Wordless Wednesday: Fun At The Beach!
Aloha Friday

You've Already Won Me Over

Great. Now I have this song in my head. And I'm warning you right now, this is going to be one of my signature super-long posts.

So, Monday and Tuesday were pretty busy. Recap, anyone? Yes, good. I was going to anyway.

Oh, since I've been asked, I thought I'd update on the whole almost-at-goal-weight thing: My 18-month anniversary was Monday, and I did NOT hit goal (150 lbs) yet! I haven't gained anything, but I haven't lost that last 2½ lbs, either. I'm not worried. I haven't been eating properly. No excuses. I'll get back on track, probably starting today.


I pulled an all-nighter, because... ??? Just because I seem to do it once or thrice a week anymore. I really need to stop doing it, but the body wants what it wants, right now, and arguing doesn't help. So I worked on coupons (I have a TON, as you're probably aware, and accidentally dumped my entire box upside-down on the floor, so it took me forever to reorganize them) and finished this:


I think it's gorgeous, if I do say so myself! It's the "Ishbel" shawlette, designed by Ysolda Teague, that I started 2½ weeks ago and have been plugging away at off and on, ever since. Knit in the emerald-hued Yarn Love that I won, with zero modifications. It's not perfect, but it's VERY close; I actually went back and fixed my mistakes for once! (I normally hate to 'frog' and will avoid it at all costs.) I plan on wearing it with the black dress I'm wearing up there in my profile pic, when a little covering-up becomes necessary. Should be nice. The only disappointment I have in it is that I had a lot more yardage left over than I should have, and I could have made the larger size. Eh, well; probably, if I had attempted that from the beginning, I would have run out of yarn and had to rip the entire thing. So it's just as well.

A little close-up of the lace

Anyway, after the kids woke up, we had a long breakfast session, during which everyone wanted something different: blueberry waffle for Jack, oatmeal for Sophie, scrambled eggs for Chloë. Everything organic, natch. I didn't mind. It made me feel like a proper mother.

Afterward, I decided to finally, at long last, take the children to the beach for the first time this summer. Only, money is always an issue, and it costs to park at the oceanfront. (Yes, only 5-7 bucks, but if the kids don't want to stay, I'm not down with shelling out precious dollars for a half-hour jaunt, you know what I'm sayin'?) So after getting directions from Stephanie, we headed to a much more exclusive, non-touristy, beach somewhere else in town. I'd only been there once, and I think it was before Sophia was a gleam in my eye, so I couldn't remember exactly how to get there. But it's free to park, and the waves are calmer, so I hoped the kids would be less intimidated and actually enjoy themselves.

After a quick stop at McD's for the free caramel frappé for which I had a coupon (and I'm glad that was free, because I barfed it all up as soon as we got to the beach), and the bank to deposit a check, we were on our way.

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You've already seen all the pictures on the previous WW post (and on Facebook, if you're my pal there), so I'll only show a few. They're not great, anyway; I'd forgotten my camera, so all these beach pics are from the iPhone. This picture keeps drawing my eye because Chloë's physique looks amazing in it, does it not? I keep marveling, lately, at the fact that she will soon turn nine. I can still vividly remember her first days, when it was just Baby and Mama - and Daddy, during the off-hours, of course - day in and day out. And now she is a tween. SHOOM! Those years just flew.

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Yes, that IS Master Jack running TO the water, and not AWAY from it! I know!!! Amazing! He had an absolute blast and spent almost the entire six hours we were beachbound playing in the surf. I had the time of my life watching him, I truly did. (True to his nature, though, he complained on the way home that it was NOT fun and he did not enjoy himself or want to go back! I've learned to just chuckle to myself and ignore this from him, though, and sure enough, the next day he was asking to go back.)

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Sophia spent plenty of time in the water, to be sure, but to my surprise, she spent more time than any of the kids on the sand. Rob had retrieved all our beach stuff from the attic, and she visited each sand toy in turn, making and remaking castles and immediately destroying them. I couldn't seem to convince her of where to find the "perfect" sand to shape the castles just right; she just didn't seem to care. True to self there, too.

Halfway through our stay, Rob rode in like a White Knight (only, in yellow) to stand watch over the kiddos while I drove off to a very necessary appointment with my psychiatrist. He and the kids crossed the street for sandwiches, while I sat with Dr. P. and told him of my latest troubles. I've been on the same bipolar meds for a while now, so it's disheartening that lately they have seemed to have lost their efficacy. My mood changes have been been quicker (sorry, honey), my temper has been flashing more (sorry, kids), I've felt myself slipping lower into a funk, and I've had a few "thoughts" (none of which I'd act on, these days). It hasn't been fun for me, and I'm sure it hasn't been terrific for my family. Dr. P. quickly agreed that a change was in order and wrote the scripts.

I headed back to the beach, or at least I thought I did, but my car had a mind of its own and took me home. Whoops! I grabbed the mail and then drove back to relieve Rob who, suckily enough, had to return to work for several more hours. He's changing commands for the second time in two weeks and has lots to do.

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The kids wanted to stay until dark - actually, they wanted to sleep on the beach - but we ended up leaving around 1830 when bellies grew hungry. It was quite a fun day: they swam, made castles, found new temporary friends, played with abandoned crab shells, and generally had a superb time. I was extremely content watching them; my heart was swollen with adoration. It brought my back to my own many childhood days spent at the shore. I can't wait to go back. Maybe today?

Even though I'm saving the MO tax refund we just got for my abdominoplasty, I decided a dinner out was in order. No one felt like cooking, the kitchen was a mess, and food was in short supply. I had a couple Restaurant.com certificates and made Rob choose one. He picked Guadalajara in the Va Beach Town Center.

To put it plainly, dinner was a disaster. It was terrible. We will NEVER go back. We complained to the manager, who volunteered to cover our tab. Good thing: The food was almost entirely awful, the service was worse, and I observed that we weren't the only ones complaining to him. My recommendation? Don't go there.

Everyone was pretty much exhausted when we arrived home, and we all conked out pretty quickly.


At my request, Rob had temporarily jailed the cat in the dog's kennel, so that she wouldn't walk all over Ishbel, which was busily being blocked on the floor near the litter box. I had nowhere else to put it, really... well, sorry Tinkerbell, but we forgot to let her out! She peed and pooped in the kennel, and now the house reeked ferociously. Before I entirely woke up, Sophia let her out, and she immediately went and walked on Ishbel, pulling a few stitches. Argh!! But that is beside the point, and totally my fault.

Anyway, so the stench in the house was overpowering and giving me a huge headache. I couldn't take it! I asked the kids where they wanted to go. Anywhere, I was game. Anywhere.

To my chagrin, they asked to go to McDonalds. Bah! But I'd promised. Why couldn't they have said, I don't know, Tahiti?!

So we went to the new McDonald's on Holland. I figured since it was big and new, there would be a PlayPlace. I'd planned to spend a long time there, letting them play while I read a magazine. So I was annoyed when we got there and there was no such place of play. Wha?! I could have sworn... but whatevs. I broke down and got them each a Happy Meal (normally I'd get a 20-piece McNugget and split it), because, you know, I felt like spoiling them a little. I even went back up to the counter to switch out Sophia's Littlest Pet Shop toy for the one she really wanted. They probably hate people like me, but rest assured, normally I don't do that. Normally, in such a case, we all repeat to the injured party, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!"

We stayed a while, long enough for the kids to each eat half their lunches and play with their toys, and for me to throw up no fewer than three times. I don't know why I even ate there; I knew it wouldn't agree with Oscar. What a waste. Oh, well.


I still didn't want to go home to the cat pee stench, so I decided to take the kids to the big playground at Mt. Trashmore park. It's huge, and I didn't follow the kids around with my camera (which I didn't have with me anyway), so you just get this iPhone pic of the sign. We stayed a few hours, and the kids ran around, smiled, had fun, made new friends... oh, and so did I!

Her name is Ali. She's 21, cute as a stinkin' button, and now on our babysitter roster. She was there with two of her charges, including another Chloe. So that was a little confusing, but in a good way. Ali is GREAT!! The kids love her and can't wait for her to babysit them. I'd tell you more, but she probably doesn't want her whole life story on my blog, so suffice it to say that she's super-qualified and I'm thrilled to have met her.

Rob had come to the park about halfway through our time there (I sense a trend), to get my prescriptions from Dr. P and my military ID, so he could fill my Rxs. After he left, my phone died, so I stayed for what seemed a sufficient amount of time and then a lot more, before deciding he must certainly be home by now.

He wasn't. My phone charged up a wee bit in the car on the way home, so I called and found out he was still on base. Apparently, my script was higher than the max dosage, and they didn't want to give it to him. Awesome, what's that say about me? But they got it straightened out with Dr. P., so now I'm a highly medicated freakazoid once again.

I still didn't want to go home, so I asked the kids where to go next. Jack wanted to drive his truck around the lake in our neighborhood, and the girls agreed, so we went home and fetched the trucks and the Big Wheel. No pics of that either, sorreh! I tried to grab a few off the iPhone, but it died again just as I was about to catch a super one of Jack with a huge, joyous grin on his face as he drove his flashy wheels. He does love that thing! It's great for picking up chicks, too.

When they finally tired of the lake, we crossed the street back to our house just as Rob was getting home with my pharmaceutical sanity. I begged him to clean up the pee. I had cleaned it up off the floor where it had spilled out from the kennel, but there was no way I was touching the kennel. Seriously, ick. His 'solution' was to throw the kennel outside, NOT clean it yet, and spray Oust throughout the entire house. Let me just say right now, it didn't work. It still stinks in here. So whatever.

Now for some fun (for ME) stuff:


I'd purchased this cart online a few days ago, and it arrived while we were out. Yay! Another step in getting ready for homeschooling, I'd planned to use it to hold our art and music and crafting supplies. The kids all sat outside on the stoop with me while I put it together. Jack was thrilled when I gave him the little wrenches that came with it; he pretended to take apart and put together his truck and Rob's motorcycle while I put the finishing touches on the cart.


It turned out to be strong, sturdy, just the right size, and exactly what I was expecting, so for $19 including free shipping, you just can't beat it. Score!

Wanna see what goes in it? Yeah? 'Kay. This past Saturday, TAPS (the Teachers and Parents Store) was having a 20%-off-everything birthday sale, so I planned on going to get our music stuff. And that I did:


Hardwood block, "Flutophone," sand blocks, and crow sounder


My "Teaching Music to Children' manual, a kiddy castanet (we have real ones from "Spain" in Epcot... but darned if I know where they are at the moment), and finger cymbals


Tambourine (yay, fun!), harmonica, and a little baby ratchety-ratch thingy I thought would make another great percussive.

Later, the kids went and fetched the singular maraca they could find (there are at least two more somewhere), and my recorder. Those went into the top drawer, too. The only thing we won't put in there is Daddy's set of bongos!


Drawer full of muzak schtuff

Here's s'more stuff I bought at the 20% sale:


Three 200-pc Melissa & Doug puzzles, which I bought for the children to work on when it's their night to stay up late with us. I plan on getting a bunch more for cheap at thrift stores, too. If you have puzzles you no longer want, we'd be happy to be their new home, too! ;D


A thing of Silly Putty for each of them, because... every kid should have some? Chloë has played with some at her therapist's office and LOVES it, so I bought it with that in mind. I always liked it, too.


For Chloë. I got it on clearance, not for the price marked :)


More stuff for those later nights, one for each kid


I don't think I ever showed you this stuff? Maybe I did, but I don't think so? This is the art curriculum I bought for the kids at the HEAV homeschooling conference last month.


All our goodies for the art drawer. Looking at everything coming in, and all the set-up I've been doing, the kids are DYING to start homeschooling!! I am loving their enthusiasm, and it's infectious! I was going to start on 2 August, but I've bumped that back to mid-August, because Chloë is going to camp the 2nd week of the month, and I don't want to interrupt our schooling that early in the game. That will give me more time to prepare, too, which is great since I haven't done anything with it this whole month, really. 

The only things missing from these pictures of what I picked up at TAPS on Saturday are a few posters I bought and our "classroom" calendar. I'll show you that stuff when I get it hung on the walls.


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 I don't think I ever told ya, I managed to get this whole boxed set of Hooked on Phonics for truly a STEAL from a homeschooling message group I'm on. I was SO excited when it was posted; I pounced on it!! That's what I wanted for Jack and Soph from the beginning, and I have it for pennies on the dollar compared to what I would have spent originally. w00t!!


Also, while I'm on the subject, here's the rest of our homeschooling stuff! The bottom shelf (and what little you can see in the pile of white stuff to the left) is our Math-U-See stuff for the next however many years it takes us to go through it. On the top, to the right, are various workbooks and things we've collected over the years. The yellow books - and the bookshelf itself - were picked up from a Freecycler (the same one, two separate times). The books are a vintage set of children's encyclopedias, which I plan to use for ripping the pages out and using in the lapbooks we make. Don't cringe! This is done by many lapbookers. Okay, you can cringe a little; I am, and so maybe we don't do that. But that's the plan.


Since I'm showing you pictures of stuff, here's the food dehydrator I got for $3 on Amazon, after cashing in my Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards. It just came yesterday! I'm so excited to start drying all kinds of things (fruit leathers, turkey jerky, socks...), but I still haven't cleaned up the kitchen, so it's still in the box. I'll do that today, fo' sho'!


And finally, to wrap up this supah-long post, we decided to try our luck again after the fiasco at Guadalajara with another Restaurant.com certificate for Tines Restaurant down the road.  Our experience was like night and day, compared to Guad. At first, I didn't think it was going to be any good, because we waited an age at the podium with no staff in sight. I finally stepped to the back and called "Hellooo?" and someone, who turned out to be our server, came out. She apologized and I asked, "Are you still open?" She said yes, so I rather bitchily responded, "Good. I wasn't sure, because we've been waiting a really long time already." But she completely won us over. She was beyond excellent with the children, and she bent over backward to make sure we were happy, too. The food was great, and they even turned the TV to a kids' station just to keep our kids happy. Not that I'm looking for my kids to watch TV when we go out for a nice dinner, but it was a nice touch. We left a good tip. My recommendation? Go there!

And now, after all that, I have to go back to work.You may now leave an abundance of delightful comments. Ha!


P.S. I forgot some things we did after the beach on Monday! Oh, well, I'll spare ya. ;)