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Entries from May 2009

Shameless Plug - PLEASE READ

L'Oréal Paris is giving a $25,000 donation to the charity of their winning Woman of Worth. This woman's volunteer work is making a beautiful difference in her community. I can't even begin to tell you what that $25,000 could do for CARE Package, Inc. We could buy yarn, yes, we could ship packages, we could afford to apply to the IRS for all the chapters people have been asking us to start in their own areas, and we could finally start our funeral assistance program that I've been wanting to do for these past five years! It would be amazing to win. So would you, could you please go to and nominate me/us for that award?

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


A Penny For Your Thoughts

Today was a really great day for Team Odette, save for one really dark spot that I'll get to later.

Well, I slept until after 1:30 PM, so I can't speak for the first half of the day, but Rob and the kids went out and played outside. You see, we were watching Harvey Milk late last night, and Rob brought me my pills. I haven't taken my sleeping pill in at least a week, because I've been tired and able to sleep without it, and I didn't check what he was giving me. You guessed it. So I zonked right out and didn't wake up for 10 or 11 hours!

Oh, before I forget, here's the picture I promised of the kids in their finished-thus-far jammies:


I'm loving them - so cute! So I really need to do the shirts, starting tonight or tomorrow. Probably tomorrow.


Sophie's Crepe Myrtle Hopi is doing really well, and there are a few flowers! She's so excited about that, being a major lover of both pink and flowers.

Anyway, after we got up and showered, we piled the kids in the car for a surprise adventure. They had no idea what we were going to do. I decided last night that I wanted to do this, but it was already late by then, so we had to wait 'til today: we drove down to the Virginia Aquarium and parked the van. Then, starting from the Marsh Pavilion and working our way northward on the beach, we rode the the busses and trolleys, stopping at all the penny presses on the oceanfront for those wonderful, cheap souvenirs that we (I) love to collect! (Holy sentence, Batman!)


There were four pennies to make at the Marsh Pavilion. We'd gotten a roll of quarters - and the six bucks it took our family of five to ride the trolleys all day - at the store before hitting the beach. Here's Sophie with her hand out for the coins, so she could turn the crank next.

(By the way, now that I edit all my pictures with the Creative Memories software for digital scrapping, you'll probably only be seeing the unedited versions. Sorry!)


Those hand cranks were really hard for all the kids near the end of the pressing process. Sophie, being the strongest, was the only one who could do it without help.


While we waited for transportation over to the main Aquarium building, we spotted this little garter snake along the wall. The kids were fascinated, and I enjoyed telling them about serpentine movement vs. concertina, to which they didn't listen at all. Rob wanted to keep the little bugger. He checked back for it when we returned hours later, but it was gone, of course.


The people on the bus go, "Shh! Shh! Shh!" *ahem* Sorry, we had to listen to kids' songs all the way down to the beach and back!


Our kids really like taking public transportation. I do, too, although I'm kind of an airhead when it comes to figuring out the routes and schedules. I used to love riding the MetroRail around Miami when I lived there...


We pressed four more pennies at the main Aquarium building.


Rob had some Tic-Tacs in his pocket, so he told the kids to close their eyes and open their mouths. For some reason, they actually trusted him. Usually, he makes them smell his stinky shoes or some such!


Rob took the kids over to the pinniped tank while I waited for the Trolley. Here it comes! "ROOOOBBBBBBB, come baaaaaaaack!!!"


The kiddos really got a kick out of riding the trolley - their first time, I think? - and kept commenting on the old-fashionedness of it.


Chloë, incessantly posing, on the trolley. She always insisted I sit next to her. I didn't mind. Sophie couldn't keep her butt in a seat for anything, though!


This picture cracks my ass up! Here we are at the next stop, the 15th Street Fishing Pier. As you can tell, it was much too sunny for proper picture posing! Luckily the penny press was before the turnstiles, so we didn't have to pay to go on the pier to get it. Just one at this stop. Sometime, we'll need to bring the rods and crab traps and actually come back for a day o' fishin'.


It was a hot, gorgeous day in Virginia Beach, so we decided to huff it along the boardwalk for the five blocks to the next stop, rather than hopping the trolley. There was a lovely, cooling wind coming off the ocean, so it wasn't unbearable at all. There were many swimmers and sunbathers down on the sand, and I yearned to join them. Well, the swimmers anyway. Of all the kids, guess who keeps asking to go back to the beach? Jack, surprise of surprises. We'll have to go again soon.


The kids quickly finished off the water bottles I'd brought along, so it was a good thing we finally found a bubbler that worked. Until Jack's turn, and then it quit! He was miffed, but Daddy kept at it, and finally the water flowed again. Phew!


Well, five blocks up, there was supposed to be an Oh! Fudge shop with a penny press. In its place was a sports memorabilia shop, but they directed us up to 22nd street where the other Oh! Fudge was located. And it had two penny presses, for a total of eight more pennies. I don't know what the kids were more interested in, though - the pennies, or the candy. We didn't buy any...


And the penny press inside... By the way, if you're looking for the penny press at Beachland at 21st street, it's gone. I doubt any of you are, though! (And Steph, there isn't a single penny machine in Chesapeake. Bummer.)


We caught the trolley again to ride the six blocks north to Forbes Candies at 28th Street. It was our last penny press of the day, so we had to make it a good one. We found penny collector books there, too, so we picked one up for six bucks.


The Flower Girl was at it again - she picked someone's flowers! Rob tucked them behind her ear while we rode the trolley some more. Naughty thing.


Unbeknownst to me, Rob never gave the kids lunch earlier in the day, and by this time it was dinnertime. So they were ravenous. Luckily, I'd brought along the Entertainment book, just in case. Unluckily, we chose to try Abbey Road on 22nd Street for dinner, with a BOGOF coupon.


Daddy and Sophie goofing around during the interminable wait for our server to come


My little buddy sat next to me, and we got in lots of cuddles.

So, the rant review of Abbey Road: It was horrible. Our server, Paula, was a huge bitch, and the service was abysmal. The food was only mediocre, so it really wasn't worth the huge shouting match we got in with both her and the manager when it turned out she'd brought the wrong meal to me, with an overcharge of six bucks. Which is a big difference when you're trying to keep the spending down. I ordered the Broiled Scallops - $12.99. She brought me the Deep Sea Scallops, $18.99.  Their argument was that they are both "broiled scallops," and if I'd wanted the $13 plate, I should have specified it was on the Lite Menu. Um, no. First of all, I pointed to the one I wanted when ordering, second, if I'd wanted the samn Deep Sea Scallops, I would have ordered "Deep Sea Scallops" instead of saying "Broiled Scallops," which is exactly how the menu differentiates between the two, and thirdly, I barely ate any of them, so take them back and eat them yourselves! (And she did take them back, hehe.) 

Also, you're not allowed to order sandwiches between 5 and 10 pm, which is stupid as hell. It specifies that on the adult menu, so fine, but not on the kids' menu, so I pitched a fit when my kids couldn't order the hot dog and PB&J sandwiches they wanted. The manager later told us that, in fact, kids sandwiches can be ordered any time of the day, so the server was wrong about that. And she was very inattentive - we waited over a half-hour for her to bring us the check, after we finished eating! Ridiculous. In the end, the manager gave us what we wanted and was very apologetic, but I was royally pissed. I will say that the bathroom is nice... but Steph, you'll probably want to cross that one out of your Entertainment book!

Ugh. What was supposed to be a wonderful, happy day was very soured by this experience. There was more, but I'm forgetting right now, and I don't really want to think too hard about it!


Jacky-boy and his dad getting in a nice snuggle while we waited for the check to come


All-in-all, it was a super fun day, and we really wore the kids out. (I love that Jack fell asleep with a shoe on his hand!) We have one more penny left in Virginia Beach, but it's not really on the oceanfront, so we'll save it for (hopefully) next weekend.  There was a free (American Idol winner) David Cook concert on the beach tonight, which I would have checked out if I was really a fan, but I'm not. So don't hate.

One more thing about today: We have begun something we call "The Game of Life" here at Chez Odette. I read it as a suggestion in this month's Family Fun magazine. The kids will be earning points for things like doing what they're told (the first time), cleaning up, helping out with other chores, eating healthy foods, etc. The point values are kind of arbitrary; we're just making this up as we go. But when they get to 1000 points, they get to pick a piece of paper out of the prize bucket. Those are things like "you get special time with Daddy," "you get to pick out a piece of candy at the store," and other fun stuff. They are really getting into this game! And incessant whining? Makes you lose all your points for the day. The kids were really fabulous today, and they earned an average of 95 points each! If you have any suggestions for the prize bucket, or anything else, please share!


Saturday 9: Uninvited


Here's a weird coinkydink: I was just listening to this very song - and singing loudly - right here on my very own blahg! Anyway, make sure to link up here if you're playing along. Here are the nine:

1. Do you mind people to show up uninvited?

I do mind.  I used to love it, like in my carefree college days, when my house/apartment/dorm room were always neat and anyway, who cared? But nowadays, I like to have advance notice so I can at least pretend I tried to pick up. I'm very self-conscious about the cleanliness (or not) of my home. Somehow I forget people might realize I have three small kids and three animals? Maybe I want them to think I'm Supermom. Maybe I want to think I am. Anyway, yes. Please call first.

2. Last person you talked to on the phone?

Well, aside from Rob (because it's always going to be Rob, and that's boring), it was the manager from the grocery store where I mainly shop, telling me he'd gotten my feedback about that weird girl who accosted me in the dog food aisle, and he was sorry. And she no longer works there, which I hope has nothing to do with the letter, which I was asked to write...

3. Last person on your missed call list?

Same grocery manager, and before that, my sister. Safe bet it's always going to be her on the missed call list, too. Sorry, Stace. Not that she reads this thing.

4. Who calls you the most?

My husband, my sister, my dad, and the people who want us to pay the security system bill, in that order. (It sucks, do NOT use Protect America!)

5. What is your favorite song about breaking up?

"Sad Songs," by Elton John. So maybe it's not really about that, but I don't care.

6. If someone sent you an unexpected gift, what would you like it to be?

Right now, funds. Any other time, yarn works! Good yarn, though, not the plastic stuff.

7. Your classic rock station plays the top songs of all time. What is number one?

Oh, gosh. I am so not the music guru. I listen to pop. Let's see... um, maybe "Pour Some Sugar On Me," by Def Leppard?

8. Do you live for today or tomorrow?

Hey, I'm just doing the best I can not living for yesterday.

9. What movie villain scared you as a kid?

Without a doubt, that would be Freddy Kreuger. I used to take a flying leap from my doorway onto my bed, so he couldn't grab my feet running. And I would NOT put a hand or foot over the edge of the bed at night, lest he grab them. One...two...Freddy's coming for you... scared the sh*t out of me! When our house caught on fire, I was 8, and it was in our kitchen (remember that story, with the burned legs?) - which was just under my bedroom. I was convinced that Freddy was going to have easier access to me now that the stability of that whole structure was compromised!


Cheers & Jeers

Last night, I knitted the back of the dress (see Friday Fragments post) while we watched Paul Blart: Mall Cop. The dress is fabulous; the movie, not so much. I absolutely hated it. I thought it was insultingly stupid, and I didn't laugh once. Rob maybe snorted once or twice, but we both give it one star out of five. It sucked! Don't rent this movie. If you already did and enjoyed it, what in God's name for?!

Tonight, we let the kids stay up way late (it's quarter after 11 and the movie just ended a quarter-hour ago) to watch Marley and Me, another in the mail from Netflix.  That there is a five-star flick, in both our opinions. The kids loved it, too. I whispered to Rob at the beginning that Chloë was going to cry her eyes out at the end, and I was not wrong. Little did I know that her tears would set off mine. I cried so hard! Curly Sue and I sat on the couch together, hugging and bawling; Rob held Jack on top of the dress up box; and Sophia was the tissue-runner. She kept handing us snotrags and getting in our faces, asking, "Are you all better and very happy now?" Good movie. Rent that one.

As for the dress? I was so into the movie that I've only finished the fair-isle colorwork near the bottom of the front. We've a third movie to watch, so I'll do the shaping and seaming then. Stay tuned.


An Excellent (Re)Post

My personal notes are below in blue.

No Impact Man's Top Ten Eco-Lifestyle Changes

1. Stop eating beef. Worldwide, beef production contributes more substantially to climate change than the entire transportation sector. Plus, a diet with no or less beef is better for you anyway. (I haven't eaten beef or pork since 1995 for purely environmental reasons.  Americans are the primary consumers of the livestock that the world's rainforests are destroyed to produce, and I didn't want to be any part of that destruction.)

2. Give up bottled water. The production of plastic water bottles together with the privatization of our drinking water is an environmental and social catastrophe. Bottled water costs more per gallon than gasoline. Plus, the health consequences of drinking water from plastic are not clear. (We have been buying bottled water lately, for the first time EVER, since our water filtration system needs repairs we can't afford at the moment, and every time I crack open a bottle, I feel terribly guilty. With good reason. I'm ashamed to even say it here, that I am buying it... However, I do bring canvas bags every time I shop, and have nixed plastic bags. Too bad the newspapers are still delivered in them!)

3. Observe an eco-sabbath. For one day or afternoon or even hour a week, don't buy anything, don't use any machines, don't switch on anything electric, don't cook, don't answer your phone, and, in general, don't use any resources. In other words, for this regular period, give yourself and the planet a break. Keep your regular eco-sabbath for a month. You'll find that the enforced downtime represents an improvement to your life. (I love this idea but would go crazy unplugging everything and re-plugging them, since appliances still use energy even when they are off. You can never stop consuming energy all the way, anyway - the fridge and freezer are always on, for instance. But I like this idea and will maybe make Sunday our best-as-we-can-eco-sabbath.)

4. Tithe a fixed percentage of your income. Currently, many of our societal health and welfare services, at home and abroad, are tied to consumer spending which, in turn, depends upon planetary resource use. But the idea of buying stuff to help people is crazy, especially when you consider that our consumption is harming the habitat that we depend upon for our health, happiness and security. If you want to help, don't go shopping. Just help. Commit to tithing part of your income to the non-profits of your choice. (I also love this suggestion, that the non-religious can still tithe to the charities of their choice. Now if only CARE Package was someone's choice!) ;)

5. Get there under your own steam. Commit to getting around by bike or by foot a certain number of days a month. Not only does this mean using fewer fossil fuels and creating less greenhouse gasses, it means you'll get good, healthy exercise and we'll all breathe fewer fumes. A city with pedestrian and bike traffic is a lot more pleasant to live in than a city filled with vehicles. (Too true. I only wish we lived in the kind of place where vehicles were not necessary. Although I used to rollerblade everywhere, before I had a license, for long, long distances. Even to buy my groceries. Or I'd carry them home on my back, while riding my bike. I guess it is possible, if I weren't so fat and lazy. And there it is.)

6. Commit to not wasting. Wasting resources costs the planet and your wallet. Don't overheat or overcool your home--a few degrees make a huge difference. Let your clothes hang dry instead of using the dryer. Take half the trips but stay twice as long. If your old cell phone works, consider not getting another. Repair instead of rebuy. The list goes on and on. (I am huge on not wasting. I absolutely abhor waste. I get on the kids, especially Sophia, all the time about wasting money, energy, time, whatever product they've just dumped out, etc. It makes me ill.)

7. Build a community. Play charades. Have dinners with friends. Sing together. Enjoying each other costs the planet much less than enjoying its resources. Let's relearn to joke around and play in ways that cost nothing to our pocketbooks or our planet. (I can't imagine hanging around with friends and singing together. Wait, yes I can, I used to do it in high school all the time with my chorus friends. And it was fun, too. Hey, friends, let's get together and sing!) ;P

8. Take your principles to work. The old adage "the cost of doing business" can no longer hold true. We must act as though we care about the world at work as much as we do at home. A company CEO or a product designer has the power to make a gigantic difference through their business, and so do the rest of us. (Let your wallet speak to your beliefs. I try not to buy anything from companies known to test on animals, for instance.)

9. Dedicate a day's worth of TV viewing to eco-service each week. The average American watches four and a half hours of TV a day. Take one day off from the tube each week and joining with others to improve our planet. Voluntary eco-service is a great way to find community who support your values and also a great way to learn about environmental issues and the quality of life issues that go along with them. (Harder for me to do. I never just sit and watch TV; I'm always doing something else when it's on, like knitting or crocheting. I could do those without the TV, but it would put me to sleep or drive me crazy! And I do those things in service to CARE Package.)

10. Believe with all your heart that how you live your life makes a difference to all of us. We are all interconnected. We make a difference to each other on many different levels. Every step towards living a conscious life where we consider the consequences of our actions provides support to everyone else--whether you know it or not--who is trying to do the same thing. We are the masters of our destinies. Let's act as though it is so. (Completely agreed, 'nough said.)


Friday Fragments



Friday comes fast for me now that I'm doing this carnival. Sorry I didn't get it up last night or this morning. Wait, that came out wrong...

**** Have you noticed the color is back in the posts? Typepad must have fixed something. Happy girl, me.

**** Went to my four-month surgery check-up yesterday, and Dr. C. was very happy with my more-than-85-lb weight loss. For sure I'll be hitting the 100-lb mark by 5 or 6 months, which many people don't do for a year. I haven't been taking my vitamins like I should, though, so I really need to start doing it before the 6-mo visit. I have to get bloodwork done for that, and I don't want to be scolded!

**** I also went to another doc appt in the evening for a yucky thing on my leg. Turns out it's a yeast thing, on my LEG. So gross. I probably shouldn't have shared that with y'all.  Hey, it's not the heat, it's the humidity. Two points if that made sense to you.

****  I finished the other two kids' shorts and am working on Jack's jammies shirt now. I'm a little burned out on froggies, so I'm taking a sewing break today. I'd show you the picture, but my camera's not uploading and I don't feel like rebooting right now. Stay tuned for that. They're cute.

**** I'm going to be making a new Etsy shop with a better name (Smellyann just isn't a great name for selling cute kid thing, eh?) but can't come up with a single swell idea. If you have one - or ten - PLEASE lay them on me!

**** Redbox Free Mondays are a thing of the past now, and have changed to once a month, so I've re-established our Netflix account. We got Paul Blart: Mall Cop yesterday, and I'm going to make Rob watch it with me tonight while I knit this cute little dress:


And now, I'm cute quotes from the kids:

**** Chloë, a minute ago: "So, what are we having for dinner tonight, Mom? What?! No mystery shops??"

**** Me to Sophie: "After this, I'm going to go color my hair."

      Soap: "I want you to color it pink!"

      Me: "No, I'm going to make it red."

      Soap: "And after that, you can color it rainbow!"

**** Sophia, playing by herself in the living room: *SCREAM* "Mommy! There's a dinosaur!"

      Me, thinking dragon instead of dinosaur, "Well, go vanquish it!"

     Sophie: "No, I'm just going to hiss at it."

**** Sophia in the car, out of the blue and not saying anything else before or after this: "I'm gonna lay a egg!"

If you're playing along, make sure to link up with Mrs. 4444!


Well, I Did It!



I finished Chloë's jammies! They're a six, so they're pretty big on her (she still wears mostly 4/5s), but she loves them. LOVES them. And I'm so glad; it makes me happy to please the kids. Jack and Sophia are breathing down my neck to get theirs finished, but I'm not sure I'll start them tonight. Maybe tomorrow. We'll see. I still need to do my Wii tonight.

I had a rough go of it again, for just a minute, on the shorts. Same exact shorts as the (ugly) green batik ones I made the kids last summer, same exact source of confusion for me. I finally decided to just do exactly what the pattern said to do, logic be damned, and hey, it worked out! Pretty simple, really, once you get it.

So between that, shopping, dance, and a bunch o' laundry-doin', that was our day.



I just did my shopping at Harris Teeter. I didn't buy as much as planned, because for some reason the ad I found listed was different than the actual ad I found in the store. But we still did well, buying tons of groceries for free. I spent about $33 and got another $94 in free stuff. Not bad, not bad at all.

I plan to go back again - it's triple coupons for a week!


Oh, And...

Two things I forgot to add to last night's post:

1. I went for a meeting at the kids' school to see if Sophia was eligible for the Early Discoveries program next year. This is the all-day, every-day preschool program I was hesitant to send her to, because I thought it would be too much for her and too long to go without her (for me). It's technically for at-risk kids, which she really isn't, so they get first priority. I have no idea yet whether she'll be eligible, but I've changed my mind for a couple of reasons: (a) She really wants to go to school, and she's very smart, so a pre-K boost from people who really know what they're doing - I admit, I don't - can give her a great advantage, and (b) She needs the outlet, rather than getting into naughty things all day. This will give her something creative and educational to do, beyond the scope of what I can do for her here at home. I now think it would be very good for her, and she is beyond excited about the idea of going to school, wearing a backpack, bringing a lunch, etc.

Plus, they'd all be in school full-time next year, which would allow me the chance to get a PT job during the day! I could sock away my entire earnings toward paying off debt, which would be tremendously helpful.

Speaking of earnings, I just realized yesterday that Rob makes 8K more than I thought he did. Apropos of nothing...

2. After the meeting, I went to the bank. I had four things to accomplish for my duties to the Brownies troop: (a) Deposit our overage check from the council, for the cookie sale. Check. (b) Get them to change the statement address in the system, from the Leader's to mine. Still working on that, though this is the third time!!! (c) Order new checks, because we are officially out, and I couldn't get cheaper ones online through CITM or Current. Don't know if that order went through; she was supposed to call me... and (d) Find out where the missing dollar was, after our year-end financial review. Turns out it was the previous leader's error and not on my watch at all! Yippee Skippy!

Well, now that you know I actually left my house and did something productive yesterday, in addition to the crafty stuff, I feel better. Don't you? ;)


Sew What


I finally finished the baby blanket this morning. Well, I finished up all the crocheting last night while catching up with the DVR, but I did the seaming this morning.


The banket is almost perfect, but I left one tiny little mistake in it that I didn't catch until it was all finished. It goes along with the "only God can make perfect things" thing that I love.


I plan on crocheting a sweet little outfit to coordinate with this, but in the meantime, I have begun sewing.

Today wasn't that exciting for the kids. We watched lots of Veggie Tales while Mommy played the coupon game some more. Harris Teeter is going to be tripling coupons tomorrow, and I'm going to be getting tons of stuff we can use for free or almost-free.  I'm so excited, I can't stand it. I'm a dork, I know.

We're getting tired of the same half-dozen Veggie DVDs over and over (well, we haven't watched them in a while, but still), so I was glancing around on eBay to see what else was out there.  I found a discount coupon for movies and music, and then I realized I had an eBay gift certificate in my Paypal account from, like, a year or two ago...! So I ended up getting three new DVDs for practically nothing. A couple bucks, maybe. Sweeeeet.

But you don't care about that. You want to know what I spent the evening doing, yes? I'll imagine you saying yes.


Sewing! It's back! I'm doing it! The sewing machine was verrah dusteh.

I was reminded of a few things while getting from point A to point thing-on-the-door-above.  One, I hate ironing. Loathe it. And I hate that it's always called "pressing" in sewing. What on earth is the difference between ironing and pressing?

Two, I hate cutting out the patterns and fabric. I wish I could just buy the pieces pre-cut and immediately start sewing them up. Rob thinks there is a market for that and that I should fill the need, but hello! I don't like doing it for myself, so I don't want to do it for anyone else!

 Three, I love my seam ripper. 'Nough said. I don't know how many times (well, probably three, because that's all the times I've done sleeves) I've sewed my sleeve opening shut. Tonight, I did it again. Dammit.

It's not looking so bad though, I don't think? Definitely too big (this one's Chloë's), but she'll grow eventually. And if not, Sophie will. I'm too tired to finish it tonight, but I will do it tomorrow and then start on the jammie shorts. I totally meant to make them pants, but whoops! Swish, swish went the scissors, right through the pattern, making them shorties. Oh, well.

And now, I sleep.


Harris Teeter Deals!

If you have a Harris Teeter near you, and you're into coupons and saving tons of money, be sure and visit Southern Savers for AWESOME deals. They will be tripling coupons starting tomorrow I think for a week, and she has lots of items listed free after coupon. I'm definitely going to go tomorrow after dance class and save a mint!


Memorial Day Weekend

We've had a busy few days, filled with lots of mystery shops. I think I'm done with those for the rest of the month, so I'll have a good little break before they start up again in June. Here's a bit of what we've been up to:


Rob had the day off! Yay, that always makes me so happy. He still had to go in the morning, but only for a dentist appointment.  I primped, coloring my hair, while he was gone, and I like the results. Nothing worth showing, though - I stuck with my usual auburn, just a different brand.

We parents and the Littles (Chloë was still at school) went to our appointment with Jack's teacher, occupational therapist, special services provider, and the Veep at the school at 1400. The meeting lasted about an hour, and covered his IEP goals met for this year and new plans for next. There was lots of good news. He has made great strides since the beginning of the year and especially since Spring Break, when we've really been working a lot harder at home, too. Everyone was just gushing over him. So he's dropping down to once a week - instead of two - with the OT, but keeping the ½-hr per day with Special Ed. He's getting an extra 15 minutes to complete assignments and tests, even for the gifted testing later next year.

What's that, you say? Gifted testing for someone in special ed? Yep, students can be twice exceptional, both gifted and disabled. Which brings us to Chloë. You may remember she's in the gifted program at school. She's an awesome little reader, has always been highly capable verbally. But as for math... she just doesn't get it. It isn't clicking. There have been lots of frustrating moments for all of us, lots of tears for her. So we discussed it at the meeting, and next year when she's 8, we're going to have her tested for a math learning disability. It won't surprise me at all if she is... twice exceptional, that is.

By the end of the meeting, school was letting out for the day, so we ran to the front of the building to intercept her before she got on the bus and came home to an empty house. We found her, phew. She was SO excited to see us there. It's always a little thrilling for me to see that much joy on one of my kids' faces.

Afterward, I ran to the bank to deposit a few mystery shopping paychecks and the donation to CARE Package from ASIS Pharmacy, to the grocery to return our free Redbox movie, and then dropped everyone off at home. I had to run to do a carwash mystery shop. I was pleased to get that one, because we have long needed to clean out the inside of the car - and that was included in the $14 reimbursement! So for free, I got someone else to do it. Joy.

When I finished, I picked everyone up at home to sprint to the airport for a dinner shop at a chain seafood restaurant. (I'm trying not to name names of the businesses I do anymore, in case they search and find my blog! But if you want to know, shoot me a comment and I'll share.) The timeframe was extremely limited, so we had to hurry and get up there. Well, the dinner absolutely sucked. It was by far the worst meal evaluation and report I have ever done, and that's out of hundreds. It wasn't the food but the service that was abyssmal.

We came home and, that night, I had to do my monthly online charity thing with my crochet buddies. I had to host the first two hours, which I never do. Usually I'm in the wee hours, so for once I had a roomful of guests instead of the sparse attendance to which I'm accustomed. It was lots of fun, and I stayed there until the wee hours anyway, hoping to win a chance at the big monthly prize. (I didn't win.) I maybe shouldn't have, because it has really thrown off my sleeping plans.


I was supposed to get up bright and early for a breakfast shop at Sonic (so much for not naming names), but I had to reschedule. Way too tired to drive at that point. Back to sleep!

But not for long, because we had to take Tiger Lily to the vet for a mystery shop. It was an excellent visit; the vet was awesome with both the kids and the dog. And the white patches that she's had on her muzzle for about three years now, which the breeder told us was "Tidewater Itch," a fungus? (She's been to the vet in that time, but not for that...)The vet declared that her skin was absolutely fine, and that the change in color is due to aging! She's only 5½, so subtract three years from that, and we never would have guessed that. But he says he sees it in 2-year-old larger dogs all the time, and anyway, she never scratches or anything. What a relief!! I'm still overjoyed that that is the case, although I am sorry there's nothing we can do about the discoloring of her pretty face. Oh well, it's not like she was ever going to be a show dog!

When we got home, I needed a nap, and I slept for hours. Guess what Rob did with the kids in the meantime?

He took them FISHING! At the lake behind our house. Do you think he took the camera? Nope! For their first fishing expedition, I have not one single picture, nor did I get to experience it in person. Major bummer for me. But they had a fantastic time, and are still happily telling me that they caught 8 fish: two crappie and 6 catfish. None were keepers, so it was just for fun. Not for the fish...!


That morning, after lots of sleeping on Saturday, I was able to get up and do that breakfast mystery shop. I went home and snoozed some more, because why not?

I had to get moving again in the afternoon, though, because I had four more shops to do.  I took everyone with me. We had another Sonic shop, so they shared that food. I'm not eating it. Well, maybe one tater tot... but that's it!

We drove out to MacArthur mall for the next two shops. There are lots of jobs located there, but I rarely go unless I'm going to be reimbursed for the parking fee. (Paying for parking at the mall drives me crazy.) I still wasn't, but since I was able to stack two jobs together for the same day and time, for two different companies, I decided to take them.

The first was at a kids' shoe store. I took Chloë this time, instead of Jack. They did a horrible job. The next was at a candle shop, where I'm using the required candle purchase for a Bunco prize. I picked all beach-themed scents, which is appropriate for our town, I think. Back to the shoe store for the return portion, and then we left before Gymboree called my name. I passed by several stores selling Webkinz, but I resisted. It's not hard when you don't have the money, anyway.

We had a dinner shop right after that. It was a last-minute assignment, but I took it because it's for fast pay, within the week, and because Rob loves that place. They did a great job, and our meal was excellent. And that was our entire day.


No shops on the agenda for today. I had originally scheduled one for Rob at McDonald's at the base where he works, and he was happy to go do it, but I canceled it. I didn't want him to have to "work" on his day off, and I really didn't want to be away from him.

I did have to go over to the Brownies troop leader's house to go over the year-end financial report. I spent an hour-and-a-half figuring and refiguring, and we are still off by a dollar! Which is fine, we won't get in trouble with the council for that or anything, but we do want to find it and fix it. Can't do anything about it until the bank opens tomorrow, because neither one of us ever got that month's statement. We signed Chloë and me up for next year, too. Her registration is free, because she earned the pass from cookie sales. Go, Chlo! And the troop is paying for mine, because Nikki "voluntold" me to be the Fall Product Chair, Cookie Chair, and Troop Treasurer again for next year. She likes my work. Even with the missing buck. Hee.

As soon as I got home, everyone donned their swimsuits, and we went off to the pool! They actually opened on Saturday, but we didn't have time to go and besides, today feels more like the day one should, right?

The water was c-c-c-cold, and Rob barely got in the water. The Littles wanted to stay in the baby pool, so he sat in that area with them, while I went in the big pool with Chloë. She's technically too old to be in the baby pool, even though she's smaller than the four-year-old who was in there. When they called adult swim, though, I relented, and we were all in the baby section. I hate the baby pool. I want to be covered, up to my neck, and feeling weightless - not sitting in a bunch of kid pee! Ew.

It started to rain, so we left much earlier than expected. All the kids were shivering anyway, so we'll just have to go on a hotter day.

At home, I went upstairs to work on the long-neglected laundry... and fell asleep. For hours. I woke up when Sophie crawled up on the bed with me and whispered in my ear, "Mom, we're going to bed, good-night!"

And now I'm here. Ready for my big 2-oz dinner.


Saturday 9: Hot Fun In The Summertime


Yeah, I'm doing this nine-question carnival, too. Why not? I need blog filler until I can post a regular one, anyhoo, and questions are always fun. To answer, if not to read, anyway! Here goes:

1. Is Summer your favorite season? Why?

Absolutely, it is! Two things I live for are being in and around the water, and warmth. That pretty much sums it up for me.

2. Do you exercise more in the summer because you wear less clothing?

I don't know. I don't think so. I guess my exercise patterns don't have anything to do with the seasons. If I'm doing the Wii Fit, chances are I've stripped down to my skivvies beforehand, anyway!

3. Do you enjoy tanning or are you more concerned about the dangers of basking in the sun?

Without a doubt, it's the latter. Tanning = bad! Humans were not meant to wear leather or BE leather, imho.

4. You are on the beach when a waiter asks for your drink order. What do you ask for?

In a pre-op world, I'd pick an ice-cold piña colada. Nowadays, it'd have to be water with lemon.

5. Do you camp in the summertime?

Not since I was a kid, but we are hoping to do that soon, having been amassing some good camping gear. Maybe this year, but definitely next.

6. What was your favorite summer vacation as a kid?

Probably August 1991, just before I turned 15, when we went on a Carnival cruise to the Caribbean. I hated my family life, but on a cruise ship, you can kind of be off to yourself and do your own thing, even at that age. Plus I had a great, quickie vacation romance, and I'm still friends with the guy today!

Then there were all those summers at the Jersey Shore, which cemented my love for the ocean. Great times.

7. Do you enjoy sleeping outdoors?

I do. I love the sounds of nature.

8. Do you throw a summer barbecue every year?

Nope, sure don't. I don't love hosting and entertaining, because I have anxiety attacks, OCD, and I can't just relax and enjoy myself. It kind of sucks, minus the "kind of."

9. Have you ever been to a nude beach? If yes, what did you think?

Not really a nude beach, per se, but I've been to beaches where there was nudity. I think nothing of it. I'm glad I'm not a man, though, so you can't visibly tell when I'm excited! Hehe.


Six Word Saturday


I decided to start participating in this new-to-me blog carnival this week, because the last two days have been lots of running. I'm exhausted. So you're supposed to sum up your life, currently, in six words. If you want to join, visit here! Here's my SWS:

Vet mystery shop for Tiger Lily

More on that tomorrow, I'm sure. Thanks for stopping by!


Bzz, Bzz: OFF! PowerPad Lamp & Clip-On Mosquito Repellant

As you know, I'm a BzzAgent, and my latest campaign is for these new OFF! mosquito repellant products.

Thanks to the geniuses at OFF!, now you have two effective ways to keep mosquitoes at bay without having to apply anything to  your skin! No sprays, no chemical odor, no need to hide under long sleeves. It's a revolutionary way to enjoy your summer.


The first option, for personal use, is the Off! Clip-On and refill. You can clip it to your bag, belt or purse, or just leave it on the table next to you for personal mosquito protection all around yourself. It's ideal for relaxing in the backyard, gardening, or reading on the porch. You won't find anything else like it in the USA!

Just the Facts:

  • A starter pack ($8.99, but you can find it on sale for less at Walgreens and other locations) contains 1 repellant fan unit, 1 refill disk, and 2 AA Energizer batteries
  • The Refill pack ($3.99) includs 2 refill disks
  • Clip it on, or set it next to you!
  • Each fan unit provides approximately 500 hours of use, equivalent to 40 refill disks
  • Each repellant disk lasts up to 12 hours (for best results, use up the disk within 2 weeks of inital use)
  • The repellant disk has an indicator to let you know when it's time to replace it with a new disk.

How it works:

You love summer and spending time outdoors, but hate applying bug spray. New OFF! Clip-On Mosquito Repellant provides effective mosquito protection you don't spray on your skin. All you have to do is clip it onto your belt or bag, and a quiet little fan circulates an odorless repellent all around you. Within minutes, OFF! Clip-On creates head to toe protection from mosquitoes. If you move, allow a few minutes for the protection to rebuild. With OFF! Clip-On, protection from mosquitoes is easy and spray-free. So go outside and have fun without worrying about getting eaten alive.

When to use it:

Gardening, reading by the pool, relaxing on the patio, attending an outdoor sporting event or concert, fishing

*For best results, keep your OFF! Clip-On refill in the sealed foil wrapper until you need it. You can also turn the unit off when not in use to conserve batteries.


The other option, for when you have a crowd, is the OFF! PowerPad Lamp. What's summer without hanging outside with friends? OFF! PowerPad Lamp is your outdoor entertaining ally. It's so much more than  just a candle. Simply light the candle and the heat activates the repellent pad to protect an area up to 15' X 15' (about the size of an average deck or patio). That's the same area of protection as lighting 15 Citronella buckets!

Would you rather spend $9 or $60? You could spend up to $60 on Citronella buckets to equal the area of protection of one $9 PowerPad Lamp. But why spend more if you don't have to?

Just the Facts:

  • Starter kit ($9.49, but again, you can find it on sale for less) includes 1 reusable lamp, 1 mosquito repellent pad, and 1 candle
  • Refill pack ($5.49) includes 3 repellent pads and 3 candles
  • Each candle and repellent pad lasts up to four hours, and can be easily reused until the candle is completely burned out
  • Once the candle is used up and won't relight, replace both the candle and the pad.
  • One little pad protects an area up to 15 x 15 feet, the size of an average deck or patio
  • Available in both lamp and lantern versions (lanterns include a pole so you can hang your lamp in your backyard)
  • One pad protects an area up to 15 times farther than Citronella buckets

When to use it:

Backyard BBQing, camping, summer entertaining (makes a great host/ess gift)

I've got coupons! I've given out a lot of my coupons already, but I have some left for y'all. Let me know if you'd like one, and I'll need your addy to mail them out. You can just comment, and I'll email you back. Let me know what you think of these new OFF! products, too! All coupons have been given away now, sorry!


Aloha Friday


It's Aloha Friday over at An Island Life! I haven't participated in this in a looong time, but I have a burning question on my mind, so I thought I'd go ahead:

Do you like your boobs? Does/did your significant other?

I am currently hating mine. I used to like 'em a whole lot more, but that was before 3½ years of breastfeeding and significant weight changes - both up and down - did them in! Rob still likes them, though, so I can take some comfort in that.

What about you? Feel free to post anonymously if this is TMI for you! ;)


There, I Said It

I said I was going to start sewing again, right after I finished whatever I was knitting at the time and then doing our 2008 and Europe scrapbooks.

Those projects have long since been finished, and instead I've begun digitally scrapping 2009 and crocheting a baby blanket.


Because I'm afraid.

I'm afraid I'm going to pick up where I left off - on the zipper of Chloë's blue dress - and still not know what to do. I'm afraid of being stuck and not having in-person help to get me through it. I'm afraid I won't know what to do. I'm afraid of messing up. I'm afraid I'll finally finish that, and it won't look good. I'm afraid of moving onto the next sewing project and being bad at that, too. I'm afraid I'll forget everything MIL taught me last year.

There. It's out there!

And maybe now I can start.


Friday Fragments


It's that time of the week again! Be sure and link up at Half-Past Kissin' Time if you're fragmenting today.


Look, Mrs. 4444 gave me the FFF award again! This time, it was for Sophie's penis/vagina comment. Thanks, Mrs. 4444 - and thank you, Sophia!

So, I neglected to write down a lot of the funny things the kids said while FIL was visiting - and there were some good ones! Darn it.  Here are a few thoughts and the few quotes I did remember:

  I was inspecting my naked bod in the mirror last night and this morning. Thanks to the 85-lb weight loss and lots of work on the Wii Fit, I can finally say that I'm starting to like the way it looks. There are still lots of problem areas, especially my "baby belly," but I can appreciate that things are going in the right direction.

  We watched Last Chance Harvey last night, with Dustin Hoffman. It was okay, but not quite as great as I was expecting. Definitely a feel-good movie, if you're in the mood for that. I want to know, is Paul Blart: Mall Cop stupid, or funny? Worth renting?

♫  Remember blanket I'm working on? I told you the edging took forever. Well, lo and behold, when I went to work on it last night, I realized I screwed up one entire side of the edging and had to rip it, rip it, rip it out. That suuuuucked. I spent the rest of the movie making it up!

♪  Chloë was running around yelling and shouting at everything and nothing in particular. Then she stopped herself and said, " All of this yelling is making me have to poop!"

♫  Sophie to FIL: "Jack is your grandson, and I'm your grand-girl!"

♪  At the restaurant the other night, we had lots of leftovers. The waitress asked whether we needed big boxes or small boxes. After she left, Rob bemoaned that he hadn't asked her, "Can I stuff my meat into your small box?" I laughed so hard.

♫  Which reminds me, when we went to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival last year for the knitter/crocheter in me, he did something that still makes me giggle. We didn't bring the dog, but it turned out that our hotel accepted pets. While driving away the next morning, he called up our hotel and asked in a fake drawl, "Hey, do you take sheep?" and pretended that he had a flock to house. Maybe you had to be there, but it was hilarious!

Thanks for stopping by!



The weigh-in this morning was good! I dropped another 2½ pounds and am now down 85 pounds in less than four months! Woot! I can't wait to go to my check-up with Dr. Clark next week. I am sure he's going to be happy with my progress.

Sophie slept on the couch with her daddy last night - oh, right, I showed you a picture - so I thought for sure she'd be up bright and early this morning. Not so, she slept and slept. So, beside her, I joined. It was a good morning nap.

When Jack came home, we got ready to go out to lunch with Linda from Bunco. I had a shop to do and, as neither Rob nor Steph was available for lunch, she was my choice.

Lunch was great, the server was not. Linda was really thrilled to get together and go out somewhere nice, and she loved the food. It makes me happy to please other people, so I was thrilled, too. We agreed that she's my go-to for all lunch dates from now on, at least when The Bob can't go.

The children were so bad at lunch, though! They would not sit down, or would not sit upright, kept yelling, fighting over crayons, and were generally just completely unruly. It was very unlike them. I was so embarrassed, but Linda just brushed it off. She's cool. Really good with kids. It's surprising she didn't have any of her own.

After lunch, she came over and hung out in my messy house for a few hours. The kids went down for naps, so we talked a bunch while I made some Jafra coupons to put in the Relay For Life survivor gift bags. She has a table at the relay, and I always donate some Jafra products for her raffles.  Anyway, so she suggested I make up some coupons for a % off all the survivors' orders, and I did: over 500 of them. We sat and cut them out and jibber-jabbered the time away.

I showed her all the prizes I've gotten for Bunco, too. She said they were cool and not lame at all. I'm always worried about that.  Then I gave her all the stuff I was planning on Freecycling, because she loves to take things and find the right person for them. She brought me four packages of English muffins that someone was giving away to military families. The kids love those, so it was great.

She was still over when Chloë came home, sobbing. She had a gigantic goose egg, all scratched and bruised, on her forehead, another on her elbow, and more on her knees. She is such a klutz, poor thing! She fell on her way home from the bus, and just sat in my arms, crying and crying. Linda made her up an ice pack, but still she didn't calm down. She was pretty banged up. My poor baby.




So then we started talking about BzzAgent, Homescan and MyPoints, because she is also all about the FREE, and I get lots of good stuff from those sites. Case in point, this lovely sandwich grill by Cuisinart just arrived today for Rob from Homescan (which is in the Nielsen family).  Let me know if you sign up!  You scan everything you purchase, upload it to their site, and accrue points good for prizes. I've gotten a dustbuster, pizza stone, this grill, and something else I can't remember from them. Nice stuff.

She left, and the Littles were still napping, so I lay down for another nap after determining that Rob wasn't going to get home in time for Chloë to go geocaching with her troop. When I explained this to her, she was pretty heartbroken and started sobbing all over again. She was inconsolable, and she was still crying when he did make it home.  I was pretty upset, too...

I was hoping Steph would babysit tonight, because we had a dinner shop, but we'll just have to go tomorrow and bring the kids, I guess.  So we went out and did my ice cream shop instead, and Jack was miserable the whole time. He didn't want his cone, he didn't want my sugar-free, fat-free raspberry swirl (and neither did I, but I didn't cry about it), he didn't want anything. It's been a very tearful day for them!

After dinner (yes, we had ice cream before dinner - so?, homework and bed, I did my Wii Fit workout. Woof! I worked my abs really hard on the hula hooping last night and really felt it tonight! I'm having a lot of fun working out on the Fit still, after all this time - and it's paying off! I was able to wear some dress pants that I haven't worn since, well, EVER, today, and they looked pretty good.

Oh, and look what someone did to the bathroom door while we were putting away groceries last night:


Nice, huh? S'cuse the mud, it's from Lily. No clue who did it or how. Just what we needed.

Anyway, I'm going to go crochet and watch that Harvey-something-or-other movie with Dustin Hoffman. Have you seen it?


Pretty Fly For A White Guy

Whew! I just did 30 high-intensity minutes on the Wii Fit and am sweating like a dirty little piggy!  Gross. If this doesn't help the scale budge when I weigh-in tomorrow morning, I'll scream!

I'm gonna have to start walking the kids down to the bus stop in the morning. It's a problem, because I hate to have them walk down there by themselves, but at the same time, Sophia isn't awake more than half the time when it's time to go. If I wake her up, she's a total demon child, and if I don't, I run the risk of her waking up while I'm gone and either doing naughty-naughty, or worse, running outside to find me and ... bad things. But apparently Jack's getting picked on at the bus stop, so... demon child it is.


Here is that little demon-child as we speak. Looks like she'll be okay tomorrow morning, because she crashed with her daddy on the couch. She didn't sleep very well at all last night - she got up out of bed and stayed with me until 0100, and then woke up at 0800 for the day. I could not get her to take a nap today, either. She got into lots and lots of mischief today, too, the little imp. It's worn her out, for the night, I hope.

The mail brought a couple goodies. The first was a check for CARE Package, from some unknown entity called Asis Pharmacy. I know not from where they came, so it was a total surprise, and I wrote off quick thank-you to them. It was a nice tidy little sum, and it well help a great deal. Thank you, Asis-folk!


The second was this parcel from a mix of granola that Rob hand-picked, with my help, made from the finest ingredients. I gave it a silly name (if you can't read the above, it's called "Bob's Yum-Dummy Mixxy-Mix," because I'm stupid like that!) and ordered a pound for him. It's definitely not cheap, but according to Rob (I'm not allowed, too many carbs), it's rilly, rilly good.


The whole thing came in a tube about the size and shape of a Pringles can, and it's recyclable, of course.  I'm trying to get them to host a giveaway on this blog, so stay tuned for that, and cross your fingers they agree!  Leave lots of comments for them, so they will!

Rob came home muy late for my appointment with the doc, so I had to call and beg him to still see me. It was supposed to be at 3, and he said as long as I made it before 6, it was fine. Phew. So I dressed the little imp for dance and carted her along with me to the appointment, which lasted about five minutes while he wrote out the scripts and checked on my general well-being. I'm good. Very stable, thanks to modern medicine.

I dropped the Naughty One off to dance class and then rushed home to get her big sister. On the way there, I decided to have Rob drop me off at the grocery store and take the kids to dance himself, instead. This time,  I'd spent the afternoon playing the coupon game with groceries and wanted to go to Farm Fresh earlier in the day than usual. So we did just that.

I shopped while they were at Jazz, happy in the knowledge that I had lots of $1 coupons and Wednesday is double coupons up to $1 day. I rarely get to shop on Wednesday, because that's the day the ad comes out, and I don't have enough time to pull together a list and coupons. But there were so many things we needed and for which I had good coupons, I had to do it. And I saved about $74, representing 28% of our food. That's almost a third of our groceries, free. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: I just don't understand people who don't use coupons!

I had a weird experience with one of the employees while shopping. She completely accosted me, and I was very uncomfortable. I went to the front office to complain, and they said they just sent her home early for that reason: she gives people the heebie-jeebies. She reached into my cart, grabbed my groceries, and took my canvas bags out from underneath! What the hell? That is not cool. And there is nothing wrong with her; she is not, well, "special" if you know what I mean. She's just very, very odd. So they want me to write a note about it for the higher-ups to see. I feel bad about that, but you can't just go around doing that to customers!


After we came home and scanned in the groceries for Homescan, we started planning what to have for dinner.  And then I had an oops! moment, when I realized I had two Sonic shops schedule for tonight, too. I swear, it's either Sonic or IHOP in this house. We all piled back into the van and did the two shops, back-to-back. Everyone ate the goods but me, because it was cheeseburgers and tots. I don't eat beef, and I don't need that junk anyway.  I ate some of my leftover crabcake from last night and was sated.

After homework was done, Chloë and I did the prep work for her Geocaching meeting with the Brownies tomorrow. She's terribly excited. I wish I were doing it; I've always wanted to go geocaching. We signed her permission slip for going online, and then we made her a tiny first-aid kit to go around her neck. The Neosporin I just bought (and got a great deal on, I might add) at Walgreens contained a little case for just such a purpose! It fits the tube of Neosporin, a few standard band-aids, and we stuck in some gauze. Voilà!

(Speaking of "voilà," I hate it when people write it as "wala" or something equally silly. Don't you?)

Then we went on the website some more and talked about lats and longs, GPS, travel bugs, and more geocaching stuff. We chose a small trinket for her to leave behind in the cache when they find it, so she can keep one: the little girl with a "1" statue she received on her first birthday. I'm kind of sad to see it go, but it's her choice, and really, it's just another dust-collector. Things are only things.

Finally, we packed her a small bag, with her online permission slip, trinket, a bottle of water, first-aid kit, and a snack. Guess she's ready for her little expedition tomorrow! I can't wait to hear how it goes.

So they went to bed, and I did my burn-out workout on the Wii. And that's the way it goes...


P.S. Oh yeah, the title. We picked up two fly traps from ACE Hardware the other day, and Rob installed them in the kitchen and bathroom. I bought him some fly spray at Walgreen's on Monday, too. He's been spraying them, vacuuming them, and checking the traps religiously. And it has cut down on the pests exponentially. Hopefuly, they'll soon be a thing of the past, thanks to his diligence. Never mind how the problem started in the first place...! Hee.

I Get Around

Argh. I've tried to write this post umpteen times, but either IE or TypePoop keeps eating it.

Let's try one more time. (Maybe it's the internet gods' way of telling me I'm too verbose?)

The last two days have been busy.

Monday, FIL woke me up to get the kids ready for school, and then he walked them down to the bus stop. In the rain. They really enjoyed that. The accompaniment, not the rain.

When Sophie woke up later, she was full of hugs for her grandpa. They cuddled and played, and he listened while I read her stories. She read along, anticipating the words. My bet is she'll be reading before she turns five. I hope so. Grandpa took pictures while she did her morning yoga - she's getting good at it and has out-performed Chloë on a few poses!

When Rob came home around 1300, Sophie and I took a trip to Walgreens. I had been playing the coupon game all morning, figuring out their sales and specials, Register Rewards deals, and my own coupon stash. I'll spare you the minor details (unless you're really dying to know), but in the end, I got way more than half my stuff for free and saved about 136 bucks! Go me! 

I had warned the cashier ahead of time that I was about to be a royal pain in her butt, but she kept her smile on the whole time. Not so the customers behind me, but I don't care, because I was saving mucho dinero!

When Chloë came home from school, she was all about her Disney Hannah Montana MixStick, which I'd won for her at Bunco. Great prize! Rob loaded a bunch of music onto it for her, and she shared with the other kids as they rocked out to some kid tunes. Fun stuff.

I drove her to Tap class, so Rob and his dad could hang out together with the Littles. While she danced, I crocheted on that same baby blanket. I'm working on the edging now, and it takes forever. Of course, if I had a mind to, I could knock it out in one evening... but I don't have a mind to. I rather work on my digi-scrapping when I'm home and do the crocheting when I have to sit in the car otherwise twiddling my thumbs. Y'see?

Rob cooked an excellent dinner for his father and family, which FIL really enjoyed. The kids ate a great dinner, because they'd had the promise of the S'mores for which I'd bought the parts at Walgreens. (Free marshmallows, free chocolate, grahams on sale and with a coupon!) Jack ate two S'mores and wanted a third! Ha, fat chance there, Buster. Sophie - my little piggy girl - couldn't even finish hers. Shocking, and I'm not even being remotely sarcastic.

The kids said good-night and good-bye to Grandpa after that, as he left in the wee hours the following morning before they got up for school. They asked about him all day and have been missing him like crazy. There may have been a few tears.

Yesterday was on-the-go, too. It wasn't too busy during the day, because all I did was beg and plead and cajole the Littles to go upstairs and clean. To not much avail. I tried to get Chlo to clean the living room toys, but she was so dawdly. And I didn't work on the mess of a kitchen at all, so the place was just looking splended when Stim arrived at 1845 to babysit. Oh, well. It was clean while FIL was here, and that's what counts.

Rob didn't get home from work for another half hour after they got here, because he had some ... issues. It was a really, really tough day for him. And that's all I can say about that.

When he got home, he quickly dressed to go out, and then we hit the road. First, I had to do a couple of Sonic shops. Apparently they are testing a new company out, because... well, I probably shouldn't say anything more about it. They went easily and quickly, and Rob gained some food for today's lunch from that. Onto the big kahuna.

We dined at Mahi-Mah's on the oceanfront. It was superb, as usual. I'd made a major flub on a report for that mystery shopping company a year or two ago and have been locked out of doing assignments for them ever since. Rob asked me about it a month or so ago, so I humbled myself, sending a couple of grovelling emails about deserving a second chance, and they ended up agreeing and taking me back. I'm really excited, because they have the best shops out there, pretty much. And I'll never make that gaffe again!

We came home to find Steph sound asleep on the couch. She's about 16 weeks pregnant now and doing just fine. Thanks for keeping her in your thoughts! Tim was up, though, and had fiddled with my computer (at my request) to try and diagnose some of the problems I've been having with IE8.  He's my computer guy, y'know. Steph slept a while longer while the guys talked shop, and she looked awful (sorry, hon) when she woke up. She's been having those pregnancy migraines I used to get, too, so I feel her pain. And there's not a whole lot you can do about it when you're in the family way!

So that's that. I didn't sleep a single wink last night and am now dragging ass. I was supposed to go do a lunch shop with Linda from Bunco, but there's no way I could have gone today. We'll go tomorrow, I hope. I have to see my shrink, Dr. Pal, for more bipolar meds this afternoon, and he's right around the corner from dance class, so I guess I'm stuck bringing the girls with me to the appointment. Oh well, for their two hours I can either snooze or crochet, I s'pose.

Right now, Jack is lounging around on the top of the dress-up box (it's cushioned), watching Noggin and wearing his winter gloves. It's 85º outside, but he loves those things. Silly kid.



So I woke up this morning feeling much better in the uretal region. I decided to cancel my appointment with the doc for this afternoon. My MIL implored me not to cancel it. I should have listened to her. Now it hurts again. I will go in tomorrow.

Oh, and I weighed in this morning. No change since last weekend. I was afraid of that. Actually, I was afraid of a gain, so at least it's not that.  I'm officially in a stall. I kicked it up a notch on the Wii Fit tonight and completely tuckered myself out. Hopefully I won't be too sor to get on it tomorrow night! That Expert-level Boxing is brutal if you really put yourself into it!


After some clean-up and breakfast this morning, Team Odette all piled into the van for a quick trip to the aeropuerto to pick up Grandpa (Rob's dad, in from Michigan).


After we parked and got upstairs, we found ourselves with lots of waiting time before the flight got in. So the Odettelettes stopped to check out the model airport table, which they always enjoy. I love those itty-bitty cars. How do they make them so tiny?!

Check out how long Chloë's hair is. I'm always amazed by it, since my hair just will not grow that long. Sophie keeps telling me she wants long hair like her sister's now. Let's just hope she doesn't chop it off again!


After much anticipation, Grandpa arrived at last. The children all ran to meet him and shower him with hugs & kisses, which he enjoyed very much. It was sweet.


We cleared out of the airport pretty quickly (no checked bags) and stopped at the grocery store for a beer run. Grandpa likes his suds. At home, he drank a quick one while I grabbed the certificate for Central 111 Tapas, where we wanted to take him for lunch.  Then we piled back into the van, where the kids insisted he sit in the back with them. He was happy to oblige, so Rob and I held hands in the front all the way to the restaurant. I restrained from grabbing his package, like I like to do when we're driving along (I do the driving when we're together).

Well, we made it to 111, only to find out they were closed! I knew they were opened on Sundays, so I called the number on the certificate only to find out they don't open until 1700! And it was only 1400 then. Suckage. Plans spoiled.

Al (Grandpa) saved the day by spotting a place called "Warrior Grill" a few doors down. We decided to check it out.

It turned out to be a Mongolian BBQ place. I was dubious, since I don't like barbecue-anything, but what the hell. We were there.


It turned out to be really cool! Have you ever eaten at a Mongolian BBQ? Here's what you do (at least there): Grab a bowl, pick all the foods you want fried up on their grill, starting with noodles, then veggies, then meats, and finally your sauces. They take the bowl, dump it on the grill and cook it up, and hand it back to you on a plate. And it tastes GREAT. Mine was heavy on the chicken, because of course I need the protein, but Jack's was all noodles and carrots. The girls chose lots of tomatoes and mushrooms. Everybody gets what they like and you can go up for more! Every one of us really enjoyed it. And I was able to talk my way into the kids' price with my gastric bypass restaurant card, which was a big deal since they spoke almost no English.

So, I definitely recommend going to a Mongolian BBQ, if you've never checked one out. It's fun!

From there, we went back home so a tuckered-out Sophia could nap, Chloë and Rob could clean their (portions of their) rooms, Al could rest, and Jack and I could go do a Stride Rite mystery shop.

The boy and I drove to the mall in the pouring rain, and we got soaked running into the building. Once again, I forgot his raincoat.  I tend to be really bad about coats. I don't know why, it's like I have a coat defect. I don't like 'em, but I forget others need 'em.  Shame.

Our first stop was, of course, the shoe store. We quickly did that and bought him a pair of shoes, then scooted around the corner so I could fill in my paperwork. We needed to return those shoes later, so we went shopping to fill some time. I had two goals: get exactly ONE piece of chocolate coconutty goodness, which is my favorite thing on the planet and which I did not get to have "one last one" of before surgery. My plan was to take one eensy-teeny bite and give the rest to Jack. The other goal was to see if I could find something with out Xs in the size that I could wear - but for super cheap.

Fish pannies  Baseball pannies

Well, I'm a sucker for children's clothes, as you well know, so first we stopped in the Gap Kids store.  I didn't find any clothes on clearance (everything was 25% off though, if you're interested), but I did find some way marked down undiepannies for Jacky-boy. They can always use cute unders.

Ariel Cars FFs

After that, we stopped in the Disney store. I'd been trying to buy Sophie a new swimsuit cover-up and the kids some flip-flops for the beach on their website, but that was when Rob lost the card and it kept getting declined. So I was pleased to see that the store's prices matched the steep discounts online, and I was able to get four pairs of flip-flops (Jack couldn't decide between Cars or Wall-E ones), three kids' tees, Sophie's cover-up, and a HUGE Mickey Mouse canvas tote bag (for groceries and stuff, natch) for under $40. The t-shirts were three bucks apiece; I'd have gotten more, but I didn't really like the selection. No High School Musical or Hannah Montana clothes for us, thanks.

We passed Gymboree, and I was able to look it squarely in the, uh, archway and pass right by it. I knew I'd want to buy everything I saw in there, so no, that wasn't happening. We also skipped Build-A-Bear, because I had some really great coupons for there - at home. Rats.

{OOPS, I accidentally just hit "publish," so there's a lot more to come if you're already reading this - check back!)

Ugh, it just changed my font to TNR, which I haaaate...


We stopped by the "We Are Nuts" Kiosk to get my chocolate coconutty goodness, but they didn't have it!! Which is good. I'm pleased that whole thing was averted. It wasn't such a good goal, really!



We were right outside Old Navy by then, so I thought I'd peruse the sales and clearance racks there, too. I didn't find anything for myself, but I found cute socks, shirts, and shorts for the kiddos. And a dress for frock-loving Sophia. All for cheapy-cheap!  I got the above outfit for The Chlo, along with a tee to go with the white capris. She loved it and looked adorable in it. I hope she wears it tomorrow so I can get a pick. I've already warned her to wear white pannies under the capris, worry not!

Mom & Jack3 

Mom & Jack2 

Mom & Jack1 

Mom & Jack 

Jack spotted a photo booth and asked if we could go take our pictures. SURE! I normally hate having my picture taken, but I was on a special outing with my oft-grouchy son, and he was in a good mood. I wanted to keep it that way, and I knew it would be fun for both of us. And, you can see it was. Silliness!

Back at home, I traded out kids after reading my shop report for Jason's Deli. Chloë and I drove over, and she picked out pasta and meatballs (wha?) for her dinner. I decided not to eat dinner tonight, opting instead just to drink my protein, so the meal was all for the kids. The shop went really well, and we ran home again in the still-pouring rain so she could eat. Jack didn't want any, and Sophie was still napping, so it was just as well that Chloë had an enormous appetite and ate almost the whole plate!

The boys just had sammiches for dinner, and when Soap finally awoke, she had mac & cheese. I had a protein shake before my workout on the Wii Fit. I worked really hard tonight... but I think I said that already, didn't I?

And now, I'm going back to my digi-scrapping. I'm almost done with April!

So how was your weekend?