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Still No Photos

Thought I'd just get that out of the way right there!

I'd have posted last night, but instead I spent ~3 hours in the ER with Chloƫ. She came home from school complaining that her ear was "plugged." I didn't know where I had some rubbing alcohol to try and help her, and so when I was in the shower, she got out a q-tip and jammed it in her ear! (I didn't know she was doing this.) Later on, after our mystery shop dinner at Denny's (why, oh why, did I spend so much on food from Schwan's when we're eating out practically every night with all these shops?!!), we stopped at the post office to mail a few things. (Mom, be on the lookout for all the 2008 pictures I printed that didn't make it into the scrapbook! Do what you will with them.) Rob was inside, and suddenly she started just bawling.

It took me a while to get out what happened, so we drove home and dropped Rob and the Littles off there, then headed to the hospital to make sure she hadn't punctured her ear drum.

The wait was forever and a day. She was sobbing. Poor thing. Nothing was leaking, so that was good. Some lady with Tourette's came in (I figured as much, but it was confirmed by her companion, talking to the nurse); she kept shouting every few seconds, nonsense words. It was jarring enough for everyone, but it really bothered Chloƫ. She seemed to calm down after my whispered explanation, though.

Finally, we were taken back. I don't know why; we waited another hour before the doctor came in to see her. I should've just taken her to Portsmouth, but I drove to the hospital down the road because we've always been in and out of there so quickly. Not so this early Monday evening!

Her eardrum was red, but not punctured, thank goodness. She had a lot of fluid in there, so an ear infection was diagnosed. She was quickly dosed with antibiotics and Motrin and sent home with a Rx.

It was after 2300 when we returned, so we sent her right to bed, and Rob went out to fill the  script. I lay down on the couch to wait for him and quickly passed out. Oops.

This morning, she seemed chipper and skipped off to school happily after I gave her the morning dose.  She wasn't in any pain.

The day passed quickly. Sophie woke up as the kids were leaving for school, and she was in a very cuddly mood. So we did a lot of that. She also played a lot with Blue (it wasn't mutual; we're getting rid of that kitty, who hasn't adapted well and is locked in the dog's kennel, hissing and growling at anyone who dares look at her) and Tinkerbell, colored in the coloring books, and asked me a million times if we could go to the fair. She's obsessed with the fair lately!

After Jack came home, I cooked them a Schwan's pizza for lunch, fed them, and decided to go upstairs and shower and work on the laundry. I haven't touched the laundry in a week, and the piles of both clean and dirty are outrageous!

Once upstairs, though, I was suddenly exhausted (having another cold right away is kicking my butt, though it's a very mild one) and decided that first, we would all lie down together in Mama's bed and try to nap.

Ha, that's a good one.

The kids wiggled and waggled and traded places over and over. They kicked each other, tickled each other, and otherwise drove their poor, tired mama nuts. I giggled to myself a little, though.

Then the phone rang, and it was the school nurse. ChloĆ« had been in and out of there all day, complaining about pain in her ear. Did I want to come get her?

Well, I couldn't, but I called Rob, and he left immediately to pick her up.  Phew. I'm glad she was able to come home and get some relief.

I'd drifted off, with Jack and Sophie curled up in front of me, by the time they arrived home.  We were locked in, so they couldn't go wreak havoc elsewhere in the house, so I had to drag myself off the bed and let them in. I told Rob we were having a family nap, and he - being the narcoleptic one - was all for it! He stripped off his work clothes and jumped in the bed. ChloĆ« joined.

It was fun for a minute, but no one was settling down. They all wanted to play. I wasn't in the mood to play anymore, so Rob took Chlo downstairs and left me with the babies. When Soph kept bothering Jack, he came and got her, too.

Jack and I, alone at last, cuddled up and fell asleep for the next several hours! Rob took both girls with him to Chloƫ's ballet class and came home while we still slept. It was a good nap. I liked waking up next to my boy. Thank God he didn't pee the bed.

I never took my shower or worked on laundry. Instead, it was half-past-dinnertime, and I had another mystery shop to do at Salsaritas in Chesapeake. We'd never been there before. It was kind of like Moe's, but way suckier. Can't elaborate here, but I don't recommend them! Go to Moe's.

Back at home, Jack and I worked on his homework while the girls cleaned up their messes. After homework, we reviewed all his sight words, of which there are quite a lot now. He got about 75% of them right, many after sounding them out. I was very happy with the size of the "right" pile vs. the "missed" pile. After one pass through the list, I told him if he tried again and correctly read (without help) three of the "missed" words, I'd let him get a matchbox car. He got five of them right! I was very proud, and I could tell he was proud of himself, too. Which is more important, in my book.  We've been drilling him in the car on his counting lately, too - counting by 1's, 2's, 5's, and 10's to 100. He's getting better and better at it, though he's very resistant to doing it.

So that's it. I'm going to try and catch up on all the blogs I haven't been reading lately during my scrapping session. I can't scrap right now while I'm waiting for my new printhead to be delivered and more pages for my book to come in, so I'm between projects. I hate that!


...The Rest Of The Story

After I returned home from from picking up my scrapping supplies, the kids and Rob were enjoying the blueberry muffins I had put in the oven before I left. I didn't actually make them from scratch; they were the muffin 'pucks' that Schwan's sells. It was our first time trying them, and having eaten a third of one myself, I can say they are really very good! I bought the chocolate chip ones, too, but they are buried somewhere in the deep freezer...

Oh, and for the first time, we used the silicone muffin cups that I'd gotten at Williams-Sonoma. They were awesome! The muffins pop right out, and they cook beautifully. What I love, though, is that there is no waste. No liners to keep buying and tossing out; the silicone cups will last for ages.

My plan for the day was to go to the annual American Indian Pow Wow at Red Wing Park, down near the oceanfront.  We hadn't been in a couple years, and I could watch those Native Americans, in their varied dress from all the different tribes, dance for hours. Aside from the dancing, I really wanted to see what I could find for Bunco prizes, too. Most people go to places like Target or whatever for their prizes, but I like to do things a little different, a little artier, and represent things and people of meaning to me.

Well, it was at least 90Āŗ when we got out to the park, and the kids were all whining and complaining about the heat. We should have brought more water and sunscreen than we did. We stayed and watched about three dances before moving on to all the tents to do some Bunco shopping. I found lots of things in my price ranges, but of course I wanted to limit myself to only a couple so I could vary the prizes from different sources. I won't say what I found, because I want it to be a surprise for Tabitha and Stephanie who read the blahg! I just always worry that people will like what I've found... so we'll see.  It's hard to shop for 11 very different women (and girls)!

We left after an hour and a half or so, because it really was unbearably hot, and I felt like I might faint myself. It's too bad, because the outfits really were fantastic, and the dancing is captivating. I have some pictures and video, but I'll share those when I get things working again.

We were far from home - at least a half-hour - and the kids were sweaty and red-faced. We figured on driving down the short trip to the beach and stopping at our new favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch. Only, I drove halfway along the strip on Pacific, instead of Atlantic, and missed it entirely. We drove a long way trying to find another option and, finding none that appealed as much as Chinese, flipped a you-ie (how do you spell it?) drove all the way back. It would have been faster to just go home! But Rob had his heart - and tummy - set on the Chinese place, so we went.

I inhaled a spring roll and then immediately felt like crap, of course. Plus I was utterly exhausted from being up all night. Also, I was worried about the van, since we couldn't find a legal parking spot and ended up in the parking lot of a motel. They like to tow like crazy on the beach, of course, so I excused myself and went back to the van to take a nap while everyone ate lunch.

In the end, I just texted Steph about our plans for the following day - the tapas place for lunch and then the beach! - instead of napping. I tried to sleep, but then four fire engines roared by and disturbed my peacefulness, and soon after that the family returned with their various to-go boxes. So no sleep.

Back at home, the plan was to finally plant Sophie's tree. We were way late for her birthday, and Earth Day, so that tree needed to get in the ground already!  I have pictures of all the digging and planting, and those will be shared later, too. Damn Kodak.  Rob ran out of potting soil anyway.

A Sonic mystery shop was next. I made everyone come along with me, because I was too tired to go by myself in case I needed Rob to drive home. And I wanted to company to keep me awake.

That shop was on Laskin Road, from which we'd just come on our way home from the beach.  It was a quickie, being just a drive-thru instead of parking in the stall, so it only took 5 minutes instead of the usual half-hour. That, I like! Rob fed the kids and himself while I filled out my report.

Right next to Sonic, they're putting in a new Trader Joe's - the first in lower Hampton Roads! I'm ecstatic about it. I've never been to a TJs but have heard tons of awesome things about it. I rolled by the store front to see what I could see - which was nothing - so we'll have to wait for now.

Then we drove out to Home Depot to get more potting soil. I had some good coupons from the Walgreen's ad, and they're right next to HD, so I ran in there first. I got the fam some Pringles and gummy bears (necessities, right? Not) for practically free, and some dish liquid. I pawed through the Webkinz to see if they had any we didn't. They did - three, to be exact. But I resisted. Rob probably would have murdered me if I'd come out with three more right now, and I like to try to avoid being killed.

Then HD. I have to admit, while he was in the garden center getting some potting soil, temptation got the best of me and I opened the can of sour cream and onion Pringles. I do love me a good Pringle. As Sophie says, "They're so... Pringly!" I don't think I've had any junk food since surgery, and I don't plan to. But I ate... four. Maybe five. I doled out some to the kids, and no one squealed on me to Rob, but he'll find out when he reads this! If. I savored them. I won't eat any more.  Promise.

Back at home, Rob finished soiling (hee) the crepe myrtle while we watched. I can't wait to see it flower. Speaking of flowering, have you seen the azaleas around here? Holy crap, they seem particularly gorgeous to me this year. I must have some. I must.

When he cleaned up, we all piled back in the van for another Sonic shop. I'd done it with Chloƫ the night before, but I screwed it up. I didn't read my paperwork and see that it, too, was supposed to be the drive-thru and not the drive-in. It was another quickie, and again he fed the kids while I did the report.

Back at home ti was bedtime for the kids, and I reported my Sonic results online. Rob never came downstairs, and I was way too tired to do any scrapping or anything else. Plus I could feel a cold coming on. So at 9:42 PM - the earliest I've gone to bed since I was a kiddo myself - I plopped down on the couch. I don't remember another thing until I woke up this morning at 0820 when Rob and the kids came downstairs.

And then it was evident, I was full-on sick. Again. Tiffany the Brownies may blame the shoes I wear, but the truth is I've never had a strong immune system. I have always been sick a lot. Personally I think the amount I get sick is inversely proportional to the amount of sleep I get, which has never been great either. So let that be a lesson to me!

I got up and weighed myself, happy about the 73-lb loss in the 3 months since surgery. Joy!

I puttered for a little while, trying to get up and clean the house before Stim came over for or our lunch date, and take a shower, but it became increasingly obvious that I wasn't going to be going anywhere today. Which stunk, because it was another scorcher, and a day at the beach would've been right up my alley.

So I called Steph and left a message, and then I went back to sleep. From 10 to oh, 3 pm. Rob and the kids went out to the Navy base in Norfolk to exchange a part for his GPS, but I was none the wiser.

When I woke up, I puttered while Rob and the kids slept, but I soon exhausted myself and took another nap from 1630 to 1930. When I woke up, I felt oodles better, both rested and less sick. See what I mean?

Rob was outside with the kids, tinkering on his truck while they shot waterguns at each other and the neighbor kids. I heard lots of happy shrieks coming from outside. I had work to do, since we had a dinner shop at Denny's to do and I hadn't read the rules yet. So I don't think there's any pictures of that funness.

We went to Denny's, and immediately ChloĆ« felt sick to her stomach, out of nowhere. She cried and clutched her belly, but nothing happened in the bathroom. When food came, she devoured it, so I think maybe she was just overly hungry.  Everyone else ate well, too, except me of course. I just ordered an appetizer and ate a third of it.

On the way home, my own belly started arguing with me, and I needed to get home immediately. That seems to be the trend with going out these days. Eat and rush home to go the bathroom, leaving the car running and everything in it for Rob to take care of. As soon as I pull in the driveway, he yells, "GO! Now!"  And I do.

So that's it. Gotta do my Denny's report, and then I'm going back to bed. Somehow, I am tired again.

Have a good week!


PS. Did you watch Celebrity Apprentice?? OMG. Those Rivers girls are out of control! Melissa is such a brat, huh?! Appalling. But very entertaining.

Scrapping Stuff

So, no pictures. I have to delete everything and reload it. I really hate that.

Saturday was crazy busy.  Lots of running around. I stayed up all night Friday (for maybe the third time this week?!) scrapbooking. The 2008 book is all finished, and I have done the Barcelona section of the Europe cruise book. It's coming along just as I planned, not in my usual style, but a much more simplified way. I took a page out of my MIL's book, which she sent to Rob maybe 7 years ago, and am doing no patterned pages and lots of typed-out passages taken direction from the Europe blog. Normally I do lots of embellishments, but I'm hardly doing any in an effort to let the pictures and words speak for themselves. I am doing lots of different-colored background pages and ink, though; I just gotta have color!

I really didn't know if I would like it, but in the end (okay, the end of the beginning), I really do. What a relief! Plus it's way faster this way.

So my first stop was to my Creative Memories consultant, just around the corner, at ten in the morning. I waited from about 0600 - when I ran out of my CM tape runner tape (my favorite scrapping adhesive) - to call her, using my sub-par Scotch scrapping tape in the meantime. Ugh, I hate it. It works well, but it's so cumbersome. ANYway, this is not a scrapping blog, sorry!

So I get over there, full of apologies for bothering her so early and barging in on her when I knew she had to go somewhere later, but she was just as sweet as can be. I love my CM Consultant, Jeannette, because she always gives me lots of freebies as thank-you gifts for ordering! Free gifts go a long way with me when it comes to loyalty. And then we chatted for a good long time, because I accidentally-on-purpose made the mistake of asking about albums that I can stuff full of pages. Do I ever make a thin scrapbook? No, I do not.

She got out all kinds of product and showed me the albums and pages and options, and offered me a discount if I ordered right then. Well, hell. I needed the album and pages anyway, for the Europe book, and truthfully it was much better quality than the ones I get at Michael's. So I bought. Rob, of course, shook his head and laughed when I came home with what was supposed to be just a couple rolls of tape! He excuses my scrapping purchases because, though it is my hobby, the result is for the whole family to enjoy.  (Maybe I should do more knitting for him to get the same treatment of my yarn buying?)

Then Jeannette and I got talking about digital scrapping, which I honestly just don't get. Do you do it all online and then print it out and pu it in a book? Or do you just keep it all online and not  have the nice, physical book to thumb through and show around? I wouldn't like that. But I am admittedly clueless when it comes to digital scrapbooking.

On the other hand, I have become increasingl conscious of the fact that paper scrapping generates an awful lot of waste. Much of it is paper, which I recycle, but a lot of it is plastic packaging, for all those embellishments. I go through a lot of garbage when I'm scrapping, and it depresses the environmentalist in me as much as the act of making my books soothes the crafter in me. So maybe there is something to this digital stuff.

Anyway, I'm going to cut this post here, since in the end it is all about scrapping, and move on to another one.


Three Months Out

Today is my three-month surgiversary! (Yes, that is really a term they use in the obesity surgery world. Hee!)

As of today, I am down 73 pounds! Two lbs away from my next goal, which I should hit later this week. I am ecstatic.

Against my better judgement, and at the encouragement of my sister, I have decided to not only take 3-month before-and-after pictures but post them here. This is a brave move for me. People in real life can see just how fat I was and still am, but I have this silly notion that if you can't see me, even though I talk about this all the time, you think I'm much thinner than I really am. Hey, I said it was silly. (And be nice to me. I'm embarrassed about this!)

So, here I am:


Before-3mos front 


Before-3mos side 

Ignore all the mess behind me in the after - I'm still in major full-on scrapping mode.

So Stacey - my big sis - says I'm crazy if I can't see the difference in the befores and after. Do you agree? Or is she blowing smoke up my arse?


As for regular blog posting, things are all out of whack with my whole Kodak system: The computer doesn't recognize my All-in-One printer, it doesn't recognize my EasyShare camera from which to upload pictures, when I can print pictures (for scrapping), they come out AFU... gah! As soon as I get everything straightened out, which hopefully will be later today, I'll do an update. I've pictures to include, and I don't want to post without them.

So until then... happy Sunday!


Almost Finished

I know I haven't posted much this week, but it's because I've been scrapping like crazy to finish the 2008 book. I'm so tired of 2008! But I'm in mid-December now, and I'm just taking a short break to say hello and look at online scrapping sites to get some inspiration.

It's been a busy week, aside from scrapping. Of course, the kids are back in school now, and the girls are back to dance class Mon-Weds. (Did I tell you Jack quit soccer? He did.) Then there's the homework. And we've been doing lots of mystery shops. When I'm in this heavy secret shopping phase I sometimes go through, Rob jokes that he's going to develop gout. I don't know what it is, sometimes I hate doing it, and other times I can't get enough. Now is the latter. I have tons of assignments to complete right now.

Tonight, dinner was a shop at Tijuana Flats. Have you heard of it? We'd never been there before, didn't know anything about it. It was awesome! It's a Tex-Mex place, similar to Moe's - but in Rob's opinion, better than Moe's. Better than Moe's?! Yeah, it was pretty damn good.  A fun place, too. Worth checking out. (Moe's is cheaper, though.)

Steph babysat tonight while we went for a follow-up appointment with the counselor. We've done a 180 and are in a completely different place than we were at the end of January. Things are good again, really good. We've learned some new communicating techniques that we plan to implement. Everything is all right. I'm so relieved.

So I guess that's it, really. I'll post more pics and fun stuff after I finish the book, which will be tonight. This weekend is a fun, busy one, so stay tuned!



I'm really getting tired of this puking business. It is so hard to eat something that's on the 'good' list (ie, high protein, low carbs). I'll eat just a tiny bit and then have to throw it up again. I know this is a gross thing to post about, and I'm sorry, but I needed to vent about it.

I really wish I didn't ever have to eat again. It's just too much hassle. The puking hurts and makes me feel awful afterwards, and I don't want to eat that food again. Which is really limiting what I can eat. The only things that sit well in my tummy are comfort foods like mashed potatoes.

I know what will be on the top of my discussion list when I go in for my next check-up in May!

Le sigh.


Husband Meme

Mrs.4444 posted this yesterday, so of course I had to contribute my 2Ā¢ to the meme!

1. What is something your husband always says to you?

Well, I can tell right now this is going to be a hard one (heh, heh) to keep G-rated!

Let's see... "Thank you fer" makes the cut!

2. What makes your husband happy?

Tee-hee. I'm thinking dirty again...

Well, aside from the obvious, mushy, lovey-dovey stuff, I'd have to say his vehicles. He loves his motorcycle; he adores his Land Cruiser.

3. What makes your husband sad?

In his words, "Seeing a dead domesticated animal in the street. My children getting booboos."

4. How old is your husband?

He'll be 37 in August!

5. What was your husband like in high school?

Well, not that I was there, but I gather he was what I would have considered a dirtbag! He was brilliant but didn't apply himself in school, and he smoked a lot of weed (oh, wait, that was later on). Definitely not my type!

6. How tall is your husband?

He says 5'4"; I say 5'3". :P

7. What is your husband's favorite thing to do?

Keeping it G... jumping out of airplanes, riding his motorcycle, fishing, cycling, camping, hiking, climbing - he's very adventurous!

8. What does your hubby do when you're not around?

The neighbor?

I don't know; I'm not there. And he doesn't tell me. Left to his own devices, though, he would probably sleep. A lot.

9. If your husband becomes famous, what will it be for?

Improving some life-saving device. He's very innovative in the survival equipment field. ā™„

10. What is your husband really good at?

Okay, I should've done a dirty version of this somewhere... but he's a great cook, he's an expert marksman with the pistol and I think the rifle, he sews like nobody's business (for real!), and he is superb at challenging my intellect.

11. What is your husband not really good at?

Singing and dancing. If you want to laugh your guts out, ask him to do either.

12. What does your husband do for a job?

He's an Aircrew Survival Equipmentman in the U.S. Navy. In lay terms, he's a Parachute Rigger. Hopefully soon, he'll be a Chief Petty Officer.

13. What is your husband's favorite food?

Oh, gosh. Beer. Is that a food? Otherwise, I really don't know! He likes a lot of stuff. I can't think of anything he doesn't like. Wait, yes I can: hummus.

14. What makes you proud of your husband?

Wow. So much. He works so hard and never complains. Ever. He's an amazing provider for his family. I love how handy he is, and how knowledgeable he is about a wide variety of topics. I'm proud of his excellent relationship with his family. 
15. If your husband were a cartoon character, which would he be?

Hm, I don't know. Fred Flintstone, maybe. He's pretty jolly most of the time, but when he gets mad, he gets real mad!


Thunder Squirrel

So I'm losing my hair like crazy lately. It's a common thing; nearly everyone who has gastric bypass has it happen. It's unnerving, though, because it comes out in big clumps. So if you see any baldy spots on my head, get me some of that spray-on hair stuff - you know, from the old infomercial? I'll take auburn.


Not much to say about the past couple of days. The boys (Tim and Rob) worked all day Sunday to fix Rob's LandCruiser. Is it up and running yet? Does he have tags on it and is driving it to work now?

That would be a BIG FAT NO.

Meanwhile, I'm chomping at the bit. The minute I get Vanna back, I will let you know!


The kids are back in school and, I think, happy to be there. They both eagerly left in the morning and came home in high spirits. I have to say, I miss them! These lazy days of hanging out, crafting, walking, doing fun stuff were really great. For the first time ever, I said to myself today, "Maybe I should home school..." But for now, I shall just look forward to our extended (well, normal-length for the rest of you) summer vacation!


Today was Tap for Chloƫ, homework for both kids, and then a dinner mystery shop at Texas Roadhouse in Chesapeake. I keep trying for the new TR around the corner from us here, but not getting it. I'm sure I will soon.

Dinner was great. The kids have had great appetites lately, and tonight was no different. But what pleased me the most is that, excluding tip, dinner for 5 came to less than $29! Where can you eat at a decent, sit-down restaurant for that much?! We spend more than that at IHOP, for Pete's sake.  Of course, I didn't get an entrĆ©e, and I had an coupon for a free kids' meal, but still and all, it was a great deal!

As for right now, I'm scrapping and printing out oodles of pictures - still for 2008's book. But I'm almost done with September. I can't wait to be finished with it and work on the cruise book, and then get sewing some more kids' clothes! The girls adore dresses, so I have lots of those to make!


Arctic Dip


Last night, we (well, I - Rob fell asleep two minutes in) watched About a Boy with Hugh Grant, while I knitted an angel wrap for a bereavement photographer who reads this blog. I'm going to make more later tonight, when we watch either Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Burn After Reading. AAB was good; I enjoyed it. What about the other two, any recommendations?


Today, I slept half the day away, recuperating from this busy past three weeks of the kids' Spring Break. I think it was a successful break. It was fun, entertaining, educational and crafty. I think we give the kids a pretty fun life. Not that that's generally the sole aim of parenting, but it's one of mine!

While I slumbered, Rob was outside, sometimes with and sometimes without the kids, working on fixing his LandCruiser with Tim. Yes, I'm letting him keep the damn thing. Don't get me started. The only reason he's keeping it is because our car insurance goes way UP without it. Figure that out. So now he's got three vehicles, and I've got none. Sounds fair to me! Humph.

After Stim left, I decided that if it's going to be 83Āŗ out, I need to go to the beach, dammit!

And so we did. And I purposely left my camera behind so I could fully enjoy myself, so no pictures other than these couple from my phone at dinner.

First, we stopped at Farm Fresh to get some money for the ubiquitous parking meters. Second, we stopped for gas, since my light was on again and the line was below "E." (I pulled out in front of traffic to get the station before we ran out, and someone shot me the bird. I totally deserved it.)

Finally, we headed down to the waterfront, where it immediately became obvious that everyone and his brother's second cousin had the same damn idea. Man, that place was jam-packed! There was nary a parking spot anywhere.

Eventually, while looking, I stumbled across the Beads & Rocks store. The owner once tabled next to me last fall when I was selling the tutus at craft fairs. He traded me a tutu for some semi-precious stones. I decided to go in and waste some time. He remembered me! He showed me around a little, and I got 20% off the beads I bought, with his Entertainment book coupon. And he said I could park there for three bucks, when they normally charge five!

So, I went back to the car  gathered up Team Odette. We walked the two or three blocks to the beach, and the entire time, my pants were falling down. Yay! I weigh in tomorrow, but after having lost about 70 lbs, it's about time this happens, don't you think? When they fell down to my knees, I heard some people laughing and saying, "Did you just see that?"  I laughed, too; I didn't even care! (I had my bathing suit on, anyway.)

So I guess it's time I got rid of my fattest McFatty clothes and switch it down a notch.

And the last time I walked down to the beach, it killed my back, and we had to stop frequently. Especially on the sand itself. Today, no problems! I strode proudly all the way to the water, without any pain, any spasms, or even getting out of breath. It was absolutely glorious.

We dumped our stuff, shed our clothes/phones/glasses/shoes, and headed for the waves. One step in, and we were fleeing, though. Brrrr!! It was c-c-c-cold!!!!  The kind of cold that stops your heart for the first second or two that it hits you. Even after all my cold showers, I wasn't quite ready for that. It was Jersey-Shore-in-May cold.

Rob was smart. He wore his wetsuit. Still, he was wishing he'd brought his hood and booties, too!

The kiddos brought their Easter buckets, and they were mostly playing in the sand. The Bigs never really went into the water, at least not past their ankles. But Soph? She kept saying, "C'mon, Mom! C'mon, Dad! Let's go in the water!" So we'd run out, up to her neck, splash around, and come back. She is definitely the bravest and most adventurous of the lot.

Finally, I pulled up my cajones and decided I was going to swim. I still have plenty much padding, and once you got over the initial shock, the heart started beating again, and you got kind of used to it. So I would run out, dive through a wave or two, and come back out. My legs would be completely numb, but it was exhilarating. And finally, Rob dove in, too.  The beach was packed, and people were watching us in awe. Some brave souls tried to go in, too, but they ran right back out. We - the crazy people - stayed for over an hour, jumping in and out and having the time of our lives.

I love it. I'd go back right now if I could. The water is in my blood.  I have to be near it, or I'll go mad! (Oh. Wait. Heh.)


Finally, the kids were all shivering and admitted they were too cold to stay. We trekked back up to the boardwalk and rinsed them off under the showers, which were as cold as the ocean water.  I called my sister to wish her a happy 34th birthday, and then I called my dad back. He'd left me the Longest. Voicemail. Ever. Thing had to be six or seven minutes long, while he rambled on! He is such a goof. And that's my family-friendly term for him...

Back in the van, we thumbed through the Entertainment book some more, looking for a place to eat at the oceanfront. We finally settled for two places that were right next to each other, but we battled through traffic for half an hour to get the seven blocks away! The kids were moaning and groaning about their hunger in the back...


One of the places was closed (Our Daily Bread; mark it in your books!), so Doughboy's California Pizza was the winner. You can mark that off in your books, too; we don't recommend it. It's way over-rated. The pizza was eh, so-so, and the prices were, well, beach prices. The kids enjoyed it though, because they got free Frisbeesā„¢ with their meals - but they didn't even have the Doughboy's logo on them! Dumb. And I gave them each a quarter for the fun spinny-spiral gumball machine. But as for me and Rob, nah. Not worth it.

We stopped at the beachy souvie shop next door after we ate, to find cover-ups for the girls. Theirs aren't fitting over their big ol' heads anymore (Jack does not have that weird problem called... what is it again... Oh yeah, "growth"), but this store didn't have any. Nor did they have any flipper-floppers small enough, so back to Disney Shopping Online I go to get new ones.

So that's it for us. No plans for tomorrow, other than Rob and Tim fixing the truck and Steph hanging out with us. We shall see what the day brings!

Fin. Deal - Check It Out!

From now until April 20th - that's Monday, folks - use the discount code "FEAST" at check-out to save 70% off your total order at!

I just used it to buy two more $25 certificates to Central 111 Tapas for a total of six bucks! The $25 certificates are normally $10, but using "FEAST," I was able to buy them for three bucks apiece. Smashing!

So if you just read my review and are itching to try out this fabulous tapas bar (or anywhere else), go get your certificates now!


Tapas Dancers


Nothing much happened all day until Rob came home in the late afternoon. I'd decided we needed a day to just hang out and do nothing, so we did. It was worth it. When he came home, I called the kids down from where they were resting in their rooms, and we drove out to the Norfolk TRU to spend the five $3 gift cards they'd sent. {They always send the kids extras; don't ask me why.} We decided to divvy them up thusly: 2 for Soap, 2 for Jack, and 1 for Chloƫ.

First things first, though: we stopped at Customer Service to get Sophie's crown and balloon, and have her name announced over the PA system. She enjoyed that. You may recognize her dress as the one we bought for wee Chloƫ back in Guam. It never really fit Chlo correctly when she was four. Or five. Or six! But it fits Sophie perfectly now, as if it was made just for her. So we've decided it really was for her all along, and we just didn't know it yet.

Our next stop was to the shelves right behind her in the above picture, to see what kind of watery fun we could get with our $3 cards. Sophie chose two big packs of water balloons, which was great since we'd just run out. ChloĆ« selected a jumprope with bubble-blowing apparati in the handles, a big, pink, rubber bouncy ball, and another bottle of bubbles. All that for one $3 card, and I only ended up owing 70Ā¢ on hers! Jack decided to save his for Matchbox cars. Of course.


On the way 'round the store over to the cars, they boys were stopped in their tracks by the Legos display. I think Rob rather wishes the boy-child were more into them, but he doesn't really play with the few he has. Maybe if he had a big set-up like this one... but those cost beaucoup bucks!


Back near the ride-on section, I remembered Jack needed a helmet for his 'new' bike. The girls immediately hopped on bikes of their own. Sophie looked so grown-up on hers, so she'll be  needing one next, too. The kid behind the helmet is Chlo, of course!





After multiple tries in multiple sizes, all the way down to an infant size 1, we were out of luck when it came to finding a helmet to fit Jack's dinky little skull. The size 1 was about right, but it wasn't Snell or ANSI approved. I had no idea what that meant, but my cyclist husband, thank God, is omniscient when it comes to that stuff. No bangin' the noggin!

In the end, for his two cards, Jack chose a squeaky little bike horn for his wheels, and a five-pack of Matchbox cars he didn't already have (imagine that).  I thought they did a good job picking out their treats. They were all kind of whiny at that point, especially Sophia, so I made them wait until we got home before I let them have them.


Heading back home... where Sophia pretty much threw a fit about heaven-knows-what and landed herself down for a late nap. If ever a little girl needed a nap, she was it, today. Jack happily played outside with his bike horn, and drove his Caddy around, and ChloĆ« played with her ball, her bubbles and jump rope, and read her American Girl magazine that came in the mail today. She loves that rag.

We are on a big eating-out kick lately, which is funny since I can hardly eat anything. But it's good for Rob, who is quite fond of leftovers. I wanted to use either a certificate - of which we have many right now, after that great sale I found a while back - or an Entertainment book coupon, and go check out someplace new. Or the new Texas Roadhouse around the corner, which Stim gave us rave reviews for on service, ambience, and food. Rob chose the former. We waited a while and then woke the sleeping child. Horrors! But she was fine.


I had thought this tapas restaurant, for which we had a certificate, sounded like a fun place to take the kids and let them try a little bit of this, a little bit of that. You know, get some culture. Hoo boy, was I so wrong. We had no idea. It was actually quite the club scene, very avant-garde, very adult. Upon stepping into the place, we looked at each other and asked the hostess/server (who was smokin' hot and whose dress was up to there): "Are our children even allowed in here?" It was after eight. She said as long as we were staying for dinner and out of there by nine, they were fine. Then it gets all smoky and filled with people drinking and stuff. So, yeah, great for a parents' night out, or a date, or some such; not so great for taking the kids. But we opted to stay and have a quick sup.


All of these pictures were by candlelight, so pardon the darkiness. The dƩcor was very cool, and the kids were really drinking it all in. We were kind of being looked at - I was wearing very mommish duds, and the kids were, well, there, so people had to be thinking, like, what the hell? But the server-chick was very welcoming, completely lovely, and overall very nice, so we didn't feel too uncomfortable.


Jack was very into the ravey-techno-hiphop music they were playing. He looks quite calm here, but don't be deceived: he was rocking out!


Sophia was very curious about the disco balls. Conversations with Sophie often go like this:

S: What's that?

Mom: That's a disco ball.

S: What's a disco ball?

M: That!

She was also very enthused about the lemon wedge in her water. The girl likes a lemon wedge and this one was her very own!


ChloĆ« liked all the changing lights inside the restaurant, and the videos they were playing on screens all around.  She was pretty hungry, so I kept telling her that tapas were small portions, and we'd ordered a bunch of different things, and that this was a 'fun' thing for them to try new things and eat new foods. She was ready. Jack... I was worried about him!


Just an idea of the atmosphere inside Central 111 Tapas Bar... for you locals, definitely check it out sometime! Uh, hire a sitter, though.


The first dish out was the veggie spring rolls, served with soy sauce and a sweet & spicy sauce. As you can see, it didn't last very long. All three kids really liked it! As did I. Poor Rob, I don't even think he got to try any of it.


Next up were the veggie skewers, in some kind of yummy sauce. They were giant pieces of portabella mushrooms, and tomatoes... so those were all Rob. That was his favorite, I think (go me for picking it!). I did enjoy the piece of artichoke I ate from it.


These were jumbo lump crab balls. I liked them, but Chloƫ adored them. I think she ate the equivalent of a whole one by herself! She told me, "Mom, you really need to find the recipe for these and make these at home!"


I felt like a hero when this cheese platter arrived, for ordering it for the kids. Sophia helped herself to two strawberries and half the rest of the plate immediately, and Jack and Chloƫ ate a good amount of it, too. The cheese was definitely yummy; it was a great selection and worth the $13 plate cost (the most expensive thing we ordered by far).


The last dish to arrive was the Raspberry Shrimp, which was an afterthought when the Antipasta Rob asked for was no longer available. Ever. Everyone but Chloƫ enjoyed this.

It was a very successful evening. Everyone ate well, and the only one still hungry was Rob, who can really pack it away for such a thin dude. I felt like I was actually "out" for once, harkening back to my clubbing days in Miami, or the night we spent at the fancy-schmancy hotel in Madrid. We will definitely return sometime - on a Friday or Saturday night as a couple, or much earlier in the evening on a Wednesday or Sunday when the tapas are BOGOF! They are open until 3 AM (!!!) every night of the week, which is awesome and surprising. The beautiful people were definitely starting to trickle in when we were finishing up, so we high-tailed it out of there. The kids got lots of looks then.

Hope you've had a good week. What are your weekend plans?


Grumpy Bear

Oy. What a day.

This will be another pictureless post. I'm just not in the mood.

So the kids - all four - woke me up before 6:30 this morning for breakfast. Six-thirty!! Who knew such a time even existed?

My friends, I don't do mornings. My kids don't do mornings, either. They normally awake around 9 or 10. Or 11. What's this 6:30 crap?! I blame the new one.

(According to her mother, she usually goes to bed much later than the 9:30 - 10 pm we sent them last night, which is why she got up so early. Um. Huh? She's eight.)

So I told them all to go downstairs and get a banana while I finished waking up. They did.

They went back to play in Jack and Chloƫ's room - not at all quietly - so I lingered in bed for maybe another hour. Then I hopped right in the shower - a warm one, for once - to wake up fully and make them a proper breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast.

They played Wii Fit all morning, while I languished on the couch. I was tired and very, very cranky. All. Day. Long. Six-thirty isn't cool. It's Spring Break, for Pete's sake!

Jack was a cranky old man all morning, so at 10:30, I sent him upstairs for a nap. He slept until 3 PM!! You see what I'm sayin'? We just don't do mornings.

We did a craft with the pretty, crushed-up egg shells from making scrambled eggs, deviled eggs, and egg salad since Easter. I've been saving them in anticipation. This craft has been on my mind for a couple of weeks. Chloƫ's been dying to know what it was going to be.

Well, it pretty much sucked! Chloƫ hated the medium (egg shells), and it was messy, and gunky, and didn't work so well. More about that tomorrow when I post the pictures, but needless to say, the rest of the huge bowl of shells were dumped out in our "compost pile" outside (it's really not, but one day it will be).

We went outside to play in the sunshine - there was a chill, and I should've made them put on light jackets, but I didn't, because I'm stupid like that. When Jack finally came down, we walked to the playground. After five hours of nap, you'd think he'd be in excellent spirits, but he was a crankster some more. Halfway through park time, he snapped out of it and became quite cheerful.

I wish I could say the same about myself. When Rob came home, he laughed that I was "full of piss and vinegar." I guess I was, but all I really wanted was a nap, dammit!

No time for that. Sophie went down for a nap, the boys went out to get the stuff to plant Soap's tree, and Chloƫ and I ... hung out, I guess. I don't recall.

Stim and baby Caro came while the boys were gone, and I was rightly embarrassed about the condition of the house. But oh well. My MIL sent me a nice poem to help me "relax" (which is like telling the Pope to be Jewish, but I'm tryin'!):

Although you'll find the house a mess,
Come in, sit down, converse.
It doesn't always look like this,
Sometimes it's even worse.
I love it! Very fitting for us in this season of life.
Rob and I went out for drinks and dinner at TGI Friday's, using their new "More Stripes" program. We had 1-cent appetizers at the bar (no alkie for me, of course) and $1 entrƩes at the table. Sweet! Except I had no appetite for anything, until it struck me that all I really wanted was mashed potatoes from KFC. Rob used to ply me with those things when I was so sick and nauseous with the twin pregnancy. We stopped for taters, and later, when I ate them, they totally did the trick. I finally got something filing in my belly that didn't want to come right back up. It's kind of contraband, being all carbs, but at this point it's best to have something, I think.
Anyway. I'm really babbling right now. I think I'll curl up next to Rob and zonk. Ta.
P.S. The sleepover went well, except our guest turned out to be quite the bossy know-it-all, take-overy type, which drove me nucking futs. I'm glad it's over and am in no hurry to repeat the experience anytime soon!

Yadda Yadda Yadda

I don't know what I want. I don't know what I want to do, I don't know what I want to eat, I don't know what I want to make... is this the doldrums? I'm in a rut, I think. I need to snap out of it!

We cleaned house yesterday, but it was all undone by the kids and the muddy dog throughout the morning. Among the four of them, they pretty much trashed the place. So we got down to it again this afternoon. I set Jack to the task of cleaning is room (and for once he didn't cry or complain about doing it all by himself), while the girls helped me with the laundry. We actually got it all into the machines and off the floor for once. Of course, now the clothes they wore today are back on the floor. Ahhh, it's never-ending.

ChloĆ«'s friend Kori came over this afternoon, to spend the night. It's ChloĆ«'s first sleepover ever! Do you think I have taken one single picture? But of course not.  They all helped me finish up the laundry, and then I went down and revacuumed up all the muddy bits. I set up the Wii Fit for the kids to play while I did some work in the office.

I have to say, Kori is a very nice girl, but I just really don't like having people over! I guess I just don't like censoring myself or my family, or worrying about how clean my house is or whether the food is okay or what visitors will go back home and tell others... but that said, a kid is much less nerve-wracking than other adults. She seems to pretty much go with the flow, which is great.

We went out to dinner at Red Robin, since I had a shop there. I hadn't eaten or drunk anything all day, so I was as hungry as I get anymore. I was disappointed, then, that after one bite of chicken breast, I had to rush to the bathroom and chuck it back up. That was the end of that! Everyone else ate really well, though, and the oldest girls even had seconds.

They played more Wii Fit when we came home, and had some ice cream cones for dessert. All four kids took baths and said good-night. Whee, alone time! I did a little knitting, and now I guess I'll do a little scrapping, but what I really want to do is... have warm weather, go for walks and take a swim! Bah, it's chilly again, and I think that is the source of my problem. What the heck, it's mid-April in southern Virginia!

Anyhoo, Kori is here until tomorrow night, so hopefully I'll get some pictures of the girls. Oh, I know we will, for I have a crafty plan for tomorrow!

Untill then, mis amigas...


And Baby Turns Four


In the morning, Sophia-the-birthday-girl received a phone call from Geoffrey of Toys 'R Us fame. She listened intently for a while, laughing and talking back, saying "Thank you!" When she started saying, "Huh? What are you talking about?!" I knew she was finished.

It was a pretty chill day. Rob was off of work, and we had no great running around to do. We were supposed to plant her Crape (or is it Crepe? I've seen both) Myrtle Hopi tree, but Rob decided we should get the things on the tag (nutrients and such) first, so that will have to wait. She's very curious about why her tree is still in the van, and I have to say, I agree. I'd feel much more comfortable if he'd put it outside where it belongs! I guess I could do it, but I'm lazy.


Yup. The cake broke. It's my own fault. I made it and put it in the oven, and then I left it in Rob's hands to take out when it was finished while I ran and did three Food Lion mystery shops. (Hey, I got nearly $40 in free groceries for doing it, so it's good.) He did a swell job, but when I got home, I decided to too-quickly dump out the cake and level the bottom. I covered and flipped, and when I removed the plate, boom, it all fell apart. Sadness!!

I didn't have any more cake mixes, and I wasn't inclined to either make one from scratch or run back to the store, so that's what we had to work with. Sophia was actually happy with it. "Now we have two cakes!" She's the glass-half-full type, for sure. She didn't mind a bit, never fretted, never complained. Thank you, Little Baby Girl, for making it easier on me.


After the big Cake Break of 2009, my heart just wasn't in it anymore. She changed her mind and wanted it all different colors, which could have meant seven different cake decorating bags. I decided not to waste quite that many on a broken cake, so that's why some of the colors are swirly. Sophia, in turn, liked that, too. I'm so happy she's four and not a perfectionist like her mother and sister! Yay for not being another Virgo in the house.


Sophie picked out the little happy star candles herself. They'll last forever.


Makin' a wish and blowin' 'em out. Actually, I don't think she made a wish; she didn't hesitate at all after the cake was put down in front of her. So I'll make a wish, that she lives a long, healthy, happy life.


Utter deliciousness, thought she of the multi-colored lemon cake. The others agreed.  I can't give you my opinion on it. Boohoo.


Present time! This card from Grandpa Al kept shouting "Happy Birthday!" to her when she opened it. She loved that and kept opening it for hours afterward.


Jack, who'd just received such a package from Grandma a few weeks ago for his sixth birthday, was a little concerned that this one was actually for him and not Sophia. We had to reassure him several times that this one was really for her.


There were three leis in the package. Sophia immediately decided they were for her, Mom and Dad. We tried to get her to share them with her sibs, but no. Mom and Dad!


Soapadilla received four books from Grandma, and Chloƫ read them to her all evening after that. She enjoyed that immensely but still, "why is my tree in the car?!!"

{As for Tuesday, I have nothing to write home about. There was cleaning, kvetching, sniffling, complaining, napping, whining, and more cleaning. Whoop-de-doo.}


Easter Sunday

We all slept in, pooped out from the day before. Of course, Mom & Dad slept later than the kids, who were downstairs (where we were) digging around for their as-yet-unhidden Easter baskets. Foiled! They were still upstairs in my closet.


As soon as we were up and at 'em, I had Rob hide the baskets, and then we called the munchkins down to find them. This is one of their most excited walks down the stairs in the whole year!


Chloƫ - with the severe bedhead - found her basket right away. She always does. It's like she's got a sixth sense for chocolate-detecting.


Jack's basket - with the ghetto plastic bag wrap, because I ran out of the pretty stuff and never did get around to buying more - was next. It always amazes me how they manage to find their own and not each others'!


And last, but not least, Sophia happily found her little bucket of joy.


They each got a Webkinz Cares Lil' Kinz in their baskets, which made the big girl oh-so-happy. The others liked theirs, too. We adopted them later on, and Sophie, who always has the most creative, interesting names for hers, decided on "Ulk Eek." And she coos that name to her little Yorkie as if it were the prettiest name in the world.

I'd tell you what else was in their baskets, but I'll let them do that for you in this hilarious little video. Sorry for my scratchy voice!


Sophia dug right into her candy. Well, they all did, but nobody goes at it like Soap.  I made eggs for breakfast right after that, and the Bigs ate well, but Sophie took a bite or two and then pushed her (new Nemo) plate away. She'd filled up on junk faster than you can say "Happy Easter," and didn't want the good stuff.


Easter goodies, for our centerpiece


I love looking at all our pretty eggs. It soothes me. I'm saving the colorful shells for a craft to do this week with the kids. I hope it pans out!


After everyone was fed, showered and dressed, we visited the Virginia Aquarium down by the Oceanfront. We had two free passes that Chloƫ had won from school, and a BOGOF coupon from the Entertainment book, so all I had to pay for was two smallies. It was a good deal, and good deals make me proud and pleased, as my father would say. There is a big tank full of harbor seals outside the aquarium, and the kids love to watch them swim slowly and gracefully around in it.


The kids looking at all kinds of teeth - and baleen - from various marine critters. They'd have spent all day at that one "exhibit" if we'd let them! It was pretty cool for them. I could tell they were going to really enjoy the afternoon, and that made me happy.


They crowded around the first big tank, where I struggled to identify a few of the fish. That bothers me, of course, but it's been about a decade since I've been in the field, identifying them! I definitely had pangs of regret - and maybe a quiet tear or two in the dark - about leaving marine science, and this visit brought it all back to me and made me want to re-enter the field. We'll see. I just don't know what I want to do with myself, at this point.


I knew right off that this was a porcupinefish - having dissected a  handful of them in the lab - but ChloĆ« kept trying to tell me it was a pufferfish. Daddy would say, "Don't argue with your mother! You know she's a marine biologist!" (Yeah, maybe, but now I feel a bit phony.)


My lovely family, taking a breather to sit and watch the fish could by. I could be entertained by that view for hours, myself.


The kiddos got a big kick out of the skate and ray touch tank. I tried telling them that this was a stingray, but the bratty 10-year-old kid next to me kept saying, "No, that's a skate, These are stingrays." I seriously wanted to deck him. I hate it when people - especially kids! - give you wrong information with such authority in their voices. It pisses me off. So I asked the guy on duty at the exhibit what it was, and he said, "It's a North Atlantic Stingray." Ha. I glared at the boy. I'm such a grown-up.


The cownose rays were especially fond of Rob. He would tickle their underbellies, and this time, he tried to bring it over to the kids to touch, but he got in trouble for holding on to them. Which he wasn't, really. Oh, well. Foof.


Sophia, looking out on the Chesapeake Bay


The kids watching someone in the room behind the tank remotely try to pick up sea sponges (Phylum Porifera). Rob wanted to do it, but there was a longish line.


Here was an exhibit about getting water and species samples in deep water. Sophia tried to get me to do the machine after her, but I laughed and told her I'd done it in real life! And always, there were octopi stuck to the tubes.


Another fun touch tank, the horseshoe crabs. I must have told the kids a dozen times that they were not true crabs and were instead related to the arachnids. I wonder if they'll remember that for next time? We used to catch tons of these when I was a kid, going crabbing with my family on the Jersey Shore.


Everyone jumped right inside the shark for a photo op, but Sophie jumped right back out again. She didn't like it in there!


They really enjoyed being inside the 'submarine' and pressing all those buttons. It gave a good, up-close-and-personal view of the shark tank, to boot!


See what I mean? Here's the ventral side of a nurse shark. This picture makes Sophie giggle and say, "I can see its crack!"

So... Typepad is being a major pain in my arse, and I've lost my work from this point forward about three times now. If you're my friend on Facebook, the rest of the pictures from this day are on there!  We walked from the aquarium, along the nature trail to the Marsh Pavilion, and had more fun there. I bought a couple of Bunco prizes and a tiny gift for each of us from the shop, before we walked back along the trail to the aquarium again. The plan was to ride the trolley back, but lo and behold, it's  not running yet for the season.

Then, we drove the short drive to the oceanfront and found a wonderful Chinese restaurant for dinner. It was out of this world! And pretty cheap, with lots of food (way too much for me!). Too bad they're not closer to us - or maybe that's a good thing. I'll leave you with this hint about one of the Bunco prizes:


Cool, right?!


Holy Saturday


Saturday morning, we all got up early and drove down the road to IHOP for breakfast. Another mystery shop. I didn't eat a thing, though, having been up all night getting sick after trying a tiny bowl of cereal. Cross another food 'attempt' off my list! Sophia insisted on wearing her birthday hat, and she got a lot of smiles for it.

I had posted all those free eggs I'd gotten free on Friday night on Freecycle before we left, o we had to get home to start doling them out. We certainly didn't need them all, and indeed we still have about 5 dozen eggs. I love and hate Freecycle; people are so rude on there, it drives me crazy. But I like getting rid of crap I don't need, and sometimes scoring something really awesome.


Rob took the kids to the van dealership to give me a break while I dealt with the Free-seekers and took care of some things. The inside of the driver's door was coming off, so he got the parts needed to fix that. He's so handy, and now it's all better. Good thing, I was going nuts with that. When they got home, I had just finished making the green icing for their Easter cookies (green because that's the only color they left me when they got into the food coloring, and I wasn't going to break into my Wilton colors for them!).


I'd picked up some cheapy Easter sprinkles at the store too, so each girl got two bottles of them. Jack didn't want to help. Rob was outside working on his truck, and he wanted to watch and "help." So I iced, the girls decorated, and Jack wanted to help eat.


Their finished work. Oh! While we made cookies on Friday, we talked all about Jesus, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and what Easter means to us as Christians. (They were especially impressed about Him being nailed to the cross and having thorns pressed into his head, and Sophia likes to solemnly tell me that part, over and over.) Well, when Daddy came home from work, they showed me that they actually, truly, really listened, and parroted back almost verbatim what I had told them. All three of them told the story. I was duly impressed.


Digging in


Jack, refusing to let me take his picture. What else is new?

So after that, I wanted to run out and do the three Food Lion shops I'd taken, and I was in  my car and just about to take off, when I remembered Jack's eye exam at 1230! Oops. So I stayed home instead and made a very sad CARE Package, for a little 18-month-old girl named Maddie. She died suddenly on the 7th, and her story has been all over the blogosphere ever since.  They wanted everything to be purple for Maddie, so I sent a giant, white baby blanket we'd been given for the charity (I think on Freecycle!), along with a dark purple sweater and soaker set I'd knitted a few months back, along with the usual supplements. I hope it helps them through this time, somehow. Very sad.

I drove to the Post Office and man, it was mobbed. I never thought I'd get out of there on time. But I got the package mailed at last, zipped home to pick up Jack, and fled to Wal-mart for his exam.


He did so well during all the parts of the exam! He followed directions, read all the letters that he could read, and just generally cooperated and actually had a good time with it. He seemed really excited about everything and was very curious about all the machines, but then he is quite mechanically inclined. He didn't like wearing the paper sunglasses after getting his eyes dilated, though!

So he definitely needs to wear glasses and is farsighted in both eyes, after all. Initially, the machines read him as far- in one eye and near- in the other, but she said they get a better picture with kids after the dilation because they lose the ability to focus. They aren't anywhere near as bad as Chloƫ's eyes, which are about as bad as her dad's. And the doc recommended Sophie get an exam too, but they don't do them there until the kids are six-years-old, and I really liked that doc. Plus the exam was free with our insurance!


We went next door to pick out some glasses while the dilation took full effect. There weren't a whole lot of options to fit his tiny face, but I knew this pair was The One as soon as I put it on him. This is a bad phone picture; he doesn't really look cross-eyed wearing them! So they'll be back in about a week, and he has talked about it constantly since then! He's really excited to "wear glasses like Chloƫ." I hope the novelty doesn't wear off too quickly and he does something to damage them!


When we got home, we decided to all go to the nursery to let Sophia pick out the tree she'd asked for, for her upcoming fourth birthday. I, of course, love that she asked for a tree. A tree! How wonderful! How cool, how unique, how utterly Earth-friendly. My girl!! Here she is, once again making nicey-nice with the statuary.


Although it was drizzling, everyone was in good spirits as they checked out all the sights at the garden center, a place where we haven't gone in a very long time. (I have no gardening skills whatsoever, and Rob isn't inclined right now...) Here they are playing with a bubbler, which one of them deemed a 'birdbath.' Whatever, enjoy yourselves, just don't break it! (Mom, as you can see from Sophie's hands, they received the Easter cards!)


We were helpfully referred to the tree and shrub guy on duty, and he asked us what we were looking for. We told them our 4yo wanted a tree for her birthday, and we needed something pink and low-maintenance.  He had what we needed. Sophie dutifully followed him over to the...


Crepe Myrtles! Sophia pointed out one after another and said, "I want that one!" She didn't seem to mind that they were mostly sticks with a few leaves at this point. I expected her to want some big ol' tree, already statuesque and thriving, but phew! She did not mind the littler ones in our budget.


"Mommy! I'm bigger than this one!"


The Tree and Shrub Man chose a tree in the Hopi variation, saying it would produce a nice, pink color and be in full flower already this summer. Perfect! That was the one.


On the way out, the kids stopped to admire the very large, very cool, but very expensive chimes. I love chimes. I just wish I had a place to hang them, here. Oh, how I miss living in an actual house.

So that was that. We went home, and it was time to shower and get dressed for church. We don't go a whole lot ever since Sophia was born and completely through a wrench in our previously-very-organized scheduling, but we do manage to go on the big holidays. I know, I don't want to be that Christian, but we are working on it.  We keep trying.



Before we left, we did a quick Easter photo op. These are  few of the funnier outtakes! I'm waaay behind on actually getting them into Sears for birthday pics, oops...


At church, the kid's program was having a Scooby Doo dinner, because we all know what that has to do with Easter: nothing. I still don't get it. But Chloƫ squealed and was too thrilled to go up and do her thing when she saw him.


Eventually, they all got into the groove, but the 'Doo was on the move to other kids.

So, we checked them into their respective rooms and headed into the sanctuary ourselves.  Ever since Robby died, I get a little tearful at Easter, because I realize just how huge a sacrifice it was, given to us. I cried as usual, but no one saw me. The only thing I hated was not being able to sing along -  my favorite part of the service - since I am still voiceless. I mouthed along, Britney-style.


Afterward, we picked up our progeny, went home and handed out a few more eggs, and then went out to Silver Diner for a late birthday dinner. Sophie had her free meal and shake coming, and they love to go. I don't remember what they're all looking out the window at here...


The cherry on top is always quickly scarfed up!


Chow time!

We went home, and everyone crashed after our long, busy day. I'm going to go take a break, maybe make some egg salad or have a popsicle, and then we'll see about Sunday...


Cookie Pix


Friday - Making sugar cookies. Everyone helped. Whenever they do this, and they tell me I did a good job, I always turn it around and tell them, no, they made it!


Jack begged for pudding while the cookie dough was killing (Uh, Freudian slip? I meant 'chilling') in the fridge, so I caved and made some. Loads of milk, I keep telling myself...


There is no patience when it comes time to cut the cookie shapes. Everyone jumped right in!


Everyone's favorite job is rolling out the cookies!

Saturday coming right up...!


Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

Today was one of those rare rough days in motherhood when you feel like you want to give them all back. Or away.

I almost never say this about my children, and I don't allow anyone else to use the term either, but today they were straight up bad. All day. Not just naughty. Not just mischievous. BAD.

There was a lot of yelling on my part at one point. Well, as much as I could do with little voice. I hate to yell, I really do. I hate to be angry at them. When they were all crying, I wanted to hug them. But I was so, so, so mad at them! So mad.

I really couldn't believe it.  Don't know what got into them today! Especially ChloĆ«. She should really know better.

We did manage to bake Easter sugar cookies today, but I didn't let them frost them yet, and I certainly didn't let them eat any. I haven't decided whether to let them color them tomorrow or just to do it them myself. I don't know. I'm still pretty mad!


When Rob came home from work and then again from the Marine Corps mystery shop I sent him out for, I gave up. I threw in the towel. We canceled/rescheduled the other two shops we had scheduled for tonight, and I went straight down for a nap. They exhausted me. He took over, and I was ever-so-grateful.

I slept from about for about four hours, waking up after 2300. Just in time to check over my grocery list for the absolute must-haves and run to the grocery store. Oh, how it thrilled me to go shopping just before midnight when the store closed and have to deal with surly cashiers, pushy stockmen, and cartons in all the aisles.

I did manage to save $30 on my smallish (for us) order, however. And I got seven free cartons of a dozen eggs, and three free gallons of milk. And a ham for two bucks. Go moi!

So now I'm chilling and trying to plan our weekend. I have a lot to try to cram in for tomorrow.  What's at the forefront of my mind, though, is Jack's eye exam. I'm eager to see whether he'll need glasses. If so, we'll need to find a super-dee-duper indestructible pair!

And that's a wrap.


P.S. I was shocked to find on Wikipedia (the source of all true information, yes?) last night, the winner of the current Celebrity Apprentice listed. My mouth was agape for at least five full minutes! I was so pissed, not wanting to find a spoiler. So be forewarned, I know the winnah! (Supposedly.)

Still Grieving

Twenty-five years ago today, my mother died very suddenly and unexpectedly. I was seven. (You're doing the math, aren't you? Yes, I'm 32.) Though a quarter of a century has passed, I miss her every bit as much today as I did throughout the rest of my horrible childhood. It would be nice to have my mommy even now, as a mother myself. When friends get pregnant, they call their moms. On Mother's Day, they call their moms. When they give birth, Mom comes to watch or wait, and then to help out. When their children are sick, they call Mom for advice. I have a wonderful mother-in-law for that, but (sorry) somehow it just isn't the same for me. My mom was a beautiful, angelic creature, and I know I have put her on a bit of a pedestal, but she really was awesome. Ask anyone who knew her. RIP, Mama.

The mourning season doesn't end tomorrow, for it is my mother's mother's birthday. Yep, she died the day before her mom's birthday, which ruined the occasion for Grandma after that. Very sad. Grandma's been gone, oh, nearly ten years now, and I miss her crazily too. She was a wonderful grandma to me, and I have her and Grandpa to thank for most of the happy bits I can remember about growing up.

One year ago today, I lost the ability to have any more children. Not that any were planned, but when the choice is taken from you, I don't know... for me, it saddens. I can't believe it's already been a year since my hysterectomy. I've long since recovered from that and often forget I've had it! But the baby pangs linger.



Thanks for all the well wishes for Blue-cat! She is doing just fine. When Rob went to get her out from under the bed yesterday, he brought her downstairs, and suddenly there was blood all over the floor. An awful lot of blood for such a small kitty, it seemed.  We put her in a box, and Rob rushed her to the animal hospital.

The vet said it looked like she had been fighting, but I never heard any kind of scuffle between her and Tink or anyone else, so I just don't know how that could be! But she had torn the pads of her two front pads, knocked out a tooth, and bitten her tongue. The blood was all from her mouth, which I couldn't believe, after seeing so much.

The vet has rescued a lot of feral kitties, so she gave Rob lots of advice for getting her accustomed to our family and calming down. We're going to try those over the next few weeks and see if we can't get her feeling more comfortable. They involve confining her to the bathroom and sitting in there with her, and swaddling her like a baby and NEVER putting her down, for anything! Who has time for that?! But we'll give it a go. Just wish I still had a baby carrier of some sort!

When they came home, we held her and petted her - and Tinkerbell did NOT like that, but she'll get over it. She's really very sweet, but so scaredy. Now you know where that epithet comes from! We tried swaddling her, but she squirmed this way and that and bolted. Rob caught her, and put her in the bathroom, but she bolted away again when he next opened the door. Gah. This is going to be fuuuuun. :)


There was a lot of running around for me today. When my alarm went off, I woke up and called the children into my room (they were downstairs watching Noggin already!) to help me with the laundry. We folded three baskets, and then I showered and got ready to go.

Rob came home, and I left the children with him while I drove up to Newport News for my appointment with the nutritionist. I kind of got in trouble for the paltry amount I've been eating - and not exercising - for the past three weeks that I've been sick, but she understood as she's sick herself right now. I can't help it that I had the flu and a cold back-to-back, and it's really knocked me on my arse! So I've got 'til next week to get my act together, and then I really need to work on those things. Fingers are crossed that The Sick is totally gone by then!

I gave it a shove out the door by washing lots of stuff down with Clorox wipes tonight. Downstairs, anyway. I'll work on upstairs later...


Anyhoo, when I came home, I had a little free time before we had to go again, so I got the kids started on today's activity. I had three sticker books, and card stock, and lots of crayons and things, so we decided to make Easter cards for their grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins! They loved the idea an took off with it. Good thing, because I had to vacuum, clean the bathroom and help straighten up the kitchen before Stim got here to babysit.


Sophia was the one who was least into today's craft. I was surprised, since she is my little Sticker Queen. The girl loves stickies and will put them all over her body, all over the carpet (ugh!!) and whatever else she can get away with. But nope, I really had to push her to make her cards.


Jack was signing his name and writing "Happy Easter" on all of them without my prodding!  He liked this one.  He drew a car on one card and insisted that one had to be for Tim. He loves Tim!


Of course, Chloƫ was all over this idea! She really filled out her cards, and when she deemed the Nons' cards as "not having enough," she grabbed them to add more. She wants to make more tomorrow. We shall see!

Time was up when it was time to take her to a Brownies meeting at our Troop Leader's house.  We had to stop at the store for some bananas, since everyone was supposed to bring a snack, and I was pleased to hear later that everyone ate one. I was going to stay with her, but then I found out they were going to be there a while. Another mom, T, offered to take her home, since Rob and I were going out tonight, and I accepted.

Then T and I stayed out in the driveway for another 45 minutes, shooting the breeze! She knows all about my surgery, as she's a nurse, so we caught up on that, and about her baby (oh, Vivian - you've seen her here before), and who knows what else. We decided that her daughter Kori would spend the night here next Wednesday, for Chloƫ's make-up sleeover that never happened for her birthday. Yay! I'm kinda nervous!

At home, we got ready to go, and the Littles cleaned up their toys in the living room. I did a quickie vacuum, and then Stim were here. I gave them the instructions for tonight, and then went out to dinner.

Dinner Out

(For you locals, we went way down to General Booth and Dam Neck, to a place called Francesca's.) We had a $25 gift certificate for there, which I'd bought for $2! The place was cozy, and the very-Italian server was lovely, but the food? Eh. Ehhhh. Not so wonderful. It's too bad, because it seemed like it should have been good, but it just wasn't. And they really did not have a gastric bypass-friendly menu, which sucked for me. I got sick and spent a long time in the bathroom. Rob ate a ton, though it wasn't spectacular. I was happy to see him eat so well.

We were already halfway home before Steph texted me that Chloƫ had gotten home at last! I couldn't believe she was there that long. Two hours longer than I expected! But she had a great time, did lots of activities, and ate lots of snacks.

And now, I'm going back to my July '08 scrapbooking. Hey, did any of you watch Parks and Recreation tonight? I forgot to set the DVR for it and really wanted to see it. Was it good? Funny? Tell me what you thought, but no spoilers please!


So Stressed

OMG, I'm sick to my stomach right now, I'm so worried. Blue, the new cat, was injured tonight, and Rob has her at the animal hospital. I don't really want to go into details here, but it's bad. There was a lot of bleeding. I don't know what to do, so I'm here, getting it out. Please send good thoughts to the poor kitty.


Guess I'll do daily blahblahblahg since I'm sitting here and keeping mum about Blue.


So today's activity was making candy lollipops. Wait, that was redundant, but I don't feel like backspacing.  It was a nicer, warmer day outside today, but it has probably been my worst-feeling day of this cold. I'm miserable. I've gone through almost a whole box of tissues. Yadda yadda.


This is the part - at the very beginning, but not out of the norm for him - where Jack threw down his paintbrush and declared this "too hard!" But he's been wanting to do this for a while now, and I managed to coax him into sticking it out for once.


I love to watch the children hard at work on something, anything. ChloĆ« chose to do the Spring lollipop mold.


Jack, who actually did a very nice job with this, chose the new train candy mold. Of course.


Sophie, who either didn't get or didn't care that she could use the cake-decorating bags to squeeze more candy out and chose to instead paint all the candy into her tray, opted for the rose lollipop mold. Which left me with the Easter mold. Go figure. (Although Chloƫ really wanted to know why we weren't using the Halloween mold. I can't mix holidays, kid. I just can't.)


The appearance of any mess is improved by the addition of Fiestaware, I have discovered.


Naturally, I was finished first. I went for the bare minimum of painting, since I only had three paintbrushes, and there were three kids. I had to snatch one when I could get it, which wasn't often. But also, I used a different method for candy-making than I have done in the past (melting the wafers right in the decorating bags rather than in a bowl, mixing it, and then spooning it in), and I won't do it again. It was much more difficult to get the candy to a good consistency.


Obligatory food-enjoyment photos. As soon as mine were set, the kids wanted to take a break and sample them. What the heck, why not?



Sophia's picture cracks me up. I didn't have room to 'set' the lollies in the fridge, so I stuck them in the freezer. I checked on them often, but apparently not often enough! I really am trying to get my kids to crack a tooth on lollipops!


This is the work of a neo-four-year-old. I love it.


Here is Chloƫ's lovely work. One candy broke in the mold. She was very disappointed.


Here are Jack's trains. Quite nice, right? I should have tapped them a little more to get the bubbles out, but otherwise he did very well.


And here are Sophia's candies. You can't really tell from the picture, but some of these are quite hollow, because she didn't want to fill the mold all the way. But not bad for a woman of her age!


A bouquet of yummy goodies


Jack refused to go to soccer practice, even after I sat him on my lap to show him the pictures of how much fun he had at the first one and invited him to talk about it. He was adamant, so I guess we'll drop soccer for now. I sent him down for a nap, while the girls got ready for dance class. While we waited for Daddy, I suggested they each pick some of their homemade candies to share with neighbor Satchi and her three kids. The loved the idea and eagerly ran next door with the goods.


Felicia was thrilled! Chloƫ insisted that the butterfly was for her.


Having finished scrapping June 2008, I started working on editing and printing July's pictures while the girls were at dance with Daddy. Upon arrival at home, Sophia clung to me to watch the process, and she noticed the picture of Daddy from last year wearing a tutu on his head. She ran to get her tutu, put it on her head, and demanded I take her picture. We just went outside to get better lighting.


I actually think it's a good look for her.


My pretty baby


"Mommy, give me a push, wouldya, please?"

So that's about it. I've been scrapping ever since, the kids had dinner and baths, and then the kitty got hurt. I haven't heard from Rob yet. I hope I do soon.