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October 2007
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December 2007

Entries from November 2007

To All The Posts We've Loved Before

I really have no business posting this blog. There was nothing especially special about this day. And yet, I'll plod along through some nouns and verbs, and you'll slog through it, in your un-commenting way (heh heh), and we'll get through it until the next time I actually have something of import to say. Which is rare, but we can pretend that reading most of the other blahgs is crucial to your existence.

Speaking of un-commenting ways, I've decided that whoever posts a comment in November gets the password to the blog for December, and so forth. Not really; I'm not that Machiavellian. But you get my point. ;) Right? Right? Even my own husband is not following the established rule that whatever post goes uncommented, he must post some inane thing or another on, to stroke my fragile little ego.

So. Where was I? Drivel? Oh, right.

We woke up five minutes before we had to be at the bus stop this morning. I don't know what's up with my alarm lately. Either it's not going off, or I'm too tired to hear it. So since Chloë's been feeling like such crap lately, I thought, Screw it, and went back to sleep. When it was time to get up to get Jack ready for school, I got the ladies up and ready, too. Once he got on the bus, Sophie and I drove Chloë to school.

Then we went home and waited for Baby Jade. She came, spent the day, and opened up to us even more. She's even starting not to freak out when Tiger Lily comes near her. She babbled and giggled and smiled. I like this Baby Jade.

Rob came home early from work, so I could go to the dentist without my ducklings. I had literally 16 uncomfortable x-rays done, and the dentist was happy to point out my nose stud to the tech in the pictures and tell her all the other fun things he's found in peoples' faces. No cavities, Ma. He said I was doing a good job taking care of my teeth. Crooked as they may be.

And that's about it. I didn't take any pictures today, we didn't go anywhere else, and nobody said anything to write home about. Well, when we told Sophie it was naptime, she said, "No! I don't want to go to nap. Because I'm playing." That was cute. She's an amusing little bugger.

And that's all I have to say.


Bzz: Kill

First order of business: I don't know if everyone gets the same code, or if this code will only work once (and I've just used it), but try it if you're interested: KAB1-2TH8-FF6T-4JGRDV gets you 12 free 5X7 holiday photo cards at Shutterfly. I just got a dozen New Year's Eve cards for $2.54 s/h.

Second: A new Bzz campaign. First there was the Sonicare Toothbrush. We've had ours for months and love them! (Except the replacement cost for the brush heads, but they last a while.) Now they last even longer, because we just got our free (for being a BzzAgent) Sonicare UV Sanitizer! It kills 99% of germs with a cool UV light system, and it's a better way of storing the brush heads than what we've been doing 'til now (setting them in a standard toothbrush holder, or worse, letting them roll around on the sink together unsupervised, making little baby Sonicares and... well. Sidetracked.) Anyhoo, it's just a 10-minute cycle and can be used with several types of both Sonicare and Oral-B brush heads.

If you're interested, comment me and I'll send you a $5 coupon for your own Sanitizer. If you're not, comment anyway and let me know so I can report the Bzz and get points for more cool campaigns!


Stickin' It To Ya

100_4687 Look at me, Mommy!

100_4686Sophia sat next to me this evening, depleting my sticker supply while adorning herself, the rug, and anything else they would stick to. What did I do about it? Um... nothing. She was being quiet and relatively still. Sometimes, that's what a Mama needs, stickers be damned. That's what I needed tonight. 'Sides, she looked cute.

It was freeeeeeeezing this morning when I took Chloë to the bus stop. Her mittens fit Sophie this year, so I need to hurry up and knit her some new ones.

I was hoping it'd be warmer when I put Jack on the bus, but it was still chilly. No such luck.

Sophia and I had a shower and did some laundry (okay, she got into Q-tips while I did that), and then Jade joined us for the day. We drove to Panera for another lunch shop, and we got a lot of stares again today. We did Monday, too. I know what it's like being part of an interracial couple, but now I know what it feels like to be a mixed-race mom. Well, you know what I mean. Interesting. It doesn't matter that she's not mine; what matters is tolerance and acceptance.

So then we started to drive toward another lunch shop - I overbooked myself and had to be in two places at once - when there was a five-car accident right in front of us. Narrowly missed that one! It didn't like look anyone was hurt, but a few of them were sure stomping around and looking pissed.

So we missed the second shop, because I had to be there by 1400 and it was well nigh on 1345 by the time I got out of that mess. But then I remembered it could be done for a dinner shop instead, and a couple taps in my Palm T|X later, we were good to go. The little girls and I headed for the bank to deposit a mystery shopping paycheck, and then we headed home to wait for the big kids.

Jade's warming up to us. Today she did like to be tickled, and she smiled more, and she even laughed a bunch. She's got a cute little giggle.  She also has an enormous outie belly button. Rob joked that it's bigger than Jack's penis - and, well, it is.

So Jack and Chloë came home, and as they were grumpy little cranksters, I sent them up to nap along with Sophie. Baby Jadey was fussy, and I put her down for a nap, too. Ahhh. I was going to knit, but I can't find my dern stitch holders so that I can move on to the second sleeve. (My best friend) Lisa had a pre-term labor scare yesterday, so I've decided to make the current sweater for her baby Emilie Joy instead, and now I'm under the gun. Where did I put those thingies???

Everyone woke up just about at once, so I got four kids shod and coated and into the car to go do our trip on the Virginia Wesleyan College campus. We drove out there, put Jade in the stroller and had my three walking, and all the college kids were staring at us like we were foreign objects. What? A mom and little kids on a college campus? What is this? No, I definitely didn't get mistaken for a student this time, Rob! Rats.

And then we got up to the Sandella's counter to do the shop. We placed the order, and I started to get out my credit card when I remembered how college eateries work. I looked at the red-haired be-dredlocked laddie and said, "You don't take credit cards, do you." It wasn't a question. Cash only. Of course, I had no cash. Who carries cash? Dammit. So I turned my cadre of little folks around, buckled four little bodies back into the car, and headed home, as cranky as they.

Rob was on his way home by then, finally (he had duty and had to stand watch tonight), so I called him to stop at Taco Bell, since I had four hungry kids to feed and no inclination to want to cook something when my fridge is still full of turkey that nobody wants to eat. Should probably get rid of that bird by now, hm?

That's about it. I'm going to search for the elusive stitch holders now.


Free is Better Than Nothing

Woof. I am tired. And cold. Yesterday was warm, today is freezing. Making up your mind, Mother Nature! (Psst: And pick 'warm.')

Yesterday, yesterday, let's see, let's see... Well, other than taking Chloë to her ballet class, we really didn't have anywhere to go or anything much to do. We were supposed to go to Barnes & Noble for the Point O' View PTA night, but Rob's sick and didn't feel like going. So we didn't. And I didn't have to watch Jade, so it was a pretty low-key day.

100_4683 Although I did manage to score this pupitre (student desk) off Freecycle. I've been wanting to get one just like it, so Chloë could sit next to me and work on her homework. It's perfect! We'll paint it sometime when the weather's a little warmer, at least on the top. 100_4684  

The little ones were very interested in it, too. She was quite distracted last night while doing her work. Hopefully the novelty will wear off soon!

100_4685And then I made this. Well, I made the origami cups the night before last, but I put the ribbons on and assembled the whole thing last night, with Chloë's help. It's for Advent! Each cup has a fun activity and a candy for each of the kids . The fish and flower are just there to dress up the hanger. :p I couldn't think of what else I had to hang them on - a shower curtain rod was suggested from the kids' activity email I got the idea from, but where would I put that?! Not that I really want to go out and buy one...

Then I started coloring on one of the t-shirts we'd picked up from Michaels when they were on sale for really cheap, with the fabric markers we'd also gotten. We have two shirts for each of the kids, so we're doing a sort of team thing on one set. I did "S. ODETTE" and the number "2" on the back of Sophie's. It took a while, so I only did hers. It looks cute. I'll show them when all three are finished. Hopefully they won't bleed off in the wash!

That's about it. I'm off to scrounge for breakfast. Enjoy your day!


A Little Jaded

So today was interesting. After I got the big kids on the bus, and I use the term "big" loosely, Sophia and I cleaned up the house a bit to wait for our new arrival. Barbara, the cleaning lady, was supposed to be here, but she's out of town this week. Man, it's just been a few months, and I already depend on her visits so much! So Soap and I tried to take up the slack a little bit, and then little Jade and her parents arrived.

Jade is a little girl whom I was supposed to start watching back in September, but for whatever reason, I didn't start until today. I typed up a big ol' contract, emergency care releases and a time sheet (I did good, right Roob?) last night, and we took our time going over and signing them all today. Then Baby Jade, as Sophie and I call her, was ours for the next 8 hours.

She's a cute little newly-one-year-old. Very serious. Takes a long while to warm up and hardly smiles even then. Does not like to be tickled.

First, we went to lunch. I had a Panera shop for lunch to do. Her parents were okay with it, so we went out and had some lunch. We ordered our usual, and Jade num-numbed on some bread while Sophie and I dined.  Then we went next door to the Michael's to see if I could find the Cricut cartridge I really wanted, since they were on sale there. I could not. Rats.

We went home, and Jade was clearly ready for her first nap of the day. Yeah, first. Ahh, I remember the days of multiple naps. And yet, it was easy to forget how little a new one-year-old actually does. She's still so babyish! She's barely walking and was very content to just sit around and hold a toy or two. Which I liked. Buh-lieve me. She fell asleep, but Sophia and the dog woke her up. Argh. Jack and Chloë came home, and my kids all went down for short naps, so I decided to try again with Jade. I rocked her in my chair, back and forth, back and forth, until I could feel her little teeth grinding on my shoulder. I lay down with her on the couch, hoping we could snooze together, but soon my kids were back downstairs and woke her up again. We'll have to work on that!

We went outside for a photo shoot, since it was overcast, and if there's one thing I learned from Amy J's photography lessons, it's that overcast is the best for taking pictures. Am I right, Oompa? Now, I am clearly not great at taking pictures, but it's fun to pretend. Here's Baby Jade: 100_4660 100_4664

100_4679 Those are the fifth-graders (L to R: Rebecca, Bianca, Jade, Christa, Chloë) who walk my first-grader home from the bus every afternoon. They stayed and played with Jade for a while, wanting to hold her, kiss her and be sweet on her. Bad picture, though; the sun was behind them.

Then we went inside and took Sophia's picture, so you could see her new pixie Dorothy Hamill 'do. She's a pretty little thing. Really turned that newborn look around, didn't she? 100_4680 100_4682_2

So then Jack wanted pizza, and since I'm a little tired of turkey and mashed potatoes - even though we have a ton and a half left - I immediately agreed. While we waited for it to be delivered, I made some chocolate chip banana bread. I didn't really follow a recipe, just throwing this and that in and hoping for the best. Well, it was the best! Even Jade gobbled it down and showed me a rare smile while I fed her. Her aunt showed up an hour earlier than I expected her mother, to pick her up, while she still had chocolately lips. We'll see her again on Wednesday.

Now, I am going to make a cute origami Advent calendar for my kids to enjoy, and then I'm going to sort through all the pictures I just got in the mail, since they came disorganized, for my scrapbooking date with Steph on Sunday!


Dude, I forgot half the things I was going to post. Oh well, I'll just say this: I did a search for Cricut cartridges and found them for $39!!!!!!!! (as opposed to their $89 full price, or $45 sale price at Michael's) regularly at Oh My Crafts! Stephanie-sitter, check them out, since they have some $15 Sizzix die cuts on clearance for like $3.


Insert Clever Title Here

Kind of a boring day for us, bloggily speaking. We got up wicked early (for us) and went to breakfast at the Silver Diner. Yay, we made it! The kids weren't "allowed" to be there with us for the shop, so we got separate checks that must have made the server wonder. We kept making up different scenarios, such as Rob and I were dating and Chloë and Jack were his kids (they look like him) and Sophia is mine (looks like me), or we're brother and sister, since our credit cards have the same last name... but Chloë kept calling me Mommy (strange, I know), so who knows what she thought! It was a source of amusement for us simpletons, though.

Then we went home and went back to sleep. Hey. Small steps.

When we got up, the kids had lunch while I showered, and then I folded three baskets of laundry while Chloë helped me put some of it away. I told you this was an exciting day.

Then I had to go to Sears for two long hours and do a survey of the entire store. If I had known the kind of work it was going to take me for fourteen freaking dollars, I would never have done it. But I'd already printed out a ton of pages for it, and it kills me to waste all that paper and ink. I had to mystery shop all the different departments first, and then I had 'reveal' myself to the manager and go around taking pictures of anything outstanding or any issues. The manager of the portrait studio where we always bring the kids came into the ladies' room just as I was taking pictures of the garbage all over each of the stalls. "What are you doing?!" she said. It was a bit of a silly encounter! So I went over to the studio and said hi to Ellie, "our" photographer, on my way out the door.

I got two pairs of Levi's on sale for Rob while I was there. And a little outfit for our new nephew, due to arrive any time now (Elizabeth's younger brother, for those of you who remember me talking about her) in Missouri. I love buying baby clothes! Especially little teeny ones. Especially for my own, but moving on, moving right along...

Then I went from Pembroke Mall to Lynnhaven Mall to do another shop at Spencer's Gifts. I haven't done the report yet, but it will probably be my most embarrassing to date. I have to say things like "cock pops," "fart powder" and "penis shot glasses" when explaining the items the salesperson promoted to me! *blush*

Rob wanted me to pick up some micro-SD cards for his new GPS, and while I was looking for the store, I found this little candy kiosk that I'd never noticed before. Well, I'm usually never in that end of the mall. Those who know me extraordinarily well know I am passionate about just the very right kind of coconutty chocolates. I can never find them, not the way I like them. The last time I did was on the Jersey Shore boardwalk, in 1999. Well, actually I think I got some in the mall in Panama City, Florida, but not quite as good. Anyway, serendipitously, I glanced up at that candy kiosk and spied exactly that. I stopped and asked for one to taste, to see if I wanted to buy more. Perfection! So I told her to fill up a bag, and I'd tell her when to stop. I stopped her at 37 pieces. Then I had her fill another bag with chocolates for Rob, and hurried down the mall with my prize before I had her add more. The salesgirl winked at me and told me they have them all the time. Glee!

They were out of the SD cards at the store where they were on sale, and by that point I was near the boutique where I picked up Chloë's gowns for her iPOP! trip in January. I wanted to go in and see if I could pick up another tiara, and maybe a gorgeous dress (for what, I don't know and don't care) for Sophia. They are going out of business at the end of the year and are drastically reducing their prices, so I was hoping to find a bargain. But alack and alas, they were closed. Hopefully not for good. I spotted something tangerine-colored in Sophie's size the last time, and I want it!

Nothing much exciting (not that any of that was) occurred after I returned home. The kids were napping but soon joined us - after we'd dived (or diven, as I like to say) into our chocolates, tried on the new jeans, and scanned everything for Nielsen. We had some dinner, futzed around a while, and then they went off to bed.

Sophia was crying a whole bunch after bedtime. She's been having a rough time of it lately. She's in a two-year-old patch of stranger- and separation-anxiety, and sometimes she just cries inconsolably. I couldn't take it and had Rob go get her, and I held her on the couch while I watched Desperate Housewives. Well. I was looking at her poor butchered hair, hacked into so many times from having to cut out all the knots she twists into it, and I decided to even it out. The only way to do that was to cut it into a short little bob. Short. I cut off lots of hair all around her head. It's definitely a home-cut, but it's cute on her! Rob agreed.  I'll take a picture tomorrow.

That's about it. I've just folded three more loads of laundry and been cleaning up the living room, and Rob went upstairs to take care of Chloë, puking again. Siiiiigh. Keep a good thought for her, will you?


Chloë B. Jones

100_4595_3That's what I like to see. My little six-year-old daughter, in her jammies, cuddled up reading her Junie B. Jones book from her grandma, on the couch. The thrill of her being able to read is unrivaled and, so far, undissipated by time.

100_4594Evidently Junie B. has some surprises for Chloë!

So yesterday, we were supposed to go to the Silver Diner for a breakfast mystery shop. We didn't. We overslept. Surprise! The Odettes oversleeping? Nah. Never happens. So we'll have to do that tomorrow morning instead.

Then I went to Michaels for a rare adventure: Black Friday shopping. I never go. Literally, never. But Rob just gave me that Cricut machine for an anniversary/Christmas present, and now the cartridges for it (and the machine itself, but let's not think about the $170 we could have saved if we'd waited just another week or if I could find the effing receipt!) were on sale. He let me get six cartridges! Lots of different fun fonts and shapes for scrapbooking. I'm so excited about it. Not Europe excited, but in the ballpark. So I went home and ordered a bunch of pictures (hey, I had 200 free ones coming my way, thanks to Coke rewards!), so I can use my new toy soon.

After that, we headed to the Ghent section of Norfolk for a Panera lunch shop. We heart Panera. Have you eaten there? You should. It's good stuff. I got a Tuna on Focaccia half-sandwich, broccoli cheddar soup, and a piece of French baguette for dipping into my soup. Rob got something with bacon and Gouda and turkey, and the same soup. The kids shared ours, since Rob had just stuffed them with pancakes while I was on my little shopping spree. I actually managed to get out of there without dropping any soup on my shirt, which seems to be an enduring challenge for me.

In the evening, we went out to Lynnhaven Lanes for some Xtreme bowling. Another mystery shop. Yep, I know. Broken record. Whenever we do the bowling shops, we follow pretty much the same routine: Sophie stays in the stroller, Rob bowls with Jack and I bowl with Chloë for the first game, then just Rob and I bowl against each other on the second game, and we get a small pizza combo. Last night was no different. Now, we are terrible bowlers, but it was a bit amusing last night when I bowled better with a six-year-old than on my own. I think I knocked down maybe 33 pins. Rob fared much better. He got into the 50s. We are quite a team. No wonder our minds are always in the gutter, eh, Stephanie? We can't get out of them!

Today, Rob had to stand watch. Ugh. My favorite words are, "I'm coming home early." Least favorite? "I have watch this weekend." Hate it! So he worked 0600-1400, and Jack woke me up at 7:30 to tell me Chloë was puking in the bed again. Again??! That's, like, the fourth or fifth time in a month. Rob's starting to wonder if her reflux is coming back. God, I hope not. I just think it's all the snot and goo and the coughing and coughing she's doing. I think I'm going to take my bottle of Clorox Sanitizing Spray and disinfect every surface in this house. It's been a bad month. I'm convinced I've moved on to pneumonia myself. Anyway, so I ran in and pulled her out of bed, sent her to my bathroom to finish puking, and assessed the scene. Not bad. I checked on my poor schweetie, heaving over the toilet, and then cleaned up the bedroom. Jack was pretty pissed when I sent him back to bed, but that's early for him.  Chloë crawled weakly into bed with me and fell sound asleep.

I didn't have the heart to wake her at 9:00 when the alarm went off for her auditions class at the acting school. I looked over, and she was snoring softly and completely knocked out. Nah. She's going to get her sleep.

Which is good, because we did make it to the acting school at 2:00 for her regular acting class - the last one, the "showcase," I thought, hardly anyone was there. They came from the back to tell me that there were no classes on Thanksgiving weekend. Oh! Really? I must have missed that. Well, good, because I hate sitting there for hours on my own, let alone with Sophie and Jack in tow, bored out of their gourds.

So we headed to Sears. I'd gotten a call that my glasses were ready and I could come pick them up. Yay! Clearer vision, here I come. I went from 20/200 to 20/400, if you must know how blind I am. :p When they say "read the sign on the wall," I say, "What sign?" So I read my report, since this was of course part of a mystery shop, and we picked up las gafas. (I'll be dropping some more Spanish on you between now and June, just so's ya know.)  Then we went around to housewares to see if I could find a new pre-lit fakety-fake Christmas tree, since the lights went out on our current one, and I don't want to deal with that BS this year. They had some, sure, but they were more than twice what I wanted to pay, and they ended up not having the one I chose in stock anyway. Rats.

And since Rob was asking me whether I wanted my cruise or Christmas lights put up - such is the amount he loves doing the lights - I thought I'd make it easier on him and find some battery operated Christmas thingies to put out in the yard. Cord, cord, cord, cord, cord. Nothing but corded stuff. We don't have any outlets outside, so I bagged the idea and left with just my glasses. And my babies.

Rob was home when we got home, so he gave the tots some food while I worked on my shop reports. Chloë wanted to make her own PB&J sandwich. It took  her ages upon ages, but the girl got it done. Whether she ate it or not is a different story.

After 6 pm, Stephanie and Tim came over to watch the kids while we went out to dinner at Phillips, at the Norfolk airport, for another shop. Only, when we got there, it was closed! Closed! During the time the shop said to be there. Odd, very odd. So we stared at each other, twiddled our thumbs, and decided to go to Moe's ("Welcome to Moe's!") instead.

We also heart Moe's. You get a huge, filling meal, and it's way not expensive.  We got our grub on, Rob fussed at the news for showing stuff about Kanye West's mother (who cares? he says. Who cares? I say!), and then we went to the movies. I had cashed in more Coke rewards points for two free AMC tickets, and I really wanted to see Dan in Real Life with Steve Carrell. It was a good flick! I blubbered for no reason for pretty much the entire movie, and we laughed. Worth what we paid for it, as Rob said. No, he liked it, too.

So that's about it. Oh, I forgot to tell y'all what Jack did/said at Thanksgiving dinner. He asked me if Christmas was after Thanksgiving. I confirmed that it was. So he pushed his plate away and said, "I'm done! It's Christmas time!"  Pretty fricking hilarious.


Tootling Myself With Vigor

I make a good pie. Pumpkin (when I remember to add all the ingredients), apple, Dutch apple cream, whatever, it's good. Love the apple cream the best. I'm sitting here at 2:30 in the morning eating a piece. Relishing it. Savoring. And realizing I forgot to tell my SIL that when she makes it, it's much better chilled than warm.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day and meal with their loved ones! We enjoyed our day.

Rob didn't rouse me from my warm beddy-bye until the crack of noon, but I didn't slack after that, I promise. He made the turkey, I made the mashed potatoes. He made the gravy, I made the stuffing. He made the green bean casserole, I made the corn. He made cranberry sauce, I made the apple pies. (I'll make pumpkin this weekend. We ran out of oven time.) And I heated the rolls. I contributed. I swear.

Not that I didn't take some time out for some Webkinz. Yep, I haven't mentioned them lately, but Chloë and I are still infatuated with them. We have six now, y'know. Emily the white terrier; Horsey the, well, guess; Popocateptl is my chihuahua; Penelope Pickles the frog; Ella Keely the white cat; and Kaley Dora the Li'l Kinz poodle. I only named Popo and Penny Pickles. The rest are Chloë's creations. Plus each of the kids are going to get one for Christmas, and I'm giving Chlo the reindeer one on Christmas Eve. So we'll soon have ten. Maybe eleven if she buys another one with her allowance. And we'll get special access to stuff in the W shop that only people with 10 or more 'Kinz can get. And I'm giving her a Webkinz charm bracelet, and a bunch of charms for it, for her stocking, so we can unlock the Magical Charm Forest. And yes, I really really am rambling on about this so much because I love them just that much. I could go on and on. Ask Rob - I definitely could. But you're zoning out and drooling. Except for those of you who have also been drawn in by the allure of amassing KinzCash...

Phew. Got on a bit of a kick there. What the hell was I talking about? Oh yeah. Thanksgiving. Gratitude. Right.

So we sat down to dinner, just the five of us, and said what we were thankful for. Chloë said school.  Rob said his kids. Jack said cars (no-brainer there). I said my family and my trip to Europe (bouncing up and down in my seat)! Soapy said food. Her squishy little heiny shows how appreciative she is of that!

Halfway through dinner, drunk on two sips of champagne, overheated from the overworked oven, and full from loading up on appetizer water crackers and goat cheese, I got up to go sit in the living room for a spell and cool off. Next thing I know, it's 45 minutes later and the phone is waking me up. Whoops! And Rob had cleared my food, thinking I didn't want any more. I could have cried. My food! All gone! Thankfully (there's that word again), there's enough for sixty-seven more such meals. I hope he at least fed the turkey to the dog instead of the disposal.

Then Stephanie-babysitter and her husband, Tim, came over with their dogs Blondie and Wazowski. I have no idea if I'm spelling that right, Steph, but I don't feel like googling Monsters, Inc! We sat around for a while, fed them some pie (they liked my pie!) and let the critters get to know each other.   Then we went off to the Holiday Lights on the Beach down at the Oceanfront. It was another spectacular display of Christmas lights showing both beachy themes and holiday ones. I was amused that there were 13 different Santa ones, and a manger display, and then, oh yeah, let's stick in a menorah over here in the corner for the Jewish contingent. But it was nice, we all had fun, and I again had the immense pleasure of seeing my van full to capacity. Wazowski even joined us, and he was a good boy. Rob wasn't. He slept through the entire thing.

So that's about it. The kids went to bed and Rob and I watched Running With Scissors. Oh, and since I had put the girls in matching holiday dresses I bought on clearance at Gymboree, I took them outside for a photo shoot. Here are a few cute ones (remember to click on the picture to see the full frame): 100_4583 100_4584


Intense Russian: NYET!!

Well, I'm starting to feel a bit better. I know you're all on pins and needles about that.

Jack and Chloë both had a half-day of school today. I put Chloë on her bus, turned around and got Jack ready, took a little nappykins while Sophia was still sleeping, got Jack off the bus, Sophia woke up, and Sis came off the bus soon after that. Those half-days seem so pointless! Except for the nap I get. That part I like.

We had 80-degree weather today. Just thought I'd share, for those of you having snow. Sorry.

Rob got out of work really early. That's the best thing ever. Except for the part when we argue about who gets to take a nap. I didn't mention that I had already had a nap. But then, I didn't take another one, so it's all good.

I spent a lot of time online today, preparing for our trip. I like to plan in advance. Way in advance. Like, I've already got our boarding passes printed out, advanced. I also booked our hotel in Barcelona and our residenza in Venice, which is on the canals near the Bridge of Sighs! I can't wait to take a romantic gondola ride with my husband - maybe our gondolier will even croon. ;)

I typed up our detailed itinerary, which grew each time we made new plans and arrangements, and I took great pleasure in editing it and re-editing it. I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to planning things, I must say. And I like it that way just fine. Then I added more and more to the babysitter's guide we're leaving with Stephanie, who'll care for the children while we're gone for more than two weeks. Two weeks! Without my babies! Rob says I won't get homesick. I don't know. I'm already missing them!

I did, at least, before this: 100_4581_2

That's our office carpeting. Where Sophia and Jack had just been coloring with those new super-slick Crayola Twist-Up crayons? You know those ones? They're great. Until you turn your back for five seconds to tippy-type some more on your little Europe planny-plans. Here's the culprit: 100_4580

I'd show you the rest of her, which is very colorful, but as you can see, she's desnuda. (See? Already practicing mi español.) So that was a fun little interlude tonight. Coloring will strictly be a kitchen table activitiy with those things from now on!

So then I went back to the planning, figuring out which ports we want to do an excursion and what kind. Oh, it's going to be so fun! We're going to see a flamenco show and eat tapas in Barcelona. In Monaco, we might hit the casino before heading to France to visit Nice and Eze (Get it? Nice and Eze? Har har) and shop in the famous flower market there. At least, the website tells me it's famous. When we get to Livorno, near Florence, Italy, we'll tour Lucca in the Tuscan countryside and then go to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. I'm ecstatic about that! There's so much to do in Rome, we'll just tour around on our own, but I plan on making a beeline to see the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. We're on our own in Messina, Sicily, and Navplion and Katakolòn Greece, where I hope we'll get to do some actual swimming in the Mediterranean, Ionian, and Ægean seas. In Corfu, Greece, we're going to take a four-wheeling adventure through villages and vineyards and have a meal at a large country estate. Then in Dubrovnik, which I keep saying with a heavy Russian accent, we're going to go sea kayaking. What else would you do in Croatia, am I right? You know that crazy kayaking in Croatia. Then in Venice, we're going to take a tasting tour through the city, sampling everything that's great about Venetian food.

I am so in heaven just thinking about this stuff. I can't even imagine how I'll be when I'm actually there.

So I called my sister, who is apparently jealous?? Who knew she wanted to go to Europe? to tell her hey! She can go on the Holland America website to gift us with shipboard credit. She was delighted to hear about this opportunity. Absolutely thrilled.

Don't worry. Soon I'll run out of things to say about this trip, and you won't have to hear anymore about it until we actually go.

So then I had to run out and do a Sonic shop. The only good thing about that was getting to drive on the newly paved stretch of the Boulevard west of Witchduck. Niiice. Oh yeah, I have to do that report still.

We're about to go watch Man of the Year while I do some knitting on the baby sweater I haven't touched in too long. And that's about all that's fit to print.


Come Sail Away With Me

Well, here we are, two days before Thanksgiving and I'm fighting off this upper respiratory infection. I'm on the z-pack now though, so hopefully we'll be good to go come Thursday morning.

Not terribly much to report from the last few days. I pretty much canceled everything I could in order to stay home and rest. Rob and I did a dinner shop at Mahi-Mah's on Saturday night, and I couldn't get that report done until Monday night. Just blah.

While I had Chloë at her acting classes that day, Rob was home with the little ones. He put them down for naps, and Sophia said to him, "Where's Chloë?" and he explained she was with me. "Where's Jackie?" and he explained Jack was taking a nap, too. "Where's me?"  Silly girl.

And today Chloë cracked me up when she said to Jack, "What in the planet are you doing?!!" instead of "what in the world." Heh heh heh.

And now for the big news: We're going to Europe! We're going to Europe!! Zuiderdam

In summer 2008, we're going on a Mediterranean cruise. We'll be flying to Barcelona a couple days early and exploring that city (note to self: brush up on Spanish), then boarding Holland America's ms Zuiderdam for their "Mediterranean Tapestry" cruise. From Barcelona, we head to Monte Carlo, Monaco; then Livorno, Florence, Italy; then Civitavecchia, Rome; then Messina, Sicily; spend a day at sea; then three days and three different ports of Greece (Navplion, Katakolon, and Corfu); on to Dubrovnkik, Croatia, and ending up in Venice, Italy. OMG, Venice!!! We're going to spend a couple days there, too, before flying back to Barcelona and then home by way of New York City.

I am beyond excited. Rob's been to Europe twice before, so he's trying to act like it's no big, but come on! The only place he's been, of the above, is Corfu, so there will be tons of new experiences for both of us. And it will be my longest cruise by two days, and his by nine. I adore cruising, and he's pretty fond of it too, when it's not on an aircraft carrier.  Oh, so much to do, so much to plan! Thank goodness we already have our passports.

Anyway, anyhow. That's our stuff. What are all of you planning for Thanksgiving??


No, No, Thank YOU

Well, I made it. Through Bingo, that is.

But first, Sophia and I went to Sears to get me some new glasses. For (all together now) a mystery shop. I got two pairs, since they were pretty cheap. Cute ones, too. But the salesperson did a terrible job, and it was probably the worst report I've ever submitted.

Since we were right next store to the Portrait Studio, I decided to take Sophia in and see if she'd let us take her picture without crying. We decided she should get more opportunities for that when the store's not busy, so she wouldn't freak out next time. She wanted to stay in her stroller, so I didn't fight her on that. She went from teary eyes to dry eyes, glaring to staring, to piqued interest and, finally, to this:


Yay! It was cute enough that I decided to buy one small sheet of wallets. Yeah, her hair's a mess and she's in the stroller, but it's proof.

Then we went home and got the kids and waited for Rob. He arrived, and we went to pick up ice from the store for the Bingo sodas. We busted our asses getting Bingo night ready and were there for almost five hours. It went very well. We pulled it off! Then the PTA president came up to me and said, "Thank you for your help tonight."

Uh, my help? You mean, running the whole thing? Going in for two hours last week to see how to set everything up, and then delivering on that promise tonight? Being the go-to guy for all the issues that arose? Telling the volunteers where I needed them and what I needed them to do, coordinating with them, the custodians, and the Principal to get things done, including the new format Cyndi (the out-of-town Bingo Chair I was taking over for) and I instituted for tonight? Yeah, you're welcome.

I was irritated by that. But others noted and mentioned her bitchiness to me, so I'm trying not to take it to personally.

By the time we left, I was in tears from my back pain. [For those not in the know, I have nerve damage from my last c-section and can barely move some times. One of the reasons I'm such a big, fat, tub o' lard right now.] I had to sit down and relax and let the pain melt away.

Then I did my three reports, two from last night and one from Sears today. Oopsie. Those two were late. And I completely forgot I had another Cold Stone shop for tonight after bingo, until it was too late. Just as well, though. The kids were exhausted.

So that's about it. Tomorrow's jam-packed, so I best go prepare.



So. Where was I?

Ah, yes. Wednesday morning. The photo shoot! Here's what it's all about: the pictures are stock photography. Stock photos are taken to represent different "lifestyle" scenarios, such as (in this case) a wedding, or two grads toasting each other, or having a baby, or whatever. Then they are posted on the website, and any company who wants it can buy it from the site and use it in their advertisements. Right now, this company has one of their pictures running for American Express. I don't know which one. But it'll take about six months for the pictures from Chloë's shoot to appear on the website, and then they'll never know what companies will use them, or when. So we'll just have to keep our eyes peeled for Little Miss Chlo.

The shoot went very well. It was right about two hours long, and she did such a great job for her first time. As I'd hammered into her head, she did exactly as she was instructed, and the "bride" really helped the girls (there were four flower girls, including Chloë) feel at ease in the pictures, talking to them and making them laugh. It was a lot of fun, and I could tell she was really enjoying herself.

I had left Jack with the neighbors, so they could put him on the bus. Otherwise, he'd have had to miss school that day, and he's missed so much from not feeling well. (But he would have made a cute ring bearer! They didn't have one... ;) )  Sophie came with me. There was anothe two-year-old sibling there, so the little girls sat and drew pictures and "chatted" together and were very sweet. It all ran very smoothly.

Afterward, I had to get Chloë to school, so I ran to Wendy's to get my girls a little lunch to eat in the car on the way there. That was dumb. Never give a two-year-old a fast food cup in the car. The lid comes right off, and... you know. Not good.

So anyway, she got to school. And Jack came home. And she came home. And all was well.

In the evening, Stephanie, our babysitter, came over so we could go out to a mystery shop dinner at the Town Point Club, a private invitation-only club for executive-types. So, yeah, we don't really fit in there, but we try our best to fake it. And omg, it is so good. We started out in the lounge, where I had a Cosmo and Rob had a scotch & soda. Then we were taken to the dining room, where we received the white glove treatment. I ordered a bottle of wine that I really wish I could remember the name of, because it was dee-lish. Rosé Rosata or some such. I don't know. But we liked. Rob had oysters and I had the best she-crab soup on the planet, for apps, and I had crab cakes and he had rack of lamb for entrées. He had Bananas Foster for dessert, and I had the cheesecake with Chambord dribbled over it. We had some coffee, and I had Bailey's in mine. Rob called me a lush. Maybe so, but it was good stuff! And we were full to burstin' afterward. But the absolute best part was the service. We absolutely love going there. It was our third time, and it's always amazing!

We both collapsed from exhaustion when we got home. That was the end of the night!

I got up at 0500 with Rob and started working on the report for dinner. I didn't finish until almost 0900, taking out about 45 minutes to get Chloë up and onto the bus. It's a lot of writing for that shop. But it's worth it.

Then I stayed up and did some other work until ten, when I got Jack up for school. I put him on the bus at 1100, and slept for a little while until Sleepy Sophia finally woke up. She had taken off her diaper, and when I opened her door, the first thing out of her mouth was, "I didn't go peepee on my pillow, Mommy!"  Well, good! I am so excited, beyond words, to be nearing the end of the Diaper Chapter of our lives.

We didn't do much during the day, because I was still so tired, until the kids came home from school. I did several loads of laundry, but that was about it. Then we took Chloë to Brownies, and we did some T-day grocery shopping while she was there. First thing into the store, Sophie said, "I have to go potty, Mommy!" When your potty-training youngster pipes up thusly, you heed the call, no matter the inconvenience. And she went, at least. That gave me less than 45 minutes to do a speed-shop around the store, check out, and load up the car before heading back to Brownies to pick up Miss Chlo. But I made it, with six minutes to spare!

The Littles stayed in the van watching Madagascar while I picked her up. I was supposed to go to her school to attend tonight's Book Fair, but I realized there was no way I could make it home, unload the groceries - even with Rob's help, drive to school, shop for books on her Wish List, and be back in time for Stephanie-Sitter to watch the kids for our second night out in a row. We had 1900 reservations at Aldo's Ristorante, again for a mystery shop... so I asked Karen, another Brownies mom who I knew would be going to the Book Fair, to shop for me instead. I wrote her a blank check and gave her the wish list, and she agreed! Yay. Big help. Moms helping moms. Looove it! (Zack and Weezy, from Dragon Tales on PBS.)

So. Anyway. We did go home and unload all those groceries, and I scanned them for Nielsen. Rob showered, I dressed and made a pizza for the kidlets to eat for dinner, Stephanie arrived, and we left for Aldo's. Dinner was pretty good, but it was no Town Point Club. Then I remembered I had to do a Cold Stone shop after dinner! Agh! Too many shops, I take. Crazy-making. 

I decided to take Stephanie out for ice cream instead of Rob, so we swung home to trade partners. I got my shop form, and Steph and I went to hang out. The ice cream was good, but the rest of the shop was not. I was stuffed from dinner, though, so my Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip - Love It! size - is in the freezer, if any of you are interested.

Then Steph and I hung out on our couch, chitty-chatting, for a couple hours. We laughed. It's good to laugh. Now I want to crash.

Oh - post comments! I am a comment whore. Love the comments. Please? ;)


It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To

Ohhhh. It's been a long Tuesday.

I woke up a little late and had to rush Chloë to the bus stop without a lunch, handing her two bucks to buy instead. I always hate doing that, because I like to know exactly what the kids are eating - and what they're not. Especially in these days of puking. She had a serious cough again. This is the bug that will not go away!

When I got Jack up, who was still way sound asleep at the appointed time, he cried and said he didn't feel good and his head hurt and he didn't want to go to school. Again? Okay. So I went to my room and called the school to let them know he wasn't coming, and he pitched a major fit. Hysterics, the works. He changed his mind, he said, he wanted to go. I know what it was: he hated not to right on that school bus! So I pondered and thought and thunk about it, and I decided to take him to school. They could always call me to come get him back again, right? But he ended up staying the whole day.

Sophia and I ran home just long enough to get my shop folder, and then we ran out to Laskin to do an Office Depot shop. It went well but took the better part of an hour; much too long for such a boring shop, IMO. We came home and watched a little PBS Kids until Jack got off the bus. Then I finally got a much-needed shower. Feels so good, especially because it means scrubbing this dang all-over itchy rash that's driving me apeshit.

When Chloë came home, the kids had a quick snack, and then we took her to ballet class. We got lost on the way there, thanks to a utility work detour, and I drove around half of King's Grant. No clue where to go there. I finally called the studio and got directions. Should've just started with that.

Rob was home when we got back, and he fed the kids dinner while I did some work, and then he put Sophie and Jack down for naps. We had pictures in the evening, and we wanted to make sure they were well-rested this time so nobody would be cranky. (Ha!)

I took Chloë for an audition with Karen Whitlow, the local agent we really want to have instead of Sylvia Hutson, whose actions concern me, the more I think about it. Yeah, she got Chloë the print job for tomorrow, but she went about it all wrong.

Despite Chloë's bad cough and general malaise (wink to Rob), she did well enough that Karen wanted to represent her. Oh, shoot, I need to wing her an email with Chloë's head shots. Thanks for reminding me, self. So after the shoot tomorrow, I'll let Sylvia know that we're, uh, booting her. And stuff. Not looking forward to that!

We came home and got the kids ready in their Christmas outfits, and we headed back to Sears. They looked so adorable, all of them, individually and together. I proudly watched other people glance over and admire them as they walked through the store. Yep! Them's mah bebbies!

At home, I had been asking Sophia if we could go back to the store where we were last night, and take her pictures. She kept saying, "Yes, sure, sure!" So I thought we were golden. But no sooner did we enter the portrait studio than the waterworks began again in full force! Ahhh, it's just the age of it, I guess. Jack didn't like going there at two, either. We tried and tried, to no avail, to get her to stop crying and smile a little. We finally took some with just Jack and Chloë, and then we threw Sophie in for a few at the end, just to mark her presence in the family for our holiday cards. I wanted to make it all silly, like, "haha, our kid is crying for Christmas cards," and throw in a bunch of wacky props that had nothing to do with Christmas, but they weren't game. So this is what we ended up with (always hard to see on the computer, I know):

Christmas8 Christmas2 Christmas1_2

Christmas7 Christmas3Christmas4Christmas6 Christmas5   

I don't know why it leaves those big spaces between pictures sometimes. That's so annoying. And it cuts off the pictures, so you have to click on them if you want to see the whole thing. Bah.


I Know What I Know, If You Know What I Mean

So it's been a few days. No one is feeling well at this house right now. It's been a sickly fall for our household. I've had enough! Jack puked last night and this morning and had to stay home from school, I still have that awful rash, and Chloë may have it now, too. Rob and I still have bad colds, and Sophie is still a little under the weather, too. BLAH! Washing pukey sheets is getting a little old. For Rob. I'm sure. ;)

Saturday, Chloë and I got up early and drove into downtown Norfolk to audition at the Hurrah Players' theater for Sylvia Hutson and her associates. She started talking about 'stage fright' in the car on the way there, something we've never, ever mentioned or heard from her before. Then she said she was nervous, also a first. Uh-oh. While we were waiting in the lobby for her name to be called, she was her usual gregarious, vivacious self, interacting with older kids and having a good time. But when we got to the audition room, she buttoned up. She kept her arms crossed over her chest and stiffly recited her lines. I was worried. After that, they asked her to do different things, like pretend to be sad, angry, happy, call a puppy, etc., and she started to warm up to that and act like her normal self. And they asked her to sing a song. She started with "Happy birthday" but forgot the lines (lol!), so I had her switch to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," and she did a beautiful job. She really carried the melody well, and I saw them nod at each other.

Back in the car, she again mentioned having stage fright. Where did this come from? Who planted such a term into her head? I don't know, but if she is not going to enjoy doing this, I am not going to force her. She's got that print job, as a flower girl, on Wednesday, so I will be paying careful attention to see how she does with that.

After a while, Rob took her to her acting class, and she wouldn't participate then, either. The teacher, Erica, said she kept asking to go potty and saying she didn't feel well. Well, why didn't she bring her out then, so Rob could take her home??!! Poor thing. We kept her home for the later, iPOP! training class, to get some rest.

Once everyone had napped, we went out to Chesapeake to return my sucky LensCrafter glasses from last weekend (Rob found my old ones), and get some new ones for a mystery shop at Sears. LC took the glasses back with no hassle, so I was glad for that. "Was there anything wrong with them?" they asked. "Yes, I hate them!"  Well, okay then!

The Sears optical shop was closed, so Rob stopped into Radio Shack to get a new battery for our home phone, and I went into the card store to check out their Webkinz charms. I'm going to put the charm bracelet and some charms in Chloë's Christmas stocking, and they had a whole bunch! The lady behind the counter said, "The kids are really crazy about these Webkinz!" I winked and said, "Uh, yeah, and the mom, too!" It's addicting, man.

Everyone was starving by then, so we drove around the corner to our new favorite restaurant and had dinner at Moe's. Welcome to Moe's! Good, yummy, and plentiful food - for cheap. Move over, Taco Bell. I think we went home after that, and the kids got in the tub and went to bed. Mom and Dad watched Lucky You and Reign Over Me - both pretty good. I liked Reign better.

Other than a quickie telephone mystery shop on Sunday, we did absolutely nothing to write home about.

Rob had a three-day weekend for Vet's Day, so I had him walk Chloë to the bus stop this morning. So much for it being a treat for her, though - she said she wanted me! Oh well, I wasn't getting dressed this time. Then we both snoozed some more until it was time to get Jack up, but Rob went up there, found he'd puked again, and called the school to tell them he wasn't coming. Poor little guy. He kept insisting he didn't puke, but the proof was in the bedding.

I showered and we all dressed and got ready to go out, since Barbara the cleaning lady was here. Yay for Babs. Her visit combined with Rob's day off was like Christmas for me! The house looks great. Other than the muddy paw prints on the living room floor, that is. Ugh.

The Tots, Rob and I went to Borders to do a mystery shop at the Seattle's Best Coffee there. They waited outside while I went in for the coffee. I noticed a basket of Tim's Cascade Chips (Rob's favorite) sitting there, so I picked some up for him. Not supposed to buy anything else, but oh well. Sue me.

Oh wait, first we went to the Michael's store a few doors down, to get the Cricut machine Rob's giving me for Christmas. I always want to pronounce that "cry-cut" instead of "cricket." I had the 50% off coupon, so that would have knocked down the price considerably - only when he went to buy it, they pointed out the fine print saying that no Cricut items are eligible. Gah!!  Annoying. So we paid full price, but I'm going to shop around. Amazon probably has a better deal. I got a bunch of 66-cent Sticko stickers, and 12 t-shirts for $20, and some yummy pumpkin-smelling potpourri, too.

Then we went to Target to do a shop there, as well. I got the new address book I've been needing, some moxie Choxies, and some household necessities. I had to spend $50 cash, so I got boring stuff like coffee and shower cleaner. Might as well get some groceries I'll be reimbursed for, right?

By the time we finished, it was the bewitching hour. We had to race back home to beat Chloë's bus. Which ended up being late. But we'd never have gotten the other errands in time anyway. She finally arrived, and we scurried to get all the clothing we needed together and raced to Sears for our Christmas portraits. First, though, we had to stop next door at Payless to get dress shoes for Chloë and Jack. The lady asked if I needed tights - why, I don't know, since no one was in their dressy clothes yet - and I assured her I didn't.

We went to the Portrait Studio, and Rob and I set to work getting the kids in their Christmas outfits. And yes, I did need tights after all, since the crotch of Sophie's was at her knees. Dang it! But the dress covered it, we dealt with it. Soon it was our turn, and right when we got into the little portrait room, Sophia burst into tears. What? She's never afraid of these things. Or anything, that I can remember. But she wasn't having it. They all looked sooo cute, but she just kept crying and crying. She definitely needed a nap. So we apologized up and down and rescheduled for late tomorrow night - after she'll get a chance for a good nap. Fingers are crossed!

So we left, and I ran into Payless again and sheepishly bought tights from the lady. She giggled at me.

When we got home, the phone rang and it was Sylvia Hutson, telling us that the client fer sure wants Chloë (it wasn't set in stone until then) on Wednesday, so we were very excited about that. So was she, so hopefully her little jitters are gone. She's such a ham, it'd be a shame if she clammed up again!

That's about it. The kids are all napping, and it appears Rob is, too. Just me and the Webkinz.



That's what the cable box is saying to me right now. Don't believe me? Here, have a look:

100_4479 Anyway, anyhow.

Sort of a fun day. I'm weary, a bit, and still sick. Rob's miserable. Kids are still minorly sick but dealing fine. Jack and Chlo both went to school today and had no problems. Whew. Sophie and I went out and did a T-Mobile shop while they were away, and it went swimmingly. And I canceled another shop and completely forgot about a third, dammit. Even with the Palm, I'm just not totally up to par right now.

Rob came home muy early and surprised me and Soapy. That was nice. Partly because I adore seeing him, and partly because it meant I wouldn't have to drag the Tots with me to pick up Chloë at school and go over everything I need to do to run next Friday night's PTA Bingo. The committee chair is going to be out of down, and crazy ol' me volunteered to take over in her stead. Ay ay ay. I have to set up and organize the concessions and prizes and tables for those and the membership drive, get volunteers to run those things, sell the dabbers and Bingo pads, and... a whole bunch of other stuff I'm going to beg Rob to come help me do! It should be fine, as long as I don't have to do any announcements! Public speaking is not for me.

I brought the eldest child home, and we picked up Rob and the Littles to go to the Cox service center. Our DVR box doesn't have an output for our DVD player, so there's been a whole bunch of annoying cable switching going on this week. Aack. I can't stand it. So we got a new box.

Rob brought along the GPS that I just gave him today, in honor of our seventh anniversary. We met this month in 2000! He loves his fancy new toy, especially since I bought him a much upgraded version of the one he's been hoping for. And then he told me that he has a three-day weekend! For Veteran's Day??! Seven years together, and I still can't remember that he gets Veteran's Day off. The kids have school, so I just didn't expect it. Yay, three days! That's like a gift for me, in return. And then, I got a phone call from Sylvia Hutson - the local talent agent I'm sure I've mentioned? She submitted Chloë's head shot for a print ad for some company or other here in town, and they want her! She'll dress up as a flower girl in a faux wedding. The shoot is on Wednesday. Her first gig! Way to go, Miss Chlo!!

Next, everyone was complaining of starvation - including me - so we stopped at Panera for dinner. Now y'all know what a big fan of Panera I am. Love it, love it, looooove it. We all do. We lingered over the meal and enjoyed each other's company. It was nice.

After that, we headed over to Wally to get a bunch of necessities. Some of you might remember that we won a portable DVD player from the Parade magazine contest? And then we won another one from... I don't remember, or maybe I cashed in some points for it, I don't know. We used one in the car and one in our bedroom. Same brand: Coby. A little while, they both just quit on us, with no warning. So we freecycled one last night and bought a new one tonight, for the car. Yay. Sophie's been going crazy trying to get her movies to play out there. No more Coby for us, man.

We got the Ratatouaeioulle DVD, too, and watched it when we came home. Love that flick. Very cute. And I got a new binder and page protectors for all my knitting and crochet patterns, which I organized while watching the rat. I'm so excited about that. My patterns are so much more organized and, dare I say it, chic, now that I can see what all I have. Chic! Ha! Knitting patterns! Simple pleasures. And then I got back to my knitting, finishing up the back of the dress thingy I'm making right now:


Time for me to go ni-ni. I have to get up early to take (bring? I can never figure out when to use those) to her Sylvia Hutson audition tomorrow morning, early. I frigging hate mornings. Bleh.


Reminiscing Baby Chloë

Sick again, I am. Two colds, back-to-back. I'm a little bit cranky about it. Rob's sick, too. And you all know what men are like when they're sick. Not a picnic.

Yesterday I woke up feeling crappy again, so I canceled my shops and just hung out with my baby girl all day while J and C were at school. After they got home and everyone had a snack, we headed out to babysitter-Stephanie's in Chesapeake.

She was hosting our monthly Bunco group, and since Rob had duty and has a whole bunch of work this week, I had to bring them with me. He was hoping to get out a little earlier and come get them - and he did. Leave early, that is. And immediately got a flat tire. Suckage! If it's not one thing with that boy and his car, it's another. They're like a comedic duo. Man vs. Machine, duking it out. Who will be the last one standing??  I vote for the Jetta.

So Steph's husbo babysat the kids in the back room while we girls laughed it up. It was a pretty hilarious night of Bunco, as one newcomer was over-excited about winning a prize and then we all copied her. Fun stuff. Love my Bunco.

We got home very late, and I was glad I'd had Chloë do her homework before the partay started, because the kids needed to get right into bed. I sat down with Rob to knit and watch a movie (I'm making a little baby girl dress in a smoky brown extra fine merino wool now), and before too much longer, I heard someone crying upstairs.

Well, the only one who really cries in bed, and like that, is Miss Chloë. Oh, no, here we go again. Rob went up to check on her and called me up to help. Yep. She'd puked again. She's in the top bunk, and she rained it down all over Jack's bed on the bunk below. It was pretty gross, although now that I'm typing it up, that's kind of funny.

Jack never woke up. Rob did the pukey laundry, whipping his sheets out from under him, while I bathed the sick girl. I held her up with my leg in the shower, and she clung to me like a little tiny baby, so fragile and small. I held her like that long after I was done cleaning her up, just enjoying the bond.

I dried her off and rubbed lotion all over her, telling her that I used to massage her every night like that when she was a baby - and Jack and Sophie, too. And that reminds me of Tuesday evening in the car.

The Styx (right?) song "Come Sail Away" came on the radio, and I started singing it to the kids. Then I lowered the volume and told Chloë that it was the song I sang to her Daddy when he entered the OR, before she was delivered. Some 10 or 11 months earlier, when we were "dating," if you can call it that, he had sung it to me as an invitation to join him and make a life together. Under all those drugs and lights and stress, it burst forth from me and I sang it right out loud when he came in, not caring who else was in the room. Come Sail Away on this new journey, into parenthood.

And then I asked the doctors if I could go swimming the next day.


Today was not at all exciting. I canceled/rescheduled my shops again and spent the whole day hacking and doing laundry. Loads and loads, hours and hours of laundry. I chipped away at that mountain, folding the huge piles of clean laundry, washing the huge piles of dirty laundry, and putting away giganormous stacks of the kids' clothes. I've been in transition between their summer and winter wardrobes, and I finally got everything squared away where it should be, six hours in. And I made Sophie's bed and our bed.  That's all I accomplished today.

Oh, and I/we just watched I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, which was aiight. I got some knitting done, and the lacy pattern is emerging. Phew, it worked out. I was worried.

That is all.


Rain in the Blogosphere

Well, the day started like any other. The sun came up, the alarm went off, and I beat the shit out of it with a bat. Thank goodness Rob called to wake me back up, or I’d still be snoring up there.

Chloë went back to school this morning. One down. After I got her on the bus, I came home to work on some of the shop reports I was too tired to do last night. Jack still didn’t have school today, and I didn’t have anywhere else to be until mid-afternoon, so I zonked back out on the couch until the kids woke up in the very late morning, which was, like, totally awesome. And stuff.

I fed them, showered, did a little laundry, and got them ready for the trip to Jack’s school for my parent-teacher conference. He’s been pissed that there’s no school, but he was way more so that he had to go today in my van and not the bus. He loves his bus. Loves it.

I met with Miss Beth, and she had nothing but good stuff to say about Jack. Except the stuff that wasn’t, but there wasn’t much. Just that he’s very spunky and knows exactly what he wants and what he doesn’t, which is good on the one hand and can be frustrating on the other. He’s working really hard and making great strides, and I’m very happy we decided to give this a try. It’s been really great for him, and she thinks he’ll probably be on target to join mainstream kindergarten next year.

We went home after that and did a little more laundry while we waited for Chloë. She got home, and the kids had a snack before we took her to ballet. She went to dance class, and the Littles and I drove down to

Laskin Rd to do another boring Verizon shop. I’m on a big drive right now to pick up all the boring-but-paying shops I can, just to see how much money I can really make in a month. It’s not a lot, but it’ll pay a small bill or two.

We drove back to dance class to get The Chlo, and Jack started whining again that he was hungry. I told him that Chloë said she wanted pizza for dinner. He shouted, “I don’t want pizza!” and Sophia said, “I does!” hehe. So I said, “I does, too”! and Jack replied, “Well, I doesn’t!”  This conversation tickled me, so I called Rob to repeat it.

He’s working long, late hours this week. Some big projects got dumped in his lap today, and he’s got duty tomorrow, so I’ll have to bring the chillens with me to Bunco tomorrow night. My babysitter is now in our group, so no help there! Thanks a lot, Steph. ;) But her husband is going to watch them, so it’ll work out. It sucks, though. I see him little enough as it is.

I called Primo’s for a pizza, and we drove home and picked it up. A dozen garlic knots and some cannoli, too. Dee-lish-US! I finally found just-right pizzeria pizza, and they’ve been right around the corner from our house all along. I remember going in there a couple of years ago, but I left because I didn’t like the prices or the wait or something or other. Whatever. Back in business now, baby!

So the kids and I went home, and I cut up pizza for them, because they haven’t yet demonstrated the skills necessary for folding and eating a pizza in a decent manner. Rob was finally on his way home, earlier than expected, but they were too hungry to wait. I started looking at Chloë’s homework, but it was a difficult process since the kids suddenly broke out into their evening shenanigans. Thankfully Rob walked in at that time and relieved me, because I had a few more packages of Chloë’s Girl Scout candies to deliver. That’s been a little more trouble than it’s worth, with boxes trickling out here and there – and Jack opening and eating someone else’s candy…

I came home just in time to pick up the afore-mentioned little boy for a haircut. We went to my usual salon and was greeted with raised eyebrows. I guess it had been longer than I thought since my last visit. I had been growing out my hair to donate for months, and then my sister came in August and cut it for me, so… a long time. The kids are taking their Christmas pictures next week, and Jackson is looking quite shaggalicious, so I asked them to cut it the same way Stacey did – a ‘5’ guard on top and a ‘2’ on the sides and back. I don’t know what she did, but it looks like he got a ‘3’ all the way around. Harumph. Well, it’s hard not to make that teeny face look handsome, so we can work with it.  Then she trimmed my bangs, and I can see again. Hallelujah. Bangs hanging in my face drives me absolutely nucking futs.

Rob was working with Chloë on her homework when we returned, and the Littles were wanting more pizza by that time. So I fed them a little, and then I snoozed on the couch for an hour, in time for DWTS. J Finally, Jane Seymour got kicked off. About damn time. I’m sick of her sob stories, too. :P

So that’s about it. I might go see about that sourdough starter, which has gotten enormous, and I might go watch a movie and do some knitting, and I might go do some laundry, and I might go box up some toys for giving away on Freecycle. The night is young!


PF (Post-Fin): I typed this in Word and c/p'd, and this is the way it's showing up. It won't let me fix it. So much for that!

If Only I Could Have Caffeine

Oy to the vey. I am exhaustulated.

Yesterday, I did some laundry in the morning, and then we went out to Hooters (which I call by another, less blog-friendly name) for a lunchtime mystery shop. Suddenly, I found myself a football widow. This is new. The only sporting event I've ever known Rob to really watch was Le Tour. But he was glued to the Chiefs/Packers game the entire time, while I stared at him, bemused.

Afterward, we went to a holiday craft bazaar. My therapist is on the board - well, some board, I don't know exactly which, but it involves volunteering - of CHKD. I have been donating my packages to her to give to the hospital, and she and her group get credit hours that they, in turn, donate back to the hospital. Or something. Anyway, there was this annual bazaar off of Wesleyan Rd here in town, for the benefit of CHKD, and she invited me. First thing, our entry tickets won me a prize! We were there less than five minutes when my newly-purchased ticket number was called. That was a hoot. I won a silver trinket box that's quite heavy. I'll use it.

Then we found Dr. Linda, and she was so pleased that we came. Like I keep saying, if it weren't for our relationship in her office, I'm sure we'd be friends outside of it. We get along swimmingly.

I moved along, drifting along the tables, with nothing particular in mind to buy except for Christmas ornaments. We were in the Hallmark store the other day and started admiring the 2007 ornaments. Rob's mom always sends us each one for our tree, every year, and they are so fun to receive. But we found so many great ones that we decided to buy them for ourselves each year, too!

I stopped at a table when I noticed tarts for sale. You know, tarts? I have a few already, but I broke my tart burner last year. So I was glad to see she had some for sale. I bought a cute little one-piece one, and half a dozen tarts, and then I bought her cinnamon bun candles with little cupcake wrapper-looking trays. Cute, cute. I love burning smelly-goods. That's how I 'clean' my house!

I asked around and found out that lovely ornaments were being sold outside. I made my way out there, and they were right. Adorable schtuff made out of shells, seahorses, urchins, sea stars and sand dollars. Chloë quickly picked out a kitty face made from a sand dollar. I was just going to buy one for each of the kids - they weren't so cheap - but I quickly found five I liked. And more than that, but let's not go too crazy.  I got an ice cream cone one for me, a mermaid one for Jack, a delicate, elegant little seahorse one for Rob, and ... I can't remember what I picked out for Sophia. They're already wrapped up in the attic with our Christmas decorations, so you'll have to wait until December to see 'em.

On our way out, I stopped at the "table" - racks, really - of the lady who was selling handmade baby knitted garments. I asked her how she was doing with her sales, telling her I knit too but haven't taken the chance on selling anything at a craft show before. Well, to make a long story short, she is looking for knitters to make up her designs, and we exchanged cards, and she might be calling me to do this. Fun! I'll get paid by the piece (no idear how much), and then my samples will be sent to Bulgaria to be made by... kids in sweatshops? Hopefully not!

When we left there, it was too late to go to my friend Tabitha's Discovery Toys catalog. Sorry, Tab. Remember to bring me a catalog on Wednesday! So I drove the family home and went along to Best Buy to do a shop there. I freakin' hate those Best Buy shops. They are so tedious. So I wasn't exactly disappointed when I couldn't do it. I arrived to find all the employees standing out front, eating sandwiches and tossing around a football. Say what? When I approached, I was told the power was out inside and I couldn't enter. Well. Okay. I went home and can't remember what I did then. I think I might have taken a short nap? I really don't know. If it's not documented on the Palm, I have no idea what happened or is going to happen in my life, anymore!

100_4467 Later in the evening, I decided to make some kind of bread. Flipping through the Joy of Cooking, I decided to make a challah bread. I love challah. I have a really good recipe for it somewhere, but who knows where it is? So I made theirs and changed it around a little.  It looked pretty good (I did a four-strand braid for once, if it's hard to see here) and tasted better. Usually I like to make it with raisins and use a sweet margarine, but this called for salt on top, so I skipped the sweet stuff. I liked it. Like my way better.

While I was making up the dough and Rob was doing dishes or some such, we heard an odd noise coming from Chloë, who had fallen asleep down on the living room couch. The lightbulb suddenly went on, and we ran in there to find her projectile vomiting all over herself and her blankets, over and over. Gah! Poor baby. She's just getting over a bad cold and now this. Into the tub for her (with Daddy; I had to get to work on my dough).

And I knitted and finished making all the pieces of the sweater after that. Finally! I started sewing it up, but my meds kicked in and I had to quit for the night.

When my alarm went off this morning at 7, I went in to get Chloë and remembered about the puking and heard her coughing again like crazy, I made the executive decision to keep her home, once again, from school. I've just gotten a note home about her missing 7 days already, so I was torn about that decision. When we got home a couple hours later to get Jack ready for school, she said she felt fine and wanted me to bring her in. So I called and spoke to the school nurse, told her what was going on, and asked what I should do. She said to keep her home. I kept.

I showered and got dressed, got everyone else dressed in warm clothes and changed Sophie from diaper to unnerpannies. I fed them all breakfast, raced to make Jack's lunch, get his shoes and socks on, bundle him in his coat, get his lunch box and notebook in his backpack, and generally get him ready for school. We waited. And waited. And waited. And the bus never came. Finally, I called to school to ask if there was some reason for the delay. Uh, yeah, there was. "Ma'am, there's no school today and tomorrow." Ohhhhh. Right. I knew that. Der.

Which meant I'd have to drag three kids along with me - instead of the usual one - to do all the shops and things I had planned for today. Rats. Taking care of three little kids at home is exhausting enough. Spending all day on the go with them? Downright depleting.

[After my shower, I'd found red welts all over my arms. Some of them itched. Now, hours later while I type up this blog, I've gotten more welts all over my body, and I'm itching like crazy. I'm going nuts! No new perfumes, lotions, shampoos, detergents, or anything else I can think of along those lines. Waaaahhhhhh.]

First we went to Farm Fresh to get cash for some shops I had to do. I successfully talked my way out of a ticket for parking in the fire lane (oops. my bad) when I came out. Then I had to go home again, having forgotten my dang shop folder. Argh. We went around the corner to Wawa (yes, it's seriously called that, for those who don't know) for gas and noted that they have free coffee from 4-7 PM every day. Too bad I don't drink coffee, but Rob does.

We headed to Target for our first mystery shop of the day. I had to spend $20-25 in cash there, so I got Chloë a bunch of new belts and undies. She picked out Barbie, Hello Kitty, and Little Mermaid skivvies. Cute stuff. Rob didn't care to see it. He's such a dad. I finished that shop, and then found my way to Cato for the next shop. I always try to tell my children about the behavior I expect from them when we go anywhere, and this time I repeated several times that they were not to touch anything. They complied. For about 30 seconds. Then they managed to touch, pick up, caress - but not drop, thank goodness - everything in sight. It was a frustrating shop.

They were hungry afterward and let me know it. So I pulled around the corner into the McDonald's parking lot to get them a few mcnuggets, when babysitter/friend Stephanie called us from another McD's, where she was lunching. We drove to where she was to join her. Only she wasn't there. Apparently there are two different ones "down the road" from our house. So this time, she drove to us. The kids were so excited to see her. And go in the play structure. Steph and I visited while they climbed up through all the tubes.

When it was time to go, Chloë and Jack came quickly and got their shoes on. Sophia, however, got herself stuck way up high and refused to come the way I was telling her. She sat there and cried. Aww. Now, my fat ass won't fit through the tubes, and Steph was hesitant to go up there, too. So she walked over to another mother in the play room and beseeched her to go fetch my kid. She did! She had no idea how to get up there (and her son was too afraid to get up that high), so she crawled through, little by little, while we directed her.  It was quite amusing. We'd say, "Go through the red tube!" and she'd yell down, "Where's the red tube?" "Go down the yellow slide!" "Where's the yellow slide?" Finally, she found her way to my baby, plucked her up, and followed our directions to get back out again. She slid down the big yellow slide with Sophia on our lap, and it was a very happy reunion all around.

Then we noticed Sophia didn't have any shoes on, and they weren't in the cubby holes either. Gahhhh!! We just left with her barefoot, and then I realized they were in the car, where she'd thrown them off, and I'd never noticed!

I had tried bribing Sophia to come down with a piece of Halloween candy (which I didn't have with me), so we went home to get some for each of the kids. I sent Jack and Chloë upstairs to brush their teeth, and we hurried around the corner to their dentist appointments. They really dote on the kids there. Chloë's mouth was finally big enough to do x-rays for the first time, and we could see her six-year molars trying to push through. My baby is teething again! And for the first time, Jacky actually let Dr. Mallory look at his teeth. And clean them. And put fluoride on them. Good job, "Wild Man Jack" - as the hygienist keep calling him!

Rob was home from work by this point, so I dropped three very tired kids off with him before heading right back out again for two more shops on Laskin Rd. First up was GNC, and that went quickly and smoothly. By the time I got out of there, though, it was just past 1700 and therefore too late to do the Verizon shop I had scheduled. Oh, well, I can do it tomorrow. I made my way home, where I wanted to crash into a tired heap.

But I couldn't. I had a PTA board meeting at Chloë's school at 1830.  So to keep myself from lying down and missing the thing, I got the cookbook back out and made a sourdough starter. I left the house for school with floury hand prints on my shirt, but I didn't care. I was hoping it would say, "I'm in the middle of something bakey, let's get this meeting done and over with," but it still went over two hours as usual.

100_4468 That's about it. I watched telly after that and finished the baby sweater. Here 'tis. It's all right. Soft as hell, but the collar is fajucked. I think the pattern is screwy, and I would change it next time. The kids were still napping. Tired out and not feeling well. Sophia came down and had some din, but the older two never got up at all. I'm going to send Chloë to school tomorrow. Unless she pukes tonight. Knock on wood.

100_4472This is for you, Visty.


Chesapeake, Chesapeake

Oh, what a day. I spent the vast majority of it in Chesapeake, with Chloë.

After I woke up this morning and took a shower, it was time to head out there. She had an audition with Vance Peyton of Advance LA talent agency in Hollywood at noon. He was going to select the top 10 people from her acting school, out of over 200, to be represented by his agency in L.A. Well, once again, he loved her immediately, and she had him in stitches with her antics and acting. He told us to "move out to to L.A. immediately, because she needs to be on television tomorrow." Well, that's hardly likely, but it's exciting to hear! And he wants to sign her right away. When we go out there in January for iPOP!, we'll meet with him and sign contracts if he's the one we want to go with. The ball's in our court now. Very cool.

It was almost time for her acting class after that, so we just went out to the parking lot for a few minutes to tear my van upside-down. I lost my glasses somewhere between the house and John Robert Powers, and I was stuck wearing my sunglasses inside and looking like a total tool. Couldn't find them. We looked everywhere. Dammit! So I brought her back inside and handed her over to Erica, her teacher, and then I drove down the road to LensCrafters at Greenbrier Mall. I could get glasses in about an hour!

So I walk in there (passing through Macy's, but I was good and didn't even take a detour to look at the Fiestaware!) and tell the girl I need glasses "like, now" and she says, "Okay, let's go look over here at Vogue." I asked if they had any on clearance instead, since I plan to find my other two pairs of glasses (yeah, I don't know where a second pair is, either. Heh.), and she practically rolled her eyes. I said, "So, you work on commission, huh?" and she replied, "Yeah, but I'm only going to get about 30 cents from this sale." Klassy!!! So I picked out the least hideous pair after trying on some not-so-great ones (to which she commented, "Well, you can see why they're on clearance...") and ordered them lickety-split. Man, I wish I was doing a mystery shop for this LensCrafters; I have done two LC ones in the past, but not this time. They did a shit-tay job.

Oh, and I bought some totally-granny chain thingies for my glasses and my sunglasses, so I don't lose them again. Between that and sitting around knitting everywhere, I am the queen of hip and cool.

I headed back to JRP and got there just as Chloë was getting out of class. We got right back in the car and went to Moe's Southwest Grill, for a lunch mystery shop. Have you eaten there before? Oh, they are so good. We've gone to the one off of Lynnhaven in Virginia Beach twice, and both are equally great. Lots of food for cheap, and it's delish. I love it almost as much as I love Panera, and y'all know I can't get enough of that. So we hoovered our yummy food and went outside so I could fill out the report form.  Then we drove back, once again, to JRP for Chloë's iPOP! workshop.

Yes, it's a lot of acting stuff, but it's only one day a week, and it's only intense right now until we go to L.A. in January. She's really enjoying it and gets so excited to go.

Anyway. So.  After she went back in to class, I headed once again to LensCrafters - still avoiding the Fiestaware - to pick up my glasses. They did no better than the first visit. I asked to pick up my glasses and gave them my name. The girl told me where to sit and wait, and I did. She came out a few minutes later, dropped my glasses on the counter in front of me, and walked off. I waited ten whole minutes while she walked around and helped other customers. She never even so much as looked in my direction the entire time. I was so bewildered. Finally, I just left with my new specs.

Walking back through Macy's, I heard, "Melanie!" What? Huh? Who do I know in Chesapeake? It was my friend Christine, who was working at the frangrance counter. She didn't spray me with anything, though, even though I asked her to. Hehe. We hugged and kissed ('kay, maybe not kissed) and talked about the PTA, which is how we know each other. She had customers, though, so I skedaddled and left her to her biznass.

Chloë was still in class when I returned, so I sat in the car and did the phone portion of my PetSmart shop for that evening. Then I got my big ol' knitting bag out and carried it inside. I sat and worked on the baby sweater - no, still not finished, although I'm getting there - and listened to all the gossip around me. I jumped in and asked questions here and there, qualifying it with, "I'm SO nosy!" which made them laugh.

Then Dave C. came in, who was the person to get us into the acting school but who doesn't work there anymore. Chloë absolutely adores him, and I like him a lot too, because he's honest and candid with me about what to do and what not to do. Whom to work with and whom to avoid. He gives me tips and tricks of the trade. He's great. And moving to L.A. himself in a few months. I talked to him for a long time, even after class was over, and he's going to recommend Chloë to local agent Karen Whitlow. She was going to audition with another not-to-be-named local agent next weekend, but Dave shook his head and said no-no-no. Well, we might still go, because every audition is practice and networking, but we'll hold out for Karen. You can have more than one agent, but only if they don't cover the same geographic areas.

So we finally left Chesapeake and drove out to the actual PetSmart store I had to visit for the shop. Oh, they did crappily, too. Terrible customer service. I accidentally shopped the wrong PetSmart last night, and they were way better. Too bad I couldn't report on them.

Then I came home and fell asleep, being completely exhausted and having a huge headache. I slept 'til after 0100, and now I'm widely awake. I just finished my reports and now I'm going to try and snuggle up to My Bob. Arrivederci!


Vertical Horizon

Well, I am sick of typing in purple all the time, and I don't care if it matches the rest of the page, so I'm using blue, and that's that.

It's been a busy week, and this weekend is going to be even hecticker. 

Yesterday was insane. Oh, right. I was going to learn my lesson and type the blogs up in Word and then cut/paste, so I didn't lose a long thing again, but here I am. Dopey, dopey me.

So. Yesterday. What, what, what. The kids got off to school okay. Sophia and I had to drive way out to The Ted in Norfolk - a long-ass drive - in order to exchange our vouchers for actual tickets to see Sesame Street Live. Just before we left, I had a premonition that Jack's school would be calling me to come pick him up. Call it Mother's Intuition or not, but I was right. While standing at the ticket counter, my phone rang, and the nurse was telling me that Jack was in her office, crying about an upset tummy. Crap! I told her where I was and that I'd be on my way, but it would take me a long time.

By the time I got there, there were only 35 min left in his day, and he was saying he wanted to stay there and ride the bus home. Uh, no. I rushed all the way back and had to rearrange the schedule, so you're stuck with me, buddy!

After that, we went to the bank to deposit the mortgage refinancing checks. Woohoo, it finally came in! Now my car is paid off, and almost everything else we owe is paid off, too. It's a rush. Now we can start saving up for Rob's next car to, uh, destroy...

Our TV remote has been missing for a while, so we drove next to a Cox service center to pick up a new one. Whilst standing in line, I noticed the posters showing their bundled packages, and realized we could get a home phone and DVR service for barely more than what we're paying now for just cable and internet. Oh, yeah, baby. I upgraded. They gave me the DVR box right there, so I'm trying to juggle purse, keys, huge heavy pizza-size box, and hold two kids' hands, out to the car. That was fun.

Then we got stuck on the highway. I was in a panic, because I was literally 30 feet from my exit and traffic wasn't moving an inch - and Chloë was due home on the bus. I was stuck there for nearly a half hour, and the time she should be home came and went. I was calling the neighbor frantically, but their machine was picking up, and I didn't have the other neighbors' numbers. (Which is dumb, since I have them right here on our Girl Scouts candy order form. I shall be plugging them right into my phone!) I finally made it home, and there she was in our driveway, being pulled around in the wagon by two of the fifth graders who now walk her home every day. Thank God. And that neighbor I couldn't reach? He was also outside, working on his yard, about to call me to see if I knew my daughter was sitting outside. At least he was there to keep an eye on the kids.

So I went around hugging and explaining and thanking and apologizing, and while I was talking to the neighbor, Chloë jumped into the van and buckled up. "Where are we going, hon?" I asked her. She thought for a minute and said, "Uhh.... Wendy's? Please? Please?" At that moment, I would have given her the world, so I relented. We drove around the corner and got a chicken sandwich for me, and a 5-pc nuggets for each of the kids. Only we only got one order of nuggets, I found when we returned home. Imagine trying to split five nuggets amongst three hungry children. I was seriously annoyed. When I called them, I was told to come back and they would give me the other two. Um, ya think?

But we didn't have time for that then. We had to get ready for Brownies. Chloë got her vest on, and we jumped back into the car. On the way, Sophie told me she wanted a nap, so for once I didn't stay and watch the troop do their thing. Jack needed one too, I could tell, so we went home and I put them down. Time for a much-needed break! I don't even remember what I did, other than vegetate.

Rob walked in the door just in time for me to be able to go get Chloë without having to wake up the babies. Phew. The girls were sitting outside "getting their crazies out," as Troop Leader Deb put it. And Chlo was definitely in a sillish mood. As usual when she's feeling goofy, she was meowing and purring like a kitty.

When we got home, we had to wake everyone up and get them ready to go to Sesame Street! Rob got them buckled while I ran in for the camera I wanted to sneak in, and some candy for each of the kids to keep them busy while we waited for the show to start. That was a good call. I should've brought more. No, then they would've had upset tums. Three pieces each was just right.

100_4409 The show was about what Elmo wants to be when he grows up. It was a lot of fun. It held all the kids' interest the whole two hours, which is a major feat for us. There was minimal complaining, except on Jack's part, since he wanted "an Elmo thingy" in the worst way - a stupid, ridiculously overpriced light-up spinny toy that would be broken or forgotten about right after the show.

100_4454 Chloë decided at the intermission that she wanted to buy an Elmo balloon with her allowance money, and the other kids chimed in that they wanted one, too. So instead, we spent $8 apiece on these ridiculously overpriced Elmo thingies. Here they are, gaping down freakishly at me from the living room ceiling.

100_4435 Speaking of overpriced, this Sprite (which is not the two-liter bottle it looks like here!) was three damn dollars.

To see the rest of the Sesame Street pictures, click here. (You don't need to sign in; just click on the first picture to go to the slideshow.)

By the time we arrived home, everyone was super exhausted. Again, I don't remember what I did, other than try to type up the disappearing blahg.

Today was less crazy. The kids got off to school, and Sophia was still sleeping. She really didn't feel good yesterday, so I wasn't surprised. I cleaned off my enormously messy desk while I waited for her to get up, and it's actually got usable surface now! Maybe when the cleaning lady comes next, I can have her clean it, instead of just telling her to "ignore that eyesore..."

She wasn't up to going anywhere when she finally did wake up, so we stayed home and cuddled until Daddy came in, early. We're having some hurricane-strength gusts, so our recycling ended up all over the neighborhood this morning. ARGH. Embarrassing. I was going to clean it up, but I stayed inside with Soap instead. So Rob did it when he got home, good man.

I went and did a Verizon mystery shop, and then I stopped at the nearby Panera to bring home some nutty chipper cookies. Good stuff. I had to go do a PetSmart shop too, but I had forgotten my paperwork. Dang it. I ran home, where Rob was losing a vicious argument with the new DVR box. I hustled right back out of his way again, to PetSmart.

While there, I visited the kitties awaiting adoption. I've been in the market for a new kitten or puppy - and Rob is not totally onboard with this or we'd have one already - so I thought I'd check out theirs. $89 to adopt a cat! Heck no! Rats.

100_4463 When I got home, I noticed Chloë's hair was really knotty and ratty-looking. So I started brushing it out, and this is what it looked like, all wavy and poofy and luxurious.

100_4464_2 100_4465 She wanted to straighten her hair after that, so I sent her up to get my flat iron, and this is what she looked like. Call me extremely biased, but I think she is one gorgeous kid! I have to laugh at how huge her hair looks compared to her little tiny heiny, though!

It really was ratty on the ends, though, so I cut an inch or two off. I hope it looks all right when it curls back up tomorrow - but that's the beauty of curly hair. So forgiving!

Then she wanted to take a picture of me. *Groan* Y'all know I'm not in favor of having my picture taken right now, or ever, really. But I agreed, and she wanted me to pose silly, so I did: 100_4466

Anyhoo, that's pretty much the day. The kids watched Ice Age tonight, and now I'm going to do my shop reports and then watch a movie or two myself while I knit. It's been a few days since I've made any progress on the sweater, and I'm eager to see it finished.

Happy weekend, y'all!


Holy crap.

I just typed out a HUGE long post, and just when I was finishing it up, all full of links and pictures and generous doses of witticism (heh), the window closed down on me. *(&^*()(&*@)*!!!! Bring on the shots of tequila!

That's it. I'm freakin' exhausted, so I'll do it tomorrow. Sorreh.

Oh, we got a new home phone number. If I forget to email it out, send me a barrage of angry emails. ☺

Tricky or a Treaty

Well, today's the day. One of the biggest days of the year for a kid.

That's right. It's Wednesday.

So Jack went back to school today, and he was very eager. He came home so pumped, with frosting and chocolate all over his face and shirt, and one bag of candy from his school party and another from the bus driver. He even got a miniature pumpkin! (And speaking of pumpkins, we never got around to carving ours. Horrors!!)  Then Chloë came home, and she had an gigantic bag of candy, too. And pencils, and toys and other loot. Sweet gravy, I don't remember making out like that when I was in school!

Sophia came down with what the other kids and I have had, finally. I suppose it was inevitable. She probably feels worse than the other two had, combined. Her little voice is so hoarse, and she is just cranky and miserable. Poor thing. They all needed naps before trick-or-treating, and when I told her it was time for bed, Sophie just burst into tears and said, "I want to trick-or-treat!!" This was at 3 PM. I had the hardest time convincing her it wasn't time yet!

So they napped, and still feeling not great myself, I napped. Before I knew it, the doorbell was ringing at 6:30, and Rob was jumping off the couch next to me to give out candy. Whoops! So he went up to get the kids roused and into their costumes. None of them were happy about being woken up, until they realized it was time!

So we dressed them up. Getting three kids into Halloween costumes involves a fair amount of confusion. Who gets what, who's helping whom, what shoes to wear, who needs clothes underneath, blah blah. Jack was being very clingy and Sophia was being very... sick. She insisted she wanted to go, though, so we took a few pictures and sent them out. On their own.

100_4390_2 Of course not!

Chloë was Kim Possible, Jack was Nemo, and Sophia was JoJo

What can I say? We're a Disney-loving family.

And I got the costumes for super cheap. :D

100_4393 After a while, Chloë wanted to stay home with me and pass out candy, while the little ones went to a few more houses with Daddy. I was really surprised by that and couldn't convince her to go out! This is her friend Rebecca, from the bus stop. Then Rob and the Littles came home, and Chloë wanted me to take her around. We hit a few more houses, but there were suprisingly few porch lights on this year.

100_4395 I remembered we needed to go to the mall to get her new glasses, and there was  still time to trick-or-treat there, so we ran home to get in the van and get more candy! Lots of places were out by that point, but she still managed to get quite a haul.  And she said lots of funny stuff while we were out, like, "Ooh, I hope there's lots of spooky and scary stuff at the mall! I like getting freaked out!" (So untrue.) And, "I'm not afraid of anything. Except snakes and worms. If you put a snake on me, I would scream all the way up to heaven! And Robby would hear me!" And, "Are you afraid of ghosts, Mom? You're not? Are you brave of ghosts?" There was one more really funny one, but I forget it now.

100_4396_2 So then we got her glasses fixed - she'd complained to her teacher about them hurting her ears today - and went home. Here she is in her new glasses! What do you think?

If you want to see the rest of our October pictures, click here.

Happy All Saints Day!