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Entries from June 2010

Gourmet Popping Corn


Jack is a HUGE popcorn aficionado. The boy simply cannot watch TV or a movie without begging for some. A long time ago - regular readers may remember - Stephanie taught me how to make "real" non-microwaved popcorn, in a pot over the stove. I promptly forgot how to do it, though. At my last shopping trip to the organic mart, I picked up a couple bags of organic kernels, since of course that's the only type they have. Fine by me. Waaay cheaper this way! We finally ran out of my stockpile of the microwave stuff over the weekend, so I had to check wiki-how, or something, for directions. They told me to use a pan. I used a pan. I should have stuck with Stephanie's instructions to use a big pot!


All went swimmingly at first. Silence, then one by one, the kernels started pop-pop-popping underneath the lid.


Soon, though I was holding it down, the popcorn was exploding out from under the lid and flying all over the kitchen! It was bouncing off the ceiling, off the walls, off the fridge, off the counters, and landing every-damn-where!! Jack ran in and was in hysterics, laughing and shrieking for the dog to come in and eat it off the floor! It was pretty freaking hilarious. I only had one big bowl ready but really needed two, so somehow with all that going on, I had to dig around for another one!

Jack wanted his plain, and Sophia wanted hers buttered and salted, so I melted some butter that the dairy delivered last week with our milk and lightly salted hers. Delicious! When Chloë came home, she finished it all and declared it positively yummy. Yup, we'll stick with this method, though Mommy has learned a few tricks!


In other news, when we haven't been driving Chloë to camp, rushing Rob to the ER, or spending entire days trying not to get sunburned at the pool, I've been working morning, noon and night on the new blog, Fishing and Wishing. Have you checked it out yet? We have some really cool giveaways right now, including:

Twig Ring 1

this silver "twig" ring, and

Picking Flowers Girl

these funky dolls... so go check it out, enter to win some fun stuff, and stay tuned! I have LOTS more coming up, and I don't want you to miss it!



Welcome, Summer.


Well, it's official. Summer is here in Hampton Roads. It's freaking HOT, too - over 100º the last few days. Without AC in the car or house, well, we've been pretty dang miserable. I'm surprised it hasn't killed the pets. Anyway, this week, Chloë is going to Imagimazing Camp Beverly Hills out in deep Chesapeake. She started Monday and has gone twice so far. They have been swimming and boating, playing games, and generally having a ball. She's enjoying herself. I'm glad, because I'm going to put 250 miles on the van with all those round-trips, by the end of the week!


The pool is closed on Mondays, so Rob set up the little Barbie pool that Jack gave Sophia for her birthday in April. At last; they have been begging for it for an age. 

When alone in the pool, Chloë was pretending to be a mermaid. Yes, she's still the dramatic one.


The ice cream truck came by while all three children were flopping about in the pool, and I happened to have seven bucks in my wallet, so what the hey. Ice cream for everyone! They were out of EVERYTHING that we wanted, though. Hello? Stock up, man. Stupid.


Ah, summer. The ice cream truck was a big part of my childhood, too - whenever we visited Grandma and Grandpa, Grandma would take us to the pool every week day and we'd get to go pick out an ice cream when the truck stopped at the pool. Every single day. I think? At least, that's how I remember it.


That boy was SUCH a mess by the time it was all said and done!


The kids went RIGHT back into the pool when they half-assedly cleaned themselves up after their ice creams were eaten.


  Unfortunately, our nice evening was cut short when the bike Rob was messing with gave him a rather nasty bite. Blood gushed out all over the place. I knew I'd be driving him to the hospital after he cursed, hissed, and said, "That's gonna leave a mark." 


We spent several hours at the ER waiting for him to get his five stitches. That particular one, to which I drove, is normally like the fast-food restaurant of hospitals, but it was surprisingly packed and slow that night. The kids were starving; I had to break down and go to The Evil Empire McDonald's for dinner. I made the mistake of eating a McNugget or two myself, and I retched a couple of times in the parking lot for my folly. Just can't eat that crap; the pouch vehemently rejects it! 

Anyway, Rob: he refused pain meds and was therefore in a great deal of agony on Monday night, but he was able to ride his Beemer to work on Tuesday. It's hurting a lot less now. He'll live. It was a nasty slice, though, and we think maybe he hit a nerve. That's what he gets for messing with the bike when he was supposed to be working on our garden!! Chloë and Sophia were very sympathetic about their Daddy's accident, but Jack just whined, "I don't wanna go to the hospital, I wanna stay in the pooooool." Gee, thanks, Son.

And that, my friends, was Monday.

P.S. I realize Summer started more than a week before this, but I needed a blog title. Sue me. :P

C'mon, It's Ladies' Night, Oh What A Night


So in May, when the girlies and I were at the big Girl Scout recruiting event, Sophia entered and won a giveaway for a Moms' Night Out at The Body ShopI was told to bring five or six friends, but for one reason or another, most of them couldn't make it. So Tabitha (left), Linda (right) and I (center) carpooled over to the mall together on Sunday night to treat ourselves to some fun and relaxation.

Linda and I don't have AC in our vehicles, and Tab never goes to that mall, so I drove us there in her SUV. Vroom! It was fuuun.


We enjoyed a nice peppermint foot soak, with peppermint oil, scrub and lotion. The Body Shop provided crackers, cheese, turkey and yummy berrry champagne for us, too! It was a really nice treat.


Dammit, Tabitha, look at the camera!! ;) (Is she not the cutest freaking thing ever?!)


They also provided a masseuse for us lovely ladies! How nice was that? I really, really needed a massage, too, so I relaxed and enjoyed every single second of my very nice rub-down.


*snicker* Linda cracks me UP! She enjoyed her massage, too.


Linda and I walked around the shop sampling a little bit of everything while Terabithia had her rubby-rub. I felt bad for the girls working so hard to entertain us, so I bought a few little things on sale. Good stuff, I hope; I haven't used them yet. But they smell wonderful, so we'll see.


All-in-all, it was a lovely little excursion for the three of us, and we were all glad for a little me-time, she-time out without the kiddos Thanks, Sophia!. Cheers!


I'm No Smitten Kitchen

Ever since I read about this red potato and blue cheese tart on Smitten Kitchen a week or so ago, I have had those drool-worthy pictures on the brain.

(And, holy cow, she has 106 THOUSAND subscribers on Google Reader. What?! This blog has 13; Fishing and Wishing has 45. Ha!)

It just so happened that a day or two prior to reading that post, I had done my bi-monthly grocery shopping at the organic shop, and I had picked up a bunch of very similar baby red potatoes and a puck of goat cheese. Not blue cheese, but afer reading Smitten Kitchen's post, the potato-and-goat cheese combo suddenly seemed very tantalizing to me. I could NOT stop thinking about it. Day and night.

I didn't want a crust, though. Too many carbs for me. (But duh, hello, we're talking about potatoes. Sometimes I don't think straight.)

Finally, the other day, I had to go straight home and make up my own potato-cheese concoction. I call it The Potato Thing I Made.


Here are my potatoes, still in the canvas sack I put them in, straight out of the bin at the organic shop. I love that they are all dirty, straight from the ground and into the market.


Wee red potatoes, freshly scrubbed. They enjoyed their bath.


Sometimes, it's all about presentation. Clearly, this was not one of those times. It might have been, but I happened to be on the phone with my sister the entire time I was making this. I managed not to cut my fingers off while slicing up the potatoes, which is miraculous, considering how sharp Rob keeps his Wusthof knives. Anyway, I put some olive oil in the pan, threw in the potaties, and smeared the goat cheese all over them. I found a bottle of sun-dried tomatoes (mmm, love) in the pantry, so I decided I wanted that flavor in there, too. Then, I meant to grab the salt and pepper shakers for some flavah, but I accidentally grabbed the cinnamon sugar instead! So there is a teeny bit of that in there. Hee. To make up for it, I added a teensy bit of cayenne pepper and called it good. It was pretty random.


I also had some organic vidalia onions from the shop, and I looove sautéed onions - especially vidalia - so I thought those would be good with The Potato Thing I Made, too. Only, the kids don't like onions at all, so I just kept these for Rob and I to throw on top of it later.

You see, at that point, I was still hoping they would LIKE The Potato Thing I Made. I can be so foolish at times.


Ooopsy! I chatted with my sister for a LONG time and burnt The Potato Thing I Made. I failed to set a timer or keep track of the time while we talked, so this is how it turned out. Looks totally delicious, right?! Ha.

But it was not a total fail. I thought it was just okay; it didn't taste the way I wanted it to, and I thought there should be less potatoishness and more cheesiness. The kids all hated it and had cereal instead. Rob, however, ate about nine helpings of it. He liked it, he really liked it!

I probably won't make it again. And if I do, I'll get off the phone. Promise.


Sunday Stealing: The Eighty Meme, Part One

Sunday Stealing

Check out Sunday Stealing here, if you want to play along!

1. What curse word do you use the most?

I drop my fair share of f-bombs.

2. Do you own an iPod?

Yeah but I hardly use it, since I have an iPhone.

3. What person do you talk to on the phone the most?

My sister, Stacey Jean

4. Do you still remember the first person you kissed?

Definitely ;)

5. Do you remember where you were on 11/9/01?

I'm guessing that would be 9/11 here in the US, so yes. I was in the hospital, having delivered my first-born by emergency c-section four days prior. I think I got out later that day and moved, with hubs, over to the Ronald McDonald House, since Baby Girl was still in the NICU. We watched the news a LOT then, of course.

6. What was the last movie you watched?

Parts of Fly Me to the Moon with the kids, today.

7. Has anyone ever called you lazy?

Yeah, and I am.

8. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep?

Once in a while. I should do it more, but I absolutely hate it.

9. Has anyone told you a secret this week?

I'm trying to get a secret out of my friend Gloria right now ;) but no, not yet, I don't think.

10. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?

Arms. I love some muscular arms.

11. What are you looking forward to?

My abdominoplasty! Hurry up, Missouri tax refund!!!

12. Do you own any band t-shirts?

No. I'm not that kind of girl.

13. What will you be doing in one hour?

Working on a $50 Jafra giveaway on my other blog. Fishing and Wishing. Come check it out!

14. Is anyone in love with you?

I hope my hubs is!

15. Last time you cried?

I cried a week or so ago. I was late taking my bipolar meds.

16. Are you on a desktop computer or a laptop?

Desktop. I hate laptops with a passion.

17. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoos?

I want to get a tragus or two pierced, but I've been wanting that for more than a decade, so I can wait.

18. Would you ever date anyone covered in tattoos?

Hubs has 9 tattoos, so figure that out.

19. What were you doing before this?

Skimming through blogs in my Google Reader, tweeting about giveaways on Fishing and Wishing, and Facebooking. You know, killing time.

20. When is the last time you slept on the floor?

Sometime in the past week, I did. It was cooler down there.

21. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?

Ideally? Ten. Seriously! But I usually get about six or so.

22. Do you eat breakfast daily?

I used to, pre-surgery. Now I don't.


Saturday 9: Letters From The Sky

Letters from the sky

Saturday 9 is hosted by Crazy Sam. Link up with her here if you're playing along!

1. Do you believe that we will ever be contacted by beings from another planet?

Ever is a long time...

2. Have you or a family member ever traced your family tree?

My dad has, off and on. I follow along with his findings.

3. Did you ever consider an acting career?

Ha, no, not for me. Chloë, my 8yo, has been half-heartedly pursuing it since she was five, but it takes money, and that we don't have.

4. What is the funniest situation you’ve witnessed in a religious setting?

I can't think of a darn thing, sorry.

5. What's the first movie you remember ever seeing in a theater?

ET, maybe?

6. What's the most difficult confession you've ever had to make?

Um... That would be a tie between two things I have no intention of sharing here!

7. What is a city that you have visited and hated?

I can't really think of one, but I lived in Tampa for a year and was not too fond of it. Bleh, it had like, zero personality then.

8. Has anyone in your life been "the one who got away"?

Yes. This guy I went to college with... and that's all I'm gonna say about that. I'm happy now.

9. Why do you think the 10 foot duck walked into the bar on
Thursday Thunks?

Am I drunk, or does it really say that?


Aloha Friday


Make sure to link up with Kailani if you've got a fun question for us today!

Since I have been a busy little bee promoting Etsy shops and running giveaways over on my new blog, Fishing and Wishing, it's currently all that's on the brain at the moment. So my question for you this week is:

Do you enter blog giveaways? If so, what is your favorite kind of giveaway to enter?

Thanks and I'd love it if you'd come over and check out some giveaways! I've got four running right now, with more coming up every day.


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments 

Friday Fragments is brought to you by the wonderful Mrs. 4444 over at Half Past Kissin' Time. Link up with her here if you're fragmenting today!

Ahh, Friday again, already? It seems like you were just here.

This summer is shaping up to be a dreadful one. First, it was air conditioning season again, and we are out of freon. We're suffering without it right now, because with starting homeschooling and our garden, there is just no wiggle room in the budget for anything else.

But then?

It was over 100º today!!!!

Seriously? I am sitting here nekkid right now with the sweat dripping down me. And it's after 1 in the morning! I know you are so glad I provided such lovely imagery, too.

Oh, also? More loveliness? It would appear that at least one of our mongrels has a flea infestation, and now we are being bitten, too. Probably not the sort of thing one normally wants to share publicly, but I am nothing if not an open book about such things.

Cat #2's flea meds are due to arrive tomorrow or the next day... I wonder if we can, uh, share it with Cat #1, she of the fleas?

We have been flea-less for 7 years and now this. Suckage.

I have been working my hindquarters off on my new blog, Fishing and Wishing. It is a review and giveaway blog, and holy COW, I didn't *quite* realize how time- and labor-intensive it would be, at least at the beginning.

I'll spare you the details, but I would absolutely adore it if you'd come over and enter one or two or three or all four of the current giveaways! Check out the list on the right, and stop back again tomorrow, because I've got more in the works.


Hmmm, what else... Oh! I'm excited, because my friend Gloria from Pieces of Me may very well be coming for a visit - and she may very well be staying with us!! (Though she may reconsider, now that she realizes we have don't have AC and we do have fleas... lol) If she comes, it'll be in a week, for four days, and we'll go to the big 4th of July party at the park down the road together.


I'm excited! We've never met in person and are just friends through the blogosphere. So that's fun!

These three days - Weds thru Fri - have been utterly awesome, because unlike the past, well, ever, there has been absolutely NOTHING on the calendar. School is out, dance is over, camp hasn't started yet ('til next week), and we are FREE!

Needless to say, with these crazy temps, I'm so thankful we have a pool and the beach at our disposal!

If you could keep my IRL friend Stephanie, and her husband Tim, and especially their baby Luke, in your thoughts and/or prayers, I would appreciate it. He's had a number of seizure-like "episodes" in recent days, and had undergone all manner of neurological testing. Thankfully, it would appear that he does not, in fact, have a neurological disorder, but they still don't have a diagnosis and are understandably worried and frustrated. Thanks!

After all the frustations of posting on Blogger - I love that it's free, and that I can have and snag buttons and other gadgets, but dang, it's annoying - it's so lovely to be posting back here at my wonderful Typepad. Thank you, Typepad, for not being an intense pain in my neck.

I guess those are all the bits I can pepper you with for today. I do have some cute kid quotes to share, but they're on the iPhone, which is busy syncing right now, so it'll have to wait 'til next week!

Oh, I can think of one off the top of my head, from this morning: I was cooking bacon and eggs for the kids' breakfast, and the bacon pan started smoking. One of the kids, Jack maybe, started freaking out about it, and Sophia, 5, soothed him by saying, "Don't worry, if it catches on fire, we can just put bacon soda on it!"

Bacon soda! Hee!

(She really did say "bacon," and not "bakin'," because there was a whole follow-up conversation about which it was, but that takes away the funny, so I'll leave it at that!)

Have a lovely weekend. Don't forget to visit Fishing and Wishing for some goodies. Thanks!!


Just Dance


Look at that posture! I'm so proud. ♥


On Monday, ten tiny ballerinas took the stage during the dress rehearsal for their big show the following day. Don't they look lovely? Chloë showed a tremendous improvement in Ballet over the previous year, and I was beaming watching her. I decided she will continue in Ballet II in the Fall, and she decided she will try Hip-Hop classes, too. No Tap or Jazz; I'd love to put her in all four, but the money for it just doesn't exist in the budget. Especially not if Sophia's to do gymnastics and Jack, karate.


While Miss Sally blocked the dancers in their routine onstage, the two blondie babies shenaniganized next to me. I didn't get any crocheting done; instead, I coaxed them into being quiet with ice-cream bribes for lunch. I did manage to start reading my Daisy Leader book. I'll probably read it four more times. I have lots to do for that, but this post isn't the place to go into it.


Act The Second: Jazz. After the wee ones and I went out to feed the meter and have a spot of lunch, we came back to find Chloë and her Jazz classmates on stage again. She's little, but in this number, she has big attitude. Big. And I loved watching it.


This time, Miss Darlene did the stage blocking, and Chloë was on the other end. We forgot to buy her black camisole, like the other girls have, so we had to run to Target that evening for it and some pink tights for Ballet (also forgotten - what kind of mother am I?). I couldn't find a black camisole anywhere on the racks, until I happened to spot some in just her size on a clearance rack, for $1.74. Score!


Attitude. They have it. Yes, they do.


Immediately after the girls exited the stage after the run-through, Jack, Sophia and I high-tailed it out of the balcony where we were nestled and ran to get Miss Chlo. She was full of admonishments for me about the missing camisole, the missing tights, the missing black socks (which we STILL forgot for Tuesday night, and which she had to borrow from another girl... whoops), the lack of bobby pins holding down her curls... I'm sorry, but she's the only girl in her classes with crazy curly hair, and do you KNOW how hard it is to tame those sproingy coils? They want them plastered straight down to her head, and I just can't manage it. Oh, maybe for five minutes... but then she gets hot, and sweaty, and the combination makes them bounce right back up again. Maybe in Hip-Hop, she'll be allowed to let her freak flag fly.


Fast-forward to Tuesday night, the night of the big show. Chloë was dropped off backstage at 1730, leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves until showtime at 1900. We dropped Rob off at the florist to pick out some posies for his sweet girl, and then I drove 'round and 'round to find a parking spot that wouldn't cost me eleventeen dollars. I finally found one just across from the theater, just down from the florist, and parked. Badly, but I got in there. The Littles were sound asleep. I left them in the car - yes, I did, beat me with a wet noodle if you want - with the doors open to give them some air, while I ran into the adjacent restaurant for a couple dollars' worth of change for the meter. I had my eyes on the van the entire time. When I came out, I woke them, and they helped me feed the meter. It was only afterward that I noticed that parking was free after 1800 - a mere 25¢ would have done the trick. Sigh. I hate waste.


You just can't hide that Hurricane pride! Love it!!!


While Chloë was backstage getting dressed and doing whatever she does back there, with her little girly friends, we were busy having a little dinner and ice cream (none for me this time, thanks) at A Latté Cafe on Granby Street in Norfolk, right across from the theater. It was the same place I took the kids for lunch and ice cream the day before; it was good enough to warrant a repeat trip.


This little guy got lots of attention from my little guy and gal.


The cafe is cool and completely at home in the artsy section of Norfolk where we were. There is free wi-fi, and the walls are plastered with works from local artists. Some have price tags on them, and some have "sold" tags on them, which I loved to see. There are shelves full of books and tables full of magazines, games on the coffee tables and comfy, overstuffed couches and chairs. Neil and Melissa, the married owners, are warm and genuine people, and the food is good. If you're in town, stop in for a visit and a look around.


Finally, it was showtime, and we headed into the theater. Sophia and Jack behaved more or less okay; I have realized that Sophia absolutely can not - can NOT - is competely incapable of, holding still for two seconds back-to-back, so I just did my best to keep her from distracting the rest of the audience. No one glared or shushed us, so I guess we did okay. 

Chloë did great, and Sophia called out, "Yay, Chloë!!!" after both of her dances. We were in the balcony again, though, and she didn't hear us. She was off quite a bit during the Jazz number, but I realized after talking to her later that it was because her friend V from Ballet was now sitting in the front row, and she was paying too much attention to that. She didn't lose her Attitude-with-a-capital-A, though, and she still knocked my socks off.

So, another year has come to an end. School is out, dance is over, and the pool is open. Summer is here.


Day Of The Dad


The dad in question took this photo the night before His Special Day, and since it's so cute and I really have nowhere else to put it, here it is. That's The Littles, Sophia and Jack, snuggled up together on the couch, reading a book. They were like that for at least a half-hour, exclaiming over this or that in the pictures. How stinking cute, right?!

For most of Father's Day, Rob slept. He's been working nights, so that's normal for him. Now, this week, he is back on days as he works on transferring to a new command, but on Sunday, he was still on mid-check sleeping schedule.

The kids and I hung out and waited for him to awake, but by 1600, we were sweating bullets in this AC-free house. I could stand it no longer. "Let's go to the pool, kids!" I shouted! We tried to get Daddy to come with us, but he slept on, and so we walked to the pool by ourselves.

We played and splashed and splashed and played, and then suddenly, around 1730, Daddy appeared!  The kids were overjoyed, and their overjoy overjoyed the overjoyer. More playing and splashing ensued, this time with the newcomer while Mom took a few deep breaths.

Soon, it was time for an Adult Swim, and the kids reluctantly got out (although a certain Soap kept climbing back IN when she thought no one was watching) while Rob and I clung tightly to each other in the water. We rarely get a few moments to ourselves during waking hours, so we take 'em where we can get 'em. Don't get the wrong idea; we weren't doing the nasty for the crowd... it's just, we held on to each other and didn't let go, for the full 20-minute Swim.

By six, tummies were growling. Tummies and a pouch. The kitchen was a mess, and as I've said about sixty billion times before, I don't cook in a messy kitchen! I wasn't about to make Rob either clean it up or cook on His Special Day, so I decided to take him out for dinner.


I knew exactly where we were going to go: Croc's 19th Street Bistro. They have local and organic food (though not exclusively), and while we were there, we found several additional eco-friendly initiatives in which they take part. The awesomeness!  The best part was, we had an undesignated certificate to use, and Croc's takes part in their program, so our meal was $25 cheaper than, well, than it woulda been!


Croc's is an upscale, white-tablecloth establishment, but that doesn't mean they're not also child-friendly. Indeed, they were ready with crayons and coloring menus as soon as we were seated at a nice, roomy table. (And I still haven't taken off that chippy nail polish!)


Chloë colored, did the maze (they all did, and somehow, they found three different but correct solutions!), and played the Word Find before her food came. She keeps herself busy. (And I don't remember her hair looking that bad!)


When he's not complaining about being hungry, this is generally how Jack passes his time in a restaurant, before the food comes. He'll be 21 and still sucking that thumb, I think. (Not that I can talk; I sucked mine until well after I turned nine.) Both Littles suck their left thumb and twiddle their hair with their right. When they sit next to each other and do it, it's pretty cute.


Rob was busy reading his menu and trying to ignore the person who insists on bringing her camera everywhere, like a Japanese tourist. Hey, if we did it, it's bloggable. (Check out how white his beard is getting. I rather like it.) (And doesn't he have a nice chin? It's why I married him. I don't have one at all. Proof is in the VLOG post preceding this one!)


All the tables were decorated with what we determined, after much deliberation, because we are dummies, to be rosemary. Whatever it was, it smelled good. 


Sophia wanted a photo with her mommy. Never mind that we're at a fancy restaurant and my hair isn't done and I'm not wearing make-up. Do you have any idea how HOT and HUMID it gets here? Ridiculously so.


I ordered the scallops, and whatever pasta came with it. I didn't really pay attention to that part, because I can't eat it. I love me some scallops, though, and no one else does, so they were allll miiiine. And they were delicious. (Okay, I tried some of the pasta, too, and it was very good. But don't tell my surgeon that! The girls slurped it right up, though.)


I passed the camera to Rob for this photo of his dish. Apparently it was good, but it was not what he wanted. I scolded him (shame on me, on His Special Day, of all days!) for initially ordering the most expensive thing on the menu (lamb chops) when we are so short on funds, so he called the server over and changed his order to the least expensive thing on the menu! I don't know if he was alternatively considering this dish or was just doing it to passive-aggressively spite me, but either way, I felt bad about it. Regardless, he enjoyed his food there and again later that night, when he had the leftovers.

Jack ordered a pizza off the kids' menu, and I was glad it was so big when it arrived, because all three kids were able to eat it. And they did. I'll keep that in mind for next time. The girls both ordered the spaghetti, but it was so spicy, neither of them would touch it. I was pleased when our server took both their dishes off the bill when she saw that, without my even asking. Major brownie points, there.


We gave the children the choice of having dessert at Croc's or going to the carnival they'd seen multiple times from the highway, while driving past Mt. Trashmore park. After absolutely zero deliberation, they all chose to go to the carnival. 


Our carnival-going funds were severely restricted, so we told the chirren they could go on one kid ride and one family ride. Jack, who has a sixth sense for these things, immediately decided he was going on the cars-go-round, but the girls decided to go on the giant slide. Well, Sophia did (that picture didn't turn out), and when she saw how much fun her sister had, Chloë did, too.




Yes, he really is cute from every angle. At least, I think so. This was while waiting in the very short line for the cars-go-round, after the slide. You can't talk to him when he's like this; he won't hear you. (By the way, do you recognize his shirt? It's the one we brought him back two years ago from Monaco. It'll probably still fit in two more years...)


Jack is always intense while driving any kind of car. I can't wait to see if he's the same way when he gets behind the real wheel of a real car on a real road. I bet he will be. Driving ain't no joke, y'all.


The girls weren't supposed to be on this ride, because we didn't have the tickets for them to go, but the ride lady just waved them on, anyway. She didn't give a damn. She was about five inches tall and cracked jokes the entire time. I couldn't decide if she loved her job or hated it.


The kids, two of whom are chickeny-chickens, unanimously decided that our family ride would have to be the carousel. Sophia would have preferred the roller coaster, but she instantly deferred to her older sibs.


Even a tame pony is too much action for Master Jack, who prefers to sit it out on a bench. Don't even THINK about lifting him up the air. He will claw your face to shreds!


For Sophia, this ride is about as easy as walking. She prefers it fast and furious. (Hey, now, don't read anything gross into that. She's five.)


Rob, up on his high horse (oh, how I amused myself with that one, Sunday night)


I just see the flaws... 


Those lucky ducks had their cake and ate it, too, because I decided I just HAD to have a little vanilla soft-serve. So we all had some. 

And then we went home, and we put three tired babies to bed, and behold, it was good. So declared the father of this bunch.


P.S. Chloë didn't get the commercial we went up to Newport News for last Thursday. Bugger. It's those teeth, I'm betting! ;)

Hangin' In There

Bear with me, folks! I'm still here and have posts to make, but my camera batteries are currently dead and busy recharging. Between promoting the new blog and finding giveaways for you, having a fun Father's Day for Rob, Chloë's 4½-hour long dress rehearsal on Monday and dance recital on Tuesday, and finding some time to sleep and keep the kiddos fed... it's been a whirlwind around here.

I'll try to post later tonight when the pics get uploaded. In the meantime, please go over to Fishing and Wishing and enter all the giveaways, if you haven't already! The more traffic we build, the more giveaways I'll be able to feature in the future. Not that the ones we have so far aren't great; I'd love to win them!! :D

More later...


P.S. Luke's doc apparently decided the multiple "episodes" he's been having were not seizures, and they are taking the extremely-frustrating "wait and see" approach. Please keep them in your thoughts as they go through this difficult time.

Your Name Rhymes With Snot


On Friday morning, I drove out to EBF Chesapeake to pick up Stephanie and wee baby Luke (who, at 8 months -8 months already!!!! - is really no longer "wee" at all) and carry them back to our house.

They spent the entire day and well into the night with us, so that I could knit Luke a redeux pair of wool shorties that would actually fit his cloth-diaper clad little butt this time, unlike the last pair that came out, well, rather ginormous. (As Steph says, "They go up to his boobies.")

As for the title of this post, I believe it was Chloë who joked to his mama, "Lucas Mucous, your name rhymes with snot!" I giggled and was relieved when I looked up to see if Steph was offended and found her giggling, too. Phew!

The knitting took about 10 hours. We tried the shorties on at one point, but since I was using DPNs (double-pointed needles), a bunch of stitches fell of the needles. Even though I'd used big rubber bands to hold them in place. Fecking stitches. Steph quickly grabbed me a crochet hook, and I was able to save every last one of them (sending a silent "thank-you" to the anonymous yarn shop employee who taught me how to do that, four or five years ago). Phew again!

I didn't take many breaks, knitting almost continuously through the full 10 hours. To say my hands were cramped afterward is an understatement! The only real break I remember taking, aside from inhaling a crab cake and using the powder room, is getting up to show Steph my dance skilz to "Cotton-Eyed Joe" on Wii Just Dance. I think she was impressed and amazed. Or amused. I don't really know.

Oh yeah, and I took a shower, because we were going to go go this awesome (so I heard afterward) Etsy-sponsored crafting party in Norfolk, but we mutually decided not to go and continue on with the knitting. My new mail-order bathing suit arrived from Land's End, and I tried that on. I'm wearing all size 12 stuff from Old Navy right now, but since they were out of size 12 suits, I bit the bullet and ordered a size 10. Well, it fit!! I had to squeeze it on, but Rob said I looked "hot" and that a 12 would probably have been too big. Yay! That means that after I get my abdominoplasty, I should be at least an 8, if not a 6. (I have a LOT of skin to remove.) Single digits, baby!! I can not WAIT.

Anyway, the shorties finally got finished, and I held my breath while Steph tried them on Lucas Mucous. The final decree? They fit!!! Woohoo!! The hard work paid off.


He does look rather cute, doesn't he? I mean, with the shorts. He could wear a brown paper bag and look cute, though. =D


In other yarny news, I had to work through the night into Friday morning, but I finished crocheting the blanket I was working on at the HEAV convention last week:


Oh, my bad, did you want to see the whole thing? Here you go:


I like the finished product very much. I didn't like it at all at the beginning, because it's made with icky-crappy Red Heart yarn (with my apologies the people who donated the yarn to CARE Package the day before I started making the blanket from a pattern book donated by Bunco-friend-Linda) that squeaked throughout the process. I wasn't a big fan of the colors for the first half of the blanket, and maybe the first 7/8 of the blanket but finished, I actually think it looks pretty. And it's softer finished than it is started, if that makes any sense. In the end, I'm satisfied that it will make a nice blanket for the full-term baby girl who will be unfortunate enough to need it. :(



In much happier news, Thursday was Bridging Day for Chloë's Brownies troop. The girls are now officially Juniors! After a year of Daisies and three years of Brownies, I couldn't be more proud of her and the girls, most of whom have been together since they were five. I spent a good deal of time on Thursday sewing on the patches she'd received in December and asked me to sew on ever since; after the ceremony, I sewed on all the rest, in completely the wrong places (ie, non Try-It patches on the front, since I ran out of room on the back). But she's never going to wear it again, so does it really, truly matter?

(I also sewed the patches Sophia has earned on her Daisy smock (Early Bird registration, plus a Make-It-Build-It patch from Lowe's for the trellises they made me for Mother's Day, and a soccer patch from Fall Soccer), and the ones Jack has earned on the back of his Cub Scout shirt. I KNOW those are in the wrong place, so Rob will probably have to take them off and re-do them, as the boys actually have uniform inspections.)


Miss Nikki, the Troop Leader, introduced the girls and sent them across the bridge, and Miss Karen, the assistant TL, gave them their certificates and pinned on their new insignia. Congratulations, Chloë!!


Is she giving me that tween look that says, "Moo-ooommm, stop taking my picture"?? Is she old enough for that yet? My word.


Before the ceremony, we ate dinner, and Miss Nikki passed out all the patches and things the girls had earned. She even gave me a Volunteer certificate and a gift bag with goodies and a couple of patches of my own. Everyone had to bring something to eat to the potluck; we brought the McNuggets and fries and all the Shrek godies that we were supposed to have at our Shrek party last Sunday. Since almost no one was going to come to that, I canceled it and decided to bring the Shrek party to Bridging Day, instead! It worked out.


After the party, during which the girls also sang and recited some things for us, Chloë was completely exhausted. She passed out immediately, which sucked, because we had more than an hour's drive (with traffic) up to Newport News for an audition.

H, the casting director, had called us as we were literally ON OUR WAY to the Girl Scouts party, asking us to come up immediately. Um, no can do, sorry. He said that he was sure that if they saw her, they would want to hire her, and since it was a national commercial, I hemmed and hawed and finally decided no, we really have to go to this party. He countered by saying they would stay late just for her, if we could come up right away after the party. Well, we had plans to go to Michaels to make a Father's Day craft for Rob, but we couldn't really say no, could we?

So we went.

Rob took The Littles downstairs to Maggie Moo's for some amazing (but not cheap) ice cream, while Chloë had her on-camera audition with H. I had forgotten to mention her teeth situation (she's missing several, and others are half grown-in, at the moment) on the phone, but he said it was no big deal. She "slated" for the camera, which is basically saying your name and age and whatever else they want you to do by way of introducing yourself. She was much too tired for that, so it wasn't great, but then she had to take a potty break.

During the break, she really woke up and became her regular, silly, "on" self, so the rest of the on-camera part was really cute. You never know how they'll perceive you, though, so I'm not holding out much hope. H said we should find out by Tuesday if she gets it. It would be a great gig, though!



Lookee!! Rob was a busy boy today. He put together our new compost bin, hauled all the compost we've been making from behind the bushes in the front "yard" and filled it up. Doesn't it look great? I'm SO excited to have a proper bin now.


Also, he built the first of our two cedar raised beds. Unfortunately, he had a dickens of a time actually getting them into the ground, so he had to take it all apart again! D'oh!! Poor Rob. He's going to put it in separately tomorrow, I guess. But still, it looked nice, right? LOL

Can you see my two pretty Tiger Lilies under the tree in the bag? Love. Those are my faaaaavorite flowers.


And finally, Jack snagged my camera and took about 800 pictures with it. Most were crap, but here are a few I kept. Chloë, busy playing games on my iPhone - a favorite activity for all three kiddos.


Sophia, looking completely enthused.


An amusing self-portait


Daddy working; see his hand all bandaged up? He got some horrible blisters trying to pound the box into the ground. Poor Daddy!!

That's all. Back to working on promoting the new blog. If you haven't entered the giveaway, please, please, please go do. :D Thanks, I really mean it. Thank you. There will be a new one posted later on Sunday!


Sunday Stealing: The Oh My! Meme Part One

Sunday Stealing

Click here to play along with SS!

1. The phone rings; who don't you want it to be?

The B*tch From Hell, aka my former stepmother

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart?

Sure do, unless I have a compelling reason why I can't, none of which I can think of at the moment.

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener?

It depends on who is there and how drunk I am (hee)

4. What was the last compliment that someone gave you?

This guy who hadn't seen me since right before my gastric bypass surgery told me, over and over, that I looked "amazing" and "phenomenal." I wonder if I'll ever get tired of that?

5. Do you play the lottery?

Nope. Not since I turned 18. Hubs likes scratch-off tickets, though, so once in a while I'll get him a couple.

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, who would you want with you?

Hubs. He'd be an excellent companion in that situation. But I wouldn't really be "abandoned" or "alone" if he was, would I?

7. Do you like to ride horses?

Meh. I've only done it a couple of times, when I was a kid. It didn't excite me too much, but I would go again if invited.

8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid?

Immediately after my mother died, when I was 7, my dad got rid of us sent us to camp. I was separated from my sister and rarely allowed to see her. It was traumatic. I peed the bed every night, and I never did before or after that.

9. What is your favorite party game?

I'm not really a party girl, so I don't know.

10. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he was married, would you go for it?

Been there, done that

11. When was the last time that you lied?

Uhhh... ???

12. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you?

Date, yes. Date seriously... probably not.

13. If you have a S/O, who pursued who? If not, do you like to pursue or be pursued?

I'm Hubs' mail-order bride! He 'bought' me off the interwebs. Ha! And yeah, I like to be pursued.

14. Use six words to describe yourself.

Sweaty, cranky, in need of shower

15. Name a song that could make you cry.

"To Where You Are" by Josh Groban

16. Are you pleased with your education?

That's kind of a weird question. I'm glad I have one. I wish I had more.

17. How do you feel about gun control?

I'm in favor of it. I don't think every Tom, Dick and Harry really needs to carry a gun around, personally.

18. If your house was on fire, what thing would be the first thing you grabbed?

Assuming my family were safe, I'd grab as many of my scrapbooks as I could.

19. How often do you have a romantic weekend?

Hm, what year is this?

20. Do you think more about the past, present or future?

I think about all three of them often. I'm not going to try and guess at the percentages.

21. What was the last adult magazine that you have read?

Like Penthouse? Hustler? Lol... if not, then I briefly perused Family Fun mag the other day.

22. What are you told about your eyes?

The eye doctor tells me they are quite devoid of sight.

23. How tall is just right?

Stupid question. I like 'em any height above mine, basically. Which isn't hard.

24. Where is your dream house located?

When I find it, I'll let you know, but it'll be one-story with a large yard, a garage, and a beach nearby.

25. Do you have a secret fetish?


26. Have you tried bourbon? If yes, what type?

I don't think I ever have. Not in any hurry, either.

27. Have you ever seen a male or female stripper?

Not IRL, no.

28. When was the last time you were at TGI Fridays?

At least 6 months ago, and it had been at least 2 years before that. 

29. When was the last time you were at church?

Um. *blush* It's been like a month... at least.

30. Where was the furthest place you traveled today?

To the backyard. Although I'm about to go even further, all the way upstairs to take a cold shower.

31. What was your favorite job?

I kinda like my current one, being a SAHM =D

32. What condiments do you like at your BBQ?

I don't like a BBQ. I don't like ketchup, I don't like mustard, I don't like mayo...

33. Bud is hosting Thursday Thunks this week. Will you play?

Maybe if he personally emails me the night before. Otherwise, probably not.

34. Do you look like your mom or dad?

I have my mom's bod and my dad's face. I'm the unlucky sister; Stace got the opposite genes and is quite the hottie. Or so she tells me. Haha!

35. Who was the last person that you showered with?

My hubs!


P.S. Please come check out my new blog and enter the giveaway here! thanks!!


Saturday 9: Jumping Someone Else's Train


Crazy Sam is our hostess for Saturday 9 - click here to join in the fun!

1. When was your last train ride?

Garsh, I think that would have to be November '04, when I was pregnant with Sophia, and we went to explore DC. Long time!

2. How many foreign countries have you visited? Tell us about one.

Well, Guam, Puerto Rico and the USVI probably don't count, so that leaves Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Panama, I'm forgetting something... Spain, Italy, France, Monaco, Greece, Croatia... I guess that's it? I'll tell you about Croatia. We were in the old city of Dubrovnik, a place where I never in a million years imagined I would want to go. But you know what? It was absolutely lovely, and if someone wanted to send me there again, I'd be happy to go. I loved the open-air market, the people, the by-the-sea atmosphere... everything. Make sure you buy a tie there!

3. What do you always take with you on vacation?

My camera, of course!

4. Tell us about something you've lost recently.

My Blogger virginity! I started a new PR blog there: Fishing and Wishing. Please, please, please come follow along, and enter the giveaway(s). There will be a new one tomorrow. (I'm shameless, I know.)

5. Do you prefer action packed vacations or relaxing ones?

A little bit of both. I like to go, see and do, but I also like to relax. Both.

6. How long will you wait in a check out line before abandoning your purchases?

If I want it enough to buy it, I will wait as long as it takes.

7. How old do you wish you were?

I'm happy with the age I am.

8. Do you consider yourself kind?

I try to be, but no, I'm not always kind. I work on it.

9. Tell us about your tattoos. Or if you had to get a tattoo, where and what would it be?

I don't have any. Hubs has nine and wants more, but I haven't decided yet whether I would get one. I have no idea what I'd want, which is the problem. Something about my kids? My hubs? The ocean or fish? knitting and yarn? I don't think one small (it would have to be small) picture could adequately convey everything I would want it to about me, so I don't think I'll ever get one!

Enter the giveaway! ;)



Branching Out

So the other day, I mentioned that I had started a new PR blog.

I'm ready to tell you about it now.

It's called Fishing and Wishing, and I know that's a silly little name, but I am seriously not good at coming up with names for stuff. Even my kids - Rob pretty much named all of them! Except the last one; I think that was my creation...

But I digress. You can find the new PR blog here. I just posted our first giveaway, for a really funky, cool necklace from a local (to me) artisan who I have "known" off-and-on through Etsy for a couple of years now. I'm excited she's the first one - and there will be another really cool giveaway up tomorrow, with more coming during the week. I hope.

Why am I doing this?

Well, I started it on a total whim. I was reading blogs in my Google Reader account, and some of them were PR blogs doing giveaways. It seemed like fun. Hey, I like fun. I'm not hoping to get rich, or even get a ton of cool freebies. If that happens, hey, fun, but if not, still, fun. I'm just doing it for a kick.  Five seconds after I thought of it, I started doing it.

And that's it.

Right now, there are NO entries on the giveaway. If this new blog is going to succeed and grow, that's definitely got to change.

So please, get over there and enter. More than once! And please, please, please spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc. I will be SO grateful!!



Aloha Friday


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

My question for you this week is:

What would break your heart the most, to find out your child did it?

I'm hard-pressed to come up with a singular answer, since of course there are lots of things I don't want my children to grow up to do. Hopefully I'm not raising any murderers or child molesters, though, so I guess I'll say smoking. I am so extremely, vehemently opposed to the habit, that it would just kill me to find out my son or daughter had started it. Ugh.

Your turn!


On The Wrong Side Of The Food System

Whew.  It has been a busy coupla days. Let's recap:


Couldn't sleep, wasn't tired, so I stayed up all night. I was productive, though: I did the bills, worked the budget, started a new PR blog on Blogger (more details about that to come in the next couple of days) and crocheted. I'm nearly finished with that blanket. When I am, I'll show ya. It'll be tomorrow.

Chloë is still in school this week, so she was bummed later when she found out that the rest of us - Daddy included - went to the zoo without her. Like, in tears, bummed. We kept having to reassure her that now that we're zoo members, we can go whenever we want - and we WILL.


The original plan was to get there at 1100 for the zoo's weekly story time, but when we arrived at a quarter 'til, we saw that it was also elephant-feeding time at 1100. Which would they rather do? "Elephants!!" came the enthusiastic reply. When we arrived back in "Africa" to see the heffalumps, we first caught sight of two of the ol' girls getting baths. The kids were fascinated. Even more so when I informed them that at Jack's age or so, I had actually ridden an elephant. Twice. They were astounded by that. Have you?


I am OBSESSED with Sophia's tush. I mean, it's just plain awesome. I could look at that juicy thang all day long. It's not creepy, right? I mean, I'm her MOM. I'm supposed to love every inch of her! (And you gotta admit, it's a pretty great butt, as butts go.)


After milling about for a few minutes, a zoo volunteer came out and told us where the elephant feeding would take place. We strode en masse to the bottom of a long and windy ramp and claimed our places for ideal viewing. A man with a big bucket full of fruits and veggies was down there, waiting for us. He tweeted four long tweets on his whistle, a signal for the ellies to come lumbering over. Only this one, a 36yo female (they're all females at our zoo), decided to dine. She wasn't thrilled about having to swim for her supper, though!


I love this one, when she was flaring her ears and digging around in the water for a wayward orange. She ate it, peel and all. Well, you didn't expect an elephant to peel an orange, did you?

Just like with the baths, the kids were completely engrossed in the proceedings.


Even the little guy, even though no wheeled objects were involved, even though he was hot and hungry. When the feeding session was over, they ran around the area while Rob and I asked a bajillion questions of the volunteer. She was too happy to answer them as much as she could. I'd love to do that, if I had the time...


We stopped off at the giraffe habitat for a little while, before heading to have some lunch in Africa's restaurant. There are three adults and a wee baby, there in the back. I wish I could have attended that birth!


We decided to get a pizza. Non-organic, of course, but the kids were hungry and not at all interested in the box of organic Fruit-e-O's that I'd smuggled in.  When we got into the dining room, though, Sophia spied the container of pickles on the condiment bar and decided that's what she wanted to have. She ate two platefuls! That girl is a pickle nut.


After lunch, the kids were pretty much through with animals for the day and just wanted to go play in the sprinklers. I gave Rob the camera to take pics, while I went hunting around in the nearby gift shop for a couple more Bunco prizes. I found exactly what I was looking for there, plus a few little goodies for the kids. Goodness knows they don't need them, but you know. I like to spoil a little.


Jack's favorite thing to do is sit on top of the spouts and let the water shoot up his bathing suit!


When I finished my shopping, I shucked off my jumper and joined the kids in the sprinkler! Rob didn't have his suit, or he'd have gone, too. I would have gone in my everyday clothes. Who cares? If it's hot, and there's a fun way to cool off, I'm in - suit or not! As it is, I had to go in there in my workout clothes, since I don't have a suit right now. 'Twas brillig!


This guy was just wandering around, so I followed him. He didn't like that. He sped up. I sped up. He turned left. I turned left. Wasn't his favorite thing. He squawked at me.


When he was through with the slow-speed chase, he leapt on top of the chairs and was out of sight in a flash. Pretty guy, though, right? I bet he's sired a slew of peababies.


Jack asked a jillion times if we could go on the zoo train, but since it wasn't free, I decided that we should wait until Chloë could join us if we were going to do that. When she was crying about us going to the zoo without her, later, learning that is what dried up her salty tears. 


I was also going to wait until the whole family was together to show them what I picked up for them in the gift shop, but, you know, I can never, ever wait to give a present. Never! So after about 20 minutes, I gave up trying and called everyone 'round. I gave Sophia an ostrich, which she didn't recognize as an ostrich, so we'll have to look at those more the next time we go to the zoo. (There were two in the giraffe habitat, but she must've missed them.) She's a bird girl, though, so she loved it just the same.

 For Jack, of course, I bought wheeled items: this time, two safari jeeps that he just loved. His mind was already jumping to the next zoo visit: "Did they have other animals besides zebras and giraffes? What else did they have? Can I have one of those next time?" Never satisfied, that kid!

I gave Chloë a little jungle-themed art kit and a zipper pull with her name on it, and Rob got a zoo sticker for his truck. Or the motorcycle; I'm not sure which. I gave myself a zoo magnet for Vanna. You'll just have to wait and see what the Bunco prizes are...


Later, while Chloë was at Ballet, the rest of us did some heavy-duty shopping in the garden and lumber sections of the nearby Home Depot. I budgeted $5-600 for the backyard garden project, and we spent every penny of that and a little bit more. Well, almost. We would have, but then the nice lady handling our order (because we couldn't fit it all in the van, and Rob had to go back for the rest of our bags of dirt. Dirtbags? Hee) asked if we were military and gave us a hefty discount for that. I usually ask for a milly discount everywhere we go, but I didn't think to ask at the Depot. So, yay, we came in under - except that we only got about half the dirt that we needed for our two raised beds. Guess we'll have to go back after those are built. Here's Rob getting the cedar planks off the roof of Vanna. 


We got lots of good stuff! A compost mixer, in the box on the bottom there, is causing me serious excitement. I can't wait to start filling 'er up! Lots of organic soil, and some organic topsoil, more cedar, some organic compost starter... and a few tomato cages. Hopefully Rob can start building the beds this weekend with the kids, for a Father's Day activity. Do you think that's what he had in mind??

As soon as we came home from that shopping trip, I crashed on the couch until my school alarm went off the following morning.



I was still tired. I slept a great deal. Sophia and Jack played down in the living room together, mostly very nicely, while I snoozed on and off. I weighed in: 155.9 lbs. I'm down over 185 lbs and looking forward to losing those last 5 lbs before I hit my doctor's goal. Maybe I can hit it before I see him again next month, which would be swell. Just swell.

After Chloë came in, I showered and got the Littles ready to go with me to take her to Jazz. And then I had a brainstorm: since it was Wednesday, parking for locals down at the beach would only be a buck. Why don't we go? Yes, let's go. I sent them to wake up their dad, who was game, and we all worked ourselves into a tizzy getting ready in the negative-five minutes we had before leaving to take Chlo to dance.

The kids were absolutely ravenous, and again, they had no interest in the Fruit-e-O's I'd brought along. So Rob and I briefly talked it over, and we decided to use some of the huge McDonald's gift card I'd gotten for the House Party, to feed them. It was a struggle; McD's is SO not what we want to be feeding them anymore, but the guilt burden was lifted slightly in knowing that it wasn't our money supporting the fast food industry. So we went back home to get the card, and then stopped for some victuals at the burger joint around the corner.

I only got a Coca Dieta, but everyone else had food and drink. Chicken nuggets for the kids, fries, and a free apple juice box. Holy cow, they devoured their food. They are not as completely sold on this organic thing as we are! It will take some time. Rob got a crispy chicken sandwich, but you know what? He really didn't care for it. It just didn't taste as good to him as he remembered. The organic food just tastes so much better, so much more... real. He's done. The fries, on the other hand, OMG. SO good. I had some. A bunch, actually. I think they were better than I remembered. Yum.  But still, not good enough for us to give up "the lifestyle," so after tomorrow, that will (hopefully) be our last time eating McDonald's in this lifetime!

 Look, Sophia's teeth grew back in!!  Doesn't she look great?!! Ha. As soon as we arrived down at the oceanfront after Jazz, we walked to the beach, which was being closed by the lifeguards and police. An electrical system had moved in; we couldn't swim. Or be on the sand. We started to look at the family bicycles instead, but then decided that wouldn't be safe either.  So, we decided to go find somewhere to sit and have a drink. Instead, we were walking on Atlantic Ave when the deluge hit, and we ran into the nearest store, a discount beach tienda.

I had forgotten that I'd already picked up my last two Bunco prizes, so I shopped around and picked up two more. Oops. Well, now I'm finished, and if there are extras, more for me! I told each of the kids they could pick a souvie under $2, and these hillbilly teeth were Sophie's choice. Nice, huh? Funny, though. Over margaritas and chips at Guadalajara's, we all passed them around:


Hillbilly Bob


Hillbilly Mel (taken by Sophia)


Hillbilly Chlo


Jack, the spoil-sport, decided not to participate. Instead, he gazed lovingly at his new little cement mixer.


Curls picked herself up a pack of Silly Bands (emphasis on "silly") to share and trade with her friends at school tomorrow, the penultimate day. She gave me one; I'm wearing it now. So far as we could tell, it's an ostrich. Another ostrich! No telling whether this one's a girl or a boy, though. ;)


And I got a nose ring or two. My hole's been empty (on my nose, pervs!) since, like, October, so it was time to fill it. Can you see the little blue stone?


And, Rob picked me out a toe ring. Well, at my request. I have ugly feet, I know. I've been told a time or two. (Also, time for a pedicure, eh, Melanie?)


Our gigantical margaritas were SO good! I had to ask Rob, though: what's the point of salting the rim if you're using a straw, hmmm? 


When it finally stopped raining, we tried to go down to the now-reopened beach again, but a policeman said it was still unsafe and he wouldn't do it. The kids were disappointed, and one or two of them cried, but we reminded them that we live here and can come back anytime we want. So they found a nearby fountain and begged pennies off me for wishing, instead. Rob and I made wishes, too. Aren't wishes the best?


On our walk back to the car, the kids found several puddles left by the storm. Never mind that they were full of mud; that's half the fun, isn't it? And so they jumped, and jumped some more.


When Sophia found another puddle and was there by herself, I told her to jump after I counted to three. Here's the result. Girl can jump, huh??


When we finally arrived home, there was a big ol' box from waiting on the front porch. Woot! I just ordered it two days ago, so I was thrilled. We were completely out of TP (how did I let that happen?), so I found a BOGO deal for Seventh Generation and bought that. To get to $25 - the level needed for free shipping - I did a search for "organic" and found these snacks by Newman's Own on sale, too. Oh, and the organic multi-vitamins for the kids, too, which is good, since they cost about 4x as much at the organic shop where we get our food. The kids LOVE taking their multis...


Yeah. Rob took that pic. He said Iooked hot like that... maybe from another angel!! Haha.

Time to go get some zzzzzs, as Thursday is another busy day.


I'm The Only One Who'll Leave A Light On For You

Don't ask. It won't make sense anyway.



Sophia looked particularly adorable. She dressed herself, as always, and even though I told her it was about 1100º out and she would be far too hot, she insisted on wearing the sweater.  


I've never met a cuter child being rude to her mother. (If she hadn't done that, the resulting picture would have been even more adorable; oh, well.)


Jack has been all about rockets. He built a rocket, talked about rockets, "saw" rockets in ordinary objects, and asked to learn about rockets this year when we home-school. Is he trying to tell me something?


Sophia had a routine hearing screening at the Naval hospital. Perfect in both ears. She kept saying through the microphone, to her tester, "How long is this going to take, anyway?" She has places to go, things to do, people to see... you know.


The Littles played together quite nicely, for most of the day. 


Chloë took this picture, noting growth of our transplated tomato plants from the Keeneys. It's doing quite well, thanks!


  • I continued to crochet that multi blanket, which I had planned to finish over the past weekend. At this rate, I will definitely be finished by NEXT weekend, at least.
  • I scrubbed down all three bathrooms, including three pretty gross toilets. I feel accomplished. The last two, I washed in the nude after taking a cold shower, and Rob walked in the kids' ladybug bathroom as I was bent over to scrub the tub. "Hello!" he exclaimed. "It's a full moon out tonight!"
  • After dinner, which Rob made, the kids and I sat on the front porch to enjoy the nice breeze. I crocheted; Chloë sketched pictures of herself, her sister, and various objects; Jack drove his truck around the driveway; and we all pointed out fireflies.
  • The Littles and I cleaned up the entire downstairs in about 45 minutes, except for the kitchen (Rob's domain), and except for the clutter in the office (my domain, which I attend to 24/7/365 and still can't seem to manage to tame). Anyway, it looks pretty good in here for the moment.
  • I found out that Chloë will need to head up to DC early next month to reshoot part of the beginning of Boom. She'll actually get paid this time, a per diem and travel rate. Awesome!

Back to my crocheting. Until midnight, when Rob's pay hits, and then it's time to pay bills and make plans. Have a good night!


Sunday Stealing: The Dark Side Meme

I'm late, but I don't care. I stil wanted to play along. For more Sunday Stealing, link up here.

Sunday Stealing: The Dark Side Meme

1. You’re building your dream house. What’s the one thing that this house absolutely, positively MUST HAVE? (other than the obvious basics of course)

A huge swimming pool

2. What is your dream car?

It's silly, but I've been lusting over a Smart For Two for two years now.

3. What is your favorite website that isn’t a blog?

I guess that would be Yahoo! Mail or Facebook. Lame.

4. iPhone 4 or Droid, which do you want?

Definitely an iPhone 4!

5. When you’re feeling down or lonely or just generally out of sorts, what do you do to cheer yourself up?

Uh, remember to take my happy pills.

6. Tell me about something or someone that you love that most people seem to hate.

Obama. I'm still a fan.

7. What do you want to be when you grow up?

I would like to be a family court judge. Or own a yarn shop. I don't know.

8. Would you go on a reality show if given the chance?

Probably not in a million years.

9. Who was your favorite teacher when you were growing up. (Grade school, Middle School, Jr. High or
High School only.)

I had several favourites: Mrs. Bruce, my AP Bio teacher; Sra. O'Toole, my AP Spanish teacher (and several other times, too); Mrs. Schmidt, my Chemistry teacher; and Mr. Magnarelli, my Social Studies teacher in 10th grade all come to mind.

10. You get one pass to do something illegal or immoral. What are you gonna do?

Smoke some weed. I have never done that, and I think I should try it once. Probably by the time I would consider it, it will be legal, though.

11. What were you doing 10 years ago?

Taking a break from grad school, planning a wedding that I didn't really want to have (and didn't), and trying to figure out the rest of my life.

12. By this time next year, I ...

will be a skinny bitch. Hell, yes, I will!

13. Do you think the United States will elect a female President in your lifetime? Do you think this would be a good thing?

Absolutely; yes!

14. Which fictional, TV show character you would shag anytime?

Hmmm... maybe Mekhi Pfeiffer's character on ER? I don't know...

15. What is your greatest pet peeve?

Arrogance. Can't stand it.

16. Tell me about your most recent trip of more than 100 miles?

Well, I'm not sure if my trip this past weekend to Richmond qualifies, but I think it does? You can read all about that in the previous post, "Convention." It was for a homeschooling convention; I had a great time and learned a lot!

17. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?

Definitely the dictionary, but I use both whenever necessary.

18. Do you have a nickname? What is it?

Smellyann, der

19. What are you dreading at the moment?

Cleaning the toilets. Eck.

20. Do you worry that others will judge you from reading some of your answers?

No, I don't care at all.

21. In two words, explain what ended your last relationship.

Broken teeth

22. What were you doing this morning at 8am?


23. Do you have any famous relatives?

Rutann and Yaeger, who flew around the world in a hot air balloon, or something like that - related through my maternal grandmother

24. How many different beverages have you drank today?

Shouldn't that be "drunk"? Let's see... water, milk, protein shake. Three.

25. What is something you are excited about?

Having my abdominoplasty... hopefully next month!

26. When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group?

Define "large." Does training the whole troop, girls and moms, on the cookie sale count? If not, then I've no clue.

27. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

"Nice hair, self."

28. What were you doing at midnight last night?

Sleeping! That convention wore me out!

29. What’s a word that you say a lot?


30. Who is your worst enemy?

Anyone who pretends to be my friend but is really just a snake in the grass.




That guy is supposed to be "overwhelmed," which is what I was when I first arrived at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on Thursday afternoon, but I don't know if that's what I think of when I look at it. But never mind him. OMG, the GRCC is huge, the amount of people there was huge, the number of things to see and do was huge, it was all just... huge.

I was really wishing that the rest of my family, or at least my husband, were with me, but alas, I was alone. (They were supposed to come, but then Chloë had a mandatory dance rehearsal on Saturday morning, and Sophia had preschool graduation on Friday afternoon, followed by a picnic, followed by Chloë's party for being Super Citizen of tte month for her class...)

After checking into my cheaper-than-cheap hotel room in a not-so-classy part of Richmond, I drove the 2.5-mile, 25-minute (yes, I'm serious) drive down to the convention center, paid six bucks to park, and followed the crowd. I was semi-organized in that I had highlighted in green all of the workshops I definitely wanted to attend, and in orange, those that I might possibly want to attend... but I probably should have studied the maps more, because I had no idea where to go.


Fortunately, the home-schooling community is made up of Generally Nice People, and one such GNP noticed me standing in the middle of things, wide-eyed, looking around in bewilderment. She walked me to the registration table and then pointed out where I should go after that. She told me to try not to get too overwhelmed (too late) and before walking away, said, "You're here alone, for your first time? Oh, bless your heart." I think my poor heart was blessed about 75 times during the course of the convention.


Anyway, for the next 5½ hours, I sat through four workshops on, basically, "how to homeschool." There were half-hour breaks after each hour-long session, during which I crocheted on a baby blanket for CARE Package. Unfortunately, I have done a TON of research on home-schooling, homeschool laws in the state of Virginia, and choosing curricula, so I really didn't get a single new piece of information out of that period of time. Suckage. But, had I not gone, of course I would not have learned that much, right? And there was nothing else that I really could have done in that time, so it wasn't a total waste.


After the workshops, I had about an hour left before my parking garage closed at 1900 (lame!), so I went to explore the ginormous Exhibit Hall full of vendors selling everything from Christian Curriculum (80%) to crafts (5%) to gadgets (5%) to miscellaneous stuff (8%) to, uh, oh yeah - secular curriculum (2%). YEAH. It's VERY hard to be a secular home-schooler, at least in the state of Virginia. Er, commonwealth. Whatever.

Which brings me to the point where I could editorialize for hours about home-schooling from a Christian-based point of view, but I will try not to do that. Suffice it to say, I am Christian, but I am also a scientist, a biologist, and I not only "believe in" evolution but know that is an actual, real, observable phenomenon. I can do nothing but roll my eyes at the people who believe and teach their kids otherwise, and I do. A lot. Sorry if you're one, but oh, my God, learn some science. Evolution does NOT contradict Creationism, and if you want to read a great explanation about that, read the top of this page. Just the top. ;)

Anyway, before I get myself worked up, let's move on to this funny sign I spotted on one vendor's table:


I asked her before I took the picture, and I think she was tickled that I noticed it. Maybe you've seen it before, but I hadn't and thought it was too funny!


I looked through half the Exhibit Hall, spending just a tiny bit of money on a couple things for the kids, before I had to go rescue Vanna from the garage and head out for something to eat. On the short-but-long drive "home" to my hotel, I took a few pictures of some of the houses. Richmond is full of really great, old architecture, and I would have loved to have more time to walk around, take it in, and snap some pictures. But I have one more, and that's it:


I look at houses like that and see faces. I see faces on cars, too. Do you?

One picture that I really wish I had been able to take: near the GRCC was a very old apartment building, very stylish and well maintained but obviously as old as the country itself, probably. Well, probably not that old, but OLD. But smack-dab in front of it was a sign promoting a "move-in special," and it was bright and splashy and couldn't have been more in contrast with the old building. I stopped and looked at it every time I passed it.

I tried to find this place to get something to eat, since I wanted to continue eating local, organic food and this was definitely The Place to go for that, but I couldn't find it. Not because the GPS on my iPhone wasn't sufficient - it was, and it was my lifeline while in the city - but there was so much construction going on around Broad Street where I mainly traveled, that I couldn't figure out where to actually turn to stay on path. So I skipped it in favor of a tiny Mexican restaurante that promised authentic food.


Um, so why was half the menu Greek food? I didn't get it. I ordered a vegetarian plate, subbing beans for the rice I can't eat, and ate about a third of it, and two sips of my drink. The service was terrible, and no one came to ask if I needed anything. I was reading many of the things I'd picked up at the Exhibit Hall, so when the server came to check on me, finally, I told her I was "all set." Normally, when someone leaves a ton of food, you'd think they might want a box, right? Or at least you'd ask? No. She whisked my plate and drink away and dumped them in the trash! I was mortified! I planned on eating more later that night, or the following night. I was so dumbfounded, I just paid and left. But holy cow, I was not happy.

I had stayed up all night the night before, planning my trip and generally being too excited to sleep, and my two cups of coffee had long since worn off. I went back to the hotel and crashed. Hard.



My phone had died, and I forgot to set the room's alarm clock, so I slept really, really late. I missed the free hotel breakfast, and I missed the first workshop session at the convention center. It wasn't that upsetting, though, because I really hadn't settled in on one that I felt I had to attend. I would have liked to have gotten something out of it. Oh, well.

For breakfast, I spent a buck and had a bag of seeds and nuts out of the vending machine. It more than filled me up. I'm glad I can eat so little, so cheaply, since I had very little to spend!

Driving back to the convention center, I happened to find a GREAT parking spot that someone else was just vacating, just two blocks from the hall. I tried the parking garage, but it was full, as was every parking lot around, so I sent up a prayer of thanks when I happened upon this space. And it was FREE! The limit was two hours, but I decided to chance it and stay there the whole time. I was right, no ticket. Yay!


It was during the long lunch break when I arrived, so I meandered around for a minute, until I decided to which workshop I wanted to go. These two home-schooled students were playing classical music for the crowd during breaks, and they were great. Very talented.


I settled on a class about teaching your children art. I was the first person there, so the presenter, Barry Stebbing, asked me to run the projector for him. We chatted for a minute, and he asked where I was from. I told him, and he said, "Oh, Pat Robertson! Right? Do you ever watch the 700 Club?" I should have known that he was yet another deeply conservative Christian, but I didn't, so when I replied, "Uh, well, I've seen it, but I don't go out of my way to watch it," his face changed slightly. He didn't really chat with me much after that, at that time.  But remember him, because he will come back later in this post.

The class was great, and I learned a great deal. It changed a lot about how I planned to run our art classes this year, from willy-nilly and unfocused, to fundamental and well-planned. I knew what I needed to buy and where I needed to start.  Perfect.

I headed down to my next workshop room and crocheted for the half-hour until it started. I did that a lot: got there early, sat and crocheted, and listened to the people around me whispering about what I was doing. Sometimes I saw them point. Sometimes they tapped me on the shoulder and either said I was really fast or asked what I was amaking. Sometimes they said I was industrious or something like that. Some lamented that they hadn't brought their own needlework. That surprised me. Why wouldn't you bring it? I can't even imagine why not. Knitters and crocheters never complain about having to wait.




The workshop was on evaluating your child's writing, and I enjoyed the speaker. I got a lot out of it, but maybe not as much as I would have liked, since it was mainly geared toward older students. The main thought in my head when I left was that I definitely needed to find a grading rubric for my kids' writing assignments.


After class was over, I was finished for the day, so I decided to explore the second half of the Exhibit Hall. I loved these tiny violins, which were about the length of my forearm; I should have put something in the picture for scale. They were too cute. 

I do think it's time to get Chloë playing an instrument, but we can't afford lessons. And I certainly am not the one to teach her. We'll do music class as best as I can, but... I don't know. I guess I'll just pray and put on my thinking cap and see what develops.


After I left, I was starving, so I decided to check out the little hole-in-the-wall pizza place on the corner near where I parked. For $1.76, I ate one huge slice of cheese pizza, and that was more than enough for me. It was delicious, so I intended to go back the next day for more! If you're ever in Richmond, go to Romanza pizza at the corner of 1st St and Marshall. It's run by Africans. The service and ambiance are non-existent, but the prices and food more than make up for it!


I had three hours to kill, so I decided to take a bath. I hate baths. I get bored. I don't want to just sit there and do nothing, but I can't do anything much, because it'll get wet. I tried to read, but my magazine was getting wet, so I hurried through it and hopped out of there in five or six minutes. Baths are so boring for me! Rob laughed that I actually took one, but I told him, "hey, I've got a clean tub, no kids to interrupt me, and nothing much else to do."

Actually, I was living in the lap of luxury at that seedy hotel room. It was clean and clutter-free, I had all the AC and TV I wanted, and no one wanted my constant attention. So different from home. I decided to enjoy it... but truthfully, I missed my hubs and kids dreadfully.



A friend of mine was coming into town to hang out and have a drink or two, so I got dressed up for the occasion. A stranger in the hotel said I looked "really nice," and another stranger at the bar called me a MILF when told that I had three kids at home. A MILF! Hello, I am a MILF! I have arrived! I derived great pleasure out of that one!



I wasn't out that late, but I couldn't sleep well and didn't get to rest until about 0400.  I tried to read, crochet, watch TV, but nothing was holding my interest, so I just kind of lay there and stared out the window. It sucked, because even though I set my alarms this time, I still woke up late!

Actually, I didn't. I woke up and went downstairs to eat breakfast (a muffin, whoop-de-doo), and then I went back up and fell asleep again. I did set an alarm, but... I didn't hear it. So again, I missed the first workshop session. Damn it!

When I got to the convention center - after finding another free parking space, across the street from the one the day before, woot! - it was lunchtime again, and I was starving. I should have just gone to the pizza place, because I ended up spending over 7 bucks on a sandwich I couldn't eat, and I threw most of it away. I hated that. Hated it. I had nowhere to put it, though, and I didn't have anyone else to take it. Boo.


Remember Joel Salatin from Food, Inc.? (If you haven't seen it yet, you should!) He was the speaker I was most excited to see, and he was giving two back-to-back workshops. I was a little star-struck. I loved the man in the documentary, and I couldn't wait to meet him. I crocheted nervously away, waiting for him to arrive. And then he did:


He was busy setting up his book table, so I got a lovely picture of his butt. No cowboy hat, which I had expected, so I almost didn't recognize him.

I was sitting front and center for both talks. I didn't like the first one at all. He made jab after jab at liberals and tree-huggers like moi, and I thought for a moment about walking out of there. Except for that, though, I liked his message, and really, I was interested in the questions that would be asked at the end. The main thing I got out of it was when one lady asked, "What should we eat when we're traveling? What about eating out, what about eating at someone's home?" And he answered, "Be gracious. If you're served (whatever, can't remember what he said, but basically non-organic, non-local, processed food), smile and be gracious. But remember, I didn't say you have to pig out!"

Smart answer. I hadn't even thought of that myself.

I decided to sit through the second talk anyway, and see what else he had to say about hippy-dippy types like me. Really, I had no idea he was such a "fundy," as my friend J put it, and I was pretty surprised. But the talk was good, less insulting to types like me, and I learned a lot. Nothing about home-schooling, but a lot about his business ethic.


Immediately after that last workshop, I hurried right over to him and asked to have a picture with him. He was more than willing; he's a very nice, approachable, regular guy, even though he gives talks all around the world and is well sought-after at the moment. He cracked a joke just as this picture was being taken, if you can't tell!

Rob arrived right after that, on his motorcycle. He had left the kids home with our friend Linda, so that he could come up with the credit card that we have been trying so hard not to use. But, I really needed to get some things for "doing school," which I'll show you in a minute, and I'm going to aggressively pay that back, so it'll be okay.


Before we left, I picked up a copy of Joel's book (yes, we're on a first-name basis now, didn't you know?) for him to sign. I had been wanting to get it, from either Michele at the organic food shop we patronize or from Amazon, but I figured this was the perfect opportunity to have him sign it. Right?


Can you read it? It says, "To Melanie and Rob - Thanks for being on the right side of the food system. Joel Salatin." And now I can cross meeting him off my bucket list. I'd still like to go for a lunatic tour on his farm sometime this year, though!

So... after that, we ran through the Exhibit Hall once more, to get the goods. We shopped 'til we dropped, or at least, until we hit the credit limit on our card. I didn't get everything I wanted, but it's okay. I was going to buy the huge Spelling Power book, but I can easily find spelling plans online for free. And I was going to buy a Spanish program to teach all three kids, but there is a German teacher in my home-school group who wants to trade lessons for knitting and crochet lessons for her kids, so I might do that instead.

Here's what I did get:


This small kaleidoscope for the kids, because they've never looked through one before, and I think every kid should have one. 


Some really inexpensive flash cards that the kids couldn't wait to get their hands on


Sophia really liked the Disney-themed Phonics flashcards. Jack helped her read the words when she couldn't guess from the pictures.


Chloë was, hm, a mite less thrilled about the division and multiplication flash cards I'd picked up for her, but she was still enthusiastic about them.


And before I could take the picture, Jack was already putting away the fourth set of cards, dealing with time and money. "This is boring! I hate this!" LOL we'll see...


The kids delved into the box from Math-U-See right away. I bought everything from the Primer to Epsilon, which will teach them for years. Well, the younger two, anyway. Hopefully Chloë will progress quickly through the levels, although I am going to start her off on the primer, just to make sure we fill any gaps she has. I know there will be some; she really flounders when it comes to math, and unlike at school, I am going to stay on a concept until she masters it. We will not just move along because it's time to teach something else, whether she gets it or not, which is the beauty of schooling at home, isn't it?


Math, math, math!


The math manipulatives, about which Jack was very excited. Apparently they used something similar in his class at school, and he knows all about these. He wanted to know if we could start using them right away!


I ended up going to Barry Stebbing's How Great Thou Art booth in the exhibit hall. Remember him? He's the guy who taught the art workshop I attended. I really liked his presentation, so I decided to go ahead and get the goods. We have a manual, paint cards for each kid, paintbrushes, paints, markers, drawing pens, colored pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners... we are set! His wife, Sandra (I think), told me that this should last us for three years! Unless the kids are really gung-ho about doing art, in which case we could get through it all in a year. Either way is fine with me; I have a feeling they'll want to do it a lot, as they were very excited and wanted to get started today!

I wanted to share something really heartwarming that happened while at his booth: Our card got blocked, because it was a new card, and we had already charged a large amount at the Math-U-See booth. So while Rob was on the phone with the bank to get it unblocked, I was letting the Stebbings know what was was going on, since we had already picked everything out that we wanted to buy, and they were waiting to charge us. Mr. Stebbing told me to just go ahead and take anything I wanted, and if the card didn't go through, I could send him the money in a month or two when I had it. What! I was all, "No, no, I can't do that," but he insisted, saying, "I've never had a homeschooler not pay me." Wow. What a guy. But the card got unblocked, and we were able to use it, so that was good. Still. I was touched.


And last but not least, I picked up this book from the Kids Love Travel booth. It will provide lots of information for taking field trips with the kids throughout the coming year and beyond, and I can't wait to get started. Should be lots of fun!

Okay, I've held you captive long enough. And I need a drink. Ciao!






I Am


I am simple and complicated
I wonder why people can't be nice to each other, just because
I hear footsteps in the sky
I see flickers of light in the corners of my eye
I want to swim in a sea of soft, colorful yarn
I am simple and complicated

I pretend my mother and son are still with me
I feel people don't care about the environment as much as they should
I touch your skin when I need a connection
I worry that I won't be perfect, and the world will fall apart because of it
I cry when I learn of another baby becoming an angel
I am simple and complicated

I understand that science and spirituality don't have to contradict each other
I say that tomorrow is always another chance to do things right
I dream of seeing the world, one country at a time
I try to be the person my mother would have wanted me to be
I hope my children will always know how much I love them
I am simple and complicated


Click here to make your own "I AM" poem. Then send me the link, so I can see it!


In The Still Of The Night

I should probably go to bed soon, but I'm wide awake. I hope that changes soon. I have to go up to Richmond - and back - tomorrow for Day One of the homeschoolers' convention. Tomorrow is just preliminary stuff, like learning how to homeschool, but for me, that's the crux of the matter, so I intend to be there. I planned to get a hotel room, and I still might for Friday, but we couldn't afford it for both nights. Friday and Saturday will be long days, starting early and ending late, so it kind of sucks that I have to drive home tomorrow night. But, such is life.


This afteroon, we all gathered up and went to Sophia's dance recital for her Creative Movement class.


Look, she is the tallest one in her class! Kind of funny, isn't it, since the other two are always the smallest in theirs? Rob whispered to me, "She gets that from her father... who isn't me." He can claim that all he wants, because there isn't a thing on her that she gets from him... except her blood type. And, well, her DNA. The rest is ALL Simmons (my maiden name, btw).

The recital, as always, was pretty cute. Here is a video of Sophie and the class singing "Where is Thumbkin?":


(Let me know if that works or if I need to change the way it's embedded. It looks weird on my screen.)


They do lots of fun things in that class, always with children's music that you probably know. Sophia has a blast. She is a bit of an attention whore right now, too. See where she's looking? Back at herself in the mirror. Chloë was exactly the same way at that age!


Here, they were doing a train song, and toot-tooting the horn. Sorry for the red eyes; these pix are unedited.


Jack was not heavily invested in the proceedings. He kept whining to me, "When is it over? When can we go out to the car? I'm hungry. I'm tired. I'm thirsty. Etc." At this point, he refused to watch any longer. Brothers!

They do a lot of "animal action" in this class, and this is Sophia pretending to be an elephant. She had a silly noise to go along with it!037

I think she was a snake here. (No shoes, because she just outgrew them a couple of weeks ago, and I wasn't about to drop more cash for new shoes at the very end of the year!)


A frog. Sorry about the dirty wall; not my fault.


Here, all the girls kids are waiting for their end-of-class stickers. What I love about this is that for the last song & dance, all the siblings kind of spontaneously joined in, although Jack had to be urged at the last moment. It was great fun! 


After the recital was over, it was picture time. Sophia took that to mean she should do a couple of sweet poses for Mommy's camera.


Sophia with her teacher, Miss Jessica. What a ham she is, look at that hand on her hip! Do you think she knows she's cute? It's kind of sad for me, because she plans to do gymnastics next year instead of continuing on with ballet, but she has such a natural affinity for dance that I won't be disappointed if she runs from the gym again, like she did two years ago. I think she'll be great at anything she does, though - she's just got a great physicality that I totally envy. Too bad she was unmotivated on the soccer field, because I think she could have been great at that, too!


We totally failed on getting her a mini bouquet of flowers, which is a post-recital tradition, so I was so pleased when another little girl gave Sophie one of hers! How sweet.  And someone else gave her a Silly Bandz, which she also loved. I think those things are, well, dumb (and ugly!), but whatever. They're harmless.


Then she started gathering props and posing for Mama. Silly girl! There are a ton more pictures from the recital on my Facebook page, if you're interested. If we're not friends there, and you want to see, add me! I keep pix for friends only on there.

After that, Jack and Soap played on the ground next to the van while Chloë was in her Jazz class. Rob napped - sorta - and when he was awake and playing on his iPhone, I was busy peeling his back. He got a wicked sunburn the other day, which is horrible, but also a big gift to me, a born peeler. It's kind of like my crack cocaine. Poor Sophia's fingernails peel like crazy, and I am always attacking them! Anyway, what?


Tonight was also Bunco night, so after we came home, I rushed through a shower and then mixed up some brownies to take with me. I always pick a dessert, but next time, I have a side and have no clue what to make.  Hummus? Maybe. We'll see.

Tabitha, our everymonth host, now lives right down the road from me. I would have walked, but I was already a half-hour late, because the Brownies wouldn't cook through. And I had to carry five chairs, and my prize, and my Brownie pan, back home again. So Rob dropped me off and picked me up again when the night was over. Kind of wasteful, but necessary.

Bunco was a lot of fun this time. It usually is, but occasionally, it's kind of not. I had a bunch of caffeine onboard, though, so I was really into it. We had a lot of laughs, and I really enjoyed myself. Good times.

When I came home, I'd won a butter dish, so I decided to whip up some butter. We were out. I'd never made it before, but Rob had informed me that all I had to do was whip the crap out of some heavy cream, and it would turn into butter. I took his word for it and didn't bother looking up directions. I now know that I should have, but it's okay. Half-decent, anyway. Edible.


Here's the beginning, with the cream just dumped into the KitchenAid. How I love that thing. On top speed, it only took about 4 minutes from cream to whipped cream to butter to whatever I ended up with last.


You can see I overwhipped, and it started to get kind of curdy. And also, I tasted it at the stage after whipped cream but before butter, and it was quite bland, so I added two pinches of salt. Now I know I should have stopped at one pinch. Salty!


Sorry for the flash; it looked greyish without. That's my new butter dish, sans top. I like it! I also baked bread in the machine while I was at Bunco, and it finished at the same time as the butter, so of course I had to have a little of both together. I had improvised a bread recipe, just kind of throwing in some stuff willy-nilly, and it turned out great. I like it. It's a small loaf, though, so I'll have to make more this weekend.


And lastly, remember this sweater from a little while back, for CARE Package? I'm putting sets together now, so I decided to whip up a hat. It's the Puff Stitch Baby Hat, which I was glad to find on Ravelry, since the sweater also has puff stitches. Does it need a pompon? I can't decide. Next, of course, I'll improvise some puff stitch booties, and then a wee blanket. I think after that I'll move onto that pink kimono I made a while back and didn't love...

Okay. Off to get ready for the convention. Have a great Thursday!