(Warning: this is super long!) Well, it's been a whirlwind few days around here. Friday, I had Jade all day. I got a phone call that day to do a car wash mystery shop, so the little girls and I went to do that. Sophia freaked out a little inside the automated part. Guess she hasn't been to one in a while. After Jadey went home, we went to Red Robin for dinner, for another shop. That's about it.
Saturday was kinda crazy. Jade was supposed to be with us all day, but thankfully, her mom called and said she wasn't. Good thing. We got up early and went to Chloë's school for the big Breakfast with Santa event - our first Advent activity. The kids each had a ticket to see Santa, which got them a Polaroid picture, a candy cane, and a little present. Chloë told me she asked Santa for a guitar for Christmas. Keep dreaming, child! Then the five of us had a ticket for breakfast, which was basically a muffin, bagel or donut, and juice or milk. It was fun, though.
Sophia and Jack each got a stuffed ball, and Chloë got a snowman. After breakfast, the kids ran around the cafeteria, played with their new toys, and greeted friends. We're getting to know so many people now, thanks partly to our PTA involvement and partly to everyone knowing who Chloë is at that school! She has a way of making herself known.
On the way home, we stopped at a church that was putting on a live nativity display. The players were all kids with no supervision, and I wasn't terribly impressed with their behavior, but it gave us another opportunity to talk about Christmas, the birth of Jesus, and, well, the reason for the season!
The kids crowded around to pet the sheep and goat, and then we headed home for Jack to get a much-needed nap. I think Sophie did, too. Anyway.
Next, we went to Chloë's acting school for her final day of her TV Commercial Acting class. The kids demonstrated their warm-ups for us, and then they each did their commercials and took some direction to show their 'versatility.' I wouldn't say Chloë is any more or any less talented than any other six-year-old, based on that - so I guess she'll really have to work those curly curls and general adorableness! ;)
We drove to Moe's (Welcome to Moe's!) after that, in Norfolk, for a lunch mystery shop. Well, lunner. Dunch. Something like that. Now, we've never really had any reason to drive straight from downtown Chesapeake to downtown Norfolk, so I got us a little bit lost - twice - before finally getting on the right path. I don't like getting lost. I'm not the kind of person who just gets in the car to drive, without a plan. I don't enjoy it. (Nevermind the wastefulness and pollution, which are also on my mind...) So I was glad to figure things out for myself and get where we needed to go.
The shop wasn't that great, but as always, the food was. Seriously, you should go. Between Panera and Moe's, I don't know which "casual restaurant" we've learned about from mystery shopping I like more. See, that's how they get ya. You think you're getting paid to do these jobs, but really, they want to get you in the door to see how good their stuff is. Remember last year, I wanted to buy the $8G piano? And that diamond ring? And the massage chair? Yeah. But I digress.
So then we went home for Jack to take another nap (growth spurt, maybe?? His pants are fitting a little short lately), and for me and Sophie to take one, too. I crashed. Rob took Chloë to her iPOP! preparation class. We just have a month left before the trip to Los Angeles! I've been thinking so much about the Europe trip that this one has completely slipped from my consciousness. We've really got to start getting ready. I need to find a *gag* dress for the big gala thingy. Oy. Anyway, so they went to class while the rest of us slept, and I really have no recollection of what we did for dinner. I do know that Rob and I watched Georgia Rule (we both gave it a 5 out of 5), and then he fell asleep while I watched Perfect Stranger with Halle Berry & Bruce Willis (eh. I give it a 3) and did a whole bunch of knitting on that lacy baby sweater. Then I set up the new Christmas tree. I haven't even fixed the branches on it, so it's not decorated or anything. It's just there. For the cat to climb in. Which excites all the kids to no end. I kinda like it, too. Especially when she falls. That's funny.
Sunday. I was so tired from staying up knitting and watching mervies that I didn't get up and do the Dunkin Donuts shop I was supposed to do. Well, I can do it up until Wednesday, but I really didn't want to have to wake up the Tots to go with me. I woke up just long enough to, I don't know, check my email and drink some juice, before I fell asleep again. On the fainting couch in the office, which was supposed to be mine where I could crash out anytime I desired, but which I almost never actually use except for dumping mail and stuff.
But then I got up, showered, and got my scrapbooking stuff out for my big scrapping date with Stephanie (the babysitter). (I guess I probably don't need to say that anymore, since Stephanie who lives in Canada and I don't get to hang out very often. Ever.) (Speaking of which, are you still going to meet us in L.A., Steph?? :D) I set up my new Cricut, and my seven new Cricut cartridges, and I admired them and admired them until the shine wore off. Stephanie came, the kids sang a song to her for their second Advent avent, and we gabbed and exchanged ideas and worked very slowly on our actual projects and didn't get a whole lot done! It was fun, though. Being crafty is fun. Being crafty with a friend is even more.
And Rob called his dad for his birthday. Happy birthday, Al!
So after she left, I pretty much scrapped the night away - stopping only to do a quick shop at the Sonic around the corner with Rob and the kids - and got a bunch of pages done. I love my new toy! I definitely recommend it. The only thing is, I've put so much wear on it by now, I already need to replace the blade and cutting mat. Kind of a pain. At least it came with a couple replacements of each.
I took a break to type up Chloë's résumé, since we finally got her head shots back on Saturday, get our Christmas cards out since Rob picked up the Sears pictures while we scrapped, and make Chlo's "team" t-shirt. Oh, and I went grocery shopping, too. I only saved $22 in coupons this time, which is the lowest in a long time. But, I also spent less than usual too, so I guess it's all good.
Today, well, I forgot to bring my cell phone up to bed last night, which is my main alarm clock (in the form of both the program on the phone and Rob calling to wake me up!), so I way overslept. Way. I slept all the way until I had to get Jack up for school. Oops-a-daisy, that's not good. So I got all three kids ready (deja vu; we just did this last week), got Jack off to school, and then Soap and I drove Chloë in. But not before we opened our third Advent activity: ride the rides at the mall! The kids were looking forward to doing that all day long and never let me forget about it.
I had Baby Jade all day again today, after the kids went off to school, and it was good to see her again. She's definitely used to us by now and just jumped right in. The little girls sat in the kitchen with me while I scrapped until Jack returned from school. I have a ton of pages from the family reunion trip in June, and I'm not even halfway done. Oy. I shoulda done another book just for that!
Jack came home, and I put him and Sophie down in their rooms for naps, and Jade zonked out in our bed while I took a shower. She was so sound asleep, so it was not a minor annoyance when Chloë burst in the door and woke her up. And she didn't go back to sleep at all. Argh!
So I brought her down and went back to my scrapping. Rob came home, and we got ready to go to the mall. He had an eye exam - for, yes, a mystery shop - and I had to go along to "observe". Four kids. It was fun. Not so much, so while he was in with the doc, the kids and I wandered across the hall to The Children's Place, where I did a bunch of damage. Chloë needed a scarf, hat and gloves, and I don't feel like knitting them right now, so I got her a cute stripey pink and purple set. And Sophia wouldn't take off the matching mittens, so I got her some of those, and a proper winter coat since she's been wearing Chloë's Mickey zippy hoody from Epcot last year. Well, today she wore her raincoat because that's what Chlo fetched for her, but I could hardly button her belly up into it! And it's practically new. Oh, well. At least one kid is growing. I gave the raincoat (also from TCP) to Jadey's mom for her, when she picked her up. And I got the girls another matchy-matchy outfit, plus a second one for Sophie, on clearance. Cute stuff. Nothing for Jack. He needs clothes, but 3Ts are way too big, and I hate to buy him more 2Ts when he's almost five. It's just the principle of the thing.
Anyway, Rob called and said he was done with his exam, so we rushed back and sat there so I could watch what was what.
Afterward, we were on our way toward the promised Advent rides, when my back just totally seized up. That's not uncommon; I've had problems with it since the nerve damage I got from Sophia's delivery. But, we happened to be right in front of those massage chairs, you know the ones? I looked at Rob, and he told me to go for it. A buck for three minutes! I had two dollahs, so I gave one to Rob, and we sat down and got our backs rubbed. Thing was hard! It hurt! But oh, did it help. I definitely got my dollar's worth out of that. My back actually felt good afterward. He asked me if I wanted him to buy me that massage chair (not the mall one, the one from the Relax the Back mystery shop I did months ago), and heck yeah, I do! But not for three grand. Not right now.
We went and did the mall rides. Sophie picked the school bus. Jack picked the jeep, and Chloë picked the rocket. She looked up and shouted, "Webkinz!!" so I dropped all the quarters I had into Rob's hand and darted into the store. I spent another small fortune on three Webkinz (did you know they had a German Shepherd one? I didn't! Had to get that one), a Webkinz mousepad that Chloë asked for, two Webkinz pet carriers that I know she would love, and a few other Christmasy knick-knacks. I should've stayed out of there.
And that's about it. We rushed home to have a very late dinner and get Jade's belly fed before her mom came to get her, and to get Chloë's homework done and the kids off to bed. Now I'm going back to scrap before I pack it in until at least next weekend.