in the prior post, we also had Sr. Portraits taken of Teenager which you can see below.

Here’s wishing my son a very happy 18th Birthday!

We love you!!!

  

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Marriage, Family and a Look Behind the Curtain!

I feel compelled to begin this post with a short clip from one of my  favorite movies; The Princess Bride.
This month marks the five year anniversary for me and the Hubby. That’s five years of wedded bliss, aka, five years of not killing each other. Because let’s face it, as much as many of us would like marriage to be all Fairytale-like there are many factors involved that make it much more of a comedy-drama . So let’s take a little peek into the marriage of yours truly to see a bit of what five years has contained.

~ A thirty-something bride and forty-something groom, both previously married and the bride with a young son, meet and marry. (Okay, there was more to it than that, but I’m ‘nut shelling’ here, folks.)

~ It was a beautiful wedding and reception. The stress of planning this event alone (we did it all ourselves!) was about enough to do us in…but it all worked out and was well worth it.

~ A Thanksgiving time honeymoon in Hawaii was planned…during which the groom ended up with some bizarre illness involving a high fever and lots of sleeping. I watched a lot of TV and managed to make it out to the pool a couple times.

~ But surprise!  A couple weeks after the honeymoon we learned that Little Guy was on the way. Didn’t see that coming...at least not that fast!

~ Then we ended up in a car accident; nearly head-on with a big truck, car folded all the way into the glove box, right before our first Christmas. Though we “walked away” from the crash, Hubby had lots of back pain and lots of therapy. And yes, I was seven weeks pregnant during this ordeal but the baby was fine and I was thankfully unharmed all but for some temporary pains.

~ Year one of marriage while pregnant is not something I recommend, suffice it to say, the “honeymoon period” was non-existent. However, at our ages we didn’t have lots of time to get this whole baby-making process going, so I’m glad things happened how they did. My pregnancy was rough towards the end, I had a huge weight gain, high blood pressure and a tough delivery, though little guy made it here ok. On our first anniversary, we had a two and a half month old baby. It had been tough, but we were overjoyed with our little guy.

~ During our first years of marriage we were dealing with the incredibly unnecessary, former-spouse -and-his-new-spouse (aka; “Special Reader”!) induced court dates regarding support and care of Teenager. As if court itself weren’t delightful enough, dealing with all this nonsense during the first years of marriage was taxing, to put it mildly. But we made it! And yes, it’s trite but true; what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The things we went through during this ordeal were certainly not something I’d sign up for, but they’ve strengthened me as a person and a mother and have provided unexpected opportunities to bring positive things into my life.

Now, there are a host of other things we've dealt with during these last years, but I think the above gives you the overall idea that we’re practically shoe-ins if they give out an award for couples who’ve dealt with much more than usual for their first years of marriage.

The Hubby and I have learned a lot along the way. We’ve learned that we’re more alike than we thought and that two stubborn, strong-willed people have to work on (& continue to work on!) how to deal with each other. We’ve learned that as two pretty darn funny people separately we are knee-slappingly hilarious together (just ask our kids!) We’ve learned that putting the emphasis on the positive is critical in a marriage; whatever you want to grow is what you need to put the fertilizer on, so put it on the flowers, not the weeds! Of course this is easier said than done. We certainly don’t claim to be marriage experts by any stretch, but we’re both very committed to our marriage and family.

To celebrate our 5 year anniversary which coincides with the Teenager about to turn 18 and little guy now 4, we recently had a family photo shoot. Along with some great family shots, our fabulous photographer also got some nice couple shots, which I’ll share with you here. No, really! For those of you who’ve been wondering for years now about this anonymous blogger, you'll finally get to see an actual photo. And I didn’t even Photoshop a bag over my head.

also….

Happy Anniversary to my Hubby! I love you!




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More than a little Spooky

This year’s Halloween festivities included two parties, one which we hosted and the other which we attended. The Hubby always gets into the spirit of holiday fun–he’s definitely not a stick in the mud when it comes to fun and frivolity. This year, we made the most obvious choice for a Halloween costume for him, and once you see it, I think you’ll be able to tell why. Behold; Dracula, my own personal vampire....

 

 

Now, I know it’s probably just the fact that I’m his wife talking here, but the black hair with the natural “point”and the way he pulls that whole costume off just says the guy was made for the role. Of course, I also have to chuckle to myself because the baby face he’s got going on gives him that total package of adorable and hot mixed with a bit of delightfully-geeky all rolled into one. Uh hmm…okay, moving on now.

Since we were attending costume party I impressed upon the Teenager the need for coming up with some sort of costume several weeks in advance. Naturally, he dragged his feet and a week before Halloween still had no idea what he was going to wear. I attempted to take matters in my own hands, came up with what I thought was a great costume idea and pitched it to him. Apparently, that was all I needed to do because I guess there is no faster way to pull a costume together than when your mother comes up with something totally embarrassing and threatens to make you wear it out in public. He ended up wearing his torn-fabric cloak from last year, sans mask or make-up, so essentially he just looked like a teenager in ratty a bathrobe.

cloak 2010

Little Guy made his second year appearance in his Dragon costume. It had one more year left in it, size wise, but just barely.

dragon 2010While out Trick or Treating we went to a house that had gone out of their way to decorate and it was pretty impressive. We’re talking all the way up the walk to the door were huge characters, lights, spooky sounds and more. Now, Little Guy loves Halloween as I’ve previously mentioned. He’s not one to be frightened too easily and usually enjoys a fair dose of the spooky. He bravely made his little way to the door, Daddy in one hand and shaking pumpkin in the other. By the time the homeowner opened the door, instead of saying “Trick or Treat” all he could manage to get out is; “I scared”. Poor Little Guy! He managed to press on and hit a few more houses before calling it quits.

 

Oh, and speaking of scary here’s a little something for you; it’s only 53 days until Christmas!

Conversations with Little Guy: Wagon Accident

Recently we were at a birthday party for one of little guy's friends.

The kids were running around the backyard taking turns pushing each other in a wagon. All of a sudden there were lots of tears coming from little guy.

Me: What happened?

LG: I got runned over from the wagon!

Me: Are you okay?

LG: No, my foot hurts!

Me: I'm sorry little guy, how did your foot get run over?

LG: It was a drive-by.

Introducing The Reduce, Re-Use and Re-Do Project

This is the first post in what will be a multiple post series to show and tell you all about what we’ve been up to with this new project.

The Hubby and I decided to redecorate the main rooms of our home. As we thought about what we’d like, we came up with the idea that we not only wanted to be as frugal as possible, but still purchase quality, mostly secondhand pieces and then re-do them to make them fit our tastes and style. This was the perfect project for the Hubby; after all, he’s not only handy, but this is the guy who designs jewelry from wine bottles and silver spoons!

Back when we had the Garage Sale, we sorted through our belongings to see what we had that we might want to use again by re-purposing things to work and we did find a few things. During our trips to secondhand shops and used furniture stores we’ve stumbled on several things that we are excited to work on and make our own. I’ll be uncovering these here complete with before and after photos and descriptions of what we’ve done. The first project is posted below.

The Table & Chairs

An old, badly painted cottage style table, but solid wood. It came with some chairs we didn’t care for so those were set aside. We stumbled on a set of four chairs a week or so later with a cute, scroll-like design and heart along with  legs that matched the table’s legs. In order to seat six instead of four, we ended up using two chairs on one side and a bench we already had (yet to be painted but will eventually match) to use on the other side. In fact, you may remember it from the post; The Brother Bench. Ironically, it’s still the “brother bench” as this is where the boys both sit at the table. Below you'll see the "before" shots as well as the finished project.

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The hubby sanded down the table, painted it in a creamy, antique white, distressed it to make it look worn like many of the current styles you see in stores such as Pottery Barn, etc. and did the same to the chairs. The seats were recovered in a mocha-colored cotton canvas. Finally, all the wood was treated with a matte lacquer to protect it. I’ll go ahead and tell you right now that when my mother recently visited, having no idea about current furniture styles and seeing the distressed table immediately said very confused; “I thought you said you had just re-finished the table?” I got a kick out of that.

Speech Delay & Sensory Processing Disorder Update

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the Little Guy’s progress with these two developmental issues. A while back I wrote about how it was determined that he’d progressed so well within the Speech pre-school program he attended last year that he was not able to attend this year. At that time we’d hoped to be able to put him in regular pre-school but unfortunately that is cost-prohibitive and now he's not in any school at all until he starts Kindergarten next year. The assessment made by the school district was that although he did still require some speech help, he didn’t need enough to send him through the pre-school program during the year before Kindergarten. It was determined that he would still receive some Speech Therapy through his school during this school year. He’s now being seeing his new Speech therapist for individual therapy and so far she’s seeing practically no delays in speech. In fact, she told me that the sounds and blends his records showed he’s previously had problems with are now things he can say with no problem. She went on to further mention that the sounds he does have problems with are sounds all kids his age have problems with and that at this point he speaks like any normal four year old and should have no problems in the classroom once he starts school next Fall.

As far as the Sensory Processing Disorder, his therapist at the school last year said she saw tremendous improvements to the point where she was no longer seeing sensory issues by the end of the school year. In addition, I’d had him seen again by his prior therapist who’d worked with him initially for over a year before he started with the school therapist and she also said that she no longer saw sensory issues in him.

We’re blown away that what were once huge obstacles to overcome now no longer are cause for concern. Little Guy has recently seen a few people who hadn’t seen him in awhile and they’ve been impressed with the fact that he talks so much and they can actually understand him!

So, to those parents struggling with these issues, I just wanted to reassure you that they can improve and often even go away with therapy. I know how difficult it is, believe me. When little guy was 18 mo- 2 years and said virtually nothing, we turned to sign language to get us through and started plugging away with therapy and homework. All that diligence paid off and was well worth it.

Weight Loss Success!

I thought it would be a good idea to come back and share with everyone how my week went, weight-wise.

After re-committing myself to weight loss last week, I managed to lose 3.6 pounds. (See my ticker down below in the left column!) I didn't starve, didn't deprive myself and didn't amputate anything. Basically, at the beginning of the week I took a look at what I normally eat on a daily and then weekly basis. I wrote everything down (actually, I typed it up) and then made tweaks here and there to shave down some of the meals that were clearly too high in fat and calories. I managed to put it all together like a mathematical puzzle so that everything fit within the allotted WW points, using my extra points (or as I call them, my "splurge" points) for treats on the weekend.

When the week was over, I found I even had a few splurge points remaining. I did not swap my exercise points for food, rather I let them stand so that my exercise would go towards weight loss instead of eating more food. Of course, a loss this big is also due to the fact that I'd had gains in the prior couple of weeks, so I know I cannot expect this every week. But if I keep doing what I've been doing I hope to continue to lose at a reasonable rate each week.

For anyone who is struggling with weight loss and staying on a diet plan, I sympathize with you. It comes down to a matter of control; mind over matter. Once you have a plan (whatever "diet" you choose to utilize) it's more mental than anything else, which is why it's so important to choose a plan you can actually stick to and fit within your daily life. Because here's the thing folks; you can't go on a diet, lose weight and then go back to eating the way you did before. It's such a common misconception that once we're done with our diet we can "eat normally" again. You have to learn a new normal. As unpopular as this is, a new normal is eating less than you used to.  That's not an easy thing, I know all too well.  But the alternatives are clear; you can eat the way you want to and continue to be a weight you're not happy with, or you can modify the way you eat (yes, for life) and achieve and maintain a weight that's right for you and makes you happy.

I know I am not happy being the weight I currently am. It doesn't make me feel good to know that I am not in a position to wear shorts or a shorter skirt. During summer, I long for the days of the 1920's swimsuits! Now, I don't know that I'll ever achieve a "bikini body", but just being able to wear a swim suit without wearing my husband's long board shorts over it would be an improvement. Hopefully, my new found commitment will result in success of "Operation Fit" [Back Into My Pants] before too long!

Weight Watching, Losing, Gaining and Complaining

It’s time once again to gripe and complain about weight loss. Who’s with me?

Yes, weight loss can be hard. Weight loss, by its very nature, is eating less food which, let’s face it, is not fun.

I’ve managed to somehow gain weight over the last couple months. This of course puts me even further away from my weight loss goal. And it really ticks me off. Of course I have absolutely no one to blame but myself.  To be quite honest things have been going a little something like this:

Tuesday: (This is the beginning of my weight loss tracking week and my weigh in day) Begin with renewed vigor to stay on the plan and within my points

Wednesday: Still doing well

Thursday: Hanging in there, things are ok

Friday: Not horrible, but slipping up a little here and there

Saturday & Sunday: Eating like I’m going to the electric chair

Monday: Saying; “what the #$%!” and all control goes out the window...after all, I'll "start again" tomorrow

As far as exercise goes, it’s been so-so. As readers already know, the hubby and I get up before the crack of dawn to go out running/walking before we get ready for the day. We manage to make it out about three times per week. We may or may not actually run all of those times, as some of those include some rather lazy walking justified by saying; “it’s better than not moving at all” and "hey, at least we got out of bed!" Ideally, we’d be getting out 4-5 times per week, running every time and throwing in some family bike rides on the weekend as well. This should actually be a minimum as I know I need to kick things up with some additional strength training, etc.

So, after seeing a number on the scale this morning that contained a digit I hadn’t seen since I was 8 weeks postpartum, I decided that enough is enough. I’ve swung into action with a plan which I’ll share with you in upcoming weeks. Part of the plan included taking measurements along with photos. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before because at this point I cannot think of a more effective appetite control system than a photo of myself in a swimming suit. It was pretty horrifying. I also took a couple shots in some snug, capri yoga pants as well which are slightly more suitable for public viewing and I may use those as part of a before and after set. Once I get to the “after” of course.

This is it, folks. I need to quit complaining and start doing. More details to follow so stay tuned!

Date Night

Things have been hectic enough around here lately that good ‘ol Date Night has taken a back seat. Finally with the Garage Sale behind us, followed up by the little guy’s Fourth Birthday Bash (I can’t even go into the whole “my baby’s four!” thing right now) the hubby and I decided we needed to actually go out.

Even when we don’t have massive weekend projects looming sometimes it still seems like more than I want to tackle on a Saturday evening to get presentable, set up my going out purse (because I really don’t need to lug around the big ol’ “mom satchel”) and go out with the husband. But I think it’s that complacency in marriage that sets in and causes things to get stale and that’s not good. As much as I love sitting on the sofa on a Saturday night with a pizza and a movie with the family, sometimes you just have to make the effort to get out of your sweat pants and put on your fancy pants.

As luck would have it, we had a gift certificate for a nice restaurant not too far from us. The hubby made reservations. He remarked on the drive over that they have live music on Saturday nights. When we arrived at 7pm (when on a Saturday night even the not-so-great places are usually packed) we were the only ones there. No, I take that back. There was the guy playing guitar and singing…to himself. The place was deserted. Yikes. We were seated and commented that at least this wouldn’t be one of those nights where we have to yell to converse with each other.

Although they were oddly out of both the wines that hubby and I ordered, nothing else gave any indication that we were going to be sorry. The food was fantastic and we both loved the entrees we chose. We even decided to stay for dessert and instead of sharing one (which never seems to go well for us) I decided to get my own when I saw my favorite on the menu: Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee. We had a great evening and the boys enjoyed staying home playing video games together. So, I’d like to just throw out the suggestion to all you mommies: “Get out of your sweat pants, put on your fancy pants and go on a date night!” It’s worth it.

The $100 Question Contest

  Head over to BlogHer to answer my $100 Question: What era would you like to have lived in?

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The Garage Sale Wrap-up

I’ve blogged about it enough that I figured I should share how it all came out. Because you know, as most things around here go, hilarity is always bound to ensue.

We got up at an unholy hour to do all the final preparations. Hubby went out to put up signs, I made coffee and then we started hauling everything out to set it up. Of course despite the “no early birds” stipulation in our ads there were still cars parked outside an hour before just waiting.

My tolerance for dealing with the whole garage sale business has grown thin over the years. Over many years of moving, scaling down, kids, and general getting rid of stuff I’ve had more sales than I can count. Each time it never ceases to amaze me how people will pick up an item worth multiple times what I’m asking for it and still ask if they can have it for fifty cents. But this year one customer really threw me. After bargaining down my Baby Bjorn to more than just a “good deal” she had the unmitigated gall (always wanted a reason to use that term) to return a little later and tell me she’d changed her mind and wanted to return it and get her money back. I know! After making a half-joking comment about refunds at Garage Sales in my best shocked-with-a-hint-of-witchniess voice, I went ahead and gave it back to her. She’s lucky.

Thankfully not all our customers were pains in the rear. One charming gentleman wanted to purchase the typewriter my mom used to own. He picked it up and asked if I had the “kise” for it. While searching my brain for what typewriter part he was talking about it dawned on me that he was Australian and was asking for the “case.” Sadly we had no case for it, but he bought it anyway. The hubby told him to enjoy it and said he was looking forward to reading his novel. (That man cracks me up!)

All in all we had a successful sale and were happy with the outcome. Oh, and in case you were wondering no one bought the hubby's 8-track tapes. What a surprise.

Reducing, Re-using, Remaining [somewhat] Sane

We’re powering through "Project Garage Sale" and have made lots of sale piles, junk piles and some regular old pile piles. Of course we managed to take on this task during Back to School, then combine it with a fridge switch out (bought a new one, set it up, lived with the old one hanging around until someone came and bought it). As if that weren’t enough going on, it also coincided with another project (a fun new thing I’ll be sharing much more of with you in the future) that involves a lot of shifting around and living with even more stuff inside the house for the time being. So basically, this last week or so it feels like we’re living on the set of Sanford and Son. Really, it’s that bad.

But the good news is, we’re making progress and gearing up for what we hope will be a successful sale. As much as it’s a pain to go through box after box and cabinet after cabinet of stuff, it always feels good to know that you’re paring down, clearing out and possibly even making use out of things that otherwise have just sat there. We actually have unearthed a few things we’re now using again. I’m of course always hopeful that in this process we’ll be that ridiculously lucky couple you hear about in the news that discovered some hidden treasure at the bottom of a box of crap in their attic/garage/basement that’s somehow worth millions. Yeah, I know, fat chance. So far all we've got is that Boz Scaggs 8-track.

Proof unearthed

We're currently deep into a major garage clear out and clean out project. One that will ultimately result in a Garage Sale to end all Garage Sales.
Here's the crew. Note the look of sheer excitement on their faces to be part of such an exciting project.
Readers have heard me gripe about the Garage "situation" for some time now. We've got too much stuff and many things that need to go have enough value that we decided we've just got to do it. Even after years of giving countless items to charity we've still got lots of very good baby items, furniture, decor and other things that are begging to be sold. The best part of this whole project so far is that it has forced us to go through boxes of things that otherwise would sit untouched, as they have for years up until now.

As you may recall, I've made a few jokingly sarcastic comments here before about the hubby being older and making fun of some of the amusing items from back in "his day". Well, now I've seen some with my own eyes and after unearthing this vintage treasure I had to share a photo here:

Here you go, folks. For those of you that have no idea what you're looking at, those are 8-track tapes. Before iPods, before CD's and even before cassettes, my friends. Straight out of the 70's and no doubt straight out of the Hubby's old AMC Gremlin.

I can't wait to see what else we stumble on.

Conversations with Teenager

It's recently become apparent that I've not been tapping into the full comedy potential of both my kids.  When this occurred to me,  I shared my new idea with the teenager and it automatically proved my point. This particular dialogue went like this:

Me:   Guess what? I've just come up with a new feature for the blog!

T:      Ok, what's that?

Me:   Well, you know how I do "Conversations with little guy"?

T:      Oh no, don't tell me you mean ...

Me:   You see where I'm going with this right?

T:     *Eye roll*

Conversations with Teenager: Snack Time

During swim lessons with little guy, Teenager and I had the following brief exchange.

T:       I'm hungry.

Me:   Oh, I brought snacks. Here's some crackers.

T:     *Grimacing* Not those things, they're a weird flavor!

Me:   They're not a weird flavor, they're soybean and seaweed.

T:      Um, yeah. My point exactly.

Conversations with Little Guy: The Pool

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So we're now into the fourth and final session of swimming lessons for the summer. Little Guy has come a long way, making it to level three and finally starting to swim independently. All these days at the pool have brought about the following:
LG:    I want to be a wifeguard.
Me:   Oh, does it look like fun to be a lifeguard?
LG:    Yes, I wear a whistle around my neck and blow it like this *makes whistle sound*
Me:     What do you say when you blow the whistle?
LG:      I say; "No running!"  and "Get out of the pool everybody! There's sharks in there!"

I'm pretty sure one of those was not overheard at our local pool. My guess is on an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants.

What’s that smell?

Apparently there’s been some amusement/excitement over some Old Spice commercials that I’ve somehow missed until just now. I guess there are times when I live under a rock. So, here’s a fun little video for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, followed by my own story below.

 

So, speaking of men and smells, here’s an amusing little slice of my life. Some time ago I began buying natural deodorant in an effort to avoid harsh chemicals. The Hubby also informed me that antiperspirants tend to make him break out for some reason as he’s apparently extra sensitive. So we tried several scents of various natural deodorants with vastly mixed results. Some smelled too “girly”, some flat out did not work, and others had some rather curious odors. I recall a time here a while back when I looked at my Hubby and asked what on earth was that smell? He stated that the new deodorant I’d purchased smelled worse than what it was designed to cover up and that I might want to try to find something that doesn’t smell bad from the start. So as not to duplicate my mistake, I asked him which particular scent this one was. His response; “I think it’s just called ‘Old Hippie’”.

Conversations with Little Guy: Nursery Rhyme Edition

The little guy recently recited his version of "Pat a Cake".

Patty cake, patty cake, baker's man

Bake it with a cat as fast as you can

Roll it, mash it and smash it with your feet

Put it in the oven for Baby to eat!

 

We were of course impressed that after changing the words around he was still able to make it rhyme!

Male Fashion Faux Pas

I know I'm not alone in thinking there appears to be a little problem when it comes to men and putting clothing choices together. Now of course, there are plenty of men with great fashion sense, but we women are sure to know many, many more men who can't match a shirt with a pair of pants to save their lives. In fact, a lot of us are probably married to one of them.

Now, my husband was in the moderately fashion challenged category when we met (remind me to tell you sometime about the outfit he wore on our first date.)  However, after years of coaching, he now does pretty well overall. Also, the fact that we haven't bought clothes in a long time makes it easy since he's been doing the exact same match-ups for years now so he's got it down.

The Teenager on the other hand has a more severe case. For your entertainment I've included photos of his latest atrocity. Let's take a look, shall we?

 

Here we have the shirt: 

003 A black tee shirt with an argyle print. This would go nicely with a pair of black shorts or denim shorts.

 

 

 

 

So, what does he decide to pair it with?

 

 

 

 

004 Some patchwork, Hawaiian print shorts, naturally!

 

 

 

 

 

And in case you think I'm making this up or showing different parts of different outfits, here's the whole ensemble.

As you can see from the smile on his face, he wears it proudly.

Then it got even more embarrassing

So, the Teenager has been accompanying me to the local aquatic center each day while his little brother has swim lessons taught by one of his own classmates from school. What could make this situation more awkward? Well, for one, as we've previously stated in the swim lesson post, having a mom who insists upon setting her up own folding chair complete with an attaching umbrella is a good start. But wait, there's more. Today after I got everything set up I couldn't get the right angle and ended up with too much sun on my legs and feet, so I decided to cover up with the little guy's beach towel. While I was fiddling with that, a huge gust of wind came up, picked up the entire umbrella out of it's holder stick and all and then flew the thing over a fence where it then made a loud thud into the side of the water slide. 
I think I've made my point.

Summer Time Antics

What happens when you mix a Summer BBQ with friends, add some margaritas for the parents and then give the toddlers s’mores? Well naturally, hilarity ensues. Be sure to listen for what little guy says as he tried to get his hands unstuck.

 

 

In case anyone missed that, he says; "oh cwap" which we found hilarious. Of course, that could have just been the margaritas or the fact that we, as his parents, find little guy pretty darn entertaining most of the time. But the margaritas help.

The now traditional, annual "A/C is out" post

Apparently this is now a yearly thing; the #@!* A/C going out. Readers may recall last year's entries ending with; It was the Flux Capacitor. Thankfully, at least this year it didn't happen during triple digits as it did two years ago when this not-so-fun tradition got its start.

This year's installment all started with a leak although the A/C was still cooling. All of  sudden we had water dripping down from a recessed light fixture above the fireplace. The hubs swung into action and quickly discovered it was due to a clog in the emergency overflow drain. Once he unclogged it, water started dripping out the drain outside and onto the patio. Not so great for patio entertaining, but better than coming through the ceiling.

We called the repairman who supposedly fixed the leaking problem. Then things really went awry. Later that evening, we noticed the temperature in the house was getting hotter and hotter even though the A/C was running. Turns out while the repairmen were "repairing" (and I use that term sarcastically) they bumped something loose, broke something else and basically knocked out the whole system. So essentially, we went from having A/C before they "fixed" something, to having no A/C at all.

When we had them back, they discovered the coil was shot and leaking freeon. They had to order the new part, which meant going into day three of no A/C before it was finally fixed yesterday afternoon. 

I'm just very glad the temperatures were within "we can make it through alive" range during this saga. Thankfully, it got fairly cool in the evening and we used our whole house fan to cool down the house for the night before it starting heating up again during the next day. We made a dinner that required no heat and for dessert we enjoyed these:

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Another Trader Joe's favorite.  Like a margarita on a stick...minus the tequila.

Little Guy's Swim Lessons with associated amusements

 

This summer we finally started the little guy on swim lessons.

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Monday was the first day.  The irony of having a teenage brother is that there's an excellent chance your swim instructor at the local aquatic center is right around his age, goes to school with him and knows him. Sure enough, Teenager informed me that little guy's swim teacher was in fact in one of his classes.

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We've completed day three of lessons and so far, so good. It looks like he's quite comfortable in the water and is taking to learning the basics pretty well overall. We've had a bit of a challenge with him not wanting to get his ears wet, so we tried kids silicone earplugs which seemed to help.

The first day I was not prepared for a total lack of any shaded areas to sit. I'm not one to stay in direct sunlight for any length of time so I knew this was going to be a problem. So, since yesterday my solution is to haul in my folding chair and attaching umbrella. Apparently this embarrasses Teenager. I guess when your mom is pushing a stroller with your toddler brother that also contains folding chair and umbrella bags sticking out the side and then proceeds to set up said chair & umbrella combo poolside it's a spectacle you don't want to be associated with. It only gets worse when it's discovered that the sun is in exactly the perfect spot for the umbrella not to work as made, therefore it must be jimmy-rigged onto the side of the stroller and held in place by your sun-sensitive mother.

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So to re-cap, I've provided swim lessons for the toddler, protection from skin cancer and embarrassment for Teenager. I'd say that's quite an accomplishment combo.

Potty Training Hits and Misses

So, in an effort to get better on track with Potty Training, we implemented the brilliant plan; “Poop for Toys”. Basically, if you poop in the potty, you get to select a small toy from a specially created basket of items waiting enticingly outside the bathroom door. This plan has worked like a charm. Unfortunately, our toy supply has depleted rather quickly after a recent bout of diarrhea, something we did not take into consideration.

Most amusing however, was an incident that took place during our Memorial Day BBQ with friends. Little guy was playing inside with his two little buddies while Teenager supervised. Apparently, there was some sort of incident that involved an attempt at pooping on the potty, a missed target and one of little guy’s friends being sent outside with a dramatic message for us;

“Um, Teenager told me to tell you that little guy went poo poo. But he missed. A little. And there’s poop on the rug. And the wall. And he wants to know if he gets his toy now.”

On being a little less LOST

The hubby and I can barely keep our eyes open past 9pm. We have to be really invested to stay up until nearly midnight as we did for the LOST finale. We knew that DVR’ing the thing and trying to watch it later would be a disaster because we’d be spending the next day dodging conversations, radio stations, Internet, etc. so as not to spoil the ending. Oh, and on a side note: since we were forced to watch commercials for this live viewing, I must give credit to Target for their hilarious ads!

Normally I do not watch any drama-type series but I got hooked on this one when I stumbled onto the pilot episode and knew this was going to be different. Of course  “different” is an enormous understatement. I can honestly say that I’m glad I got hooked on this show and spent the last six years following it to the dramatically thought provoking ending.

In  perusing other people’s thoughts and comments about the ending, it was interesting to see that some people are complaining about a lack of answers. I guess I can understand this to a point; of course there were things that left the viewers scratching their heads and trying to piece together the how’s and why’s. But just as in life, we don’t know all the answers. Oh sure, some folks think they know and will go so far as to testify that they know this and that. But they don’t, of course.

Some people felt that the ending was too emotional and as one person put it; a lot of “sappy crap”. Ironically, I dare say the “sappy crap” is at the heart of what the entire story is about and in the grand scheme of things it’s ultimately what life is about.

If you are still attempting to figure out all the ins and outs of the island then you’ve missed the point. It’s not about the mysteries of the island; it’s about the characters relationships, their place among people, their lives. I think a lot of people were so focused on figuring out the mysteries of the island they failed to see what it’s all really about.  In real life we have folks who focus the majority of their time and attention on work, hobbies, church, and other self-imposed commitments all the while their personal relationships are suffering. There are families that spend inordinate amounts of time working to pay for houses that they are never home to enjoy much less spend time with their spouse and kids. There are folks who get caught up in organizations that take their time and resources away from their families, all while they’re thinking they are doing the “right” thing. I think those are the folks that are really lost.

Much like the characters on LOST, I think people need to be focusing attention on trying to figure out how to build a better society. And I think that starts from being able to figure out how to develop and nurture the relationships in our lives. At the end of the day, the relationships that allow us to find ourselves and enable us to find happiness are the relationships that matter.

So, even if we didn't get to know the integral secrets of the island, it was still well worth the journey. Hopefully we all learned something along the way.

Just Did It

Saturday morning, while the kids stayed home and played, the Hubby and I participated in a local 5k which we entered to walk. As it turns out, we ended up running it instead. For the first time ever, I ran a 5k. I know that probably seems ridiculously insignificant to most folks out there who’ve run many, much longer events. But this is the girl who keeps threatening to “start running” (see previous posts here , here and here) and just never seems to do it. So, I just did it.

As luck would have it, only a couple minutes into the thing the Hubby and I saw someone we knew up ahead and jogged to catch up and say hi. We ended up chatting (and running) and at some point when the Hubby pointed out I was running and had already run half of the thing I knew it would be silly to not just keep going. So I did. The Hubby ran right alongside me (even though he could have gone much faster.) It was a little rough at the end, especially since someone decided a couple of steep hills would be just great in the last half mile before the finish line. But I plodded along and made it.

Of course my time was pretty unimpressive. In fact I had to laugh when I realized that my 40-some odd minute time was a few minutes more than some of the females in the top three…..of the 70+ age category! So yes, I have some minutes to shave off to beat the Senior citizens.

The Hubby reminded me we are planning to do the 4th of July weekend 5k here and that we should aim to improve our time. If I can beat out the 60 year olds then I’ll consider that an accomplishment.

Here are a couple fun shots from the after race party. Our favorite Vendor there was Seattle’s Best coffee and their cool, giant fridge:
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Conversations with Little Guy: Bathroom Edition

While out grocery shopping today we stopped in the restroom. Of course, I take little guy in the stall with me. After getting some toilet paper, this brief dialogue took place:

LG: Mommy, why are you getting so much toilet paper?

Me: Well, little guy, girls need more toilet paper.

LG: Oh. Well, you’re only ‘spose to take a teeny-tiny bit.

Me: Yeah.. um.. well, I can see you've been talking to your father.

That Eating and Losing Weight Thing

I’ve launched a new recipe and tips site for weight loss and maintenance!

Everything has Weight Watchers points included.

Check it out:

lyBBnew

Teenager supplied entertainment

There are many things to complain about when it comes to having a teenager. However, we have very few with ours and are thankful for that every day. I feel incredibly lucky to have such a well-mannered young man whose behavior and personality get numerous compliments. I can’t overstate how fortunate we are to have a teenager who is also an awesome and helpful big brother and his little brother is very lucky to have him.

We are even further blessed with our teenager providing lots of amusement for the whole family. There’s been an abundance of good natured ribbing about his hair as we give him a hard time when he refuses to do anything with it. He has very fine hair with no body whatsoever...it grows pretty much straight down in the front and looks scraggly without any product in it.

Now he’s decided to make his latest personal appearance statement in the form of one of those chin-only goatees, something that has provided lots of laughs around here. (He’s very secure about himself lest my readers worry I’m scaring him for life by chuckling at some of these things! We are a family of big teasers, to be sure.) Just for kicks I whipped out a notebook and penciled a quick drawing of the kid (please keep in mind I am no artist by any means!)
teenagerdrawing After looking at this it hit me….

scooby_shaggy    Hilarity ensued.

Now tell me you don’t see the uncanny resemblance! Ironically, he happened to also be wearing a green shirt.

To his list of good qualities, we must also add "good sport".

Well, that was fast

So when it’s a Friday at about ten minutes before quitting time and you’re called into HR, it generally only means one thing; you’re fired! Yes folks, I got the axe today. It’s a small comfort to know it was not me personally and had nothing to do with my work performance as they apparently decided to eliminate my position entirely. Due to the economy and the company's need to get the most bang for the buck from their employees they determined they needed to fill another position in a different department and that parts of my job could be absorbed into the duties of that position. Of course, it’s pretty ridiculous that they didn’t think of this about a month ago before hiring me, as it seems a waste of their time and resources to start a brand new employee and go through all the new hire procedures and costs (physical, drug testing, background check, etc.) and then decide that this wasn’t the position they really wanted to fill in the first place.

So, this leaves things in an uncertain state. The biggest issue is what (if anything) we are going to do about pre-school for the little guy; by far the worst part about this whole saga. In the meantime, I am happy to be back to my old routine and be able to take little guy to and from school for the remainder of this school year, the hubby can get back to his regular routine at work since he no longer has to creatively schedule things around my work schedule and I guess I won’t be tripping any more circuits with my early morning hair drying. Although I’m irritated about this, I’m thankful we hadn’t plunked down the hefty pre-school registration fee for Fall already or we would have lost it. We did have to buy a second car seat but ended up buying one that has a higher weight limit and will work past the time our other one does anyway, so that was fortunate, at least.

I can’t help but think about how things generally happen for a reason and wonder what may be in store. Here’s hoping something positive is just around the corner.

Umm, really?

So here’s a little something I’ve noticed…has this ever happened to you? You’re dealing with an individual on-line for a business transaction of some sort such as e-Bay, Etsy, some home-based businesses (Mary Kay, etc.) and you’ve waited a ridiculously long time for your item or order to arrive. When contacting the person, sometimes multiple times, you eventually get some variation of the following response back:

Dear Customer,

I am so sorry for the delay! Things have been crazy with ________________.

[Fill in the blank with one of the following:]

  • Multiple deaths in the family involving numerous cross country travels for funerals
  • Horrendous sickness lasting months during which I was completely incapacitated including being unable to email you to let you know what was going on
  • Emergency surgery immediately after you placed your order followed by a lengthy hospital stay which lasted until just last night when I was finally discharged and came home to find your email inquiring about your order

Seriously, I cannot tell you how many of these I’ve heard. The sad part is I guess I’m a sucker because I used to believe them and then feel really horrible that I bothered the person about my silly little order! I would immediately write back telling them how sorry I was for their loss, sickness, injury, etc, and not to worry about rushing my order off in the mail. Yeah. Well. I’m just not buying it anymore. Of course I’m sure sometimes these excuses are legitimate, but come on now! This is just a little too much to be coincidental.

New Attitudes

I’m now deep into week two of the new job. So far I am making it through. Of course, the house is a disaster, I blow electrical circuits blow-drying my hair while hubby irons his shirt in the morning and by 7:30 pm I’m falling asleep while watching TV. And speaking of hair, this morning I was faced with a choice of either A) actually do my hair or B) take that time to eat breakfast. Let’s just say that a hair clip was used and I enjoyed a bowl of cereal.

So, naturally there are adjustments. I would like to state however that despite everything I have managed to get up each morning and get my walk in, something I’m pretty darn proud of if I do say so myself. I think it took an attitude adjustment to get to the mental commitment part of this down. You see, back when I was slacking and not getting my exercise in I would feel guilty every single time I missed a work out. It occurred to me that as much as I hated dragging my butt out of bed at an unholy hour, once I did it and got out there and did my exercise I felt great. So it finally sunk in that the downside of not working out was a feeling of regret and remorse yet there really was no downside to forcing myself to do it other than the momentary feeling of not wanting to get out of bed. Then there was another thought process about the excuses; generally that I felt I hadn’t had enough sleep the night before and needed to stay in bed. The thing is, another 30 minutes was just not going to make difference nor was there much of a chance I’d go back to sleep anyway. The fact is, there was a much bigger overall positive to getting up and getting in my exercise than staying in bed for 30 more minutes. I think it took examining all this for me to finally realize that there are some things you just need to do and sometimes you have to change the way you think about things in order to do them. Of course, I wish I could take this same attitude and apply it to a multitude of other things. But, one thing at a time. Baby steps.

That thing called a job

I bet you all thought that once I got a job you’d never see me again and reading about the all the zany antics of my life would be over! Well, of course not!

I’m on day two in the first week of the new job. Thus far, I’ve not said or done anything stupid . One observation; the working area is a wee bit small. No, it’s not a cubicle, it’s actually the tail end of the counter of someone else’s workstation where someone placed a computer system, phone and rolled in a chair. Now mind you, I was not expecting a corner office with a window or anything, I mean, I am the newbie, I get that. Actually though, this is not the worst set up I’ve had. I thought back to a time many years ago when I started a new job for a large company in an oh-so-special state that's home to a famous musical family popular in the seventies. That job by far had the worst working area set up ever. I was hired for a brand new position which combined security with reception. It was very interesting. The idea was that I would be in the front office area of a large building that housed hundreds of employees. The employees would often check out equipment for use at home, testing, etc. It seems the company had a little trouble with the equipment actually coming back. (This is where I’d normally insert a snarky comment about the irony in the level of dishonesty for state and a community that prides itself on upstanding citizens, but I won’t do that.) So, they decided that I would have the duty of logging out the various items on a sophisticated computer system and making sure they were eventually returned and logged back in. A brilliant plan in theory. The trouble was, I had no computer. They wanted me to start doing this manually in a binder while sitting at - wait for it - a card table. That was my workstation. And naturally I looked terribly official in this capacity. Eventually I got an actual desk, phone and computer and was able to do my job instead of looking like I was there to sell cookies or take sign-ups for the softball game.

Returning to work after all these years is definitely taking some getting used to. For instance, I’m finding that my morning routine is going to need some tweaking and overhauling. It’s been tricky calculating when to get up so that I can manage to squeak in my workout, get myself looking presentable, have breakfast and drive to the office in time. In addition I have to also figure out when to actually go to bed so getting up the next morning isn’t impossible. Thus far, those times seem to be around o’dark fifteen and right after dinner respectively.

Now for those who might have been hoping to read all about the crazy co-workers and wacky office goings-on I’m afraid I have to disappoint you. I’ve learned from fellow mommy blogger Dooce that writing about work is almost never a good idea if you want to keep the job.

Easter 2010

This Easter came during some very non-Spring like weather around here. This was really evident at the big Easter Egg Hunt when little kids came bundled up. My little darling was sporting his Easter short-all with a sweater. I doubt he even noticed a chill though, the way he heats up so quickly, he’s in constant motion! The hubby brought along his good camera to take some nice shots.

The pose on this one cracks me up; the Hubby said he actually did this on his own.

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Here you can see the field for his age group covered in eggs.019
They were all gone in a matter of seconds.
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Just a little Easter cuteness pictorial for you all.

Goodbye Bon Bons and Oprah

What I’m about to say only sounds like it could be an April Fool, folks. I will now be retiring my title of stay-at-home-mom. I got a job. I know! A job. One in which I will be required to get up even earlier than I do now, find and wear pants that fit, drive to an office and sit in front of a computer that will not be displaying my own web site. I will also be getting something I have not received in a very long time; a paycheck. Actually, I can’t really say I will be getting a paycheck because shortly after payday it will be turned around and deposited to the little guy’s new pre-school. Yes, I am working solely to enable to my child to go to pre-school this Fall, the year right before he enters Kindergarten.

So let me back up and tell you all how this happened. As dedicated readers know, little guy has speech delay and Sensory Processing Disorder. He’s been receiving therapy (both speech and OT) since age 18 months. In addition, at age three he started a speech pre-school that is part of the public school system. He’s attended this 5 day a week program since last August. He absolutely loves school and in fact has done so well academically and overall that his teachers and therapists state he will not need to continue with Special Education and in fact would do well in a regular pre-school. Unfortunately, “regular preschool” is not part of the public school system (though I think it should be!) and must be paid for at a private school. It’s not even within the realm of possibility for us to pay for pre-school out of our current resources. So, as much as I love being a stay-at-home-mom and was not at all considering returning to the working world at this point (beyond my side projects; SimpliSave, Draga Designs and of course, this blog) getting a job was the only answer. We felt strongly that not having the structure and opportunities of pre-school the year before entering Kindergarten would be a big social and academic setback. Little guy is at the top of his class academically and overall seems to be pretty darn smart. Of course we’re thrilled that he’s doing so well but we weren’t prepared for having to figure out what to do in order to keep him in a pre-school program.

A while back I started sending out resumes for positions which met pretty strict criteria. My attempt was to obtain a part time position (something that is surprisingly hard to find) for a local company (so I didn’t have to drive far) during regular business hours during the workweek (so I would be gone mostly during the time little guy was at school and have maximum family time outside work hours). I got one call for an interview and was offered that job. It was truly one of those “meant to be” situations. Now frankly, I’m a tad nervous to enter the work world after many years. I’m not even used to having adult conversations during the day and I just know that within the first week I’ll be asking a co-worker if they need to go potty and if their crankiness means it’s time for a nap. But this is a new chapter in my life and one that I think will be a big positive overall.

Stay tuned to see how this all unfolds. Because you just know there are going to be some interesting posts coming up! Oh, and even though “stay-at-home-mom” may no longer apply to “SAHM” for me, “Surviving Assorted Home Mayhem”, always will.

3 Olive Martinis

One of the things the Hubby and I enjoy is perusing our local thrift stores for interesting finds. So much of the time we run into junk but every once in awhile we discover a real treasure. We’ve found materials for use with our jewelry design business and interesting home décor items among other things. Recently we stumbled upon an old silver drink mixer/pitcher. It was different than the modern style because it actually had a pouring spout and a handle, unlike today’s cocktail shakers. It was very tarnished and didn’t look like much but we thought we’d found a great deal and bought it. The Hubby polished it up when we got home and it looked great!

Fast forward to last night. The Hubby was arriving home late from a business trip. As a special welcome home I thought I’d mix up a batch of martinis; his favorite cocktail lately. Naturally I decide to use the new pitcher. After carefully mixing the ingredients and proceeding to shake the contents I quickly discovered why this thing ended up at the thrift store in the first place. Apparently the lid, which fools you into thinking it actually holds the contents of the pitcher back, allows liquid to escape through the side where the spout is; a genius design right there. So, I now have alcohol shooting out the top and all over the bar. But wait, there’s more. This thing all of a sudden breaks apart, the lid flies off, the top comes apart and I drop the pitcher. Now there’s ice cubes and gin all over the floor and at this point there was more than a little swearing. After mopping up the floor and picking up all the ice cubes I decided to haul out the ingredients again and mix up a new batch in my old, boring cocktail shaker. When the Hubby arrived home I believe his comment was something to the affect of; “what happened at the bar and why do you smell like gin?” “Just drink your martini”, I said.

Spring, Pedicures & Toddlers

Spring has sprung around here. I adore this time of year when I can see blossoms on the cherry tree, little leaves springing up on the grapevine and the promise of some afternoons ahead lounging outside. It’s this time of year that I am so happy to get out of my winter shoes and boots (I actually hate wearing socks and enclosed shoes) and get into my sandals and flip flops. Naturally, this requires a pedicure. Thanks to the economy and a little thing we like to call “cutting back” I do all of these at home now.  So, in anticipation of setting up shop for my pedicures the Teenager got me a footbath for Christmas. I was excited to use this thing for my first pedicure of the season. I set it up, filled it with water and stuck my feet in and the little guy wanted to know what I was doing. When he saw the whole soaking my feet routine he wanted to do it, of course. It was all Daddy could do to hold him back while he was taking off his little shoes and socks and attempting to jump in! But the cutest part of this scene was when I was done with my pedicure he said; “Mommy! I wuv, purple, it’s my faborite color! I want purple toes, too!”

It’s My Birthday- I’ll Eat Fries if I Want to

Yes, it’s true. This day rolls around way too fast for me. Although my “official” B’day celebration will not be until later in the month due to scheduling issues, the little guy wished me Happy Birthday this morning in his own cute, now able to talk, voice. The day did not get off to the greatest start because as I was getting ready I bent over and ripped my pants. My new pants. On my Birthday. On my Weight Watcher’s meeting morning. The irony is not lost on me.  There have been some other unfortunate, ill-timed incidents which I won’t announce over the Internet, but suffice it to say there’s nowhere to go but up.

So, after picking up the little guy I did something I almost never do. I went through the Mc Donald’s drive through. Hence, the title. But I’ll have you know I was pretty restrained, despite the “holiday”. I had a grilled chicken snack wrap and a small fries. Compare that to what I would normally have; a Filet O’Fish and a large fries. With Fry sauce.  Now I’ve lost readers in 49 states and several countries with that last line. If you’re from Utah or Mormon (or more to the point, a Utah Mormon) you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who’ve never heard of this condiment, fry sauce is mayo mixed with ketchup in proportions that make it a coral-pink color. Back in the day as a new Utah resident from California I was intrigued when I learned that Utahn’s must have their “fry sauce” with fries. When I heard what it was I thought it sounded gross, mostly because it reminded me of thousand island dressing (though without the chunks). Then I tried it and I was hooked. I swore I would not get caught up in “their crazy culture”, (like saying “squoze” and “Oh my heck!” ) but I did. I have to admit it. You see in Utah, at McDonald’s and other fast food places they actually have fry sauce already made and available; that’s how much people use it. Here in CA we have to make our own. But I figure when you rip your pants it’s a really good idea to skip the fry sauce.

Momtuition

Today was one of those lovely “Spring Teaser” days. We get these every year; it suddenly warms up to make us think Spring is going to kick in and then we get another week or two of cold weather. We took full advantage of the great weather by taking a drive to a couple of our favorite little nearby towns. After lunch little guy got a chocolate milk, one of his favorite “treats” when we go on a outing. We had a great time strolling around a couple historic towns, browsing antique stores and the Hubby even scored some beautiful old silverware pieces with a fabulous pattern. (Which means watch the Draga Designs site for more jewelry to be available soon!)

On the way home the little guy was kind of complaining. We tried to ask him what was wrong and he couldn’t seem to tell us. We assumed it was because he hadn’t had a nap and with today being the time change we figured that was good because he’d be going to bed early. Then my mommy intuition kicked in and I told the hubby to pull over. I suggested he take the little guy out of his car seat and just as I was about to tell him not to hold him too close it was too late. Apparently the chocolate milk and windy road was a bad combination and he lost it. All down Daddy’s shirt. The good news is the Hubby listened to my warning and we avoided the whole "car barf routine" which involves completely removing the car seat cover to be washed and air dried, scrubbing everything down and in general a major operation (which we’ve done more than a few times.) Little guy seemed to be fine after this episode though I must say the ride home with Daddy and his shirt was less than pleasant. (It never occurred to me to keep extra clothes in the car other than for the little guy!) We were all very glad to get back home.