First, thanks for all the well-wishes and inquiries about my/our respective health. I made up my mind not to be sick anymore, and though I'm still hacking up a lung, at least I got out and about and did my best to ignore it. The kids, though they stayed home "sick" from school, were bouncing off the walls today! I should have just brought them in. Definitely, Chloë who, OMG, drove me totally nuts today. Jack really should have taken it easier, but it's so hard to get them to just lie down and rest, even when they don't feel well.
It's the Christmas shopping season for me, now that that savings account has matured, and I have done all the shopping I'm gonna do, more or less, save stocking stuffers and little things. A lot of the packages have already come in - many of them today - so I thought I'd show bunches of pictures of those and what else we did today.
First up is Jack's main present - and only toy - the thing he has been begging for for months on end now: a Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade. Normally we don't even spend that much on ALL of the children let alone just one, but ... this is something special just for him, and we feel good about it. I found it on sale a week or so ago and sent Rob right out to buy it. It's GINORMOUS! Right now pieces of it are in Rob's closet, the attic, and the back of Rob's truck! I'm just wondering how we're going to actually give it to him. The box is destroyed. I plan on having it already put together. But where? He'll get downstairs early and see it, and there won't be any surprise. If we leave it in the front, outside, it'll surely get stolen. Backyard, which is full of dog poo? Suggestions welcome.
Next up is Sophia's big present: the Fisher Price Smart Cycle. It's the dealy that hooks up to the TV and educates them while they ride. I know she will get a huge kick out of it, and I'm sure the other kids will, too. Actually, I'm hoping that they will all share and share alike their "big" gifts this year, which is one of the reasons I chose them.
Again, I found the Cycle and the cartridges on sale on the FP website, so I went ahead and bought four of them. I don't exactly remember which ones I bought... so we'll see when it's time to wrap them!
For Chloë, I wanted a nice, "real" digital camera, as opposed to the Fisher Price Kid Tough one she had in the past that was really durable and... that's about all it had going for it. She absolutely adores taking AND being in pictures, and I think she is ready to take care of a decent camera. We'll be sure to have a special keeper spot for it and teach the Littles it's off-limits, of course. This one is the Kodak EasyShare (so we can use the same software) C1013. I can hear her squealing about it now!
[Rob doesn't really give me much input as to what to get the kids, but he's always happy with what I decide. And we talk about it before buying anything big. Just so's ya know.]
Rob and I aren't really doing gifts for each other this year. Between my piddly little spending here and there on baking and crafting stuff, and his whopping huge motorcycle gear purchase that I discovered just this morning (don't get me started...), that's quite enough. I did give him a $10 gift card to Barnes & Noble, because he loves a good book, and this t-shirt, since he'll be riding a new BMW motorcycle very, very soon:
As for the rest of the Christmas shopping, I had a Disney rewards card and bought tons and tons and tons of jammies for the kids on clearance - we can never have enough cute, comfy jammies around here! and I'll give them a pair each the night before to wear - along with the Wall-e DVD on the Disney site.
Let's see, what else has come in the mail? Oh, our checks and address labels, which I ordered from Wal-mart. Did you know they printed checks, on the cheap? Neither did I. I picked these (because, again, Rob rarely touches the checkbook): and these addy labels: Everything came today and is all accurate and cute and stuff!
Also today, arrived a box containing my Kooky Klicker pens - the Breast Cancer Survival Krew. (That's a few too many "K"s for my comfort, no?) There are three: Faith, Hope and Grace, and I received two of each, along with three Kooky Klicker lanyards for wearing them! How fun! Except I won't be wearing any kooky pens anytime soon, and not just because I'm not 12. They all write in black! Wahh! (If you haven't noticed here on the blahg, I rarely like things in black. Or white. I'm all about the color!) So along with a nice notepad in a pretty pink shade, these pens will be gifted to the kids' various teachers for Christmas this year. Yeah. And I have plain white bags that they can decorate for wrapping!
I'm still waiting to receive my Wilton Cake Leveler, and did I mention I won a third prize?
I did! I won a set of 12 note cards with this Pretty in Pink rose on it. So that's good; I gave three prizes and won three prizes, and I'm happy.
Another delivery today was my Jafra order! I haven't ordered in a long time, simply because the product lasts so long, I don't need to. I'd be ordering much more frequently if I actually had a client base, but I don't, so... but I absolutely adore everything Jafra, and am so excited to be sharing half of this bounty with Suzie, who won that giveaway! She ordered kiddie stuff, but for myself, I got my must-have Peppermint Foot Balm (oh, divine), three way-on-sale bottles of Alpha Hydroxy for my face (which has been AFU since my hysterectomy), and new mineral foundation powder and brush. I put it on today, and it's a miracle! You can still see all the freckles I gained this summer while wantonly being out in the sun sans SPF (boo!), but the blemishes are vamoose. Love it!
Oh, no, that's not all that came today! I have had my eye on this larger dance bag from Lillian Vernon for a while now, the duffel, since we have had the wonderful smaller one for Chloë for over four years now, and it has gotten to be too small now that Sophie's dancing and Chlo's in tap, jazz and ballet. I personalized it, for free (did you know LV has a base here in Va Beach? I have thought about applying there for the past three holiday seaons), with "Odette Girls" as opposed to "Chloe" like the last one, so either or both could use it.
It's huge! And, well, since our cup runneth over when it comes to two pairs of ballet shoes, tap shoes, leotards, skirts, pants, shorts, tights and what-have-yous, I decided to go ahead and give them their present now, when they really need it. Sophia couldn't really care less, but Chloë was doing her usual hooting and hollering over it. She loved it! Too bad I didn't get a picture with the embroidery showing.
The last fun thing that came in the mail today - unless you count the lower-than-usual T-mobile bill - was this necklace from ChicMade on Etsy. I "met" her through the Bloggy Giveaways, and we decided to organize a trade! I made her a blue fuzzy scarf in exchange for this necklace, which reminds me of three little planets. It's a bit shorter than I like in a chain, so for now I'll let Chloë wear it, but I really like it and am happy we did the exchange! Fun stuff.
Oh, but I'm still not done. You see, even though the kids were *cough* "sick" *cough* today, we had places to go, people to see, things to do. After everyone was finally up and breakfasted, I went upstairs and showered, got everyone dressed, and did a load of laundry. Chloë put away, as usual. Love that kid.
Then we went to IHOP for a lunchtime mystery shop. The first of many places today where Sophie was called "he" or "boy" or "your little brother, there." I wish she'd let me put some earrings back on her or a clip in her hair or something! No, she's fine, she's cute. And she doesn't care, so I suppose I shouldn't. The kids were quite the handful at lunchtime, although all the servers kept visiting them and chatting them up, telling me they were darling. Sophia and Jack had happy-face pancakes, and Chloë had a dish of fruit. Oh, my gosh, between the strawberries and chocolate, Soap was QUITE a MESS. She had it all over her face, hands, and down the entire front of her shirt. (Thank goodness I'd put the less-nice one on her after all; I switched at the last moment.) We spent a great deal of time in the bathroom attempting to clean her up!
Afterward, we ran over to The Knitting Corner so I could pick up some size 3 bamboo double-pointed knitting needles for a pair of baby socks I need to knit for a friend. Gosh, the lady who works there is literally 95 years old and slower than molasses. I'd left the kids in the car to dash in and out, and I kept dancing around, back to the door and up to the counter, while she took her sweet granny time. I have nothing against old people at all, but I don't know if I'd have Methuselah's Mother on as an employee in my shop! I probably wouldn't have cared if it weren't for the kids, though...
Then we ran to the new Carter's store waaay, way down by the Farmer's Market. I had a coupon for $20 off $50, I think? Along with punch tickets for every $10 or so you spend, you get a punch, blah blah, that need to be redeemed by the end of the year. Jack needs pants, Chloë needed a coat, and I wanted to see what they had.
Wow! Nearly everything in the store was on sale! I reigned myself in to only spending the $50, though. Partly because almost all the cuteness was for kids smaller than mine (imagine!), partly because I was thinking of the kids' overstuffed drawers at home, and partly because of our tightened belts.
I have a winter coat on order for Chloë from Gymboree, along with more pants for the boy (all on clearance, of course, and I got an additional 30% off), but she also needed a raincoat. Isn't this slicker cute? The kids played at a Lego table in the middle of the store while I shopped, so she was oblivious to what I'd picked out for her until we got home. Her first comment? "Ugh. I hate brown." Hello? This is blue, is it not? Crazy kid. She was talking about the darker lining blue, which you can see on the cuffs, but still. Not brown! I think it looks great on her. And it's one of the few things she owns in a size 6. Everything else is a 4 or a 5, but I'm determined to move her forward as her age progresses! It actually doesn't look too big.
I also found her this outrageously-priced $30 leotard (which is much nicer than it looks in this horrible picture) for 70% off, which I decided was doable. Lord knows we can use more leos in the laundry rotation, and at $9, the price was right. I spend way more for them at the dance store.
For Jack, I found four nice pairs of pants in a 3T, marked about $22 each but on sale for 60% off. His comment to me, upon showing them to him at home and seeing Chloë modeling her new gear, was, "I am NOT TRYING ANYTHING ON!" and then he ran away. *giggle* I love the khakis and wish I'd picked up a few more. I just hope they fit... but at least we have belts, and one can always roll up the cuffs.
Jack's new jeans, also 60% off $22.
I tried to visit Uncle Chuck's at the Farmer's Market, but it was only 1315 and he opened at 1400, sadly, on Friday's. Suck. I was suddenly really in the mood for his awesome crab cakes, too. And I thought it would be a good time to pick up some fall produce for pie-baking and nummy-num eating and such. Since Chuck was closed, though, we skipped it entirely. May just have to go back this weekend!
We drove waaay back this way to go to the post office and mail a package to Rob's sister for CARE Package, and then it was back home at last. Since Chloë had called Sophia a bad word in the car, I sent her right upstairs to my room to "rest" while I gave the Littles a piece of Halloween candy. Then they, too, went up to rest. I tried to remain productive but gave into a short snooze in the end.
I'd have slept longer, but one of the Brownies moms called to say she'd be here within the hour to pick up her Fall Product. And I still had it unsorted out in the van. I haven't delivered any of ours, either, even to our very-right-next-door neighbors! Stupid Sick. So I skedaddled on outside to separate her goods and write her a receipt.
When she came, Chloë had come downstairs to talk things over, and she and the other Brownie visited for a while, and the mom and I chatted for a good long time (You may remember baby Vivian? Her mom and older sister.) about our kids, parenting, Obama, parenting, and so on. It was a good talk. Nice woman. She's a nurse. I told her to come in and take care of me, but she refused. Bah.
Eventually, everyone woke up, and we waited for Daddy. As soon as he came in from work, we headed out to Moe's (Welcome to Moe's!) for a mystery shop dinner. As usual, it was super-good, and we were stuffed. The kids were rambunctious for Daddy, and I was glad it wasn't just me who was going nuts with them today!
I'm already looking forward to them going back to school on Monday.
Back at home, I put the finishing touches on this soft little set of baby mitts for the same friend as above (the DPNs). Aren't they cute? And with that same sproingy yarn I used before; had some left over and it was just the right amount! Now I need to start the baby's sockies. But I'll probably make some tutus tonight, as I just got invited to do another local show!
First, though, I have to do those blasted IHOP and Moe's reports.
Sorry this turned out to be so epic! Hope you liked all the pix and linx, though.