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Entries from May 2009


Just a few things, a few photos...


Sophie has this permanent red mark on her upper lid from constantly stealing sips of my Crystal Light fruit punch. She loves the stuff.  Now her mustache is stained.


Bounce is about 15 months old now. Look how big he's gotten! He's still the cutest, sweetest little buns ever. Still unneutered, as you can see from those big, intact bunny balls! Hehe. We gave him lots of love and cuddles last night. He eats that up.

This morning, I woke up with the definite symptoms of a UTI. I've been in pain all day. Couldn't get into the doc until tomorrow, though, so here I sit and suffer. *whimper*

The kids still have not cleaned their rooms, despite being stuck in there all day yesterday and today to do it. I do not know what to do to make them clean, other than sit in there with them the whole time and yell, which I do not want to do.  If you have some sort of magic, please, let's hear it.

For lunch, we went out and did a Denny's shop, and for dinner, we went to Hooters. Hooters was much better. More fun, etc. I barely ate anything at either place. Not exactly weight-loss friendly, y'know? To make up for it, I am downing the protein drinks. Tomorrow's another weigh-in, and I'm worried about it!

100_0898 The Bob spent the day working on his truck. Seems like every time he comes in to talk to me, there's another special part he needs to buy. Argh. But whatcha gonna do? I'm starting to seriously regret saying he could keep the thing, just to keep our car insurance lower.  You can't win for losing, around here!  Oh, but it rained all day, so he was not in the best of spirits as he had to keep coming in from the rain, when the plan was to work straight through the weekend and get it road-worthy. He did call us out to view this beautiful rainbow, though!


Yep, he was a dirty boy today. In more ways than one...


So Dad/Al/Grandpa comes in tomorrow noonish, and hopefully he'll help Rob outside with the truck. That's the plan, anyhow, while the kids and I go mystery shopping all about town.  I've cleaned as much of the downstairs as I'm gonna, but I need to change the sheets on our bed and vacuum our room before his arrival. We're going to take the couch and let him sleep there. Not such a big sacrifice, since we spend most nights there still, anyway.

What's going on with your weekend?


In Which My Life Is Not Exciting

So I have nothing fun to report for this week. Today, we cleaned. And cleaned and cleaned.

Okay, to be precise, I cleaned, and the children uncleaned. I cleaned, they uncleaned. Lather, rinse, repeat.  They "cleaned" their rooms all day long, but in the end they were messier than when they started! Hello, annoying.

I did 5-6 loads of laundry, scrubbed our nasty master bathroom, finally put away my own huge stack of clothes, and cleaned out the drawers, too. Then I came downstairs and Freecycled everything, which was a lot of good stuff. Some people got good 'scores' today from me! Then I took intermittent naps on the couch while the people kept waking me up to pick up their goodies and the kids "cleaned" their rooms.

When Rob finally came home and showered, we went out and did a mystery shop at Denny's for dinner. (Thank God it's payday!) Which reminds me, I still need to do that report...


(Sorry for the crappy night-time celly pics)

We drove to Wally World after that, to get a new booster for Sophia. She's grown enough to ride in a booster like Chloë, and she loves sitting in the way-back with her big sister. And Chlo loves the company, so it's good for them.

Jack - Booster

So we moved Jack over to the built-in seat that Sophie just vacated, and he likes that, but he doesn't like being alone up in the middle row. He wanted to know when he could sit in a booster in the back like the girls, but unfortunately he's got about 10-12 pounds to go, which is forever for him. Years. (At six, he weighs 28 lbs!)

Sometime I'll take better pics and post them...

We bought a lot more than that at Wal-mart. Of course. I just get sucked in there! Rob got a bunch of stuff that he needs to fix his truck and make it pass inspection, so of course I was onboard with that. I got a nice, big fern (for five bucks!) for my pretty planter here in the office. I sometimes get a fern and keep it there until I manage to kill it off, which doesn't tak long...

We also bought new garbage cans for the kitchen, office and downstairs bathroom, in an attempt to get rid of the flies. I think they are breeding in the garbage cans. So nice, new ones in which we'll always use bags from now on (sometimes Rob empties the garbage and doesn't put bags in, so they old ones are muy gross). Good thing they were pretty cheap.

And I got some jammies. I've gone down a few clothing sizes and needed some. And I got a small enough size that I didn't have to pay the extra buck for the tubby-tubby set! Hope they fit...

Hm, what else? Oh, the girls each got a book, and Jack got some Matchbox Cars, because I bribed them with eating their dinners and drinking their milk at Denny's. Not great, but whatever.

Other than a bunch of necessary hair doodles for Chloë's abundant curly locks - I am oft-replacing the ones we have because she takes them out at night and doesn't put them back where they go, urgh - that's about it. Scintillating, I know.

We had to go to Sears before they closed, because Rob needed some mammoth-sized socket for his truck. Thing weighs a trillion pounds. While he was in there doing his man thing, I got the new booster set up for Sophia and switched the kids around.

Now... I've got some more cleaning to do downstairs, but I think I'll wait on that until tomorrow eveing, so it's fresh as a daisy for FIL's visit on Sunday. Good plan, self. Back to my digital scrapping!

(For those of you interested in that, I have a working link again, and also there are tons of free digital downloads - and new ones added every day! So check that out in the "digital" section of

Ciao, bellas.


Friday Fragments


Are you fragmenting today? Be sure to link up here if you're playing along!


 Lookie what I got again! This time, it was for Sophie's "shit" comment to Jack last week. Thanks, Mrs. 4444!

So, more cute quotes from the past week:

**** Chloë to Jack in the Outer Banks, running from our car to the hotel entrance: "Jack, don't run! You might fall and smash your face, and then we'll have to go home!"

**** Sophie in the hotel pool: "When I'm bigger than giants, I'm going to swim by myself!"

**** Chloë, out of the blue: "Mom, how long are you going to keep us?"

M: "What? I'm going to keep you forever!"

C: "But how long until we have to find our own house to live in?"

M: "Oh. Well, when you graduate..."

C: "What, when we graduate sixth grade, or fifth grade, or what?"

**** Sophie: "Mommy, does turtles have holes in their butt where they can poop their eggs out?"

**** Rob to Jack: "Jack, it's her turn. You have to wait. We take turns with the toys."

Sophie: "Yeah! Even dogs and cats take turns with their toys!"

**** Mom: "And what comes after 7?"

Sophie: "Eight!"

M: "And what comes after 8?"

S: "Nine!"

M: "And what comes after 9?"

S: "Um... everything else!"

**** Sophie, to a spider on the wall: "I'm going to cut your head off! And your tail off, and your leg! And you'll die, and die, and DIE!"

**** We are having a major housefly infestation right now. It's gross. Chloë's suggestion? "We should get, like, 1800 Venus Flytraps!" Hey, it's a thought.

**** Sophie to Chloë, after Jack went pee: "He can't wipe, because he has a penis in the way. He needs a vagina."


Bunco Night

Well today sucked. I had a horrible migraine and had to lie down, so Jack and Sophia completely trashed the house. Rob was majorly pissed off. Oh, well. It's all clean now.


I baked these mini cupcakes last night and decorated them like petit fours today. Aren't they so cute? I loved them. Of course, by the time I got to Bunco, they had all rushed to the side and several were turned over. Bah! (And I have the cupcake holder for them, but it's for regular size, not minis, and it wouldn't have worked. I already thought about it.)

They were a hit anyway, and Bunco peeps ate every last one of them.  Yay. That always makes me proud and pleased.

Bunco was annoying. Steph had a migraine too and wasn't there. I hate that. She's my partner in crime.  And there were a couple ladies there that I don't like - the usual one I always bitch complain about, and another who was there as a sub and - if it's possible - even more irritating than the first one.

Not only that, but there were three kids playing, ages 12 and under. Way under. I freaking hate that. I go to Bunco for an escape from children, not to be around others' (undiscliplined) ones. I think, if it's going to stay that way and always have kids playing - not even teenagers! - then I might walk. I hate to do it, but three kids? That's ridiculous. And normally it would've been four!

Anyhoo. I'm going back to my digital scrapping. For those who asked about the digital webinar link, it's not working right now! Sorry! I will email it to you as soon as it's back again.


Still Scrapping After All This Time

So I didn't get enough sleep last night and was therefore not very productive today. But I didn't take any naps so that I would be able to sleep tonight.

I pretty much spent the day on the computer, most of the time with Soapy on my lap (she's getting so heavy!), working on my digital scrapbooks.

What's that you say? Digital?!

Yeah. I've been resisting going digital for years now, but my Consultant for Creative Memories introduced me to a free webinar series for their digital scrapping, and I was absolutely mesmerized! I got my software and went to work.

OMGosh, it is SO fun! I already made my Great Wolf Lodge StoryBook (what they call a digital scrapbook after it has been uploaded, reviewed, and ordered for professional binding and printing), but I am going to wait to order it until, well, we have the fundage for it.  And now I'm working on our 2009 yearbook - I'm already into March and learning so many fun tips and tricks. It looks great!

Anyway, if you're interested in doing something with all those photos you have stored on your computer, let me know and I'll send you the link for the free webinar. It's four one-hour classes, in four weeks, and you can take it over and over again if you want. (Or there are recorded sessions so you can just do it all at once, if you're the impatient type like moi.)

I didn't crochet at all today, I barely did any cleaning, I didn't shower, I'm still wearing yesterday's clothes... and I went grocery shopping like that. (Our money was finally freed up, phew. But oddly enough, the kids have been eating better than ever since I've been cooking them bacon, eggs, oatmeal, etc. instead of just cold cereal in the morning! Will wonders never cease?)  And I saved 30 bucks in coupons because I rock like that.

Tomorrow, Jack and the other K-ers get to eat lunch in the cafeteria! He's beyond excited about that. He asked me about 567 times to make sure I gave him "two moneys" ($2) to buy lunch. I hate to tell him he won't be sitting with Chloë in the cafeteria like he thinks he is...

Anyhoo, that's it from here. Sayonara, y'all.


P.S. For the first time in two months, I'm going to hit my protein and water quotas for the day. Woot!

Miscellaneous Weekend Schtuff


So Friday (or maybe Thursday, I forget), I made these name bracelets for the kids with the beads I bought at the Beads & Rocks store down at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. The girls love theirs and wear them all the time (when they aren't lost), but Jack was completely ungrateful about his. I can understand that - he is a boy - but it hurt my feelings. I thought he might like to have it, but he pitched a fit and cried about it. So I sent him to his room, which made him cry some more. Oh well, too bad so sad.

Friday night, we got out of here very late (thanks to Rob's pre-Chief stuff at work) and made the 2-hour drive down to Corolla in North Carolina's Outer Banks. I was supposed to check into the hotel by 2100, but I took a crazy wrong turn and got super lost. I was in Nag's Head before I realized my mistake, so we didn't get there until almost 2130. Seems my report was accepted anyway, so that's good.

Everyone was starving by the time we arrived, so I quickly did the room and hotel portions of the shop, and then we went off to get some grub. Only, it's still not the "season" yet down there, so everything was still closed! I expected things to be open by May, but nope. So we went to the little convenience store in the hotel and stocked up on gross microwave food. Oh well, it served the purpose.

Everyone went to bed after that, but I couldn't sleep for anything. Even though I took my meds, I was wide awake until about 0500. That sucked. I begged a muffin from the breakfast lady, even though it wasn't open for another hour, and went to the room and read the paper before finally sacking out.  Everyone else got up around 0800, and my loving husband left me sleeping while he did the breakfast part of the report. I got up around 10or 11, so we packed up, showered, and left the room for check-out.

The hotel clerk said we could stay and use the pools (three!) and beach access as long as we wanted, and we wanted. We floated around the pools and used the hot tub until about 1400, and Sophie "swam" the entire length of the pool and back while sitting in an inner tube. Both the older kids tried and failed after she did that!


Soo... we drove home, but I stopped at the Harley store in Kitty Hawk, so Rob could add another t-shirt to his massive HD shirt collection. Even though he drives a BMW bike. Well, has a BMW bike...


The kids and I waited in the van for what seemed like ages while he shopped for just the right shirt. Luckily we had cold water from the cooler and toys to keep them busy. (This was before several things conspired to keep our money from us, like the hotel putting an unauthorized hold on our checking account, and Rob losing his card...) We had stopped in Duck (love that name) to shop for Bunco prizes. I found a few nice things, and some for the kids, too:


A gyrowheel for Sophie, which everyone just loves playing with


A slinky for Chloë, and a toy VW bus for Jack. He hasn't put it down yet, hardly!


While they played, I watched the bikers rev around the parking lot in an effort to intimidate me (or so I imagined!) and sent Rob multiple texts to hurry up!

Anyway, we got home around 5, and Rob worked on his truck while the rest of us played outside and kept him (and our next-door neighbor) company.

The next day was Sunday. Mother's Day. Always bittersweet for me, being a motherless daughter. But I still managed to have a good day. I slept late, received my sweet cards from the kids, checked my email, and then went back to take a long nap! I really caught up on some sleep, and it felt good when I woke up. I lost more weight, so I'm down nearly 82 lbs now.  I spent the rest of the day crocheting a baby blanket and watching the three-hour finale of The Apprentice. Which was eh, okay. From the middle of the season, I knew Annie Duke would be in the final, and I wasn't impressed with either her or Joan Rivers. (What a bitch!) It would have kicked ass if Jesse James won. Whatever. I still love that show.

Today was pretty boring.  I did a bunch of laundry while the kids cleaned their rooms,  drove the kids to Chloë's Tap class while Rob took the truck to get inspected (it failed, so I still can't get my m-f-ing van back) ... and I crocheted the blanket while we sat there. It's almost finished:


I just have two rounds of the edging, in the pink, to go and should finish tonight.

Well, dinner's ready (Schwan's stuffed shells), so I'm going to go eat a bite or maybe two.

Hope you're having a decent week.


P.S. I found out today that Jack has been recommended for promotion to first grade after all! (We'd been talking about retention.) Rob and I have talked about it, and we think we're going to give it a try. He made need extra special services, but if that's the case, so be it. Go, Jack!

P.P.S. Congratulations, Tabitha! Her sweet baby girl, Lily, was born this afternoon. I can't wait to see her!

That's Gratitude For Ya

Boy, are we ever in a tight spot this week, financially. I just had to use the emergency credit card for some necessities at the grocery, because all my other cards were declined. It's embarrassing and scary.

So... I'm practicing gratitude.  In a time when I could be very fearful, worried, and stressed out over this, instead, I'm going to list those things for which I'm grateful:

  • The mortgage is paid for yet another month.
  • There are two freezers and a pantry packed full of food.
  • My babies have plenty of clothes and new shoes for their feets.
  • I have the most wonderful husband on the planet.
  • I know my children love me.
  • I have plenty else, too: lots of yarn to knit, papers to scrap with, TV to occupy my eyes while my fingers are busy, and listening to the radio is always free.
  • We all have warm beds.
  • For the moment, anyway, we have three functional vehicles, and gas can still be found under $2 per gallon.
  • I have a "job" that pays for our fun things like trips and eating out, so we still don't have to sit home and entertain ourselves if we don't wanna.
  • But, I couldn't pick a finer bunch of people and critters to hang out with at home, and I do wanna.
  • You. I love knowing you readers and commenters are out there, listening to my incessant blather about our lives. It makes my day when a comment comes in!

I could go on and on. We have clean water. Clean clothes.A good school for the kids. Lots of laughs between husband and wife. Hilarious, smart, playful children.

Really, I'm rich. I'm the luckiest girl in the world.


Friday Fragments


It's Friday! Are you fragmenting today? If so, link up here!

**** We're headed to the Outer Banks tonight for another hotel mystery shop. The plan is to check out in the morning and spend the day down there at the beach, but we may come back early to get Rob's truck inspected. Chloë - yes, Chloë! helped Rob bleed the brakes last night!

**** Yesterday before school, I was going to do Chloë's hair and was giving her all sorts of directions. "Okay, move back to me.Take off your glasses. Hold this, etc." and then I got silly and said, "Now fart two times." She said, "Mooom, I can't!" Jack said, "I can!" So I replied, "Okay, Jack, fart!" And he did, very loudly!  I cackled uproariously.

**** We were at Sonic the other night, and Rob was giving Sophie the choices for a Wacky Pack entrée. He asked, "What do you want, hot dog, hamburger, grilled cheese...?" She replied, "Grilled cheese, handburger, fingerburger..."  hehe

**** Rob was telling a disappointed Jack, "You can say 'darn' or 'aw, man!' once, but don't keep complaining!" Sophie spoke up, "Or you can say 'shit'!"  We about died laughing.

**** Rob to Jack, "You won't like it, Jack. It sucks!" Jack: "I LIKE sucks!"

That's all I've got for today. Looks like my fragments are going to be a collection of cute quotes! Cheers.


50 Questions You've Never Been Asked!

I got this meme from Steph's blog. Let me know if you play along!

1. What color is your toothbrush?
White with a blue ring, which distinguishes it from Rob's green ring (we share a kick-ass Philips Sonicare)

2. Name one person who made you smile today:
Jack - he read me an entire 15-page book by himself!!!!!!!!

3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning?
Just kicked the kids out the door for school and was about to lie down until Soapy got up

4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago?
Cleaning the living room with the Littles. It's spotless. Well, no, this house is never spotless. But it's a major improvement.

5. What is your favorite candy bar?
Nothing anymore, but I used to love a Watchamacallit.

6. Have you ever been to a strip club?

7. What is the last thing you said aloud?
"Okay, okay, go downstairs now"

8. What is your favorite ice cream?
Chocolate Peanut Butter

9. What was the last thing you had to drink?
I'm drinking water w/ Fruit Punch Crystal Light right now! 5cal!

10, Do you like your wallet?
I used to love it, but it's starting to wear out. Bummer, it's nice.

11, What was the last thing you ate?
I really don't remember; I haven't eaten since yesterday sometime.

12, Have you bought any new clothing items this week?
Yes, I bought a dress, a body slimmer thingy, and a shirt. I don't like any of 'em! :P

13.,The last sporting event you watched?
Figure Skating Worlds

14, What is your favorite flavor of popcorn?
Uh... butter?

15, Who is the last person you sent a text message to?
The Bob

16, Ever go camping?
Yes, but not for a long, long time

17, Do you take vitamins daily?
Uh, well, I'm supposed to, but I need to buy more. So yes and no.

18, Do you go to religious services regularly?
Pre-Sophie, we went every week. Post-Sophie, we're lucky to get to go. Having three kids has really mucked with the scheduling :(

19, Do you have a tan?
Hell no, tanning is baaaaad

20,Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza?
Some days. I love them both.

21, Do you drink your soda with a straw?
I can't drink soda and I can't use straws!

22, What did your last text message say?
Some clue from 94.9 The Point for some contest

23, What are you doing tomorrow?
We are going to the Outer Banks as soon as Rob gets off work!

25, Look to your left, what do you see?
My mystery shop folder with different Sonic stickers all over it

26, What color is your watch?
I don't wear a watch. My phone is my watch. Silver

27, What do you think of when you hear Australia?
Great Barrier Reef

29, Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?
Usually the DT.

30. What is your favorite number?
64. Isn't it beautiful? It's a perfect square, and it is made up of smaller perfect squares. Math rocks!

31, Who's the last person you talked to on the phone?
Pat from the Outer Banks hotel. She was a dumbass.

32, Any plans today?
Clean like a mofo

33, How many states have you lived in?
New York, South Carolina, Florida, Guam (it counts), & Virginia

34, Biggest annoyance right now?
Sophie keeps slamming the door

35, Last song listened to?
Outkast, "Hey Ya"

36,Can you say the alphabet backwards?
If I think about it.

37, Do you have a maid service clean your house?
We used to, but I un-hired them in January and miss them like caaaraaazy!!!

38, Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?
My brown Crocs. ♥ Lurve. ♥

39, Are you jealous of anyone?
Skinny bitches who can eat whatever they want

40, Is anyone jealous of you?
They should be, I have an awesome husband and darling children! ;) Just kidding!

41, Do you love anyone?
I love lots o' folks!

42. Do any of your friends have children?
Many of them do, yes

43, What do you usually do during the day?
Mother the naughtiest two children this side of the mighty Mississip!

44, Do you hate anyone that you know right now?
Hate is a very strong word. There's a few intensely dislikes in there...

45, Do you use the word 'hello' daily?

46, What color is your car?
Dark blue

47, Do you like cats?
I didn't used to, but as long as they're sweet, I'm game.

48. Are you thinking about someone right now?
Not really

49, Have you ever been to Six Flags?
I can't remember, maybe as a kid? I don't know.

50, How did you get your worst scar?
I've had five abdominal surgeries (three c/sections, a hysterectomy, and gastric bypass), so take your pick which is the worst. The GB is the most recent, the ugliest, and the most prominent, though. Otherwise, I have now-faded scars all over my legs from a grease fire we had when I was almost 8. My ex-stepmother-from-hell was cooking, everyone was watching Porky's (how appropriate for children, yes?), and the pan caught on fire. My dad grabbed the pan, carried it out to the garage, didn't want to get grease on his precious cars, carried it back in the house where it got too hot to hold, and dropped it. It splashed all over me and my stepsister.  I was in serious pain and crying my eyes out, but no one paid attention to me - only her - because they didn't realize I'd gottened burned and thought I was just scared. It's a pretty jacked-up memory, but it's only one of many.  Hey, thanks for bringing it back! ;)


P.S. I really miss being able to type in colors!

Blue About Blue


Poor Blue is no more.

A week and a half ago, I emailed the previous owner to come and get her. She was very unhappy. She never adapted at all. She hissed and growled at us, the kids, the pets.  She barely ate, she rarely used the bathroom.  She lived in the dog's kennel for the following week, while we waited for a response that never came.

And so, the time came for Rob to bring her to the Humane Society. When she arrived, she was snarling and hissing and being a nasty little thing. They told him if he left her there, they would have to euthanize her.  We agreed. He left her there.

That was on Saturday, and I have not stopped thinking about her, wondering whether we did the right thing. I feel terrible about it, but the life she had here was no life at all, and it was worse where she came from.



Proud And Pleased

Today was not memorable, for the most part. Kids went to school. Kids came home from school. Curly Sue went to Tap class. Jack went along for the ride. Homework was done, dinner was eaten, rooms were cleaned up. The usual.

Except for one thing. I did Jack's homework with him today, which was just to name the months of the year. He stumbled a bit the first time, and so I made him do it again. Except for mixing up May and June, he got it all right.

And then... I pulled out his bag of words. They have been the same words, just more added, for months now. We've been practicing and practicing, working on these sight words.

But today's words were different There were 18 all new words, that I'd never seen him read before. I showed him the first set of 9, and he got Every. Single. One. right. Every one. I cheered, I praised, I high-fived, I hugged and I kissed. I was so happy! And so was the boy.

And then I showed Jack the second set of 9 words. He got those all right, too. He sounded them out beautifully, then repeated the words as a whole. All of them, on the first try.

Could I be more proud? No. I could not! I remember when Chloë learned to read, and I was ecstatic. But this is different. This is Jack! The boy who I thought might not ever live to this day. Not because of being born 9 weeks early. No, more because of all the times he pooped his pants and then spread the poo all over his walls, his bed, himself. Thought his dad might kill him.

But now?! He reads!! He's just over six years old, and he can read!!

I don't know who is more proud, him or me. I hope it's him.


Camnesia in Williamsburg

 Well, we were about half-way to Williamsburg (an hour's drive from our house) when I had the sudden realization that I'd forgotten the camera! Damn it! Not only did I want it to take pictures at Busch Gardens, but I was required to take pictures for the hotel mystery shop we were there to do! I had two choices: Go back for it, or use my camera phone, which is a no-no. We'd gotten a much later start (like, five hours!) than I'd planned, and it was nearing the end of my acceptable check-in time, so we had to go with the latter. Major suckage. So, all the below pictures are from my camera phone.

Patriot Inn 8 

After we checked in, I did as much of the report as I could for the hotel, while the kids ran completely wild in the room. They absolutely love staying in hotels - love it! And it gets them really hyper and excited.  The just could not be calmed. It was crazy.  I tried to settle them down while Rob ran around the hotel doing more of the job for me.

We were supposed to go out and do another mystery shop at a cool miniature golf course down the road, but it was closed due to rain. It poured all weekend in Williamsburg. We kind of knew that going in but decided to go anyway.


And so, it was time for dinner. I had my Entertainment Book with me, and we found this Japanese hibachi grill restaurant in it. It was a half-mile from the hotel, so we decided to go.

I have always loved a hibachi restaurant. All the knife tricks, all the fun tossing of food and entertaining chefs...! My grandparents used to take Sis and me to our favorite one in New Jersey whenever we'd visit them.  Well, come to find out, not only was it our kids' first time going to one, but it was Rob's, too! I had no idea. So he was as entertained as they were (and I was, too, of course, even knowing what to expect), especially at the fire tricks our chef performed. And when the chef threw a piece of shrimp at Rob, and he caught it in his mouth, that was the hit of the night! Chloë couldn't stop talking about it.

As for me, I was mostly excited that I ate all my scallops and didn't barf. Hey, it's a big step for me right now!

That night, it was impossible to get the kiddos to sleep. They were so revved up from being at a hotel, their fun dinner experience, and the idea of going to Busch Gardens the following day. It was after midnight before they finally konked out! I think Rob fell asleep before them, which made it especially fun for moi.


The following morning, we had our complimentary breakfast, I puked, we finished the shop and checked out, and headed to the theme park bright and early. Busch Gardens has a new Sesame Street Forest of Fun area for the tots, so we made a beeline for it to get there before the crowds. There was a splash area they wanted to jump right into, so we got them dressed in bathing suits and slathered in sunscreen, SPF 900. (Not really, but close.)

First, we all went on this really tame Oscar-the-Grouch ride, and everyone but Jack had a lot of fun. He cried the whole time, even though the ride was not a bit scary. We knew it was because he hadn't slept enough the night before and was therefore his usual cheerful self. The girls decided they wanted to go on another ride, but Jack absolutely refused, so here he is, splashing around and having a grand ol' time!


Rob took the girls on this ride. You can kind of see his orange hat on the right side, and the girls are on either side of him. Sophia loved it. Chloë screamed and hollered for the whole park to hear, the entire time. She and Jack are my chickeny babies, while Sophie is the thrill-seeker!


After the girls joined Jack in the splash zone, they wanted to dry off and head across the way to this area for running around and climbing.


It was lots of fun, and they spent a great deal of time there.


The girls climbed up on this "log" and paused for a photo op.


Every so often, select Sesame Street characters would come out and perform a show. It was lots of fun!

It was noon by then, and the kids started complaining of hunger. We decided to take the Skyride (like a ski-lift) over to "France" and see what we could find. Rob and the girls rode in the gondola ahead of Jack and me. I thought he would flip out on the Skyride, but instead, he LOVED it! He kept begging to go back on it, but alas, we never got the chance.

After we ate a way-overpriced buffet lunch (I didn't eat; it would so not have been worth it fo me) and bought a couple of prizes for Bunco, Chloë and Jack had to make a pit stop. I decided to take Sophie, who had been hungrily eyeing the outrageously scary-looking Griffon roller coaster all through lunch, on the LeScoot Log Flume ride. I don't care how scary (to me) a ride is - if there is water involved, I'm in! Okay, that's not entirely true since the Griffon also goes through water, but you are out yo' damn mind if you think I'm going on that thing. Rob even told me he would buy me a SmartCar if I went on it! He wouldn't go, either; the Bigs come by their chickeniness honestly!

Anyway, the log flume. There was no wait at all, and we got right into a log car. I clutched Sophie in front of me, and she held on for dear life, laughing the whole time as we zipped around the track and splashed down at the end. She loved it! I got soaked, though. When we emerged, there were Rob and the Bigs waiting for us. Chloë had an upset tummy, but she wanted to go on the ride, and Soap wanted to go on again. Jack, of course, did not, so I stayed behind with him.

In the end, though, he decided he did want to go, so we ran to catch up with the rest. I couldn't believe he was actually willing to go on it - and he did, with Rob! It earned a thumbs-down from him, but he didn't cry! Then Chloë rode with me, and she cried the entire time. Two thumbs down. But again, she did it!


The kids climbing the walls outside the flume ride - well, Sophia was the only one who did it successfully on her own!


Trying to find the Skyride again to go back to Sesame Street, we came upon the carousel. Ah, this was more the big kids' speed.


Jack opted to ride on a bench instead of a horse, so I sat with him. A nice smile from him!

We started going to the kiddie Dragonland right next to the carousel after that, but then began the downpour. Rides shut down all over the park, and we hid under a covered bench. I got soaked, as did the kids, but Rob somehow stayed mostly dry. Eventually, it became obvious that the rain was not going to let up, so we made our way across the entire park to the exit. I was sad, though I knew this was going to happen. Of the five of us, I am definitely the trooper when it comes to being caught in the rain!

Back at the van, we dressed the kids in warm, dry clothing and decided to go to the outlet mall. The girls have grown out of their shoes, so I wanted to visit the Stride Rite outlet for sneakers and sandals, at least.


By the time we arrived, five miles down the road, all three children were sound asleep. And the deluge continued. No matter, my father called me, so I talked to him awhile and let the kinders sleep. When we hung up, we got the kids up, and Jack was highly annoyed at the intrusion. But we had work to do!

After getting the kids' feet measured (for the curious, Sophia and Chloë both wear a 9½, and Jack wears an 8 - yes, their feet are tiny!), Rob took the boy and I took the girls to find them some shoes. Jack hasn't really grown out of his, but they are getting quite worn, and I've never bought them decent Stride Rites before. This was our chance, so we took it. In the end everyone got sneakers, everyone got sandals, Rob got a pair of docksiders (the dog chewed up his old ones), and the Littles got some rain boots. Chloë already has some.


Here is Sophie, this morning, modeling Jack's PolliWalks, which are similar to Crocs. I thought they were Crocs, actually, until we got home. Oh, well, they're adorable.

After the shoe store, I went next door to the Carter's outlet and got a TON of kids' clothes for a hundred bucks. I mean, a LOT. And all for the next size up, so their next summer wardrobe is well on its way! Great deals! I'd forgotten there was a Gymboree outlet there, too, or I would have gone crazy in there. Too bad; next time, I guess!

Our last stop was the Ben & Jerry's shop in the outlet mall for some ice cream. Chloë's poor tummy was really upset by then, but we'd promised them all ice cream after shopping, and it didn't seem fair to let the Littles eat and not her. So she had plain vanilla soft-serve while the Tots ate mini sundaes. I asked for sugar-free, but they were out of it. Then I checked out the nutrition poster for another choice, and found chocolate-peanut butter swirl for the same carb content! I was excited, because that's my favorite flavor, until they told me they didn't have that, either. So I seriously pouted. I know I don't need to be eating any ice cream, but man, one tiny spoonful or two wouldn't have killed me.

We drove home in the rain after that, and I got a killer migraine. I still have it, too. Bummer.

Next weekend, we're going back to the Outer Banks for another hotel shop! I can't wait!


Ketchup And Mustard, I'm Back!

I don't know what that means. I'm weird.

So between scrapping like crazy (I finished the Europe book!! Now I just need to get the rest of the page protectors I need, and it'll be completely complete and lovely and ready for viewing), our regular jam-packed schedule, and mystery shopping, I haven't had time to blahg lately. Or read blogs, sorry!

We went to the Book Fair at school Thursday night. Well, just Chloë and me. The Littles had fallen asleep, protesting that they weren't tired. I didn't see anything much there for Rob or myself, but I managed to get four or five things for the kids. Of course, every other thing I picked up, Chloë would say, "Moo-ooom, we already have that one!" Oh. Yeah. Right.

Today was four mystery shops. I ran to Party City by myself and did that one, scoring another Bunco prize for my required purchase. I'm racking them up, months before I host! Then we did three food shops in a row, at Jason's Deli, IHOP, and Papa John's. That pizza one is weird and stressful, I tell ya. I don't know if I'll be doing it again. And I've been feeding the pizza to the dog, because she's hungry and I'm apparently too lazy to open the dog food bag.

Oh, speaking of Facebook (we weren't? Oh, stream of consciousness, I was going to say that at least I finally tackled the nasty litterbox...) did you see that I hit the 75-lb mark on my weight loss journey?  I'm stoked, people. STOKED! I'm hoping to be down 100 lbs by the time I go up to New York this summer.

Today, Rob went down to the DMV after work and got tags (once again, since I made him turn them in way back when we thought we were getting rid of the thing) for his truck. Now he just needs to bleed the breaks and get an inspection for it, and he'll be back on the road. We'd take care of all that this weekend, but we're heading back out of town.

Again, we're heading up to Williamsburg.  I managed to get a mystery shop at an inn there, and another shop for a fun round of miniature golf in the evening. We'll go up and do that after Rob gets off duty in the morning. I'd like to go check out the major outlet mall up there, too, and hit Stride Rite. The girls need new sneakers.

Then Sunday is Busch Gardens. It's not a shop! It's the free military appreciate day, so it'll be nice to do something fun that's not an assignment for once. I don't have to make any screwball observations or have scripted conversations with employees. And maybe my fat butt will actually be able to fit on some of the rides this year. Maybe not, we'll see when we get there.

Well, I wrote these down for Friday Fragments, but I'm too tired to do another post, so I'll just do them here; they are all Sophia quotes from this week:

"...and I am the boss. Because I'm FOUR!"

"I'm NOT a kid, I'm a grown up. Because I'm growing."

"I am imagining that I'm wiggling. And then I stop wiggling. And then I start wiggling again. It's called the 'Stop-Wiggling Game'."

"I can open every private part of my body. Do you want to see me open my butt?" (The answer to that was a resounding "NO!" from her father)

Mom: "No, Jack, you have to ask Mommy or Daddy!"

Sophia: "And ME, because I'm FOUR!"

(She's pretty proud of being four, huh?)

Off to bed with me.