Home Improvement

We’ve been busy around here with numerous home related projects. My regular readers are familiar with the RRR Projects posts and I’ll have a few more of those coming up here soon. We’ve been on a major home re-do kick here and have made some impressive changes. Our most recent project however is painting the interior of the house. This of course involved not one, not two, but many paint samples. We were having a hard time discovering a color we really loved and had it narrowed down to two colors which are right next to each other. But we still felt one was too light and the other too dark; leave it to us to be difficult like that. So we went down to the paint store and asked them if they could make us something right in between the two colors. They did, and thankfully it was perfect. The hubby was overjoyed with the fact that he could finally start painting and get rid of our ridiculous patchwork wall.  005

Before he started painting, I decided to clean out the hall closet. Some items I uncovered were; the sheet to Little Guy's pack-and-play that I sold about two years ago, my granny sandals I wore when pregnant because no other shoes fit and the sad discovery of Murray’s leash. But the best discovery was this gem; a brand new, still has the tags on, fishing vest from Eddie Bauer. Beyond the fact that he bought this long before we were ever married and he's never gone fishing since we've been married is the hilarious realization that it makes him look like the main character of one of our new favorite shows; “$#*! My Dad Says”.

 

 

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You’ll have to exscuse the messy hair and unshaven face. The guy’s been painting all day.

Learning the same lessons over and over

 

I’d like to briefly discuss a particular lesson I’d really like to not continually re-learn. That lesson would be the one about not going off the wagon, so to speak, in regards to my food choices that ends up in a weight gain. You know it’s bad when you step on the scale and your WW leader exclaims; “Whoa, what did you do this week?!” Yeah, it’s that bad. Let’s just say if they gave an award for weight gain a one week I’d be a big winner. Of course, I’d much prefer to be a big loser, pardon the pun.

So here’s the thing; I could list lots of excuses for letting my weight go up instead of down, but ultimately it all boils down to not properly planning for the right food choices and simply eating beyond what I should be. Like I say; “Weight loss requires planning. When I fly by the seat of my pants, it means I’ll need bigger pants”. But while we’re talking about excuses I do have to address one little thing I really am having an issue with. Weight Watcher’s decided to revamp their program, effectively making the old points system null and void and starting out with the brand new PointsPlus system. The thing is, they’re still calling it “points” but yet they aren’t really points as we’ve come to know them. The points values for numerous foods have gone up, in many cases doubling and tripling the former points. Oh sure, they tried to make us feel better about it because we get “more points" in a week, but if you do the math, we don’t get anywhere near the amount of points that would cover the points that foods have increased to. And that’s a hard thing to adjust to. In addition, I have yet to go through everything I normally eat, recalculate all the new PointsPlus values and plan my meals around that new information. Of course that sounds like it would be pretty important to do, right? Yes, I must get on that. Because I am really, really tired of not fitting into my pants.

That Darn Cat

Originally, this was going to be titled “Conversations with Teenager” until I realized he had a very small part in the actual conversation.

Ever since our dog Murray left us, one year ago this month in fact, the cat has been difficult to deal with. She frequently wants in and then wants back out. As previously mentioned, we cannot have a pet door or we’ll be dealing with live critters in the house (mice, lizards and snakes) along with the occasional dead bird and associated feather mess. So we deal with the whole in and out thing. The rule is she has to be “out” when we’re gone. She knows this and tries to get around it by this little maneuver; she “camps out” at the front door stealthily, knowing I’m about to leave at any moment. This morning’s attempt at gaining entry was straight out of a comedy routine, though at the time I failed to see the humor. I was ready to head out with Little Guy, wearing my coat, car keys in hand and loaded down with my travel coffee container, water bottle, purse, and assorted bags of things I was taking with me. I open the door and the cat darts in and zooms past me at lightning speed. A somewhat unfortunate word may have escaped my mouth as I took off chasing her. She darted down the hall, at first trying to break into the Teenager's room. When she found that door closed she turned around and headed back down the hall towards the dining room and hid underneath the table. As I was screaming like a lunatic, gently trying to coax her out, I noticed little guy was standing by the front door laughing at this whole scene. I finally managed to get her out from underneath the table and chase her towards the back door where I was able to boot her out.

When Teenager arrived home this afternoon, I relayed the tale of “What your @%&! Cat did” only to have him also laugh hysterically at his Mother’s ridiculous tale. The kicker was his comment at the end of my story; “Well, you would have been able to chase her down a lot sooner if you’d put all your stuff down!”

I hate it when Teenagers are right.

New Year, New Feature

Long before the show, the book and back before I even heard of and started the following the author of the hilarious Tweets that kicked off “$#*! My Dad Says”, I often thought I should be sharing my own hilarity in the stuff that my 82 year old mother comes out with. So I decided I need to start a new feature here on the blog, titled “Stuff My Mom Says”. To kick this off, I need to share a little back story with you.

The Teenager has been trying for some time now to get a job. He’s had no luck finding anybody within walking distance (he has no car yet, one of the reasons he wants to get a job) that would hire him. With the economy the way it is, a lot of the “teen” type jobs have been going to the adults. Furthermore, many businesses nowadays don’t want to hire the teens and are requiring them to be at least 18, and he only just recently had his 18th birthday. He’s still finding many places simply not hiring.

So, during a phone call with my mother, she inquired about Teenager’s recent attempts at obtaining employment. I stated that he’d just put in another couple of applications, but so far had no luck. She’d asked about what types of business he’d applied to and I told her mostly food places and a couple retail stores. She then suggested the following; “You know, ‘Service Stations’ and ‘Garages’ are always looking to hire young people.” It was all I could do to not bust up laughing. Poor Mom, I don’t know the last time she went to get gas in her car, but she must’ve taken a time machine back to the 1950’s.

50s gas station
Back to a time when “young people” actually worked at "filling stations" that had "garages" and actually provided "services". As I’m trying to hold back my laughter all I could picture in my mind is Goober from the old Andy Griffith Show working at Wally’s Service Station.

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

lifeguard
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’”.