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Entries from March 2009

Where A Kid Can Be A Kid

I want to sit here and bitch about one of the moms in our troop, but it might come back to bite me in the ass (I've found out, you never know who's reading!), so I'll skip it. Suffice it to say, I've had a frustrating day messing with that. And then I lost the check my SIL sent for her cookies and had to tear up the desk and the office looking for it - to no avail. Gah! I quit. Oh wait, it's over anyway.


So this enormous box came today, addressed to CARE Package. Someone found out about our charity, and she took it to her church members. She included a copy of the half-page notice to the congregation, all about a Supplies Drive for us! Nothing like this has ever happened for us before, so I'm so touched. If it were yesterday, I'd be sobbing all over the place. In the box, there was so much stuff, including birth announcements (aw), padded mailers for sending packages, lots of these ribbons and buttons and rickrack and binding things I don't even know how to use...


...tons of fabric of all colors, materials and patterns...


...a whole huge bin's worth of yarn!...


...and a bunch of crochet hooks, knitting needles, and seam rippers! Mandy H., if you are reading this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for blessing us with all of these wonderful supplies for CARE Package. We will make use of each and every item!!

Rob came home from work, and I ran Chloë to her ballet class. I had to dash back to the bank to deposit the rest of the troop money so I could submit our final report tonight, but I made it in time. Phew! During dance class, I had a good long conversation with both my dad and my grandpa, so that was nice. Poor Grandpa is full of complaints about getting old, but as he always says, it beats the alternative. Damn right; I'm not ready to give him up, and my plan is for him to live forever!


I came home wanting to eat something for the first time today, but having no interest in the crab cakes it feels like I've been eating nonstop lately. We have tons of accumulated freebies to different places, so I thought we'd use one tonight. The kids wanted Chuck E. Cheese - although Sophia was rooting for her favorite, IHOP - and Rob wanted Moe's. In the end, the big mouse won, and out we went.


The parking lot was packed, so we were nervous, but the restaurant itself wasn't bad at all. Don't know where all those people went, but it wasn't CEC! Anyway, Rob was concerned about what I'd eat, but I figured I'd try to eat some wings instead of pizza. We played around until our food came, and then I managed to get four wings down. And a mozzarella cheese stick or two. And then I felt sick. Waaay too much crap food for the pouch. But we pressed on, to use up all those free tokens.


Jack went around with Daddy, while the girls stuck with Mommy. They just could not get the hang of my arcade favorite, Skeeball. "Roll the ball, ladies, don't throw it!!"


Sophia met up with her brother for one of those water games where you aim and move the thingamajig up to the top. Surprisingly, they both aimed pretty well!


Who doesn't love to ride the carousel?


Back to the table after the tokens ran out, for more fuel. For them, not for me. By then, I wanted to get home now.  But, we had tickets to redeem, so Rob stood in the crazy long line while the kiddos pretended to play games. I'm not sure they realized they were not actually playing!


The Candy Man cometh. He redeemed all 156 tickets for Laffy Taffy, which they love. They were each given one piece and were begging for more. Nope, that's enough junk for one day!

Bedtime when we got home, although the only one really ready for sleep was Daddy! Jack and Sophia came down and watched the results of Dancing with the Stars with me, and then I sent them packing. I'm happy with Woz and Holly being kicked off tonight; it was a good vote.

So now, I'm left with three chores to do: run and buy the dog some food, pay the first-of-the-month bills, and do the tax forms for the charity. All I really want to do is daydream about the fun we're going to have tomorrow...!


Six Hours Later...

...which is much nicer than my alternate title of "Clusterf**k," which would describe what is going on in my brain right now!

To explain the latter, I have once again run out of my Side-Effexor and missed last night's dose. {It's not my fault. I called the refill in on time. Rob was supposed to pick it up after work Friday (it's called into the base clinic where he works), but didn't. Didn't pick it up Saturday. Or Sunday. Or today. But who's pointing fingers?} He has since gone to the Naval hospital and gotten an emergency fill for me, but in the meantiime, here's some fun stuff I'm experiencing, since you asked:

  • Weepiness over the most ridiculous things, like watching Dancing With the Stars  and doing my final Cookie reports (I incorrectly submitted the incentive order form, not knowing ... eh, blah blah blah, but Chloë will miss out on a $10 Cookie Credit for camp this summer unless they can go in and fix it for me, which made me sob!)
  • Lips are numb, so nice

  • Being completely dizzy and off-balance, and getting those fun shocks whenever I move

Anyway. Not to worry, I'm not depressed or anything, despite the weird crying jags all evening. And I've taken one, so I'll be back on track for tomorrow.

But it all means today was far less fun and productive than it could have and should have been, both for me and the kids, who are on Spring Break!

Here's what we did do:


What you can't really see very well is that this kid is completely caked with mud, including her clothes. I had her pick out this farm girl outfit, put the pigs in her hair, and sent her outside to get as dirty as possible! Then I took pictures of the very uncomfortable little girl, who likes getting dirty as much as her mother and who had the sun in her eyes at every angle.

This was requested by the casting director for the new SAG short film for which she had an audition tonight, but we'll get to that later. Immediately after, I sent her upstairs to shower and change into a much nicer outfit! So I don't know how much the pictures did the job they were supposed to do, but whatev. She still looks kinda cute, squinty eyes and all, right?


Scrapbooking. I started doing it yesterday, and continued off and on throughout today. My knitting mojo has all but evaporated for the time being, which is fine because I planned to start scrapping again as soon as the cookie sale ended and I had my craft space back again!  I need to at least finish my 2008 and Europe scrapbooks before I move onto my next craft project, which is doing all the sewing I planned to do last summer. Kinda sucks, because I thought I was much farther along into the 2008 book than I really was... oh, well. I'm enjoying reliving "the moments of our lives," and especially looking at the pictures of Sophia with hair and teeth! Man, I miss those chompers. :(

{And speaking of teeth, Chloë is 7½ and has still only lost two teeth: the bottom front ones. So if that's any indication, Sophia will be without her top front teeth for... four years? Five??! Boohoo!} {Oh, don't start the waterworks again, Self...}


The mailman rang the bell and made me sign for a package, so I had to stand there in all my unshowered and scuzzy glory. Hated that, but loved what I found inside: my "Pay It Forward" package from my friend Swapna in India!  It's fresh wool, which is especially fun since I'm on a very restricted yarn diet and can't purchase any new yarn for this entire year! And the way I'm going, according to my husband, maybe 2010, too! Anyway, thank you, Swapna, and for those of you who are on my Pay it Forward list, please let me know what you would like! I'm still not sure what any of ya want! Thanks.

So finally, Rob came home and whisked the Curly Girl off to her audition, at 1600. I'd have taken her, but I was unfit to drive. They did not return until SIX HOURS LATER, at 2200! Oh, my word, it was ridiculous. Apparently, it was supposed to be a closed, hush-hush casting call, but someone leaked the word out and it turned into a major cattle call. The casting director himself called me and asked for Chloë, so we were on the legit list, but it still resulted in a ridiculously long wait for everyone. Rob found the CD (Casting Director) and asked what was up, and when he heard Chloë's name, he lit up with recognition and was thrilled that she was there. So that's a good sign, right?

In their absence, Sophia finally wore down and looked tired, so with relief I sent her up for a nap. Relief because I needed one myself, and Jack was already having one himself. I only slept for about a half-hour, but it was just what I needed to feel a bit more refreshed and capable.

The kiddos watched me scrap, and we watched telly together. Sophia sometimes danced with the afore-mentioned Stars, but mostly she and Jack cuddled on my lap and fought over who had more of their surface area touching mine! At one point, Jack shouted at his sister, "Hey! I'm not getting enough Mommy Love!" Aww! Tears again, on my part.

They had a little dinner of toast and blueberry preserves, and we all had sugar-free popsicles for dessert. (Seriously, they're not bad!) I was just getting ready to go upstairs and shower with them when Curly Sue and her dad returned at last. So I added her to the mix while he went out for my meds, and let me tell you, one Fat Mama and three small-but-growing children makes for a crowded shower. We managed, though, and when they were all washed and I'd kicked them out of the stall, I turned the water on straight cold. I needed a blast of "feels like the waterpark," I guess! It was shocking to my system, but it felt great and really woke me up. Love it!

Anyway, I'm starting to step into the realm of Too Much Detail, so I guess I'll make like a tree and leave!


Back To The Farmer's Market


Sophia asleep in her dinner plate, night before last

Once again, yesterday Jack's first soccer game was canceled due to the fields being underwater. At this rate, they'll have all practice and no play! Oh, well, back to sleep we all went.


I overslept for, and Rob forgot about, our Gift of Caring delivery for the Brownies. Oopsie. We raced around getting dressed and ready to go. Once on base, we had no idea where to go, and it's a huge post. We drove 'round and 'round, and finally happened to drive right smack past the USO office by accident. It didn't matter that we were late, though, because no other Brownies were with us, and there were no Sailors there in uniform to accept them! The USO lady posed with Chloë, who sold 43 of the troop's 45 Gift of Caring boxes. Way to go, Chlo!


Afterward, we drove down to the Farmer's Market to pay a visit to Uncle Chuck. I've been living on various crabcakes lately, on a mission to find the best ones, but nothing comes close to Uncle Chuck's. His are the clear winners, and they are worth every penny. I bought two bags (four per pag), to keep me in crabcakes for at least, well, a week! Rob bought a bowl of shrimp and crab gumbo, and I asked UC to show me the crab legs. They looked beautious, so I asked for half a pound. He took two large pieces and said, "Here's half a pound for you, on me." Sweet! Chloë wanted a fresh tomato to eat "for dessert" (girl is crazy; I hate raw tomatoes), so we added that to our tally. UC put everything on ice for me, so we could keep shopping around the Market.


Don't those crab legs look delish??

The kids asked to go to the candy store next, and we agreed. They immediately picked out three large lollipops, and then Rob took his sweet time selecting his treat from the bakery section. He finally settled on half a dozen pumpkin cookies; I had a nibble off one, and it was quite yummous. The kids had to wait 'til we got home for their candy, but knowing that didn't stop them from continuously asking for them anyway!


At the next two stands, we scored this bounty. See those less-than-pencil-thin asparagus? Guess who got up on the table and ate more than half the bundle? The dog!! Just to make sure I'd seen what I'd seen, I broke off another 'gus tip and fed it to her, and she wolfed it right down. We were looking forward to them, too.

I was in a mood for some new tastes, so I purchased pear butter, strawberry preserves, strawberry butter, pumpkin butter, and blueberry preserves. Doesn't that all sound SO good?! Gosh, I can't wait to dig in. Only, I don't know what I'll put it on; maybe a slice of my protein bread, toasted. Rob chose the pickled beets, and Sophia and Chloë tried them when we got home. Blech! My sentiments exactly. We also bought cartons of fresh strawberries, which looked so delectable we couldn't pass them up, and mushrooms for Rob.

We managed to pass by Yoder's Dairy, the Butchery, and the garden store without spending more money, but it wasn't a cheap trip to the market, that's for sure. That's okay, it's all good, fresh, local food, and you can't beat that.

We had one last stop before home, at A.C. Moore's. I accidentally received two of this week's ad, so I had two 50% off coupons to use! These small things make a girl so excited. The main purpose for our visit was for Sophia to pick out the cake pan she wanted. She chose this Wilton pan, to my dismay:


It's utterly simplistic to decorate, compared to Jack's Cars cake, and I like a bit of a challenge. We tried to steer her toward several more complicated cakes, but this is the one she wanted. And that's what she shall have, but I'll have to try and find a way to dress it up a little bit! (She insists she wants it just like the picture, with pink petals and a yellow center, so I can't stray too far from the model.)

We picked up some cute candles for her (another small excitement for me: they came four to a pack! And she'll be four! Oh, joy), a train candy mold for when we make lollipops during break, and a few little Easter crafts for the kids. Oh, and I found giant sticker packs for a buck! They can go crazy with some stickers, especially Soap.

Home again, home again, jiggity jog.


As soon as we got home, the kids wanted to sit outside and eat their lollipops. It's hard to take a picture of the girls sucking on theirs without them looking a bit lascivious, though...

100_0434 Look at this boy! He's trying to break his teeth, I swear. I keep telling him to suck, not bite (shut up, you pervs), but he insists on doing the latter. The dentist would be thrilled.


They actually ate very little of their lollis before wrapping them up for the day. I can see those things lasting the kids a month!


Would you like a taste?


Once inside, Chloë did eat a bit of her tomato, just like an apple!


Rob made himself a big an' tasty mushroom-and-tomato omelette for a late lunch. He was pretty peeved about me taking this picture, because "it didn't turn out nice," but I'm a stubborn bitch and took it anyway.


The girls wanted to attack the strawberries next, but Daddy requested that we have shortcake. I let them have a few - and I may have snuck a couple myself - but mostly I sliced them up and sugared them for our dessert later.

The plan was to go to church, but suddenly Jack was crying and feeling miserable, and he had a fever. Oh, Lord, this thing just won't go away. Rob dosed him with some kid Tylenol, and he fell asleep on the couch.

So, I took the girls with me to the grocery store to get the Bisquick for the shortcakes (I love that recipe), some heavy cream to whip, and some sugar. Oh, and a dozen bottles of Powerade Zero that I got for free! I redeemed a bunch of our Coke Rewards points for them. I love the Powerade Zero - they're big 32 oz bottles and have no carbs, no nothing. And they taste decent, too. Two of those, and I've fulfilled my fluid intake for the day.


At home, I whipped up the biscuits and then asked for Rob's help with the cream. Our mixer doesn't spin anymore, and I wasn't sure how long to whip it our how much sugar to add. So we did it together, and it came out perfectly. How did it taste? To die!


I assembled the strawberry shortcakes, and the four of us (Jack passed) dined on them eagerly. Even I indulged in some, having decided that I could afford to do so after only taking in 200-500 calories a day for the past two weeks that I've been sick. I knew I would have some Dumping Syndrome, and I did, but it was mild - and very worth it! I won't eat it again anytime soon, but I just had to have some this time. So delicious.




Yep, she may be almost four, but apparently we need to work on table manners with this one some more!


Sophie donned these boxes and came to me, saying, "Look, Mommy, I'm an astronaut!" I don't quite see it, but I love the imagination!


Today is just a sit around and do nothing day, really. Jack's still feeling crappy, and he's having a nap. The girls cleaned up the office and living room, and I'm going to do some vacuuming and bathroom ceaning after this, woohoo. I did run to Walgreens and get all the stuff for their Easter baskets, which I assembled when I came home. Fun stuff! And I saved $38 in Walgreens coupons and deals from the ad, yay.

Off to clean!


A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

Okay, so it's the only title I could think of with "Brooklyn" in it. There were trees there, after all. Go with it.

My friend Linda, from Bunco, showed up this morning with her husband, minutes after the black & white cab arrived to take Chloë and me to the airport. We installed the chillies' car seats, and I kissed my sweet babies good-bye. They had snacks and toys, and they were in good hands.

I hopped in the cab, and away we went!


Chloë waiting for our plane in Norfolk International (ORF)

All in all, despite the fact that we jetsetted to NYC and back in a day, it was all pretty low-key. Chloë sat next to a college senior on his first plane ride on the way up to La Guardia, and they chitchatted throughout the duration. I slept. I let her have a Sprite from the Flight Attendant's beverage service, which was cause for major excitement. (We don't often allow them soda.)


Once we got to NYC, we had about, oh, 2½ hours to kill before her call time in Brooklyn. She was hungry, so I got her a McNugget meal from the McDonald's in the food court. It came with a Hello Kitty watch, and she has been obsessively playing with it ever since. I set the time and date on it, and she's been reading them to me all day!


We went out to the taxi stand and arranged for a cab to Brooklyn. The ride was uneventful, unless you count her McD's chocolate milk spilling in my purse, over all the contents. That sucks, but it goes with the mom territory, I think! Has to happen at least once. At least it didn't ruin our return tickets.

We got there with about two hours to spare. I decided to go ahead up and find the place first, and the we could easily find our way back when it was her 1500 call time. Instead, they welcomed us in and had us fill out her paperwork immediately. In about five minutes, it was her turn. They took four pictures of her in different poses, and that was it. We were done! All that travel for that. So, cross your fingers that she gets it!

We walked out with another mom and her little boy, so she and I talked for a while about "the business" and our kids' "work" thus far. She was really nice, and was amazed we'd come all the way from Va Beach, having driven up from Philadelphia herself. She helped me find a cab to get back to La Guardia, and we said our good-byes.

The return cab gouged me. It cost $10 more to return than to get out to Brooklyn. Suck. Oh, well, what are ya gonna do?


We now had about six hours to kill before our return flight. Neither of us was looking forward to that. Chloë was hungry again, so we stopped at a side kiosk, where I found (hooray!) Greek yogurt, loaded with protein and no fat. Finally, something for me to eat. I also bought a protein smoothie, but it was nasty; when Chloë asked me if I'd share it with her, I outright gave it to her. She was thrilled, until she tasted it herself. Hehehe. Chlo had some yogurt with granola and part of a chocolate bar, which gave her an upset tummy.

After a few visits to the bathroom for Chlo (hey, I only go in my own house if I can help it, so I held it all day!), we went up to our gate and found two earlier flights home. Could we get on the first one? We could! So we changed tickets and shortened our wait time by about four hours. Yippee!


While I sat and watched, and to the various amusement and annoyance of the other passengers, Chloë amused herself by making up dances, running around pretending I was a bear who was going to eat her, and playing with all the pay phones. I gave her a nickel and dime to figure out the whole coin-return game, and she had to try each phone out to make sure. She had a fit when one ate her dime! Then two little girls joined our gate-waiting, and she began to play with them. That lasted until it was time to board.

Our plane was delayed once for maintenance and again for I-don't-know, while we sat on the runway. It was only about 20 minutes, but it felt like an hour after our long day. We both fell asleep on the return flight; I heard myself snoring but didn't care enough to wake up and quit it!

After we found Rob and the Littles, he drove us home while I called Miss Linda to see how the kiddos had behaved. She wore them out, and they wore her and her husband out! Jack fell asleep in the car and hasn't woken up since; Sophia also fell asleep on the ride home but woke up to eat dinner. Barely - she lay down on her plate and was carried to bed before she spoke up. "Actually," she told her father, "I do want my dinner."

The girls had their chicken patties and broccoli, and I decided to eat some too. Wrong! The broccoli didn't sit well, and I yakked it all up. I soothed myself with one of my trusty popsicles while the girls ate birthday cake for dessert. Finally, it's gone and I can make something else!

Well, tomorrow should be Jack's first soccer game, but we'll find out for sure in the morning. We've had weather, and it's ongoing. They don't take chances with wet fields, so we'll see mañana.

Oh, and there's a chance Rob could be sent up to North Dakota for help with the flooding there. Could be tomorrow, could be next week - who knows? Stay tuned.

Have a great weekend!


Friday Fragments



Hey, check out what I got for last week's bloglet asking if birds fart:



Thanks, Mrs. 4444! I'm excited!

**** I like the way Sophie pronounces stuff. Lollipops are "lily pops," hula hoops are "hoolie hoops," warm is "worm," and booger is "burger." So cute!

**** Being sick is no good for my newfound housekeeping skills. I've gotten virtually nothing done, and I hate it. Must get better!

**** Also being sick, my garbage can is full of nothing but tissues and popsicle sticks. I'm sure there's an art project in there somwhere? Ew.

**** This is probably TMI, but I love testicles. There is something so fun about organs having their own little bag of skin to hang around in.Wouldn't it be cool if all our organs had their own bag of skin? Think of the clothes-shopping nightmares, though!

If you're fragmenting, be sure to link up here!



When It Rains, It Pours

Phew. I am feeling wiped. It's been a busy day. Ish.

I don't know what I did, but somehow my alarm clock was set an hour ahead, so when I woke up at "8 AM," I thought, "Oh, well, the kids aren't feeling well anyway," and went back to sleep. My alarm went off shortly after, and I checked my cell phone: 7:25 AM. Still time to get 'em up and on the bus! So we raced through the readying process and got them out the door. No one complained about not feeling well or had a fever, so I sent them.

It was the last day before Spring Break for three+ weeks, so I figured it'd be good for them to go and take care of whatever loose ends needed to be wrapped up.

Sophie was still asleep, so I went back to bed until 10 AM.  Then Jack's teacher, Special Ed teacher, and the Vice Principal called me for our scheduled parent-teacher conference. I asked for one over the phone, since I seem to find myself without a vehicle these days.

There was talk about what a bright boy he is, and what high-level thinking and ideas he exhibits, but that he is not motivated to apply his knowledge. He works better for Special Ed than for his regular teacher, and it's thought to be because of the distractions of the other students. He's needing extra help with his reading and with his math, and we're thinking about giving him more time in Special Ed. Also, they think he might need glasses, so we'll get him an exam over the break. But mainly, they wanted to let me know he may be a candidate for retention if he doesn't improve over the next nine weeks. I knew that and have had that on my mind, so it didn't come as a shock. Now comes the big push, which he won't like, but if he's meant to be in first grade, I want him to prove it now!

I was going to go back to sleep again, but Sophia woke up right after that. I fixed her breakfast and then we went upstairs to work on the laundry. I haven't been touching it, and there was dirty laundry spread over every square inch of the upstairs except, thank heavens, our bedroom. So she and I separated it into piles, and I put a load in. We made Mommy's bed, and then waited for Jack's bus.

He was pissed when I asked him to come upstairs with me! Why, I don't know, he's just that way! I had them sit and play on my bed while I took a shower. Good thing I'm used to cold, quick showers, because that's all I was going to get while the washer was running! Whenever it's a little cooler than I would have liked, I just pretend I'm swimming and that makes it seem all right.

Oh, several of you have asked about Blue. I haven't seen hide nor hair of her since her arrival. Everyone keeps asking if she could have gotten outside somehow, but she'd have to come downstairs to do that. She's hiding. Tinkerbell seems to know where, but she's not giving her up, so we'll just wait her out.

While we were downstairs for lunch, the local casting director who selected Chloë for "Boom" called. Seems they want her for an audition this coming Monday evening in Suffolk. It films locally, which is a relief after all the driving around Virginia we've been doing lately! It's another SAG short film, which is great, and even better, this one pays! So, we'll be there.

I put in the movie Bolt for the kids then, which I'd gotten as a free rental from Redbox last night. (I also got Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which didn't work, and Twilight, which I just couldn't get interested to watch. I'm just not into it like so many others, I guess. Not my style.) Bolt was cute - what I saw of it. Sophie and I were curled up on the couch together (it's so nice now that we both can fit!), and I fell asleep in the middle.

When it was over, I wanted to go outside and play. I realized Chloë's bus would be coming along shortly, so we wandered down to the corner to wait for her. Again, she kept her head down and didn't realize we were there until we called her name several times. Again, she was delighted to see us. We'll have to make it part of our routine again.

Once everyone had had a snack, we put the dog on her leash and headed back outside. We didn't have any particular aim, so I let the kids lead the way. They wanted to walk around the small pond again. Fine, small pond it is. It was much warmer today than it was Tuesday, though there was a very slight drizzle, if you could even call it that. We got hit with maybe one drop every five minutes. We got most of the way around the small pond when Chloë spotted a school friend on a side street. So we took a detour, interrupted their game of catch with their dad, and let everyone pet the dog. Smiles all around.

At the end of the street, we were going to turn toward home, but I was feeling good. "Anyone want to walk around the big pond?" They did. As soon as we got over there and spotted the playground, though, we changed directions again. The dog and I sat at the entrance while the kids ran around and had a good time. There were tweeners on the playground, which is supposed to be for kids up to age 12 only, and they were roughhousing and misbehaving. I'd have walked over to the office to report them, except, uh, I had a dog inside the gate with me. No pets allowed. So I wasn't going to be a hypocrite! Lily behaved, though. She just sat there and waited. She didn't poop or pee during our entire walk.

When we set off again, we planned to go 'round the big pond, but suddenly the rain started falling more earnestly. We giggled and danced our way home between drops, and the girls had to change their soaking wet, muddy clothes. Jack stayed pretty clean and dry.

And then, I got another phone call, this time from the agent in NYC. Could Chloë be there the following day for an audition for H&M Kids? Hm, well, I don't know. I spent the better part of the next two hours making arrangements for childcare for the Littles, finding us last-minute cheap tickets, and getting transport to the airport. It all worked out, finally, so I called MMG back and let them know we'd be there tomorrow. As we speak, Chloë is picking out her audition outfit.

Schwan's came, and I had a list ready for them. Good thing, because Rob took one of their frozen pizzas and stuck it right in the oven for dinner. After they ate, Chloë and I returned the three Redbox movies, and that's been it for the day.

I think I'll crash early. Tomorrow's a busy day, and I want to feel rested and well.


Endings and Beginnings

Well, it's the end of the vigil.

I always keep vigil for my son Robby's short life, from March 22, 2003 - March 25, 2003.

Normally, I relive (in my mind, of course) those too-brief three days, from the silent birth, through the many requests from the doctors for experimental treatments, through that morning when the doc came to me in my hospital bed and said "The things we are doing to keep him alive are now damaging him. His oxygen sats are no longer compatible with life."

I will never forget those words as long as I live.  That, and when we were finally allowed to touch him, hold him, love him, and the doctor came in and listened for a heart beat and finally shook his head at us. He was gone.

This time, this week, I've been too sick to do that. (But I just kinda did, didn't I?) So this day almost snuck up on me. I already had my little cry, when we lifted the balloons up to him in heaven on Sunday. Sunday! A Sunday to a Wednesday, what a short little time to be someone's whole entire life. God. I miss him so much.  Past are those awful days when I tried to give up my own life in return for bringing his back, but I don't think I will ever stop wishing that we could undo what happened and have him back again.

It's just not fair. But it is what it is, and the only thing to do is accept it.

Rest in peace, my little angel. Mama and Daddy love you so.


I promised a new beginning, as well.


This is Blue. She is seven years old. And she has come to live with us!

I met her people-mommy through my Hampton Roads (where we live) Etsy seller's team. They are moving into a smaller house, and poor Blue, who is terrified by one of their other cats and confined to their bedroom, would have virtually no place to roam. Mama didn't think that was fair, so she needed to re-home her.

Odettes to the rescue!

Rob and I talked about it, and we decided to give Blue a trial run, to make sure our kiddos and pets will be nice to her. So she arrived this afternoon, did the low crouch to the stairs, and then ran head-over-kiester up to who-knows-where.  We haven't seen her since (I stole this picture off Mama's blog), but there haven't been any confrontations with Tink or anyone else, so that's good.

She's a beautiful kitty, and she seems very sweet, from what I've heard about her. I'm excited to have her be part of our family and hope she will come out and start to accept us soon.

Welcome, Blue!


P.S. Nope, we didn't get out into the fresh air today. For one, it was chilly, and for two, I overdid it and am much sicker-feeling today than I was yesterday. So it turned out to be another lay-around-and-do-nothing day, which I can't stand. Ah, well. Baby steps.

Fresh Spring Air


Last night I asked Rob to make up some crabby patties with that crabcake mix from Williams-Sonoma. They're good, but they're still no Uncle Chuck's (our Farmer's Market supplier) - the gold standard, as far as I am concerned. I'll have to pay a visit to UC soon and check out his wares!

Health Report:  I would be feeling a lot better, I think, if it wasn't for this awful cough that is still bogging me down. It hurts and it wears me out, and I'm thinking of going back to the doc later this week to rule out (or in) pneumonia, since I seem to be somewhat prone to it. It's not getting any better, that's for sure. And I still have a sore throat, and my ears are plugged up, and I am so over it! 

Plus, now Rob is getting sick, which is like the worse thing ever in the world, and I am finding it hard to be sympathetic after all the "oh, it's just a cold" comments he gave me! Jack is on-again, off-again with not feeling well, and Sophia felt much better today after the dosage of Children's Tylenol I gave her last night for her fever, though I could tell she is sick. Chloë was doing great until she developed a bad headache at Ballet tonight and got sent home early, whereupon she immediately threw up and then cried like a banshee over her poor head. I almost got up and took her to the ER, but then she fell asleep.

Anyway, today I was determined it was not going to be another lay-around-in-my-nightgown-and-get-nothing-done day. Sophia was awake before the Bigs left for school this time (yesterday, she slept past when Jack came home!), so she had breakfast, and then we went upstairs. For the first time in a loooong time (unless we had to be somewhere), I jumped right in the shower first thing. It felt good to be back under the cool water, now that the chills are gone.

Then I folded up all the clean laundry. Jack's pile was way bigger than anyone else's, which means he's been having a spate of accidents during nap and bedtime. At six, this is frustrating, but I keep hoping and trusting that he will just grow out of it eventually. Sophia helped me with the clothes, and was just as chipper about it as her sister is not!


After that, I was hellbent and getting outside for some fresh air, feeling like it would really do me (us) some good. Sophie was certainly down with that. While I sat on the steps, she collected and counted leaves and rocks, hollered at and waved to the passersby, and dug in the garden.


She kept trying to ride Jack's new bike (did you know he got a new bike? Well, new to us; I found it on Freecyle and it's in great condition!), but wasn't strong enough to push the pedals forward. I figured all that time on the SmartCycle would've helped, but I guess not. We need to get her and Jack helmets, now.


She picked the dandelions and "planted" them in a bed with the hyacinth (thanks, Mom, Erin & Jessica!). Ooh, such pretty flowers.


We were outside all morning, waiting for Jack's bus. When she got a little cold, she wore my gigantic raincoat to stay warm.


As soon as Jack came home, we headed across the street to take that nature walk I'd been planning, around the small pond. This brazen little feller came right up to us and chatted away, to the kids' delight. Wish we could have stuck him in our collection bag!


'Twas all well and good until Sophia began pegging the poor thing with Yew berries, and then we had to nip that in the bud. He was unperturbed, though!


This is the small pond around which we walked. Some might remember we walked this pond with Stim last summer, and I had to stop for repeated breaks to ease my aching back. Today, there wasn't even a hint of pain, and I felt like I could have marched around it ten more times with ease. I might have, too, except it was considerably colder than across the street in our driveway, and Jack was miserable.


Ah, pretty dogwood trees in bloom. Sophia really got into the business of collecting cool things she spotted, but Jack was utterly uninterested in anything but shoving his hands in my pockets and going home. We'll have to try again another, warmer day, in another location.


I'm not much of a bird person - unlike Soapy - but I do love ducks. I could sit and take pictures of duckies all day. I refer to my children as "my ducklings" quite frequently.


Back at home, the kids had a quick lunch and then got started on their nature pictures. They chose what they wanted and where to put it; all I did was put the glue on for them.


Jack was an eager participant in this part of the process. If you've got ideas for more things we can do with our nature walk bounties, please let me hear 'em!


Their collectings


Sophia's picture - yes, that rock is glued on there! Hehe


Jack's picture - he was very proud of the pattern he made with the berries and acorn lids, and so was I! I figured we'd have been at the picture-making a little while longer, but then someone asked if they could have lollipops when they were finished, and I said "yes," and that immediately meant they were finished! Kids!


They wanted to go back outside and play, and I was just as enthusiastic about the plan as they. Jack wanted to ride his bike around, but he found it hard to do on the slightly-sloping driveway.


Sophia mostly sat in Jack's truck and sucked on her lollipop. She did go back to her rock- and leaf-collecting, though.


When the mail came and I went across to retrieve it, I asked Jack to put it inside on the desk for me. In doing so, he let Tiger Lily out, and she seemed to want to keep us company. When I first tried putting her on the leash, she darted across the street, and I hadn't the voice to command her back. She started to lope into the street when a car came rushing down, and I ran out and screamed, "Stop!!" Both the dog and the car stopped and stared at me, and then Lily turned around and went back across. Phew. Disaster averted. I have been there, done that, and don't ever want to do it again.

I managed to get Lily on the leash right after that, and she hung out with us, sniffing around the driveway, until it was time to go get Chloë from the bus stop. Jack pedaled his little bike down to the corner (no helmet, but he was going maybe 0.5 mph, and I was right next to him, giving him a push), and Sophia and I walked the dog. It was nice; I really enjoyed being outside all day with my chillens.

We were at the bus stop plenty early, so all the kids who were there before Chlo's bus were playing with and petting the dog, who reveled in the attention. She was a good girl, sitting when I told her to, heeling on her leash, and not barking at anyone. Sophia gave her lollipop away to another little girl, and I apologized to the dad about 40 times. He didn't seem to mind, but maybe he would've if he'd known The Sick was in our house!

When Chloë stepped off her bus, she kept her head down and kept walking right by us, because she didn't expect us to be there. When I called her name, she looked up and was just absolutely delighted to find us all there! She was carrying a bear, named Barbara something-or-other, on loan from her class. Barbara went with her to dance class and to bed, and she participated in everything else Chloë did. Chlo wrote in Barbara's journal and read Squirrel Nutkin to her. Seems like a cute take-home project.

I don't know yet what tomorrow will bring, but I'm already ready for more crisp, fresh air.


Monday Night Picture Show

No news for today; I'm still feeling poorly and now Jack and Sophia are getting sick, too. Lovely, just in time for Spring Break. I'm feeling anxious that everyone's going to be sick for our trip to Great Wolf Lodge and not have a great time. So, I'm praying that doesn't happen!

Anyway, I've finally been able to upload the pictures off my camera, so I thought I'd show some from the last several days.


"Look at me, Mama!" she shouted, giggling. That cat looks as big as she is! (But don'tcha wanna just reach in there and ruffle that furry belly?)


Outside of Toys 'R Us, examining the cars he got with his $3 birthday card from Geoffrey


This one amuses me. We were sitting in a round booth at the Silver Diner, and Chloë kept crawling over to Jack's place and bothering him. So I told her, "Come here, and sit your butt on the seat!" But I didn't stop there, out of silliness: "Stick your right thumb in the air! Put your left thumb on your bellybutton! Cross your eyes! Stick out your tongue! Say nyah, nyah, nyah!" I snapped each one at her faux-angrily, like an order, and she would comply obediently. I said the whole thing again each time she would start to creep over toward Jack, the whole thumb-thumb-tongue-eye-nyah routine, and she would snap to it. Funny!


After lunch, I promised the kids they could have one of those fancy lollipops from Williams-Sonoma. I held out the bucket, they made their selections, and then they went to town ripping off the wrappers in unison. Hungry hungry hippos!


Rob in his flight suit & vest


The happy birthday boy opening his presents (this was yet another car from Aunt Stacey)


The big rocketship that's been on his mind nonstop for a month, and has barely left his hands since!


The awesome (if I may say so myself!) cake that I slaved over for hours, trying to get just right. When he saw it, he breathed, "It's beautiful, Mommy." High praise coming from Jack. He was thrilled with it, which made me so happy.


...and then we ruined it! Jack decided he still wanted the Diego candle on his cake, so I told him to tell me exactly where to put it so it wouldn't screw it up. He wasn't upset about it at all, but I cringed!


Shhh! Can't ya hear we're singing the Birthday Song?


Make it a good wish, Little Guy!


Holding the fork is just a pretense.


Strawberry cake innards

And now, save this as a picture and post it on your blog; for Jack:



Happy Birthday, My Sons

Hard to believe, but six years ago today, my two beautiful boys, Robert "Robby" William and Jack River were born. It was a tumultuous entrance into the world, but you can read that story here, if you wish.

Jack, my handsome son, my wish for you is that you grow up just as big and strong as you were meant to be, no more and no less. I want for you to know that you are and will always be a twin, and that even without him by your side, playing soccer with you and getting into an abundance of naughtiness, he is a part of you. You are not alone in this life; Robby's spirit walks hand in hand with yours as your own personal guardian angel.  I want you to grow up to be a good man like your father, caring and gentle, loving and kind, always protective of those whom he loves, yet strong enough to take a stand when he believes in something. Always do the right thing. Love yourself. And call your mother!


Newborn Jack


At one month


Two months old, with Mama


Five months

Jack two

Two years old!


Jack at three years old!


Jack at four!


The birthday boy at six years old!!  Love you, buddy!

For Robby:


(Can you spot the balloons? Sorry, the sun was in my eyes, so I kind of just held up the camera and shot a picture without looking.)

We love you and miss you, Sweet Angel. Enjoy your heavenly party!


Shopping Spree

I woke up this morning feeling more terrible than even before, so it did not bode well for this pre-birthday day. Worse, Rob had to go into work today, so I was left with the Littles. They woke me up around 9:15, and I called them into the bedroom to hang out with me while I finished waking up, and just generally lay there feeling crappy. I was just about to give up and kick the bucket when I found my phone. I called Rob and asked him if there was any way he could come home. He replied, "I am! I just walked in the door."

♪ ♫ Cue the Hallelujah Chorus! ♪ ♫

So we all went downstairs, and Rob and the kids played and did their thing while I ate three popsicles in quick succession to ease the pain in my sore throat. Ahhhh, that's the thing, right there.

By noon or so I was feeling slightly more human, although not terrific (I'll let you know when I get to that point, never fear), and decided we could go out and do our planned shopping trips.


The first stop was Toys 'R Us. I had a coupon for a free Thomas the Tank Engine toy, which Jack has never been into (thank God, because that shiznat is pricey!), but you can't beat free. For that price, he could add it to his enormous collection of toys with wheels.

But he didn't want it! He pitched a big fit about wanting his rocket, which he asked for for his birthday, and not that. He just couldn't wrap his little mind about the idea that he could have this today, and his present tomorrow. Both. Sophia piped up that she woud like it, and we were back on.  We had to leave the train at the counter, though, while we shopped.

Then we did some more shopping that I can't talk about because it's for a friend who reads this blog. :P



Then, because each of the kids is a member of Geoffrey's Birthday Club and Jack received his $3 gift card, we let him pick out a 5-pack of Hot Wheels cars. He was taking forever and a day poring over all the choices, so I left the pack to go look at the Wii games selection. Holy moly, who knew there were so many?! I did not. I looked at all the games and all the accessories and decided they were all too expensive. So we checked out and left.



Down the road apiece, we went to Five Below so I could check out their Wii accessories. It was pretty minimal, but I did find a regular and a foam bat for Wii Sports (which came with the Wii) for $5 each. I got the soft one so the kids didn't beat each other up while swinging wildly! The girls have done Lord-knows-what with the enormous stash of hair doodles (my word for things that go in hair) I've acquired for them, so I bought three packs of them to keep up with the need for ponytails around here.



At the cash register, I spotted pint glasses with the recycling symbol on them, for two bucks! Someone around here, and her name is me, keeps breaking our pint glasses - and I lurve recycling - so I bought a couple of those, too! Back to the van.

Our next stop was Williams Sonoma, which is definitely not for the faint of heart. Have y'all been in there lately? Oh, my word, the prices! And Rob wanted to do our entire wedding registry there! Hello, have you met my family? We're more of the Target-and-Sears type of crowd.


[I had to bring Rob in there because he was with me when my latest shipment of Webkinz arrived from Sugar Bowl Gift Shop the other day. Love that site! They have ALL the Webkinz, even some retired ones, their shipping is super fast, and their customer service is outstanding. Plus with our latest 12 acquisitions - we now have *cough* 83  critters (not all adopted) - they even gave me a special discount code for 20% off my next order! Love it! I'm not sure I can share it and still use it myself, so let me know if you're interested and we'll see what we can see. And no, I don't buy 12 Webkinz every month!]

Back to Williams-Sonoma.


The first thing I spotted when I walked through the door was a gorgeous all-copper (and I realize the above is not copper) stand mixer. I was standing there for a minute or two, gaping at it because the mixer my BFF Shana gave us for our wedding - which is one of my absolute favoritest kitchen thingies - is currently misbehaving, when an employee noticed me and yelled from across the store about how beautiful it was. I just stared at him and nodded. But no, we didn't buy. I'll find a way to fix my current workhorse.

Rob needed to get a loaf pan to fit inside his flight suit vest (ask him if you want to know why), and I thought the ones on the website looked like they  might fit. Well, I was wrong, dammit. So I encouraged him to have a little fun shopping for things he'd like to have in the kitchen, since he is the primary cook and dishwasher in our house. Oh, and I'd also planned on going there to get this:


Are those not the prettiest little eggs? I could totally make those! I saw them the other day on some blog (sorry I don't remember) and knew I wanted the kit. And it's $5 cheaper at the store than on the website! No, I don't plan to let the kids use this one. Hehe. Well, maybe. But I'll probably get them the cheapy ones and I'll use the fancy, expensive one.  Geez, how many eggs do we need, anyway? Ah, who cares, you only get to do 'em once a year.

Since I'm on a mission to keep trying to get seafood into Oscar (my new pouch) without coing right back up again, I bought a couple cans of lump crab meat at the store the other day. When I spotted WS's Crab Cake Blend on the shelf, I started salivating immediately. (No pic; it's not on the website and my camera isn't uploading again, darn thing.) I was beginning to need a shopping cart!



It became apparent that this store really was not the place for three young children, and it was getting harder for me to wrangle them. I had no voice with which to keep calling them to come to me, to stop touching, to stand up, etc. That same nice employee whispered in my ear that there were bread samples if the kids were allowed. They were allowed! Too bad I wasn't, because Rob tasted the Lemon Poppy Quickbread and found it amazingly delicious. He added a bag of that to our growing stack on the counter.


Of course, right behind the bread samples, the kids spotted all the Easter goodies. They tried like the dickens (see me trying not to swear during Ultimate Blog Party week? That's because I marked my blog as "family friendly," hehe) to persuade me to buy them a $16 bag of jellybeans, but are you out of your mind?! First of all, jellybeans suck. Second of all, even if they don't suck, no jellybeans are that good. Jellybelly beans will have to do if they want "good" jellybeans, and I can get them for far cheaper. I did peruse all of the outrageously overpriced candies, though, and finally settled on these lollipops because they just looked so darn pretty. Into the pile. (The kids have since eaten two of them apiece and have declared their love, although the strawberry ones are in short supply.)


  Finally, Rob chose another item: a 14" olivewood spoon (without the rest). He bought an olivewood mortar and pestle in Europe - yet to be used - and wanted to add to the collection.



Then he made another selection: this 8" French whisk. I can't wait to use it. I love a good egg beatin'!



I spotted these Silicups (silicone cupcake cups) on the counter when setting down Rob's utensils. Since I love making cupcakes - although it has been a while, and I'm itching to do it again soon - this will be a great way to get rid of the waste from using disposable cupcake liners. And I won't need to use the cupcake pan, so it'll be easier to fill them, and later I can take them out and then decorate them, if I want. Like if I bring them to Bunco, I can remove them easily and without worrying about someone throwing them away or having to take them all home. Perfect!



And finally, le pièce de résistance was this 8" Lagostina frying pan. Rob looked at me doubtfully when he brought it up for show-and-tell. I could tell he wanted it but was afraid to ask. He deserves decent cookware, and I did just buy all those Webkinz, so what the hell. But that was it. We were done. While ringing me up, they fixed Rob a nice cuppa at my request, which I think he appreciated. The man likes his java, he does.

We grabbed our bag and ran before we could find any other must-haves, and then headed back to Toys 'R Us to pick up the free train we left at the counter! Whoops, forgot all about that.


The kids were starving by then, so I asked the birthday boy where he would like to have lunch. He said, "Wal-Mart." I said, "Let's try this again..." In the end, I talked him (without too much difficulty; he loves the place) into eating at Silver Diner, a fun little place near home with good food and cheapish prices. All the kids are signed up for their birthday club, too, so he had a free meal and milkshake coming his way. Ooh, boy, I love those birthday clubs!

We were reading the menu, when Rob pipes up, "Ew, that Crabcake and Sweetcorn Omelette sounds disgusting!" Um, that's what I planned on ordering, thanks. Hee! And I did get it, and it was good, so there. Not that I ate the whole thing, maybe a quarter of it, but it'll be good again and again and again tomorrow! And I even kept it down.

The kids all had pancakes and strawberries with milk, and Jack sucked down his shake like there was no tomorrow. He was a happy boy. He really likes this birthday stuff, I think. I can not believe my little boy is six!!!!

Anyway, we finally went home, and the kids had a lollipop before everyone (but me) took a nap. I've been sitting here pretty much ever since, except when we stopped to play Wii Sports for a while.  I kick butt at the baseball! It's the only one I've tried so far. And Chloë likes the golf, but she doesn't get that a high score isn't a good thing!

So I just sent Rob out for the strawberry cake mix Jack requested, and now I'm feeling bad about it because I probably won't bake tonight after all. If I do, I promise to use plenty of soap and hand sanitizer first!


Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Well, here it is at last, the UBP09, hosted at 5 Minutes for Mom! This is my first time participating in this one, so I hope I 'enter' it correctly!

Make sure you visit the link above to read the rules and win lots of great prizes!!

Anyway, I was going to do this big, fabulous, jazzy introductory post for all you party-goers out there, but (as my regular readers have read about thirty hundred times now), I'm rilly, rilly sick with the flu. So this'll be the quick and dirty (read: picture- and video-free) version.

I'm Melanie, aka Smellyann, stay-home mom to three kids aged 7½, 6, and very-nearly-four. In my previous life, I was a marine biologist studying shark feeding behavior, but then we eloped and got pregnant immediately and that put and end to all that! Don't know what I'll do when I go back to work yet! My latest thing is recovering from and learning to eat again after gastric bypass (RNY) surgery on 1/26, so I post about that a lot lately. I'm an enthuiastic knitter, crocheter, baker and scrapbooker, altho lately most of the crafty posts focus on my knitting. And I'm a Webkinz fanatic!

I've been married to Rob for over eight years. He has been in the Navy (enlisted) for about 16 years and is hoping to make Chief this summer. He's an Aircrew Survival Equipmentman (aka Parachute Rigger) who can't wait to retire and... do what then, we don't know yet. His latest thing is his BMW motorcycle (I couldn't tell you what flavor, and he's asleep); he's working on getting his license for it but sure is proud of it!

Chloë is my oldest. She's a second grader, and in my not-so-humble opinion, the most gorgeous creature on the planet! Not that my other children aren't beautiful; they are, but I could stare at Chlo all day and admire her beauty. She takes Tap, Ballet, and Jazz lessons and is in her third year as a Girl Scout (one year as a Daisy, two as a Brownie). Her latest thing is acting and modeling, both of which she is quite good at for such a youngster, and she has been hired out a lot lately. We're so proud of her! She shares the Webkinz obsession and has quite the collection.

Jack is the middle child, poor thing. He's in morning kindergarten this year and is now slowly but surely learning to read! He was a twin; he and his brother Robby were born six years ago tomorrow, two months early, so he's had lots of preemie issues as far as developmental delays go. But we work through them as they come, and for all intents and purposes, he's a normal - if tiny - little boy. He has an enduring love for anything with wheels and is quite mechanically inclined. His latest thing is soccer! His first game was supposed to be today, but it got canceled due to an unsafe field. Darn!

Sophia is the baby. She will always be The Baby, even though she is taller and heavier than Jack! She is so smart, and says such funny, intelligent things for someone her age. The child keeps me laughing and laughing throughout the day. She has an enormous fondness for birds; it wouldn't surprise me if she were an ornithologist one day. She takes Creative Movement classes at the dance studio where Chloë has been going for five years now and is such a natural at it, though I'd really like to get her into gymnastics. Her latest thing is to tell everyone to say excuse me when they fart! Hehehe.

Well, that's us in a nutshell. Thanks for stopping by, and have fun at the Party!



Bzz, Bzz: Afrin PureSea


I was so excited to sign up for this latest Bzz Campaign, because it's something I really need right now. Fortunately, in the midst of this virulent influenza attack I'm having, it showed up on my doorstep today!

Actually, I don't know if you're supposed to use it (for maximum effectiveness) when you're riding the raging snot rocket that I am, but I tried it out anyway.

What is it?

Afrin PureSea, a nasal rinse product.  I have had major post-nasal drip for as long as I can remember, and I recently learned about neti pots, which is another nasal rinse product. I tried to buy one at the drug store recently, but they didn't stock them, so I've semi been on the lookout for one ever since. And then I got this Campaign! Yippee! (And then I got The Sick! Not yippee!) It cleans your nasal and sinus passages of allergens, pollutants, and everything else your nose traps, so you can breathe freely.

How do you use it?

Well... that's the fun part. Heh. For the Afrin PureSea, you put the applicator tip on the bottle, and then get yourself in the shower or over a sink. (I did it over the bathroom sink.) Then you tilt your head all the way to one side, put the applicator up one nostril and press down on it. The 100% natural, purified sea water goes in one nostril and out the other, rinsing everything away. Then you tilt your head the other way and do it on the other side.

I blew my nose afterward to really clear things out (and before), and voila! For a few pleasurable seconds, I could breathe better through my nose than maybe in my whole life (hi, I'm a mouth breather, who's with me?) - certainly better than I could five minutes before! It felt a little like I had dunked my head underwater at the beach for a minute, but it wasn't burny at all like that because the salt concentration is much lower.

What's in it?

Nothing but sea water! It's purified to get rid of pollutants and microorganisms, and it's isotonic so that it matches your own saline concentration, but otherwise, it's straight from the Bay of Saint-Malo in France.

More Fun Facts

  • You can find it in the cough & cold aisle
  • It has sea water's same trace elements to minimize discomfort and match your body chemistry
  • It goes through a sterilizing filtration process
  • No drugs or preservatives
  • Can be used as often as needed (it says up to four times a day, but personally I don't see why you couldn't use it more often, since it's just sea water)
  • There is NO mixing, as with a neti pot
  • The contents remain sterile after use
  • There are three varieties, the most gentle of which can be used on babies as young as six months old
  • MSRP is $14.99, but I have $3 off coupons for anyone who wants 'em!!

My Verdict

Well, I'm glad my bottle was free, because the cost is a little off-putting for me. I couldn't afford to just stock up on it, even with the coupons! So I'd use it with a cold or something, or if I'd been around mold or something else yucky.  Also, unlike the neti pot which you buy once and keep, this is disposable.  It's recyclable, but still, that's a lot more waste.

But I did like the feel of it, and I'm getting ready to go do it again. I'm going to do it every day until it's gone, so I'll be sure and update if my opinion on it changes either way.  It was wonderful to be able to breathe clearly through my nose for the first time maybe ever! Would I buy it again? Yes, definitely. Would I cringe at the environmental impact? Yep.

What do you think? Have you tried anything like this before? Would you want to try this? Would you like a coupon?



Never Thought I'd Say It

First, thanks for all the well wishes, y'all. But I think today is my sickest day yet. I'll spare you the minute details, though I really feel like unloading and complaining about every last ache and pain! What a crappy way to start Spring.

(Tip: Invest in Puffs. I'm going through Puffs Plus like there's no tomorrow.)

Yesterday, I was feeling slightly better, and I believe I quite overdid it.

First, several of those XL Ziploc storage bags, full of the kids' Spring/Summer clothes, have been taking up space upstairs. It was driving me nuts, and every time I would ask Rob to put them away, he'd snap at me. Nag, nag. Well, now that it is Spring, I decided to go through all the bags. Imagine that, me getting somethin done for a season on the first day of that season. Remnants of my old self coming through...?

Sophia helped. She sat with me and carried all the bags over to the bed for me. Well, dragged; they're quite heavy. I was hoping there would be a ton of outgrown items, because my children have way too many things and not enough drawer and closet space, but no such luck. Out of about 14 stacks of clothes on the bed, only the smallest was for gittin' rid of - maybe two dozen pieces. Eh, I guess that's a good thing, but I know some things will never get worn. (Not the cutest ones, though!)

Oh, I know my real reason for doing that: I had to get all the bathing suits and cover-ups together for our upcoming trip to Great Wolf Lodge! Turns out Jack has, like, 10 suits. Heh.

Anyway, I was just finishing up that when Rob arrived home for me to go to my doctor appointment. Phew. I threw on some clothes and didn't give a hoot that I hadn't brushed my hair or put on a bra (and a bra is a must for a chesty girl like me). I was in full-on sick mode, and they could take me or leave me. But better take.

I was seen right away at the doc, where I was swabbed for strep, rapid strep, and influenza. Then I waited literally an hour and a half for the results, wishing I were home in my comfy-cozy bed.

The results? Not strep, but definitely flu. Doc told me I may as well go home and keep taking what I'm already taking (Mucinex, Tylenol), rather than wait it out for another eternity in the pharmacy. I agreed. She offered to write me a doctor's note for work; I should have accepted it, because Rob is still cracking on me about this being "just a cold." I don't know, no one's ever died from a cold that I'm aware; this ain't no stinkin' rhinovirus. It's a baddy. And I still want to die.


I had errands but felt too crappy to do them. In the end, I had no choice, because the gas light came on. For my first time, I drove to the Farm Fresh (our grocery store of choice, but a different store than the one to which we go) gas station to use the gas discount I get at the register. I had tickets adding up to 66-cents-per-gallon off 15 gallons of gas! In the end, my gas cost $1.139 per, and I filled up 3/4' worth for just over 17 bucks. Yeah, buddy! Must use that more often...

Then, I had hundreds of dollars of cookie money to deposit, some to the council bank and some to the troop bank. Why we use a different bank, I don't know. I found a Wachovia on the way home and ran through the drive-thru teller to unload all the checks I'd just received from the other moms. The lady kept saying, "What, what?" through the speaker, because she couldn't hear my paltry little piece of voice. It was frustrating.

I went home to collect the rest of the family, but by then it was time to wait for Chloë's arrival from school.


I don't know what the hell that is, but I'm sure at least two of you can tell me! I planted all my bulbs in Fall of oh, 2004, maybe, and promptly forgot what everything was.  A plant person, I am not. Anyway, 'tis our first bloom of the year, and I excitedly noticed it on or way back out to the van! Isn't she a beaut?! I think that very bulb is always the very first one to pop.

Our next stop was at the BB&T to deposit all the cash to the troop. We received so many checks for cookies that we overpaid to the council, so now all cash belongs to us. But really, the only thing notable about that trip was my teller's name: Nefertiti. And she wasn't Egyptian. I thought it was cool. I asked her if she went by that; I was thinking maybe "Teetee." But no, it's "Neffie." Anyway.

To Michaels next. (Sorry for the lack of linkage, but that requires more thought and energy than I have at the moment.) Jack had been wanting either a Diego or a Madagascar cake for his birthday, so I thought I'd check out the options in Wilton shaped cake pans. I quickly found a Diego one and thought I was all set, but he threw a wrench in the works and demanded a Cars cake! Some things just never change. Guess I'll have to return that Diego candle I bought from the grocery store.  I needed decorating bags, too, so I sent Rob through with one item and a 40%-off Michael's coupon, while I took the other and used a 40%-off AC Moore coupon. Sweet deal, there!

Finally, what the kids had been dying for: we went next door to Panera for a late lunch/early dinner. I had been looking forward to an attempt at eating there since my surgery, just to see what I could eat. Since I had $35 in Panera gift cards from MyPoints (tell 'em I sent ya if you sign up!), it was the perfect opportunity.

Sadly, because I'm way too early out still to eat much in the way of bread, I couldn't get my old standby: a You-Pick-Two containing a plain tuna sandwich and a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup. Couldn't really do the soup, either, because I'm not supposed to consume solid food and liquids at the same time. In the end, I ended up with a small plate containing two small scoops of naked tuna salad. Booooring.

And not that great, without the bread! The tuna chunks were way too huge, and the seasoning no longer appealed to me. Tastes change after surgery. The rest of the family was feasting - having spent the entire $35 - and I looked on longingly while I ate about half my "meal." I'll probably never get that again.

In fact...

and it pains me to say this,...

I think I am over Panera.

Ouch. It hurts to say that "out loud." You know I love my Panera. Moe's (Welcome to Moe's!) is out, too, unless I get a burrito without the rice. Same with sushi.

Hey, anyone who thinks weight-loss surgery is "taking the easy way out" can bite me on the butt, because it's SO not!!

We were supposed to go to Williams-Sonoma after that, but I was feeling quite sickly by then and needed to go home and rest. So bad, in fact, that I let Rob drive us. Bad idea; I think he gave me no fewer than three small myocardial infarctions on the short trip.

And then I ran inside and puked about nine times. You're welcome that info.

I vegged for the rest of the evening, until 2100 when it was time for the monthly online crochet-a-thon. I wasn't supposed to be there because of our trip to L.A., but I ended up spending many hours talking to my crochet friends. And not posting this blog.

So there you have it. If you're in the neighborhood, come be my mommy. Please?


Friday Fragments



**** Our cat Tinkerbell loves to lick the Jafra Peppermint Foot Balm off my feet (it's nontoxic). I like having my feet licked (well, by the dog and the cat, not by Rob so much), so sometimes I put it on just to get her to do it. Is that wrong?

**** ...

Oh, hell, that's all I can come up with. I thought up a million of 'em last night while trying to fall asleep, too. I really  need to carry around a microrecorder. Then you'd get every last thought out of my head.

If you're Fragmenting, link up on Half-Past Kissin' Time!


Heaven - One, Earth - Zero


I really couldn't sleep at all last night. Between the achiness, the sneezing and coughing, and being frozen to the bone, I just couldn't get comfortable downstairs on the couch where I've been sleeping whilst sick. I so needed my sleep, too. My eyes were (are) burning.

Finally, around 0300, I picked myself up and went upstairs to take a hot shower. Normally, I don't take hot showers; I take them as cool as I can stand, as quickly as I can. But I needed to get warm (I would much rather have the fevers than the chills - who's with me?), so I put it on the very hottest setting with the intention of standing under it until it was all used up.

Yes, it was a plan that would have made the No Impact Man shudder from the top of his organic bamboo toque down to his recycled rubber galoshes.

(I'd have taken a bath, but that would have required me to: A. Enter the children's bathroom, which I avoid at all costs, and B. Fit comfortably in the tub, which I don't. Yet. I was absolutely daydreaming of being in the hot tub at Great Wolf Lodge, yessirree!)

Anyway, I lasted about 15-20 minutes under that scalding hot shower, and it felt amazing. Gone were the mile-high goose bumps. I think someone must have switched our water heater with a tankless one, because it was still very hot when I decided I needed to lie down.

So, I reluctantly turned off the blissful heated stream, wrapped my soaking wet mane in the hair towel from my MIL, put on my Jafra Royal Ginger body oil, and crept into bed clad in my towel. I slipped between the covers and ahhhh! Felt so good. I was finally warm.

Sorry, Planet.

(I still didn't get to sleep until almost 0600, though! So I'm off, back to bed until Soapy makes her appearance.)




Death Warmed Over

Oh, man.  I feel awful.

My parenting leaves much to be desired right now. I lay on the couch all day, with Noggin on. After breakfast for the schoolies, I didn't even feed the children. Jack came home and got his own yogurt for lunch. Sophie obtained her own... everything. The girl just eats and eats, I swear. They kept coming up to me and asking me for stuff, and I was like, sure, sure, do whatever you want, just don't hurt yourself or go outside! (Not really, sheesh!)

I seriously wanted to die earlier. You know when you're really sick and you start imagining your own death? Or am I the only weirdo who does that? In the wake of Natasha Richardson's tragic accident, I was all teared up over her, my own mortality, etc.

This is a pretty ridiculous post, now that I'm reading it back. But you get the gist. I feel like caca.

I'm going to the doctor tomorrow. I don't know what they're going to do for me, other than confirm that I have the Bubonic Plague, but whatev.

The suckiest part was I had to get up off my lovely couch with my lovely blanket and take a shower. Why? Because today was Brownies day. Normally, in this state, I'd have sent Rob, but all the cookie money was due. And  I had to give some of them cookies, pick up some for myself, write all the cookie and money receipts out... blah blah blah. Rob's a smart man, but this I had to take care of myself.

I did receive mucho sympathy from the other moms, though. Although one mom, who is a nurse, chastised me for wearing the same sandals, day in and day out, even at the booths in the freezing rain. "No wonder you showed up with the flu! You're going to have me swearing in church!" (We meet at a church, obvs.)  She said she was going to take me shoe shopping. But I like my sandals, man!

Anyway. I've sat up for the past two hours, working on cookie money deposits and stuff, and I am going to be SO GLAD when this is all over.

I'm putting myself to sleep here. Latah babies.


Late-Season Flu?

I have been feeling bad since Monday, and as of today, I am quite certain I have the flu. Observe:


- Achy and tender joints all over (esp in my hips, for some reason)

- Alternating chills and fever

- Headache

- Upset tummy (yesterday)

- Cough, deep in my chest, the kind where you feel like your lungs are ripping out

- Lots of sinus pressure

- Stuffy, runny nose

Sounds like it, right? So, I never take anything for colds or flu. Ever. I prefer to tough it out, usually. But this time, I feel absolutely terrible, and I have no idea what to take, other than multiple naps on the couch, alternating between covered in three blankets and kicking them off me.

Screw this, man.




(WARNING: this is going to be a rant, and I'll probably drop some f-words. If you don't want to read 'em, back away now!)

I am SO furious! So pissed!

Chloë and I are heading to L.A. this weekend, right? It's for this big-deal casting convention (not at all the bullshit that is iPOP!), and we paid our way in freaking September '08! Six months ago.

We have also had our airline tickets and our hotel reservations for this weekend, for MONTHS.

So just out of curiosity, to see what the agenda was like and check our free time and stuff, I went on the convention website (it's TLACC, for the nosy!).

Oh my freaking good gosh!  They changed the fucking dates of the convention!

AND NEVER EVER told me!  It's now April 4-5!!!

Hello, we are not coming from around the damn corner, we are flying across the damn country to go to this thing, and I have an email confirmation stating it was this weekend!

Now WTF are we supposed to do?! I just left them a SCATHING message saying I wanted a full refund and a refund of whatever it costs me to cancel our plane tickets, but I doubt they'll even call me back. Believe me, as soon as it's 0900 PDT, I am calling them back!

I can not even freaking believe this!!!!

On the upside, now I won't miss Jack's first soccer game and his sixth birthday!

BUT OH!!!!!!!!


Beachy BSJ


Welp, aside from the buttons, which Stephanie will need to pick out for me on her next visit to our house, I finished my third (fourth?) Baby Surprise Jacket [ravelink] last night.

The blue/green/yellow variegated yarn is the wonderful, but sadly discontinued, Organic DK yarn from Cherry Tree Hill. As I said, I looked everywhere online for more of it, so I could make this all in that yarn, but it was nowhere to be found. Finally, I gave in and found the corresponding yellow in my stash, Bravo Baby from Schachenmayr nomotta.  Yes, that's right, I combined a wool with an acrylic. Do you think it goes well enough with the other?

This sweater was done on size 8 straight needles; perhaps I could've made the whole sweater if I'd done it smaller. But I'm happy with it.

I was going to attempt my first applied i-cord all around the edges, but I wimped out and did a row of single crochet around all the green edges. I even seamed up the sleeves with crochet. I rather like the effect, although the neck could possibly have turned out a little better, at least on the right side.


In the end, though it wasn't what I originally started out to make, I'm happy with the sweater. Next time, though, I will do that i-cord!

Up next: either an EZ bonnet or EZ longies. I haven't decided.


The Source Of My Excitement

Okay, so I'm a teaser. But I'm so excited, I have to share! Especially since today was such a dud day, and I have nothing much else to say about it.

First up, Chloë and I are headed to L.A. again, this Friday night. This trip is for a big casting convention, and it has been on the books since at least September. Now that it's here, we're not ready! Aack! Jack has his first soccer game on Saturday, and I'm not going to be there! AND it's his birthday on Sunday! So sad about that. But Rob has duty on Saturday also, so I'm not sure how he's going to work that with the Littles! And we don't get home until Monday night, so again, don't know what he's going to do about work. He's had six months to think about it, though...

But that's not the source. Oh, no. I'm beyond excited about what we're going to do for Spring Break, as the combined celebration for Jack's 6th and Sophia's 4th birthdays! So much so that I can scarcely sleep at night!


 Do you know what that is? Do you? Do you??!!

It's Great Wolf Lodge, in Williamsburg, Virginia! Just an hour north of us, this little gem has been there, just waiting for us to come and plan a visit. And now, we have! I found a great deal online, and since the kids get three weeks of Spring Break in their year-round plan, we were able to get a couple of days (we're only going for Weds and Thurs nights) during an off-peak week! As Chloë would say, "SA-WEET!"

There is SO much to do, so much we're looking forward to, and the kids don't even know the half of it yet! But I have been perusing the website like crazy, and babbling a blue streak to Rob about my finds. Poor Daddy only gets to come at night, after work, so he really doesn't want to hear it... which is why I must share with you!



For those who don't know about Great Wolf Lodge, it is a giant indoor waterpark! How fun is that?! As for me, I could spend my life in, on, and around the water. It draws me. It calls me. I need to be nearby. But being that it's as yet too cold to go to the beach or Busch Gardens' Water Country USA, also in Williamsburg, or even our own local one... this is perfect! And how fun does that family raft ride look? I can't wait to throw the kids in the middle and whish down the slide!



Floating in a tube on a lazy river is just about one of my favorite things to do at a waterpark. I was made for chillaxing, man. (It's probably why I'm so good at the Lotus Focus on Wii Fit - I was born to just sit there and do noting! Hee!) Now the girls should be brave enough to sit in their own tubes and float, while I carry Mr. Chickenhead.

Of course, there are all kinds of slides, and pools, and kiddie things to do in the waterpark area of the Lodge. I can't wait to try each and every one of the things the kids are old enough to try! But wait, there's more!




How cool is this?! Not only is there an Elements Spa for grown-ups with all kinds of pampering services (not that I plan to utilize any of them for this trip, as it's the kids' party and not mine!), but there is Scooops Kid Spa where the children can get manis and pedis themselves! My girls will LOVE this!! And all of the services are yummy dessert-themed, to boot!



Every night, there is story time, where the kids come down in their PJs and slippers and listen to a special story before heading up to bed.  How sweet!

There is SO much more to offer at the Lodge: a mini-golf course, surfing lessons, a rock climbing wall, a temporary tattoo station, two separate arcade rooms,  Lodge-wide game system, and more! There is even a 24-hour fitness center where Mom can go after the kids are in bed, so I can keep up my exercise routine while I'm away from home! Not that chasing after three kids in a waterpark all day won't be activity enough, y'know?



Ooh, and not only are there adults-only whirlpools, but they have big ones designated for the whole family! They thought of everything!



The Lodge also houses the Cub Club for little ones, where they can do make-and-take crafts (for a fee), and join in the daily coloring contest. On weekend nights, they even do babysitting so parents can go off and do their own thing!




Of course, there is souvenir shop where you can pick up anything you want GWL-themed, and another shop where you can buy anything you may have forgotten at home. There are four places to eat on site, some right next to the waterpark so you don't have to leave the fun! This will be great for us, since we'll be strapped without a car while we're there!



A build-your-own-Crocs station! I am definitely going to check this out, as I've been wanting a pair of Crocs since we went to Disneyworld in '06! Unless the price is astronomical (and I can imagine it will be) compared to a regular pair, I'll be coming home with my own Crocs!



Check this out - it's like the Great Wolf Lodge's own version of Build-a-Bear Workshop! You pick out your own wilderness critter, stuff, stitch, fluff and fill him, pick out some clothes, and then adopt him! I know all my kids would love to get one, but we may have to limit ourselves to just one for the family. Or else the girls can go to Scooops and Jack can get an animal; we'll see!


The fun doesn't stop just because we retire to our room for the night! There are many themed rooms at the lodge, and we chose the KidKamp Suite where the children get their own tent-themed room and can pretend they're camping for the night! It comes with their own TV and Nintendo game system; the adults have one in theirs as well. Sweet suite!

So as you can probably tell, I am positively bubbling over with enthusiasm about our trip, and I haven't even been there yet! I can't wait to experience it for real! If you've been, please let me know anything I need to about our stay, and if you haven't, check out the site for a Lodge near you!

You wanna know the best part? Even though we have to check out of our room on Friday morning at 11, we can stay at the waterpark all day until it closes (and Rob comes to pick us up)!! Wheee!


Porky Hands

Well, I was up 'til like 5 AM this morning, restless and busy working on Cookie things, bills, coupons, my grocery list, and what-not. Basically wasting time. 

Oh, and last night, I broiled half the bag of Schwan's scallops that I bought for myself (no one else likes them; I adore them) for a protein fix. Whoo, they're pricy, but I'll get about four meals out of them. Anyhoo, I mixed up some olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl, then added the mollusks. I swished them around real good, coating them thoroughly, and then put them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Stuck that in the broiler for about 9 minutes, and they were SO DEElicious! Really excellent. Think shrimp would be good that way, too?

BUT, there was just one problem. While I was standing at the stove, taking half the critters off the sheet and onto my plate, there was a HUGE explosion, and all kinds of flames and sparks shot out on me. I'm surprised I didn't have a stroke or something. Seriously, it was a major fright!

After I regained my composure, I discovered what happened: someone put the brand-new, never-used electric can opener on the back burner, where it melted and did God knows what to the innards. I guess it was the opener and not the burner that exploded, so aw, man, that thing is now completely shot. What a waste!

Who's at fault here? The person who put it on the burner to begin with, or the person who cooked and didn't notice it was there (there were big pots on the front burners, where Rob leaves them to dry)? All day long, I decided it was the former, but I guess it's my fault too, and I learned a lesson: When using the oven, always check the stovetop first!


So since I took my sleeping meds at 5 or so, I hibernated for most of today. I slept like 12 hours! I slept the sleep of the dead. Thank goodness I had nothing on my plate for today except grocery shopping. And Rob was home, so he and the kiddies did... who knows?

When I finally woke up and came downstairs, I found out the Brownies leader was on her way over to pick up more cookies, and I was nekkid! (That seems to be a recurring theme here on SSA, doesn't it? You'd think I'd put some clothes on when I jump out of bed, but I've gotten my nude habits from my husband. Even though we  have vastly different physiques and I can ill afford to show mine off!) And alllll of my clothes, pretty much, were in the again enormous mountain of laundry.

I found a pair of pants, but couldn't find a shirt. Wait a minute, what about this one that I haven't worn in a long time? I tried it on. Lo and behold, it fits! So even though the scale didn't move since Wedesday when I weighed in this morning, I still had a small success. Yay.


After cutting the coupons out of today's paper, and after Rob and Jack returned from Wally where they fetched a new #3 soccer ball, it was time to head out for groceries. I collected my plastic bags to recycle (mostly newspaper bags, ugh), my 20 or so canvas bags for the food, and made my way out in the rain. By then, it was about 7:30 PM.

Which is notable because the deli and the seafood department close at 8 PM every day, and I needed multiple items from both departments.

What you may have realized, though, is that I have a little bit of the OCD, a touch of the anal-retentiveness. Can I just go to those departments first and get them out of the way, then go back and do the rest of my shopping? No. I must always follow the same pattern in the store, never deviating from my path.

I enter. I stash the plastic bags, put my canvas bags under a cart and go right, past the floral department and the enticing bakery display. (Although today I stopped to look for a pretty pot of tulips or maybe Gerbera daisies.There were none. Rats.) I do the Produce department, then the deli, then work my way through the aisles (and if we need it, Meat Dept.) until I'm halfway, where the Seafood Dept is. That's the rule. That's the way it goes.

Well, today, my friends, I had to break form. It killed me, but the Deli clerk was in a chatty, chatty mood, and she kept stopping her slicing to talk to me or the Bakery lady. Hello!! We're pusing time here, woman! Finally, I gave her the second half of my order and told her I had to run to Seafood to get my stuff.

I got there at 7:51 PM, people. And I don't set the time on my celly; it automatically updaes, and it matches the automatic time on the cable box AND on the atomic clock Rob's dad gave us. So I know it's right. But do you know what I found when I got there, NINE whole minutes early? An empty seafood case, with nothing but crushed ice and a few lobsters in the tank. Nothing else. Nada. Zilch.


Just then, a manager strolled by. I called out, "What time does the Seafood Department close?" He told me, "Eight o'clock, every night." I looked at him sternly and said, "It is NOT 8:00 yet!" "Well, do you need something?" "Um, nah, I just thought I'd stand here with my thumb up my ass and inform all the passers-by of the current time. Yes, I want my shrimp and tuna steaks!!"

Okay, *maybe* I didn't say that last part exactly like that. But you get the gist.

He went and found the seafood man. Who, by all appearances, was PISSED. At ME. For making him WORK. You know, earn his paycheck?  When he came behind the counter and all but glared at me (and this is the guy who always waits on me and knows exactly what I want, most times, so we're not strangers), I whined petulantly, "You closed early on me!"

He said, "We close at eight." I said, "It's not 8:00 yet." He replied, "It's two minutes 'til!" I said, "I got here at nine minutes 'til, and I raced to get here on time!"

He sighed. Heavily. More than once.  Asshole.

Was I wrong to demand he serve me? I mean, I have shopped in this store for the past six years, week in and week out. I drop a lot of money there. Today alone I purchased $465 worth of groceries (but saved about $58 in coupons). (I don't usually spend that much, but I didn't do a big trip at the beginning of the month, and... oh, you don't care.)

Anyway.  Then he noticed I was scanning everything as it went in my cart, because I had a lot of coupons and never know what they were when I get home and scan all the groceries for Nielsen. He wanted to know all about it, and then he mellowed out and thought that was really cool. So he didn't stay jerky, which is not like him. Whew.

That's about it. After we put away all the food, the kiddos went to bed, and I did my time on the Wii. Usually, I focus on Balance and Aerobics games, but today I decided to do a number of Yoga and Strength exercises. Whew! I am definitely feeling it. And though it thinks I'm in really good shape on the B & A games, it really let me know I'm a Couch Potato on the strength stuff! hehe. I have work to do!

Have a wonderful week!  I have news, about which I'm so excited I can't stand it, but you'll have to wait and see!!