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Entries from February 2009

Triumphs

Here is the first of Chloƫ's three commercials for NOVEC. Check her out! What do you think?

I weighed in this morning. In the month since surgery, I have lost 29 lbs, for a total of 40 lbs since Jan 1!!!  I am very close (1 lb) to meeting my first goal, so I was thrilled to see the scale this morning!

We had a booth sale this evening. Oy. For half an hour, Chloƫ and I were by ourselves! The other girl's mother forgot about the booth. Never mind that I called her 2-3x this week... So I called our Leader and asked her to come out with her daughter. And she did - at the same time the first girl showed up! So we had three kids, eventually.

But only for an hour or so. Chloƫ was coughing nonstop, despite the cough medicine I'd given her before we left. And then suddenly she was burning up. I didn't have my purse or anything to buy her some Tylenol, so I called Rob to take her home - and bring me my card, so I could buy more meds for her.

Our Leader brought me home and kept all the booth stuff for tomorrow morning, which I got out of for a change. I just had to swipe out all the cash and run the starting inventory numbers for her. Whoops, not enough Samoas and Thin Mints, and I was out of them in the house, too.

Chloƫ was resting, listless on the couch when I came home. I gave her some Mucinex, and Rob gave her the Tylenol. I can't remember if it was before or after that when she started throwing up. Poor kid. She doesn't just get sick. She gets siiiiiick.

I managed to get an appointment with the Cookie Cupboard to pick up Samoas and Thin Mints, so I rushed out at 2130 to pick them up. Late, I know, but we need them for the morning. Guess I'll be getting up for the booth after all...

So now I'm hoping Chloƫ will be feeling much, much better tomorrow, because she has an evening booth and then filming on Sunday. Eep.

Enjoy the video!

Fin.


The Longest Day

Whew. I am bushed.

Our day started at 0530, which is crazy early for me. The last time I woke up that early (on purpose) was... okay, well, it was one month ago today for my surgery! I'm a month out! I didn't get to weigh in this morning, because we had to run, so I'll do it tomorrow.

Anyhoo, I first woke up Chloƫ, so I could get her in the shower with me in order to floof up her curls. Jack woke up in the process and dressed himself, thinking he was going to school. He was on autopilot. Teehee, it was cute.

We woke Sophia last; she's so adorable when she's just been awakened from a sound sleep.  Rumpled hair, squinty eyes... too cute.

After I showered and dressed and ascertained that all the children were dressed and ready to go, I ran downstairs to get them shod and coated. Then I made them each a bag of "breakfast blend": a mixture of Cap'n Crunch, Rice Chex, and Golden Grahams, along with a sprinkle of chocolate chips. No, I don't normally give them chocolate for breakfast, but I was feeling generous.

And off we went, for the two-hour drive north to Aylett, VA. I had to get gas first, and somehow managed to fill up for under $30. Sweet! I'd forgotten my debit card at home, though. Oopsie.

Nobody slept in the car, unforch. I had hoped they would, so no one would be a crankypants at the shoot, but no one was. I didn't know it at the time, but Chloƫ read 30-something pages of her Beezus and Ramona book on the drive up; I'd thought she was just being grumpy! I didn't realize it was because she was busy, Mooom.

****

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Rob was having the beginning of an absolutely miserable day. He was supposed to do his 2-day motorcycle course, starting this morning, on the Navy base... but the bike wouldn't start. Hindsight is 20/20 - we should've started it before I left, but he was able to start it last night with no problem and assumed it would be the same today. Nope. I was already on 1-64 West when he called, and I asked him what he wanted me to do. What to do, what to do? Turn around and give him a boost? And be late for our call time in Aylett? Or keep going and be on time for the shoot?

In the end, he told me to keep going. I've regretted it ever since. I should have turned around. I could have pretended I got lost or something.

So he never made it in. Oh, he got the bike started eventually, but he only drove down the road a short piece before it died again, and wouldn't restart at all. It was gone. Damn thing! So he walked back home, leaving the 'cycle where it was all day, and fretted. His work wasn't happy. He couldn't get in. I'm flabbergasted that no one could take off for the 20-minute drive to come and get him?? I could have picked him up on my return. He contemplated renting a car, but I vetoed that idea for financial reasons. So he spent the day at home.

I'd have bitched about the kitchen still being a disaster when I got home, but then, he could bitch about the same thing in every other area of the house, and there would go that argument! And so I didn't.

****

Back to the NOVEC shoot. Our call time was 0830, and we got there ten minutes early. The director, Eric, pulled up at the same time as us, and he opened the back door to find Sophia absolutely covered in chocolate on her hands and face. I was mortified! Haha! He said, "Oh, my, you have been eating something good, haven't you?!" He was amused when he found out her name, as it's the same as his own daughter's.

I apologized for having the Littles with me, saying I couldn't get a sitter, and then let Chloƫ out to meet him. She ran up and gave him a great, big hug, and he was smitten with her! She has always been a man's child. She loves men. And they love her. Yes, I'm worried about ten years from now - heck, seven!

I spit-shined Sophia's hands and face, and then we and the suitcase went inside to stand around and look stupid. The shoot was at a model home in a new development, and so I was on the Littles like white on rice to keep them from touching a single solitary thing. And there were lots of knick-knacks and decorations, so I was kind of antsy! Plus it was my first time on a real, professional shoot, so I was nervous about my own comportment. Eric eased the way, though; he had called me the other day to let me know what to expect and to assure me that they were a fun group. And they were.

We met Terri, who played Chloƫ's mom in two of the commercials (there were three; Chloƫ and Mom were in the first one, all three with Dad in the second, and Chloƫ and Dad in the third!). When Terri finished hair and make-up, Chloƫ went in. She looked gawjus, dahlink. Just adorable. I'm saying this from a completely objective, unbiased, non-bragging point of view: that is one good-looking kid! (Are we sure she's ours?)

Anyway. The crew was setting up for the shoot upstairs, so Eric offered us breakfast in the kitchen. The Littles were all over that, although they'd demolished their "breakfast blend" in the car. They ate bagels, muffins, and granola, and drank half the bottle of prop OJ from the stocked fridge for the third spot! He said it was okay for them to have anything from the fridge, as long as we didn't empty it. I didn't allow them anything else.

Gosh, I'm totally rambling. This is going to be one long post. Sorry. And I forgot my camera, so the few measly pictures I have are on my cell, and I don't feel like dealing with that at the moment. And none of the Supah Stah! Jeepers, Melanie.

Then the NOVEC Client appeared and introduced herself to us. She was fancy and business-like, but also nice and pleasant, and I liked her. At the same time, Terri asked if Jack and Sophie were twins, and I said no and told her their ages and all that. Then Sophie piped up for everyone who was downstairs at the time to hear, "And Robby is in heaven because he died!" Oy. I hate it when they bust that out in front of just anybody! Eric said, "Who?" And I gave a wry smile and said, "Our son, my son." He and the Client and I don't know who else gave me that look and said they were sorry. Sigh.

So finally it was time for the first shoot. The Littles and I were banished from the house, so their noise wouldn't carry upstairs into the filming. We played in the backyard for at least an hour and a half, and I was so mad at myself for forgetting to take our coats outside! Brr. It was nippy. They played so hard that it didn't really affect them, but mostly I sat in the lawn and watched them and was cold. There were a ton of leaves in the yard, and they had fun with that.

Oh, the yard. It was wonderful. They had a grand time playing out there. It was a good-sized yard, with surrounding woods, and a deck under which they could play in the leaves and dirt. Really, the Nons had a ball, and Jack kept asking if we could move there. He even said, "Daddy can come to visit us here!"  Hahaha. He wanted to know if we could move all their toys and things to the house, since nobody else lived there. And that was mostly because of the fun they had being outdoors all day in the spacious yard. Breathing fresh air. Playing in the dirt. Scuffling in the leaves. Even getting pricked by the thorny vine he kept calling a "cactus plant." It absolutely breaks my heart. (What little yard we have, and I mean it's minuscule, is the dog's potty. And we don't scoop back there, ever. So no romping.)

Whenever I get my van back - and I hope it's next week - I vow to take them to the park every day!!

And definitely, our next house will have a yard. It's a must.

Finally, Terri the Mom came out to get us and let us know we could come back in and get Chloƫ changed out of her PJs (by the way, remind me not to get things together at the last minute like that again; the pink jammies we brought had yellow paint all over them! Embarrassing! But we had a back-up set) and into summertime clothes for the next ad.

I coudn't whittle down all the cute choices of Gymboree tanks and shorts, so I brought a whole mess o' summer clothes. They had a hard time picking, too! We finally settled on something, and then selected her winter outfit and outerwear for her quick change operation, for the second half of the shoot. She went back into hair and make-up to have her locks recoiffed, and then we were banished again.

By the by, we brought ten stuffed animals, a framed photo, and my cell, iPod and Palm for the first shoot. They didn't need any of them. Eric said, "I couldn't remember whether I'd asked you to bring them." Urgh. Uh, yeah, you did. But that's okay, I'd rather have it and not need it than the reverse.

This time, I took the Tots out to the van, because they were shooting downstairs now, and I wasn't sure if they'd hear us out in the yard. I was constantly having to remind the kids not to shout or stomp the first time, and I didn't want to get yelled at! So I let them loose in the back of the car while I knitted in the front seat.  They got back into their cereal and rice cakes, and now I have smashed Crunch all over my vehicle. Glorious.

I made it all the way up to the last 20 or so minutes, when I started stockinette-stitching myself into a coma. So I made the kids buckle into their seats, lest they get out and get hurt, and I put my seat back down. Jack fell asleep before I did! I don't know if Sophia ever slept, but by the time I dozed, it was only a few minutes before Eric was knocking on the window. When he woke me up, my right hand was tucked into my pants! Heehee. Again, embarrassing! He gestured and said, "Uh, sorry about that!" and I don't know if he meant waking me up or catching me that way!

It was lunchtime at last. We trooped into the house, where ChloĆ« was already dining on chips, cheese, and cherry tomatoes. She goes for the alliterative meals, I guess.  I tried getting veggies and dip for the Bitties. Nope, not having it. Sandwich? Nope. What, then? Jack wanted some prop yogurt, but I put my foot down. In the end, Sophie agreed to some cheese, and Jack wanted some ham (ew). I made a turkey and cheese sandwich to share with Sophie, and pulled some extra ham on the plate for Jack.

We joined most of the crew out, and the grown-up actors, out on the deck for lunch. Sophie refused her sandwich and immediately, to my chagrin, started going up to each person and pointing to their plates, saying, "Can I have that? Can I have a bite?"  She's such a little piggy! I was so mortified, and kept calling her name to chastise her, but they were all enamored of her and shared their food! Aagh! Don't encourage her, people! She scored some celery and dip, some chips, some carrots, and Lord knows what else.  She did attempt to share some of the food she'd scored with other folks, which made them laugh.

And I made a mistake: I took two bites of the sandwich, bread and all. Oh, it was a yummy-looking (and tasting) onion roll, and I just couldn't resist. Well, two bites was all it took. I thought I was going to start puking right there on the deck, in front of all those people! I learned my lesson on that, for sure. I waited a few moments and then continued eating the cheese and turkey and was fine. But I will mourn bread.

After being given a chocolate chip cookie each, I washed the kids up and then it was time to get ready for some more filming. I sent the little ones out to the backyard to play (I watched them from the back door the whole time, and there was absolutely NO traffic except for our own group anyway) while I stayed in and watched the goings-on. First, they filmed Chloƫ's hand up close for the second ad, changing the thermostat. Amazing how long that little bit of acting took! How many shots, how much set-up and adjusting and discussion. Very interesting.

Then she went back into wardrobe and hair and make-up for the final ad. Terri the Mom left, as she was finished, and the extremely nice NOVEC Client took her leave as well, thanking me for Chloƫ. Eric had told me previously that she'd beaten out a lot of other kids for the commercial and had had to get the approval of a lot of people before being chosen. Proud Mama!

I was able to watch half the filming of the second ad, through two of Chloƫ's three wardrob and hair changes. At one point, she was supposed to pick up the jar of pickles and express her disgust. Well, she's such a ham; between takes, she kept going on about how she hated pickles, they were disgusting, etc. They told her, that's okay, you don't really need to eat them. She replied, "Oh, no, I really do like pickles. I was just acting!" OMG. They roared, and I was rolling. Hilarious!!!!

The Littles insisted on coming in at that point, so I let them stay for exactly ten seconds before Eric gave the "I need quiet on the set!" and I rushed them back out to the yard. I'd been assured that they couldn't hear us playing out there, so we stayed. By then it was beautiful out, so no need for coats.

We ran around, playing, and I lay on the ground and let them bury me in leaves. I got several in my mouth, blech. We were still rolling around on the lawn when Eric came out and said they were finished with her. He told me what a great job ChloĆ« had done, that she's gotten a little tired at the end but did fantastic for such a long day of shooting. (She'd been up since 0530, and it was 1530 by then!) Most kids would have had a meltdown by then, in his experience.

I asked him about the commercials, since it's for a non-local-to-us power company. They're going to edit them tomorrow and email them to me sometime next week! And I can share with you and anyone I want, as long as I don't charge for the privilege. (Rats!) He and the hair lady helped me with our bags and stuff, and she fetched a string cheese and cookies for each of the kids.

And finally, at last, we were on our way home again. Rah.

We were maybe, possibly, a mile down the road before I looked in my rearview and saw three floppy heads in the backseat. Sound, sound asleep. As soon as I heard "I Kissed a Girl" come on the radio, though, I knew I had a problem. Sure enough, Sophie popped out of her deep sleep and said, "MOMMY! Is that Katy Perry?" She has a bit of an obsession with her. Heh. She didn't go back to sleep for the rest of the trip!

Jack and Chloƫ snored for quite a while, and then finally Curly woke up and started reading B&R again. She always loves to tell me what page she's on, what chapter, and what the action is. I love that she is so thrilled with books. "Mommy! In Chapter Four, Beatrice turns TEN! That means she was NINE for the first three chapters!"

We got to around Williamsburg with no problems, and then the late-afternoon sunlight striping the road started to affect my eyeballs. It makes me sleepy, and I had touch-and-goes all the way home from there. We ran into several accidents that delayed our arrival by at least 20 minutes - not bad, but I was dying to be home and crash. And not crash, myself. But we made it.

The rest of the night was pretty standard, with a little play, a little Noggin, dinner, baths, etc. Nothing exciting.

So if you made it all the way through this novella, bravo to you! It was a fun, fun day, and I'm so glad she enjoyed it and did so well. Next up: her movie shoot on Sunday!

Fin.


Bubblehead

My children woke up before the alarm went off this morning. All three of them were up by 0630. What the?! Have they met me? Do they hate me? Eh, it was just as well; I couldn't sleep, either.

I ended up watching Nights in Rodanthe last night, but not knitting. It was good. I cried when it was over, in Rob's arms. "Cried" being an understatement. But I don't want to tell you why, because it would obviously spoil the whole thing. I just love Richard Gere. I like crow's feet on a man. Fortunately, Rob has plenty. Tee-hee.

I would have knit, but my knitting bag was by the front door, and I didn't realize that until I was already comfortably settled and bundled up on the couch. Seeing as I am considerably lazy, I didn't want to get up again to get it.  For once, I just sat and watched the boob tube without doing a second thing. I never do that. It was kind of cozy.

As cozy as it can get when it's absolutely freezing, anyway. I could not get warm. It was about 19Āŗ, and our house is no different than any other location: warm air rises; cold air sinks. We have a sunken living room, and it is umpteen degrees chillier down there than in the office, which by turn is cooler than our bedroom.  So I opted to pull myself up off the couch, post-movie, and go to bed. I didn't realize why Rob chose to stay downstairs on the couch until I went to our room and discovered half the contents of his closet spread all over his side of the bed!!

I slept fitfully until the wee ones woke up in the wee hours.

We all headed downstairs and had breakfast. I opted for a too-carb-heavy bowl of hot oatmeal with Splenda and cinnamon, but I didn't "dump." The Bigs were packed off and sent on their way, and then Sophia and I settled down on the couch for a snug and a book. We read and then turned on PBS Kids for some Curious George and Sid the Science Kid (ugh). Before I knew it, she was dozing. I thought about it for two seconds before deciding to join my baby in slumber. Ahh. Sweetness.

It didn't last long at all, but it was a nice little snoozy.  Then we played with the stuff from the Prize bucket and read more of the books. I don't really care for that "When Sophie Gets Angry" title. It seems to condone having a screaming, stomping temper tantrum and then tell the kid to run far, far away to calm down. Huh? I'm going to let my small child run loose in the woods?  Whatever. The pictures are nice, though.

Jack came home, and they had lunch. I tried to put them down for naps, and they went. But after a time, it became evident that naps were not going to happen today. I found them both up in the top bunk, climbing all over each other like puppies, giggling away. I just stood there in the doorway until they noticed me. Finally, the reaction I expected: two little blonde deer caught in the headlights. Hehe.

I set Jackie to the task of cleaning his room (to his major dismay; he hates doing anything by himself) and hauled Sophia into my room so I could shower. Then I began the arduous task of tackling the Laundry Monster. Rob had taken over the job of washing the clothes, but today I decided to take it back.  I have a feeling our water bill will go back down, too - IMO, he doesn't wash a full load. Bet me. We'll see.

So I spent several hours (yes!) folding laundry and washing and drying more, waiting for Curly Girl to get home from school and Rob to get home from work. Turns out, though, that he had a meeting and couldn't come home. Argh. So we missed dance class, which makes me peevish, as much as we pay for those lessons.

Finally, it seemed, the Littles needed - no, wanted - their rest. So I put them in their rooms, and both of them were instantly out like a light. Whew! ChloĆ« and I went downstairs to keep things quiet and start her homework.  I cleaned up a little in the office while helping her with her math.

Usually, my frustration with her doing her math homework escalates, and at least one of us ends up in tears. It is just not a good situation. Today, I insisted to myself on remaining calm, and showing her new ways to tackle the problems she kept getting wrong.  She, in turn, also remained calm, and pleasant, and actually seemed to understand what I was showing her. Then she completed the rest of the paper and got all the problems correct! Obviously, calmness is a better teaching tactic than, well, anything else, but I actually enjoyed helping her today. I just need to practice yoga before homework time...

Then came Jack. His homework was to practice writing the numbers 0-25 in his notebook. I told him I was going to give him his notebook and then send him into the kitchen to try doing it on  his own. I just wanted to see how well he could do without me. Well, he cried and carried on about having to do it by himself, and I considered sending him back upstairs for more nap! Seriously, he needs his hand held all the time. But I prevailed, and into the kitchen he went.

He wrote beautiful numbers up through "13" and then got stuck. But we figured it out, and he was grateful for the help. I was surprised, since he's done so well with his numbers in the past and counts to 100 on a regular basis.  No more resting on our laurels, though; we shall practice and practice on our own. This is going to be a hardworking, long summer for them, I can see!

ANYway.

So Rob finally came home, and I sent him out to get me some steamed shrimp. I was craving meat. I'm always wanting meat. I'd had enough of shakes, cheese, hummus, yogurt, etc. I wanted FLESH. Gawd, that sounds horrific. Ew. But he came home with a ring of frozen shrimp, and I wanted to cry.  I was hungry NOW.

I had another shake while he thawed the shrimp, and I worked on more laundry. Then Chloƫ and I got to work packing everything for her commercial tomorrow. We had to bring a load of stuffed animals, a family picture (I chose one of her and her grandmother, since obviously one with her parents wouldn't match the actors in the commercial), and other knickknacks from her room. We didn't really find any, though, so they'll have to deal with that. Then the clothes. We chose two sets of cute jammies for the bedtime spot. Three jeans-and-shirts outfits for the refrigerator spot (I hope I'll be able to see these and show them to you somehow, at some point). Tons and tons of tank tops and shorts, along with winter outerwear, for the thermostat spot.

Jack and Sophia were SO confused. Here I was, packing all kinds of clothes - and jammies! which means overnight! - for ChloĆ«, but nothing for them in the suitcase. And she brought books and toys and ... what about them? Where were we going? Where were they going to be? What about Daddy? What on earth is going on here??!  I kept answering the same questions over and over, but I still don't think they get it. Poor kids.  Hopefully it'll make sense for them tomorrow.

Our last task is to bring rechargeable devices that blink in the dark, for the bedroom spot. But I can't think of anything that blinks! My iPod doesn't, nor does my cell phone. My Palm screen flashes on, so I'll offer that, but does anyone else have any further suggestions? I mean, we have plenty of things that plug in, but not that flash in the dark. None that I want to lug two hours north, anyway...! 

So I'm going to go walk on the treadmill. I never did last night.  If you think of anything, please comment tonight!

Fin.


Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

So today was pretty much identical to yesterday until Rob got home. Reread that if you want to know what we did. ;)

Chloƫ and I left for her Ballet class almost as soon as he arrived. First, we had to stop at a house around the corner and deliver her cookies. I rang the bell twice, then opened the screen door and used the knocker before anyone came to the door, though we had pre-arranged for me to come by at this time. Lots of people's doorbells don't seem to work around here, though...

I sat and knitted my way through the entire hour of Ballet. I finished the back (which I didn't do last night, nor did I watch the movie, because I fell asleep as soon as I landed on the couch) and then realized I'd left the pattern at home! Oopsy. So I called up a disgruntled Rob and asked him to read me the next section. Rob reading knitting instructions sounds like anyone reading a foreign language which they have not studied - hilarious! But I didn't say so, lest he hang up on me. I knitted on.

When class was out, we rushed home as fast as humanly possible to beat our special visitors to the door, but alas, we didn't make it. Damn, damn, damn!!! I'm glad, at least, that Rob and the Littles were there to intercept them, but they really wanted Chloƫ, and she would have been so overjoyed with their visit.

Who, you ask?

Their school's Reading Prize Patrol selected Jack and Chloƫ as this year's winners, for agreeing to read as a family each day (I knew since last week). Apparently they showed up in droves, about 20 people including both principals, her teacher, the whole library staff, and more, in several cars full, with video cameras and everything. It was a Pretty Big Deal. And we missed it by five minutes! Waahhhhh! Jack and Sophia enjoyed it, though.

100_0215 

Chloƫ ran in the house and snatched this huge laminated sign away from her daddy to read. What on earth are we going to do with it? Roll it up and store it somewhere in the attic, I guess.

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The prize was a big bucket full of goodies, including these four helium balloons (their fave) tied to a new box of #2 pencils. And why yes, they did have pasta for dinner! Hee.

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There were two of the softest little teddy bears in the top of the bucket. Jack refused one, and Sophia had apparently already claimed the brown one, so Chlo received the green. I asked Soap to smile, and she pouted and said, "NO! I don't HAVE any smiles left!" My eyes met Rob's, and we tittered.

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There were all kinds of goodies under the bears. A chalkboard and chalk, card games, stickers, bookmarks...

100_0219   

...and a whole stack of brand-new books, for all THREE of the kids' reading levels! I love that they included Sophia in the prize! (And I know that they did so intentionally, because they asked for all ages of children in the house on the entry form, and confirmed it with me when they called to say the kids had won.)

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And in the bottom of the very nice bucket, more stickers, bookmarks, and three packs of crayons!

It was a great lot of fun, and we sure were an excited bunch to receive it!! Thank you, Point O' View!

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Oh. One of the books was titled, "When Sophie Gets Angry...," so I asked Sophie to show me her angry face. This was her reply! If you look hard enough, I think you can make out her duodenum.

100_0222 

And guess what else arrived tonight? My Wii Fit!! Yippee! Too bad the Wii system hasn't even shipped yet, so it's just a cool box for now. But pretty soon, I'll be WFing away!

Ahhh... good times, good times.

So afterward, ChloĆ« changed back into her regular clothes, and went to deliver one last box of cookies. No, two:  At her booth sale with Brett, I'd told the girls I would buy them a box of cookies if they correctly guessed how many we sold. ChloĆ«, who is no good at math in general or estimating specifically, said ten. Psht! Brett guessed 52 and the real number was 53 (or maybe vice versa), so I called her mother and asked her what kind of cookies she would like!

Tonight, we drove over there so ChloĆ« could give Brett her box of Trefoils. Trefoils? This I don't get. Out of all the flavors, she picks the no-chocolate shortbread cookies? Whaa? We have had several customers order two boxes of those and nothing else. Huh? Trefoils? I just don't GET them. Really? What about Samoas? Thin Mints? Hello, DULCE DE LECHES!!  Weirdness. Her mom agrees with me!

Let's see. Back at home, Chloƫ started in on her math homework, which I made her redo about eight times, to both our frustration. And I helped Jack with his reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, which put us both on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Jack and I had a serious talk tonight about whether he wants to go to first grade with his friends next year, or stay behind in kindergarten. He (thankfully) chose first grade, so I talked to him about what he needs to do to get there. For one, PAY ATTENTION! To me, to Daddy, to Mrs. Swann - whomever is teaching him. He really, really needs to learn to read his sight words. Out of 24, he knows ten. I think I'm going to make up flash cards of the ones I don't already have and bring them up to the set on Thursday when we're sitting around all day doing nothing.

Anyway.

That's about it.  I'm torn between watching the movie (Rodanthe) and knitting my kimono, or going upstairs to shower and fold laundry, or walking on the treadmill. I'm thinking laundry.

Toodles!

Fin.


Housebound

Well, I miss my van. Not that it's really gone, it's just gone for me during the day. Rob didn't get his motorcycle license this weekend after all. He didn't fail the test; he just never took it. There was some mix-up with the proof of insurance for the bike, and, well, here we are with another week of him taking my ride to work.

I do not like it, Sam I am.

I had promised a friend of mine I'd bring her her cookie order at 1300 today. Well, 1300 rolls around, and I'm just about to start getting the kidlets ready for the ride when, lo and behold, I realize I don't have any way to get there!

I really don't know what Rob is going to do on Thursday when I have to take Chloƫ up north for her commercial all day.

Anyhoo.

The Nons and I had a fun day of playing. Well, they did. They mostly wanted to play by themselves and not have motherly involvement, though I tried to get down in there and play with them. Sophia deigned to feed me a few of her play kitchen concoctions, but that was about it. Mostly she dressed up, "cooked," and played with Mr. Potato Head, while Jack took apart and put back together two of his trucks.

Before I forget, Stephanie is pregnant! I'm excited for her and hope like hell this one will stick. I think it will. Things feel good. She got it confirmed by blood test today and will go again to be checked out on Wednesday. Yay, Stim!!

Rob came home just in time for Chloƫ and me to leave for dance class. Once there, she delivered Miss Sally her cookies and then went in to Tap. I drove around the corner to the bank and deposited over a grand worth of cookie money. Phew! I don't like having that much of someone else's cash sitting around in the house, y'know?

Then I drove to my friend Chris from Bunco to deliver her cookies. Well, her husband's - she's sending them to him in the Middle East. We had a good little talk about everything, and yay! She said I looked good and could tell I had lost weight. My first comment about that! Exciting.

I only had 15 minutes to knit, by the time I got back to dance class, but knit I did. I'm almost finished with the back and will wrap it up after I do this. Maybe. Or maybe I'll just go to sleep...

When we came home, she changed out of her dance attire and into her street clothes, and then we delivered some more cookies. Only to about four houses, but now we're almost done with that. Such a relief; the delivery this year has gone much more smoothly than last year when I had to track people all over creation for weeks to get their money.

At 8, I did my 20 minutes on the treadmill. And I know it isn't much, but I also amped it up another tenth of a mile per hour and put it on a 1.0 incline to burn a few more calories. I suppose I could have kept going another few minutes, but I didn't. Perhaps tomorrow!

After the kids went to bed, I ran to the grocery store to get my free Monday Redbox movie. I chose Nights in Rodanthe. Have you seen it? I planned to watch it after this while I did my knitting, but I'm seriously tired and may watch in the morning.

I also ran into the store while I was there, ostensibly to get a couple gallons of milk for the kids, but I ended up with an armful of snacks for me, too: Hummus, sugar-free pudding, and cheese. It always amazes me how little protein is in the store-bought hummus (and probably mine, too), considering  that it's all bean mush. What up with that?

I guess I'll go flop on the couch now, and see what happens. How was your day?

Fin.


Slumblog Millionaire

Oscar Night! Did you watch? Well, it's too early in the blahg for that chat just yet. We'll get back to 'er.

I weighed in this morning. Another three pounds gone forever - I'm down 36 pounds total! Wheee!  (And no, you can't tell  yet. I can feel it - the way I move, the way my clothes fit - but I cannot see it. Nor has anyone else noticed. When you're as fat as I am, 36 lbs is a drop in the chubby bucket.)

I spent the entire afternoon with Chloƫ, driving around our little section of the barrio and delivering Girl Scout cookies. I never expected to take so long doing so, but it is what it is. Er, was. Whatever.

We went out, dropped off a few packages, and ran home to replenish one variety. And so it went. We'd go out, deliver like crazy, and run home to refill. It was an extremely successful day; out of 57 customers to whom we had to deliver, we only have 14 left! And most of those, hopefully, will be home tomorrow night.

We stopped 3/4 of the way through our list to go home for a bathroom and lunch break. And get out of the weather. What crazy weather we had today!  When we left home around noon, it was raining. Well, drizzling. But like the postal workers, we deliver, rain or shine. During our break at home, it hailed. Or precipitated some form of frozen rain, who knows what it was technically called? By the time we left again, it was snowing.  Then it turned to rain again. In some places, the sun shone, and we were actually warm. But most of the time, we froze and I had the heat blasting on ChloĆ« in the back seat. iQue loco!

Another observation I had today: if dentists are the most hated profession, Girl Scout cookie, uh, deliverers has to be the most beloved.  We had surly people come to the door, spit out, "Yeah?" and then immediately brighten up and shout, "MY COOKIES!!!" People literally laughing, jumping up and down, running out to greet us, and yelling about their cookies! So many people said, "We thought you forgot about us! We've been thinking about our cookies for days!"  Sorry, folks. Got a little busy with booths, there...! It was definitely more fun to deliver than to sell.

When we got home, the Littles were napping, and ChloĆ« went off to snack or play or something, while I again did the number game. Figuring how much we had left vs. how much we actually needed (oops, we're only 16 boxes ahead and need 41 for Gift of Caring; guess I'll be pulling from the troop order for that!); calculating how much money she should have vs. how much she actually did (we were over, thank goodness, due to donations); adding up all the moolah and adding it to the booth sales for my big bank run tomorrah, etc.  At some point, Rob commented that "no one told me I had to be the cookie chair," but the truth is, I enjoy it. And I not-so-secretly don't trust any of the other moms in our troop to do the job as conscientiously. Hee.

Oh! You know what else I'm excited about? Guess! Guess! No, not that. No! Wrong. Okay, okay, I'll tell you: Our refund came in, and I ordered our Wii and Wii Fit today! I got them off of Amazon.com, via our school's fundraiser link (I love kickbacks for a good cause), and bam! They should be here within a week. I cannot wait to get to work on something way more fun than walking on the treadmill. Don't get me wrong. I'll still do my walking (though I've taken off way too many days in the interest of keeping some of the paltry calories I'd taken in lately), but now I can mix it up a bit.  I'm not quite ready to jump back into Pilates and work my still-healing "core"!

Speaking of calories... and protein, and fluids, I've done much better this weekend. I went over my required 90g of protein last night, which is great! I won't quite hit it today, but it's up there. And I've had more energy and no need of naps. So, hurrah. But when you can only take in a medicine cup worth of food or fluids every 15 minutes, it's hard, man.

Eventually, it was time for me to commandeer the television - much to my son's chagrin - and turn on the Oscar red carpet preview. I'm kind of "over" awards shows in general, but I lurve the Oscars. I never get tired of them. So I settled on the couch with my knitting and went to work. And by "work," I mean lots and lots of boring straight stockinette stitch accompanied by lots of impromptu sobbing fits over acceptance speeches and, sometimes, God knows what.  I'm emotional lately. "Lately" meaning, since birth.

Anyway.

Speaking of sobbing, hello, Heath Ledger? Don't tell me I was the only one. I went through two tissues when he won. Where was Matilda? I'd have liked to have seen her. My cynical husband said he only won because he died, and he's probably right, but I don't give a damn. I loved Heath.

Also, was anyone else pissed about the dead people montage? What the hell was that?!! Rob and I were both annoyed at the way they produced that. I mean, we could hear Queen Latifah - did we really need to see her while that was going on? And what was with the floating all over the screen? That's normally my favorite part of the night, but it sucked big donkey butt this time. You couldn't even read half the names! Gah!

Again, I say, anyway.

I needed to send the director of Chloƫ's next film, An Origin, pictures of her in some of her fancier dresses. So I sent her up to collect five of them, and we played fashion show. Two were of the dresses she wore to iPOP last year, and the third was her dress in the Christmas pictures, so you've seen them already. Here are the other two:

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She loves that one.

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I don't think she's ever worn that one, since the time she tried it on after I bought it, so she was excited to put it on! Guess I better let that be her Easter dress at least, huh?

I still had my camera out, so Sophia asked me to take a few pictures of her. Of course, she had to pose Soap-style, so this is what we came up with:

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Thumb still visibly wet from some major sucking!

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"My shirt says it all!"

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"Look, my hair is finally growing back in!"

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Then she said, "Mommy, do this!" and I did, and she took a picture, and here it is. Please ignore my unbrushed hair.

She absconded with my camera after that and took a trillion pictures of things important to a Sophie. Here are a few:

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Yep. It's a ceiling.

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Mommy's over-the-couch shark picture

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The inside of Chloƫ's guitar. (Which she then handed to me and insisted I sing and play. We do that a lot. I make up goofy songs, and the kids laugh and laugh and beg for more. Rob doesn't seem to enjoy it as much as we do!)

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Le Treadmill, which she is forever getting on and being yelled at to get off

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I call this: Dog Hair on Fireplace

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Two of her very favorite toys, the play kitchen and the Smart Cycle

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Close-up of the Bouncer-to-Toddler Rocker that has served us well over the past 7Ā½ years!

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Extreme close-up of... no clue!

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I just love the expression on Jack's face, as he's caught in the middle of playing with his trucks. And now that he's noticed what Soapy's doing, a fight ensues over Mommy's camera. I don't think so!!

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Her big sister, oblivious to the Oscars, the toys spread everywhere, and her camera-wielding baby sister, reading her latest Highlights Magazine

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The Bounce House

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And finally, I don't know where she was looking when she took this, but dear God, Rob, would you please carry the vacuum back downstairs??!

Okay, so that was a bit more than "a few" pictures, so sue me.  I think they're cute.

I'll leave you at last with this look at the knitting I did tonight on the wee kimono:

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I just love the interesting colorplay in this yarn from 2DI4 Independently Dyed Yarn. It's beautimous.

Have a good week, y'all!

Fin.


That's The Way The Cookie Crumbles

All the boxes of Girl Scout cookies are labeled "Do Not Drop." Ha. Hahaha.  Yeah. Right.

Oh, my. I am soooooo sick of cookies right now!

We had the booth sale last night, and then another this morning, and the third this evening. Chloƫ and I participated in all of them. I'm wiped!

Thankfully, I had a lot more energy today than I have had lately. But it was also freezing out, so I had to keep tap dancing to warm up during the sales. Brrr!

Between sales, ChloĆ« went to that birthday party after all. The mother picked her up, thank GOD, and brought her home again, so I didn't have to drive all the way out to Portsmouth and back. Good thing, because I had to do all the math and stuff after the morning sale, and recalculate everything to get ready for the evening one.  I guess she had a good time; she wasn't too talkative about it afterward. We gave her a Webkinz; is there anything else?

I didn't really take a nap, and neither did Sophia, but we cuddled up on the couch and watched Noggin for an hour. That was nice.  I was so cold, and she was and always has been a heater baby. I warmed my hands on her belly, under the blanket. She just thought Mama was holding her because she loves her; little did she know I was using her for her body heat!

Really not much to tell, although I do want to say that my daily partaking of Taco Bell pintos & cheese is sanctioned by my nutritionist! Not to worry, it's all good... ;)

I'm going to wind a hank of fancy yarn into a nice cake, and then start knitting a baby kimono. Told you it'd be for a wee tot!

Fin.


At Last, Some Knitting Content

So today was no different than the past two days, in that I was virtually useless and feeling devoid of energy and motivation. Oh, well. That week is over, essentially, and a new one will begin. I'll just try again to be more, do more.

The last time I weighed myself, I was down 33 pounds. Just sharin'.

Tomorrow morning, Rob will go in for his motorcycle road test. I'm hoping like hell he passes, because I want my damn van back. Have I told you about that? I think I haven't. His f**king Land Cruiser wouldn't start on Tuesday morning, so he took my van to work. That night, he messed around with it, culminating with its engine catching on fire. Twice. He ran in the house, got the fire extinguisher, and then sprayed the dickens out of the thing.

The fat lady has thus sung. The LC will go the way of the Jetta: to the junk heap. Am I a little bitter? Why, yes, indeed I am. Let's move on, shall we? Everyone cross your fingers that he passes tomorrow. I have places to go, things to do, people to see - and I'm tired of being housebound.

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I sewed up the sleeves and added on the buttons for this baby sweater I'd finished knitting over a week ago, Autumn Leaves by Nikki Van De Car. (Yes, I took the picture on top of cases of Girl Scout cookies, because they are taking over my life right now!!) Stephanie chose the buttons while she was babysitting last night; neither of us is fully satisfied with them, but I only had enough of this one kind. We both agree wooden ones would've been nicer, but I didn't have enough. The yarn is Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool DK, which I adore. It's scrumptious and squeezy and smooshy and soft.

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Here is the back of the sweater. Do you like it? I do. The pattern was a bit frisky - there are a few errors - but it was intuitive enough to figure out what was meant. My only change was making the sweater longer than called for, but that was not intentional. I simply got carried away at dance class one night! I wish I could see it on some sweet little baby, but alas, into the CARE Package bins it will go.

****

I saw my prescribing shrink today, at his separate office rather than my therapist's office where I used to meet him. I guess I am transferring over to the new place, I don't know. And I don't care, as long as my insurance continues to cover it! The visit lasted about eight minutes, long enough for him to ascertain that I was still doing well on the meds, answer my questions about how my meds will change now that I've had the drastic bypass, and write me three new scripts. In and out, bis boom bah. He seemed more pleasant than usual; normally, he is an ass. I think the other office must stress him out, because I noticed the same thing last time. Whatever the reason, I appreciated it!

****

Tonight was our first booth sale, at the grocery store around the corner where I always shop. I was pretty stressed out about it, and not just because I was worried Rob wouldn't get home from work in time for me to go, and not just because of all the materials I had to bring: table, chairs, signage, cookies of course, money box, moolah, Ogden stamp (for bad check collections), Gift of Caring donation box...  I was worried we wouldn't sell, and I'd over-ordered, and our troop would be stuck with tons of cookies for which we had to pay!

Well, we did fine. The girls were a little hyper, and I had to keep cajoling them to stand watch for entering customers. They let so many pass by without asking them!  But almost all of the ones they did ask came over and bought a box or six. Mostly it was ChloĆ« doing the soliciting, while the other little girl just farted around, so I am proud of her. She was very polite, and so many of the customers said how cute she was, and that her adorableness was what convinced them to buy! I have to agree, but I may be biased! ;)

The nice part was that the store let us inside to sell. We're supposed to be outside, but the previous troop was set up inside, and the manager said I could set up there, too. Because brrr, it's a chilly 26Āŗ out now, and it wasn't much warmer then!

Four customers donated a box to our Gift of Caring, too! All in all, the girls sold 83 boxes in an hour and a half. Not too shabby! Tomorrow, we have another booth in the morning, and a third one in the evening.  ChloĆ« is participating in all seven of our booths as it stand now, because we don't have enough people signed up otherwise. She is totally carrying the troop as far as the fundraisers go!  Kind of annoys me, because the girls voted to take a field trip with their funds, rather than get the per-box incentives, so they will all benefit equally despite the fact that some haven't sold a single box, and she has now sold hundreds. And until tonight, she was the only one who sold any Gift of Caring boxes - 41 to be exact!  But whatev.

After Rob picked us up (I had him drop us off so he could bring over more cookies if we ran out), I sat in the back of the van and took inventory. Then I went in the house and did all the math: how many of each variety were sold, how much money we should have, how much credit to give each girl, blah blah blah. The numbers all worked out on the first try, thankfully. And I set everything up for tomorrow morning, so we are ready, ready, ready.

Rob's out right now at a certain Mexican fast food place, getting me a certain proteinaceous substance, because my numbers are waaaaay down. By 9 pm, I'd only consumed 100 calories, and the rest of the week hasn't been much better. So why isn't the weight just flying off me, I wonder? Bah.

I'm off, now, to try and figure out my next knitting project. I have some yarn calling my name, but I don't know what to do with it. Who wants to bet that it will be something for a wee baby?

Fin.


Bzz, Bzz, Bzz: Automatic Shower Cleaner

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Today, I received my BzzKit for the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner. I needn't have waited to tell you about the product, though, because we've already been using it for a couple of years on our own. So, now I have a second machine for the kids' bathroom, and I'm excited about that!

I love the Automatic Shower Cleaner. It really works! Those of you who know me, or frequently read this blog, know that I am not a fan of cleaning. I don't like to do it, and I don't do it often. I used to, B.C. (before children), but now if I want a sparkling clean house, I would be spending my whole life doing nothing but that.

Anyway, you just hang the Shower Cleaner on the shower nozzle, and press the blue button when you're done showering. It beeps for 15 seconds and then sprays down the entire shower and curtain/door with cleanser, which you don't have to rinse off (although it's recommended that  do rinse it off every so often - but I never have and it's fine).

That's it! Clean shower! If you start off with a clean shower, it keeps it clean for you, so you NEVER have to go in there and scrub again. If you start off with a yucky shower, it takes 14-21 days to get it clean, and then you NEVER have to go in there and scrub again! :D Awesome, right?

You could say I'm a fan.  I just wish they had an Automated House Cleaner that picked up all the toys and then dusted and vacuumed, too. My only complaint is that whenever I insert the refill bottle, a little bit squirts out in my face.

Also in my BzzKit (but not part of the Bzz Campaign): a free package of Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel. It comes with the plunger-like applicator already filled up with cleaning goo, and you just click it onto the inside of your toilet bowl, one notch at a time. The cleaning goo sticks to the bowl and dissolves after a week, cleaning the whole time. So, I tried it out.

Obviously, I don't know how well it keeps the bowl clean yet, as it's only been a few hours, but I will say that it seems pretty well stuck on there, and the clean scent is strong as anything. It was a little difficult to take the applicator up to the next notch, though, but now that I've got the hang of it, it'll probably be easier. I'll have to report back on how well it works.

So, do any of you use the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower cleaner? If so, what do you think of it?  If not, would you like a coupon for $5 off the $15 MSRP for a starter kit? Let me know in the comments.

Fin.


My Life Would Suck Without You

(I love that new Kelly Clarkson song. Heck, I just love KC.)

To my husband, two days late for our second-eighth anniversary:

I know it's not perfect.

I know I mess up.

I know sometimes we don't see eye-to-eye, and sometimes we hurt each other.

But I would never want to live without the guy who met me at the bus depot, then ran head-over-heels,  hands clasped and laughing crazily all the way to the courthouse to get married before they closed. And then married me again a month and a half later, already barefoot and pregnant, on the beach at sunset in February, so God and friends and family could witness our true love.

You are not perfect. But you are perfect for me.

My life would suck without you.

I love you.

Fin.


Thinking Day

So Shana left yesterday. I'm embarrassed to say I only took this ONE picture during her visit:

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Shana insisted on helping ChloĆ« with her homework Monday night. I was kind of bad; instead of making her sit at her desk or at the kitchen table, I let her do it in front of the TV while we all watched Madagascar II. But it was okay, they got 'er done. 

Today.

I have just been feeling CRAPPEH these last few days. I still have my cold, and it is completely kicking my butt. It wouldn't be so bad, but I have this awful cough - deep down in my chest - and it hurts and is constant and wears me out. So I haven't been much of a fun mom all week, and today wasn't any different. I'm hoping things clear up before I have to spent all weekend outside at our cookie booth sales!

So anyway, Sophia and I just cuddled up and watched a bunch of PBS Kids this morning. And that was it. Other than at 10 am when a Brownies mom came to pick up her daughter's cookies. Sophia tried to give away Chloƫ's cookies; good thing I marked all the boxes with the proper girl's name!

When Jack came home, it was such a relief. I fed them lunch and then immediately put them down for naps. Ahh! Naptime for me. I was out instantly and stayed that way until Rob came home at 1500.

Then it was go-time.

Rob helped Sophia dress for her dance class. When Chloƫ came in from school, we fetched the cookies we needed for her three dance teachers and left. It was pouring out, so not a fun drive, and I had to carry the girls in and out of the van to the studio. After Soap went into her class, Chloƫ brought the cookies inside and delivered them to two of the instructors; Miss Sally wasn't there. And Miss Darlene paid her extra for a donation, which was nice. She's really awesome - love her!

When Chloƫ came back out, she dressed for Jazz and then climbed into the back and chattered up a storm to herself about heaven-knows-what. I was reading my magazine, although I tried to listen to her. I couldn't make much out, though, but it sure was amusing.

The girls switched classes, and Sophia shrieked "MOMMY!" and jumped into my arms when she saw me. I never get tired of that!

We drove down the road apiece so I could get my pintos & cheese from Taco Bell. Sophia needed a snack, so I bought her some nachos. Um, not a great idea, letting her have those in the car. When we arrived home after dance, I found chips all over the seat and half the cup of cheese upside down on the side. At least it wasn't on the carpeted part!

We dropped off Sophia, and Chloƫ quickly changed, went potty (me too) and grabbed her Brownies vest. I took more cookies to deliver to my friend T. from Bunco, and off we went. I didn't *quite* know where I was going, but I followed the traffic and found our destination (a local high school) easily enough. It was jam-packed with Girl Scouts of all ages, and they were all carrying their stuff for Thinking Day.

Thinking Day is, I think?, the anniversary of the start of Girl Scouts. It's a day when Girl Scouts think about other Scouts around the world and learn about their different countries. Each troop picks a country, and they make the flag and other items to swap, along with that country's foods for the other troops to sample. I knew she was going to have a great time.

I brought her into school and found our leaders right away, somehow, in that massive crowd. Phew. Then I went out and found another mom, who invited Chlo to her daughter's birthday party on Saturday. If she goes, it will be right from one booth sale to the party, and back for another booth. Ay ay ay. I'm debating.

When I left, I drove to T's house and delivered her cookies. She's quite pregnant, but I couldn't carry her cookies in past the front door for her, because I'd stepped in mud and didn't want to ruin her white rugs. Ah, well.

I went home and immediately regretted not giving Chloƫ her camera to take pictures of the event for her Brownies scrapbook. Darn it, this damn camnesia! But I console myself with the knowledge that she probably would have dropped it, or not had time, or lost it, or forgotten...

At home, Rob fed the Littles and himself some pizza while I looked on longingly. I have to wait a whole 'nother week to see my surgeon and get cleared for solid foods, because my original appointment was the day of Chloƫ's upcoming commercial. Gah! I want FOOD. Not that I can go and chow down on some pizza, but, y'know. It looked GOOD.

I also talked to my dad, who just got engaged on Valentine's Day. He plans to marry for the FIFTH TIME this summer. And that's all I have to say about that!

After a while, it was time to pick up Curly Sue. I waited in the hall with all the other parents, and finally she came bounding out. So excited! So happy! So chipper! She had a bag full of her swaps and couldn't wait to show them to me, but I convinced her to do it at home so we could get out of the fray.

Brett's mom met me at the van to pick up her cookies (since I'm the troop cookie chair, I have everyone's orders) and sign her receipts. Then Jenna's mom drove up and picked up her cookies from me. Ahhhh. Now all I have in the office are Chloƫ's cookies and those for the booths. Yay, a little breathing room.

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Here's ChloĆ« at home, showing off the lei she made at Thinking Day, along with the French flag pin she made herself. Her swaps included kiwis from New Zealand, the Canadian maple leaf flag, a pineapple from  Hawaii, a German flag pin, and some other cool stuff. When the girls get their swap hats from our troop leader, she'll have 10 fun things to put on it!

I wrote her teacher a note, basically excusing ChloĆ« from tonight's homework because she was such a busy little girl tonight. So off they went to bed, and now I'm all alone again, contemplating how I can boost my protein intake for the day.  Just FYI: Champion Pure Whey Cookies & Cream shakes SUCK!!!

Happy Hump Day, y'all. ā˜»

Fin.


On The Real

I'm going to try and make this a quickie, because Shana wants to go to bed, so I need to get out of her hair.

Our visit is going well. I'm glad she came, though it's so short: she'll be leaving tomorrow afternoon already. Sophia (well, all of them) keeps forgetting her name, so she calls her "The Lady." Which cracks my ass up!!  "The Lady said I could have more goldfish crackers." "I want The Lady to feed me my dessert," etc. Too funny.

Shana gave them some Tic-Tacs yesterday, and Chloƫ asked us to let her breathe in our faces afterward. "I want to freshen your nose!" So we keep saying that.

Also, she renamed Shana "Cicada Pomegranate"!

Jack just likes it when Shana performs the "Tickletastic" on him. The boy loves a good tickle!

When we were driving today, Sophia said, "Jackie, Jesus!" Shana said, "Sophia! That's not a nice thing to say," or something to that effect. Sophie returned, "But I LOVE Chuck E. Cheese's!" We totally misheard her. It was hilarious.

At Toys 'R Us, Sophia and I happened upon a man sword-fighting with a little girl, using a giant plastic crayon bank. Sophie stopped, hands on hips, and demanded to know what they were doing. The man replied, "Sword fighting! Haven't you ever done that before? Grab a crayon!" She said "okay" and started sword fighting with the man! It was hysterical; I so wish I'd had my camera with me. Then she insisted I get a crayon, too, so we were all sword fighting together. It was so fun!

While Chloƫ and I were at dance class, Shana cleaned the kitchen and made dinner (she's a keeper!). There was pasta, sauce, and mixed veggies. Oh, and mandarin oranges. But she called it "worm stew." The kids kept laughing and talking about eating worm stew all through dinner. Jack ate all his worms!

*********

So, like I said, our visit is going well. I'd tossed and turned all night, so I was still very sleepy after all the kids got up, and the Bigs went off to school.  Shana took Sophia and the dog out for a walk and let me sleep for a couple more hours. Nice. I needed that.

Then we both showered (not together, you pervs!) and hung out 'til Jack came home. Shana fixed the kids some lunch, and then we ran errands.

Our first stop was the pet store, to get a new water dish for Lily. We went to the big fun pet store with all the critters in it (where we got Bounce last year), and the kids ran amok visiting the rays, fishies, rodents, reptiles and birds. They could spend the day in there, I swear. But we had more to do, so I purchased my bowl, and off we went.

Next was the bookstore. Before we even got all the way in the door, I found two books to go with two others MIL had already given the kids, and had to have them. (Mom - the ladybug and monkeys books with the bumpy animals? I found fish and chicks ones!) Shana was off to find the next book in her series, and I was in search of more Junie B. Jones for ChloĆ«. I let the Littles play with the train set while I looked, until we heard a crash. "Uh-oh." That had to be one of mine. Nothing major happened, but I kept them next to me after that! No Junie B., so I got her Beverley Cleary's Beezus and Ramona instead; both Shana and I read that at her age. And I chose a Go, Diego Go! beginning reader for Jack.

Lastly, we went to Toys 'R Us, just to play. I didn't even bring my purse in with me, so the Nonnies knew they weren't getting anything. Shana bounced some balls around with them, and then we found some giant koosh-like balls that were really fun to squeeze and throw around. But Jack had a mission: He wanted to see whether they had the same black Cadillac as his at home. After our sword fight, we made it back there to find they had not one but TWO identical Caddies on display. He was in shock! The kiddos tried out all the trucks, and then it was time to get home for Chloƫ.

We started cleaning up the kitchen, and Shana really got into it, cleaning out the grunge and gross stuff from all the nooks and crannies. I stopped to read the new books to the kids and get Chloƫ ready for dance. Rob came home, and Chlo and I slipped out.

Dance was boring and uninteresting - at least for me, since I'd forgotten to bring anything to read or knit. I went down to Taco Bell for some pintos and cheese, and that's pretty much all the calories and protein I've had for today. (I've taken in less than 300 calories both today and yesterday; not good!)  I went back and ate it, and then I went inside to let Miss Sally know that ChloĆ«'d be missing from ballet tomorrow. While there, I talked to miss Darlene and told her all about the acting/modeling work ChloĆ«'s been getting, since she sponsored her iPOP trip last January. She was excited to hear!

Oh! I forgot, Chloƫ landed another gig! It's a commercial for the Northern Virginia electric company. We recorded her doing her monologue over the weekend and submitted it through her agent, who called today to say they loved her. Yay, Chlo!

At home, dinner was ready, and I made pudding for dessert. All the kids ate a great dinner; they put away way more than I expected! Must have been that awesome worm stew. I wouldn't know; I just sipped my water and looked longingly at the pasta... *sigh*

Jack didn't have homework, and Shana helped Chloƫ with hers tonight, so Sophia and I went out to rent a Redbox movie with our free Monday code. We chose Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa. Rob loaded it up when we came home, and the six of us sat and watched it. It was really cute, I enjoyed it. They'll probably want to watch it again tomorrow before I return it.

I did my 20 minutes on the treadmill both last night and tonight, but I had to break it up twice tonight because of my back. Nooooo! Say it ain't so! Hopefully things will be better tomorrow.

So I think I had more, but I've already lied about this being a quickie, and I must go.

TTFN!

Fin.


Valentine's Day

I guess I'm back.

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Yesterday, Sophia set up Chloƫ's Mama & Baby Webkinz Goggles (some weird made-up creature) in a loving embrace

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Jack and Sophie were all smiles when Jack came home from school bearing a loot bag full of candy. Normally he's a grouch when he gets home from school, but throw a good party? He's a happy little boy.

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Good-bye, Yellow Brick Road...

So today.

We were going to go out tonight, but Steph and Tim had plans. We were going to go out tomorrow night instead, but my friend Shana is flying in in the afternoon. So we had no grand Valentine's Day, which is fine because neither of us are big on the day anyway.

We have been doing well since moving back into the bed, but we both fell asleep on our respective couches last night and never made it upstairs. I slept from about 10 pm 'til about 10 am! It was a good, deep sleep.

Only, it wasn't good for my back. For the first time since surgery, I was hurting again and not happy about it (duh). I could tell in the shower that things were going to be a problem today. When I threw up after my shower (for the third time since surgery; a most unpleasant thing when your digestive organs have been rearranged), it kind of wrenched my back into place, so there was one plus side to it. But it's still a bit "off."

Everyone was cleaning up when I left for my haircut. I'm attempting to grow my hair back out, but I'm not totally committed to it. My ends have been really ratty-looking. So I went in for a trim but told the girl - not my usual stylist - to "go crazy, do whatever you want." In the end, she put in a bunch of layers all around, and it looked cute and snazzy. A little bit "sweet," but that's just the way she styled it, I think. I like to go a little edgier. But I liked it. I'd have shown a picture, but I didn't get one earlier and have since slept on it. Now it's wrecked.

When I came home, the cleaning was on. The kiddos were upstairs doing their rooms, Rob was cleaning up the kitchen, and so I started on the downstairs bathroom. The house is just... ugh, a mess, so we really needed to get things taken care of before Shana arrives. I miss Barbara! Too bad she doesn't do pro bono work.

Chloƫ helped me clean up the office after that, and then the kids came down and finished cleaning up the living room. I vacuumed, and things are looking much better now. I can't say much for the upstairs portion of the house, but there's a chance I'll get some of that done tomorrow. If not, eh. We'll just stay downstairs, right?

Our next task was to pick up all of our troop's Girl Scout cookies. I ordered 52 cases to fill my girls' orders and for booth sales, but I'm thinking I may need to order more for booths. Rob cleared out the back of my van, moving all three of the kids' seats up front, and off we went.

Wow!! What a scene at the cookie warehouse. I didn't know what to expect, but it was impressive. There were tons of people working there, helping load scores of minivans (seems like they all were) full of the various troops' cookie orders. We were directed to our Service Unit's area, and then we found our order. I signed for the cookies while Rob and a volunteer loaded the van. I helped with the cookies until my back gave out on me, which sucked. But soon our vehicle was packed to the brim with cookies, and off we went!

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This picture cracks me up! Back at home, the kiddos helped Rob unload the cookies from the van to the office, so I can sort them and get them where they need to go. Chloƫ dropped a box. I'm worried that all those cookies will be broken. Eek!

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See that black stain behind Sophia's foot? That's where she painted on the floor...

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Jack was so proud of being able to help his daddy!

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My big, strong man...

Yes, I totally sat on my fat ass and took pictures while everyone else worked. Why? Well, someone has to break up the monotony of blather on this post!

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So Rob's worried about the Littles being around this huge amount of cookies, and I can't say I blame them. They are naughty!! Hopefully I will get them out of the house quickly, and there won't be a problem. Another eek!

After the cookies were in, we decided to use one of our Restaurant.com gift certificates and go out to dinner. We chose a Mexican restaurant, because I'd be able to eat some beans and cheese: it's proteinaceous and mushy, fitting my current food requirements. Imagine our dismay when we got to the location and found it completely stripped and stranded. Closed. No forwarding location. Bah!

I thought we should go home and choose a different certificate (thankfully, Restaurant.com is great about exchanging certificates, for those of you who haven't had this problem yet), but Rob wanted to just go to a different Mexican place so I'd be able to eat something. Agreed. Off we went to El Azteca, where we'd been before.

I chose the first vegetarian entrƩe, loaded with beans and cheese. I almost forgot that I can't drink with a straw, and then I did forget I can't drink and eat at the same time, so I had this gigantic glass of water staring at me while I ate my spicy beans, and I couldn't take a sip. I didn't like that, but I got used to it.

All three kids had their own meals (a quesadilla, a taco, and an enchilada), and they all devoured them! They did very well eating, to our utmost surprise, especially after enjoying so much chips 'n' salsa. They were given gigantic cups of milk, too, and they all but finished them.  It was a great meal for the kids.

I did well on my meal and had no discomfort until several minutes after I finished. And then, for the first time, I experienced Dumping Syndrome. It varies by person and by experience, but for me, I felt weak, dizzy, my heart was racing, and I just wanted to go HOME. Now.

Eventually, I went out to the car with ChloĆ« so I could get more comfortable. I sat there a few minutes and then weakly called to Chlo to get my phone for me. I called Rob and said, "I need to go home. I need to go home." He was hurrying to pay, but suddenly my stomach and intestines were in a world of hurt and I needed to GO.  It was miserable.

Rob sped home as fast as he could, and I raced into the house. Phew. I made it. LOL  They, uh, call it Dumping Syndrome for a reason!  Afterward, I passed out on the couch for several hours, and then I felt fine. I don't know why the beans and cheese there affected me so much when I can eat Taco Bell's pintos and cheese just fine. It's weird.

The kids went down for naps when we got home from dinner. That was six hours ago, and we haven't heard from any of them since. Guess they were tired!

I got back on the treadmill tonight and did 20 minutes! My back was hurting starting at about 5 minutes in, but I pushed through it and kept going. I was definitely ready to get off at 20, but it felt good! Twenty is definitely a more respectable amount than two, yes?

Ugh, Rob's eating his leftover Mexican food right now. Just looking at it makes my tummy rumble. On that note, hope you had a great day with your loved one(s)!

Fin.


Burnt Out

I'm just not in a blogging mood of late. I've had a lot going on (good stuff) and am just tired. I will say that I more than doubled my time on the treadmill and made it up to 15 minutes today, which was great. I felt like I could have gone a little longer, but Rob came home with my Taco Bell pintos and cheese. I couldn't get off that machine fast enough to eat my cheesy beanies.

I'll be back... soon.

Fin.


The Good Doctor

I'm suddenly wiped, so bear with me as I give the daily run-down.

We'll start with last night. I decided I was ready to try and move back up to the boudoir to sleep, rather than continue our nightly slumber on the couch as we have been for months. I just decided I should give it a try, for us, for both our sakes. Rob moved the CPAP back upstairs for me, set me up with a bunch of pillows so I could sleep reclined instead of flat on my back (owie), and off we went.

I have to say, it was a wonderful night. In more ways than one. Wink, wink.

This morning, I didn't have to go far to wake up Chloƫ and Jack, which was nice, and it meant not waking up Sophia quite so early. (She slept all the way to 0800 instead of 0730, woot!) Off they went to school, and then she made me quite aware of her presence.

I couldn't get Sophia to eat anything but bananas today. If she ate five, I wouldn't be surprised. Every time I turned around, she was opening another one. The kid will have no potassium deficiency in this lifetime, that is for sure.

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The morning passed slowly, because (A) I'm not used to being awake for it and (B) I'm not used to Sophia being awake for it, either. It made me realize I'm going to have to come up with a plan for passing the time productively.  Maybe I'll take her to the park on warm, nice days; maybe we'll work on reading and writing; maybe we'll do some crafty things.

Today, she did the usual: a little dress-up, a little playing with her "pets," a little drawing. This is a picture of me, featuring my belly button. She loves to poke her finger down into the abyss that is my navel. Maybe by next year, she'll draw a stick figure to represent me?

And does she not have the cutest little pert chin? I love it so.

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Sophie decided she was going to adorn herself to go to my doctor's appointment this afternoon. She wore multiple bracelets, and a necklace for a headband. I love her fashion sensibilities!

Finally, it was time to go up and have my shower. She wanted to bring a toy upstairs. Why, of course you may, my lovely child. I turned around, and she was wearing a backpack and lugging a bag in each hand, all stuffed full of whatever little trinkets she'd shopped around for in the living room. It was too amusing to turn her down, so up she went with her load.

No sooner did I get dressed and get downstairs, when Jack arrived home from school. He declared right away (no bothering with hellos) that he was hungry and wanted some lunch. Which was good, because I had to feed them and get out the door. All he wanted, though, was a piece of bread and butter. I had no time to argue. This paragraph has no real point. Moving on.

We left an hour early for my 40-minute drive up to Newport News. I like to be on time for things. I absolutely detest being late. It makes me insane in the membrane. So imagine my dismay when, a third of the way along the highway, traffic halted to a stop. Nobody moved. And my gas indicator crept toward "empty."

And I forgot my cell phone. Not only could I not call and let them know I would probably be late, but I couldn't call for help if I ran out of gas, I couldn't call Rob to help me, or Stephanie, or anyone. I was in a full-on panic, and all the kids wanted to do was ask me a bajillion questions about the cemetary out the window. I tried my best to remain calm as I overcame Jack's total disbelief that they actually BURY DEAD PEOPLE UNDER THE GROUND AND PUT STONES ON TOP?!!!, but eventually I got to the point where I demanded silence.

And then: ding! ding! ding! The "low fuel" indicator came on. We'd moved maybe a mile, and I was out of gas.

A car whizzed past me and took the next exit, so I realized I had to do the same thing if I had any hope of not going dead on the highway without a cell phone. I charged off the exit, and found myself approaching the Naval base where Rob works. Serendipity! Wouldn't it be funny if I actually ran into him? But no. I did find the gas station, and thanked God as I filled up. At least that disaster was averted.

By the time I wound around downtown Norfolk and found my way back to highway, it was the time I was supposed to be at the doctor. I was officially stressed. Traffic continued to move at a snail's pace, and I kept snapping at the kids to be quiet while I sipped my water and debated what to do. What could I do? I couldn't call, I couldn't go anywhere...

I Finally, traffic started moving, and I was on my way. I drove as fast as I could, but I was very, very late. A mile away from my exit, the enormous truck next to me started to swerve into my lane - right where I was - without a glance in my direction. I laid on the horn, but he kept coming. I swerved right, almost hitting another car, and then swerved back when the first truck corrected himself. I overcorrected and nearly flipped the van. We didn't quite spin, but we were definitely not in control for a second there. Finally, I looked up at the other driver, and he just stared blankly at me and shrugged. WTF?! I would have been  mouthing "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!" like crazy if I'd just pulled that stunt.

Adrenaline rushed through me, and I shook from head to toe. The children had screamed. They were okay, just scared, as was I. But I managed to keep driving, and we reached the exit.

Only, I took the wrong damn one! I was going East when I should have been going West. Nothing looked familiar, the numbers were going the wrong way... Finally, I turned around and headed back. And there we were, at last, 45 minutes late.

We rushed in, and the receptionist greeted me and asked me how I was. "Awful!" I blurted. "I'm sorry I'm so late, we left two hours ago, as soon my son got home from school, but I didn't know there was a lane closed on the highway, and then we almost ran out of gas, and then someone nearly killed us on the interstate, and then I took the wrong exit, and..."  "Relax," she said. "Everyone's been late to their appointments today. You'll still be seen."

Phew. Phew, phew, phew.

I cheered up right then and there. Long story less long, we finally got in to see Dr. Clark, and it was a great visit. He was happy with the 21 lbs I've lost in the 15 days since surgery, and my incision looks great and is healing nicely. I'm cleared to move up to pureed foods, and I can do any exercise that doesn't hurt as long as I avoid heavy lifting. He answered all my questions about what and how and when to eat, and about my surgery. He's patient and kind, and I really like him. The children were literally jumping off the walls at that point, but he laughed it off and told me he has four kids of his own, so it didn't bother him. They asked him a jillion trillion questions about cutting me open and what's inside there, and then we were on our way.

So we did the usual, snack time, dressing for dance, and going to Ballet. I knit while she danced, and again the Littles argued over the blanket in the backseat, despite the fact that it was a balmy 73Āŗ out and the windows were open.

Rob was there when we came home, and we put the Nonnies down for late naps since they were so tired. They went right to sleep, so Rob and I watched the Redbox movie, My Best Friend's Girl while ChloĆ« did  her homework. It's not a movie you want to watch around children, that's for sure. When she came in and said she was finished, I sent her up to our room to read her book! It was filthy and foul, but I did laugh out loud in a few places. I'm generally not a fan of Dane Cook, though.

When it was over, Curly Sue and I went to return it and pick up a few more groceries. I need to make hummus for Bunco tomorrow night (hey, something I can eat, at least) and was out of garlic and lemons. Plus I had free coupons for pita chips (perfect for everyone else to eat with the hummus), Suave body wash, and French bread, so I picked those up, too. Chloƫ's at a fun age to take the store with me, and I enjoyed her company.

So that's about it. I think I'll be skipping the treadmill tonight and go to bed way early for me. I don't feel well and have been coughing all day, and I'm way low on getting my protein in for the day. I'm just going to call it a day and start again tomorrow.

Until then...

Fin.


In Which Sophia Hates My Body

The first thing I realized this morning when my alarm went off for school was that Rob was still sleeping on the couch next to me. Instead of being at his first day back to work, at his new command, he was sleeping soundly.

Upon waking him up, he assured me that it was all right and he could go in when he wanted. Phew. But why wasn't I made aware of this last night? Whatever! On to the kids.

The readying for school went off like clockwork. They got up, got dressed, ate breakfast and obtained coats and backpacks in record time. The only hitch was that Sophia woke up at 0730. Somewhere, somehow, some sucky way, since my surgery, she has decided not to be a late-morning sleeping baby and has become an early riser.

She didn't clear this with me. I would have said NO. No, dammit!

So now I have this new schedule to contend with. And much as I'd like to pop wide awake and stay that way, I am not a morning person, never have been, never will be.  Therefore, it was difficult for me to keep up with her after the warm, cuddly period on the couch ended. She got into one thing after another, and no sooner did I attend to one mess than she was into another. The worst thing was that she got into ChloĆ« tube paints and made a nice, pretty abstract work of art, all in the blackest of pigments, on the middle of the office carpet.

What can one do about that? Not a damn thing. Try cleaning it, and it spreads. So I left it.  Eventually, we're going to take up the carpet and put down laminate wood flooring anyway. This just adds fuel to the fire.

It was with great relief, then, when Jack came home, the Littles had their lunch, and I declared it nap time. They both seemed ready, willing and eager to have their snooze, and by George, they did go right down without a fight. Not a peep was heard for nearly three hours out of either one of them.

I guess I can deal with a busy morning if it means a three-hour nap to follow, eh?

As for myself, my creative funk continued. I just couldn't decide what to do wth myself. It's highly annoying. I could have put the energy toward cleaning the house, now that we are Barbara-less, but what I really wanted to do was vacuum. And I'm not cleared to lift that yet, and we have a sunken living room, and so that plan was, well, sunk too.

So I literally sat around and did nothing for two hours. I can't account for a moment of that time, other than that I was online and chatting with a friend for some of it. I really ought to make a plan. What I want to do is delve into and finish my '08 scrapbook, but knowing that I have company coming this weekend, and also that my office will soon be filled with dozens upon dozens of Girl Scout cookies to sort and deliver, is keeping that urge at bay.

Anyway.

Finally, I went upstairs and took a good, hot shower to get rid of the chill in my bones, and then the kiddies awoke. Afterward, I was sitting around in the buff, folding the laundry, when Sophie strode up and said, "Mommy, if you put some clothes on, I wouldn't be able to see your whole body."

Snot! Just for that, I stayed nekkid for another half-hour, until the clothes were finished.

Chloƫ came home and helped put away clothes, as did the Nonnies. They (the Littles) took care of their own undies and jammies. Little by little, they're getting involved.

Then it was time for Tap class. I was able to get Curly Girl dressed and ready in plenty of time, and everyone was buckled in five minutes ahead of our usual departure time. Not too shabby for two weeks post-op, considering normally we are pushing it right to the last minute to get there on time.

I listened to Jack and Sophia fight and squawk and whine for an hooooooouuuuuuuuuur over the blanket in the car.

I never told you, when it was time for me to leave the hospital, there was a mix-up with my clothes. Rob thought I had packed a different outfit and had taken my check-in clothes home with him, so I had nothing to wear! The nurses didn't bat an eye, though, and bundled me up in extra hospital gowns and blankets for the trip out to the van and the ride home. The blanket never made it out of the van; the gown has long since been either pitched or laundered after I bled all over it, but you'll have to ask Rob about its fate.

And then Jackie had to go potty. I put down my knitting, eventually, and brought him inside. The mothers waiting all giggled when I admonished him to shut the door while he peed; they giggled again when I inquired as to whether he'd flushed and he darted back inside.

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Obligatory knitting photo. I'm nearly done knitting the body, having finally straightened out most of the yarn. More details when it's finished.

Once we arrived home, Rob got ChloĆ« started on her homework, and I ran to the store to get our free Redbox rental and to replenish our supply of milk and eggs. I had hit the two-week weight-loss stall over the past couple of days that seems to come with all gastric bypass surgeries, but as soon as I arrived at the store, I knew the stall was over. So I rush, rush, rushed around the store, grateful again that I could do it on foot and not ride the cart. And then I hit the lines at the register. Oh, my, I was worried.  But not to worry, I arrived home just in time. Phew, again.

Rob made grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner (wahhhhh! Oh, I craved and coveted. He makes KILLER grilled cheese) while I helped Jack with his homework. First, he finished the sentence "We can see... " with "...the bear."  Then we went over his sight words. There are a lot more of them now than I have flashcards from the teacher for, so he did well on the ones we have practiced and had no clue on the rest. I'm trying to remember ChloĆ«'s reading progress at this point two years ago, and I just can't. I think she knew all the words she was supposed to know, but I really can't remember.

Blah, blah, blah about the rest of the evening.

Just a little while ago, I did my para-nightly trek on the treadmill. I added two more minutes to my total, at 2.5 mph instead of 2, for a total of 7:17. I'm hoping to hit 10 (whole!) minutes by the end of the week.

That's all, folks. Hope you're having a stellar week!

Fin.


Funkytown

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Our big ol' wooly bear of a German Shepherd Dog, Tiger Lily, loves to use pillows when she naps. She rarely gets access to them, as of course we try to keep them off the floor and up on the couches. Last night, Rob captured her not only cuddled up on a pillow but leaning her head against the warm cozy soft rock-hard fireplace hearth. She didn't wake when the picture was taken, either. Poor sleepy woofy doggy!

Last night sucked for both of us, in that at various times, we couldn't sleep. We were going to spend some quality time together after Rob went up to shower, but I was passed out on the couch when he came downstairs. My bladder woke me an hour or two later, and Rob was sleeping next to me. Then we both couldn't sleep, and he putzed on his laptop while I read my gastric bypass manual. I fell asleep again, and The Bob stayed up until my bladder went off again (damn thing, you'd think I was 8 mos pregnant the way it's behaving lately). Then he fell asleep and I stayed up reading some more. It was quite ridiculous.

I have no idea why the night was sleepless for him, but as for me, it was partly because I gagged when taking my sleeping pill, followed by several minutes of extremely painful dry heaving. Oh, boy, I didn't like that. I didn't retake the pill, and now I'm afraid to take it again... but another night like that wouldn't be favorable, either. We shall see.

Anyway.

So this morning came much too soon for both of us, and Rob was cross. I was just altogether too sleepy; my booboos hurt today, and I couldn't stay awake when I would lie down to get some pain relief. I took my first nap in the morning, and they all disappeared to the park while I was knocked out. They were still gone when I woke up, and I missed them all a great deal. If they were at the one in our neighborhood, I'd have walked down there, but they weren't. And I had no vehicle with which to reach them.

So I puttered.

I found myself in a crafting funk. I wanted to knit, but my yarn is in knots still, and I have one long needle and one short needle. Irritating.

I wanted to crochet, but the pattern I chose was confusing, and I ripped it out three times before deciding to put it down for another day.

I wanted to scrapbook, but the thought of getting out all my supplies and printing pictures seemed like much too much work for the moment.

I wanted to bake, but I didn't have any eggs, and I didn't know how well I'd do resisting whatever finished project I'd made.

So, once everyone was home and had lunched and gone down for naps, I took another nap myself!

Rob went out to Norfolk to get some things for his uniform, while the kids and I all slept. We all had good naps, and it was several hours later before all of us except Sophia were awake.  She slumbered well into the evening.

I found a recipe in the Martha Stewart Cookie cookbook that Rob's sister Gail gave me recently (for my birthday, maybe?), that didn't require any eggs. I had or could substitute for all of the ingredients, and I felt like my diet mojo was strong enough to handle it. So finally, after much delaying and dawdling, I got to work.

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Chloƫ took the top picture; Jack took the bottom one. Not bad, eh? The dough was just butter, confectioner's sugar, flour, salt and vanilla. It was awfully crumbly once all the flour was in, though, so I added a teensy bit of water to make things stick together.

The cooking lasted a while, as they had to go in for 10 min, get a thumbprint, and cook for another 7 min. Three times. So the kids ate dinner while I baked, and then finally they were ready. The kids were dancing around in anticipation, as they always, always do.

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But not yet! First, I had to make up the chocolate filling sauce for the thumbprints, and then carefully fill them all. At first I added too much, as you can see, and some poured out. But soon I got it down, and the first batch was finished. And, I'll have you know, I didn't try the dough, I didn't lick my fingers, I didn't eat the chocolate, and I have no desire to bite into a cookie. Yay.

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"Mommy, can we have one? Can we have one yet, Mom? Mom? Mom! Can we have one?!" Nope, not yet, Daddy gets the first pick.

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I'm always nervous about my cooking, especially when it's not something that I have tried myself first and know that it's yummy. And Rob was tormenting me; he wasn't answering when I asked if he liked them! I guess I should have realized when he popped 6 or 7 into his mouth in quick succession, though. Here, he shares a chewing moment with Soapapilla.

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Lady Godiva agreed that these cookies can definitely be made again in the future.

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Jack, who nicknamed these "Eyeball Cookies," liked to lick out the chocolate first and then complain that he didn't want the cookie anymore. No dice, kiddo, you're stuck with the whole thing!

So, two thumbs up for another great Martha Stewart recipe. Thanks, Gail!

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Incidentally, ChloĆ« was in a crafty mood herself today. She drew this awesome kitty cat, and then ran upstairs to fetch a cotton ball. She cut out the kitty and then glued on the cotton for "fur." Isn't that clever? She had no input from me or Rob on this project; it was all her. Love it!  Too bad I don't have any magnet tape; it'd be a great one.

Time for more DVR catch up! I didn't watch TV for about three weeks, and I'm way behind on my shows. What are you watching these days?

Fin.

 


Push It Good

I've been coasting on air all day since weighing in this morning. I'm SO excited about the progress evident on the scale. I just hope the results continue throughout the coming months, for a dramatic weight loss. Fingers are crossed! Toes too!

We kind of puttered around all morning after rising early, around 0800 (except Rob, who slept 'til 10, I think). I read a chapter in my book, something like Success Secrets of Weight Loss Surgery Patients, in an effort to do my very best with this. Fed the kids breakfast. Checked email. You know, the usual.

In the afternoon, I went upstairs to shower and then dive into the laundry. Once again, it is super out-of-control because I haven't been doing it since before surgery. Rob does it when he can... so I had him lifting baskets onto the bed for me, and changing loads, while I folded and had Chloƫ help me put them away. It took a long while, but we got as much done as we could, and now there are plenty of clothes for school next week.

Then the kids had a quick lunch, before ChloĆ« and I went out to sell Girl Scout cookies. That was an hour of our lives we'll never get back. Two people were home and bought from her. Everyone else was either out or said no. It was frustrating to me, so I imagine it bothered her. Maybe we'll try again tomorrow, I don't know. The weather was 67Āŗ and beautiful, so I'm thinking people didn't want to be housebound after the chill we've had lately.

When we returned home, Rob was outside working on his motorcycle, and the Nonnies were napping.  I soon realized that I was out of protein shakes, out of cheese, out of yogurt... out of sustenance! I went outside to inform The Bob of this condition, and his reply was for me to go to the store. Well, hm. I guess I could... Yeah, why not?

I took Chloƫ with me and debated whether to ride around in the "invalid cart," as I call it. I thought, what the hell, I'll try walking.

Well, that was the highlight of my day. I walked the entire store and got back to the van with no pain! I wasn't in agony by the time I unloaded our shopping cart, rushing to get behind the wheel and sit down. Nope, I took my time walking the cart back and getting into my seat, buckling the belt with ease. It's so exciting to think that maybe, just maybe, the issues with my back will soon be a thing of the past.

Rob was still working on the bike well into the evening, after the Littles woke up. Jack and Chloƫ visited him out there for a while as Sophia slept, but after dark they all came in and played with me in the living room. Rob finally finished and made them PB&J for dinner, and then we again retired to the living room for some Noggin time.

After they went to bed, I hopped on the treadmill. I thought after my grocery trip I'd be able to walk for a long time, but I only made it 5:15, a half-minute increase, before my back gave up and I couldn't breathe. Ah, well. I'll keep working it. I can't wait to be cleared for other kinds of exercise, though, so I can vary it a bit. And get a Wii Fit when our refund comes in!

Well, I have a date with my DVR to catch up on some shows. How was your Saturday?

Fin.


NEWSFLASH: It's Working!!!

I just weighed myself in the morning, as one should do, rather than in the evening like I have been in my obsessive "how much now? how much now?" state.

And guess what?

The surgery is working! It's working!!

I'm down 16 lb since surgery 12 days ago, for a total of 27 pounds since the beginning of the year!

WOOHOO!!!!!!! 

Jump with me! :D

Fin.


Easily I Approach

I feel like craaaaaaaaaaaaap.

Let's just start with that, shall we? My baseline for today is sick and miserable, yet feeling good bypass-wise.

It was no surprise when I woke up early again this morning, around 0600. My bladder seems to have shrunk as well as my stomach, post-surgery, and I'm no longer the camel I once was. When it's up, I'm up, and that's all she said about that.

I got the kids up for school, and then I got Rob up, because he'd fallen asleep without taking out the garbage and recycling. Some nerve! We had to rush it out there, but he made it, and the kids were on their way to school for the last day of the week.

We didn't do much today. It was just super cold, down to 12Āŗ, so I personally hunkered down under about three blankets until late morning - and even wore socks and a sweater, which is unheard of for me! Sophia cuddled up with her Daddy and watched Sesame Street and Barney.

Then I remembered I had to get to the bank. I had two troop dues checks to deposit, had to get the statements mailed to me instead of our leader, and had to find out if I could get more free checks for our troop account. So I took off and did that, in all my unshowerered-and-sick glory, just before Jack came home. Or maybe after, I forget.

After the bank, I ran to the post office. I had expired coupons to mail to overseas military, a CARE Package wristband to mail to a new supporter, and a headband and hairclips set that someone just purchased off Etsy from me. (Yay, another sale! Nothing makes my day like that.) I was in and out of the P.O. lickety-split, and then I was off to Michaels.

I needed a replacement foam wreath shape. No sign of the one I've had around here forever. Of course. I walked all over the floral department, and at first I could only find straw ones. I knew they had to have foam, though, and finally found it after more digging. All the while, I marveled at how my back was keeping up, and I wasn't clinging to the check-out counter in agony as I would have been just two weeks ago.

100_0092 

So here's the wreath I started out with; oops, I forgot to edit and crop and do all that good stuff to the pictures. You'll just have to deal, as will I! Nevermind all the crap on my desk...

100_0093 

Oh, hello, my lap. An hour later, some ribbon yarn and some pins, I had this. I LOVED the result, it looked smashing! Do you agree? I really want to do something else with that ribbon yarn now, but I can't figure out what. I'm just into it now.

100_0094 

Some more pinning and fumbling with the felt hearts I made, and voila! My finished project. I'm not entirely sure it's what I had in my mind's eye, but the kids really liked it, and that was good enough for me.

The rest of the day was pretty quiet. Rob went up to Hampton to get a motorcycle part while the Littles and I napped, and Stephanie came to visit in the middle of naptime. I hadn't seen her since surgery, so that was nice. She told me I looked awesome, with all the weight I've lost, har har (down about 19.5 lbs now since the beginning of the year!).

I napped again in the evening, once again bundled under several blankets, and I think I'm off to an early slumber. This cold is miserable, and I really wanted to be able to get out and sell cookies with Chloƫ this weekend. So I'm off.

Happy weekend to ya!

Fin.


Onward And Upward

Thank you all for the prayers and good wishes. Keep them coming!  I believe things are going to be okay.  We just need some time to work on things.

But I don't want to dwell on that.

Today was not too bad. I've been rising early lately, and this morning was no different: 0500. I don't like it, but I keep running out of sleep and have to start my hydrating and protein-intake right away. (The number one axiom for gastric bypass patients is "sip, sip, sip.") (The number four axiom is "never trust a fart," and believe me, I lived by it today... heh.)

But I don't want to dwell on that either.

I pretty much piddled the day away in a similar fashion to what I've been doing lately: a whole lotta nuttin'.  This recovery crap is for the birds. Thanks to being sick (have I mentioned I'm sick now? Like really, miserably sick? I managed a whole 2:11 on the treadmill last night before I couldn't breathe) and still quite sore, there isn't a whole lot to do.

I started off making another stuffed felt heart for whatever Valentine's project I'm going to end up doing with that. Then I decided to combine it with the foam wreath shape I've had for a couple years but never used, and which has been bouncing around downstairs lately. I'm going to wrap it in some pretty pink ribbon yarn I have and go from there... only, no sign of the $%^&* foam wreath when I finally want the damn thing! We've looked all over the house today, and no sign of it. Of course. I've been pissing and moaning about it for the entirety of the day (not always out loud, in deference to my husband's nerves).

Anyway.

Then I tried to pick up my knitting again. I hadn't felt like knitting because of the vision problems, but I felt ready. I finished the yarn cake I was using and tied on another, but I soon discovered it was badly wound. So I got stuck for a good portion of the morning unwinding and rewinding it, and now its just a big, tangled mess and I can't continue. Gah!

The kids were off to school despite needing dousings with cough medicine. Chloƫ managed to get up and go cheerfully despite being up late last night hacking and puking, poor thing. Sophie was again in a playful mood, but more of an independent one today.

When Rob ran out to get a new remote, he took her with him, as I was on the couch resting my migraine head. She stayed outside with him, as did Jack upon his return, when he worked on his motorcycle. Something's wrong with the battery; it won't charge. He took it for a ride, and it died in the middle. He jumped it, and it died again on the way home. Maybe if he actually rode it more...? But how do you ride with a motorcycle permit, anyway, and no motorcyclin' partner beside whom to ride?

I sat around all afternoon feeling like shit. That sums up that. I think I may have napped briefly, but I forget.

After Chloƫ came home, I took her to the Brownies meeting. I drove, for more than just around the corner! That was exciting, to be back behind the wheel. 'Twas brillig.

Leader Nikki kept us moms busy at the meeting. The girls were making all their "swaps" for the big council Thinking Day in a couple of weeks, and there was lots to do. I helped them use the paper cutter to make pendants, string beads on safety pins, and do other little crafts for swaps. Our country is France, and the girls will go around the place swapping with other troops/countries and learning about girls around the world. Pretty cool.  I did some treasury and cookie chair duties, too, so I'm glad I took her instead of her dad.

I was sore, though, and attention was heaped upon the fact that I was recuperating from surgery. A little embarrassing, naturally. They didn't want me up and around, made sure I was feeling all right, said I looked tired, etc.  But no one said I looked skinny yet, dammit. I'm still waiting for that! Hehe.

I'm down 17 pounds since the beginning of the year, by the way. Just sayin'. I'm ready for it to start flying off.

After Brownies, Chloƫ got down to her homework, and I sat with Jack and helped him do his. Well, his "real" homework consisted of getting two quarters with which to buy ice cream tomorrow for a special treat, but I made him read two stories and write some letters with me. He didn't protest and worked nicely today, as opposed to yesterday when he fought vehemently against writing carefully.

Then I did our federal taxes. Gotta love the free TurboTax e-file for active duty military! It took a couple hours and some banging of my head against the wall for not keeping certain receipts, but I got it submitted. That refund will definitely help relieve some of the financial pressures around here as of late. And, hopefully, get me a Wii Fit.

Rob made the kids a dinner that included mashed potatoes, and I just couldn't take it. I went in there when the pot was unguarded and had several spoonfuls. I was careful: I ate extremely slowly, chewed everything to smithereens, and didn't go overboard, but it was still against the rules for my still-healing tummy. And I paid for it. My pouch squawked loudly, and I kind of got hot and shaky. Was it worth it? Um, yes, that shit was gooooood.

The kids went to bed, and I hopped back on the treadmill. I still can't breathe, but I went really slow and managed to stay on for 4:44, more than twice yesterday. Certainly nothing to be proud of, but again, it hurt my incision, my back started seizing, and I couldn't breathe. I'm going to just work at increasing that number every day and do the best I can. When I'm better, I'll work harder.

Sorry about the lack of pictures here lately. We haven't done anything photo-worthy since surgery, but hopefully I'll get some in tomorrow, come hell or high water.

TGIF!

Fin.


This Is How My Heart Breaks

Yesterday sucked. Just really, really shitty. If you could say some prayers for us, I would appreciate it. We need them right now.

Today was a little bit better. My heart is sad, but my body is feeling better and better. Except for the surgery migraine that still won't go away. I'm feeling less and less sore at the incision site and was even able to drive a tiny bit. After this, I'm going to get on the treadmill and walk as long as I can. I expect that to be for more than 2 minutes, as my back really is doing better, it seems. Hallelujah for that!

Sophia was in a playful mood today. She and I pretended to cook at the play kitchen for a while, and she made me such wonderful concoctions as Cherry Eggs and Egg Ice Cream (eggs featured prominently in all her recipes today).  We read stories, and she played dress-up.

When Jack came home from school, Rob gave them lunch and a nap, and then he went out to pick up more migraine meds for me. That was a bit of an ordeal... and then he tried to bring the $25 Canadian that I was paid recently for some tutus to the bank, where they just laughed at him for it. So I'm stuck with that, bah. I had a nice, long nap in the afternoon while he was gone.

I woke up Sophie and got her ready for dance in the meantime, and then Chloƫ arrived and got ready, too. She had a meltdown over which leotard to put on for Jazz. Argh, she is going to be such a fun one as a teenager. Not.

While Rob took the girls out for dance lessons, I popped some popcorn and put in Wall-e for Jack. I still have not sat down and watched that movie, although I've seen bits and pieces of it 15 times! He was ecstatic about his little movie date with Mom, and kept interjecting all kinds of commentary about what was going on. It was adorable.

After the movie, Jack and I started his homework, and the others came home.  His homework consisted of finishing the sentence, "The little..."  He wanted to write, "The little dog farted," but I prevailed upon him to change it. In the end, the little dog wanted popcorn. Then we read a few books before dinner.

Rob fixed a dinner that smelled so good, I had to escape upstairs before I decided to break down the barriers of my liquid diet and chew up something tasty and prohibited. I'd already snuck some cashews (which I chewed down past molecular level) in the morning, and I didn't want to risk it with some chicken getting caught!  My shower was long and hot, the opposite of what I normally take, but it felt good on my sore neck and back.

When I came out, Rob and the kids were upstairs getting ready for bed, and he and I fell asleep on the bed for a while together. It was most uncomfortable on my incision (we normally sleep on the couch), but it was nice to be cozied up together like that. Afterward, he did his husbandly duty and "rubbed feet on my lotion," and then we headed back downstairs.

I'm about to get on the treadmill and walk for as long as I possibly can, trying to up my heartrate. I'm hoping my back will let me get to that point and sustain it for a while, but my headache threatens to interfere. It will be good to finally get some exercise in at 9 days post-op, though. Then, I'll need to keep it up, every single day!

And I'm off...

Fin.


My First Outing

So today was full of the usual post-op ups and downs for us. Let's share, shall we?

Rob overslept and was a bit poky getting the Bigs ready for school, but fortunately he'd inadvertently awakened me an hour earlier, and I couldn't sleep. So I was able to help hustle them through the process and get them out the door. I didn't exactly do much, but it's the one step closer I'll need to being able to get them ready for school next week when I'm on my own again.

I had an excruciating headache, as I have had for much of recovery, and which is building again now. My vision just was not right. I couldn't see, and I needed to do something about it. So, Monday morning, 9 am, my finger was on the "dial" button to my surgeon's nurse. I spoke to her, and she spoke to him, and they were very concerned and wanted me to see my PCM right away. I couldn't get in, but Rob did manage to make me an appointment for an exam the afternoon.

Rob and the Nons are sick, which sucks for them but would be really bad for me. So I am keeping my distance from the poor illies. Rob's pretty miserable, which means, guess what, ain't nothing is gonna get done around here this week that would normally be on the "do during leave" list. Jack seems to be in denial that he's sick, but Sophie's having a tough go of it, too. She's really sneezing away and looking rough, and I feel bad for her. Hopefully this thing will sweep through without really touching me (I had the cough, but it seems to be gone) or Chloƫ (who needs to be in school).

Anyway.

I had a bit of a hard time with food last night and this morning. You could call it a breakdown last night. Rob went to the store multiple times to appease me, because I just could not get into anything else lableled "protein" whatever. Protein shake, protein yogurt, protein soup, protein pudding... go away! When he brought me some broth, and I thought it was regular store-brought broth but turned out to be more "protein" fare, I lost it. I just put my head down and cried and cried.

I know, I signed up for this. I know, I know, I know. I know it's going to be like this. But there are OTHER protein options out there, and I just don't like the ones I've got. The taste is overwhelmingly gross for me now, and it sticks to the tongue and teeth even after brushing.  I planned to drink the broth, but not after I finished my good, long cry.

Rob had slipped out to get me some "real" broth, but I picked myself up and drank the protein variety. It really wasn't that bad, but the way I'd carried on, he was surprised to find I'd downed it. I kind of was, too. And the regular kind wasn't even any better. So you never know.

This morning, I was on about cheese. I'd decided, from my various online resources, that it was time to try some soft Laughing Cow cheese. I really wanted it melty with some sauce on a piece of bread, but that wasn't happening! I must have told Rob 37 times that I would like some "delicious cheese, please," before he finally put early-rising Sophie down for a nap and went to get the damned delicious cheese. Oh, it was good. Super, super good. Wholly delicious. I didn't quite like the way it felt going down, though, so I didn't eat too much of it.

And then I discovered the yogurt he'd brought me. Weight Watchers 1-point yogurts aren't the best as far as carb and protein grams, but they'll do, pig. They'll do. They have a lot more flavor than I expected (even though I've had them before when actually doing WW), and they slid down the pouch nicer than the cheese. I just finished my second one of the day, and I'm pleased.

So that's my food exploits for the day. Still lovin' those popsicles! Can't wait to chew on some chicken.

By the way, I'm still fat. I've lost, oh, a couple of pounds, but things are still swollen and retaining from surgery. Not skinny yet!

And they hurt. Oh, I'm aching inside. Someone woke the beast that is my new plumbing, and I can feel every little drop of water going down and every little bubble of air coming up, in a way that I can't begin to describe to you. And the feeling of my stomach hanging around like a barn door on a rusty pin? Shudder. I can feel it going back and forth across the abdomen, and it is most definitely not a pleasant sensation. Don't like that a bit. Can't believe I let them dissect me and reattach me like I have, but not going to dwell on that now! Onward.

Finally, it was time to get ready for the eye appointment. I had to wait 8 long hours from the time I first got up. We did the showering thing, which was a little bit easier than the last time, and I noticed a surprising thing: afterward, I didn't hurry to sit down because my back hurt, but because of my belly. My back didn't hurt! No pain. I haven't been able to really test it out and go for a long walk like I want to, but I think maybe tomorrow I will. ("Long" being anything over two minutes, anywhere past the driveway.) I'm not exactly skipping and jumping around, and I'm loathe to say that the pain is gone, but damn, it was a nice, freeing knowledge.

So we got me dressed and out the door. The Littles were back to bickering nonstop in the back seat. She's always yes, he's always no, and I'll bet even they don't know what they're fighting over. I got sick of it and shouted at them and probably said things I shouldn't, but I was having my own ordeal and couldn't take it anymore. Needless to say, Rob and the kids waited in the car while I did my thing.

My prescription has changed dramatically for the worse in both eyes, because of surgery! Both have taken several steps back, one more than the other, and I have a totally new Rx. The doc dilated my eyes, and I went next door to see about getting new glasses, "in about an hour." Whatever, we didn't have any extra money for glasses or the exam, so I just asked for the clearance rack and picked the cheapest pair, without really looking. They are bright, red Ray Bans, similar in shape to the purple RBs I'd been wearing when I came in. I was going to have new lenses popped into the old pair, but it turned out to be cheaper getting the new frames, too. So I reluctantly paid for that purchase, tried not to think about the unpaid electric bill, and went back to the eye doctor.

Everything looks fine inside my eyes, so we're just hoping the headaches and pressure I've been feeling are a result of anesthesia and will calm down after a few days in the new Rx. I paid that bill, tried not to think about the unpaid cable/internet bill, and went back to the van.

Someone rounded the corner on me and nearly squashed me, and all I could think was, Damn, what a waste that would be, after all we've spent on me lately!

We drove home and waited ten minutes for Chloƫ's bus to get home. In that time, my pupils were completely dilated, and I couldn't see at all. I tried to sit and do something, read something, see something, but I couldn't. I was frustrated and, yes, very bored. I know I said I'm never bored, but I was BORED then! I just yelled out, "GOD, WHY CAN'T YOU MAKE THIS EASIER ON ME?!!" and then went to take a nap. No sense fighting it!

This is getting ridiculously long for, really, a terribly uneventful day, but I never claimed to be short-winded. I could have just said, "I got some new glasses, I ate some shit, the end," but nooo.... You know me!

Anyway, Rob and the kids came back from Tap class, and I got into the car to pick up my new specs. I was gone maybe five minutes to get them, and the girls in the store were so excited to have found me a red Raybans case to match my new glasses. Woohoo, yeah, I couldn't get into it.

But I could SEE. I could SEE, I could SEE, I could SEE!!!! Finally, I could see the nails on my hands in front of me, the looks on their faces, the street signs going down the road, and words on a page or screen. It was a long week. I decided I really felt for truly blind people; they have a difficult life. I would not want to be blind. I could live in a world of silence, but I've gotta have my sight. And I will protect it.

Eh, that's the end. You don't really want to hear about my feet, anyway.

Fin.


Things That Made Me Laugh Tonight

Well, one was Sophia. Just kept making me chuckle. I loved it when I asked her to let the dog out, and she couldn't do it. So she ran away, explaining to me that the dog will just have to use the potty inside, instead.

The girl kept making me laugh all evening. She just has such interesting things to say, and the way she she says them are hysterical. She can turn an ordinary, "Okay, Mommy" into a hoot. What a character, that girl.

***

Rob and I just had a fight. I couldn''t stand the Banana Scream protein shake he made me, and I refused to drink it anymore. He reminded me that in my dream, he'd punched me in the face for not drinking my protein shake. I took my chances, though, and he took back the shake.

He drank it, too. Said it was the worst thing he'd ever had in his life. So, there.

***

My friend Nicole cracks me up. She's one of those people that always knows exactly what you need, like my MIL. I opened all the mail last night - because I'm the only one who can, you know - and there was this thick little card from Nicole. She made it herself, of course, and it was lovely. Except it contained a tiny, wrapped package, about the size of a Halloween Fun Size candy bar.

What?! Well, I can't have that! So I put it to the side and didn't think about it again until this evening, when Sophie noticed it and wanted to have what was in the package. I'd discovered my wonderful SF Popsicles by then and thought I could handle giving away a piece of chocolate.

We watched and waited while my fingers did the opening, and then we peered down at the little green tray. Nope, it was not chocolate (yay for me, not so happy for Soap) - it was a tin of that old-timey type of lip balm that slides off, you know? Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream flavor, one of my favorites!  That rocks, and I had to laugh. They can take away the yummy food, but they can't stop me from rubbing the flavor all over my lips!

(Of course, now I'm so touched, I'm fighting back tears.)

***

I dreamed I moved back to Miami to go to grad school and open a lunch shop with my grandpa. To drive around, we bought a boat and put an ice cream freezer in the back. The roads were water, and the throttle? Grandpa's weiner.

I did the driving.

Ick!

Fin.