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Entries from September 2009

Quick Like A Bunny

I still can't figure out how to get the pictures off my new camera, and I haven't had time to sit and figure it out. I don't know why I've suddenly come down with a case of Acute Idiocy, but I hope it clears up soon. I want my pictures!

I found out today that the psycho mom at the bus stop (not the one who beat her kid - she no longer comes to the bus stop - but the other one on whom I called CPS a while back) is moving to Connecticut in a few weeks. Ding dong, the witch is dead! I can't wait until she's gone. Seeing her sour face every morning and afternoon at the bus stop really brings down my mood.

I didn't have to work until 10 this morning, and I made the bad choice of going back to sleep after I put the kids on the bus. I figured on a half-hour's last-minute sleep, but it ended up being more like an hour-plus. Oopsy. I had just enough time to run through the shower and whisk off to the store. But I was on time, at least!

Today, they started off by putting me with someone to learn the U-Scan, which is the four customer-scanning register set. Most of the other cashiers haven't learned U-Scan, and I caught a few of them giving me the "WTF?!" look during that time. It's nice to know they think I'm capable of what some aren't, but truth be told, it's extremely boring and I hate it. I'd much rather run the register myself and keep busy. The U-Scan time dragged on slooooowly.

Then I ran the register for about 3-4 orders with Timothy, who taught me U-Scan, before he got sick of standing around doing nothing and demanded I be put by myself.  So, they did. I still don't have my own cashier numbers, so I ran on his number all day, and so did he, which is weird. Again, if it were me, I'd be pissed to have someone else running my number, but they run things really weird at this store compared to Publix, where I worked through college. Holy lot of run-ons, batman. But I do tend to run on, don't I...?

So that went fine. I wore the boot to work, and gave them my doctor's note, earning me the nickname "Hop-Along" for the day. I kind of wish I could just wear the Crocs; they are so much more comfortable than that stupid post-op shoe that doesn't fit! Oh, and to answer your many questions, I wear anywhere from a 5 to a 7 shoe, depending on the brand. Not exactly minuscule, but smallish. I don't know why the ER couldn't have maybe given me a kid's boot? The one I have is supposedly a Small and yet it extends 2" past my toes.

I had another customer I knew today - one of the brownies moms who had gastric bypass 2 months before I did.  I don't like her a whole ton, but she looks great. She's friendlier-seeming now that we have that in common, I think. We both complimented each other on our disappearing selves. I wonder who I'll run into tomorrow!

Oh, I know. Rob and Jack! I have to work again, so Rob is taking time off to get Jack to the hospital to pick up his new leg braces. I told him to swing by the store after and show me. I can't wait to see, and I'm really disappointed I can't go to that appointment. I hate missing such stuff.

After work, I had my hands full with my wallet, keys, iPhone, knitting, mail, a Coke... so when I was unlocking the front door, the iPhone slipped from my hands and smashed onto the brick threshold. My first thought was, "Oops, Rob's going to kill me for dropping it yet again." I drop it a LOT. But then, I looked down and saw that the screen was completely smashed to smithereens. Just demolished. Obliterated. I did a double-take, and maybe a triple. I couldn't believe it! I'd just completely ruined my latest obsession. Fuuuuuuuuuck!!!

I was so pissed. Like, furious. At myself, of course. Who else? It's my fault for quitting the purse-carrying lately. I don't know why I did, other than someone telling me recently that purses were dorky, and another someone telling me she was too cool for a purse, and another someone telling me her kid said "purses are for old ladies." Peer pressure, I guess! Dumb, dumb, dumb.

So I called AT&T and got the bad news that my $199 iPhone was now going to cost me $399 to replace with the early upgrade option, or $599 if I didn't use it. Hello! I JUST bought it in August! (I did find out that the protection plan doesn't cover dropping it, so at least I didn't kick myself in the butt over that one.)

I absolutely refused to do that, though, so I got Apple's phone number from them and found out they could give me a new phone for $199. Perfect! I made an appointment for tomorrow night, but they said I could do a walk-in tonight and see if they could fit me in. Yeah. Appointments at the Apple store. Who knew?

This post is turning out NOT to be as quick as I'd planned...

Anyhoo, the Littles and I took Chloƫ to her Jazz class and then ran to the Post Office. I had to mail back two Netflix movies we'd found during the floor thing, which I'd, uh, reported missing. And a Blu-Ray movie I just sold on eBay, and Jack's big box of 2T clothes which I'd also just sold on eBay, and a huge packet of expired coupons to an overseas Navy base, which I do every month. The Littles went inside with me, of course, and made everyone giggle over their antics. Well, most people. They kept fighting over who got to drop the package in the chute. It's a favorite job for them.

We were on our way to Sonic (I had another hankering for that egg-and-cheese croissanwich that made me barf while driving last week) (I never learn), when Rob texted me that he was home. Perfect! We ran home instead and picked him up, getting back to dance class just in time to get Curls.

The next stop was MacArthur Center, the big mall in downtown Norfolk where the Apple store is located. The "concierge" greeted us, with major attitude, and told me that no, I would NOT be getting a new phone for $199 but rather just a replacement screen. And furthermore, I could be waiting for hours if he put me in on stand-by without an appointment. Hum, okay... I had him put me on the list anyway.

I waited about 20 minutes. In that time, I realized that the Apple store, and Apple users in general, seem to be in their own little sub-culture of Weird. They are funky, they are snobby, they are assholes. I'm not saying they ALL are, but that was really the pervading nature of almost everyone I witnessed, both customers and employees alike. Huh.

Except for the nice young girl who came out to be my Tech Support person. She whisked my phone off to the secret little hidey-hole in the back where they Make Things New Again, and she came back out to tell me that she was out of replacement screens, so I would be getting a brand-new phone after all. Great! Honestly, I almost would have rather had the new screen, because then I wouldn't have to worry about losing any of my calendar data, my notes, my contacts, my apps, my whole life which was on that phone. But especially my calendar.

I got the new phone, coughed up the 200 smackers that we don't have, paid my stupid two-dollar parking bill (paid parking at a mall! Psht), and drove a handful of blocks away to the Norfolk Waterside. I had picked up a last-minute bonused dinner shop at H******s, the T&A wings place we all know and, um, love. 

The kids ate really well, even Jack, and they inhaled their dessert. We just sat back and watched the forks fly. It was amusing, to say the least. The Server was amused at how fast it disappeared into such small children. When it comes to sweets, my kids don't mess around! You'd think they never got any, but they do. Sillies.


We came home, and while I helped Jack and Chloƫ finish their homework, I synced up my new iPhone to my iTunes account. And I was right to be worried. My contacts and apps survived the move, but my notes and calendar are completely gone. I am lost without my calendar. I'm really pretty bummed about it. I know I'm going to forget important things, because I no longer have them. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays... all gone, but even worse? Appointments, schedules, shops... I have no clue. Now what??!

I guess maybe I'll call the Apple store in the morning and see if they still have the old phone, and see if I can go get it or something. I NEED my data!

On that note, I'm going to take out my contacts and hit the hay.


Back In The Boot

First, I'd really like to share a couple of pictures with you - nothing special, just something to spice up this post a bit - but I still can't figure out how to get the pictures off my new camera! I've read the manual. I've done what it says. No dice. Bah! I'm getting frustrated.


Nothing really exciting happened before school, except that Virginia, the little girl who comes in the morning to go to wait for the bus with us, didn't come all last week, so I wasn't expecting her today. Imagine the fun when she walked into the house, and I was standing in the kitchen in just a bra and undies! And her big sister came in, too. I will get dressed first thing, from now on...

I worked six hours today, while the kids were at school. This time, I trained on the register. I did really well, and they kept leaving me alone while the girl training me had to go off and do different tasks. I think I pass. I got my own register a half-hour before I had to leave, so I guess one day of training was sufficient!

And I made friends with the girl who was training me, R. She's Romanian and close to my age and super nice. We talked all day long and now know half each others' lives! She doesn't have a car, so I gave her my number to call if she ever needs a ride. Hopefully she realized I meant it.

My day was made again today. My friend Christine, whom I worked with on the PTA board a lot the year before last, came in with her new baby. She exclaimed a great deal over how much weight I've lost and how good I look, which was nice. We agreed to do a lunch date soon.

Not only that, but people kept asking me if this was my first time working as a cashier, what I did before, blah blah. I kept saying I've been a stay-home mom for the past nearly-9 years, and they all said the same thing: "But you don't look old enough!"

To which, of course, I always asked, "How old do you think I am?" The answers ranged from 20 to 24. Whenever I informed them that I am, in fact, 33, their faces always registered disbelief. I got a lot of "Wow, you don't look anywhere near that!" Hey, I'll take it. I'm certain that I looked older when I was so much fatter, but now that I've lost a lot of the weight, I look younger again. It's not a bad thing! And it kept me smiling all day.

The only downside to working was that my broken toe, shoved in my sneaker all day, was absolutely killing me. KILLING. I was so relieved to sit down for my 15-min break and get off that foot. It hurt so much that, two weeks after I broke it, I finally took myself to the ER tonight to get a doctor's note. I'm only supposed to wear sneakers to work, but my Crocs are so much roomier and comfier for the toe, so I wanted a note from the ER.

They decided to do an x-ray, even though I've broken it at least three times before and assured them I knew it was broken again. It wasn't swollen or bruised anymore, so they thought it was just a sprain. Lo and behold, it's actually a good-sized fracture in that little toe, in the doc's words, "enough to be pretty uncomfortable." He couldn't believe I haven't been taking anything for the pain. Hey, my insides have been cut open five times now, I think I can handle a little tiny broken toe. Well, except when I have to wear tight sneakers, I guess!

So I got the note - and a lovely post-op shoe, to boot. (Pardon my pun.) They wanted something more supportive than the Crocs, I guess, although it seems less so to me since the size-small shoe they gave me is way too big. I have bitty feet. Not fun to drive in that thing. Hopefully when I go to work tomorrow with the note, it'll be no big deal. I hate to cause a fuss when I'm brandy-spanky new.

Oh, and speaking of looking 20? Yeah, I certainly don't feel 20. I thought I did, at least post-mega weight loss, but no, not so much. By the time I punched out, my joints were aching from neck to feet. I mean, bad. I couldn't wait to get the kids home and send the Littles for a nap so I could take one myself. Everything was stiff and sore, and I'm already over this work thing! The little bit of extra money will be nice, but I could do without all the bending and lifting all day long.

Yeah, I'm a whiner.

A tired whiner. I'm full of yawns. G'night.


Meal Plan Monday


Be sure and link up with Organizing Junkie if you're planning your meals this week. I almost forgot! I have a lot of Schwan's on the list again, so don't be too impressed by my cooking. Here goes:

Monday:  snap peas, egg rolls, teriyaki wings (Never made this last week, so we made it tonight. The kids didn't eat a thing. Bah!)

Tuesday: Tortellini with saue, garlic bread & green beans

Wednesday: Rob - BBQ Pork; Kids - chicken nuggets. All - rice mix & peas

Thursday: Chicken alfredo meal kit

Friday: Pierogies with cheese balls & snap peas (or maybe pizza if we go to Bingo night)

Saturday: Frozen pizza (or Friday's dinner, if we go to Bingo night)

Sunday: Chicken foil meal (en papillote) with Suddenly Salad pasta & canned peas (or maybe the cornish game hens in the crockpot, which I have yet to make)

Lots of room for flexibility!


Eight Months Out

Friday night, I stayed up wicked late hosting my monthly online crochet-a-thon, so I was exhausted come Saturday morning. We had another early day, this time for Sophie's soccer game first. Chloƫ's wasn't until after noon.

Saturday was my 8-month surgiversary, so I weighed in - 127 lbs gone forever! And a lot of people have been commenting on it lately. At Chloƫ's math LD meeting at school last week, Mrs. P., the assistant principal, stopped me and said, "You look GREAT! Really GREAT!" I thanked her, and she said she hoped it was a planned thing and not that I was really sick or something. I told her about the surgery, and she asked me whether I was recovering well and all that. But it made up for no one saying anything at the back-to-school picnic!

That same day, I came home and my neighbor, Mr. C. told me that I must have lost a lot of weight. Again, I told him about the surgery, and he said, "Well, it looks really good on you!" And today, our neighbor on the other side, Ms. P., said, "You're doing great with your weight loss, it looks really great!" 

Oh, and last night at work, I ran into K, who used to work at the Farm Fresh around the corner from us. She was my buddy; I always went through her check-out line. But it's been so long since I've seen her, that I didn't quite remember where I knew her. Finally, she came up to me and asked if I was the FF customer who used to carry a ton of canvas bags and always had a lot of coupons. I laughed and assured her it was me. She said, "Wow, you've lost so much weight, I almost didn't recognize you! You look amazing!"

So yeah, 8 months out, and I'm doing fine. I can deal with all these nice compliments I'm getting lately! My goal now is to be below the 200-lb mark by my one-year surgiversary. That's only 14 lbs away, which is 3.5 lbs a month. I think I can do it! To get there, I'm amping up the protein intake and drinking as many shakes as I can stand. Working is going to interfere with that - I basically don't eat anything on my breaks, because... oh wait, I just remembered there is a fridge in the break room. Duh. I'll have to bring a shake to work for my breaks from now on. 


Anyway, back to Sophia's game: We had super-low expectations, based on last weekend's lack of play. Basically, we wanted her to go to the game and at least cheer her team-mates on from the sidelines. But then she said she wanted to go out and play, holding Daddy's hand. No sooner did they get on the field, than she changed her mind and balked. Rob refused to carry her around, so I carried her out to mid-field and plopped down with her. I tried again to get her to agree to run around holding Rob's hand, but this is what she did:


She hid under the watercooler chair for I-don't-know-how-long, until I gave up and just sat next to her, cheering on her teammates. She eventually came out and joined me, and then, surprising me, decided to go out and run with her Dad. I waved Rob over, and they went out and kicked the ball a few times with the team. Go, Sophie!


Mostly, she stayed on the sidelines with me, while her Coach (up there with the yellow shirts) tried to encourage her to play. Then, a second time, she agreed to run out there with her dad! Again, they only stayed for a few minutes, but she got a kick or two in and made us proud. Finally, in the last quarter of the game, she went out by herself without telling me she was going and stole the ball. She ran and ran with it toward the goal and very nearly made a goal, but missed. We were all shocked - Coach, Dad, and me! As Coach said, "I didn't know she had it in her!" Well, we did, but not during a game. Way to go, Soph!

During the game, while I was sitting mid-field (not in the way, the field halves are separated), I would talk to the other girls who were taking a break from play. One girl, Athena, told me all about her doggy who just went to heaven. Poor thing. And another girl, Alyssa, came sobbing into my arms to be held. I asked her if she was hurt, and she said, "No, my daddy says I have to do it right, but I just can't!" My heart broke for her. Hello, these girls are FOUR. It's about having fun, not excelling at soccer. I'd sure hate to hear that conversation on the way home, in the car. :(


Of course, Sophie's favorite part of the game is when it's over, and they get an awesome snack. Here, Coach J is telling all the girls (and their parents, since the kids aren't listening) what a great job they all did. I like him. I like both girls' coaches, actually. They really seem to care a lot about the girls' feelings as well as teaching them about the game. Unlike Jack's coach when he started at 4yo, who was a total dickwad!

After the game, we rushed home to get some lunch and have Jack get ready to sell popcorn again. He is getting so sick of it! He and Dad went off to their show-and-sell, where apparently he snapped back to life and did a really great job. They made a ton of money at that sale. Someone even bought Jack a $20 can of popcorn! Of course, that made his day. They worked the sale with a really nice father-and-son team, and the two hours went fast.

CHloƫ's soccer warm-up

Meanwhile, we went back to the soccer field for Chloƫ's game. The prior game went way overtime, so the girls warmed up in a nearby area of the field for a while. I encouraged the hell out of my kid and even told her I'd give her, oh, I forget, maybe $10-15 Dad Dollars if she made a goal! In the end, I don't think I should have done that, because for her, it ended up being all about making a goal. She is very unsure, not confident, and intimidated by the other girls on her team - many of whom are practically twice her size - so she basically walked around through the whole game and did nothing. Sometimes she ran, especially when she caught my eye and I waved her on, but mostly she walked around, playing with her curls.

I could tell that she was just too afraid to get into the mix and try to get at that ball. So she hung back, afraid to get hurt or trampled, and did nothing. After the game, she came up to me, sobbing about not getting to make a goal. I hugged her tightly and, darn it, started crying myself.  I told her how proud I was of her just getting out there and running with her team, and that I knew how she felt. We went over and talked to Coach M, who hugged her and told her that she did a great job, showed some real hustle, and that he would put her in whatever position she wanted to try. She chose the middle, so I guess he'll put her their at the next practice. But he was very sweet and soft, and he encouraged her and made her - and me - feel better. I like the guy, gosh darn it.

Oh, and since there are only 7 teams, the Purple Dolphins didn't have another team to play against this week, so they split in half and played themselves. No win, no loss.

Sophie in bag

Here's where Sophie spent much of Chloƫ's game! She was cold and tired, so she huddled up in one of Rob's camp chairs. It was pretty cute. When she wasn't doing that, she ran around with our soccer ball and the other tag-along siblings, or catching bugs, or visiting the other parents and telling them her short life story. She's a charmer, that one!

We pretty much finished the game at the same time the boys finished the popcorn sale, so I wanted them to meet us at the S***c where I had a mystery shop. They never made it and went home instead, so the girls got to eat the lunch themselves. We missed church that night, because Rob was working on his truck. I don't know what's going on with his truck and his motorcycle - every other day, one of them has a dead battery and needs to be jumped. It's driving me nuts. But he doesn't think the batteries are the problem, so... I dunno. Whatever!

I took a nap and then did another S***c shop at night, by myself this time, since Rob had cooked a frozen pizza for the kids. That was Saturday.

Sunday, I worked 12-8. I gave Rob a honey-do list of things to work on while I was gone, and he basically got very little of it done. But never mind about that. At work, I spent the entire 8 hours on the computer, doing my cashier training. It was, eh, a little interesting, but mostly old hat, since I've worked so many years in grocery, already. The only things that really piqued my interest were the differences, like how to take the different tender forms. I'll have to unlearn my old ways as I'm learning the HT way to do things. And I was given a store tour with R., a teenager who is also starting as a cashier. Nice kid. I'll probably never see him, though, except on Sundays.

Today, I worked while the kids were in school. It kind of sucked! First, I had three more training sessions to do, but because I couldn't find where they were on the computer and decided to do the tests anyway, I failed them. Hehe. (It was non-intuitive stuff that I could never have guessed.) So I was locked out of re-taking them until tomorrow.

Then, because my trainer wasn't there, no one knew what to do with me. The other cashiers on duty were all pretty new themselves, since the store just recently opened, so they didn't want them to teach me. So I had to bag groceries all day. Boring! They told me it was good to get the practice, which is when I informed them that I actually have a lot of experience bagging and cashiering (and didn't say that I'm a better bagger than any other 10 actual baggers they have hired, thank-you-very-much)! That surprised them. And it's little wonder they didn't want the cashiers training me: I caught multiple mistakes and could have taught them a thing or to!

But lest you think I'm getting too cocky, I'll admit I made a couple major blunders myself: Not once, but twice, I forgot to give the customer a bag of their groceries! When that happens to me, and I get home and discover I'm missing something, I'm pissed! So, of course, I was very apologetic and felt shamed. I'm just not used to having four bag racks set up at once, and it's easy to miss the bags in the back. Something to work on, at least.

I carried out a few orders, and one lady insisted I take a tip. I kept telling her, "I can't, I really can't!" but finally, she just threw the dollar at me and said, "Oh, yes you can, the last guy did!" and walked away. Hee. I went in and reported it, and they told me just to say "thank you" and put it in my pocket when that happens. I am all about the honesty and rule-following, though. Something of a stickler!

After the kids got home and snacked, we went back to my store to get some groceries. I hadn't paid attention to the ads for this week, but there were some really great deals. For the most part, they behaved well - and I may have bribed them to do so with the free balloons and cookies HT offers the kids. Hey, whatever works, sometimes.

Rob was home before us, and I was really sore and tired by then. He gave me a lovely foot rub and then let me take a nap. Ahhh, what a nice boy. I can forgive him for not mowing the lawn, then. ;) The menfolk went out to Jack's den meeting for Cub Scouts (or is it a pack meeting? I don't know), Sophia colored half a coloring book all night, and Chloƫ and I worked on her homework and studying for tomorrow's Social Studies test. She knows the material pretty well, so I'm expecting good things. We'll study a little more in the morning.


And one more thing: I got my new camera in the mail today. I didn't pay a lot for it - less than it would have cost to fix the old one - and I'm happy with it. It will definitely do the job for now. I haven't figured out how to charge and upload it, but I've got a few pictures from tonight to show.

Maybe later. Hope you have a good week!


The "S" Is For "Super" And The "U" Is For "Unique"


I had to go to work to sign papers and get my schedule for the rest of the week (which runs Weds to Tues) as soon as I put the kids on the bus. I was there for an hour and was happy when I found out that time was on the clock. She scheduled me for all day Sun-Mon-Tues, so that's good! Hopefully I'll continue to get good hours.

I was on my way to my S***c shop afterward, the food from which I was going to bring to Rob. He, of course, didn't take anything to eat at work, as per usual. He called, though, and said not to come, because he was going to be somewhere else all day, running a training session. So after I did my shop and finding myself with the whole day ahead of me, I decided to skedaddle on home and bake brownies to take and eat lunch with the kids at school, for a surprise.

While they baked, Birthday Girl Steph and I chatted online, and she invited Chloƫ to come with her Girl Scout troop to Disney on Ice that night. She had a free, spare ticket; did we want it? Sure! I had thought about taking the kids, but the money just wasn't there. I knew she would be thrilled to go, so we made the arrangements.

I was so excited to bring the brownies to the kids and sit with them, because I think I only did that one other time - maybe when Chloƫ was in first grade? It's just too much confusion with a toddler in tow, I think. At least for me. I brought in an extra brownie for each of the kids' teachers, and for the security officer at the front desk. She (security) turned it down, patting her belly rolls. But Jack's teacher, quite rotund, was happy and snapped hers right up! Jack at school

When Jack saw me, he was so shocked and excited! He was already sitting down and eating his lunch, and the lights were off. On Fridays, they play a movie in the cafeteria. He snuggled up against me, but he didn't talk much because he was really into the movie. That was fine; I was happy just being near him and rubbing his sweet, soft head.  The cafeteria attendant turned on the lights to be able to yell at the kid to be quiet and watch the movie, so I was able to snap this picture real quick. I'm surprised he didn't hide under the table!

The other first graders were so cute, too. I really love the K-2 set (and younger kids); they are my favorites.  I just love little kids! The girl on my left was really chatty, and she told me her life story. When another girl across the table asked her if I was her mom, she laughed and then hugged me tightly, saying, "NO, she's my FRIEND!" I loved it; I'd never seen her before in my life! She kept offering Jack apple slices from her lunch, and to my surprise, he kept eating them. Sweet girl. I wish she was the one he had a crush on! (He likes a little girl whose name I can't remember at the moment...)

When it was Chloƫ's lunchtime immediately after that, I said good-bye to Jack, which was not an easy proposition. He did not want me to go. He held me tight and started to follow me out of the cafeteria. Poor guy! I hugged and kissed him, but of course I had to make him stay with his class.

Chloƫ at school

Chloƫ's class was lined up in the hallway, and I went out there and surprised the knickers off her, too. Her teacher informed me that they eat lunch in the classroom on Fridays, but I was welcome to join them. I told her I'd baked brownies, and did she want one? Turns out, she baked brownies for the whole class, too; I was a little disappointed at that, because naturally Chloƫ wanted one of her brownies and not the treat that I'd brought her. Hey, mine was three times bigger! But I tried not to let my feelings be hurt and just enjoyed her company. She was so excited I was there and kept thanking me for coming to see her. They watched a movie, too, so while she was engrossed in that, I asked Mrs. B. if there was anything I could do for her. She let me do some filing of the kids' papers in their folders, and I was glad to feel useful and do a little classroom volunteering. I'd have done more, but she couldn't think of anything else at the time.

I had a brownie for Chloƫ's other teacher too - Mrs W., who was in the math LD meeting on Thursday - but when I passed her in the hall, I decided not to give it to her. She's such a grumpy sourpuss face all the time, and those are not the nicest words I have used in reference to her. She just seems mean and cranky, and I keep forgetting to ask Chloƫ what she's like. At first I thought that she didn't like me, but why? What reason have I given her for that? So I've since decided she must be a mean ol' crankypants, and I don't like her. So there. (Yes, I'm 12.)

I think I went home and took me a little nap after that, but I really can't remember. The kids came home, and the Bigs were all atwitter about my visit to school. I was kind of sheepish about it, because I didn't want Sophia's feelings to be hurt, but I'm not allowed to visit her class until October to get them accustomed to preschool. No visitors in September, and I already blew it once!

When Rob came home, we took Chloƫ to the meeting point for Stephanie's Girl Scout troop. (Steph has been the leader of this troop for a few years now, and they convinced her to continue even though she's not teaching at their school anymore. I think she's nuts, trying to do that with a baby on the way, and then a newborn! But then, maybe it's just 'cause I'm not really "leader" material, I don't think.) Anyway. My kids were happy to wish Steph a happy birthday, and then Stim took our Chloƫ away to the Disney show.

Sophie and Jack had each saved up enough Dad Dollars for the Happy Meal/Wacky Pack-level reward, so they wanted to go to Sonic and get their prizes. I realized later that Jack just wanted the motorcycle toy and didn't care about the food, which he barely ate. Ugh. I could have taken him to Toys 'R Us and gotten him a Hot Wheels, saving three bucks. But Sophie ate every bit of hers, of course. Kid was born to eat!

We drove to another S****c for a mystery shop I had to do, which took care of Rob's dinner. Sophie mentioned a million times that she missed her sister, which was terribly sweet. Except that Jack mentioned a million times that he did NOT. Hee.

Rob went out to get Chloƫ later, because I was stuck at home doing my monthly online charity crochet-a-thon thing. She came home bubbly and full of tales, happy to have received a nice big Disney patch for the back of her vest.

Gosh, I'm tired. I am going to save Sat & Sun for tomorrow, because I can't stay awake. I"m a working woman now, no more naps! ;)


Saturday 9: I Call Your Name


1. If you could have named yourself, which name would you have chosen, and why?

I used to love the name Kathleen, but I would have loved Penelope. Or Naomi. Something with a lot of vowels and syllables.

2. If you could relive a year in your life, what age would it be, and why?

Probably my last year in college. All three of them were great, but that last one was a doozy. Great friends, great fun, great challenges. I still think back on it often, and fondly.

3. If you could go back and change one friendship in your past, who would it have been, and why?

There is one friend whose name I won't mention, who is very bossy and demanding. Everything always has to be her way or she gets totally pissy and bitchy. I finally put a stop to it this summer, and she hasn't spoken to me since. I probably should have set things straight a long time ago (we met in 6th grade and it's always been like that!), but at 33 years old, I decided I couldn't take being her doormat anymore.

4. If you could have dated one person in your past that you did not date, who would it be, and why?

5. Missing???

Well, Chay. It probably would have changed the whole course of the last, oh, 15 years of my life, but I really should have gotten him out of my system a long time ago.

6. If you had the opportunity to live in another country, which one would it be, and why? If you choose NOT to live in another country, why do you want to stay in your current country?

Oh, I haven't lived in all the countries yet, but I would love to live so many other places! Italy, Spain, Japan, Australia... I love multiculturalism. :)

7. If you could choose your dream job, what would it be, and why?

That changes so often, it makes me dizzy. I'd have loved to have been the marine biologist I started out being. Or a dancer. Or a singer. Or just own a yarn shop. I don't know.

8. If you could wish a wish and it be guaranteed to come true (other than riches) what would it be, and why?

I'd wish for my son to come back to us.

9. If you could meet two blogger friends (you may choose more, if you wish) who would they be?

I'd love to meet Gloria, and Jen from The Daily Mish Mash! (I'm too lazy to link up right now.) :P


Friday Fragments

Friday Freewrite

If you're fragmenting today, be sure and link up with Mrs.4444! Also, Sarah from Ordinary and Awesome hosts Friday's Freewrite, which is a very similar thing, so they've joined forces. Head to both sites for more brain dumping!

ā˜»You may say that the leaves changing colors or the weather turning cooler are sure signs that Summer is over and Fall has arrived. I say that you know it's Fall when the soup coupons start coming out!

This week, I have a lot of cute quotes from my kids: Sophia, 4Ā½; Jack, 6Ā½, and ChloĆ«, 8.  Here goes:

ā˜»Out of the blue, and for no reason that we could discern, Sophie exclaimed, "I'm full of rhinoceroses!"

ā˜» If you've been reading along here, you know that we are using the Dad Dollars reward program for our kids lately. Basically, I am The Bank, doling out the Dad Dollars for the kids to place in their envelopes for doing chores, etc., which they can redeem for awesome rewards. Last night, I made Jack a special dinner (just mac & cheese), because I knew he wouldn't eat the main meal. At dessert time, he said he wanted a special dessert, too, instead of the apple dumplings I'd made, or the alternative, an ice cream sandwich.

I told him, "No, I will not give you a special dessert. You already got a special dinner, and I am NOT a restaurant!"

Sophie jumped in immediately with, "Yeah, Mommy's a bank!" It was pretty freaking funny.

ā˜»Rob was telling the kids that the brain is like the body's computer, and that you can't live without it. Sophia re-explained this for her older siblings thusly: "If you don't have a computer in your head, you'll just die all over the house!"

ā˜» Last weekend, Jack said the sweetest thing while we were going through their Fall/Winter wardrobes to remove what was too small: "No, I don't want to sell my small clothes. I want to save them and give them to my son!" ā™„

ā˜» Looking at a piece of jewelry she'd been given, ChloĆ« inquired, "Are these rhinestones real, or fake?" Um... Yup, they're real rhinestones, kiddo! ;)

ā˜»Sophie, who absolutely hated going to the old dentist, feels completely the opposite about our new one. The other day, she told us, "I'm going to break my teeth, so I can go to the new dentist!"

ā˜» Sophia was rambling away in the car, just chattering whatever came through her head. After we drove past an accident scene, she spouted off, "When I'm a grown-up, I'm going to talk about that accident! And... I'm gonna go to the movies, and you have to drive me there, because I don't know how to get there!"

And that's all I've got, folks. Happy weekend!


P.S. Happy 26th birthday, Stephanie!! oxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Mama Drama

Always interesting at the bus stop in the morning, but I wish today's incident never happened. To-wit (and this is copied directly from my post about it on Facebook, if you feel like you've read it before):

This mother was new today; she hadn't come to the bus stop before this. (I've met her before, selling cookies with ChloĆ«.) She had one baby son in a stroller, one 2yo running around, and one 5yo also running around. She stood there and did NOTHING while the boys repeatedly crossed the street, running in and out of the road without looking for cars. Finally, she swore under her breath and made her way across the street to stop them from doing it. She really didn't do ANYTHING, though, until the 2yo ran into the street just as a van was coming. The van stopped as half of us mothers started to run into the street to grab him. The mother screamed like a banshee, grabbed her little boy and yanked him up, and began beating the crap out of him, still screaming the whole time to "STOP DOING THAT!" I mean, she was in hysterics, just flailing away at him and screaming. All the rest of us were just standing there, shocked. I wish I had said something. She finally stopped.  The worst part, though? So many of the other kids at the bus stop started mimicking her screaming and wailing on her poor kid. It was absolutely horrible. There was definitely one mother in serious need of some parenting lessons. :(

So, very sad. I know all the other moms were just as stunned as I was. I wonder what will happen tomorrow, if anything, but I do wish I'd had a chance to talk to my own children about it before they got on the bus, which came immediately after that.  That sort of thing just doesn't happen around here!

At noon, I went to school to meet with the kids' Assistant Principal, ChloĆ«'s math teacher, the school psychologist, the Special Ed teacher, and 2-3 more people whose function I can't remember.  ChloĆ« has been having difficulty learning math the whole time she was in school, so we were going to discuss having her tested for a math learning disability. After much discussion, it was decided that we will put off testing her until at least January, when we will reconvene. She's a very young 3rd grader, having just turned 8 while most of the other kids have or will turn 9, and testing her will compare her to kids the same age who are mostly 2nd graders. If she doesn't qualify, we have to wait a whole year before she can be re-tested, putting her in danger of falling even further behind. She has to fall at least two years behind where she should be, and they didn't think it sounded like she was doing that badly in math. So there it stands.

In the meantime, because she is the only child having difficulty right now in her gifted cluster class, the math teacher is able to and will continue giving her extra one-on-one time to get her work done and receive extra help. Also, starting in October, she will start going to the invitation-only after school math tutoring sessions. At the January meeting, we will see if those interventions have helped her. In the meantime, the school psych thinks it may just be an age-related developmental issue, and not a true learning disability, so these few months will give her time to "age" into 3rd grade more.

I was satisfied when I left the meeting, so for now we will just do the best we can with her during homework time and keep in contact with her math teacher.

Sometime in the afternoon, before the school bus came, my bi-monthly Schwan's order arrived. The new driver guy is so nice, and he absolutely adores Tiger Lily (our German Shepherd). He was sorry he wasn't driving his own truck, because he normally carries doggy treats and didn't have any for her. Next time, he promised her! She was cool with that. Woof.

After the bus came and the kids had a snack, I sent the Littles upstairs for a nap. We had a busy evening, and I thought they could use it. I started ChloĆ« on her homework and, since I wasn't feeling well, lay down to rest until it was time to start getting ready for soccer.  Phew, that helped a lot.  Rob then took ChloĆ« to her soccer practice, and I took Jack along to Sophia's practice.

We (well, I) decided not to let Sophia quit soccer. I didn't discuss it with her, we just won't. We'll just keep taking her to the practices and the games, and if she plays, she plays - if she doesn't, she doesn't. We'll just keep exposing her to it and let her decide. The coach is supportive of this plan, unless she declares that she absolutely hates it, in which case we'll stop. She hasn't done that, yet, she just seems to peter out and refuse to do anymore running around. And she is definitely a non-conformist, always doing her own thing. I can't really condemn her for that; rather, I'd like to encourage it as long as it doesn't get in the way of her being a functional, productive human being!

Hooters - family

After soccer, we went home to wait for Dad and Chlo, and then we went out to do a dinner mystery shop. You can probably see where we went from the above picture, so no need for me to spill! ;)

Sleepy Jack

Jack was so tired during dinner, sucking his thumb and twiddling his hair (both he and Sophie do this exactly the same way, and the same as I used to do it myself as a youngster) and staring off into space. I wish I had my 'real' camera for this picture, for he looked so darling.

Sweaty Sophia

Sophie was really hot and sweaty from soccer. She actually did participate about 75% off the time at practice, and it showed! See her hair? It gets curly when she's hot and/or wet.

Hooters dessert

All three kids ate a fabulous dinner there, and I let them choose their dessert. As usual, they chose the chocolate mousse cake, which I remember fondly as being pretty darn fabulous. When the plate came, Rob stepped aside and let the kids go at it.

Feeding frenzy

It was a feeding frenzy! That cake was gone in about three minutes flat. I looked up, and it was gone. I wish they would do that with their veggies!

After dinner, we drove home, and I nearly got us in an accident. It was completely my fault, but I can't say what exactly was wrong with me. I was going top speed, right at the speed limit, up to an intersection. I saw the red lights, but it just didn't connect in my brain, and I started to charge right through the intersection. Miraculously, no one was in the intersection yet when it finally dawned on me what I was doing, and I screeched to a halt. Crisis averted, but I was quite shaken up after that! I wasn't doing anything but talking to the kids, so it just goes to show that even the smallest distraction can be too much while driving...

Rob helped Jack with his homework, and I helped Chloƫ with hers. It was really late by then, and I was going to give them a homework pass, but I decided against it when I realized tomorrow was Friday and they couldn't just make it up the next night. Chloƫ's math took a while, but it finally "clicked" for her near the end, and I could see the "oh, I get it" look on her face. Love that!


(I took this picture with Chloƫ's little camera, which you can see isn't really any better than using the iPhone, except that it has a flash. Bah.) In knitting news, I am now working on the first mitten for Steph's set. She is contracting like crazy and could deliver any time now that she is 34 weeks (already?!?!?!?!) along, so I must get this done NOW!

And back to work I go. Well, as soon as I put together the two Friday posts. ;)


Parent Night x Two

I had stayed up late Monday night for no good reason, so I was a sleepy, sleepy girl Tuesday. I napped all morning instead of getting the things done I needed to do, waking up just in time to go do my drug test at Harris Teeter. This whole getting-hired process is taking an annoyingly long time; I thought I would start working last Friday!  I didn't have to go pee in a cup for the test; instead, I had to stick a thing under my tongue for, like, 10 minutes until it turned blue.

And C., who was now in charge of hiring me, finally mentioned the nose ring. It had to go come out; I couldn't even cover it with a band-aid. I was worried about that. I mean, I really tried to get it out, but it wasn't budging. Eep. I was afraid I'd have to cut my nose!

Aaaaand, she told me that my availability basically sucked, and she was going to have a hard time giving me hours. I want to work during school hours, pretty much leaving nights and weekends for my family. In her words, HT is "a nights-and-weekends business," so there wasn't a lot she can do for me. I'm starting to re-think this whole working crap. Bah.

Back at home, I spent a half-hour trying to get that nose ring out. It was a major struggle, which I wasn't winning. It's a short post with an attached ball on either end, and they don't unscrew. So I had to shove one ball through the hole in my nose, which since closed up to be much smaller than the ball. Eventually, I worked it halfway through (I seem to have thick nostrils!), but it wouldn't budge the rest of the way. I grabbed my small sewing shears and tried to yank it, but that wasn't happening and just made my eyes water. Finally, I was able to snip right through the post with those dinky little shears! But then, I couldn't get the inside half out, so that was another fun challenge. Finally I pushed on it with the tip of the scissors and out it popped! I was so relieved. But now, I miss my little nosey bling. I liked it, man.

When the kids came home from school, I sent the Littles down for naps, because they were beyond tired and cranky. I had Chloƫ work on her homework until it was time to get ready for soccer. Daddy came home in time for me to get her to S***c for a dinner mystery shop to feed her little belly before soccer practice. She ate a ton, and then we realized that we never brought her a water bottle for soccer! Gah, that's not good. But the practice field is waaay far from home, so it was pointless to think about going home for one. She'd have to do without.

Other than that, soccer went splendidly, and they learned the "diamond formation," and practice lots of scoring goals using passing techniques. She's starting to pick up on things and spent an awful lot of time shouting, "I'm open! I'm open!" She even made two goals, and I could tell she was elated about that!

Meanwhile, Rob had woken up the kids and taken them to school for Jack and Chloƫ's Open House. They sat through the opening PTA meeting - which I was glad to miss, as it's always boring and disorganized as hell - and then waited for us to meet them in C's class. Mrs. B. was already in the middle of talking about their daily schedules, which is a hectic one for those gifted students! They are go-go-go, all day, every day. I hope she can keep up. She seems to be doing all right so far. Mrs. B teaches the language arts, and Mrs W. teaches science, social studies and math. The students switch classrooms halfway through the day.

So during the second session, Rob went with her to Mrs. W's spiel, while the Littles and I walked to Jack's first grade class. Only one other family was in there for the second session, so Mrs. J quickly ran through her little presentation and then I had a chance to talk to her personally, since the other family had already done so beforehand. I guess Jack is having a LOT of trouble catching up and staying focused, which is news to me. He's been doing SO well on his homework, not only with most comprehension but with sitting down and getting it done in a timely manner. Also, I thought he was getting pull-out services (for his IEP), but apparently they're only doing inclusion. Mrs. J is going to talk to his Special Ed teacher about the need for more services, especially if his attention problem continues and/or worsens.

On the way home, I discussed this with Jack, and he admitted he wasn't paying attention in class. What I can do about it from afar, I don't know, other than continually reminding him that he's got to pay attention and focus on his classroom. First grade just ain't like kindergarten, pally!

At home, I gave the kids a quick dinner and sent them to bed before I crashed myself - at 2130!  But if you saw today's Wordless Wednesday post, then you'll see the pictures Rob took of Sophie "playing" the violin at Open House, with the 5th grade music teacher. They don't start chorus/orchestra/band until 5th grade at this school. Seems absurd to me, but what do I know?


After a good, long sleep, I was raring to go this morning at 0630. The kids got up on time, so we had plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast and preparation for Picture Day. This was a nice switch from my usual let's-go-let's-go-let's-go chant every other morning!

Of course, I didn't think to get pictures of the kids, but you'll see them when the pictures come back. I only hope they looked half as decent by picture time as they did when they got on the bus! Chloƫ looked especially nice, with her hair in a pretty barrette and a Fall dress on. Jack chose a green shirt and green camo pants, and he insisted that's what he wanted to wear, so... we went with it. Why the hell not?

I spent the whole day unpacking and rearranging the office, since it has been full of boxes since the downstairs floor was installed. It's been driving me crazy not having my yarn and patterns and craft table accessible so I can work! Plus I just hate a mess. It took me the whole day, and a lot of sweat, but I got it done. It looks good; I'm happy!

And no, HT didn't call me with the results of the drug test like they said they would, so yet another day passed without working. Frustrating!

Right after school, the kids had their usual snacktime, then the Littles and I did a little clean-up while Chloƫ got ready for Jazz class. She couldn't find her ballet shoes and was in absolute tears. She still hasn't found the new ones, which is driving me mad.

Just in time, she found the pair of shoes, and we zipped off to class. Both Littles fell asleep in the car, so after I dropped her off and found myself starving from busting my hump all day, I decided to go to Sonic for my new favorite, the egg and cheese Croissandwich, or whatever the thing is called. Good stuff, aye. Only, I ate too much of it and, on the way back to dance class, ended up yakking it all up. Nice. Fun. Good thing I had the Sonic bag to use!

We drove straight to school after dance, this time for Sophie's Parent Night at preschool. Rob met us there. It was his first time at the preschool, so he didn't know where to go and parked way far away. Oh, well.

Sophie reading

After a short discussion about the rules, regs and routines of the preschool, the children each took their parents around the different "centers" to show us what they do during the day. Sophie wanted to visit the "Library" first. She sat down to "read" us a story, which was absolutely the cutest thing ever. I wanted to cry, she was so adorable. Wish I could've taped it! I guess I could have, but I keep forgetting my iPhone has video!

Sophie reading 2

She didn't want to go to the next center just yet, so she "read" us another book, which was just as sweet. After she finished that, she went back and "read" us the first book again! It was definitely her favorite.

Sophie hand

The next center we visited was "Art." Here, the kids each colored a little wooden hand and put stickers on it, and then we put magnet tape on the back. Chloƫ did one, too, but Jack didn't want to. He wanted to skip ahead to the apple-tasting center with Daddy. There, the kids could choose to eat their apple slices plain, or with sugar, caramel or peanut butter, and then the class made a chart with everyone's choices. Peanut butter was the clear winner!

*Picture removed*

The next center was "Legos." That was Jack's favorite; after he discovered that, he did not want to leave, even when the whole shabang was over. He pitched a small fit about having to put down that airplane!

Sophie puzzle

We visited "Manipulatives" next. Basically, they had to do puzzles. They were really simple puzzles, so I challenged Sophie to do them as fast as she could. She was super-fast! And proud of it, too. :)

*picture removed*

The last center we had time to visit was "Easel." We missed "Blocks," which was on our little passport to the classroom, although there are several more available centers that weren't on our little tour. Sophie painted a picture with watercolors - see? She's our little Southpaw!

Sophie's painting

This was her finished work. She was so proud of that sun! So was I. Now the picture is on our fridge, of course.

*picture removed*

At the very end, all the kids, along with Mrs. P and Mrs. S, got up and recited the little grace that they say before breakfast and lunch. (Sophie eats breakfast at home, so, I found out, when she gets to school, she eats half her lunch at breakfast time with the other kids! I have since started packing her bigger lunches, and she eats every last thing, unlike her older siblings.) It was really cute, and they all knew every word. I can't remember it, or I'd share it with you. Maybe I'll ask her for tomorrow.

When it was over, we had to run and do another S***c dinner shop, but we can only get one meal, so everyone was still hungry after that little appetizer. We drove home, where I got the kids started on homework while Rob cleaned up the kitchen a little so I could cook. Jack had mac & cheese (I had gotten a few free Easy Macs this past week for when I knew he wouldn't eat the main meal), and everyone else had a Schwan's chicken/rice/broccoli meal from Schwan's. I have not been sticking to our menu plan as much this week! But it's good for a guide...

Jack homework

After dinner, I helped Jack with his math homework. They're learning tally marks. He had a lot of difficulty with this, wanting to make the "slash" its own thing, and then do the five for the next set, and so on. I went over and over and over it with him, before Rob pulled me aside and said he thinks Jack has a math learning disability, like we think Chloƫ has. I don't know, I think he just wasn't paying attention! Once he really paid attention, he got it pretty quickly. He has a very hard time recognizing numbers greater than 10, so I had him write the numbers 1-30, and then I tested them on the numbers. And then we tallied some more. We'll need to review that a lot more to get him back to where he was at the end of kindergarten and catch him up to first grade level!

And that, my friends, is the end.


Will She, Or Won't She?

Finish the sweater in time for Stephanie's baby shower this past Sunday, that is. That was the question all last week, remember? Let's recap since Friday, where I left off:


Can't remember much of the school day, other than that I ran to do a revealed shop that didn't go well, at lunchtime, but too late to bring the food out to Rob's base (Rob Bass, get it? Eh, I know) and get home in time for the bus. Afterward, one of the Brownies moms stopped by to pay her troop dues and drop of her Fall Product sale permission slip. Whatever else happened, I don't know.

Texas roadhouse

That night, we went out to dinner for a steakhouse mystery shop. The kids love going there, and we had a lot of fun as usual. Jack and I ordered the same thing, though, and neither one of us liked our food. I yakked mine up, hard, at home later!

Tx roadhouse - Jack

I wasn't too worried about the boy, because he filled up on peanuts throughout our time at the restaurant. He loves cracking and eating peanuts! He was feeling really giggly and playful, so he and I got into some fun mischief during dinner. Lots of tickles and laughs. When he is good, he is really great!

Silly Chloƫ

Rob took this picture of ChloĆ« being extra silly. I forget why she was doing it, but she sure got a kick out of making the faces. And MAN, do I miss my real camera! :( :( :( These last couple of months are going to suck to scrapbook! 

I stayed up all night long Friday night to finish the knitting on Steph's baby sweater. And I did! There was a lot more knitting to do after the sleeves were finished, which I wasn't expecting. Many hours sped by, and I finished right when it was time to wake everyone up on Saturday morning. But finish I did!


This was a crazy busy day. Instead of being able to sleep in, I got everyone up by 0700 to get ready for Chloƫ's 0830 game. None of the kids was thrilled about having to wake up that early on a weekend, and neither girl was very enthused at that point about having to play soccer! I couldn't blame them...

Sophie - soccer 

The Virginia Beach Sportsplex is a really big and confusing place, so we managed to get lost again on our way to the field. No matter, we were still there before almost everyone, including ChloĆ«'s coach.  Sophie's sucking down some water here in an effort to wake up - you can see her shirt's all went and dirty even though her game wasn't for another two hours! And no one told us that there weren't going to be any bleachers or anything to sit on but wet grass, so we were highly annoyed about having to stand around and watch the game. Some veteran soccer parents knew better and brought their own chairs. Finally, Rob decided to go home (which wasn't nearby at all) and get us some camp chairs. He missed most of ChloĆ«'s game - and she noticed. Bummer!

Soccer game - chloƫ

I know, you can hardly see anything but shadowy figures, but here is Chloƫ playing! She didn't get a lot of play time, as there are a few superstars on the team and most of the players are much stronger (physically and skill-wise) than she is. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't a bit more equitable, but at her age, they keep score, and the other parents were all about winning. She was more interested in seeing if Mommy was watching her than getting down to business and kicking that ball. I think she's more suited to the dancer-cheerleader-gymnastics type of athletics than running around after a ball. But as her coach said, "She made a few things happen out there!"

ChloĆ«'s first soccer game 

Yeah, this picture's no better. So never mind!

In the end, her team won by a whole lotta points, no thanks to her lack of skill. She was VERY excited that they won, and everyone gave high-fives to each other and was a good sport about it. I was surprised by how much I, who have no background whatsoever in team sports, got into the game and was ecstatic when her team made a goal. I could get into this - but I don't know if any of my kids will!

Soccer game - sophie 

After an hour or so of waiting, it was time for Sophie's first soccer game, just two fields down from Chloƫ's. We were there again before everyone else, so there was some confusion about where we were supposed to be. We ended up in the right place and were relieved when Coach John showed up. Instead of warming up, Sophie opted instead to chase and catch crickets. As Coach said of her, "Boy, she REALLY likes bugs!" That she does.

Sophie - soccer huddle 

The opposing team and ours split up into two halves, and each half played on half the field, so that everyone could play at the same time. (Did that make sense? It's really late.) Only, while all the other girls were running around the field, Sophie just stood there and sucked her thumb. And then she refused to stay on the field at all. And then she said she wanted to quit soccer and go back to dance class. Rob was gone again at the time, having taken Jack home to get him ready for his popcorn sale, so I was at a complete loss! On the one hand, I don't want to force her to have fun, but on the other hand, there is a bit of money invested in her playing this season that we can't afford to just throw away, and I want her to understand that. Also, I wanted her to at least stay on the field and show some support and solidarity to her team, but she refused. It was frustrating, to say the least.

In the end, when the coaches announced during a break that it was snack time, she went back on the field and collected her snack! There's one child who can always be enticed by food.

They don't keep score at her age, so we don't know who won. Both teams did well. All the players got together at the end, and all the parents made a tunnel for them to run through. Rob and I held hands across the tunnel and watched our baby run through with the team.

Honestly, you know what I think it is that's causing her to be so... apathetic and lazy about playing soccer, which she clearly enjoys when she sets her mind to it? Being tired. She has a long week, and a long day, at preschool before her Thursday practices, with no break to speak of before we go over there. And Saturday, they got up super early to play. I think if she were well rested, she'd be a lot more inclined to get out there and kick some 4-year-old soccer booty! Just my guess...

As soon as her game ended, we headed over to drop the boys off at the popcorn sale. Only, we completely went to the wrong place, a good 15-minute drive away from where they were supposed to be! So I got them to their place really late, after a nice little shouting match about whose fault it was. Yeah. Don't mess with me when I haven't slept at all!

The girls and I drove home, and I sent them upstairs to either clean their messy rooms or take a nap, so I could, myself, take a short nap before we had to pick up our menfolk. Only, they did neither, and the entire downstairs was covered in dress-up clothes when I woke up almost an hour late to pick up Jack and Rob! No time to worry about that, they were walking home and we needed to rush out and get them. Poor guys. I guess Jack didn't fuss too much except when Rob tried to carry him on his shoulders, so his feet wouldn't hurt. I think he rather enjoyed spending time with his Daddy, doing something new and interesting!

So after multiple apologies, we went home again and got ready for the next thing: Rob's and my dinner date for another mystery shop, while the kids went to Linda's to be babysat. I didn't have time to cook them the dinner I'd planned, and they were starving when we got there. Fortunately, Linda was prepared - with doughnuts and brownies! It was a lucky thing no one got sick that night, after eating all that. 

Aldo's dinner with Rob 

Our dinner turned out to be a really nice one. Our service was excellent, and the food tasted great. There was nice, live piano music - and what can I say? The company was the best. I love, love, love having a night alone with my hubs. We always have a good time. Well, almost. My little nap did me a world of good, thank goodness!

The kids were surprised to see us just two short hours after we'd left them, and they did NOT want to leave. Jack begged me to let him spend the night at Linda's. She was willing, too - if I stayed with him. Not! Gonna! Happen!

Instead of doing the finishing touches on Steph's baby sweater (sewing on the sleeves, sewing in a million and one ends from all that colorwork, sewing down the folded collar, sewing on the buttons, sewing sewing sewing), I crashed around 2100 on the couch. 


Time crunch time! I still had all that finishing work to do, and the shower was that afternoon! Rob woke me up around 0600 to get started. It took me, oh, four or five hours to get it all done (not that I didn't play around on Facebook and Google Reader intermittently), but I finally did. And behold:

Finished sweater 2

I made it! It's finished, before the shower, and it looked, well, good! What you can't tell from this picture is how excessively soft it is. It's going to be so sweet wrapped up against baby Luke's skin. Oh, and the hat?

Sweater set 

There they are together, looking good! I have a must-make tutu for Lisa's little Emilie-girl, and then I will dive right back into knitting the mittens, socks and trousers for this outfit. Stephanie has just over a month to go, so I must get busy right away!

After I finished, I had just enough time to shower, get dressed and wrap her presents - this sweater and hat set, the Bandaid Blanket, and a couple of cute Carter's onesies I'd picked up before we even found out he was a boy - in some baby fabric I had in the stash. I'm all about wrapping presents in fabric, lately. I think it's a cool way to use something that can later be used for something else, like maybe some diaper covers or burp cloths that Steph can cut out. 

Anyway, Chloƫ - who was thrilled to be invited - and I left to pick up Tabitha and her now-chubby baby Lily, before heading out to the shower in Suffolk. The shower was very nice, well-decorated with lots of baby-themed snackies, and low-key. Everyone just chit-chatted for the most part until it was present time, when the mother-to-be got loads of great clothes and gifts for her baby boy. The sweater set received heaps of praise; everyone loved it and was impressed. Yay! One woman asked for a sweater her size, and I wanted to faint! Then a discussion started about how a knitter/crocheter can't possibly expect to be paid what their labor is worth, which is completely true and totally sucks. But like I was saying, we had a good time. I even snuck in a small chocolate chip cookie and didn't dump. Just the one, though. Promise.

When we got home, I made dinner and fussed a great deal at my husband, who had obviously been asleep and let the children run amok in the house but refused to admit it. Why, then, would there be postage stamps stuck all over every surface of the kitchen? Oh, I was furious. I had just bought those stamps and needed every last one of them. Also, all my double-pointed knitting needles were all over the office, and a couple of them were broken in half. You could accurately say that I was not pleased. Not at all. 

I managed to calm down during the dinner-making process, during which I took a vow of silence until I calmed down. That helped, and dinner was pleasant after all. Jack didn't like it, Sophie didn't care for it but managed to finish her plate, but Chloƫ? She loved it and had seconds, thirds, fourths and fifths! Amazing. I don't know where she put it all - she out-ate her father! (Who liked it, too. I didn't eat but a taste of it, because I'd eaten my leftovers from our previous night out during the cooking process. Yum.)

SO. The evening was spent changing out the kids Spring/Summer wardrobes and replacing them with the Fall/Winter clothes. Of course, that meant trying on many, many things and took a half a lifetime to accomplish, so they went to bed really late. In the end, Chloƫ, 8, lost a bunch (but not all!) of her size-5 clothing to Sophia, 4. Sophie, in turn, lost all of her size 3T wardrobe and is now all in 4s and 5s, so hopefully I can sell those clothes and make a little money to round out their wardrobes. And Jack, 6, is almost entirely in 3T now - I got rid of almost all his 2T clothes after years of wear! Some of them still fit, but I was sick of them. Just so tired of seeing the same clothes year after year; others were so short on him, it was amazing to see he actually did grow since March or so when he wore them last. Yay.


Today has been another long one. The morning rush was uneventful, and I was tempted to go back home and sleep the morning away. What will I do when I start working, though? So I forced myself to stay awake and push through the sleepiness. I weighed in and was delighted to find another three pounds gone forever. I'm now down 127.1 pounds!

Then I started going through my CDs, importing all of them into iTunes so that I can sell my entire collection. Won't be room for that on the boat, and why bother having them when I'll have all the iTunes music on both my iPod and my iPhone?

While that was going on, I cut the last two Sundays' worth of coupons, which was a hella lot.  I filed them and then spent a ridiculous amount of time on the Harris Teeter website (they're still having triple coupons week), comparing my coupons to the store prices to see what I could get for free or almost-free. I had a good little pile of coupons going!

I showered and then spoke to Lisa about a bunch of parenting issues and advice, and it was good talking to her for once as the person of authority (not that I am claiming to be one, but it was a role reversal) instead of me always asking her the medical questions! Hopefully she got some good ideas, and either way, it helped solidify in my head what we are doing and trying to accomplish with the kids, their behaviors, their chores, etc. 


As soon as the kids got off the bus, I whisked them off to Harris Teeter to do some shopping. B, the girl who not-interviewed me, was there as usual and was happy to meet my kids. In the end, I got everything in the above picture for $4.43! Not a bad little haul, I think.

BWW dinner

As soon as we came home, we had to get my mystery shop materials and rush, rush, rush down to the oceanfront to do another "reveal" dinner. The server was absolutely fantastic, so I was thrilled that I got to award her a hundred bucks. It turns out she was new, too, so when she saw me talking to the manager, she came over to Rob, really nervously, and asked what she did wrong. When she found out what a great job she did and that she'd gotten a prize, she came over and was compelled to hug me!! She was so excited. It was a really fun shop. Good food, too!

We drove around the corner and did a fast food mystery shop, which was good because the kids and Rob were still hungry. They hadn't wanted any of my wings but found they really liked his wrap, so I know he didn't get enough to eat. That shop didn't go so well, but we did manage to get a little free food out of the deal for the kiddos.

And then, home. Homework. Lots of homework for the kids this week. They both did well on it and worked quickly, so it wasn't stressful this time at least.

And finally, that's it! Busy, busy the rest of the week too, but I'm going to try to post every night so there isn't another huge, long one like this again.


Menu Plan Monday


I'm a little late to the game today - busy, busy - but I figured I might as well post it up again since I'm going to try to keep up with this. To see more menu plans or add yours, visit here.

This week (lots of Schwan's going on this week, too):

Monday: Wings restaurant mystery shop and fast food restaurant mystery shop

Tuesday: Either pierogies with ?? veggie and cheesy balls or cornish game hens in the crockpot, with baby potatoes & broccoli, depending on whether I get my act together early enough to cook the latter one and if I remember! (I forgot on Sunday and we had to have the shrimp and broccoli meal that I'd originally planned for this day.) and fast food mystery shop

Wednesday: Egg rolls & teriyaki "wingz" with peas, and apple turnover bites for dessert and fast food mystery shop

Thursday: Chain T&A wings mystery shop

Friday: Kids - skinless franks; Rob - polish sausages; all - with tater rounds and veggies. Me: Small bit of egg -and-cheese sandwich from yet another fast food mystery shop

Saturday: Frozen pizza and fast food mystery shop

Sunday: Chicken and broccoli meal kit

What are you having?


Saturday 9: The Last Time

Last time

Link up with Samantha if you're playing along today!

1. When was the last time you bought something for someone else, and what was it?

I bought a new backpack and a strap for her glasses for soccer games, for my daughter Chloƫ tonight at Dick's Sporting Goods.

2. When was the last time you complimented someone, and what was their reaction?

I complimented one of the Brownies moms the other day on how great she looked (we were comparing gastric bypass surgery notes). She's kind of a bitch, and she kind of blew it off!

3. When was the last time you had to return a purchase to the store? What was it and why?

I had to return some memory to after they sold me some RAM that doesn't fit in my hard drive. The new RAM just arrived yesterday, and it had better fit!

4. When was the last time you had an ice cream cone?

I don't even know. Three, four, five months ago, maybe. Sugar-free, of course.

5. When was the last time you had to go to the doctor's office?

I think it was at the end of July, for my six-month post-surgery check-up. All was well!

6. When was the last time you were embarrassed by something you did? What was it and what happened?

I can't remember. I don't get embarrassed as much anymore. I guess I'm growing some balls.

7. When was the last time a stranger was kind to you?

Someone held the door open for me today. That was nice.

8. When was the last time you locked yourself out of your home? What did you do?

I haven't done it in a very long time, but I used to do it constantly when we first moved into this house six years ago! I always had our (much older) neighbor jump over our fence and let me in, but we've since wised up and given him a spare key!

9. When was the last time you thought about cheating (on anything, a test or a person)?

I plead the fifth!


Led A Stray

Phew! We have been so busy, it's been wearing a poor Smelly out. The last two nights, I've fallen asleep around 2300 - prime blogging time. I know you missed me. Admit it.

Tuesday is kind of a distant memory, but I know these things about it:

  • Ceiling leakSee that awesome leak on the ceiling? Rob couldn't find the source. Isn't it fun how everything in our house seems to be falling apart this year?! 
  • I did about 9 mystery shops on the phone. They were boring and only paid $2 apiece, but hey. Eighteen bucks for sitting on my butt isn't bad.
  • ChloĆ« had soccer practice. Rob wasn't home from work yet, so all three kids and I went. It was good - she's getting better, little by little - and then on the way back to the car, she dribbled the ball across the field. I came and stole it away from her twice, and she stole it back from me twice! And I was really trying to keep it from her!
  • Um, that's all I recall. There must have been more, because I was plum wore out, but who knows what it was? Oh, was that the day I broke my pinky toe again? Possibly. It's bruised and swollen and very sore. I'm such a klutz!

Wednesday was nuttier than your local psych ward.  I balanced it out by playing my two games I'm addicted to on Facebook, Farmville and Fish World, in between things. So long, Webkinz! I've barely played it in a month. Sadness, I know. ;)


Lessee, the first thing I did was two breakfast shops at S...  a fast food place I shop all the time. I was actually hungry for once, but so many foods I would eat there are not on the "allow" list, and no one was with me to consume the beef products we normally get. So I opted for something new to me, an egg-cheese-bacon sandwich on a croissant. I know, bacon again! I ate, like, five bites of that sucker before I got full, and it was soooo good! I had tater tots and a cherry limeade, and I had a second shop to go to, when it hit me: Rob never takes a lunch anymore! I should bring him the food!

And so, I called up his bitch-ass at work to see if he wanted the food, and he jumped all over that idea. I quickly did the second shop and then headed out to the base to feed my man.

Rob in uniform

Yes, I am a huge dork who has to take pictures of him eating, just because I have a blog. He refused to look at me, but I did capture that cute smile! Doesn't he look so handsome in his uniform? ā™„ We had a good little mid-day visit (but not a nooner, darn it) before we said our good-byes, and I headed back home. I should have had that idear sooner, but now that it's almost time for me to start working, that'll probably be it for a while. Shucks.

Free groceries

Then I checked out the coupon match-ups for Farm Fresh and Harris Teeter. FF didn't have jack diddly, but HT was running triple coupons week once again. Woot! I managed to find a long list of free-with-coupon items, only I didn't have half the coupons for them. I did manage to get the above stuff free, which is good. I spent $101 (deli meat and cheese, a humongous bag of dog food, and $15 in sugar-free syrups for my protein shakes made up the bulk of that) and managed to save $93, so it wasn't too bad. Coupons are definitely the way to go - and I may make another run tomorrow!

There was a problem with my coupons at the check-out (something wrong with the way the computer was programmed, not my fault), and B, the girl who not-interviewed me, came over to fix it. She said, "Not even working here yet and already causing problems!" That's me...

Oh yeah, and I spent $9 at Walgreens and got THREE boxes of Revlon haircolor and three bottles of liquid hand soap!

By the time I got home, I had barely enough time to color my hair back to dark brown before it was time to go to the bus stop - but I did, anyway. I only kept it on just over 15 minutes, instead of the prescribed 25-30, so I didn't know if it would take. Boy, howdy, did it ever! It is way darker than I expected or wanted it to be. I can't win for losing! I haven't taken a picture of it yet to show you. Maybe I'll get Rob to do that tomorry night.

I raced through the shower to rinse it out and then, I was in such a hurry to beat the bus, I threw on a dress with no underthings! Hee. All was fine until the wind started whipping my dress around. Ruh-roh, Raggy!

New puppy

At the bus stop, a little puppers ran up to everyone and started saying hello. I had watched her, on my way to the stop, run in and out of the street to get to everyone, so I snatched her up just as soon as I could to keep her from getting hit. Been there, didn't want to go there again. She was flipping a-DOR-able! Such a little love. Obviously cared for. A little stinky, with a crazy hair cut, but definitely someone's pet. She had no collar, so I couldn't take her home just yet. But that was the plan.

Of course, my kids - and just about everyone else's, too - went crazy when they got off the bus and saw her. She was only a six-pounder if that, about half the size of our kitty, Tinkerbell. Some kind of terrier mix. They all wanted to hold her and love on her, and aye, that they did. Somehow we managed to break free of the crowd and get in our house, where she visited with Tiger Lily (who was not thrilled) and Tink (who hissed. A lot) Puppers jumped up on all of us, wanting to be held and get non-stop attention. She sure got it!

Chloƫ quickly dressed for her jazz class, and we let the three animals hash it out while we went to dance. I had to stop at the 7-11, where there is no ATM fee for Navy Federal users in case ya didn't know, for some cash to pay for her lessons (um, and the bounced check fee... yay) for this month and October, so we left way early. I debated taking the puppy with us, but something stopped me. I forget what. No matter, she was fine - although she did take a chocolate-chip-sized dump upstairs while we were gone!

Sophie - pizzeria

Rob was home when we returned from dance class, so we got everyone changed and went out for our dinner mystery shop at a local pizzeria. We've eaten there a few times before, and it's always been grand, so we had high hopes for the evening. Here's Sophie with a mouthful of mozzarella stick which, though burned, was still tasty.

Chloƫ pizzeria

I managed to catch Chloƫ not posing for the camera for once, but Jack ducked under the table as soon as the iPhone came out for pictures. He didn't come back up for at least five minutes, knowing I was waiting! So, none of him.

Sophie staring

I caught Sophia watching the TV, not having any inkling that I was watching her. This face cracks me up - and she thought it was pretty hilarious, too!


This cannoli for dessert looks delicious, doesn't it? But it so wasn't. Way too much chocolate and caramel sauce, and the filling was entirely too sweet. Sickeningly so. I tried a bite - blech. Also, Rob's Arnold Palmer sucked, my Rum Runner tasted nasty, my pizza was burned, his pasta was horrible, and the service was abysmal. So, my report? Scathing.

It was almost 2100 by the time we got home, so we quickly helped the kids with their homework and then sent them to bed. I bent down to kiss Jack good-night on the head, and he jumped up at the same time - causing my tooth to go right through my lip! I bled like a stuck pig, and I made him get away from me before I accidentally hit him. I don't like people near me when I'm in pain, can't help it! He had wide eyes, but after I stopped the bleeding, I assured him Mommy knew it was an accident and it was okay!  Now I have a big gross brown slimy booboo covering on it today. Looks awesome.

I did a bunch of knitting, but I was too tired to blog or do much else. Craaaash.

Today was less busy. As soon as the kids got on the bus this morning, I took the puppy down the road to the animal hospital where I took Bounce - and where Rob took that other kitty we temporarily had, Blue - to see if she was microchipped. They fell in love with her immediately, too! I was really hoping by this point that we would never find her owner, because I was completely smitten. And she was not chipped. I took her home.

Then, because I had sooo much to do today, I ... took a nap. I was exhausted! And I slept for three hours. Probably would have slept more, but the doorbell rang. (UPS, delivering the package containing my replacement memory for the computer. Did I ever tell you about that?) So I got up and worked on the three reports from the day before that I never did, and the entire time, Puppy slept in my lap. She's so sweet! If I had kept her, I would have needed to get a puppy sling, because she wanted to be held non-stop. She slept tucked in next to me on the couch the whole night, too! It made me sleep funny and put my shoulder out, but it was worth it, I think. And I really needed more hurty things.

Puppy bath

When I finished the reports, I gave the wee lassie a bath in the kitchen sink. Oh, my, she did not like that one bit!! Especially when I washed her teensy face. I had to hold her down with one hand and soap her up with the other, and in the process, I got completely soaked myself. it was good for a laugh. She was so happy when I wrapped her up, shivering, in a towel and dried her off. The scampers came back out of her, and she went whooshing all over the wood floor, up and down, up and down, wizzling on the couch (that's when they nose-down and scratch around all silly-like - my dad coined the term) and running up in my lap. Funny girl!

I tried giving her a haircut, because she had some short hair and some really long hairs, but she didn't like that either. I managed a few snips but mostly, she's still pretty scruffy!

I knitted until it was time to get to the bus stop, and when I walked out the door, darned if that little dog didn't just whisk past me and fly across the street! I had to chase her down all over again, so it's easy to see how she got out of her house in the first place. Stinker! I ended up just taking her with me to the bus stop, where everyone once again crowded around her and admired her post-bath self.

We had to rush right out after school, to get to Chloƫ's first Brownies meeting of the year. I had the presence of mind to bring Jack's backpack and homework box (where I keep his homework supplies like glue stick, crayons and colored pencils, sharpener, etc.), but I didn't get any busywork for Sophie. She was such a rascal during the whole meeting. Really, she just does not listen or behave well whenever we are there. The Troop Leader gave her a paper and crayons, which settled her down for maybe ten minutes of the hour. Jack quickly finished his work - and he did a really nice job, as he has been doing all week, I must say - and then they were begging to go outside.

Only, I couldn't take them outside, because I needed to stay inside and collect troop dues (I'm the treasurer) and get everyone to fill out their Fall Product Sale permission slips (I'm the Chair for that, too, and it starts this Saturday). Our Leader didn't have her dues money, after I sent at least three reminders out about it. Everyone else there did. Hi, set an example, please? That annoys me to no end. And no one seems very thrilled about the fundraiser, either. Looks like once again, Chloƫ will be "carrying" her troop!

We raced home, got the girls changed for soccer as fast as lightning, and then I took Jack to Chloƫ's practice while Rob took Sophie to hers for the first time. She did her own thing as usual, to his entertainment. Chloƫ did really well today - she scored a goal in practice! And I talked to the coach after practice. He said it was really obvious this was her first time playing soccer, but that when she got warmed up and ready to play, she was super fast! I don't see it, but maybe he was in the mood to hand out compliments. Or maybe she really is, because dribbling the ball back to the car afterward, she managed to steal it from me again!


I knitted during the whole practice, almost. This is where I am right now. I still have to pick up and knit the neckline, and then attach the sleeves. And weave in a billion ends. And block it. I should make it by the shower on Sunday. Fingers crossed!!

I made dinner as soon as we got home - frozen pizza tonight. Everyone ate well, and they all happily spent their Dad Dollars on root beer with dinner. Just the practice of counting out the bills is going to be good for them! I'm using $2 and $10 bills, too, and the $2 are really throwing off the little ones. They don't get it, yet, to count that as two.

So, now, I'm going to put up my Aloha Friday post and then get back to my knitting. No Fragments post for me this week, because I just haven't taken the time to write down all the crack-up comments they've come up with for me. Next week, for sure!


P.S. Oops! I completely forgot to say that I called the neighborhood office and Animal Control to find the puppy's owner. No luck until we were on our way to Brownies, when the owner went to A.C. and got my information. We weren't able to cross paths until after soccer, when they came over to get Patty, the puppy. (She was born on St. Patrick's Day.) They were so excited and relieved to have her back! But darn, darn, darn for us! ;)

Gainfully Employed

Knitting progress first:


... which only represents about 15 rounds or so since last night, but I've only worked on it for about 40 minutes today. I'll do some more, finishing at least that section if not the whole sleeve, tonight after I post.

As for the rest of the day:


ā™  "Dad Dollars" is off to a fun start! The kids are ECSTATIC about their money envelopes, earning the bills, and counting them. ChloĆ« checks the posted list of ways to earn and spend her DDs constantly, and the other kids are always suggesting new things to add to them. Sophia has the most DDs so far at 10, and Jack has 5. I think ChloĆ« has 8. They can't wait to start spending them!

ā™¦ We almost missed the bus again this morning! I don't know what happened, other than that it's finally coming on time instead of 20 minutes late, now that the route is routine. Guess I better catch up to the game, because I really don't like this running shit.

ā™„ I got a job! I went for my "interview" at Harris Teeter, the grocery store that just opened up 7 minutes down the road, at noon. I even gussied up for it, doing full hair and make-up for the first time in I don't know how long. I looked cute, thank you so much. ;) Anyway, the interview was anything but, because the woman's conference room was taken up for a meeting, so she really couldn't sit down for me anywhere. Instead, I took two HEE-LARIOUS tests on a computer (basically, I did a little easy math and answered 50 questions on whether I thought it was okay to steal money and merch from the store) and then signed consent for a background check. She told me that after the check comes back, in about three days, I'll do a drug test and then get started. Hope they don't mind my occasional heroin usage. Oh, and no mention was made of the nose ring. I wonder if they even noticed it?

ā™£ I barely slept at all last night (took a shower at like 0230, which finally did the trick), so I came home and took a nap until the bus came. I had a dream about working at Harris Teeter: first, all the girls hated me and all the guys hit on me, because I was so skinny and hot. Hahahaha, not! Then, I had to start by scrubbing toilets and cleaning up the meat department floor. Ew! Then, I had to change into my uniform in the girls' locker room, and for boys kept coming in to watch me. That was weird. Finally, when I got to the cash register, they immediately put me to work at the customer service desk, even though I didn't know anything. 'Twas an amusing dream. When I worked at the Big M in high school, I used to dream all the time about forgetting to punch my time card!

ā™„The kids had a good day at school. No new news about that. I let them watch a little bit of TV and have a good snack before we started homework. Holy fucking cow, what an ordeal. There were tears, many tears, shed over math on both their parts. They are both wandering uteri when it comes to doing their homework, I tell ya. No focus whatsover! It's enough to make a mother jump off the side of the boat. What the hell am I talking about? Oh, so I emailed ChloĆ«'s math teacher and told her I want her tested for a math learning disability. Chlo wants to be tested. She is just so frustrated. To calm us both down, I sent her to her room to count to 1,000. She came back down, sobbing, "I can't!" Poor thing. As for Jack, he was just tired. First grade is a long day for a little chap!

ā™  The kids get Dad Dollars for doing their homework (although from now on, I will set a time limit so they don't keep getting up to play, etc.), so I gave Sophie lots of little jobs to do to earn some herself. She was so cheerful and helpful! Tomorrow I will have to be better prepared and give her more "homework-y" stuff like writing her name, counting things, etc.

ā™¦ I made dinner when homework was done. The girls demolished the chicken and tater tots (I forgot about the corn, oops), but Jack had maybe one bite. He refused to eat. Sigh.

ā™£ Rob took Jack to his first den meeting tonight. I have no information about it, other than that Jack played kickball and got all sweaty, and then there was a parent meeting. Rob fell asleep before we had a chance to have grown-up time and talk.

ā™  While they were out, the girls drew pictures for their cousin Elizabeth's 3rd birthday today, but Sophie lost hers, so we only sent ChloĆ«'s. Then we went to the PO and mailed the four tutus I sold (yay! There are more left if you want 'em!), and to the bank to deposit a few checks that came in the mail. Money is good. Payday tonight. Can I wait? No, I cannot.

So here I will wait, knitting and fighting with this damned brand-new skein of alpaca until midnight when the moulah hits.

How was your Monday?


Menu Plan Monday - The First


Since I'm going to try to start doing this every week - or every payday, more like, I thought I'd post along with the crowd. I'm such a joiner. If you want to add your menu plan, be sure and link up here!

Here's what we're eatin' this week:

Monday - Chicken Nuggets, Corn & Tater Rounds, with ice cream sandwiches for dessert (all Schwan's)

Tuesday - Tortellini (Schwan's) with sauce, garlic bread & broccoli (Schwan's - can you tell I just placed a big order?)

Wednesday - Mystery shop at local pizza place for dinner!

Thursday - Frozen cheese pizza (Schwan's)

Friday - Mystery shop at fun peanuts-on-the-floor chain restaurant!

Saturday - Parents: Mystery shop at local upscale Italian restaurant! Kids: hot dogs, tater rounds, & snap peas (all Schwan's)

Sunday - Cornish game hens in crockpot with baby potatoes and ? veggie, with brownies for dessert

Now I'm hungry!


All Knitting, All The Time


Let the countdown begin!

In one week, on the 20th, is Stephanie's baby shower for Luke. I can't believe it's already time! I am sooo behind on my knitting, and so the sucky thing is that I'm going to be pushing it just to have the sweater finished in time for the shower. I will finish the entire outfit before he's born, but not for the party. I'm sorry, Steph! I'm taking a quick break before I go back to it for a little while before heading to bed. I've been working it off and on for a few hours tonight and have finished the cuff and everything above it, in the above picture.

So this week, expect to hear a lot about that.

Not a lot to write about today. I slept in late, and Rob fed the kids blueberry muffins (Schwan's, very yummy). They were lounging around when I reminded Rob he and Jack had a show-and-sell to get to! They went, but arrived late. I guess Jack's heart wasn't in it today, and he came home telling me he wanted to quit Cub Scouts. That's not going to happen, Little Dude, but I understand he is sick of selling popcorn! (How do you think I feel at cookie time?!)

The girls played with the dolls Chloƫ got for her birthday, and they were awfully cute doing so, while the boys were gone. I should have videotaped it, but I didn't want to interrupt their fun. I snoozed a little on the couch, too.

We didn't end up going to the NICU reunion after all, because the boys didn't get home 'til after 3, and it ended at 4. There wouldn't have been any point. I'm disappointed, but not terribly so.

I cooked dinner again. I think that's the third night in a row? I know Rob appreciates it. I made fish sticks for the kids, crab-stuffed cod from Trader Joe's for us, and peas. Again, Chloƫ ate a fantabulous dinner, earning a trip to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream. (I had a coupon for a free cone for her birthday, and it expired tonight, so it was now or never!) Sophie managed to eat all her dinner, although I had to feed her the peas. I had separated the pile in half and told her she needed to eat one half, but every time she looked away, I scooped up more from the other half - so she unwittingly ate the whole thing. Hee. Jack, on the other hand, sobbed buckets about having to eat his peas, but we managed to get him to eat one bite. He almost puked it up, though, so that was it for peas!

Oh, and the TJs crab/fish things were really good. I ate some of the inner crab part - which was surprisingly cheesy - and gave Rob the rest. I was just too full, or I'd have eaten it all. He liked it, too. I don't think we bought anything from there that we haven't enjoyed.


I read an article about using "Dad Dollars", which you can make here, in September's Family Fun magazine, to reward the kids for doing their chores and things, and then they can spend them on things that don't cost the parents any real money. I'm down with that, since times are so tough for us right now, so we are going to try that instead of The Game of Life for a while. The lady who wrote the article has a blog, and she has suggestions on it here, if you're interested in this system. I just printed up a bunch of Dad Dollars (Rob hates that picture!), so I'll tell the kids about it after school tomorrow. I don't think a friend sleepover is going to make it onto the reward list, though!

And what do you think about the fact that her kids can buy "pop" (hehe, soda) every night for dinner if they do their morning chores? I think if I do that, it will be something like Sprite or caffeine-free root beer, obviously, but it will cost more than a day's worth of Dad Dollars. I don't want them drinking soda that frequently.


So tonight was tough. Our checking account was in a bad way, and I called the credit union to beg them to remove some of the NSF fees. They did, but it still wasn't enough to bring us out of the red, so they suggested I transfer the money over from the kids' Christmas club account to cover that and the two checks that will bounce tomorrow if I didn't. So, I did it, but not without bawling. I didn't mean for the lady on the phone to hear me crying, but she did, and she was very soothing and comforting. At least we have that money, but I feel so awful about taking that money. They have their hearts set on going back to Great Wolf Lodge for Christmas, which they chose instead of getting any presents this year; I think I posted about that? Well, I guess I will just have to go in and get that job tomorrow and work my tail off to make it up, right? Right. Things will be okay.

On that note, I am going to knit for a little while longer and then head to bed. Hope you have a great week.


P.S. Speaking of Christmas, I thought tonight, what about Christmas when we're living on the boat? We certainly can't pack our tree and all our ornaments. So what to do? Just another thing to think about before the time comes...

P.P.S. I don't think I posted here, but I listed all the remaining tutus I have on my Etsy shop at clearance prices! I sold three already, but there are still a bunch left if you want to get a good deal!

Dumb Dog, Why Are You Following Me?

This post really has nothing to do with dogs. It's just what song popped into my head earlier when I was thinking what a dumb day this was.

At some point, while it was still dark outside, Sophie came down stairs and crawled into bed couch with me. (Yes, we're still sleeping on couches, because our bed and bedroom are still covered with everything that's supposed to be downstairs. Ahem. Let's not go there.) We slept for hours cuddled up together, and it was nice, but not comfortable. I didn't sleep well the whole time, because she does not stay still in her sleep and is a blanket hog! When she finally woke me up, saying, "I'm hungry, I want breakfast now!" I rolled over and told her, "Okay, go wake up Daddy..."

Ha! He was not so amused when I shared this conversation with him later. But he DID wake up and get her breakfast - not the blueberry muffins that I'd told him were on the menu plan, darn him - and the other kids, too, while I slept all the way 'til 0900.

The girls' Inaugural Soccer Carnival was today from 9-4, but we didn't end up getting there until after 1100. Because we are not morning people, especially on the weekend, y'see.

And when we got there, the sportsplex was HUGE. Freaking ginormous, and everywhere we looked, there were football players. Not a soccer ball in sight, just those giant helmets and pads. We asked around, we drove around, we made phone calls, and it was nowhere to be found. Finally, when I was about to give up and go home, we spotted something big and colorful in the distance. A-ha! Driving closer, we found the carnival. You can be sure that when they ask for feedback on this year's carnival, I will tell them that some signs for next year might be nice.

Sophie bounce 

We had to bring two canned goods as our admission fee, each, so I lugged a bagful of ten things (not all canned, but dry goods, so they can bite me) up to the gate and bought our way in with them. They tried to stop me from bringing in my Crystal Light, but I told them I had it for medical reasons, and they let me in. Hey, man, it's true.

Jack bounce 

ChloĆ« bounce 

From the description of the event, it was supposed to be much bigger and more fun than it ended up being. It was a disappointment, at least for us parents. Sure, there were about four bounce houses, which the kids really enjoyed, but there was no giant slide, no jugglers, no obstacle course, no face painting, no prizes...! Tha heck?!

Sophie slide 

The kids shucked their shoes and jumped on the bouncy houses for a while. It was actually a hot, summery day after a week of fall weather, and I was kind of wishing for the cool air again. Jack was, too, as he kept coming up to me and complaining that he was too hot. You just can't keep some of us happy.


After a while, Rob stayed with the girls while Jack and I wandered around to see what else could be found to do. There wasn't much. We found a table covered in temporary tattoos, so he spent a while picking some for his cheeks, his hands... I kept trying to suggest something cool, and he kept vetoing it. Typical Jack! Eventually the girls wandered over to get theirs, too.

Green hair

Pink hair

Blue hair

Next to the tattoo table, they were spray-painting everyone's hair wacky colors. My kids, of course, wanted to do this, too, so we gave each other The Look and then agreed.  I actually think it looked kind of cool, especially the blue, but I think Rob was irritated with the whole thing from the get-go!

Colored hair

We didn't stay much longer after that, because it was time to get to Jack's NICU reunion at the hospital at 1300. They had hair paint all over themselves, so Rob found a hose and cleaned them off before we left. Which didn't help. They quickly got covered, especially Curls, in hair paint again, and now the headrests in my van are all different colors. Fun.

At the hospital, we boarded the base and then drove to the usual spot for the NICU reunion. There was a tent. There were tables and benches. But there were no cars or people. Not a set of twins in sight. (This event is always a huge draw for twins, so we don't always go, because it's hard for me.) We placed half a dozen phone calls to find out what was going on, only to learn one very frustrating fact:

The reunion is, in fact, tomorrow. Sunday. Not today.

I was FURIOUS! I was SURE that the invite was wrong. That I had put the date in my calendar exactly as it was given to me, and they had either gotten it wrong or changed it or some damn thing. I had actually re-arranged our schedules so we could attend this year, so I ranted and raved half of the way home until Rob got me joking and laughing again. He's good at that, you know.

Well, lo and behold, I went to my email and pulled up the invitation, and it was Sunday the 13th all along. What the hell had gone wrong? The only thing I could figure was that since it said it was the "12th annual" reunion in the line just before that, I had gotten stuck on 12. Damn, damn, damn! So, I was wrong. I hate being wrong. I really do!

Now I don't know if we'll go tomorrow, because I Rob and Jack have a popcorn sale from 12-2, which would mean getting to the reunion really late. I don't know if it would be worth it by that point. But we'll see. We'll see.

On the way home from Portsmouth, we talked about eating lunch and then going out to a marina to look at some boats and get some idea of our future living quarters. Only, while the kids were eating their PB&Js, I fell on the hard, wood floor into a coma. Someone kindly brought me a pillow, but no blanket. Still, I slept. I don't know how long, but when I woke up, Rob was asleep on the couch and the kids were quietly playing next to him. So much for boats!

Dumb day.

We did manage to get up and go to church for once. The service was good, although it didn't really apply to me/us, because it was all about single people. But Sophie, who had balked about going to church, later told us it was the favorite part of her day! (I like to ask them this every night.)

Little wonder after the stupidness earlier.

Again, I "cooked" dinner (which meant heating up some Schwan's food for the family, sautƩing some scallops for myself, and baking a Schwan's peach pie for their dessert), and Rob and Chloƫ cleaned up afterward. Sort of. Jack and Sophie wouldn't eat the meal, so I ended up giving in and making them PB&J sandwiches instead. And they didn't like the peach pie, so they had ice cream. So much for not being a restaurant!

Rob washed the color out of the kids' hair before bed, and it's all back to normal now. Good thing.

As for me, my couch is calling. Ta...


Let's Hear It For The Boy

I don't run. I don't believe in running. It's against my religion, except for exactly two cases: Someone bad is chasing me, or I'm about to miss a bus.

On Friday morning, I had to run.

For the latter reason, thank goodness, but still. Me running, with my shorts riding up on my thighs and boobs a-bouncin', is not a pretty sight. Or feeling.

And thus began my day.

The kids made the bus, and then Jack and I turned around and went home to get in Vanna and ride to his appointment with Jan, the physical therapist at the Pediatric Neurodevelopment clinic. She was going to fit his legs and feet for the braces he'll be wearing at night, to stretch his Achilles tendon.

Jack's braces 1

We waited just a short time before Jan called him in. He played awhile while she and I talked about him, and about the four years that have passed since she last saw him for his late walking (20 months) and subsequent tip-toeing. She was so amazed at how he's grown long and skinny, and how he talks now (he was also in speech therapy back then, for his muteness)! Then it was time to make the casts, which will make the molds, which will make the braces.

Jack's braces 2 

He asked about a million questions during the procedure, during which Jan put socks on him to keep the fiberglass cast from sticking to him. The yellow thing was just a guide for cutting it off him without cutting him. She deemed his questions - not just about the braces but also about all the wheelchairs and other equipment in her room -  to be very smart, saying she has 25-year-olds who don't think to ask those things! She thought he was very intelligent and was surprised to hear there had been a chance he might be retained in kindergarten. Her thoughts? That he's advanced and was just bored! I don't know, but it'll be interesting to see what happens when he's tested for "gifted" later this year.

Jack's braces 3

Making the casts didn't take long at all, and at the end, he was happy to post with his "legs". They looked enormous compared to him, but she assured me they'll fit just fine.  (And you can see here how crooked his glasses have gotten; I really need to take him in and get them adjusted.)

{Side note: when we did his homework the other night, he was able to read all the color words in the instructions, without help. Yay, Jack!}

The whole appointment didn't last terribly long, and we were home by 1100. I decided to make him lunch at home, and he wanted scrambled eggs. He quickly scarfed two and asked for two more, which he barely ate. (Lucky for the dog, who hardly ever gets treated to table scraps.) He sucked down some milk, and then we were off to school!


At school, my happy boy turned into a different creature. A clinging, crying, bashful little creature. His daily routine had been disrupted, and now he didn't want to go to school at all. He wanted to stay home with Mommy. The guidance counselor, Ms. Henry, came down to talk to him, and the security desk person, Ms. Woods, tried enticing him out of my arms with colorful pencils and other treats. He refused to budge. In the end, I had to kiss and hug him good-bye and push him off down the hall with Ms. Henry. He was sobbing. It was awfully hard.

Then I made a big mistake.


You see, I have used three Wrap-n-Mats for a couple years now, when I pack lunches and what-not, and they are really great for cutting disposable waste. I love them. So now that I have three lunches to pack, I ordered three more to have on hand. On the first day of school, with a reminder every day thereafter, I talked to the kids about making sure not to throw the mats away. (And as an aside, I really want to get some of the snack pouches when I can afford them, too!) Two or three days into school, Sophia's mat came up missing. I asked her about it, and she said her teachers had taken it away from her. Wha? So, anyway, after calling unsuccessfully to find out if they had the mat at school, I decided to stop in after taking Jacky to school, to see if it was there. I needed my mat, y'all.

Big mistake.

Sophie was ecstatic to see me. Though she's come home happy every day from school, I've been forgetting to post here that she's also said she's cried every day, wanting to be with me. (Breaks my heart.) She ran into my arms, hugging and cooing, and wouldn't let go, even after I determined from her teacher that they didn't have the mat. She sobbed when I tried to leave. Much coaxing, again, was needed for my child to let go that day. It was awful.

I was so stupid to go in there the first week, while she was still adjusting. Dumb dumb dumb! I should have waited. Poor thing.

So I went home and felt awful for the next long time, about both my children. I called and talked to Ms. Henry, who said Jack was fine after I left, and all the children greeted him at his classroom. And she checked on him later at lunch, and he was all grins and smiles. I'm sure Sophie was fine too, but still, it weighed on me.

Later, I got a call from someone at Harris Teeter, wanting to schedule an interview! I am going in at noon on Monday. I'm not really nervous about it - as I shouldn't be - except for the nose ring thing. I can NOT get it out. It won't budge. Shee-it.

Shwans truck

The Schwan's guy had come Thursday night, but I hadn't put an order in (not in months, actually), so we didn't get anything. But I took a catalog and flipped through it, deciding it was time to restock the deep freezer. I called up our guy, and he agreed to deliver the order a few hours later! Sweet. And thank goodness for their delayed payment program, because I needed it this time.

While I waited for him to arrive, I cleaned out the freezer, deep freezer, and part of the fridge, taking stock of what we already had on hand. (I also did the dishes and cleaned out the dishwasher. Gotta be productive after napping Tues-Weds-Thurs!) Then I got my notebook and made a menu plan for the rest of September, to make sure we would have enough to eat. I never do this. It will surely help, not only in not running short, but in making life easier without having to think about what to make for dinner. I'm already liking it.

When Rob came home, he was excited to tell me the news: He'd been taking his motorcycle class on Thursday and Friday, and he passed this time!! The road test too!! He still needs to take the DMV road test, but this is great. Can I get a "Yay, Bob!"?


We got the girls dressed up in their soccer uniforms, and I took Sophie to her practice while Rob drove the other two to Chloƫ's. Jack wanted to be with his dad. Sophia must have been really tired, because she mostly just stood around with her thumb in her mouth, twiddling her hair, while the other girls played and ran drills. When she wasn't doing that, she was running around the field on her own, not listening or paying attention. I was thinking, great, he's going to think she's such a pain in the ass!

I wanted to gauge his opinion of Sophie so far, so I talked to Coach after practice about getting her used to playing soccer and what we can do to help her. He wasn't off-put by her behavior at all, having coached four-year-olds for several years and seeing the same in even his own daughters. So that was a relief, and I got lots of good pointers, too. Plus he's giving me a pair of cleats in her size that he can't use anymore. She already has some, but a spare pair can never hurt!

She played on the playground for a few minutes, and then we went home to start dinner. To make things simple - because I hadn't prepared Jack for what we would be eating, and he needs some forewarning to get used to the idea - I just popped in a Schwan's frozen pizza. We had some of their frozen apple blueberry cobbler still from the last time, so I decided to use that for dessert. Everyone ate well, including The Boy, and there were four single-serve cobblers in the box, so everybody got one. Only, nobody liked it! Rob ended up eating all of them while I gave the kids ice cream. Hee. Won't be ordering that again... ;)

Stay tuned for Saturday's update!


P.S. We found that missing lunch mat today, under the kitchen table. Whoops.

Saturday 9: You Like Me Too Much

Beatles_yesterday_and_today  Be sure to link up with Samantha if you're playing along today!

1. If everyone liked each other, what would we complain about?

I think we could all easily find plenty; I know I could!

2. If you were most powerful person in the world, how would you use that power?

MWAHAHAHAHA... Kidding. I'd use it for good. First and foremost, I'd make recycling a national - no, global - law, because it's utterly ridiculous to me that it isn't already!

3. If had exactly one year to live, what are the three things you'd want to do before you died?

Dive the Great Barrier Reef, go up in space, and get up the nerve tell my ex-stepmother what a shitty human being she was/is. Maybe not that last one. Maybe instead, I'd see the world. The whole damn world.

4. If you could change one thing about the world, what would that one thing be?

I'd remove unfair prejudices of all kinds.

5. If you could take one thing back, what would that one thing be?

Something I'm not going to discuss on this blog!

6. If you were stuck on an island forever but had all the water, food and shelter you needed. What would be the three other things you'd bring with you?

Knitting supplies and reading materials and a computer. Because of course there is electricity and the Internet there, right? ;)

7. If the internet didn't exist, would the quality of life go up or down?

Waaay down, IMO. It does more good than harm, I think.

8. If a million dollars fell off a back of a truck, would you keep it?

Hell yeah, bitches! Well, I'd think about it.

9. What is something you said, something you stole, something you did wrong?

Sigh... you're determined to make me malign myself, eh? Okay, my sister was always the pretty, skinny one, and I was always the smart one. She has said some things to me about being fat that I wish she would take back, and I have said some things to her about being stupid that I wish I could take back. In high school, she went to BOCES (which was the tech/trade school alternative) for doing hair (and maybe nails? I forget), and I took all honors and AP classes. So when she came up to me at my locker one day, proudly showing me her report card and telling me she had the highest average in her class, I looked at her and sarcastically said, "Yeah, but try taking my classes and doing that."

Deflated in an instant. I regretted it immediately then, and I regret it now. Sorry, Stace.

Hope you're having a good weekend! I'm off to shower and get out of here!