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Entries from June 2009


All in all, Monday was a good day, despite Sophie's best efforts to derail it!

The kids slept 'til 10 AM, which was great for me! I woke up and fed them breakfast before getting right into my work for the day. I'm working on a mystery shopping project over the phone and internet that will take a few days and will get back into it after I finish this. That kept me pretty busy for a few hours, while the kids watched Superman Returns again. I think Jack has a new obsession that doesn't include wheels, for once. He loves Superman!  The first time he watched it, when Lex Luthor was hurting Superman, he ran to his daddy and sobbed. Aw.

In the early afternoon, the floor guy arrived again. The kids know him as "the floor guy" and ask him, "Are you the floor guy?" whenever he comes. The check from insurance is in the mail, so we signed the paperwork and should start installing it early next week! Now we need to line up help moving all the furniture out and get the carpet and nails pulled up. I can't wait to see the finished results. My fingers are crossed that it will be done in time for me to host Bunco next Wednesday!

When he left, and the kids had lunch, we headed upstairs to attack the long-neglected laundry monster. I mean, it was a serious situation. Chloë had been out of jammies for days, and these kids have a lot of jammies! It took us four or five hours, but we did everything we could do in one afternoon. My bed is piled high with Rob's clothes. His side of the room is such a mess, but we won't go there.

While Jack and Chloë helped me put away the laundry, I sent Sophie to her room to clean it up. She never helps clean; we really have to stay on her. She's got the lazy gene, like her mama, unfortunately. And she just does not listen. She doesn't do what she's told. She's so naughty! Good thing she's so cute and funny, so we'll keep her, but man! She drives us crazy. 

One time, one of many times the older kids told us she was out of her room and not cleaning, they informed me she was covered in chocolate. I called her into the room with me and, lo and behold, her face and shirt were completely brown. What the?! Turns out, she had snuck downstairs, undetected, opened a box of brownie mix, and eaten half the box of powder. Oh, that stinker. I sent her right into the tub. She is a cute little monkey when she's soaking wet and wrapped in a hoodie towel.


The mail came while we were still upstairs, so I sent Chloë out to fetch it. That's one of her daily chores. The mail brought some interesting things.


The first was this awesome handmade card from my friend Nicole, congratulating me on my 100-lb weight loss. She is so sweet! Nicole and I have never met in real life, but one day, I hope to make it her way and get to do just that. She's an awesome friend, and I love her. Thanks, Nicole!!

There was also a much-needed mystery shopping paycheck (love those!) and again, another odd-amount check for CARE Package from Asis Pharmacy. I'm bewildered by these semi-anonymous donations but SO grateful for them! Thank you, Asis! I'm trying not to let the fundage burn a whole in my pocket and go yarn-shopping just yet, since I have plenty, but it sure is fun to window shop!

Lastly, among the junk, was a flyer for a special Red Cross blood drive for the 4th of July (can't believe that's almost here).  You get free Red Cross flip-flops when you donate blood. Now, I don't care about the shoes, but I decided it was time to get back on the horse and try again to donate, now that I've been taking iron regularly again. I called them up and made an appointment for the afternoon on Independence Day. I'm hoping they can use my juice!

I had my Palm T|X with me upstairs, so I could periodically check my email while we worked on laundry. (Can you say "addicted"??) And I was absolutely giddy when I got the news that I won this fabulous prize:



Is that not some gorgeous yarn?!! I won it, and it's shipping out today!!! I won it for making a small donation to Claudia's annual fundraiser, Knitters Against Multiple Sclerosis. Last year, I donated much more and didn't win anything, so I was ecstatic to have won such an awesome prize this year. If you go to that link and scroll down through the many, many prizes, you'll see mine about 4/5 of the way to the bottom. I think it's the best one! I literally screamed - about a dozen times - when I read the email. Jack joined in, screamng with me like a little girl, jumping up and down. I may have cried, but that probably has more to do with my Effexor refill not being ready when it was supposed to be, instead of my extreme excitement... So now I'm dreaming of what I can make when I get my hot little hands on that yarn. Something for me, mayhaps?? But what?

Well. I'm still so excited about it. I could scream right now, but at 10:00, both girls are still asleep. (yay)

So Rob came home, and I finally jumped in the shower so we could go out and do my fast-food mystery shop. I've been wearing clothes I've never worn before, or haven't worn in a long time, and the trend continued. I've been wearing some cute undies again, which I love, instead of those ginormous granny pannies I hate so much! Teehee. And some jean shorts a size smaller than the pair I wore the other day, though I had to lie down to zip them up and they gave me a huge muffin top. I didn't care; I got them on, and I wasn't planning on getting out of my car. I threw on an old t-shirt, forgetting it had a huge hole in the back until Rob pointed it out later.

After the shop, I decided to stop at Taco Bell to get some beany goodness, since I hadn't eaten all day and had a sudden craving. I picked up a bean burrito for me and a small feast for Rob, and then we headed to Mt. Trashmore. It was about 8 PM by then, but it was still plenty light out, so we figured we'd eat and let the kids play on the playground. So much for not getting out of the car! I didn't have my camera, but here are a few phone pictures (there are more, but they won't download from email for some reason):


Chloë balancing on the edge of the playground


Jack climbing on the big orange "spider"

So that was a lot of fun. The girls rode the swings for the longest time, while Jack ran around making buddies. When it was time to go, Sophie dropped to the ground and started making dirt angels! It was hilarious. So much for taking that bath earlier.

The kids all took necessary showers when we got home, and then it was time for bed. I had to do my shop report, but Rob slipped me my sleeping pill, and I wasn't paying attention and took it. Argh, stupid me. I pretty much passed out immediately and didn't get it done 'til this morning. Oh, well.

Now, if you'll excuse me while I admire that yarn some more...


Double Dollar Week @ HT

So I took Chloë shopping with me, after a shoe store mystery shop, at Harris Teeter. I'd carefully looked over the Harris Teeter couponing blogs (yes, there are blogs devoted just to couponing Hampton Roads - can you believe it? But don't worry, this will definitely not become one of them) and selected the coupons for what I was going to buy. I could've gotten more stuff for free if I was interested in them and had the coupons for them, but I did pretty well. Observe:


(Forget the background mess in the picture. It's a fact, there will always be background mess in this house. I'm getting used to it and you should, too.)

So this is what I got:

* 2 boxes of Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats, 18 oz size

* Can of Hot Shot Hornet & Wasp Spray (wish it was flies, but that wasn't on sale)

* 2 loaves of La Brea French Bread

* Package of Buitoni Fettucine refrigerated pasta

* Archway chocolate chip cookies

* Quart of Promised Land chocolate milk

* Lysol Cling toilet bowl cleaner, Citrus scent

* Kraft Original BBQ Sauce

* Bottle of Kraft Cucumber Ranch dressing

* Hefty One-Zip Fresh Extend bags

* Can of Starbucks Cappucino drink

* Starbucks Java Chip ice cream

* Pouch of Bumblebee Pink Salmon

* Reach Floss

Now, that's a lot of stuff, right? Guess how much I paid out of pocket? $5.24!!! 


Several of the items were free after coupons, since HT is doubling up to $1.98 (and K-Mart is doubling up to $2 next week, so watch out for that!), and some were really cheap. The total of my order, after VIC savings and weekly sales (so the value is actually much greater, but I didn't calculate it), was $45.26. I saved $38.28 in coupons for one paper bag full of food (argh, forgot my canvas bags), and I had $1.74 left on a free $5 gift card I received in a box of Cocoa Puffs.

Not bad, eh, and good stuff (for them, not for me) to boot!

Just thought I'd share, since saving boucoup bucks always excites me. And just because it was on my camera at the same time, here's a picture of me:


...for no reason, I think, other than that I was actually wearing make-up. Obviously I need to find out what the Soapy did with my lipstick stash...


Saturday 9: I Want You Back


If you're playing along with this fun meme today, be sure and link up here!

1. Where were you when you heard that Michael Jackson died?

I had just woken up from a nap, and my phone was bleating about a text message. I looked at it as soon as I woke up, and it was from one of the hosts of the morning radio show I sometimes listen to, announcing his death. I shouted it out loud to Rob, who already knew, and then it was all over the news. I was shocked. I still am.

2. How do you think that he will be remembered?

Well, for some folks, obviously for being a pedophile. But for me and for many others, he will always be a great music legend.

3. What was your favorite Jackson tune?

Hard to say. There are so many! I guess maybe "Thriller," because the video is killer. Hey, I'm a poet.

4. Did you watch the original Charlies Angels?

I think I did. I'm only 32, but I'm pretty sure I remember watching sometimes. Kate Jackson was my favorite. I don't really remember Farrah or Jaclyn Smith.

5. Did someone you know have that poster of Farrah?

Nope, not that I know of, anyway.

6. Did you consider her battle with cancer heroic?

I guess I would consider anyone who fights a serious disease a hero.

7. Where you a fan of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson?

Of course, wasn't everyone? I loved him.

8. Did you like Ed McMahon on the show?

Honestly, I don't really remember him on there (age again, I'm sure), but I remember him on Star Search and for Publisher's Clearing House, with Dick Clark. I loved Star Search!

9. What else will you remember Ed McMahon for?

Oops, I guess I just answered that question.

RIP, all - and you too, David Carradine!


Two Hours Of My Life I Won't Get Back

So I slept past noon today, but it's okay because Rob had the day off. Don't ask me why, they just gave it to him. He was going to go take his motorcycle test in the morning, but he didn't want to leave the children with me sleeping, and he didn't want to wake me up. I appreciate that, because I obviously needed to catch up on some zzzz's, but he could've and should've. Oh, well.

Speaking of Rob, he doesn't think he's made chief, because they're only promoting 9 PR1s (his rate). He thinks his chances are bad. I prefer to think positive. He's earned it. He deserves it. We need this. Oh please, oh please, oh please...

Anyway, I finally woke up, checked a million trillion emails and went a little nuts when I realized I didn't have the prize package I needed to do a reveal shop at the movies this evening. Ahhh! After calls to my scheduler, visits with the neighbors and frantic searching, I finally found the package behind the shoe box where it fell when I signed for it and dropped it. All was right with the world again, for that moment anyway.

I showered, stuck in the contacts that I was supposed to have worn for at least two hours before my eye exam check-up (oops, had to lie), and went to that appointment just in time. I was in and out of there in about 29½ seconds with my script in hand. Contacts are good. Money is not, so I'll have to order them next week after payday. Glasses in the meantime, I guess!

Then I picked up a Freecycle I'd gotten for Stephanie: a bag full of maternity clothes in her size. Score! Hopefully they'll be cute and fit her. I haven't opened the bag...

At home, I started reading all my shops and preparing myself for the work ahead for the evening. I had to schedule them trickily, since they all fell in the same 4-hour time frame and were nowhere near each other. I started printing out my forms to fill out after the shops, when my black ink ran out. Suuuuck. Last thing I needed - and the rest of my printer functions won't work when an ink cartridge is out, which pisses me off to no end. I can't scan my receipts and other collateral for the reports, even. Dumb set-up, if you ask me.  Boo, Kodak!

Rob showered and dressed himself and the kids - who were still playing in their PJs 'til then - and we set off on our mission. Our first stop was a pretzel store in northern Norfolk. That went well, and I was in and out of there in a flash. One down, two to go.

Next, I had to do a movie ticket and concession assignment at a certain urban-flavored Norfolk mall. I could watch the movie afterward, but I didn't have time then. So I bought the ticket for much later (for My Sister's Keeper) and did the rest of the shop. Rob got some Coke and nachos out of the deal - and the kids were full on hot pretzels and a pretzel dog - and I got the movie ticket. Two down.

Our last stop was a new-to-us restaurant in Town Center, near our home. I hadn't worked for that new-to-me mystery shopping company before, so I really want(ed) to do a stellar job. I'm always nervous, because I take this job seriously and want to rank high and prove myself early. I sent Rob in to do the bar portion, which he's done for me before and which I can't do because I can't drink, and then we met him in the restaurant for meal. His food was good, but I didn't care for mine. I ate a third of my turkey burger anyway, because it was my first food of the day and I needed the protein, but none of the kids would partake. They basically ate French fries. Hey, ketchup is a fruit, right? Three down. But I still have to work tonight, because I couldn't do the reports without my scanner.

At home, I set the kids on their own mission while I cheered them on: Find the TV remote that's been missing for days. One for four TV remotes missing in our living room somewhere, I might add. Maybe we'll find the others when we take the place apart to put in the new floors? They never found it, but Rob did after they went to bed, so I'll give him the points they would've gotten later, if you know what I mean...

Soon, it was time to make like a baby and head out  - to my solo movie viewing.

It's hard to say what I hated the most about this cinema experience: the group of people to my left, whose phone kept ringing for the first quarter of the movie (but stopped two minutes before my own, which I didn't think I had with me, rang a noisy rendition of Salt 'n' Pepa's "Push It Good"), who had a baby and a toddler with them for a 10-to-midnight showing (nice), and who snored noisily through the second half of the flick (can't really say I blame her)... or the movie itself. It's a toss-up.

I hate to ruin it for any of you that might actually want to go see this movie, after reading the wonderful Jodi Picoult book that my MIL so awesomely bestowed upon me to read during our European cruise last summer, but damn. Do not go see this movie if you don't want to spend two hours pissed off, rolling your eyes, and clenching your jaw. The acting was terrible - especially Cameron Diaz and Alec Baldwin - but the directing was worse. There were parts of the movie where the action completely stopped while they played another sappy song. You know all those wonderful side stories Picoult created in the book, aside from the main case? They either skipped them entirely or I wished they had, because they only touched for seconds here and there and made their severely underdeveloped inclusion entirely pointless. I know time is a factor, so either focus on the main story and leave out the things you don't have time for, or leave out the sappy songs! But the worst insult was that the movie wasn't at all true to the parts of the book that matter, that make you think, make you feel, make you care, or make you cry. 

Hated it. Absolutely hated it. And I walked out of there so mad!  Definitely let me know if you watch it anyway, and if you agree or disagree with my analysis.


After the movie, I drove to the closest Wal-Mart to get my printer cartridge. It was after midnight, but there were crowds of people sitting on their cars in the parking lot, listening to loudly playing Michael Jackson music. The place was pretty hoppin' for that time of night in the store, too. I got in and out quickly and then raced home to pee like a racehorse. I couldn't go at the store; I hate using any bathroom but my own comfy pot at home. You too?

On the way home, I was driving along, minding my bidness, when some jerk-off whips onto the on-ramp next to me and comes plowing into my lane! Thank God I had room to swerve sharply into the left lane, because both of us would have died in that crash, I bet.  I blasted my horn, twice, gave him the one-finger salute when I passed him, and dropped a torrent of four-letter words into the ears of no one but myself. What the heck was he thinking?!! Death wish, maybe?

Blah. I'm still annoyed about that movie. But I must move on now and work on those reports. Time's a-wastin'!



Aloha Friday


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

My question for you this week is: Do you like seafood? What's your favorite?

As for me, it's a toss-up between broiled sea scallops and the most wonderful crab cakes on the planet, from Uncle Chuck's seafood shack at our local Farmer's Market. I need to get me some more o' them. Soooooooooo gooooooooooood. *drool*



Friday Fragments


If you're fragmentin' today, be sure and link up at Half-Past Kissin' Time!

☼ I ate bacon recently. More than once. It was good. I'm trying to decide whether, as a semi-vegetarian, I should feel guilty. I guess I do, but... damn, it was good.  I'll never eat beef again, though, no worries on that.

☼ When I'm nervous and fidgety, as I've been quite a bit this week for various reasons, I play with my fingernails. They're really thin and peely, and I eventually peel them down to little nubs. Then I get mad at myself for ruining my nails.

☼ Chloë, 7, to Rob, who was poking her: "Stop! Stop it! What are you doing, Big Guy?!"

Big Guy. Hee!

☼ Sophie, 4, with her hand on her own head, "I'm like this tall, Mom!"

☼ Chloë, with her towel over her head after a shower, "It looks like I'm wearing a red cloak! I don't even know what a cloak is..."

Could've sworn there were more, but I left my other notebook in the car, and I'm half-nekkid.

Happy Friday!

Century Club

I have a headache from too much sun at the pool today, so I'm going to try to keep this brief.

First, I'm in shock about all the celebrity deaths lately. Are you? I was just telling Linda after news of Farrah Fawcett that these things happen in threes and we'll be hearing someone about someone else next. She hushed me, but then, Michael Jackson!!!  OMG! I can't believe it. I seriously can't believe it. What an icon.

Second, I did it. I have lost 100 pounds in five months. As you can imagine, I'm thrilled and looking forward to the next hundred. It will come off more slowly. Things are already starting to slow down with the weight loss, and it's just going to get harder now. I will have to amp up the exercise and really watch what I eat. But I can do it, I know I can. I am now looking forward to seeing my total weight loss at the one-year mark. Imagine what that might be!

Third, if you watch So You Think You Can Dance, are you as disappointed about the departure of Asuka as I am? I may have spelled that wrong, but you know who I'm talking about if you watch. I loved her. I thought she was beautiful and talented. Ah, well. So it goes.

So, our day. I was up late working on the gold certification - and still have to finish watching the DVDs and taking the test -  so it was about 0530 before I got to sleep. The kids came down and woke me up about five hours later. We bummed around, I cleaned up the kitchen a little more and fed them breakfast, and then Steph arrived to go to the pool.

We had lots of fun there. It was hot and sunny, of course, so I got a bunch of color. Sophie did too, but she tans, unlike myself. The other two didn't really budge from deeper shades of white.

Some pictures of the splashing (mostly Sophie, since Jack was cold and Chloë injured her toe and had to stay out of the water) after we moved to the baby pool:









After the pool, I fed the kids some milk and PB&J for lunch, and Steph took a shower. Then she and I discussed the knitting I'm going to be doing for her SON, Lucas Wayne G. A boy! It's a boy! He has a peenie!  She likes the Bandaid Blanket I'm making, so that will be his first baby blanket. I'm going to make all manner of woolies for him, because she will be a mother who loves and appreciates them. We'll have to go yarn shopping soon, and that will be a happy day!

After lunch, Jack took a nap, and Sophie attempted to take one. Or rather I attempted to give her one. I know naptime is over for her, but I thought maybe she'd need one after burning all that energy at the pool. Steph left, so it was just Chloë and me. We played four games of Guess Who? and that was fun. She's getting better at it and finally beat me one game. (I am not a person who lets children win!) Then she played on Webkinz while I cozied up on the couch and took a nap. Ah, that felt good.

I slept til 2000. (That's 8 PM for the uninitiated.) After SYTYCD came on, I knitted on the BB for Steph and Baby Luke for an hour. It's coming along nicely. I'm on the third skein of yarn for it now, and it will be the last. It's been a fun project; I've enjoyed knitting it.

And now I go. Ta.


In Which I Wore Jeans

I'm tired.

Last night, Rob passed out on his couch holding Jack, and I passed out on mine holding Sophia. Chloë sent herself to bed, and the Littles slept with us all night. We didn't get up 'til about 10 AM.

We putzed the rest of the morning, as we are wont to do, but in the afternoon, we got down to business. The downstairs was pretty much destroyed, since we've been so busy lately and haven't really had time to clean up. The floor guy was coming in the late afternoon, and that meant it was time to work.

And work we did. For three hours. We cleaned the office, more than we've cleaned it in months. We cleaned the living room, which was the main disaster. Rob's domain is the kitchen, but I cleaned up a lot of it while the kids had lunch and breakfast. It still needs some attention, but I needed to get in the shower if I wasn't going to be stinky and gross when the guy got here.

Some things came to light after my shower, in conversation with the kids. I don't really want to discuss openly what they were, but it's going to require some sort of uncomfortable action on my part, regarding someone else's kid. My own children are fine, ... I guess I'm not really saying much that makes sense here, so never mind.

Fortunately, Rob got home before the floor guy arrived. I didn't want to make any decisions without him. We have a certain amount that insurance will pay for the new flooring, and we really can't afford to go over that, so we're having to pick something other than what we originally wanted.

This floor guy's great. He's willing to work with us on everything we needed, and give us what we want on our terms. He's very decent and kind, extremely knowledgeable and professional, and I would recommend him in a heartbeat if any of you local folks needed new floors installed.

So we picked out some new laminate, after ruling out the vinyl options he gave us, and now we have to figure out who is going to help us move all the heavy stuff in and out of here. Lord knows I can't help with the big TV or the treadmill or the... yeah. We're going to need help. Steph, do you think Tim might be willing to pitch in? We can sweeten the deal with some pizza and beer/sodas??

Anyway, if everything goes well, we should be able to get this done before I host Bunco next month. Fingers are crossed!

Afterward, we did a fast food dinner shop. I've done that one many, many times but am really going to crack down on myself when it comes to naming names!

Oh, speaking of mystery shopping, I've decided to become gold certified, which is the industry's top level. I got my certification package tonight and have been studying the workbook all evening. Now I have to watch the 4-hour DVD, oy. There are codewords in the DVD to look out for, and if I don't know them, I can't take the test, so I really do have to watch all four hours.

The test should be simple enough. I didn't learn one new thing from the workbook, after being in this biz for the past three years. Hopefully I'll sail through. And we'll see what kind of shops I'll get offered then! I can't imagine what could be meatier than some of the good stuff I've already gotten, but you never know.

Not much else to report. Tomorrow, we really will make it to the pool, now that the house is clean!


P.S. Oh, the title! When I got dressed, I decided to go through the "when I'm thinner" pile of clothes I've been keeping on top of my dresser. I fit into a new, never-been worn shirt and pair of jean shorts, without discomfort! I hate the shirt, though, so I can't wait 'til it's too big to wear anymore, hee. Anyway, I think this is the first time in, like, half a decade or more - maybe since after Chloë was born? - that I haven't worn pants with an elastic waistband. So another small victory in the fight against fat!

Wordless Wednesday: She Was Such A Baby!

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

In honor of Chloë's (fifth!!) dance recital tonight, I took a look back four years ago to her first recital for Creative Movement, when she was three. She was so tiny, so chubby (well, for her), so adorable! Without further ado, here are more of the pictures. Be sure to look at the previous post to compare to the seven-year-old she is today!














June Show

Yesterday was the dress rehearsal for the show. Rob came home early from work, because Chloë had to be at the theater, with her hair done, at noon. I thought maybe we'd get out of there at two. I forgot she was in both acts, so it was after 4:30 when we finally left. She was so tired and hungry!


This was the blocking for her ballet number. I completely missed the tap blocking, because they were in an out in about a minute, and I didn't have time to finish the row I was knitting and pick up my camera.

The rehearsal pictures aren't stellar because no flash photography was allowed, and I was way back away from the stage, so... best I could do.


Miss Chlo always looks so tiny up on the stage, especially with her giant peers! So they're not really giants; she's just puny.


Yes, mine's the one on the left... ;)


Miss Sally blocking the girls' ballet number - telling them how to hit their marks on the stage


After Act I was blocked, they did a run-through of the whole Act. There are videos of her dances here, and they are better quality than the pictures. Check 'em out! Up next was Act II, and here is her Jazz class being blocked. So little!


I don't know why I'm including this picture. Maybe to show you half of Miss Darlene's tush.


Miss Darlene walking the girls through their marks. There's a video of the Jazz number at the above link, too.


When we got home, I was tired and started to take a nap on the office floor. Jack brought his doggy, a car and himself over and curled up with me. He's really a sweet boy. I think I'll keep him.


Rob came home early again today to get ready for the recital. It didn't start 'til 7, but she had to be there by 5:30, and he had to shower first. Then we brought the Littles to Linda and Tony's house again, to swim and half dinner and be kids - too loud and restless for watching the show, yet.  Poor Chloë was so tired, she fell asleep before her recital, on the way there, and was almost in  tears when we got there and woke her up. But  I escorted her inside and helped her into her Ballet costume, and let her drink some water. That woke her up a bit.


She quickly posed for a few pictures before I rushed back out to the van, which was illegall parked right outside the stage door. (Rob was in it, though, so no worries.) Here she is with Miss Jessica, her talented Tap I teacher. Jessica graduated with a degree in dance from Old Dominion University and also teaches ballet, jazz, modern and hip hop.


Her friend Grace, here, is in a few of her classes. I think Ballet and Jazz. They're good buddies.


I nabbed a very busy Miss Sally, her Ballet instructor, really quick for a last-minute picture before I left. Miss Sally is Miss Darlene's right-hand man and has been with Darlene for 19 years. She's a pro! (Chloë totally has her father's skinny legs. So does Jack. I'm jealous. Sophie has a combination, I guess.)


Tradition dictates a few things on dance recital night: (1) Daughters get flowers after their show, (2) We go to Domo, a block away from the theater, for awesome sushi before the show, and (3) we go for ice cream sundaes to celebrate. So after dropping off Chloë, we drove to the marketplace around the corner to pick up her bouquet, and then found a different parking garage than our usual. It has been torn down. We walked to Domo and were quickly seated.  Doesn't The Bob look handsome? I think he's cute. I ♥ him.


Rob, hating when I take his picture at a restaurant, being very silly while looking at the sushi pictures. Look how narrow his chin looks!


Chloë's pretty flowers that Daddy picked out for his girl. We weren't the only ones in there with bouquets for dancers; there were at least two other show families eating sushi.


I liked these cool Japanese drinks, on all the tables.


Rob was given some miso soup on which to slurp. No soup for me! Oscar the Pouch can't handle it.


At last, the sushi arrived. I hadn't had sushi since surgery and didn't know how it would go down, since lots of RNYers can't handle the rice. I started with a piece of the salmon sashimi, which was oh!, so good, but I was staring at that California roll. It was calling my name, so I ate a piece. Mmmm! So amazing! It went down easy. I ate two more. And a piece of tuna sashimi. Then I called it quits, one piece too late. I didn't puke after, but I sure wanted to. I don't care, either; it was SO worth it! Are you a sushi fan?

Rob kept joking that he was going to complain to the waiter about our undercooked food. Teehee.


The little Japanese mint packets were so cute! They said, "candies are slippery, swallow carefully!"

When dinner was over, we made our way to the theater down the block.  We had about 20 minutes 'til showtime, and normally they make us stand outside in the heat. I was not looking forward to that, because today was another scorcher, but they let us right in and get some seats! We picked good ones this year - in the past, ours have sucked - right in the middle. The guy in front of me had some major B.O. so we moved a few seats down.

The guy in front of Rob, after we moved, kept texting on his cell phone through the whole show. It was so rude. Finally, Rob said something to his mom (although he was probably at least 18) about it being distracting, and she told him to turn it off. But there were only two numbers left after that.

Chloë did an outstanding job with her three dances! Rob was pleasantly surprised, but I told him, you gotta remember, she's only seven and has three to remember, so she's actually doing pretty well in my book! We were so proud of her, so proud. We watched the older dancers enthusiastically, imagining our own daughters doing that in a few years.  You can definitely see the skill levels progress through the ages of the girls (and one boy)!


When we went to collect Chloë after the show, Miss Darlene was at the door with her. I begged her for a quick picture, and she was happy to oblige. Darlene is her Jazz teacher and also the owner of Music in Motion, where she and Sophie dance.  She is a force to be reckoned with!


Daddy gave his little girl her flowers, which turned out to be almost as big as she is! I think she looks beautiful, don't you? We're so proud of her and all her hard work.

She was starving, naturally, so I asked her what she'd like to eat. It was 9:30 by then, so I didn't know where we'd go... but she insisted on a Sonic cheeseburger with mustard. (Blech, blech) Sonic it was, then, since we'll have to break the sundae tradition now that Mommy can't enjoy! I love a Friendly's peanut butter sundae, but I'm not about to go there and watch other people eat what I can no longer enjoy!

First, we picked up Sophia and Jack, who were highly engrossed in Toy Story 2 at Linda's house. We could barely tear them away! They swam in her pool again, ate great dinners, and generally behaved well, so it was a good night for Team Odette all around.

Well, it was... until we got to Sonic.

The stall I pulled into was out of order (why doesn't this ever happen when I'm shopping them and looking for OOO signs?), so I started to go into the next one. Also out of order. What the? I should've just gone through the drive-thru like I originally thought, but something made me pick the third stall. Well, long story short, it turned into a disaster when I pulled in cock-eyed and couldn't get out without taking out half the passenger-side sign with my van. Rob and I ended up fighing, I was ruining my van, and then the manager came out. She offered her assistance, and I almost chewed her out and then burst into tears. She calmed me down, hugged me, and after ½-hour of Rob trying unsuccessfully to direct me out of the stall, she got me right out without hurting anything else. She hugged me again, I cried some more, and we thanked her and left.

But that was a nightmare. I boo-hooed to myself all the way home. I haven't checked the van for damage, because I'm avoiding it. I don't even want to see it right now.

At home, Rob apologized for being "a dick" (which is what I generally call him when he's being one) and told me it was "just stuff" and not to worry about it. We kissed and made up.

I had to run to the store after dropping the fam off at home, because we've been out of milk for two days. Oops.  So I ran in and out, the hungry cat some food too, and then got home and looked in the mirror. Mascara all over my face, from the crying. Lovely.  No wonder it seemed like people were trying not to look at me at the store!

So anyway, mostly a good time, but for that one dark spot. Always has to be one, doesn't there???

No plans tomorrow. Wheeee, hopefully we'll go to the pool!


Bodacious Tatas

So you've heard about the new bras. You've heard about the (nearly) 100-lb weight loss.

Put them together and what do you get? (Excuse the picture quality; Rob is not so good with my camera. He doesn't get to use it much.)


Oops, I didn't mean to post that. And yes, our house is a mess. I don't care. Here are some more pictures of my boobs:


Note that these pictures are from Monday, not from Saturday when my hair was actually done. I do have pictures from that day, too, but then I put on this shirt and WHOA! Bazoongas!


I did not know Rob was taking this picture. It's his favorite one.


So let's be completely honest here. You can see I still have plenty to lose. My belly seems to be going nowhere fast. I mean, it's shrinking - but only a little. I can tell the difference in my pants. I can tell when I drive, because I no longer have to put the steering wheel all the way up to get in and out - I can keep it pretty low now. But four babies came out of that belly in a 3½-year span, so it's going to take a lot more work to get rid of it.

But three days shy of five months out, and about 100 lbs gone, I'm feeling pretty good about things.  The new bras help! But I never would've dreamed I'd put this shirt on and wear it out in public so soon. I'm thrilled. (And I got lots of attention from the brothas, who like their girls thick. Lots of nods in my directions and "how you doin'?" at the mailbox. It's the bras. I'm just sayin'.)

I have more pictures and vids from today, of Chloë's dress rehearsal, but I'll post them tomorrow with whatever I'm able to get from the big show. Wish her luck!


Morning Wood

That title is apropos of nothing; I just think it would be a funny name for a band.

We were busy little bees on Friday & Saturday; not so much today (which is good for a Father's Day, no?).


I overscheduled. So I was stressed and probably not the most fun to be around. It's my fault, I did it to myself. So I'm trying to avoid that in the future.

It didn't help that I didn't sleep a wink, either. Not one minute of sleep. It's becoming a habit I don't like lately. Lately as in, my whole life...

It started out as a bad day on Thursday night, however, when Rob told me that in fact he was not going to be able to come home early to take Chloë to her Brownies end-of-year skating party. What to do? Well, the only thing we could do, since I had a host of other plans and really needed to have the car at my disposal: We woke the kids up at 6-something in the morning, gave them Fiber One granola bars for breakfast in the car, and drove him in to work.

Let me tell you what, when you have three small, very active little monkeys, the last thing you want to do is wake them up early on the very first day of summer vacation. But that's what we did.

So we drove him all the way up to northern Norfolk and dropped him off at the base, and then turned around and came home to get ready for our day. I showered, got the kids dressed (we'd left them in their jammies for the trip), and we cleaned up downstairs a bit.

At 11, we piled in the car for the short trip to the ice skating rink. Almost everyone else was already there, although we were not late at all. I was worried they were waiting for me, since I held the money for the event, but they were just waiting for the place to open. When it did, there was a massive inward rush of children, teens and moms, and my three got lost in the crowd.

You don't want to lose sight of Jack and Sophia. But I found them, climbing up on the big chairs to look out over the ice rink. Jack needed help, so I rushed over to give him a boost before talking to our Leader (that always sounds so cultish to me) to see what was what with the money situation. We didn't have to pay 'til the end. Which was good, because I had to leave Chloë there during the skating portion and go somewhere else.

Skating Party 6 

I had camnesia again! But this time the camera phone photos weren't so bad, I guess. The Brownies (and some siblings, although I kept my two peanuts out of the room, because it was small) were ushered into the party room when the pizza was delivered. They were all there at this point, although many were missing from the photo because they were up helping themselves to more juice and pizza. No matter, I got mine in there!

Skating Party 5 

For the first little while, I mostly alternated between sitting around, doing nothing, and running to the bathroom (with The Littles in tow) with an upset stomach. I think all the Crystal Light I'm drinking is making me sick, but plain water doesn't sit well in my pouch. Anyway, at the far end of the main room, you can see them climbing in and out of the chairs to look at the empty ice. They'd never been ice skating before. And this wasn't to be their first time, either.

Skating Party 3 

When all the Brownies had eaten, Leader invited us into the party room so  could feed the Littles some pizza. They were very excited by this, as they were starving. Then it was time to hand out all the patches and other recognition. Here's Chloë getting about 14 different patches, plus some other cool stuff from the past year. Right after this, I was called up to receive my rewards! I earned three volunteer patches, for Treasurer, Fall Product Chair and Cookie Chair, a sun patch pin, and a notepad and pen gift set from the Council for volunteering. It was pretty sweet. Not quite as cool as my MIL's Silver Beaver award (stop snickering) from the BSA, but still pretty neat. Now I  just have to figure out where I'm going to put my patches!

Skating Party 2 

After the recognition ceremony, Chloë was behaving and so was one of the first given her ticket to go rent her ice skates. We went out and helped her pick a pair, and then I strapped them on her before turning to Leader's little girl to give her a hand. She's five and wears bigger skates than Chloë. Chlo was really happy that she could stand up and walk just fine in the ice skates. I didn't remind her that the ice would be just slightly more slippery...

Skating Party 1 

Then I walked her over to and put her on the ice, reminding her to be very, very careful so she didn't injure herself and not be able to dance in the big Show this coming Tuesday. Mommy was a dodo and forgot that it would be quite cold, so I didn't bring her a jacket or anything! Duh. Luckily, Leader had an extra for her. We went out and put that on her, and then Mama and Littles left her in Leader and Co-Leader's capable hands while we rushed to meet Linda for our lunch date.

This was the lunch Rob and I were supposed to do last Sunday but couldn't because they were closed when they got there. I had to make it up this weekend, but there was no good time to do it. Fortunately, the skating party had another two hours to go, so I thought I could take Linda and cram it in there. I should have just canceled the thing.

I had to go pick up Linda at the library where she was having a test done, which annoyed me to no end because why couldn't we just meet separately at the restaurant? To have to pick her up and bring her back was not on my route, and I didn't have the time that day, and I was already stressed enough as it is. And unlike my normal no-in-person-confrontation, I asked her this as soon as she got in my car. She could tell I was stressed. She's very low-key. It was okay. We'll be okay.

Well, we got stuck in traffic. And then lunch took FOREVER. They didn't put our entrées in until after we waited an eternity and asked what the hold-up was, and they said they were giving us plenty of time. Hello! We don't have plenty of time, we're in a hurry, and we said that when we arrived. I was going nuts. I did not want to be late picking up Chloë from the party, and I still had to pay for the party, too. Ay ay ay.

Linda was good, though. She took the kids potty when they needed to go, so I could stay at the table and do my timings and other observations. She helped me get them to be still and behave, because they were doing anything but all through lunch. She said it was fine if we picked up Chloë before returning to her car, which was good because we ran into traffic and were running late again.

In the end, I got to Chloë with two minutes to spare. It was 100º or so outside, so I left the kids and Linda in the car with the AC on full blast while I collected Curly Sue. I quickly paid the checks, and we left. 

Next up was my eye appointment. I was taking Linda back to the car when she said, "Wait, who is going to watch the kids while you're having your exam? Are they going to behave?" Um, no. So she volunteered to stay and sit with them while I had my exam. This was for another shop, but for contacts instead of glasses. I haven't worn contacts in a few years, because I didn't wear them properly and they irritated my eyes, and also because there were never any shops that allowed me to get them. This was the first, so I took it. Why do something myself when someone else will pay me to do it, huh?

That visit went pretty quickly, and now I'm wearing the contacts. They feel good. It's much nicer than having sweaty glasses falling down my face all the time. The only thing is, I need non-prescription sunglasses now. It's killer to drive around in the Virginia Beach sun without them. My eyes are burning.

So. After the exam, I was finally taking Linda back to her van when Rob called. He couldn't get a ride home. Could I come pick him up? Argh!!! I was low on fuel, both literally and figuratively, and I still had more things in the schedule. But yeah, sure, what choice do I have?

The interstate turned into a parking lot on our way to get him. For two or three miles, it took us about 45 minutes. I was drumming my fingers anxiously, knowing I was going to be late for or entirely miss my bra-fitting appointment. And I could not afford to miss it: I was still wearing worn-out nursing bras, and I hadn't nursed a child in about three years!

Finally, I made it to my exit and was glad I remembered the way to his work. I sat and waited for 11 minutes (I counted) for him to come out. I was glad all three children were sound asleep in the back, because I didn't feel like talking. I was stressed. Annoyed. Frustrated. And sooo tired. Finally, he came out, apologetically. There is always some last-minute crisis at work, something he - the boss - can't avoid. What can I say? Nothing, that's his job, and he has no choice.

So I bitched about being late to my bra appointment. I didn't even know exactly where to go. I didn't have the phone number, or the address. Just the name of the business. (A Full Cup, if you're local and have a hard time finding decent brassieres. It's on the Boulevard.) Rob called 411 to get the number, and then he called them and begged them to still do my fitting. They agreed.

We ended up being about 20 minutes late, and they were gracious and pleasant and welcoming and nice. They didn't complain at all about my tardiness. Which was good, because I had gotten lost twice trying to find it, and was even more aggravated.

The fitting took forever. I have some really weird boobies, apparently. We tried on bra after bra after bra. Some of them were $175 or so - each. Ouch. I was hoping those wouldn't fit. They wouldn't. Finally, we found two that fit just right, and they happened to be the cheapest ones she brought me. Phew. But still not cheap, at over $50 each. Yowza. I've never bought such expensive unnerpannies. In the end, the bras turned out to be a size 38G. Which makes me wonder what the heck my cup size was before I lost 100 lbs and they shrunk?!!

I paid, and while I was waiting for Rob and the kids to return - they went to get gas - the ladies gave me a bottle of ice cold water. It was so good. I could only have a few sips, because as I mentioned before, plain doesn't sit well in the pouch. But it was so hot, I wished it was big enough for me to dive into.

Next up on the agenda was the free movie at Mount Trashmore park. It was about 1800 at this point, and the festivities started at 1930. We went home, planning to have dinner and get ready. Instead, I fell onto the office floor and fell into a deep, three-hour sleep. So we missed the movies. Thank God the kids didn't say one word about it after that, because I would have felt terrible. They must not have cared too much, because they don't ordinarily let such things go.


Chloë laid out all her (and my) patches and awards from the skating party so I could take a picture. The calculator was also from cookie sales, for meeting the 172-box cookie order quota. Missing are her $12 Cookie pass for free registration for next year for the same quota, and her $10 Cookie Credit toward camp, for selling over 300 boxes. Yay, Chloë!

The last thing I had to do was host an hour of my monthly charity chat online. I woke up just in time to do that, and it was a really fun chat. I told them all about my bra fitting, so tits were the talk of the town. It turned out I had the biggest bazoongas of the bunch. How could I not? I mean, 38G. Gee.

When it was over at midnight, that was lights out for me. The kids were long since in bed, Rob was at work standing watch until 8 AM, and I hadn't slept. Zzzzzzzzz....


Rob got the orders to stand overnight watch at the last minute, which sucked because I had lots of plans for the day that didn't include children.

I could have and should have done some running around in the morning, but I was still so tired that I decided to keep the morning free and stay home, ruminating on the rest of the day. When it was time, I showered and got ready for my haircut appointment. I don't know why I always wash my hair before these things, since I know they're just going to wash it again when I get there, but I can't help it. Who wants to go in with stinky bedhead anyway?

The haircut went great. I told her I needed more "oomph" in my thin, lifeless locks, so she cut in lots of layers. I was a little freaked at first, but it looks good, so I'm cool with it. Rob took pictures, but they're for when I hit the 100-lb mark (crossing my fingers it's this week!), so I'll post them later.

Linda met me at the house when I got home. We had more mystery shops planned, and she was riding out with me to MacArthur center to exchange her nonworking hands-free garbage can at the Sharper Image store.

Well, that whole trip was a bust. First, I couldn't return the stupid $40 Coach keychain at the Coach store, because I'd bought it with Rob's credit card after forgetting my purse, and of course I didn't have Rob's credit card with me. I had my card, on the same damn account, but they wouldn't accept it. Oh, I was livid. Linda said, "Don't cry!" which, of course, made me cry, so I rushed out of there.

And there was a way obvious man, in need of a shave, dressed up as a woman salesperson in Coach. That made me laugh a little. S/he made no attempt to hide his/her masculinity, what with the stubble and deep voice, but s/he was wearing a skirt, make-up and other womanly accoutrement. I have nothing against the transgender community, but I couldn't tell if s/he was just transsexual or just cross-dressing, really! It was kind of odd. Especially in that setting.

Anyway. Strike one for that trip.

Strike two was when I'd forgotten to print out my paperwork for the pretzel shop I had to do, and I hadn't even read it yet and didn't even know what to buy or anything. I  called Rob to read me the shop from my email, but he couldn't find the email. And I couldn't find the store on the mall directory to even fake my way through the shop! It was very weird. Later, when I got home, not only did I not have the email, but that store turned out not to be at MacArthur mall at all. I went through every single company's website for which I mystery shop - which is over 100 - and found no record of this assignment. Really, really bizarre. Don't know what happened there, but I just deleted it from my Palm and went on my way.

Strike three was when we discovered the Sharper Image store was no longer at MacArthur mall. Just gone, completely gone. Linda was pissed, after dragging this huge garbage can all over the place! We talked to a 6'8" security guard, who turned out to be way cool and got us free parking, and he confirmed that it was outta there. We chatted with him a while, and then returned to the parking garage, 0-for-3.

Our last stop was at the PetSmart at Military Hwy, for another shop. I hadn't read the assignment ahead of time, because I rarely have time to do that anymore, so I didn't know it was such a huge job. For very little reimbursement. Screw that, I said, and we left without doing it.

Home again, 0-for-4. Suckage. Linda left, and Rob and I got ready to go out later for our little date. He got the kids' bathing suits and towels ready to go swimming at Linda's house. At 1700, we dropped off three very excited kids with Linda and Tony. They wanted to jump right into the pool at their house, so Tony took them outside. We said goodbye to Linda and left.

Our first stop was a resort down on the oceanfront, for a bar shop. I hadn't done a bar shop in a couple of years, but this one went rather smoothly. Those are not the easiest evaluations and require lots of training, so I was glad that I couldn't actually drink (well, I snuck a few sips, including one of the best piña coladas I've ever tasted) and was able to concentrate at the task at hand.

The beach atmosphere was nice. I love being right on the water, next to the pool, with beach-dressed people and smells and sounds, next to the love of my life. We had a good time, lots of laughs. Rob got a little smashed and was saying some funny shit. He had me cracking up.

When we finished that, we drove to Lynnhaven Mall to do a Gymboree shop and buy some socks for our following bowling shop. It was hard doing Gymbo, since I wanted to buy everything in the store, as usual! They have so much cute stuff right now, too. Very difficult not to buy the adorable watermelon dress for Sophia; I wanted it so badly! Rob kept whispering drunkenly in my ear, "They have enough clothes. They have enough clothes." And he's right, which killed the temptation. So we bought our socks there, in the largest size they had, which was fine because we both have pretty small feet.

They didn't have the black socks I needed for Chloë's dance recital, so we stopped at Old Navy to pick them up for a buck and a quarter. Now, I don't know where in the house the kids put those socks, so we're kind of screwed if I can't find them in the morning. Her dress rehearsal is tomorrow, so she must have those socks!

Lastly, we went bowling down the road from the mall. I'm positive they realized I was the shopper, since they were totally kissing my ass the whole time. I wasn't taking notes or anything, so I don't know what gave it away! The only thing I can think of is that when they offered to put our names in the system and help us find a ball, I said yes, as per my instructions. Most people don't do that. It had to be that. Right?

The bowling was fun. Oh, we suck so bad. I got gutter after gutter, and Rob, well, Rob was drink bowling. Need I say more? Neither of us broke 100 for either game. Rob kicked my butt the first time, and I beat him the second game, after getting a last-minute strike and a spare. Whee! I wished we could have played more games, but it was time to go collect the brood.

At Linda's, I was wondering if they would be asleep, since it was almost 2200. But they were wide awake, bouncing off the walls, and the only tired ones were Linda and Tony! Poor them. Linda told me 100 times that they have a lot of energy, and I agreed. As I say all the time, it's a wonder I'm not skinny, trying to keep up with them!

They didn't even fall sleep on the car ride home. And Sophia would not go to bed. She was still up with me at 1 AM, while I was sitting here talking to an old friend on Facebook and trying to do my reports. At last, she started yawning and shimmied up the stairs to her room. I'm so glad she got some decent sleep.

I went upstairs and crashed next to Rob, where we slept and slept the good sleep.




Chloë woke us up around 0900, I'm guessing, to tell us she had finally lost her bottom loose tooth! (She has two top ones loose, too.) We'd been trying to pluck it out all day Saturday, to no avail. But she twisted and out it came, in her mouth! She was very excited. Of course, I need to play Tooth Fairy tonight now.I hope she remembered the tooth. I'm sure she did. What child could forget?

We went back to sleep, and I trudged downstairs later when my shops were calling my name. I worked on them for a little while, but then I developed a major headache and had to lie down. So I did. The kids were watching TV with me, and Rob was still sleeping upstairs.


We had no plans for the day, other than going to IHOP for breakfast. We skipped that, though, so we did nothing special for Father's Day. I gave Rob his concert tickets, for the Bob Dylan / Willie Nelson / John Mellencamp I'm taking him to next month. Bob Dylan is his favorite, so he's pretty stoked. We had to miss him a few years ago, so I didn't want to let that happen again this time around and never get another chance.  It's a month away, so after what they cost, I'm just worrying about not losing them! Chloë might go with us, since one child gets in free per paying adult, and Rob thinks she would enjoy it. I'm still thinking about it. What do you think, should we take her?

The only thing we accomplished today was Rob putting my new battery in the van, at last. That thing keeps dying, and we have to bum a jump off some poor stranger. I'm excited to finally have a new one, especially if I'm going to be driving up to NY next month!


Also, I sewed all the new patches on Chloë's Brownies vest. Better do it now, before we lose one. I didn't bother with the ironing-on at all, since half the time they don't stick and I have to later  sew them on anyway.


So colorful, so cool, right? She's thrilled with her vest and all the patches. I'm glad, since she's worked really hard for them this year!

After that, I took another nap while Rob made some shrimp and rice for the kids. When I woke up, everyone was in bed. And here I am, ready to go back to sleep again. At least the headache is gone.

So kudos if you got through this whole novel! Hope everyone has a great week!


Another Shameless Plug

Tom's of Maine has a project this summer called 50 States for Good, wherein they're recognizing a nonprofit from each state with a $20,000 grant! As I've said before, CARE Package, Inc.'s budget is beyond minuscule - it's microscopic. I would have big plans for that money if we won, not the least of which would be finally starting our financial aid program for children's funeral services for the uninsured bereaved parents out there. 

So please, take a moment and go to Tom's of Maine and nominate CARE Package for this award.

Thanks. So much.


Saturday 9: Never Say Never Again


If you're playing along today, be sure to link up here!

1. Do you like James Bond films? If yes, what’s your favorite?

I guess they're okay, but I haven't seen too many of them. I'd have to say Octopussy is my favorite, because I saw that with my parents when I was really young, and it's one of few memories I have of my mom.

2. Are you daring enough to go snorkeling in the water fountain at the mall?

Yes, I would totally do that!

3. Do you sometimes hate everything and everyone around you?

Sure, sometimes I do. But not often.

4. Do you secretly or openly believe the world revolves around you?

No, although I know at times I can be selfish.

5. Would you rather buy a moped or a Harley Davidson?

A moped I guess, but only if I lived in Bermuda!

6. Do you water ski or ice ski?

I've never done either, but I've always wanted to go water skiing, my whole life!

7. Tell us about the last time that you tailgated.

I don't know that I ever have! Lame, huh?

8. What was the last concert that you attended?

It's been a while. I think Blue Man Group was the last one. But we're going to see John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan, and Willie Nelson next month!

9. What’s the most exotic food that you’ve ate?

Nothing too far out, but I've eaten escargot and frog legs on a cruise once.


Six Word Saturday


Whew! Saturday really crept up on me. I almost forgot about doing these two memes! If you're playing along with SWS today, be sure to link up here! Here are my six:

Mystery Shopper Extraordinaire, At Your Service

Why? Because I'm doing a trillion shops a month lately, and I'm on overload right now! I better hurry up here; I've got five long reports to do tonight!


Aloha Friday Fragments


It's that time of the week again - TGIF! If you're fragmenting today, be sure to link up here! A few thoughts, and then some cute quotes:

☼ I really hate abridged blog entries on Google Reader. I don't know Bloglines or any other readers, but I hate it when the blog entries say "click over to read the rest of this entry" on GR. It makes me less likely to read the whole post - and subsequently, comment. I really need to be captured by the first couple of sentences in order to click that link, and it rarely happens. Go back to showing the whole post in Reader!

☼ Does anyone actually watch I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Outta Here??? Really?!

☼ On the other hand, I adore So You Think You Can Dance (although, seriously, what's with the super-long reality TV titles?). It's one show that can get me to put down my knitting and look up at the screen. Do you watch?

☼ Sophia, 4: "I like roly-poly bugs and ladybugs AND butterflies. I like ALL those animals!"

☼ Jack, 6: "Is Bounce (our pet bunny who just died) going to go to heaven?"

Sophia: "I think he'd rather hop to Great Wolf Lodge."

☼ Chloë, 7½: "Is there such a thing as Ancient Virginia?"

☼ Jack: "How old is Daddy?"

Mommy: "Almost 37."

Jack: "Wow, he's almost OLD?!  He's almost 100?!!"

☼ Chloë: "What did you eat when you went to Europe?"

Mommy: "Oh, a little bit of everything..."

Chloë: "Even tomatoes?!"

☼ Sophia, remembering that Bounce is, uh, in the deep freezer until we have a chance to bury him, talking to him in the freezer, "Hey, Bounce, are you eating all the pizza in there?"

Crack me up, these kids do.


 So now, a question for all of you hear for Aloha Friday:

 What's your favorite downtime activity? If you're a crafter, what do you?


I Think I Can, I Think I Can...

Well. I lost four pounds since last week, for a total of 96.3. I'm almost to the big 1-0-0!  Excited, me.

Not a whole lot exciting today. The kids had their last day of school, which is awesome. Three months of lah-di-dah! They've already started on their workbooks and have declared them pretty fun, so hopefully they'll finish them and collect their 1000 points this summer.

So we were in the middle of doing our three mystery shops this evening (Williams-Sonoma and 2 Sonics) when I called my gran'pappy to wish him a happy 83rd birthday. He was doing all right, except he has this big growth in this throat that hasn't been looked at yet. Ugh, if he lived here, I could get him to the Naval hospital (he's earned it; he's a WWII Navy vet) in a day, dammit.

So then he cried, telling me that none of my three cousins, or my uncle - who live 8 miles from him in Ft. Lauderdale, mind you - even called him today. Which made me cry, and Rob, too. I was pretty freaking pissed off. None of them ever go see him. They don't pick him up from "the home" and take him to lunch. They don't check on him. And they don't call him on his effing birthday!!!

I would give anything to have him come here. I've begged and pleaded.  So has my sister, but he can't stand the cold where she is in Upstate NY.  If we couldn't find a decent place for him here, hell, he could live with us. He can't be by himself or he won't eat, but dang, the flipping nurse who gives him his daily shots of insulin brought him a bag of Milky Way bars for his birthday today! Hello, he is diabetic!!!

Phew. I'm off on a bit of a rant, sorry.

Anyway, aside from wanting him to come move up here, I asked him what we could send him, because he's not been eating lunch. They serve the same thing for lunch as they do for that dinner, and he pays thousands a month to be there. Ridiculous. So what, crackers and soup, what? He joked, "You know what I'd like? Some nice lobster tails, some shrimp... I'd love to go to Red Lobster!"

Well, I can't make it down to Florida anytime soon, but we decided we really would like to do that for him. I know there are places online that will send a lobster bake, but are they cooked? I don't know. I thought about calling up his local Red Lobster manager and begging him to deliver to my grandpa, or calling up the Publix (supermarket) and having them steam some seafood for him and bring it to him. (He no longer drives; his car was stolen and anyway, this is not a man you really want behind the wheel.)

So if you have any ideas for making this happen for him, hit me with 'em!

Then I was looking at all our bank accounts tonight and realized that with the Christmas money we're saving, we could do something different than the same ol' pile of presents that we do every year, which quickly get tossed aside in reach for the next big thing. I thought, why not a trip to Great Wolf Lodge for a night or two with that money, instead? [Note: they would still get their stockings, because that's a tradition I won't break.]

So I put it to the kids, and 3/3 of them decided they'd like the trip over the presents! Awesome! They all loved the idea of Great Wolf Lodge, but that's because it's awesome it's the only place I could think of to offer them.  Do y'all have any other ideas? Chloë also said she'd "like to go to Williamsburg," but (1) GWL is in Williamsburg, and (2) so are so many other things that we will or have gone to this year, like Water Country USA & Busch Gardens.  And we will also have gone to the Outer Banks, NC, at least twice this year, too.

So any other idears for a not-very-expensive (in the range of $4-500) fun thing we could do instead of GWL? I'd love to hear those, too!

Thanks and stay tuned for Friday Fragments!


Errand Girl

So today was the second-to-last day of school. Woohoo, good-bye crazy days, hello lazy days! I can't wait to sleep in every morning. I'm a big fan of the sleeping in. It's a good thing.

Both of the Bigs had parties at school today. And Jack had one yesterday. What's with back-to-back parties? I don't know. I guess it's a way to waste an otherwise unscheduled day. I can't get anything out of the boy about the parties, but I know they both had Burger King and got Pokémon stuff in their happy meals. Not exactly sure I love that that's what they're serving, of course. Today was an ice cream party for Jack, and he won't even say what flavor he had. The boy can be so stubborn!

We mostly just hung out after school until it was time for dance class. The Littles showed signs of fatigue, but when I tried to send them upstairs for naps, they just ran around and played. So I sent them along with Rob to dancy-prancy class (Jazz today) and took a nap myself.

I had a dirty dream about Macolm Jamal-Warner. The current, be-dredlocked one, not the Theo Huxtable one. My phone rang just as things were getting good. Damn it.

Speaking of my phone ringing, the doofy guy from the carpet place who did our floor insurance quote? Called me at 7:45 this morning. Seven Forty-Five!! Granted, I was up and getting the kids ready for school, but what kind of business person calls people at that hour? Don't places generally open at nine? At least eight! I was fumigating. So that was the last straw with this nitwit. Rob called him up and told him we were going with someone else, and he hemmed and hawed and tried to keep us, but nope. Nope, nope, nope. I'm just not comfortable being in the house alone with him, honestly.


After Rob and the chillens came home from Jazz, I nabbed Chloë and ran around doing all kinds of errands:

First, we went to Jeté, the dancewear store off Independence, to get the things she needed for next week's show. I was just going to buy the pink ballet shoes and black ballet shoes, but they told me to spray-paint the current shoes black and save myself some moulah. Done deal. We got her pink tights, hair pins and hair net for her bun, and were on our way. She wanted to carry the bag. She always wants to carry the bag.

Our next stop was the party store for a mystery shop. I had to go to the bathroom so bad but could not find it! So we did the shop as quickly as we could and then I finally found it. Phew. Emergency averted.

Since we were near TAPS then (the teacher and parents store), I decided to go in and get the workbooks I'd been planning to buy for the kids. I got some math and reading ones for Jack and Chloë, and a pre-K one for Sophia. When they complete the books - and they're all right - they'll get 1,000 points each for the Game of Life. It should keep them busy this summer and hopefully will make up for the lengthy summer we're going to have now that the year-round schedule is no more.

I had to go to Michael's after that for the black spray paint. I found some yellow thread and flat scissors to replace my sewing shears, and some glow sticks for the 4th of July on clearance for a buck. That will be fun. Chloë wanted to wait in the car, because she was so intrigued by the cursive workbook I'd gotten for her. She's been dying to learn cursive and has been able to read it for a while now. Mine, anyway.

Our last stop was to the Girl Scout cookie chair's house to pick up all the patches and things from the cookie sale. I'd raced to get there by her 8 pm deadline, and it was 8:03 when we arrived. She growled at me. Oh well!  They just called to have me come there at quarter after 7, and what, I'm supposed to just drop everything? But I wanted to have them so our troop leader could give out the rewards at this Friday's end-of-year skating party.

Soooo, back at home, Rob had dinner ready for the kids. I did a bunch of knitting on the Band-Aid blanket while watching So You Think You Can Dance. I love that show. I kept having to stop to watch the dances, though, so I only got about 11 rows done instead of the planned 16, but whatev. It'll get done when it gets done.

After the show, I went outside and spray-painted the ballet shoes black. And then it started to rain! So I have them outside but covered up, because I don't know where I can safely keep them in the house without getting black all over. Argh. I guess I can just spray them again if they get ruined.

So now I'm not sure if I'm going to watch Conan and keep knitting, do some sewing, or just go to bed. I am feeling pretty yawny. I think bed.


Blue Plate Special

The last few days have been filled with naps (because Rob is sick, I'm tired and not getting any extra energy from the daily iron I've been taking, and we've been wearing out the kids!) and mystery shops. Lots of shops.

On Saturday, Chloë had her rehearsal for the big show next week. She's in both Acts this year, so it was a long day of dancing for her. I can't wait to see how all the work has paid off!  In the early evening, we took the kids bowling for a shop. We haven't done that one in a long time; I think Sophia was still sitting it out in the stroller the last time! We had a great deal of fun and are looking forward to the next one.

By the way, did you know that kids can bowl free all summer at AMF lanes? Check their website for deets and to sign up. We joined!

Sunday was supposed to be lunch at Aldo's, but we got there and, lo and behold, they're not open for lunch on Sundays. Argh. I was pretty annoyed to drive all the way out there and discover this was the reason no one answered the phone, even though I was scheduled for that time. We did go to Tijuana Flats again for a dinner shop, and it was great as usual. I couldn't eat much, though, which didn't particularly surprise me. Again, lately, I'm feeling like giving up food for good. I'm bored of it.

Monday, after Chloë's Tap class, we had lots of shops - all in Norfolk. The first was at Panera. I tried to eat there again, though the first time I ate there soon after surgery didn't go so well. It still didn't. But Rob and the kids enjoyed their food, so... oh, well. I just won't try to eat there again. I do love it so.

The rest of the shops were at MacArthur Center Mall. I forgot my purse at home, which was really annoying, because I kept having to get Rob to pay for the things I needed to buy. Dumb-dumb.

First, we shopped at Coach. Yes, Coach! I'm not into the whole hundreds-of-dollars-for-a-stupid-bag thing, so I wasn't that excited. I really liked the wallets she was showing me - and I need a new one - but not for $240! Geez. I had to buy something though, so I picked up the cheapest thing I could find: a Coach keychain. Little did I know it would cost $40. For a stinkin' keychain! That will be going back on my next visit, oh hell yeah. Tsk, ridiculous.

Next up was Williams-Sonoma. How we do love going in there. That was relatively simple and painless. I picked up another Bunco prize for it there, although Linda bummed part of it off me when we hung out today! Stinker.

The last place was the Rosetta Stone kiosk. Oh, my! I loved the program! I told the girl I was going to Spain and needed to brush up on my Spanish, so she took me through lots of the lessons. What an awesome program! I really wish I could have bought a system, but not for $350!  If I ever really needed to learn a language, though, I would definitely do it. I highly recommend it; it's so fun and engaging.

Today, Linda picked up the Littles and me after Jack came home from school. He had a Burger King party in his class, so you'd have thought he'd be in a great mood, but no. Still the same grumpypants as usual.

We went down to the oceanfront for lunch, and it was great except for the flies all over the place. Hello, I have flies in my kitchen, I don't want to see it when I got out to eat, too! That was gross. But the food was awesome and the company was great. Lots of fun hanging out with Linda.

We came back to our house to wait for Chloë to get home and take her to dance, which was a couple hours. Linda helped me get the kids to clean up their messes downstairs, and she did such a great job, I tried to hire her to do it every day. She declined. Rats.

So we dropped Curly Sue off at Ballet and then waited while Rob showed up to collect the Littles. Then we headed off to the mall to do a pretzel shop (yum, although too bad I couldn't eat it), and then back near our house to do Panera. Linda was loving all the free food today! Good stuff, too.

So that's it, really. I've got reports to do. More shops tomorrow! I don't know why I like it so much; I just do.





He Didn't Make It

Bounce is gone.

He died sometime today. Rob found him, flopped over in his litter box, stiff.

I called the kids over and gently broke the news. Jack immediately burst into tears, followed by Chloë. They cried a river. Jack was especially heart broken; I know he loved that bunny so much.

Sophie hasn't cried. Her role was to make sure that our other pets are still alive and well, and find out when Bounce is going to get better. At that age, it's hard to really understand that gone is gone forever.

I'm so sad. I was really hoping he would pull through. Rob cried, but I did all my sobbing at the vet the other day. I'll probably weep a little tomorrow when we bury him and give him a little funeral service.

They already want another bunny. Maybe we'll get one at the end of summer. For now, let's just get through the busy season with the two healthy critters we've got.


Her Mother's Daughter


First, a special hello to Dion-le-mont, Brabant, which I gather is in Belgium. Hello! I see you reading all the time and thought I'd welcome you here. Say hi if you wish.


Sophia had a bit of a rough night, sleep-wise. She used to be an excellent sleeper, waking up in the late morning and then taking long afternoon naps, but I'm afraid that's long since gone by the wayside. Last night, she and her mother both stayed up all night. I fear for her. It's an awfully tough life, not being able to sleep at night. She's far too young to be doing that.  This was her at five in the morning.


I didn't know she'd been up all night, quietly playing in her room, until she came down at five and put her hand on her arm. She scared me half to death; I screamed bloody murder! Which made her stare at me like I was nuts... Poor thing. At that point, I heated her up some milk to try and help her sleep. I didn't know what else to do; it was too early to call someone. Around six, Rob came down to get ready for work, and he carried her back to bed. Finally, she slept, but only 'til about 10:30.  Tonight, though, she crashed immediately. Phew.


I got a lot of work done during my all-nighter. First, I pulled out some rough wool that I'd bought at MD Sheep and Wool last year. I'd originally bought it to make thick socks for Rob, at his request, but I just don't terribly enjoy making socks! So I started a diaper soaker in crochet. Unfortunately, it's charcoal-colored, so you can barely see the pattern... and I'll probably wash it (and felt it) to make it softer. Steph, if you want this for your wee babe-to-bee when it's finished, be my guest.

When I got sick of the rough wool and somewhat simple, boring construction, I started knitting. I wanted something a bit more complicated and challenging, so I chose the above baby blanket in cables and lace.  That yarn was donated to me by Artyarns. What do you think of it? The texture itself is divine, as is anything by Artyarns, but the colorway? Kinda makes me gag. It looks like a giant band-aid. Rob doesn't hate it, so I'm wondering if it's just me. Maybe it'll look better, too, when the thing is all finished and not so squunched up on the needles. I can't wait to see, but this is going to be a project long in the making. I've been working on it off and on all day, but it's going to take many more hours than that.


All life is beautiful, in Sophie's mind. I love that about her. She may follow in her mom's footsteps and become a biologist! Today, her obsession was with roly-poly pill bugs. She was in and out of the backyard all day, collecting them, showing them to me, and then dropping and losing them on the carpet. I didn't enjoy that part of it, so I kept ordering her to put them back outside! I don't mind bugs, but I don't want them in my house.

She and Chloë had a run-in last night, which caused Chloë to fall into one of the squared wooden posts surrounding our office. Her elbow swelled up huge and had a big cut across it. Ice really didn't help. This morning, the swelling was even greater, and it was extremely tender to the touch. So I called Rob to come home and take her to the ER, to make sure it wasn't broken or something. Which sucked, because today was Field Day at school, and she'd been looking forward to it for weeks.

They were gone, and Sophie was sleeping, so I took Jack in hand ("Why, Mom?" He's too grown) and walked him down to the bus stop. He didn't stay by me at all, preferring to run around with the other kids his age and forget that I existed. I called out a good-bye to him when he was lining up for the bus, but he didn't look at me or answer. Finally, just before he stepped up into the bus, he looked at me, smiled a small smile, and waved a quick wave. I was overjoyed. He loves me. I know he does. The little stinker.

At last, Rob called with the news that Chloë's elbow was just badly bruised, not broken. That was a relief. I wasn't looking forward to the annoyance of a cast all summer, for her.  He brought her home to get her things, and he whisked her back off again to play some field games. We forgot to put sunscreen on her, I just realized. Crap.



I took a break from the band-aid blanket to sew in the ends of the little sockies. Sophie claimed them right away, so I let her model them. I don't love the pattern in practice as much as I liked it in the pictures. The ankles are far too wide. I'd change that the next time. Though these are made of ultra soft merino (Artyarns Ultramerino 4 in blue and KPPPM in green), I plan on just throwing them in with the regular wash to see what happens.  Maybe they'll fit better. They are cute.

So the kids came home, exuberant from the fun at Field Day. Although Jack was instantly cranky, as he always is when he's hungry and tired, and barely ate any lunch. I sent him for a nap (that's a boy who still needs lots of sleep), and he was gone for hours. Chloë enjoyed her day, and now there are just four left before school is out. Yay! No more homework for the rest of the year.

We tried to watch Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 after bedtime, but the DVD wouldn't play. Grr. Back to Netflix it goes. So we started Harold & Kumar - Guantanamo Bay (I forget the actual title), but about 20 minutes in, I needed to sleep. So far, so funny!

Another busy weekend for us, so I better get some more sleep...


Saturday 9: Games People Play


Be sure to link up with Crazy Sam if you're playing along today!

1. What was your favorite active game as a child?

Probably good, old-fashioned Freeze Tag. I loved that game!

2. What was your favorite board game as a child?

This game of my mother's called Careers. Does anyone remember that??

3. Tell us about a friend you played these games with in your youth.

My sister, Stacey, was my constant playmate. Just 17 months older, we were together through thick and thin.  Thank goodness, we're still very close. I love her to death!

4. What is your favorite card game?

That would have to be Uno. I played with my NJ grandmother, on top of her bed, every day that I visited her. She made us keep score, so we could do well at addition. Good plan!

5. What board games do you enjoy now?

I love Monopoly, but no one will ever play it with me! My husband and I used to enjoy a good game of Scrabble, though we haven't in a while. I have to admit, I hate children's board games, so I rarely play my kids' games with them.

6. Do you play video games? Which ones?

Well, if it counts, I am on the Wii Fit regularly. Other than that, I sometimes play the games on Webkinz, to get Kinzcash for my daughter to spend. :P

7. Tell us about the friends you play games with now.

I have a regular monthly Bunco group. Do you play? You should, it's so fun!  I look forward to it every month - except next month, when I have to host.

8. Do you play any sports now?

Not really, I was never into sports. I do love anything water-related, though.

9. What’s your favorite sport to watch?

Gymnastics and figure skating. I wish I could do that!