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Entries from July 2008

Life's A Beach

Blah. I am in the Internet Doldrums right now, I think. I love being online; I think we all know that. I just don't feel like entering the Bloggy Giveways (I barely have!), blogging, visiting message boards... I think it's a little bit of burn-out for me right now. The one thing making me happy is getting entries for my giveaways and having people add me as a favorite seller on Etsy. Love that!

Sophia. She is doing much better! She still mostly wants to eat soft foods as opposed to attempting to chew on anything. She's obviously afraid of causing pain in her mouth right now, and I don't blame her. Things still look pretty sore in there. There's a stitch hanging out of her mouth that's driving me nuts, but I'm being a good girl and leaving it alone.

She's still talking about wanting her "loose toothes" back. Yesterday we had to call the Tooth Fairy and ask her to return them. Daddy played the role of TF in a most hysterical manner. So now we have the treasure box and can admire the 'toothes' whenever we want.

The thing that's bothering me is that she's like a completely different kid now. Stephanie opined that she looked older with missing teeth, and I have to agree with her. It's also changed the shape of her lower face, and of course there is an extreme difference in the way she talks. Her behavior is changed; she's more fearful and prone to crying. I'm hoping that will wear off soon. She's a risk-taker by nature, and while I don't love that, I do love her happy-go-lucky little self.

The whole thing is just making me sad. There's no other word for it. I think that's the cause of the afore-mentioned IDs. I probably feel guilty. I was sitting right here when she climbed up there...

Anyway. There's no changing things now. We keep talking about whether to put a bridge in her mouth. We'll get a second opinion from her regular dentist and go from there.

Beach.  Yesterday, after ChloĆ« came home from school, we packed up my three and me in one car, and Stephanie, her sister, and three of her sister's kids in another, and headed down to the oceanfront. Wednesday is free parking for Beach residents, so we're trying to make it a regular thing.


After Jack came home from school yesterday, I told him we'd be going to the beach later with Stephanie. Instantly, he broke down and had a fit. "I don't want to swim! I don't want to be in the water! I don't want to go to the beach!" over and over, he cried. For a long time. I wanted to strangle him after a while! (Not really, relax.)  Does this look like a kid who does not enjoy the beach? He cried all the way from the car to the water, and then before I even SAT DOWN at the top of the water's edge, he was running into the surf! Hello, liar liar pants on fire! He was laughing. He was running around, playing, scooping up water and sand, and basically having the time of his life. That poor baby.


Sophia mostly liked to dance around in the sand, fill up her pails, and make sand angels. She was frequently covered head-to-toe in it, and no sooner would we rinse her all off before she'd flop down and be covered again.


Chloƫ preferred to stay out of the water, although eventually she did start braving it when the surf kept taking her buckets away. At first she would just scream and let some stranger return her bucket to her, but more and more she would wait until the tide flowed back off the sand and then would run down, snatch it up, and high-tail it back up to safety.


Yeah. He looks terrified.


Look at the two of them! So brave. Near the end of our beach trip, Steph carried in one of them and I carried in the other, and we stayed in a while, jumping over the waves, splashing, and having a good time. Jack did NOT enjoy that; he sobbed and clung for dear life to whoever was holding him. Sophie loved it, though, and when I went back in later to rinse off, she followed me and came along for the ride!


The waves kept stealing our five buckets, and Jack was the only one brave enough to go run after them! Look at him puffing his chest out with pride. Okay, it always looks like that.


The kids and I were having fun filling our buckets with water from the surf and dumping them on each other. Felt SO good in the heat. Even Miss Chloƫ giggled when I threw water over her!


Tony and Brianna, Steph's nephew and niece.


Toothless McGee, having a blast.


Chloƫ's too chicken to sit down near the water with us! She did want to take a walk along the beach, though, so I let her. She went about 20 feet. That was enough for both of us, I think!


My three little bucket babies. These are the 'baskets' I gave them at Easter time. That was a good idea, even though we have scores of other beachware in the closet... somewhere!


Chrissy and the twins... er, um, her baby, Carolynn. You've seen Caro on this blog before; Stephanie has her all the time.


Brianna recovering from a wipe-out.


Brianna runs to fetch Chloƫ's bucket. Look at that hair! Hard to believe how short it was when she chopped it off two years ago today, above her shoulders!


Tony cheeses for the camera. See the lady in the black swimdress behind him, on the left? That's who was mostly fetching Chloƫ's bucket and helping her out of the water whenever the surf would get her. Nice lady!

So, all in all, we had a really good time. Rob was supposed to join us but got held up in a meeting at work and then found he'd left his lights on and killed his battery. So, we left.  We beat him home by about ten seconds, which was good, because I had a lot of sandy stuff for him to help carry inside! Mostly children...

Today. I haven't done diddly squat today, because I've had a migraine since 0400. Nothing fun, other than putting Jack and Sophia on the Starfall website to help them learn to read. They really enjoyed that. Jack is way more dexterous with the mouse than I expected him to be!

Shout out. Today, my father is 66 years old. It would be nice if I could get him on the line, but so far no luck. Happy birthday, Dad!


A Taxing Tuesday

What a day.

Today's highlight was actually a lowlight.

My child has lost her two front teeth. My youngest, three-year-old child. This one:


She was doing something we both know she shouldn't have been but have allowed for such a long time now that it didn't occur to me to stop her today: hanging upside down from the handlebars of the treadmill. They're not that high and... well, it doesn't matter. She's a little monkey, and though we always tell her to be careful, we hadn't put a stop to it.

Until now!

She pulled the tutus off the handles, where I've been storing them until I can figure out a better plan, and handed them to me. I knew what she was going to do. I didn't even watch. She does it every single day. Next thing I know, a small cry was emanating from my little girl that indicated something had gone very wrong in her little stunt.

I ran, gathered her up, and tried not to cry as the blood pored from her mouth.  I stifled my sobs as I blotted and blotted up the mess, trying to soothe her, see what the damage was and - oh shit, there is a hole in her mouth!!!  I ran to the treadmill and found a baby tooth on the floor, in its entirety.


I ran back to her, calmed her some more, blotted away more blood, and ran for my phone. While she cried, I dialed the dentist and plunked the tooth in approximately half a gallon of milk. Probably a little more than I needed.

The blood kept coming. The tears wouldn't stop. All I wanted to do was hold her and cry with her, but this was not the time. I am not a tough mom when it comes to my kids' injuries. I am fall-apart mom. I am freak-out mom. I am for-the-love-of-God-DO-SOMETHING mom.

But today, I handled it.

I got a referral to another dentist, because ours is off on Mondays, and they didn't want to deal with it, so they referred me to an emergency pediatric dentist. I called them, and, still blotting and soothing and totally panicking, stammered out, "I-have-an-emergency-my-baby-lost-her-teeth-can-I-bring-her-in-right-now??!!!!!"

They told me where they were located, and then my phone battery died.

Shit. Shit. Damn.

Thank God I had gotten the address, because I sure couldn't remember the dentist's name. I charged the phone for the 30 seconds before we left, hoping I'd get enough juice to call her daddy.

I pulled off Sophie's blood-soaked jammies, threw on a dress - a RED dress to hide any blood - and got her into her shoes. I gave a quick thanks that I had slept in my clothes and was still wearing them and tried not to care that I hadn't showered and was feeling pretty ewwy. No time for that.

While I was buckling her in, I noticed the time. Ahh! Jack was going to be off the bus in 40 minutes. No way I'd be back by then. I ran next door and banged, then again stammered out the reason for my appearance and ... "Oh? You're going somewhere?"  

They were going to a doctor appointment, but it wasn't for another two hours. I said I'd be back long before then, and they agreed to get Jack off the bus for me. Phew phew phew. They are on the school's emergency contact list, so I knew it wouldn't be a problem.

We left. I called Rob. He was upset but calming me.  It seemed like my van was moving in slow motion. I could not get there fast enough, but it would barely move. Where the hell is #1300??

At last I found it. But no... not the pediatric dentist. We buckled back up and drove around to the back, where I spotted the office.  I carried my baby out of her seat, grabbed the glass of milk, and headed inside.

She was calmed down by then, and when we threw open the doors to the dentist's office, she announced to the half-dozen people in the waiting room, "MY TOOTH ITH GONE!!"  They all giggled, especially when they saw me with the milk.

I filled out the paperwork, and then we waited, and waited, and waited. More than an hour. In the  meantime, she cheerfully went up to everyone who came in and told them, "My tooth ith gone. I lothed my tooth!" She played with the toys, visited with the other moms, and was generally her sweet, charming self. I laughed a lot. It was going to be okay.

Finally, we were called back, and they wanted an x-ray of her mouth. (No, her butt, duh.) Once in the chair, she freaked out for the first time. I had to hold her. She still got upset. We managed to get the picture.

Then the nurse or whatever the heck you call dental nurses I can't think... asked if the other tooth was loose. Oh, crap, I didn't even check. I didn't want to go bothering things in her mouth! So I asked her to open wide, and I felt, and yeah, it wiggled. A lot. Like crazy, really.

Fuck. {I said a lot of mental bad words today, sorry!}

The x-ray confirmed that the second tooth had been knocked loose and would also have to come out. They weren't going to be able to save her teeth. They would just have to stay that way until the permanent ones came in. We could do a bridge, but it would be costly, and traumatic to her to get the mold, and insurance wouldn't cover it. The dentist recommended not getting one.  So we're going to go along with that. Any doc who advises against something that would put more money in his or her pocket is probably trustworthy, IMO.

So, I carried her into another room and lay her on the table. The doc told me he was going to give her nitrous oxide and then numb her up, and she'd be fine and wouldn't remember a thing. And that I had to step out. And they were going to give her some sutures, too, because she tore her gums.

Leave my baby?

That's when I finally cried. She couldn't see me, thank goodness. I left and went outside in the hall to pace. The receptionist told me not to cry, this happens all the time, it was okay, blah blah. I asked if our insurance would cover it and found out they were in our network, so our copay was minimal. Whew. I called Rob and told him the tooth was coming out, and that I wasn't going to make it home in time for Joshua's appointment, and could he call Stephanie to come and get Jack?

The nurse came out, carrying Sophia, after about ten minutes. When she saw me, she practically leapt into my arms. Her eyes were red from crying, but she wasn't anymore. They said she did fine. She seemed okay, although she started whimpering about wanting to go home. She had a sticker on her dress, which she gave to me, and a pretty little beaded bracelet on her tiny wrist. Which, ah, she also gave to me. Symbols she didn't want, I suppose.

We paid, thanked everyone profusely, and left.

After I buckled Soapy up in the car and pulled out, I found I had enough juice to call Rob and let him know I was on the way home and call off Stephanie. The ride home was much faster. More like normal speed.

Once home, I raced to Joshua's and found they still had ten minutes before they had to leave for their appointment and weren't upset at all. They'd given Jack lots of juice and crackers and had on a kids' program for him. He was happy and doing well. They're good people. Love them!

So I collected my Littles and hustled them into the house. I gave Sophia two gigantic bowls of cottage cheese, which she wolfed down happily and easily. I was glad that she was able to eat and get something in her little belly. I knew she was exhausted by that point, and so was Jack from getting up early for school, so I put them down for naps.

Two seconds later, the doorbell rang. It was Stephanie and her two young nieces! I'd seen them that morning, so I could take pictures of baby Carolynn in an infant tutu, and here they were again, having only just received the message from Rob. Whooops.

Sorry, Steph!

They weren't mad, though. They wanted to see how baby girl was doing, so I called Sophie back downstairs to show "Auntie Stevie" her mouth. Of course she oohed and ahhed over the holes in her mouth and comforted my poor sweet babe. Then the Littles went back down for nap, and Steph and the girls left and I finally crashed as well. It had been quite an ordeal.


Poor little Sophie's mouth was SO swollen when she woke up from her nap. I should've taken a profile picture; you can't tell as much here. She was barely recognizable!


The two bloody holes in her mouth. I hope she feels better tomorrow; we couldn't brush her teeth tonight, but I don't want to go too long before we do.


The treasure chest in which the dentist placed her wee baby teeth.


Sophia's poor lost teeth!!


Jack and ChloĆ« were very concerned about their little sister today and were being exceptionally kind and sweet to her tonight. They gave her plenty of hugs and didn't fuss when she was given special treatment all evening.  Oh, and the girls are wearing the new headbands that came with their jammies order from Gymboree today. I bought three new pairs for each kid. They're all too big. Oh, well.


I tried to give Sophia yogurt with soft, mashed bananas for dinner, but she refused to eat. I knew she was hungry, so it made me very sad. I made her some chocolate pudding for dessert, but when I put it in front of her, she said, "Um, no thank you. I can't eat it because my looth tooth ith gone."

Awww!  Daddy showed her how she could lick the pudding off the spoon instead of eating normally, and soon she had eaten the whole bowl!  I was so relieved.

She still has some pudding remnants on her face as she models some of her new matching panda jammies with her sister, who took her own shower tonight!  She's very excited about the Tooth Fairy coming tonight, so we'll have to sneak in and give her her prizes before we forget!

My poor sweet toothless wonder!


GIVEAWAY: Laundry Tree Soap Nuts!

BGs It's giveaway time again, so make sure you go over there and check out all the wonderful prizes being given away!


This time around, in addition to a tutu (make sure you check out my other giveaway!), I'm giving away NINE SEPARATE prizes!!! If you haven't yet tried Soap Nuts from LaundryTree, now's your chance!

Soap Nuts are a natural plant product, and they're completely biodegradable. You just throw 3 or 4 in the pouch provided and use that instead of your regular detergent. They last for three or four separate wash cycles, and you just throw them outside - on the ground, in your garden, on the compost pile, whatever - when they're used up! Pretty amazing. And I love the smell of my laundry now that I'm using them, even without buying an essential oil to perfume them.

What I'm giving away: Nine different winners will win a sample size pack of Soap Nuts, including 4 Soap Nuts, a pouch, and directions!

How to win: Visit Laundry Tree, then leave a comment here telling me what you love most about this product.

That's it!

Want an additional entry? Blog about our charity, CARE Package, and leave me another comment saying you did so, so I can go check.


Good luck!



BGs The Bloggy Giveaway Carnival is back in town this week!! Stroll on over there and sign up - last I checked, there were about 500 and surely there will be several  hundred more added before the week is out. I'm late getting involved this time; I completely forgot about it! But I hope to win a few prizes in the end.


This time, I'm giving away one of my new tutus that I'm selling at Etsy! Just head on over to my Etsy shop, look around, and tell me what color(s) and size tutu YOU would like to win in the comments here. Don't worry, if you win, you can always change it!

Want another entry? Mark me as a favorite seller on Etsy, and comment back here separately after doing so, so I can cross-check. That's it!



Animal House


We went to the Zoo today, in downtown Nofolk.


The occasion was a playdate for Chloƫ and her friend from Brownies, Claire. Debbie, the mom and our (now former) troop leader, had suggested it for them and for some adult talk. Everyone joined us except her husband. They came to our house first, and it was decided that Chloƫ would ride with them to the zoo, once we installed her booster seat. The girls loved that and had a good time singing songs in the back of their van. When we arrived at the zoo, after stopping to fill up Vanna's nearly-empty tank, there was Claire absent-mindedly rubbing sunscreen on Chloƫ! (Oops, we'd forgotten it.) This is a crappy picture of it, but the scene was really sweet.


Just inside the entrance is this big patio filled with fountains. Since it was a hot day, about 95Āŗ, the kids went right for them. We should have brought bathing suits but forgot those too! No matter, they had a great time getting soaked in their regular clothes.


It looked so refreshing; I really wanted to join them.

100_7934  Finally, Jack 'manned up' and headed for the water. He got as soaked as any of them!


Finally, we left the fountains and started stalking the elephants. This was the first critter we saw. Sophia, who is enamored of all birds and especially penguins, was surprisingly unimpressed. Maybe she didn't realize it was a bird, because of the size?

100_7937  This little guy was so close to us. The giraffes were really friendly today. They came up close in order to be admired and adored.


All the wild pigs were hot and lazy. They did nothing but snooze in the sun.


Still hunting for elephants  - nope, not this one!


You can pretty much count on finding these African crested whatchamacallits at any zoo, nowadays!


There we go! Phew, they were stinky today. This was right before he took a gigantic turd, too. The kids enjoyed that spectacle.

100_7944 Claire was in daredevil mode today and climbed this termite hill several times before her mother coaxed her down. My girls attempted it but were unsuccessful. Whew.


Turtle head


Claire was fascinated by the monitor shedding his skin.


Two tiny red foxes, cozied up together. So cute!

100_7948 Adorableness was in abundance at Meerkat Manor!


Claire, Chloƫ, Sophia... and some other kids stop for a quick ride.


Two good buddies, Chloƫ and Claire. Claire will fer sure be invited to Chloƫ's 7th birthday sleepover in September; that will be a very limited guestlist, this time!

100_7952 Cutest Baby Ever, little Margaret takes a breather from stomping in puddles.


The prairie dog habitat was another rich source of amusement for us. Up, down, up, down, in, out, in out...

Wait. That did not sound right. Anyway!


Another photo-op for Sophia and Chloƫ


We're pretty cheap. Instead of buying the kids some feed, Rob just scooped it all up off the ground for the goats. Hey, there was a lot down there.

100_7957 That had to be a pretty strong fence; this guy was one eager beaver!


Comin' at you like a spider monkey!


My three favorite tushies!


This bitty praying mantis suddenly landed on Debbie's head!

100_7961 "Good Lord, Mama, what is that thing on your head?!"

100_7962 Finally, thank God, we made it back to the fountains! It was SO hot!

100_7963 It was pretty funny when the girls started standing over the fountains and letting the water come up their shirts. It looked sooo good, Debbie and I ran through them a couple times each, too! Ah, relief. I forgot to take my keys off, though, and soaked the 'boop-boop' for my van. The alarm kept going off for hours. I'm sure our neighbors loved that.

After a long time in the fountains, we agreed they would again drive Chloƫ home. We went as fast as we could, stopping to pick up lunch on the way, and made it there just after they did. Soon, we'll get together again at their house for another playdate. It was lots of fun!

After lunch, we all took naps. I was so tired, and the kids slept well. I don't know if Rob did, but when Chloƫ came down and woke me up, apparently he'd been puttering in his truck for a couple of hours. Don't know what he's going to do when it's time to sell it and get his motorcycle!

So guess what? I sold my first tutu on Etsy today! I'm so excited!! I'm going to make more tutus this week, along with the little knit baby outfit I'm making to list. I guess you could say I'm taking a break from CARE Package right now. I think I will go back to it and continue on with the charity for a few more years, but right now I just need to take some time away. It was a thrill to see that sale this morning; I was beside myself. yay!!

Well, off to bed, then. We have our own little zoo to run tomorrow.


Party on, Wayne

It has not been a productive week for me, craftwise. Okay, I guess you could say it has been, with the tutus, but I have not knitted or crocheted anything, and that feels like lazytown to me.


So yesterday, I started winding up all my gorgeous little skeins of KPPPM and Gypsy Girl into workable little knitting balls:


The colorways are so pretty, and I've been dying to work with this yarn, so I thought it would be easy to get started. However, I'm working through a block right now.  My creative juices just aren't flowing. I have so many yarns, and so many patterns - I think I'm just overwhelmed. It sucks, because I'm in the MOOD to be creative, I'm just not feeling it.

I didn't end up knitting anything after all.

Then last night, Stim came over for, as she put it, " a rollicking good time." Observe:


And, yeah, we put a fairly good-sized dent in all of that lickah.  They brought all of it except for the two bottles up front, and there's the remainder of the Ouzo from Greece, which we'd given them after all sharing a shot upon our return from Europe.  They also brought some games, so after the kids were all in bed for the night, we broke out the drinks and the 'Battle of the Sexes.'

100_7905 It wasn't too long before we all started getting mighty silly!


Before long, Steph instituted a rule that the boys had to do a shot whenever they missed a question. We girls didn't do it because she was their DD and I just plain-old didn't feel like being that inebriated, hungover, or hugging the porcelain god! 

Tim's apparent arch-nemesis is tequila. The boys did one shot, and it barely hit Tim's throat before he upchucked it right back out again. It was gross but freaking hysterical. I don't know when I've laughed that hard. I confess that the last - and only - time I did a shot of tequila, the same thing happened to me!


Tim made some crack about Rob's ears; he fell over laughing and I had to run to the bathroom before I peed myself!

100_7909 Yee-haw, lookin' good in the neighborhood!


Steph trying to get Rob to do a shot of 151


There were about 2 or 3 shots of 151 in that orange juice. We tried to get him to drink it. I promised him a 160 GB iPod, a solo airplane jump... even a boat! But he still wouldn't, nay, couldn't, do it!  It's a good thing. I'd probably have had to get his stomach pumped!


Tim just laaaafffing and laaaaaffffing


Steph just loves taking self-portraits! She kills me!


GAME OVER: Rob passed out and then started throwing up. He definitely did most of the drinking and was a hurtin' puppy today. He was pretty cute, though; I rarely get to take care of him, but I helped him upstairs, rubbed his back, washed his face, blew his nose, etc. while he kept telling me he was all right, he just wanted to make sure I was okay, blah blah. And yes, he said, "I love you guys" to Stim!

So in the end, we had a fabulous time and probably would have as well without any or all of the alcohol, but it was a fun thing we had planned for a while, in the safety of our own home.

Today, I went to the hair salon and chopped off my hair! I want to grow it out, both so I can do ponytails again and to donate, but it was so sharply angled from my style that she wanted to even it out so it didn't look like a grow-out phase. It's short! I don't love it, but it's only temporary.


Next door, conveniently, is a yarn shop. I went in, not knowing exactly what I wanted, but knowing I wanted something I could pet and drool over for a while. I've been eyeing this Noro Kureyon sock yarn, and there it was, right in front! I bought him. Isn't he cute? I find this yarn very beautiful, but not exactly soft. Any suggestions for a one-skein non-sock project?

And next door to that, the unfinished woods store was having a huge sale. I went in, knowing we needed a sixth non-matchy kitchen chair. The cheapest one I could find was about $68, though - about twice what I wanted to spend. I didn't buy. Rats. There were some beauties in there.

Back at home, Rob took all day to recover. We ordered in a pizza for dinner, and he didn't eat a bite. He'll be fine tomorrow, I'm sure!



100 Things Meme

[Note, this is actually my 331st post, but I forgot to post it!]

I've seen this one around all over the blogosphere but haven't done it, preferring instead to save it for a momentous occasion. As this is my 300th post, I guess now is as good a time as any:

100 Things About Me

  1. I have never done any illicit drugs. I've never even seen any, aside from on TV and the drug awareness assembly we had in elementary school.
  2. I'm kind of proud of that.
  3. One time, my uncle accused me of doing drugs. I laughed, and apparently he took that as a sign that I was. We didn't talk for years because of that.
  4. I have a love-hate relationship with my uncle. I can think of a lot of bad things to say about him, but not very many good ones. One good thing, he was my mother's brother. Another, he's my cousins' father.
  5. I'm very close to my sister.
  6. I'm 17 months younger than her.
  7. I've never even met my half-sister and don't even know how old she is (maybe around 40 now) or if she's alive or dead.
  8. I want to set out to meet her, but I pretty much have to wait until my father is dead, or he'd be very upset.
  9. I kind of don't care if he gets upset, because he is an asshole, but I have always been his good little girl, and it's hard for me to be something else with him.
  10. My mother died when I was 7. She was 33.
  11. I will be 32 in September, and my daughter will be 7.
  12. The idea of turning 33 next year freaks me the hell out.
  13. It freaked me out when my husband turned 33, and now that my sister is 33, I'm even more freaked. I've always had this larger-than-life fear of the number 33.
  14. I like round numbers.
  15. My favorite number is 64, which is the square of 8, which is twice the square of 2. I find that very interesting.
  16. I am a nerd.
  17. I still remember when my childhood friend Erin informed me I was a nerd. I was very surprised and taken aback at the time.
  18. Now I embrace my nerdiness. It's cool.
  19. I'd rather be a nerd than a... well, I can't think of anything nice to call those people who used to mock me for being a nerd. Let's just say, I'd probably prefer my life over theirs right now, by far.
  20. I used to be infatuated with calculus.
  21. Now I can't even remember how to do differentials. That saddens me deeply.
  22. I used to do calculus for people to prove I wasn't drunk. No one believed me. They were right not to.
  23. It's 2:40 AM and I hear one of the children upstairs going potty.
  24. They'll be going right back to sleep, I hope. I wish I were.
  25. I have always been a night person, since the day I was born.
  26. I've been accused of not being an insomniac, just being lazy and sleeping all day, by another person about whom I can no longer say nice things.
  27. I would give anything in the world to be able to just go to sleep at a reasonable hour, instead of staring at the walls all night and being exhausted all day. I've tried everything. It just doesn't work.
  28. Maybe you could say I'm nocturnal, since I really can sleep all day. But it's not being lazy, it's being wiped out from so many all-nighters. Anyway.
  29. I met my husband online.
  30. Two months later, we got married.
  31. Just over eight months after that (nearly a month early), we had our first baby!
  32. Within a year, I was pregnant again.
  33. This time, we were having twins.
  34. We lived in Guam at the time. I thought of that hospital as "the dungeon," it was so old and scary-looking.
  35. We lived through the worst supertyphoon on record in Guam. Then they made us come back to the States, because of the twins.
  36. I went into labor 10 weeks early.
  37. A week later, my twins were born. They had developed a rare, rapidly-developing during L&D form of twin-to-twin-transfusion syndrome.
  38. After three days, Robby died. Jack was teeny-tiny but otherwise healthy. He just had to learn to suck, and grow, and then he was released.
  39. I went into a deep depression and attempted suicide several times that year.
  40. Thank God, with counseling and drugs and support and prayer, I have come back from the brink.
  41. I'm happier now than I have ever been since my mom died.
  42. I'm also fatter now than I have ever been, which makes me very depressed and insecure and self-conscious.
  43. It's kind of a paradox, isn't it? But I have always been a confusing person.
  44. I'm intelligent (see nerd part above), but I'm also very airheaded.
  45. My friends nicknamed me "Bubbles" in high school, because I was so airheaded and giggly.
  46. In third grade, I was voted "Class Giggler." It is still my proudest achievement.
  47. I used to have two step-sisters, but my dad divorced their mom after 10 or 12 years of horrible, damaging marriage.
  48. My oldest step-sister nicknamed me "Munch," after my chipmunk cheeks.
  49. I still have those cheeks.
  50. I even have them when I am not nearly this fat.
  51. I hate my cheeks.
  52. I hate my profile.
  53. I have a flat back-of-the-head (occiput) and no chin, thanks to my dad. Think of the dad in King of the Hill. Like his. That's not a very flattering head shape at all.
  54. I love seeing no-chin people who are skinny. For some reason, this makes my day.
  55. I hate seeing fat people with skinny legs or skinny fingers. This seems so unfair to me. I am an all-over kind of fatty.
  56. My sister is thin, like my dad, but she has blond hair and blue eyes like my mom. We are sisters but look nothing alike: I have my dad's head and mom's body, and she has mom's head and dad's body. I got the short end of that stick.
  57. Or did I? She is the pretty one, but I am the smart one. Therefore, we both know ways to hurt each other, and we have.
  58. One time I hurt her very badly, and I will never forget the look on her face when I said what I did.
  59. I try to be very respectful and careful about that sort of thing from now on, especially with her.
  60. I wish she was that careful about me and my issues!
  61. She still talks to the stepmother who abused me horridly, and that hurts me like hell.
  62. She still talks to the stepsisters, too. I don't care about that as much.
  63. I still talk to my oldest friend in the world, almost from birth. Hi, Ursula!
  64. I have lived in many different places, and I still have friends that I write to and email with in all of them except Guam.
  65. I would probably still call and talk to my OB from Guam if it wasn't for what happened to Robby.
  66. Sometimes I like to tell people about my son, and sometimes I just wish I didn't have to.
  67. We got so used to the idea of having three little babies, we couldn't get accustomed to just having two.
  68. I had a hard time bonding with Jack because of that. He didn't feel like mine.
  69. I always wonder if he is going to remember that.
  70. I pumped and fought to be able to breastfeed him through three months of nipple confusion before we were successful to one year, so I hope he remembers that, then, too, dammit! I tried my best.
  71. After a year, we started trying to have a third baby, and I couldn't get pregnant while I was still nursing.
  72. Sophia was born 25 months after Jack.
  73. He still has a hard time growing, so they are the same size and both have blond, straight hair (Chloƫ's is brown and curly). People ask me all the time if Sophia and Jack are twins.
  74. I find that pretty effing ironic.
  75. And not in a funny way, but in a painful way.
  76. Sometimes I just want to scream at them.
  77. Sometimes I even want to smack them, when they insist on it. Like I'm not sure??
  78. I have a degree in marine science and biology.
  79. I have a minor in chemistry. I also wanted to minor in Spanish and mathematics, but they wouldn't let me overload like that.
  80. I went to graduate school to get my Ph.D. in shark behavior.
  81. I quit that program after a year and a half, when I realized I just didn't have the passion to read and write scientific papers for the rest of my life.
  82. I'd rather be in the field, doing the legwork, getting my hands dirty.
  83. That doesn't pay very well.
  84. I started my Master's in Science Education, but then I met my husband and we eloped and had a kid.
  85. Now I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, and it scares me that Sophie is two years away from kindergarten.
  86. Part of me wants to go to law school and study family law, and eventually end up as a family court judge, helping people the way I wished someone would help me in the bad years.
  87. Part of me just wants to make cool things and sell them for a living.
  88. Part of me wishes I could just be a beach bum for the rest of my life, flitting about doing nothing much.
  89. I don't care much for material things, although it seems like it lately. I'm trying to pare down.
  90. I would be happy with my kids and my husband and our pets in a shack on the beach.
  91. Strawberries are my favorite fruit.
  92. I always through artichokes were disgusting, until my husband made me eat one after Chloƫ was born. Now they're one of my favorite veggies, along with broccoli and corn.
  93. I hate raw tomatoes. And mushrooms of any kind. And I will scream bloody murder if any part of me comes into contact with mustard.
  94. I have some sensory issues and can't stand when someone rubs or scratches me or themselves through fabric.  I have a firm rule:  WE DON'T RUB FABRIC!!
  95. I also can't stand the sound of sanding or filing. It makes me scream and want to cry. I don't even like typing about it.
  96. Someone's nail catching on a pillowcase or sheet practically sends me to the insane asylum.
  97. I talk a lot and wish I could say more than 100 things. Hehe.
  98. I had a hysterectomy in April.
  99. I still have the big, bad Baby Fever.
  100. I'm thinking of fostering babies when Sophia is about Chloƫ's age, if we're in a position to do so.

Whew! That's it! I have a feeling I could do it two or three times more without repeating. I am a babbly girl!


Tutus for Sale!


So, I've started stocking my Etsy shop with the tutus I'm making! I'm  having a lot of fun and am praying that they'll sell! I just listed them and already I have a bunch of views, and it's the middle of the night! Wish me luck, I'm anxious.

If you're interested in buying one, right now I am offering them at an introductory price of $15 for the basic model, sizes infant to 6, without embellishments. I can make them in most any color, although some colors cost extra and may need to be given lead time for order placement. I can make them longer or shorter depending on your preferences, and I'm happy to add ribbons, flowers - you name it! - for an additional charge.

Take a look! They're adorable and my girls are having tons of fun wearing them. They never want to take them off!


Silly Sophia

S: Mom, can you cut open this package with your scissors?

M: Hm, well, I can open it, but with my hands.

S: With your SHARP  hands?


S: Mom, do cats have penises?

M: Yes, the boy ones do.

S: And the girl cats have vaginases!


S: Who put the tinkertoys in the garbage?

M: Who put the bop in the bop-sh-bop-sh-bop?

S: Daddy!



Tutu Excited!


There it goes...


Rob's car getting shipped off to the junkyard. Buh-bye!


Sophia goofing around with her father yesterday. Looks like she has a mullet!



After school, Steph came over because we were supposed to go to the beach or the pool, but the thunder and lightning kept us home. Here's she is snuggling with my Sophie-poo. Doesn't she look so cute with those big eyes?



Jack was a cuddly boy today, too. He just loves to be tickled, and Steph was providing plenty of that!



Isn't she ADORABLE?!!! I'm going to start making tutus to sell (anyone wanna buy one?!) and couldn't wait for my online order, so we ran to Joann's after Jack got home from school. Steph helped me make this one before dinner tonight.


I love the way they turned out. And I think she is cute as a button in it!


I think Little Miss stretching to reach the doorknob is freaking adorable!


After dinner I made Chloƫ.s Hers is red and white; Sophie's is pink and ivory. I've got a lot more colors coming!


Of course, she had to do her usual posing, preening and prancing!

So, I'm really excited about this next endeavor - it's kept me awake the past two nights. Hopefully now that I have two out of my system I'll get some sleep tonight.


So, out of the blue today I was informed that my blog is "the most vapid, insipid thing [I] have read in a long time."

Wow! Suckerpunch!

I laughed, of course. So let's get this straight, oh readers of mine. This blog is not meant to be the next great American novel. It's merely a daily drudge report to keep our far-flung family and friends informed about what we're up to way out here by ourselves.

Now, anyone else want to take potshots?

Go for it.


WFMW: Helping Others


Now, I know this post is going to sound like I'm tooting my own horn, but really, I don't normally like to discuss such things. It goes against the spirit of altruism, after all. But is anything really, truly altruistic if you derive pleasure from doing it?

Anyway, I'm posting it because I couldn't think of something else!

What works for me, mentally and emotionally, is to give of myself where I can. We all do this in some degree, in "normal" places, I would hope. Like, if someone drops a bag of groceries in the parking lot, we may run over and scramble to pick things up before they get squashed. Stuff like that, we all do, right?

That's giving of yourself. And it makes you feel good. Other things I do that make me feel good, are:

- I run my charity, CARE Package, Inc. My husband and I devote our resources, and I donate many hours of my time and also my skills, to making  layettes for these sweet little angel babies.

- I give blood as often as I can. It doesn't cost me a cent and only takes about an hour of my time every other month. And honestly, it really doesn't hurt. Plus there are the free cookies.

- Twice now, I have grown out and donated my hair to Locks of Love, and I'm on the verge of deciding to grow it out a third time. Again, it costs nothing and is completely painless. Why not give of yourself in this way?

I had a mental list of about five items total, but of course now the other two escape me since I didn't write them down. Rats! But please, if you can think of other easy, painless and low-cost or free ways to give of yourself, post them in the comments!

It really, truly does make me feel better, and that works for me.


ā˜ŗYou Never Know Where You'll Find A Lava Rockā˜ŗ


First Day of School
So this morning was a little rough on my schoolchildren! I woke up just fine, thankfully (and Rob called me to wake me up, which makes him a heckuva guy), but the kids did not. I opened the door, sweetly called out, "Jaaaaack! Chlooooooƫeee!" and waited. No answer. I went in, started rustling up my boy, and he cried, "I'm too tired!" "Come on, buddy, it's time for school! Your first day! Kindergarten!" "I don't wannnnnaaaaaaaa."

I had less luck with Chloƫ.

When they were finally in a standing position, both buried themselves into my chest and sobbed.  I comforted them as long as I could, and then left them to get dressed while I called their father.

R: Hi, honey.

M: Hey baby.

R: What's up?

M: I just wanted to let you know, bedtime has officially been moved up one hour! These kids are whiny crybabies this morning!

Then, of course, came the flurry. Go get your socks, put on your glasses, let's eat some breakfast, who wants what? Nope, no sandals, you have to wear sneakers. Wrong feet, buddy, switch your shoes! Pick out a hair doodle, Chlo, we gotta do something with that hair. C'mon, finish your breakfast Jack, you won't get anything to eat at school today!

Finally, it was time to go to the bus. I forgot two things. My camera, as stated in the earlier post, and the name badge that Jack's required to wear around his neck for the first month of school. D'oh! I wouldn't have remembered, but we had a cute little girl kindergartener at the bus stop who was wearing hers. 

I gave Chloƫ explicit directions for where it was, and sent her running. One door down, two, three, uh-oh, there's a truck in the way, she doesn't know which way to go, "C'mon Chlo! Hurry up!" She made it around the truck and disappeared into the house. One minute, two minutes... still no bus, pleeease don't come... five, and she's out! And running this way! And she's got something yellow in her hands!

Whew. She found it. And then we waited another 15 minutes for the bus to come. Don't they practice the routes the week before?? It was already over 90 degrees outside by 8 AM. We were dying.

Finally, it showed. The instant it pulled up, Jack dashed ahead of everyone else and sprinted up the steps. He was excited! But I guess he got confused, not being on the special bus and having his own carseat, because he held up the line for a few minutes. Things got squared away, and as instructed, Chloƫ sat with her little brother. And off they went!

I shuffled back home and, because Sophia was still sound asleep, went to lie down on the couch. After checking emails, of course. The doorbell rang an hour or so later, the dog barked, and it was a freecycler to pick up all the small boxes I'd accumulated in the office. Still, no sound from Sophia, so I went back to sleep.

I dreamed about a certain cute boy I had a crush on in junior high (JK, Erin!). It was my first day of school, in 8th grade, and we were to choose secretly who we wanted to sit next to for the  year. I chose him, and he chose me! As soon as that was announced for seating, my alarm went off. Dang, I didn't want to goooooo.... oh, yeah, Jack.

I got up and waited and waited and waited, once again, for his bus. I waited 25 minutes, not having an exact idea when it would arrive and where it would drop him. I sat just inside the door to cool off in between going outside to check, and finally, I heard the rumbling of a school bus.

I forgot about the new little girl, so I was surprised when the bus stopped three doors ahead of mine, even though I was waving at the bus driver. Out Miss Cuteness hopped. Oh, yeah. I thought she was going to pull up, but then Jack came running out. No smile, no look in my direction, no 'Hi, Mom!' as he tore into the house. Just like that, he was gone, while I stood at the end of the driveway like a dumbass.

Good thing. The bus driver pulled up in front of me and told me she'd have forms for our cell numbers and such for tomorrow, saying something about Chloƫ, and mentioning she was glad I was feeling better now. Um? I swear I have never seen this person before in my life, but okay, yes, I'm feeling fine now, thanks.

Once inside, I had Jack go wake up Sophia, and she came down for breakfast while he had a snack. And then they had more snacks. And more. They were hungry little beavers. Some of it was healthy, and some of it was not so much, but whatev.

After a spell, I had Sophie run and put on some clothes, and we all put on our shoes. I had made an appointment for that afternoon with my prescribing shrink, because I was ... uh-oh, I still am, thank God Walgreens is open all night! ... out of my mind meds. We hustled out, got down the road, and made it just in time.

Dr. Pal was actually not an ass this time, even though I was bringing along twice my usual number of children. He kept his mouth shut, anyway, as I think he could tell I was not at all stressed out, and they were in good control today. At any rate, he quickly prescribed my meds, set my next appointment date, and sent us packing.

Back home again in the space of 45 minutes, well in advance of Chloƫ's bus, it was time for some fun. Dress-up fun! Sophia came running in with just unnerpannies, and I asked where her clothes were. "I'm going to put on my tutu, Mawm!"

Only, she's not the giggling little creature who came running out in the tutu!

Instead, she wore  one of Grandma's purty contributions to the dress-up box.  And she's looking so cute in ponies and piggies lately!

Today, on the message board I frequent, I was given a link for making a tutu. I'm so totally going to do that! If it turns out, I'll  make more. Maybe sell them! I can't wait. Tutus are very popular right now.

Let's see... soon ChloĆ« was running in from her bus.  I couldn't get a whole lot out of them about what happened in  kindergarten and second grade (!!!!) today. I still cannot believe that child is in second grade! And is going on seven! And has a loose tooth, and another growing in!

Anyway, Jack was in high spirits all day after school, so I'm guessing it was great, although he won't actually admit to having been there. "I didn't go to school! I went to the dentist," he says. The one thing he did say was that none of friends were there. Aw, buddy. He'll make new ones soon, I hope.

Chloƫ was in a great mood, too. She told me her favorite part of the day was lunch, because she was so hungry. She did eat all her breakfast, though. As for the rest, I have no idea what either of them did! Apparently no one went to PE, or art, or music, or the library, so your guess is as good as mine?

The kids went upstairs to rest after that, while I farted around all afternoon online, and worked on cleaning up my desk (a constant work in progress), and went through the kids' backpacks and folders. Daddy came home, but I can't remember anything special that he did.  Chlo soon returned from Quiet Time, and then Jack, but Sophia was sound asleep. Sleepy girl today!

Rob made dinner when I reminded him that they had to go to bed an hour earlier tonight. Nothing special, chicken breasts, mixed veggies, and tater tots, but they all ate a great dinner!  Rob gave them ice cream for dessert and then whisked everyone upstairs for baths.

I took that time to finish up the little dress for Carolynn, Steph's niece.  It has a few little imperfections (just in the evenness of the assembly) but for the most part, it turned out cute, right? I have a feeling it's going to be too small, though. I couldn't find a suitable stuffed critter in the house to model it, so we shall just have to see. I believe I made this dress for Sophie when she was  a tiny baby.
DCP_2178 Nope, but I  did make it for the charity, and here it is! Much tinier than the current one, though.

Well,  two weeks after we arrived home, I finished blogging the Europe trip. Check it out and leave comments, please!

That is all. Tomorrow, I will  remember to take pictures of the kids' , er, um,  second first day of school!


Water, Water, Everywhere...


We did, after all, remember the pancakes. Well, I did. I woke up the first out of anyone this morning, and the kids all came running down the stairs soon afterward. They were hungry, and Rob wanted to make them pancakes, so I had them climb on top of him to wake him up and feed them. While he did, I fell back asleep on the couch. Oh, what a productive morning for me!

100_7785 100_7786
Rob took these pictures of the kids enjoying their breakfasts...

I keep looking at  my European notes, expecting there to be  something about my day.  I should take notes  all the time - it helped infinitely in writing that blog!

When I woke from my nap, I was hotter than ever. The AC was working yesterday, miraculously enough, but it went back out again today. Suffering succotash!  Rob was on the phone half the day, trying to find someone to come out and fix it.

In the meantime, ChloĆ« and I went upstairs, I took a cold shower, and we put away all the laundry that I'd folded last night while watching Charlie Wilson's War and two episodes of Californication.  It was a mountain of clothes. Chlo is such a big help. We got almost everything put away! Of course, there are another two loads in the machine... but that will wait until tomorrow. I started to put away my own clothes, but it was just too hot, and I retreated downstairs.

I started to vacuum, but I was stumped by the living room full of kiddie toys. So I sat down to finish making the dress for Stephanie's niece instead. It took a lot longer than expected, but I'm almost done now. Just a last few finishing touches. It's all right, but not perfect. I might make a few changes. We'll see.

I'll show pictures tomorrow. Here, just one last one of Sophia's giant clowning face:


Candy Girl

I'm going to do bullets for the highlights of our day:

  • Rob took Jack to get a haircut. He was bouncing off the walls crazy when he returned. I tried to get a decent picture of it to show you. Here's the result: 100_7779 He was all thrilled to see his silly face afterward on the camera, after staying put for 0.0000001 second.
  • Rob went and bought a brand-new BMW F650 GS motorcycle today. Well, he put down a deposit on it, and will get it in about a month when it arrives from overseas. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
  • I took a nap.
  • We made S'mores for dessert. The kids didn't quite know what to do with them, except for ChloĆ«, who proclaimed the ones at camp better because they used Girl Scout Cookies. Well, duh!  Here are the other kids: 100_7780 100_7781 
  • I blogged about Corfu, Greece.
  • Rob mowed the grass.
  • I put a dish of peanut M&Ms out, in the candy bowl I won from Bunco a while back. Jack was all over that. Literally: 100_7782
  • I vacuumed the downstairs.
  • We're about to go watch Charlie Wilson's War

That's about it!


Life Is Unfair

Our air conditioning is out. Oh, woe is me, woe is me. I feel like I'm back in Europe. Erin, I don't know how you stand it!

I woke up sick this morning, with congestion, a sore throat, fever, the whole works. So after feeding the Littles their breakfast, I decided to lie down while they played in the living room. The time to get ready to pick up Chloƫ was fast approaching, and I wanted to be all set.

Only, I wasn't.

I called Rob, who was going to half a half-day at work and leave to meet me up in Williamsburg, and asked if he'd mind going to get her alone. I was so upset - I was dying to see my baby - but I just didn't have the energy in me to drive the whole hour-plus up there and another hour back, let alone lug things around in the heat. I felt miserable. I felt rotten. Wah, wah, wahhhh.

He agreed.

So I felt like crap, and I felt like a crappy mother, but at least the wee ones were ready for their nap. I sent them upstairs and went right to sleep on the couch. I don't know how long I slept, it must have been hours. When I woke up, I suddenly felt tons better. I talked to Rob, who was on his way home with our little girl, and got excited to see her.

Then they were home!! She was back! She flew into my arms with full force, hugging and kissing and squeezing. Or was that me? We talked all about her time at camp, and she decided to post a blog about it. Did you read it?


Rob started unpacking her suitcase, so we could see what all she used and what she brought home - no bugs! - and I heard him behind me saying, "I don't want to say her raincoat is too big, but look at this!" and here he was. Silly boy. I don't want to say he's little, but...

I was feeling a little better, so ChloĆ« and I went upstairs to take a shower together and do a whole bunch of laundry, while Rob worked on the air conditioning.  He decided the problem was lack of freon, so hopefully we can get someone to come out this weekend and fix it.  I'm dying here!

100_7778 While I was posting about Katakolon tonight on the Europe blog,  Rob was playing around with the camera. From across the room, he zoomed in and took this lovely picture of my eye. 

Hey, I didn't promise to be fascinating today.

Or any day.

That's all I've got. Peace, I'm out.


Swann Dive

I am the worst mother in the world, and do you know why?

Because my five-year-old son is going to kindergarten next week, and we met his new teacher and his new classroom today, and I did not remember to bring my camera!!!!

What is it with me and the camnesia lately??

After Stephanie returned with my van this morning - she needed it to go get her car keys from home! - the Littles and I headed to Jack's new school - and Chloƫ's all-along school - for the Back to School Picnic.

We didn't actually have time for all that picnicking stuff, though. Mommy had an appointment to get to up in Newport News.

So we made our way to the free t-shirt table, and collected one for Jack. They didn't want to give me one for Chloƫ since only kids present at the picnic were supposed to receive a shirt, but since everyone at that school just adores that child, they made an exception. I didn't even have to ask!

Wherever we went, it was, "Where's ChloĆ«? Where's ChloĆ«?" I swear everyone in school knows her. It amazes me. I was never popular, but my kid? Universally loved.  Of course, then they all looked at the three of us and wondered what the heck we were doing there without her, so I pointed out Jack as the new kid on the block to everyone. He was thrilled about this recognition. Ever since we bought his supplies and new backpack, he is dying to go to school!

We headed straight for the kindergarten wing of the school, to meet Mrs. Swann, Jack's new teacher. She was young! Way young. After Mrs. Meltzer's ancient teaching methods when Chloƫ was a kindergartner, I was thrilled to see this. She should have plenty of new tricks for getting the children to accomplish their goals, surely. Rote drilling? Not my style, not good for my kids.

Oh, let this be a wonderful new year of learning for Jack. I hope so.

Then, even though Chlo is still at camp, I wanted to meet her new second grade (OMG) teacher, Mrs. Duke. She turned out to be a lovely lady, and I liked her right from the start, just as I did with Mrs. Pfeiffer  last year. I hope that is a good sign. She already knew who ChloĆ« was, so she was disappointed not to see her today.

We visited the art teacher, music teacher, and gym teacher, too. Jack won't have art this year, though - they do that right in the classroom. Oh, and the principal, Mr. Timlin. He and I know each other well from my work on the PTA board and from me pestering him to put out more recycling cans in the school, so his first greeting to me was, "You dyed your hair blond on me!" He's a Chloƫphile too, so he seemed thrilled to meet my little guy, giving him high-fives and handshakes.

Because the kids were begging for something to eat, then, I bought them each a snowcone. We don't do hot dogs and  hamburgers, and I didn't want to buy them chips and sodas. It was super hot today, so a snowcone seemed like just the thing. And it was. I know, because Jack ate three bites of his and declared himself finished, and I tore into that thing. So good. Refreshing. Perfect.

We went home after that, making this the first year I didn't sign up for the PTA at the picnic. I'll do it when the papers come home next week. I just had to get out of that crowd, and I had to get ready for the drive up north. I was just looking up the address when Stephanie returned to babysit, toting her freaking adorable little niece, Carolynn. (Forgive me if I spelled her name wrong, Steph; I just know SO many Carolines right now!)


I gave her a few quick instructions and then took off for my visit to the gastric bypass surgeon in Newport News. My appointment wasn't until 4:30, and I left just after 2. But I had to take their computer questionnaire first. I ended up being wicked early and finishing the test over an hour early. I was all set to take a snooze in my van when they called me back early to see the doctor. Yay! I wouldn't have to wait after all.

Dr. Clarke was very nice. He spent as much time as I needed, going over my questions and issues, and he never made me feel like a gross, disgusting fatass - not once - unlike the doc from Bariatric Surgery in the Naval hospital. I am glad I made the choice to stick with him; it was the right thing to do, I believe. Long drive notwithstanding.

I talked to the insurance lady about my upcoming hoop-jumping fest after that, and then I was on the road again, before my actual appointment time. Nice. I will have to do a lot of the same things I did for the other doc, and they could probably use the same tests, but I feel like I should just do them all over again in case things have changed. As soon as I get that - and the daunting psych consult (Lord, give me strength not to break down this time!) - out of the way, we'll be ready to schedule the surgery. I am excited! Skinny-me, come on down!

The drive home was excruciatingly slow, made worse by the fact that I was suddenly exhausted and doing touch-and-goes all the way home. The bridge and tunnel are always backed up at that time of the day, and this was no exception. If I could pulled over to take a nap, I would have. But, I made it home in one piece. Maybe I should store some No-Doze in the glove compartment.

I really wanted a nap when I arrived home, like Rob and the kiddies were doing, but Sam the Schwan's guy was due to be there in a half-hour. And I hadn't yet gone through the catalog to see what I wanted. So I grabbed it, and my pen, and lickety-split came up with a good list. We still had a lot of food from the last time, actually, so I just replenished the few things I knew we liked. A lot of it was ice cream. Hey, it's summer, and I don't mind if the kids eat a lot of it right now.

Well... I'm suddenly out of words. That's a good stopping point, I think. Tomorrow, we go pick up Chloƫ! I am beside myself with excitement!!!


Beyond The Sea


100_7772 I broke out the 'special crayons' and let Jack and Sophia go to town on Chloƫ's huge coloring book at the table. They love those crayons. Half are missing, and one of the remainders is broken, so I bought some more when we went school supply shopping at night. They must be watched with a hawk-eye, though, because those things will get everywhere, just like with paint.

My penny cup was full, so I told Jack he could have them all for his bank IF he counted them, one by one, with me. He did it! He managed with little help to count up to 56. I was very pleased with that - and I think he was, too.

100_7774 For a snack, we had carrots and ranch dip. That's the awesome blue dish I bought in Pisa; yes, it's technically an ash tray, but it was too cool to pass up!


I stupidly forgot my camera, so I have no pictures of this wonderful day. The children and I woke up very late in the morning, and we had a slow, leisurely breakfast while we waited for Steph to come over and go swimming. When she arrived, we headed over the to pool only to find out, oh no! It was closed until Friday. Apparently the pump broken, and we couldn't even go in the baby pool. Stink.

Then Stephanie had the brilliant idea to go to the beach! After all, it's only a 20-minute drive.

So we waited for Rob to come home and get Jack, because they were going to the Naval hospital for Jack's last-minute immunizations before school starts. Turns out he needs them after all, even though they said he was up-to-date at his five year check-up. Bah.

Once they left, it was just us girls, and Sophie's first alone time in very long time. We stopped at the pet store, so Steph could get food for her pets, and then wait straight to the ocean front. I had to pay $5 to park, even though it should have been free today for Beach Residents, because I forgot my license. Bah.

At the beach, we stopped short when we saw the red flags. Oh, no! The beach was closed, too!

But we kept going, and we could see that there were people swimming in the ocean. Phew. If they can do it, we can, too.

So we put Sophie's swimmies on and carried her down the water, a little bit against her will. "Relax, baby. It's okay. Mommy's got you." She fussed a little, but we lifted her up out of the waves, and held her close when we could, and finally she relaxed. We had a great time, until the current started to get to strong to hold a baby in, and we went up on the sand to play. Steph and I lay out while Sophie scooted around, making sand angels and otherwise getting covered from head to toe. She had a blast.

We got bored of that after a while, so we took her and her pail and shovel back down to the water's edge, where we just sat and played in the sand and let the water rush over us. It took a long time, but finally she was able to sit still and enjoy the pleasure of the rushing water. The current was super strong, though. I've been in the water all my life, and it was definitely one of the strongest I've ever experienced. It was no longer safe to bring her in.

But then Daddy showed up, with Jack! So two adults took turn going into the waves, while one of us stayed behind to look after the nontwins. The waves were enormous and powerful, and we all got knocked around quite a bit. It was energizing and draining all at once.

And Stephanie and I showed each other our boobs. It was like Mardi Gras, but without the beads. I don't know why. Don't ask me.

The biggest surprise, though, was that with each other for support, the Littles started going into the water on their own! They'd come back, screaming, "I got wet! I touched the water!" and then turn around and go right back after receiving their high-fives. They even got knocked around a little themselves but did not cry. Once, Jack got pushed up the shore by a wave, and he yelled out proudly, "Daddy! I swimmed!"

It was a great day, full of elation.

We tiredly dragged ourselves up the beach to the shower station, where we stripped the babies naked and tried to get the sand out of all their little parts and pieces. But the very high tide had claimed our towels, so drying off was a bit of a futile effort.

Jack rode home with Daddy, and we girls rode separately in the van. We all showered and waited for Tim to arrive. Once he did, the menfolk took off to pick up some Chinese take-out for dinner, while we cleaned up the kitchen and watched a little TV. Then we sat around at the table for a good, long time, laughing, telling stories, laughing, teasing each other and oh, yeah, laughing.

I love to laugh.

Tim left after that, to go home to bed. Stephanie stayed behind, so we moved down to the living room with our dishes of ice cream and goofed around some more. (The kids were in bed by this point, so our talk got a little more 'adult.') Steph drank some of the sangria that we'd all had before our cruise, and I pretty much acted like I was drinking, too.

Then Steph realized that, whoopsy, Tim had taken her car keys home with him! And it was now after midnight, and that's a good drive home back to Chesapeake for her, so... she's now sound asleep on our couch and will have to borrow the van to get home in the morning. Oops!

I guess I shall carry myself off to bed, too. Oh, but a few more things I've forgotten to share:

Chloƫ (who is still at camp until Friday) not only has her first loose tooth, but she also has an adult tooth already growing into the gap in her bottom front teeth! I need to get to work finding or making a tooth pillow for her!

Rob is buying a motorcycle. I guess he plans to shop around this weekend. Yikes! Yes, there will definitely be safety courses in his future. Rest assured.

I thought I had a third thing, but now it's forgotten for another day. Remember to check out the European blog! I posted two days at once tonight.


Walmart Is Evil.

I'm tired. Very tired. It's 12:43 AM. We left to go back-to-school (and a few groceries mixed in) shopping at 8 PM. We just now finished putting everything away.

First of all, if  my two wonderful friends hadn't told me about the hunormous school sales going on at Wal-Mart right now, we would never have even been IN there in the first place at 8 PM on a Tuesday night. (Our kids start school on Monday, by the way.) But we were there, and the supplies weren't. Wal-mart was completely wiped. We walked up and down, 'round and 'round, back and forth, and still, there were no crayons or composition notebooks in that store. We should have just gone to Walgreens and saved ourselves the trouble. And time. And a whoooooole lotta money.

Because Wal-mart is evil. They hook you in there with their everyday low prices, right? You go, and you see, and you "ooh, I need that" and "ahh, I must have this" and before you know it, all those special little deals have turned your little school supply list into a $417 order! Which you must then bag up, take home, scan for Nielsen, put away, and divvy up for new backpacks.

And then, of course, you still have to go to Walgreens to get the crayons and composition notebooks. And maybe the new Lil Kinz Webkinz Cares cow that's now on sale. That you name "Moo Latte." Get it? Moo-latto. Because she's black and white.

So I'm tired. And it's late. And that's all the blog I've got in me. Sicily will have to wait 'til tomorrow, as will the cute pictures from today.



How walkable is your neighborhood? Nadine at In Blue Ink posted this link, which she got from another pal, to check the relative ease of living without a car in your neighborhood. You just plug in your address - or any other - and off it goes! Check it out here.

Our neighborhood scored a 37. What does it mean?  25 - 50 = Not Walkable: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.

So, we still need our cars, and for sure we do. It goes off the Google business listings, so I'm sure it's incomplete, but for our area there just aren't a lot of places it's comfortable to walk to - but it also depends on your climate and fitness level, I would say.

Anyway, check it out.


Funny Buddies

Jack and Sophia, after digging in the dress-up box and each coming up with a mismatched pair of pretty pumps, climbed into the dog's huge kennel to play. Sophia shouted out, "Come ON, Jack, get in the LandCruiser so we can go buy some Cokes!"

Then later, Jack wanted me to blow up his inflatable airplane toy, after giving it a few tries of his own. "Mom, will you put some GAS in here? Mom, you're the gas station!!!"

They amuse me.


There She Goes

Today's highlight was the drive up to Williamsburg to bring Chloƫ to her Girl Scouts camp. Rob had to stand watch, so I enlisted Stephanie's help to get her set up there. I'm glad I did! I would have had a hard time getting everything taken care of on my own. Afterward, I called up Rob and insisted that he come with me on Friday to help pick her up and get her squared away! Thankfully, he agreed.

100_7764 Chloƫ waiting in the van for Stephanie to be dropped off, so we could head up to Williamsburg!

100_7765 Um, drinking out of the sippy cup before I took off the lid, Chlo sits and waits for her turn to have her head examined. Seriously, they checked everyone's hair for nits and took their temperatures. She passed. Whew.

100_7766 Steph took the suitcase from me as I struggled to pull it over the rocks, on our way to finding Chloƫ's unit. I huffed and puffed all the way there, but I made it, damn it.

100_7767 Everyone stop and look at Mommy!! It was a really nice day in the woods, though very hot (about 95, according to my van).

While Chloƫ and I put on the sheets, and the counselor talked my ear off, Steph got busy putting up the poles for the mosquito netting we bought at check-in. See Chloƫ too-huge shirt? She got a free camp shirt for being one of the first 50 camp registrants! She'll probably wear it as a nightgown.


Chloƫ puts on her bug spray as Stephanie and Pixel, one of the counselors, watch.

100_7770 Sophia and Jack, who take after my red-faced sweaty tendencies, haul around a gigantic branch as we leave.

100_7771 Chlo has already made a friend, Bailey, who IS the same age as she is, believe it or not!  I'm glad; none of the girls from her troop were coming to camp.

She seemed excited and happy to be at camp, and none too worried when she said good-bye to us. In contrast, I have worried about her all evening, wondering what she's doing now, if she's afraid sleeping in the woods, if she's comfortable, if she had enough for dinner, if she took a good shower and brushed her teeth, if, if, if.

I think she'll be okay. As for me... is it Friday yet??


Call Me Crazy, But...

... I am starting to reconsider my prohibition on motorcycles. Er, Rob driving a motorcycle, to be precise. He's a bad driver. A bad, often reckless driver. He has an accident at least once a year, and they're usually his fault. Therefore, I have always told him that the day I let him get a motorcycle is the day he knows I don't love him anymore.

But... I don't know now. We're having car problems. He is, that is. The VW won't start anymore, and he had to replace the brake lines on the ShitCruiser today. And, of course, that thing is a gas guzzler. Right now, when I'm trying to put us on a budget to eradicate our credit card debt, we don't need an outrageous petrol bill. (Petrol! You like that? I think I'm European now, huh?)

Anyway, after seeing all the scooters and 'cycles in Europe, and realizing just how advantageous that would be considering the oil prices... I'm starting to reconsider. I even mentioned it to him tonight, so I'm sure his mind is whirling with the possibilities. He asked me, "What about inclement weather? I wouldn't want to have to take your car from you."  Ha! I had told him IF we got a motorcycle, he had to get rid of BOTH cars. I told him it wasn't my problem, and he wasn't taking my car. Wear a raincoat, dammit! Kidding... but your thoughts are welcome on the matter. Am I insane?!

Aside from the obvious, of course.

So today, I felt like crapples, with the upset tum and the headache and I was super dizzy and out of it when I woke up. I slept until 11, got up and ate breakfast, checked email, and went back to lie down - until after 4 PM!  I felt fine after that, but I don't know what my deal was. Things just weren't right.

In the meantime, Rob had the kids out and about, working on the lawn with him, going to get new brake lines for the ShitCruiser, etc. He's such a good dad. And husband. It's easy to take him for granted, knowing what so many other guys are like out there, but I really do appreciate all his hard work and letting me take time for me when I need it.  Thank you, baby. (He'll read that in, like, September.)

After I woke up, ChloĆ« and I went upstairs to pack. 12 more hours before we leave for camp!! (from now, not then) I had the checklist and the marker, and I would call out things that she needed to fetch for her suitcase. While she fetched, I marked her name on everything but the socks. She ran in, out, up, down, and all over, but we got everything. Almost everything. She still didn't have the right sized boots, or a laundry bag, or a dunking bag. Or a disposable camera. Mom, I remembered it this time! 

While I took a much-needed shower (cold, of course, love my cold summer showers), I had Chloƫ pack everything herself. That way, she would know where it all was, and she would know what all she had. No going without until the last day when it was time to repack, wondering why Mommy forgot this or that. No, ma'am, it's all there, and she made sure of it.

So that was exciting. So fun! I just can't wait to take her tomorrow and show her around, see where she's going to sleep, and swim, and eat. I'm sure there will be lots of pictures. And hugs and kisses. Hopefully no tears.  On her part, anyway. I'm allowed, right?

After we packed, I sent Rob to Panera to get dinner. I had $35 in free Panera gift cards from MyPoints! You really should sign up, if you haven't. It doesn't cost a thing. Anyway. I called in the order, since it was near closing and he wanted to just swing in and out. They actually got everything right - it was kind of a big order. We ate, and mm, it was all so delish. That's two Paneras in the, oh, five days since we've been back. But that'll be it. At least until Barbara comes again.

After dinner, Rob took the littles up for a shower and a bath. Well, Chlo took a shower too, but then she and Rob went out to Wal-mart to get the rest of the items on her list. She had to go to try on the boots, since he'd gone earlier, while we were all asleep, to pick some up. They didn't fit. They were too small for Sophia. Now he got a pair that were too big, but hopefully a pair of socks will make all the difference.

And I, well, I worked on the Monaco/France blog. Did you read it? It's much shorter than Barcelona's, I promise. Still lots of pictures. It's been a lot of fun reliving the trip through the blog.

And finally, I got the pictures to upload. So without further ado, here are some from the past few days:

100_7742 Stephanie's self-portrait after Drunko Bunko on Wednesday. (That's the coconut necklace I got in France!) She was totally smashed here. You should have seen all the outtakes I had to get rid of in order to get to this one!  She also took a bunch of me, including a couple with my pants pulled up past my boobies, but I deleted all except this one:

100_7752 Aren't I gorgeous??? That's actually my Jabba the Hut face. I bring him out for special occasions.

100_7757 Everyone working nicely on the craft from Grandma. Yeah, it's for Christmas. But they don't care!

100_7758 Steph joined in (she spent the night) to help Little Bit. It's coming together nicely, now. Of course, Jack's omni-present car had to make the scene.

100_7759 The finished masterpiece. Oooh. Ahhhh. Clap, clap, clap.

100_7761 While I was gone, and since I've been back, the packages have been streaming in for CARE Package! Some of those socks will fit Chloƫ, but that's okay. My kids have tiny feeties. I'm sure there must also be some babies with ginormous piggies, right?

100_7762 Three sweet little gown-bonnet-mitts sets. Aren't they cute?

100_7763 And last but not least, Deanna made some angel magnets (left), while K. S. sent three of these beautiful purple layettes. I actually received another package after taking these pictures, from Anne, but I haven't photographed them yet.

Thanks for all the donations, crochet-listers!! It's been a good month after all.

If you stopped here from BPE, it's okay to say hello, now that you know who I am.  Howdy!