Entries categorized "Screw You, Flu" Feed

Three Down, None To Go...

...to school, that is.

We kept all three home from school today. Chloƫ was a given, after yesterday; Sophia was a pretty sure thing, and Jack was the surprise sicky this morning. All three had a fever, all three were coughing, and the girls were throwing up. Awesome stuff!

Chloƫ was much more chipper today, but Sophie took a nosedive and was about as miserable today as her big sis was yesterday. And it's a rare thing for Sophie to feel that bad, so I knew she was very sick. She rarely loses her smile, but today, it just wasn't in sight.

I had to go to work, so Rob pulled Dad Duty in the morning. Basically, feeling sick himself and having three lethargic little babies scattered around the various couches, that meant dosing them with meds before passing back out himself!

At work, I was scheduled to be a bagger for the day, instead of the cashier I was hired to be. That pissed me off. Strike one. (I freaking hate when they do that. And then expect me to do bagger duties like cleaning? I don't effing think so.)

Strike two was when I checked my schedule for next week and found I'd been given all of 8Ā½ hours. What? That's bullshit. Clearly, they don't need me. I was supposed to work 8:30-11:30 tomorrow morning. What kind of shift is that?! Waste of time.

So I started thinking about quitting. I mean, the plan was for me to be subbing, not cashiering during the day - and cashiering late at night. Since I've been working, I haven't followed up with the system to see why I haven't moved to the next step in the long subbing process. Add to that my sick children at home, the fact that I may be battling a serious disease - which, I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but in my heart of hearts I feel like things are NOT going to be good when I get my boob-o-gram - and the lack of customers to keep me from thinking about all these things, and I had one foot out the door.

Strike three came an hour into my shift, when the customer service girl called me over, started to hand me a feather duster, and asked me to clean shelves. If found myself blurting out, "Um, no, I think I'm going to quit instead."

Her eyes got all round and she rushed around to hug me, asking, "Was it something I said?" I mumbled something about maybe having breast cancer (I am so dramatic!!!) and burst into tears, and she was like, "please don't quit, please don't quit, talk to C. tomorrow" etc.

I got my measly paycheck, punched out and left. I think I quit. I'm not entirely sure, but I think I did. Does this mean I can't go grocery shopping there now? Because that will suck, a lot.

I am so spontaneous sometimes. It has mostly been for the good, but, geesh! I drive myself crazy!

Anyway, so I went home to face The Sick. Instead, I found myself utterly exhausted and lay down for a nap with the kiddos. Rob napped upstairs with Sophia, and I slept downstairs with the bigs.

No sooner did I get up and come over here to the computer, then Sophie trotted downstairs, came over to me, and started to whine the sick whine, "Mommeeeeeeee!"


She opened her mouth and vomited straight into my face, all over my clothes, the chair, the floor, and herself.


Like I said the other day, this is a child who rarely vomits, so I knew things were pretty back. She generally has an iron stomach.

I picked her up and carried her upstairs into the shower with me, leaving my poor hubs to sop up the puke. Totally liquid, at least, no chunks. Thank heavens for small favors! But it was a bucketful. Why am I sharing the puke details?! Because it's 2:10 AM and I can, that's why.

She has a big booboo on her back, covered in a Band-aid, so she sobbed in the shower, telling me she didn't want me to wash her. I kept shh-shhing her, telling her I could put on a new band-aid, but she was pretty inconsolable. She kept begging me for water (while we were in the shower), but I told her she needed to wait a little while because her tummy was upset.

She wanted water so badly, I knew she was becoming dehydrated, so I decided on the spot to whisk the three of them back off to the ER. It was too late in the day to snag a regular doctor appointment, so I had no choice. We said good bye to Dad, packed them up in jammies and socks and comfy coats, and off we went.

Halfway there, I heard Sophie puking all over my car. Again, AWESOME. At least her coat and my huge bag stuffed full of canvas bags caught most of it, and can be easily laundered. She didn't get any on herself, miraculously, so I didn't have to go home and change her.

At the ER, we checked in, and all three kids were handed hospital barf bags. Both girls quickly made use of theirs, which I guess set off some kind of bells to move us up faster in triage, because we were abruptly taken to the back - ahead of at least two dozen people in the waiting room.

I kept hearing "where is the Odette family? I have the Odette family. Odette family this, Odette family that..."

Vitals were checked, and soon the doctor came in to check them. I'd thought it would be a couple hours' wait, but they were seen immediately! He didn't hear anything peculiar in Chloƫ's chest, but he sent her off for x-rays after I told him she was diagnosed with pneumonia yesterday. The x-rays came back clear, so the other two weren't checked.

I was sure he was going to put the girls on IV fluids, as he'd mentioned on his first visit, but for some reason I forgot to ascertain, he changed his mind and abruptly discharged them. He pronounced them sick with the flu, but too far in to be given Tamiflu.  Of course, he told me to give them lots of fluids, but didn't quite mention how I was supposed to do that when they kept puking everything up, other than to say "try to give it when their fevers are down."

Hm, great.

On the way home, I briefly contemplated calling in a cleaning service to sanitize the house from top to bottom, until I remembered we have no money for that. Crap. That means it's up to me!

I stopped at the store for some popsicles, OJ and goldfish crackers, which the boy requested. We got home at 1800, and Sophia ate a popsicle. I was at the stove, heating up a pot of chicken noodle soup for Chloƫ and Jack, when I heard a weird burping noise. I asked who that was and turned around just in time to see Sophie upchucking her popsicle all over the back of the dog.

It just kept getting better and better, folks!!

So I quickly cleaned that up, and was glad that again she didn't get herself. After realizing the futility of my instructions to run to the bathroom when she had to be sick, I fashioned her a barf bag like the one at the hospital. She hasn't barfed since. That sound you hear is me, knocking on wood.

She asked for some soup, so I heated up some broth, no noodles. She didn't touch it, but she did sip a little orange juice, and she managed to keep that down. Phew.

So after that, everyone was flopped back down on the couch, and I planned to start cleaning in earnest. Only... I fell asleep with them again! Lazy bones. I'm just so tired lately. And when I got up, I had the deep cough back in my chest that I was free of for the past several days. Great. If I get sick again, I will positively lose it!

We slept for hours, too. It was after 2200 when I woke up. I sent Chloƫ up to bed; she and Jack MAY go to school in the morning, depending on how they're doing. We'll see. Sophie is a definite no. The other two stayed asleep.

Rob came home, so I went out to Walgreens to do a little fun shopping. I say "fun," because I worked out some deals to get lots of stuff for free:


{For all that, I paid right about $20. I got $46 in free stuff!  Now I'm done with buying Halloween candy (we get a lot of ToTers), and I can use those three Mentos gums for Tooth Fairy gifts. Rob, of course, will eat the five Snickers I got free, and we really needed that toothpaste. I collect lots of chapstick, so yay, and the kids will drink up some of that Sprite tomorrow, I'm sure. So I only ended up with two things I can't use (the Dulcolax and Lysol refill I don't have the dispenser for), which I'll post on Freecycle for some other lucky soul.}

I could have gotten lots more, but they were out of lots of their advertised deals. That always drives me nuts, stupid Walgreens!

It's now 0230. I'm going to give the littlest another shot of cough meds and then try to get her settled down again. Ciao!


One Sick Puppy

So much for a relaxing day off.Rob let me sleep in 'til 1100 or so, and when I woke up, Chloƫ was sound asleep next to me.

I got up and felt her cheek, and she was burning up. Took her temp and it was 103.2Āŗ. 

She's been coughing up a lung for two weeks now, and the cough got much worse over the weekend, with some throwing up added in there, just for kicks.

So, I called the doc, and they said to bring her in at 1300. I grabbed a quick shower, and when I called her to get dressed, she just flopped on the floor and wouldn't move. She was completely listless, unable to get up and get clothes for herself. Poor thing.

I knew she wouldn't be able to walk all the way down the long halls to the PEDS clinic, so I went next door and borrowed a stroller from the neighbor, to wheel my sick baby around the hospital. It was that or the wagon...!

At the hospital, her fever had come down to 99Āŗ after a dose of Tylenol. She was still barely there, though, with the saddest face ever. She was completely miserable. The doctor listened to her for a long time, and then pronounced her sick with both viral and bacterial pneumonia. My poor kid!

So, she had to get a shot in the thigh with some antibiotics, and then they sent her home with more antibiotics, Tylenol, Motrin, and Zofran for the nausea. With instructions to come back if she puked (or the other) too much and got dehydrated, for fluids. I'm trying to pump her full of drinks today, but she keeps falling asleep and lolling around, although she did drink a nice, big glass of milk a little while ago.

I went to the store and got all kinds of soups and broths for tomorrow. Rob is staying home with her while I work, and then I get home at 1500 so he can go to work. It's possible that Sophie may be staying home tomorrow, too - her cough is starting to sound just as nasty as Chloƫ's. If she does stay home, well, I don't know if Rob will take them both to the doctor. I guess it depends how miserable the older sicky is.

In Lump news, I called this morning and couldn't get an appointment until November 6th. !!!!!!! I was really upset about that.

So while we were at the hospital, I went down to the radiology clinic to beg them to squeeze me in sooner. Like, today. Their next available appointment was the 9th, so that didn't work out, but they said to call every day in case there is a cancellation. I think I might just go mad waiting for November 6th to roll around...

Anyway. Back to Farmville on Facebook. At least my critters there aren't sick! ;)



I like that word. Spackle. Say it. "Spackle." It's fun.


Let me (try to briefly) recap:


Still sick, still feeling miserable, I didn't accomplish much. However, I did transform this monstrosity:


into this beauty:


Looks good enough to dive into and start knitting, right? It took me two hours and the removal of lots of dog hair. The cat was largely responsible for the look in the first photo. She had a grand ol' time playing in my yarn while it was stored upstairs in the bedroom, out of my constant view. Naughty Tink! I have imposed a feeding strike on her for that. I jest, I jest. Not that her fat ass couldn't use it. 

When Rob came home, our plan was to go right out to dinner for a mystery shop. Instead, Jack snapped his glasses in half, right at the bridge, and we had to make a quick run to Walmart to replace them - free! In the space of 20 minutes, they'd looked at his glasses, pulled down the identical replacement frames, installed the old lenses in them, and sent him on his way. I don't know who was more relieved - me, at not having to pay anything and having him able to see without a wait, or him, for not being in trouble. Probably him. I've seen me when I get mad, and it ain't fun.

Since we were already at Wal-mart, and since Sophie was responsible for her soccer team's after-game snacks the next morning, we did a little shopping. Unfortunately, it's pretty much expected that we have to feed all the players' siblings, too, so I had a cart loaded with juice boxes, bananas, and Go-gurts, as they were out of string cheese. And I remembered I had but four pairs of undies at home that fit, now that I gave all the gigundapannies away (it's a word; Google it), so I got some of those, too. Knickers and 'nanners. I just wanted to say that.

I had Rob text me the three codes I had for three free Redbox rentals, having noticed the machine on the way into the store. I'd gotten them as a reward for some of my grocery purchases last week. It's been a while since we've had free movies 'round here, and I was ready for some TV time!

We rushed home in the rain and collected the rest of the Fam for our dinner out, at last. That did not go by without incident. MY children behaved, but one of the servers did not, and that will be a fun report to type. I wish I could tell you what happened, but I'd probably get spanked for that. Not that I don't enjoy a good spanking.

After the kids went to bed, we fired up the first movie: Management, with Steve Zahn and Jennifer Aniston. It was cute, and we both enjoyed it. The second movie was Sunshine Cleaning, with Adam Arkin, Amy Adams, and Emily Blunt. Great movie; I recommend it! But the best part was that I was able to get the second mitt done for Baby Luke's alpaca layette. Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph it, so just look at this one and pretend there are two there:



The girls' soccer games ended up being cancelled, which means I'd bought all that stuff for... well, I guess for my kids, but will now have to buy it again next month for the make-up game. Bah.

The good thing, though, was that Rob was able to take Jack and the girls to the Cub Scouts' visit to the SPCA. First, they went around the neighborhood where his pack meets to collect supplies for the animals, and then they toured the SPCA. Later, they told me about all the animals they'd seen. Chloƫ, aware that I've wanted a Chihuahua puppy since childhood, is ever on the lookout for me; alas, there wasn't one there. It's probably a good thing, since we're not exactly in an acquisition phase now that Operation Sweet Pea (the boat plan) is in effect!

As for me, I went back to work, after four or five sick days. It didn't last long. I was there all of 2Ā½ hours before I had to run to the bathroom to blow my nose. In there, I started coughing up more blood - I'd done it Friday night, too. Egads. That can never be a good thing, right? I went out to tell my manager, and she was kind of pissy about it, like, "Fine, leave if you want to." Um? Can it really be a good thing to be around customers - and their food - in that condition? So, whatever, I left. Now I'm probably the Problem Child at work, but truly, I felt like shit!

Rob was home when I got home, but not for long, as he and the Littles had to take Chloƫ to her friend's birthday party at the movie theater. I'd remembered to pack her gift before work, at least, but I'd forgotten a card. While they went to the party (she saw Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and loved it), I headed to the ER to determine the cause of my bloody sputum.

Tests upon tests were run. X-rays were taken. I waited for hours. I was asked a million times if I was a smoker. I slept. I emailed and texted and Facebooked on my iPhone.  Finally, my official diagnoses: Bronchitis. Pharyngitis. Sinusitis. Hemoptysis. (Don't ask me to pronounce that.) With a touch of pneumonia. Basically: Sick! They sent me home with Rxs for the Z-pack (antibiotics) and more cough syrup with codeine.

I went home and canceled my shops for the rest of the day, ready to just lie down and die. Rob gave me a shot of the cough syrup I already had, which, MAN, that gives me some crazy dreams, and I was out.


I slept late because of the drugs, entirely missing Stephanie's text message at 0245 saying that her water broke and she was in labor. Dammit, I missed the whole thing. Luke was born before I woke up! I wish I could have been at the hospital; the only births I've been present for have been my own children. It's just as well; I wouldn't have been in the OR anyway, and she needed her rest afterward. And family time. So, okay.

I woke up just in time for us to make it to my lunch shop at the Oceanfront. I know, I should have stayed home in bed, but I'm a stubborn girl. What can I say? The shops were low-key, anyway. Lunch went well and smoothly, and then we headed to the party store for another shop.

Sophie accompanied me while the rest stayed in the car. We looked at the jillion costumes on display, not intending to buy her one, when she spied the doctor get-up. Have I told you that lately she claims she's going to be a doctor when she grows up? So of course she had to have that one. I gave in, what the hell. My plan has been to collect "over the hill" and "40" themed merch at these party shops over the next three years, in preparation for Rob's next big birthday, but a little diversion from the plan won't hurt. And she was thrilled, so yay.

We had to go home between shops, because my phone completely died, and I couldn't take notes. Oopsie. We went home long enough for me to charge up a little and look at my shop form, and then I took Jack out to do the second shop. Rob stayed home with the girls to clean up their rooms and do laundry.

Jack didn't have a costume yet, so I fully intended on getting him one. Only, trial after trial, the store was out of the costume he wanted. Superman? No. Batman? No. Power Ranger? No. And so on and so forth. Finally he picked a Star Wars one (I have no idea what the guy is, but Tim would know), and they had it in stock. He was happy with it. Phew. We finished the shop and went home to, again, collect the rest of the family for another dinner shop.

Hadn't we just eaten? Yes, we had, it seemed, but here we were again, out to eat. I didn't touch a single bite of my food; too stuffed. The kids barely ate, either. But we had free meals for all three of them, and when they messed up our order, they gave us our drinks and appetizer free, too! Hey, hey.

I was all set to go home and chill for the night after that, but Steph wanted me to come to the hospital at that point. Of course! I finally got to see the baby. But all about that visit in the last post; I won't repeat.


Steph had planned to go with me on a lunch shop this afternoon, but when she went and had her baby, darn her, I called in Linda to substitute. She was game. I was going to bring Stephanie McDonald's, as requested, for lunch before I went out to lunch, but I way overslept. As in, I meant to sleep from 0800 to 10, but didn't get up until ten after noon. Oops. I needed it, though.

Lunch was fun, although drawn-out and much longer than it needed to be. It was fine, though. Good, fun, chatty company. We didn't eat much and took a ton of food home. The server must have wondered why we kept ordering more food we didn't eat!

Linda gave me a couple pairs of nice pants in size 16. Since the new 18s I just bought at the thrift store are already falling down on me, I'm hoping they'll fit when I try them on! I'm so close to being at my next goal... hopefully I'll hit it this week!

I went home just in time to collect the kids from the bus. I threw them in the rental car, and we went off to Progressive to collect Vanna from the repair shop. We waited a LONG time, but the kids behaved like perfect little angels. I kind of couldn't believe it, since it was boring and there wasn't a lot to do. Three Highlights magazines in the waiting room saved the day, and they all sat in separate chairs, reading quietly. Awesome.

Rob was already home when we got there, so he took the kids to go pick up my antibiotics Rx (yes, two days later... hush), while I stayed home to relax and work on all my reports that have been building up this weekend, unfinished. I got a little done, but I felt sick and lay down for much of the time.

We were going to go out to dinner for another shop tonight, but I just didn't feel up to it. I got back to work tomorrow morning, so I'm hopeful everything will go well and normally.

That's about it. Rob's starting nights tomorrow, so he's getting up with the kids tomorrow for school. yay, I'm off breakfast-and-lunch duty. Boo, I'm on permanent dinner-and-homework duty. We'll manage. Oh, crap, how am I going to get all three kids to their different activities at the same time, especially on Thursdays??

Not awesome. Once again, the Navy is royally screwing up my plans! ;)

Anyway, back to my reports. Ta.


Ayer y Hoy


I woke up, sick as a DOG, man. I think I already shared that with you? I called into work and was told that, since I was possibly exposed to the swine flu last weekend, I couldn't come back to work until I had a doctor's clearance.

So I went to the doc.

They don't even test for the swine flu in the military system, which seems strange to me, but what do I know? And they didn't test for the regular flu either, maybe because I hadn't had any fevers. I sure did all day today, boy howdy. (If you're wondering why I say that phrase so much, being a New Yorker, it's because that and several other "South Carolina-isms"  rubbed off on me when I lived with my dad there.) (He's still there.)

Anyway, they checked for strep throat, which came back negative.  I did have a huge ton of fluid in my sinuses and ears and throat, and in my chest but not my lungs, so my official diagnosis was a sinus and bronchial infection. I got all kinds of prescriptions (Claritin, Mucinex, Tylenol, Tussinex) to "dry me out" and help me sleep through the night without coughing.

It was going to be, like, a two-hour wait at the pharmacy before my scripts got filled, and I did not have the physical fortitude to sit around for that, so I left.  I drove straight home and slept for the next three hours.

Thankfully, I did not miss the bus this time. I woke up with eleven whole minutes to spare. Phew.

When Rob came home, he informed me that (1) He wouldn't be able to get leave to go to Missouri for his mom's 70th birthday party next month and (b) He will start working nights on the 20th. Wonderful. (Mom, I'm assuming he called you and told you this already today, like he said he would, and if not and you're finding out this way, I'm so sorry.)

So that bites, hard. I guess they are way short-handed at work right now and he had to deny someone else's leave, and no one will get to take any until at least the new year.

I wanted him to go fill my prescriptions for me, since I still felt like butt, but he refused to take any of the kids with him. You know what? That didn't work for me, so we ALL went. And I drove the "new white car," as Jack calls the (awesome) rental. I sat in the car with the sleeping Sophie, and Chloƫ, while the boys went in. I think I dozed; I can't remember.

I can't remember what happened for the rest of the night. I took my Tussinex, which not only knocked me out for the night, but for the whole day today, too. Wow.

For the first time this school year, I just didn't have it in me to make the kids' lunches this morning. I fed them breakfast, but I had to sit down and put some lunch $ in their online accounts. That was such a relief. I'll only do that when I *really* have to, because at two bucks a pop, PLUS service fees, it's not cheap.

After they got on the bus, I went straight back to bed and slept from 0800 to 1415. I tossed and turned, waking up periodically, but falling straight back to sleep. I had a bad fever and was sweating buckets. I dreamt some crazy, medicine-induced dreams. Be glad I can't remember them, to share with you. (I like sharing my dreams, but I hate hearing about other peoples'! Selfish, I know.)

Chloƫ's soccer practice was blessedly canceled due to rain, but since Sophie's team was having their pictures taken, we still had to go that one. Only I forgot the form, so we had to run home while her pictures were taken, and I didn't get to snap any myself. :(

There was no practice after that, so we left to go to one of the furthest-away S***cs for a mystery shop I'd signed up for for tonight, before I got sick. And when we got there, I realized that I'd forgotten my wallet for the SECOND time, even after running home for it and the picture form.


So that put me in a delightful mood, and I was already charming. Folks, when I'm sick, I hardly have the opposite of the patience of Job, whatever that is. Are you the same?

We went home, got the wallet and went back to do the shop. And since Rob was working way late, I accepted two more S***c shops - close by our house this time - when they called up and begged me. At least this way, I wouldn't have to cook the dinner I didn't feel like making.

Except I forgot that no one did their homework yet, because I sent everyone upstairs to play after school, so I could nap some more. Oops.

They're doing it now. It's late. Very late.


P.S. Oh yeah, I completely forgot that it was Bunco night last night, too. I went, sick and all, since the doc said I was not contagious. If y'all get sick next week, don't blame me! I wish I had known that there would be an extra there, because I would have stayed home in my bed. But it was fun, as much as it could be when you don't feel well, and I enjoyed myself. Pretty much.

Mixed Emotions

Welp, I'm still sick and still getting sicker. I was in a pretty cranky mood yesterday, for no other reason than that I just feel like total shit.

I was hoping that having a day off from work yesterday would give me some time to rest and feel better, but it wasn't to be. I ended up having to run around, which probably didn't help much.

First, after I got the kids on the bus, I had to get to work to pick up my paycheck, and then to the bank to deposit it. That was a #1 priority to make sure nothing bounced, eek.

Then, I had to immediately drive over to the Progressive (insurance) service center to drop off my van and pick up my rental. Have I mentioned that here? Progressive did some work on the van several years ago for a claim, and the piece wasn't painted properly. It has been bubbled up for months, until finally a week or two ago, the paint sloughed right off. There was a huge area of bare metal on the front passenger fender, so of course I needed to get it taken care of immediately. Thank goodness it won't cost us anything to fix or for the rental.

They said I'd have my van back possibly by Friday, and by Monday at the latest - but I'm kind of enjoying the GMC Acadia they gave me while it's in the shop! I'm not an SUV lover, and the only reason I drive a big, honkin' minivan is because our kids and their stuff just won't fit in a smaller vehicle - but, man, it is nice. I thought my seven-year-old van was still in decent condition, but the Acadia puts it to shame! I've rarely ridden in such a smoothly riding vehicle. It's like buttah, baby.

I went back home after that to relax for an hour or so, before I drove to the school to pick up ChloĆ« for a big audition. Remember after she did the two movies in January and February, she said she didn't want to model or act anymore?? Well, I've been letting all kinds of opportunities pass by without doing anything, because I wasn't going to push her to do it if she wasn't into it.  So a week or two ago, she asked me when was going to start modeling and acting again! Um, hello?! She totally didn't even remember saying she wanted to stop. Rob and I just looked at each other and shook our heads...

So this audition came up, and it's a SAG job for a Colonial Williamsburg ad campaign. She'd just told me she wanted to start up again, so I submitted her for it, and they requested to see her yesterday (Tuesday).

I picked her up from school at lunchtime, and let her eat her food in the van Acadia on the way to Portsmouth, where the auditions were held. She has this one, majorly loose tooth hanging by a thread, sticking out the front of her face, and I was begging her to let me pluck it before she was seen! She refused to let me near it or try to pull it herself, so... in she went, looking like a jack-o'-lantern. Nice. Hopefully that won't be the thing that keeps her from getting the job!

She auditioned as a "family" with another little girl and a man and woman, acting as her parents. It was an improv audition, which is new to her, so she didn't have to remember her monologue. I couldn't go in with her, so I have no idea how it went, but when she came out, she just looked at me and smiled, saying, "FUN!!" Hope that's a good sign. Anyway, cross your fingers for her!

I took her back to school and, feeling completely miserable, finally crashed on the couch for a nap. Only, I didn't hear my alarm - or it didn't go off - and the next thing I knew, some kids from school were banging on my door. I woke up, immediately realized I was late for the bus, and ran to the door. The kids told me my kids weren't let off the bus, because I wasn't there. Crapola! Grabbed my shoes, my keys, my sunglasses,... and headed off to school to pick them up.

They were getting there just as I was. The busdriver hollered, "There she is!" and I rushed up to apologize and explain what happened. No one was concerned or upset, and the kids were happy-go-lucky, so it was okay. I certainly don't plan to make it a habit, though!

After we got home and the kids had a good snack, I had them start on their homework so it could be done before ChloĆ«'s soccer practice. Only, I completely forgot her soccer practice was changed from 6:00 to 5:00 starting yesterday, until my phone alarm beeped loudly at 5... telling me to be there at 6. I'd never changed it in the darn phone. Argh!! So we missed that, which annoyed the snot out of me, since I was irritated at Rob for missing Jack's Pack - or is it Den? And what is the difference? - Meeting last night.  Can't be mad at him, when I did the same thing!

The kitchen was in a shambles, and I will not cook in a messy kitchen, so Rob set to work cleaning it up as soon as he got home (something he'd meant to do on Monday before getting stuck at the Naval Hospital all day). I started dinner as soon as there was a clean spot for me to work: chicken thighs en papillote, yellow rice, and broccoli for dinner. "En papillote" simply means "in parchment," which for me actually means in aluminum foil. You make a sealed packet out of the foil and then add your food, which can be meat alone, or veggies alone, or both together, and probably other stuff to, but that's all I've ever done. I used to cook en papillote a great deal in our first year or two of marriage, before I got pregnant with the twins and had difficulty touching raw meats! You pretty much can't mess it up, and it has always tasted great.

Normally, when I cook the foil meals, I spray the foil with cooking spray, lay my cleaned-and-dried meats on the foil and salt-and-pepper both sides well. Then I'll put in a tbsp or two of olive oil to make sure everything gets moist and tender. If I'm doing veggies, I'll put those in there - but only raw, cut up veggies like onions, carrots and zukes; definitely don't use frozen or canned or they'll be mush! I wanted to use frozen broccoli to clear out some room in the freezer, so I just had the chicken thighs in foil this time. And instead of olive oil, I used some herbed butter (cilantro lime in one packet and wine something-or-other in the other) that I'd gotten for only 99Ā¢ at Harris Teeter, on special. It was experimental; I had no idea how it'd turn out, especially since I hadn't cooked a foil meal in years and years.

(I put the oven anywhere from 350Āŗ to 400Āŗ, depending on the meat, and let it cook for an hour or so, give or take. You literally can't ruin it, other than not cooking it long enough. You don't want to be opening the packets and checking on the meat to see if it's cooked, so give it plenty of time. Opening the packets ruins the effect.) (And that's pretty much the only cooking lesson you'll ever get from me!) ;)


So here's how it turned out. I always take all the skin off, and yet it remains tender and juicy, moist and flavorful. SO GOOD.

I told the kids they had to eat all the chicken I gave them, which was not much, in order to get dessert. Little did I know, this would not be a challenge, since it tasted so great! My mood was instantly lifted when Jack told me, "I love this chicken, Mom. It's delicious!"

Score!!! It doesn't get much better than that. So you can bet I'll be cooking en papillote a lot more after this.

We folded and put away four loads of laundry after the kids had their well-earned desserts, and then we sent them to bed. I'd planned to knit, but again I didn't feel well enough to even hold up the needles, so I crashed. Ahhhh....

Only, it was a horrible sleep. I woke up half a dozen times, coughing, snot-nosed, and feeling like my body had been used for a punching bag. By the time 0600 rolled around, I could barely breathe. Since Stephanie told me that she potentially had the swine flu and we'd all been exposed on Sunday, I debated about ten minutes before finally calling in to work and letting them know I was sick, felt awful, and had been exposed. That raised alarm bells, and now I can't go back to work until I get a doctor's note of release.

Flippin' sweet! I'm off now, to call and make that appointment...

Hope you're all feeling better than I am! Except you, Steph - I know you're not!


P.S. If you try a foil meal for the first time after reading this, let me know how it turns out!

P.P.S. I didn't do a "Menu Plan Monday" this week because I don't know what-all we have now that I bought so many "real" groceries instead of just Schwan's. Hopefully I'll get that back on track before next week. :)

Why, I'm Honored

I woke up feeling sick with a yucky cold this morning. You know all the cold symptoms; I won't bore you by listing them. Suffice it to say, I feel like doo-doo.

Rob had the day off from work for Columbus Day (*eyeroll*), but the kids had to work, and I had to go to school. I mean, the other way around. I'm not in the mood to backspace. So, yay, a completely free day for Rob! Awesome, right? He could maybe get a lot done around the house that's been needed doing for ages, and get some nice relaxation in, too?

You'd think so.

Only, I'm almost out of my Effexor and asked him, if and when he had the time today, if he could run to the Navy base pharmacy and fill my prescriptions. It's certainly a better idea than letting me run out, as we both know well...

So he stopped by my work around 10 AM, to get my military ID. They won't let him fill my scripts without it. I sent him back home, where I'd left my wallet, to get it. That was the last I heard from him. I'm not allowed to have my celly on or out in the open at work, so it wasn't until 2:30, when I got off, that I got his phone and text messages and found out what a shitty day he'd been having:

- The base pharmacy was closed, for the "holiday"

- He went to the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth instead, only to find they're only filling prescriptions for post-op and in-house patients today

- He got back out to his truck, and the battery was dead.

- He waited for HOURS for someone parked near him to come out to their car, but no one came (until he finally left to use the bathroom, and one of the cars was gone upon his return)

- Parking security is no longer permitted to jump-start dead vehicles

- One lady he ran into refused to help him, because she didn't want to damage her precious LandCruiser. Really? Jump-starting a vehicle might cause damage? That's news to me. Snotty bitch!

- He couldn't get ahold of me and still had to wait for the kids to get off the bus before I could come get him.

So, yeah, he had a pretty sucktastic day. And on my behalf. Do I feel bad about it? Yes and no. Yes, because he was trying to do me a solid. No, because that damn battery dies ALL.The. Time. and he's constantly having to jump it off my van. Hello, fix the problem already!

I do feel bad that he wasn't able to chill and enjoy his day, though. Poor guy. He really needed it, too.

On the upside, the kids' progress reports came home today, and Chloƫ made the honor list!! She has an all-B average, which of course means there are no A's, but it's still honor-roll material. I know that she is doing her best, and I'm proud of her. Yay, Chloƫ!

As for the boy, well... he's not doing quite so well. He's doing below average in all areas except music, art and gym. The teacher's comments make it seem as though it's because he doesn't pay attention and talks too much out of turn, rather than that he is not capable of better. This doesn't surprise me. He is a bright little lad, but, well, he doesn't focus. Sounds a lot like his bigger sister in those earlier years. Maybe he'll get better as time goes on, as she has.

I took a nap after we went to pick up Rob from the hospital, and I slept about four hours. I'm ready for bed, too. I woke up feeling even crappier than before. I think the menfolk missed Cub Scouts tonight, because I wasn't awake to remind Robert, and he doesn't remember that stuff on his own. (Or use his calendar function on his phone, which is partly why he wanted it, gah!)

I would sit and knit right now, but I don't have the energy even for that. I'm going to go lounge around on the couch until I pass out, thanking my lucky stars that I'm not working tomorrow. Hopefully a good night's sleep will help kick this cold's ass.


Never Thought I'd Say It

First, thanks for all the well wishes, y'all. But I think today is my sickest day yet. I'll spare you the minute details, though I really feel like unloading and complaining about every last ache and pain! What a crappy way to start Spring.

(Tip: Invest in Puffs. I'm going through Puffs Plus like there's no tomorrow.)

Yesterday, I was feeling slightly better, and I believe I quite overdid it.

First, several of those XL Ziploc storage bags, full of the kids' Spring/Summer clothes, have been taking up space upstairs. It was driving me nuts, and every time I would ask Rob to put them away, he'd snap at me. Nag, nag. Well, now that it is Spring, I decided to go through all the bags. Imagine that, me getting somethin done for a season on the first day of that season. Remnants of my old self coming through...?

Sophia helped. She sat with me and carried all the bags over to the bed for me. Well, dragged; they're quite heavy. I was hoping there would be a ton of outgrown items, because my children have way too many things and not enough drawer and closet space, but no such luck. Out of about 14 stacks of clothes on the bed, only the smallest was for gittin' rid of - maybe two dozen pieces. Eh, I guess that's a good thing, but I know some things will never get worn. (Not the cutest ones, though!)

Oh, I know my real reason for doing that: I had to get all the bathing suits and cover-ups together for our upcoming trip to Great Wolf Lodge! Turns out Jack has, like, 10 suits. Heh.

Anyway, I was just finishing up that when Rob arrived home for me to go to my doctor appointment. Phew. I threw on some clothes and didn't give a hoot that I hadn't brushed my hair or put on a bra (and a bra is a must for a chesty girl like me). I was in full-on sick mode, and they could take me or leave me. But better take.

I was seen right away at the doc, where I was swabbed for strep, rapid strep, and influenza. Then I waited literally an hour and a half for the results, wishing I were home in my comfy-cozy bed.

The results? Not strep, but definitely flu. Doc told me I may as well go home and keep taking what I'm already taking (Mucinex, Tylenol), rather than wait it out for another eternity in the pharmacy. I agreed. She offered to write me a doctor's note for work; I should have accepted it, because Rob is still cracking on me about this being "just a cold." I don't know, no one's ever died from a cold that I'm aware; this ain't no stinkin' rhinovirus. It's a baddy. And I still want to die.


I had errands but felt too crappy to do them. In the end, I had no choice, because the gas light came on. For my first time, I drove to the Farm Fresh (our grocery store of choice, but a different store than the one to which we go) gas station to use the gas discount I get at the register. I had tickets adding up to 66-cents-per-gallon off 15 gallons of gas! In the end, my gas cost $1.139 per, and I filled up 3/4' worth for just over 17 bucks. Yeah, buddy! Must use that more often...

Then, I had hundreds of dollars of cookie money to deposit, some to the council bank and some to the troop bank. Why we use a different bank, I don't know. I found a Wachovia on the way home and ran through the drive-thru teller to unload all the checks I'd just received from the other moms. The lady kept saying, "What, what?" through the speaker, because she couldn't hear my paltry little piece of voice. It was frustrating.

I went home to collect the rest of the family, but by then it was time to wait for Chloƫ's arrival from school.


I don't know what the hell that is, but I'm sure at least two of you can tell me! I planted all my bulbs in Fall of oh, 2004, maybe, and promptly forgot what everything was.  A plant person, I am not. Anyway, 'tis our first bloom of the year, and I excitedly noticed it on or way back out to the van! Isn't she a beaut?! I think that very bulb is always the very first one to pop.

Our next stop was at the BB&T to deposit all the cash to the troop. We received so many checks for cookies that we overpaid to the council, so now all cash belongs to us. But really, the only thing notable about that trip was my teller's name: Nefertiti. And she wasn't Egyptian. I thought it was cool. I asked her if she went by that; I was thinking maybe "Teetee." But no, it's "Neffie." Anyway.

To Michaels next. (Sorry for the lack of linkage, but that requires more thought and energy than I have at the moment.) Jack had been wanting either a Diego or a Madagascar cake for his birthday, so I thought I'd check out the options in Wilton shaped cake pans. I quickly found a Diego one and thought I was all set, but he threw a wrench in the works and demanded a Cars cake! Some things just never change. Guess I'll have to return that Diego candle I bought from the grocery store.  I needed decorating bags, too, so I sent Rob through with one item and a 40%-off Michael's coupon, while I took the other and used a 40%-off AC Moore coupon. Sweet deal, there!

Finally, what the kids had been dying for: we went next door to Panera for a late lunch/early dinner. I had been looking forward to an attempt at eating there since my surgery, just to see what I could eat. Since I had $35 in Panera gift cards from MyPoints (tell 'em I sent ya if you sign up!), it was the perfect opportunity.

Sadly, because I'm way too early out still to eat much in the way of bread, I couldn't get my old standby: a You-Pick-Two containing a plain tuna sandwich and a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup. Couldn't really do the soup, either, because I'm not supposed to consume solid food and liquids at the same time. In the end, I ended up with a small plate containing two small scoops of naked tuna salad. Booooring.

And not that great, without the bread! The tuna chunks were way too huge, and the seasoning no longer appealed to me. Tastes change after surgery. The rest of the family was feasting - having spent the entire $35 - and I looked on longingly while I ate about half my "meal." I'll probably never get that again.

In fact...

and it pains me to say this,...

I think I am over Panera.

Ouch. It hurts to say that "out loud." You know I love my Panera. Moe's (Welcome to Moe's!) is out, too, unless I get a burrito without the rice. Same with sushi.

Hey, anyone who thinks weight-loss surgery is "taking the easy way out" can bite me on the butt, because it's SO not!!

We were supposed to go to Williams-Sonoma after that, but I was feeling quite sickly by then and needed to go home and rest. So bad, in fact, that I let Rob drive us. Bad idea; I think he gave me no fewer than three small myocardial infarctions on the short trip.

And then I ran inside and puked about nine times. You're welcome that info.

I vegged for the rest of the evening, until 2100 when it was time for the monthly online crochet-a-thon. I wasn't supposed to be there because of our trip to L.A., but I ended up spending many hours talking to my crochet friends. And not posting this blog.

So there you have it. If you're in the neighborhood, come be my mommy. Please?


Heaven - One, Earth - Zero


I really couldn't sleep at all last night. Between the achiness, the sneezing and coughing, and being frozen to the bone, I just couldn't get comfortable downstairs on the couch where I've been sleeping whilst sick. I so needed my sleep, too. My eyes were (are) burning.

Finally, around 0300, I picked myself up and went upstairs to take a hot shower. Normally, I don't take hot showers; I take them as cool as I can stand, as quickly as I can. But I needed to get warm (I would much rather have the fevers than the chills - who's with me?), so I put it on the very hottest setting with the intention of standing under it until it was all used up.

Yes, it was a plan that would have made the No Impact Man shudder from the top of his organic bamboo toque down to his recycled rubber galoshes.

(I'd have taken a bath, but that would have required me to: A. Enter the children's bathroom, which I avoid at all costs, and B. Fit comfortably in the tub, which I don't. Yet. I was absolutely daydreaming of being in the hot tub at Great Wolf Lodge, yessirree!)

Anyway, I lasted about 15-20 minutes under that scalding hot shower, and it felt amazing. Gone were the mile-high goose bumps. I think someone must have switched our water heater with a tankless one, because it was still very hot when I decided I needed to lie down.

So, I reluctantly turned off the blissful heated stream, wrapped my soaking wet mane in the hair towel from my MIL, put on my Jafra Royal Ginger body oil, and crept into bed clad in my towel. I slipped between the covers and ahhhh! Felt so good. I was finally warm.

Sorry, Planet.

(I still didn't get to sleep until almost 0600, though! So I'm off, back to bed until Soapy makes her appearance.)




Death Warmed Over

Oh, man.  I feel awful.

My parenting leaves much to be desired right now. I lay on the couch all day, with Noggin on. After breakfast for the schoolies, I didn't even feed the children. Jack came home and got his own yogurt for lunch. Sophie obtained her own... everything. The girl just eats and eats, I swear. They kept coming up to me and asking me for stuff, and I was like, sure, sure, do whatever you want, just don't hurt yourself or go outside! (Not really, sheesh!)

I seriously wanted to die earlier. You know when you're really sick and you start imagining your own death? Or am I the only weirdo who does that? In the wake of Natasha Richardson's tragic accident, I was all teared up over her, my own mortality, etc.

This is a pretty ridiculous post, now that I'm reading it back. But you get the gist. I feel like caca.

I'm going to the doctor tomorrow. I don't know what they're going to do for me, other than confirm that I have the Bubonic Plague, but whatev.

The suckiest part was I had to get up off my lovely couch with my lovely blanket and take a shower. Why? Because today was Brownies day. Normally, in this state, I'd have sent Rob, but all the cookie money was due. And  I had to give some of them cookies, pick up some for myself, write all the cookie and money receipts out... blah blah blah. Rob's a smart man, but this I had to take care of myself.

I did receive mucho sympathy from the other moms, though. Although one mom, who is a nurse, chastised me for wearing the same sandals, day in and day out, even at the booths in the freezing rain. "No wonder you showed up with the flu! You're going to have me swearing in church!" (We meet at a church, obvs.)  She said she was going to take me shoe shopping. But I like my sandals, man!

Anyway. I've sat up for the past two hours, working on cookie money deposits and stuff, and I am going to be SO GLAD when this is all over.

I'm putting myself to sleep here. Latah babies.


Late-Season Flu?

I have been feeling bad since Monday, and as of today, I am quite certain I have the flu. Observe:


- Achy and tender joints all over (esp in my hips, for some reason)

- Alternating chills and fever

- Headache

- Upset tummy (yesterday)

- Cough, deep in my chest, the kind where you feel like your lungs are ripping out

- Lots of sinus pressure

- Stuffy, runny nose

Sounds like it, right? So, I never take anything for colds or flu. Ever. I prefer to tough it out, usually. But this time, I feel absolutely terrible, and I have no idea what to take, other than multiple naps on the couch, alternating between covered in three blankets and kicking them off me.

Screw this, man.



Here is the first of Chloƫ's three commercials for NOVEC. Check her out! What do you think?

I weighed in this morning. In the month since surgery, I have lost 29 lbs, for a total of 40 lbs since Jan 1!!!  I am very close (1 lb) to meeting my first goal, so I was thrilled to see the scale this morning!

We had a booth sale this evening. Oy. For half an hour, Chloƫ and I were by ourselves! The other girl's mother forgot about the booth. Never mind that I called her 2-3x this week... So I called our Leader and asked her to come out with her daughter. And she did - at the same time the first girl showed up! So we had three kids, eventually.

But only for an hour or so. Chloƫ was coughing nonstop, despite the cough medicine I'd given her before we left. And then suddenly she was burning up. I didn't have my purse or anything to buy her some Tylenol, so I called Rob to take her home - and bring me my card, so I could buy more meds for her.

Our Leader brought me home and kept all the booth stuff for tomorrow morning, which I got out of for a change. I just had to swipe out all the cash and run the starting inventory numbers for her. Whoops, not enough Samoas and Thin Mints, and I was out of them in the house, too.

Chloƫ was resting, listless on the couch when I came home. I gave her some Mucinex, and Rob gave her the Tylenol. I can't remember if it was before or after that when she started throwing up. Poor kid. She doesn't just get sick. She gets siiiiiick.

I managed to get an appointment with the Cookie Cupboard to pick up Samoas and Thin Mints, so I rushed out at 2130 to pick them up. Late, I know, but we need them for the morning. Guess I'll be getting up for the booth after all...

So now I'm hoping Chloƫ will be feeling much, much better tomorrow, because she has an evening booth and then filming on Sunday. Eep.

Enjoy the video!


Easily I Approach

I feel like craaaaaaaaaaaaap.

Let's just start with that, shall we? My baseline for today is sick and miserable, yet feeling good bypass-wise.

It was no surprise when I woke up early again this morning, around 0600. My bladder seems to have shrunk as well as my stomach, post-surgery, and I'm no longer the camel I once was. When it's up, I'm up, and that's all she said about that.

I got the kids up for school, and then I got Rob up, because he'd fallen asleep without taking out the garbage and recycling. Some nerve! We had to rush it out there, but he made it, and the kids were on their way to school for the last day of the week.

We didn't do much today. It was just super cold, down to 12Āŗ, so I personally hunkered down under about three blankets until late morning - and even wore socks and a sweater, which is unheard of for me! Sophia cuddled up with her Daddy and watched Sesame Street and Barney.

Then I remembered I had to get to the bank. I had two troop dues checks to deposit, had to get the statements mailed to me instead of our leader, and had to find out if I could get more free checks for our troop account. So I took off and did that, in all my unshowerered-and-sick glory, just before Jack came home. Or maybe after, I forget.

After the bank, I ran to the post office. I had expired coupons to mail to overseas military, a CARE Package wristband to mail to a new supporter, and a headband and hairclips set that someone just purchased off Etsy from me. (Yay, another sale! Nothing makes my day like that.) I was in and out of the P.O. lickety-split, and then I was off to Michaels.

I needed a replacement foam wreath shape. No sign of the one I've had around here forever. Of course. I walked all over the floral department, and at first I could only find straw ones. I knew they had to have foam, though, and finally found it after more digging. All the while, I marveled at how my back was keeping up, and I wasn't clinging to the check-out counter in agony as I would have been just two weeks ago.


So here's the wreath I started out with; oops, I forgot to edit and crop and do all that good stuff to the pictures. You'll just have to deal, as will I! Nevermind all the crap on my desk...


Oh, hello, my lap. An hour later, some ribbon yarn and some pins, I had this. I LOVED the result, it looked smashing! Do you agree? I really want to do something else with that ribbon yarn now, but I can't figure out what. I'm just into it now.


Some more pinning and fumbling with the felt hearts I made, and voila! My finished project. I'm not entirely sure it's what I had in my mind's eye, but the kids really liked it, and that was good enough for me.

The rest of the day was pretty quiet. Rob went up to Hampton to get a motorcycle part while the Littles and I napped, and Stephanie came to visit in the middle of naptime. I hadn't seen her since surgery, so that was nice. She told me I looked awesome, with all the weight I've lost, har har (down about 19.5 lbs now since the beginning of the year!).

I napped again in the evening, once again bundled under several blankets, and I think I'm off to an early slumber. This cold is miserable, and I really wanted to be able to get out and sell cookies with Chloƫ this weekend. So I'm off.

Happy weekend to ya!


My MIL Rocks!

So I never got to post this yesterday, because I was doing my monthly online charity crochet thing and was too tired when I finished. Here we go...

Since Thursday, I've been having weird side-effects from my Side-Effexor, which helps control my bipolar disorder. Usually when I miss a dose or take it a few hours late (which I try never to do after the one or two times I have!), I not only become rapidly depressed and/or suicidal (hey, I'm an open book), but I have physical symptoms as well. Every time I move even the slightest bit, I get these weird shocks and twinges in my brain and upper body, and they don't stop when I stop moving. They interfere greatly in my daily functioning and throw me completely off balance.

Anyway, for some reason, that started (minus the depression/suicidal ideation - none of that, thank God) on Thursday and continues 'til now. The shocks are major and extremely disruptive. I HATE it and am really not looking forward to the day when I actually have to get off Effexor. BUT, I have not missed any of my meds, and have taken them completely on time, so I don't know what the deal is!

Also, I've been sobbing uncontrollably over every little thing. I mean, really, over non-things! The first time was watching Martha Stewart yesterday. She made a pretty greeting card, and I just burst into tears. Then, an audience member on her show was asking Martha's fitness trainer about pregnancy exercises, and I couldn't stop crying. WTH is that?! I'm crying right now just remembering it!

About eleventeen more times yesterday, I cried at the drop of a hat over who-knows-what. I couldn't even tell you. I do know that even though I'm sans uterus and one ovary now, I still get the hormonal changes and surges every month from my remaining ovary (TMI? Sorry). So, I attributed all the crying to that. It was - and remains - pretty ridiculous, though.

And to top it all off, I've come down with that cold! And so, it's been a very trying few days for me. But we'll get back to that.

In the afternoon, the mailman brought a delightful and completely unexpected package from my MIL. The first two things I pulled out were some lovely crocheted sets for CARE Package! Unfortunately, I don't have pictures for you, because I packaged them up and put them away already, and forgot to take them. But let me tell you, Rob's mom does beautiful work, and this was no exception!

Dollar tree ad 

The next goody in the box was Chloƫ's Valentine's Day Dollar Tree ad! I didn't even think to look for it yet, but it's OUT. So run, don't walk to your nearest Dollar Tree and pick up an ad; she's in there! Now both of my girls have had nationwide ads. Pretty cool, yes?

That wasn't it, though! She also sent an order for 10 boxes of cookies to send to our Gift of Caring organization, the USO for overseas military! Awesome, awesome - and it brings her total Gift of Caring sales up to 28 boxes! Go Chlo!! (For those who are interested, according to Rob, he can ship the boxes for free to Iraq or Afghanistan, so no worries about paying the shipping costs!) 

And there were the usual Box Tops and Campbell's soups labels for the kids' school, which help raise money for equipment and supplies.  Thanks, Mom! Great package, it made my day - really!!

In the evening, I had to once again make the drive up to Hampton's Sentara Careplex hospital campus. But this time, I was going to their Health and Fitness Center for a consult with a trainer. I was NOT looking forward. Not that I don't plan to exercise; I do! But for one thing, I am most definitely NOT a gym person. You either are or you aren't, according to the shrink who gave us our surgery class on Monday, and it's fine if you're not. You just have to figure out what you like to do. For another thing, I physically can not do much right now, because of the many-times-mentioned nerve damage in my back. I'm good for a maximum of two minutes in a vertical position right now.

The first thing I did, after finally tracking down my training guru, T., was inform her that I've been sobbing all day for no reason and to expect it to happen again. Which it did. Several times. Hello, embarrassing!

Then we sat and talked for a half-hour about all the expectations, goals, and exercises I can and must do after surgery, including the stretches I can start right away. I actually learned a few things, despite my snobbish "I'm a biologist and I know this stuff" attitude going in. Same thing with the nutritionist. But as Rob and I like to say, "I do fish," so I need to quit doing that and realize there are always going to be people who know more than me, particularly if that's their specialty!

T. was great. She was tiny and perky, and just exactly what I'd love to look like when I lose all my weight. Fat chance of that (seriously, she was as big as my pinky)! But she was also intelligent and knowledgeable, and that's something I can always respect and admire, of course. Plus she was nice, and not the "I'm in such good shape, and you are a mega fat ass and gross and I can't even stand to be in the same room with you" type that some gym-people definitely are!

Anyway, we made a list of all the kinds of exercise I like to do and have done in the past and will start doing again as soon as I'm able. Wanna see my list? No? Well, I'm gonna share that puppy anyway because I can do that:

  • Wii Fit (okay, so I don't actually have one and haven't ever done it, but Stephanie and my sister are loving theirs, and I plan to get one just as soon as we are able to swing it)
  • Walking - We have this big ol' family-room-taking-up fancy-schmancy treadmill, and I really should take advantage of it. It's easy, it's low-impact, and I can do it while watching TV, listening to my iPod, or even reading a magazine. And I can start immediately.
  • Rollerblading - More often than not, in college, I could be found blading around campus, and to and from work. I love it. I can't run for doody, but man I can skate! And I have a good pair waiting for me in the shoe box by the front door, so yay! Free!

  • (Windsor) Pilates - I used to do these before and after I had Sophia, and I got pretty good at it. Don't know why I stopped, but since I have all the stuff, I shall start it up again.
  • Yoga - Love me some yoga; same descriptor as the Pilates.
  • Biking - I used to ride my last summer after college, every day to work. My legs were fantastic then! I don't have a bike to ride now, but maybe by summer I'll be ready to get on one. 'Sides, the bike I rode in Miami was a men's bike borrowed from my  housemate, so maybe I can just ride Rob's. If he can bear it; it's his pride and joy. Hmm, maybe not...
  • Swimming. Y'all know I LOVE to swim, right? I tried going to the Rec Center down the road when my back started getting really bad, thinking the no-impact swimming would be great for it. I was wrong; it still wrenched up after just half a lap. So I can do some exercises in the water for resistance, and when my back is stronger, try laps again.
  • CORE workout, on the exercise ball - I own the whole set and actually like it, but I didn't really keep up with it. I'm ready to give it another go.
  • Kickboxing - just kidding. Me? Yeah, right. But who knows?
  • Stretching and Weight Lifting - I don't actually love this, but I am required by my docs to start doing it. And strength training, as we know, is just as important as cardio. We have 5- and 20-lb weights, and besides, I could always use water bottles or cans of soup.

So that's my list. It's not a short list, so I definitely should be able to find something fun to do a minimum of 4 days a week, and there's enough variation there to keep me interested. If you have back pain-friendly suggestions for me, let's hear 'em? [I've never actually been on an elliptical trainer, so if you're going to say that, my answer will be "I don't know" if it will hurt me. Everyone, but everyone, tells me to try it - but I am NOT a gym person! ;) ]

I was back home two hours after I left, feeling better about the fitness thing and more ready than ever to have this surgery and get started on my new life! And what's more, though what I really wanted for dinner was a grilled chicken sandwich from Wendy's - and even had Rob's approval to get one - I resisted the urge and went home to see what I could find for dinner. No more fast food for me for the rest of my life. Ever, ever, ever. Does Subway count? Pizza? Panera??! Moe's? (Yeah, Moe's counts, because I can't have rice anymore.) I ended up having a Healthy Choice sweet and sour chicken entrĆ©e, and it wasn't half bad. It had rice too, though, so I can't have that either!


After I ate, Sophie insisted I take her picture with one of the Wall-E posters that came with their DVD. So, here's that... and see? Her hair is starting to grow out. It's pretty shaggy looking right now (not unlike mine), so she could stand a trim.

I spent the rest of the evening on my crochet thing online, and while I was there, I started a new craft I'll show you below. When I finished, I knitted about four rows on my green baby sweater - it's finally starting to look like one now - before putting on my CPAP and conking out for the night.

The kids woke us up earlier than I would have liked this morning, and I was definitely sicker. Major cold symptoms, and I had a sore throat and huge, swollen glands. Which made me think a string of four-letter words that would make you blush if you'd heard 'em. I started praying like crazy for that to go away before Monday, because they'd postpone my surgery for sure if I showed up like that. No fever though, thank goodness!

I didn't last very long, between being sick, not having had enough sleep, and the weird twinginess from my Side-Effexor, before I headed back to the couch for a good three-hour nap. I don't know how restful it was, though, because I was plagued with horrible nightmares as I have been for several days now. (And according to an extensive internet search tonight, that's another Effexor thing! Gah!)

I felt even worse, so I chugged a bunch of OJ, and then Rob brewed me some hot tea with lemon. The prayers were in full force! And before I knew it, the gland swelling had actually started to go down, and I was feeling better and breathing easier.

We were supposed to go out and have a tax-return shop this afternoon - I usually do ours, but it pays very well and we could use the extra money - but I canceled it. Just didn't feel like going. They called me later, though, and will let me do it after I've recovered.

Anyway, the only other thing on my schedule for today was selling cookies with Miss Chlo, and since I'm bound and determined to help her meet her 172-box goal by tomorrow night, I wasn't missing it!

We stayed out for two hours and only managed to sell another 20 boxes. She was really getting frustrated, I could tell. Poor kid. She is really trying hard out there, and so many people are saying 'no' this year. It's the economy, stupid! I figured, hey, Girl Scout cookies, everyone loves those! But not so much, not this year! She has managed to sell 117 boxes so far, though, which is 69% of her goal. Awesome job, my baby! We'll go out again tomorrow and try like the dickens to make up the rest of it. And as troop cookie chair, I can always fill out her order to make it to 172 (why that number? because she'll get a cookie credit that pays for her registration for next year) and use the extra boxes when we continue selling after the Initial Order is due, and at booth sales. Not stressing it. Much.

Mucho cleaning was in session when Curly Sue and I returned home. The kids have been cleaning their room ALL DAY yesterday and today, and they are STILL not clean.  Why? Because the are unsupervised while doing it, which just doesn't work for them. Our kids need to be told "do this, pick up that, put those away, throw it in the garbage, etc." or they just won't get it done. They'll play instead, or just sit there, or go to sleep! When it's me telling them to clean, I sit there with them and do that. Daddy, no. Since the goal is to have this house looking decent before Julie comes, they better get on the ball tomorrow! But I doubt she'll care either way, so again, not stressing it. Much.

As for me, I went upstairs too, to delve into the laundry. No surprise there, we had a huge mountain of it to fold and put away. Rob's been washing and drying it for me (us), but that's as far as he goes! I sat there for a couple hours folding it and putting as much away as my back could tolerate;  the kids will help me with the rest tomorrow, I suppose.

I had the brilliant idear to send Rob out for Panera for our dinner. Who knows if I'll ever be able to partake of the loveliness that is Panera again? And so, it was my Last Supper before Fat Me kicks the bucket and New Me emerges. And behold, it was good. Very, very good. I savored it for as long as I could.



This is the latest side project that I've been working on today: hand-sewn felt hearts with fiberfill stuffing. Why? I'm going to make a mobile or something for a Valentine's Day decoration for the kids. Not quite sure yet. The kids are having a ball with the hearts alone, so I hope they really love what I end up doing.  Cute, no?

Sorry this was so long. I'll leave you alone now and go back to my knitting and heart-sewing. Hope you're having a swell weekend!


Packages, Products, Pictures, Parcels and Purchases - Oh, My!

First, thanks for all the well-wishes and inquiries about my/our respective health. I made up my mind not to be sick anymore, and though I'm still hacking up a lung, at least I got out and about and did my best to ignore it. The kids, though they stayed home "sick" from school, were bouncing off the walls today! I should have just brought them in. Definitely, Chloƫ who, OMG, drove me totally nuts today. Jack really should have taken it easier, but it's so hard to get them to just lie down and rest, even when they don't feel well.


It's the Christmas shopping season for me, now that that savings account has matured, and I have done all the shopping I'm gonna do, more or less, save stocking stuffers and little things. A lot of the packages have already come in - many of them today - so I thought I'd show bunches of pictures of those and what else we did today.

Caddy  First up is Jack's main present - and only toy - the thing he has been begging for for months on end now: a Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade. Normally we don't even spend that much on ALL of the children let alone just one, but ... this is something special just for him, and we feel good about it. I found it on sale a week or so ago and sent Rob right out to buy it. It's GINORMOUS! Right now pieces of it are in Rob's closet, the attic, and the back of Rob's truck! I'm just wondering how we're going to actually give it to him. The box is destroyed. I plan on having it already put together. But where? He'll get downstairs early and see it, and there won't be any surprise. If we leave it in the front, outside, it'll surely get stolen. Backyard, which is full of dog poo? Suggestions welcome.

Cycle Next up is Sophia's big present: the Fisher Price Smart Cycle. It's the dealy that hooks up to the TV and educates them while they ride. I know she will get a huge kick out of it, and I'm sure the other kids will, too. Actually, I'm hoping that they will all share and share alike their "big" gifts this year, which is one of the reasons I chose them.

Dora Elmo Again, I found the Cycle and the cartridges on sale on the FP website, so I went ahead and bought four of them. I don't exactly remember which ones I bought... so we'll see when it's time to wrap them!

Kodak For Chloƫ, I wanted a nice, "real" digital camera, as opposed to the Fisher Price Kid Tough one she had in the past that was really durable and... that's about all it had going for it. She absolutely adores taking AND being in pictures, and I think she is ready to take care of a decent camera. We'll be sure to have a special keeper spot for it and teach the Littles it's off-limits, of course. This one is the Kodak EasyShare (so we can use the same software) C1013. I can hear her squealing about it now!

[Rob doesn't really give me much input as to what to get the kids, but he's always happy with what I decide. And we talk about it before buying anything big. Just so's ya know.]

Rob and I aren't really doing gifts for each other this year. Between my piddly little spending here and there on baking and crafting stuff, and his whopping huge motorcycle gear purchase that I discovered just this morning (don't get me started...), that's quite enough. I did give him a $10 gift card to Barnes & Noble, because he loves a good book, and this t-shirt, since he'll be riding a new BMW motorcycle very, very soon:

Bmw Actually, that may or may not be the one. I really can't remember. He likes long-sleeved tees, though, so I probably did pick one of those...

Dvd As for the rest of the Christmas shopping, I had a Disney rewards card and bought tons and tons and tons of jammies for the kids on clearance - we can never have enough cute, comfy jammies around here! and I'll give them a pair each the night before to wear - along with the Wall-e DVD on the Disney site.

Let's see, what else has come in the mail? Oh, our checks and address labels, which I ordered from Wal-mart. Did you know they printed checks, on the cheap? Neither did I. I picked these (because, again, Rob rarely touches the checkbook): Checks and these addy labels: Addy Everything came today and is all accurate and cute and stuff!


Also today, arrived a box containing my Kooky Klicker pens - the Breast Cancer Survival Krew. (That's a few too many "K"s for my comfort, no?) There are three: Faith, Hope and Grace, and I received two of each, along with three Kooky Klicker lanyards for wearing them! How fun! Except I won't be wearing any kooky pens anytime soon, and not just because I'm not 12. They all write in black! Wahh! (If you haven't noticed here on the blahg, I rarely like things in black. Or white. I'm all about the color!) So along with a nice notepad in a pretty pink shade, these pens will be gifted to the kids' various teachers for Christmas this year. Yeah. And I have plain white bags that they can decorate for wrapping!

I'm still waiting to receive my Wilton Cake Leveler, and did I mention I won a third prize?

Rose I did! I won a set of 12 note cards with this Pretty in Pink rose on it. So that's good; I gave three prizes and won three prizes, and I'm happy.

100_8973 Another delivery today was my Jafra order! I haven't ordered in a long time, simply because the product lasts so long, I don't need to. I'd be ordering much more frequently if I actually had a client base, but I don't, so... but I absolutely adore everything Jafra, and am so excited to be sharing half of this bounty with Suzie, who won that giveaway! She ordered kiddie stuff, but for myself, I got my must-have Peppermint Foot Balm (oh, divine), three way-on-sale bottles of Alpha Hydroxy for my face (which has been AFU since my hysterectomy), and new mineral foundation powder and brush. I put it on today, and it's a miracle! You can still see all the freckles I gained this summer while wantonly being out in the sun sans SPF (boo!), but the blemishes are vamoose. Love it!

100_8964 Oh, no, that's not all that came today! I have had my eye on this larger dance bag from Lillian Vernon for a while now, the duffel, since we have had the wonderful smaller one for Chloƫ for over four years now, and it has gotten to be too small now that Sophie's dancing and Chlo's in tap, jazz and ballet. I personalized it, for free (did you know LV has a base here in Va Beach? I have thought about applying there for the past three holiday seaons), with "Odette Girls" as opposed to "Chloe" like the last one, so either or both could use it.


It's huge! And, well, since our cup runneth over when it comes to two pairs of ballet shoes, tap shoes, leotards, skirts, pants, shorts, tights and what-have-yous, I decided to go ahead and give them their present now, when they really need it. Sophia couldn't really care less, but Chloƫ was doing her usual hooting and hollering over it. She loved it! Too bad I didn't get a picture with the embroidery showing.


The last fun thing that came in the mail today - unless you count the lower-than-usual T-mobile bill - was this necklace from ChicMade on Etsy. I "met" her through the Bloggy Giveaways, and we decided to organize a trade! I made her a blue fuzzy scarf in exchange for this necklace, which reminds me of three little planets. It's a bit shorter than I like in a chain, so for now I'll let Chloƫ wear it, but I really like it and am happy we did the exchange! Fun stuff.

Oh, but I'm still not done. You see, even though the kids were *cough* "sick" *cough* today, we had places to go, people to see, things to do. After everyone was finally up and breakfasted, I went upstairs and showered, got everyone dressed, and did a load of laundry. Chloƫ put away, as usual. Love that kid.

Then we went to IHOP for a lunchtime mystery shop. The first of many places today where Sophie was called "he" or "boy" or "your little brother, there." I wish she'd let me put some earrings back on her or a clip in her hair or something! No, she's fine, she's cute. And she doesn't care, so I suppose I shouldn't. The kids were quite the handful at lunchtime, although all the servers kept visiting them and chatting them up, telling me they were darling. Sophia and Jack had happy-face pancakes, and Chloƫ had a dish of fruit. Oh, my gosh, between the strawberries and chocolate, Soap was QUITE a MESS. She had it all over her face, hands, and down the entire front of her shirt. (Thank goodness I'd put the less-nice one on her after all; I switched at the last moment.) We spent a great deal of time in the bathroom attempting to clean her up!

DPN Afterward, we ran over to The Knitting Corner so I could pick up some size 3 bamboo double-pointed knitting needles for a pair of baby socks I need to knit for a friend. Gosh, the lady who works there is literally 95 years old and slower than molasses. I'd left the kids in the car to dash in and out, and I kept dancing around, back to the door and up to the counter, while she took her sweet granny time. I have nothing against old people at all, but I don't know if I'd have Methuselah's Mother on as an employee in my shop! I probably wouldn't have cared if it weren't for the kids, though...

Then we ran to the new Carter's store waaay, way down by the Farmer's Market. I had a coupon for $20 off $50, I think? Along with punch tickets for every $10 or so you spend, you get a punch, blah blah, that need to be redeemed by the end of the year. Jack needs pants, Chloƫ needed a coat, and I wanted to see what they had.

Wow! Nearly everything in the store was on sale! I reigned myself in to only spending the $50, though. Partly because almost all the cuteness was for kids smaller than mine (imagine!), partly because I was thinking of the kids' overstuffed drawers at home, and partly because of our tightened belts.


I have a winter coat on order for ChloĆ« from Gymboree, along with more pants for the boy (all on clearance, of course, and I got an additional 30% off), but she also needed  a raincoat. Isn't this slicker cute? The kids played at a Lego table in the middle of the store while I shopped, so she was oblivious to what I'd picked out for her until we got home. Her first comment? "Ugh. I hate brown." Hello? This is blue, is it not? Crazy kid. She was talking about the darker lining blue, which you can see on the cuffs, but still. Not brown! I think it looks great on her. And it's one of the few things she owns in a size 6. Everything else is a 4 or a 5, but I'm determined to move her forward as her age progresses! It actually doesn't look too big.


I also found her this outrageously-priced $30 leotard (which is much nicer than it looks in this horrible picture) for 70% off, which I decided was doable. Lord knows we can use more leos in the laundry rotation, and at $9, the price was right. I spend way more for them at the dance store.


For Jack, I found four nice pairs of pants in a 3T, marked about $22 each but on sale for 60% off. His comment to me, upon showing them to him at home and seeing Chloƫ modeling her new gear, was, "I am NOT TRYING ANYTHING ON!" and then he ran away. *giggle* I love the khakis and wish I'd picked up a few more. I just hope they fit... but at least we have belts, and one can always roll up the cuffs.


Jack's new jeans, also 60% off $22.

100_8971 No clothes for Soap, but I did manage to score three free leftover Halloween pencils from the bowl of goodies on the counter. Candy, no. Pencils, yes. Can always use fun pencils.

I tried to visit Uncle Chuck's at the Farmer's Market, but it was only 1315 and he opened at 1400, sadly, on Friday's. Suck. I was suddenly really in the mood for his awesome crab cakes, too. And I thought it would be a good time to pick up some fall produce  for pie-baking and nummy-num eating and such. Since Chuck was closed, though, we skipped it entirely. May just have to go back this weekend!

We drove waaay back this way to go to the post office and mail a package to Rob's sister for CARE Package, and then it was back home at last. Since Chloƫ had called Sophia a bad word in the car, I sent her right upstairs to my room to "rest" while I gave the Littles a piece of Halloween candy. Then they, too, went up to rest. I tried to remain productive but gave into a short snooze in the end.

I'd have slept longer, but one of the Brownies moms called to say she'd be here within the hour to pick up her Fall Product. And I still had it unsorted out in the van. I haven't delivered any of ours, either, even to our very-right-next-door neighbors! Stupid Sick. So I skedaddled on outside to separate her goods and write her a receipt.

When she came, Chloƫ had come downstairs to talk things over, and she and the other Brownie visited for a while, and the mom and I chatted for a good long time (You may remember baby Vivian? Her mom and older sister.) about our kids, parenting, Obama, parenting, and so on. It was a good talk. Nice woman. She's a nurse. I told her to come in and take care of me, but she refused. Bah.

Eventually, everyone woke up, and we waited for Daddy. As soon as he came in from work, we headed out to Moe's (Welcome to Moe's!) for a mystery shop dinner. As usual, it was super-good, and we were stuffed. The kids were rambunctious for Daddy, and I was glad it wasn't just me who was going nuts with them today!

I'm already looking forward to them going back to school on Monday.

100_8974 Back at home, I put the finishing touches on this soft little set of baby mitts for the same friend as above (the DPNs). Aren't they cute? And with that same sproingy yarn I used before; had some left over and it was just the right amount! Now I need to start the baby's sockies. But I'll probably make some tutus tonight, as I just got invited to do another local show!

First, though, I have to do those blasted IHOP and Moe's reports.

Sorry this turned out to be so epic! Hope you liked all the pix and linx, though.




School: 2 Home: 3

Just in case you were keeping score, here's how the kids' school attendance has gone this week:

Monday: Present

Tuesday: Off for "staff day"

Wednesday: Home sick

Thursday: Present, but I got a form letter home from the nurse about keeping sick kids home

Friday: Home sick again

Poor kids. Especially since they just brought home Perfect Attendance awards for the first 9 weeks.  This is their third sick day so far this quarter.



Tylenol Sinus In The Hizzy!!

I'm still sick, but guess what? Rob had to work and children don't take a day off.

Well, actually, my chilldren DID take a day off - from school, that is - which made it even more work for me.

One thing I hate about my kids is that they don't know how to act sick when they are sick. KWIM? They were coughing like crazy and had fevers, so I dutifully kept them home from school (for the first time this year; there goes our perfect attendance!). 

I sent them back to bed, but they kept coming down every 20 minutes to see if they could get up yet. Argh! That's not the point of staying home sick, children! Finally I relented and let them "rest on the couch," when Sophia woke up, but they couldn't stick their tiny hinies to the seats and were constantly up, playing, running around, and making themselves cough worse.

I did think it was cute when three sets of eyes came pleading up to me to "please make chicken noodle soup for lunch to help us feel better?" Of course, I did. I mean, I opened a can of soup, I didn't just whip out some chicken and dumplings right then and there! But they actually ate it, so I hope it helped.

I started feeling better around noon, thanks to the titularly-mentioned meds, which was good because I was sorta sick of sitting on my butt entering all the giveaways! (I've been doing it all day and am somehow only up to #100! But then I have been doing, doing, doing, too...) Oh, so I needed Chloƫ to fetch me something. It went like this:

M: Chloƫ, could you get me a pen, please?

C: What's a 'ped'?

M: Huh? A pen!

C: What is a PED?!

M: Nevermind, I'll get my OWN ped. I mean, pennnn!

I hate a stuffy nose.

Where was I? Somewhere during naptime, Karen from Brownies called to come pick up her Fall Product order. Sure, come right on over. Except, whoopsie, I was sick and busy all weekend and forgot to sort it out. So I trudged outside in my slippers and bralessness and quickly put her order together, just as she was coming around the block. Whew!

Karen is always the picture of put-together glam mom. Me, not so much. She probably lives in a gorgeous house, too. That's why I waited outside at the van for her, so she wouldn't get a peek inside ours!

Oh, and I decided to bake a cake. The kids voted (chocolate beat out carrot; double layer cake beat out cupcakes), and I went to work at naptime. I got the cakes baked, and before we went to dance class, I got them sorta frosted in chocolate.

It kinda sucked when a side of the cake fell off, though. So much for perfection. Glad it wasn't anyone's birthday cake!

Chloƫ decided she felt well enough for tap class, but I suspect that's because she was allowed to wear her Halloween costume for it. But not this year's - last year's. She wanted to be able to dance, after all. I didn't take pictures. You remember the Kim Possible costume? That.

We didn't go anywhere during dance class, for once. Rob and I made a solemn vow to try not to spend any unnecessary money in November, and I decided to start this week. It helps that there was no AC Moore ad in the paper, but I didn't even go to the thrift store for Military Monday! 

I just sat there and read my book (DaVinci Code). I didn't get very far, only up to about Chapter 15 from 6 or 7, because it's the kind of book you really have to pay attention to - at least this part - and you don't really get to do that when Sophie's constantly begging you to turn up the radio, open the doors, turn down the radio, close the doors, etc., and Jack is looking at the Toys 'R Us ad and telling you "I want this and this and this and this. And then for my birthday I want..."

Twice today, we have had the lecture about kids less fortunate than him, and remembering that when he is "I want"ing me to death.

It hasn't sunk in. Rob cautioned me not to put the weight of the world on the five-year-old's shoulders, but dang. Stop telling me what you want all the time!!!

I'm glad he had that ad, though! I found that the $350 Escalade he wants is on sale for $299 and didn't want to miss out. I get our Christmas money on Saturday, so I told him to stop by on his way home from work to pick it up, and then I'd put that money... well, whatever, he stopped and got it. 

When we got home from dance, the kids went downstairs to play while I decided to both frost the cake and make dinner at the same time! That was interesting. I got the icing out to warm up to room temperature, then I started slicing up the chicken breasts. Icing was still cold, so I prepared the chicken (I made the French's onion recipe on the can - it's good!) and put that in the oven. I picked out my icing colors, mixed them up, then got out the corn and stuffing to cook. Filled up my decorator bags, then put the sides on the burners. Get the point, back and forth, back and forth.


Finally dinner was done, and I finished the cake. (Remember, this is just practice!! Not for beauty! LOL) Although you never would have known it, from the way Chloƫ was exclaiming over it: "Mom, that's beautiful! It's gorgeous! You should enter it in a cake contest! I know you would win! Will you show me how to make cakes like that when I'm 8? I love those colors!" and so on.

I took the picture so you couldn't see the piece that fell off, on the back. And I still really don't know how to finish the leaves to a point, even though I've tried every angle and technique I could think of. Guess I'll have to look it up on the Wilton site or some such. But the kids absolutely loved it, and I put it right in the middle of the table to point out to them when they balked over eating their dinner. "Do you want that cake? Yes? Good, eat your chicken!"

After dinner, I ran to Sears to pick up the portraits. Only, the back door I usually use was locked. I drove to the next door and parked - ahem, illegally - and then booked it through the store so I wouldn't get a ticket, or worse, towed. I was so out of breath by the time I got to the Portrait Studio! "Pictures...huh huh huh ... pick up! ...huh huh ...Please!" Embarassing.

But I got them, and high-tailed it back to the door, praying all the while that my van would still be there. And it was! With no ticket or boots! Yippee.

So now I'm back to the giveaways, but I might go have a second little piece of cake. Whether you think it's pretty or ugly, it sure is yummy!


The Opposite Of Congress

Well, I hate to keep going on about this, but we still have the &*(*#@$  stomach bug. Rob and I do, that is.  Well, I guess the girls do too, although they haven't puked or had accidents this weekend, that I know of. ChloĆ« came downstairs at 3 AM last night and hung out for an hour, because she felt pukey. And Sophie cried and kept running to the toilet today, but she didn't throw up. Rob and I, though, have been sick, sick, sick. It's really getting old. Lysol City!

I have been working on the office/craft room some, though. It's really coming along.

Here is what it looked like after the recamier and the little trunk that we got in Panama City were taken:




Pretty gross!! There was crap everywhere. Boxes, junk, dog hair, dead bugs, rotten grapes... ew. We really oughtta pull out the furniture more often!

And here's how it looks now:


I got rid of some textbooks that I'll never use again, and all the old magazines (I had, like, a whole YEAR's worth of unopened, in-the-plastic Reader's Digests!!!). So I put all my craft books and patterns on the top shelf, all the scrapbooks in the jute newspaper/magazine box, and the black magazine boxes you can sort of see on the right there will house ONLY current issues of magazines and those I will use again and again, like for scrapbooking or knitting.  I'm sure things will get moved around some more before I'm through, but for now they're staying put.



The table looks messier here than it really is. And it will get better. I have a craft/sewing table on order from Target; it should arrive in a week or two and will house most of that junk. The sewing machine and Cricut will stay on top, and some of that is stuff I'm Freecycling.



My new yarn display! They are just milk crates from Target, tie-wrapped together for stability. The cat is going nuts with it, though. The first night I had it set up, she was dashing in and out, stealing balls of yarn and tearing around the house with them. It was funny but aggravating. I think she's gotten used to it now. If not, I'll have to find a spray bottle of water!!  I would need about 30 of these to house all my yarn, though, so I will have to still keep the majority of it in bins. I'm going to make a huge dent in my stash before I go buying any (or much, I should say) more.



So I really just have to clear off the desk and that one little corner behind Chloƫ's desk, and then it'll be all set until my new craft table arrives! I'm excited!

This is what I'm getting from Target:

Desk closed


That's it closed, except I'm getting the cherry and not the pine. The left side lifts up for extra table space.

Desk open


And that's the open version, in the cherry. Awesome, right?? I can store so many itty-bitties in there.

I'm also getting this railing stuff to put my ribbons and some smaller supplies on:


...but that will be the end of September or so, before it arrives, for some reason.

I'm so excited! I can't wait to get crafty. Chloƫ has been on me to start sewing again, so I hope to make her happy soon!


Baby Fever: Alive and Well

I have decided: I want another baby.

And we would get to work on that immediately, if only I had a uterus and Rob had the intact testicles to make one!

I don't think infertility treatments can overcome these obstacles, do you?


PS I'm still coming off the stomach bug (so glad my children didn't seem to have it as rough as I do), and now Rob is at the doc to try and come home, because he has it, too. Go the *^)(*&( away, germ-vermin!

Stomach Bug Redeux

I neglected to mention yesterday that, despite our pretty good day, both Jack and Sophia threw up. Jack puked in ChloĆ«'s bed overnight, and Sophie all over me while I was sitting here checking email. A huge amount, neither Rob nor I could even clean it all up! Poor things.

It came out of nowhere, and they both seemed fine before and afterward, so I was stunned and confused.

Until today. My turn again! Remember I had it last week? Well, that sucker whipped right back around and hit me hard again today. It wasn't just nausea and vomiting but excruciating pain in my abdomen all day. So much so that I was crying at one point. Eventually I had to call 'uncle' and ask Rob to come home to take care of the kids.

Fortunately, he was able. I tried to get in to the doctor (a stipulation whenever he has to come home for something like that), but they couldn't see me until Thursday! It definitely didn't feel like an ER moment, so I just went back to the couch and stayed there all day, all night.

I haven't even had the strength to pick up my needles. That's sad. I did get bored enough during the women's beam final to whip out a crocheted dishcloth, and maybe I'll go back and knit now. It will be my only accomplishment for the day.

Here's hoping tomorrow is much better.


I'm a Loser Baby, So Why Don't You Kill Me

Don't freak out; those are song lyrics... ;)

So yesterday, I was sick, Jack and Chloƫ stayed home from school sick with fevers and coughing, and babies Sophie and Jade were coughing and sneezing and runny nosing and the like as well. It was a fun, funnish day for me. You know? Add Kleenex to the list of companies we should own stock in if we were ever to do something smart, like invest our money.

We watched Polar Express, The (thanks, Steph, for your lenditure of it) and laid around and felt like shit. Lay, whatever.

Rob worked overnight from 2200-0600, so in his absence I did some more Christmas decorating - stockings, outside lights, his crappy childhood ornaments that I hate am so glad he saved to put on our tree - and did some of my yarn cataloguing on Ravelry. Then I watched Thank You For Smoking (meh, it put me to sleep) while I worked a few rows of knitting until I didn't know what to do anymore because my effing pattern is missing. You can't keep a decent pattern in this house. So many grabby hands are happy to misplace things for you. Of course, I probably stuck it somewhere myself, but it's easier to blame the thigh-high crowd.

Confidential to Jurt Double Decker: Are you still out there? You haven't commented in a long time. Miss ya!

Today, Jadey was supposed to come at the buttcrack of dawn, but she didn't show up. I was knocked out on one couch, Rob was passed out on the other, and suddenly I heard Chloƫ hollering and pitching a fit upstairs. I woke Rob up to see what was the matter (not having remembered at the time that he had only been home and sleeping a few hours, poor thing), and it turned out she and Jack were locked in their room. Wonder how that happened? Rob thinks someone went potty in the middle of the night and did something to the lock on their way back in.

So it was 10:00 at that time. 10:00?!! Aaaughhh. We were supposed to be at the acting school at 10:00 for the auditioning class. The auditioning class that we have now missed for four weeks out of four. $%^(*&(!!! Oh, well. Now they'll have to drop us and we can start the next round when they hopefully reschedule it at a decent hour. No, 10:00 on a Saturday morning is not decent! :p

So I called Savanh, Jade's mom (not her real name, but she's Thai, and I think it's more like Phonesvanh - and don't ask me what her last name is), to see where my baby was. After all, I had depended on the doorbell to be my wake-up call, and it never came. She was running late, too. Her older kids would be strolling her down in a little while. Eventually, she arrived, snarfling and sniffling once again. Is it summertime yet??!!!

So eventually (yes, I'm aware I start sentences with "so" all the time) I made my way into the shower, and then Chloƫ and I rushed out to Chesapeake for her modeling audition with IMG Model Management from New York City. New York City?! (Does anyone else always say that, from that salsa commercial of awhile back?) Jade was sound asleep in her bouncy seat, so Rob kept her home with him. I have no idea what happened in that audition. In the queue, the other parents told me she was just so cute, she didn't have to say anything in there. The kids were in and out of the audition room so quickly, it was blink-and-you-miss-it speed. I never even saw the people. Odd, very odd.

Then we ran an unnamed errand, and I decided not to do a Footlocker shop at Greenbrier Mall that said it would pay $20 for an hourlong thing. Eh, no thanks. Wish I'd seen that before I printed out the paperwork.  So we drove out to Holland Road back here in town for a quick Sonic shop. I only had to buy a drink for it, but ChloĆ« kept squawking about being hungry from the back seat, so I got her some mozzarella sticks and cheesecake bites. She ate maybe two bites. Nibble, nibble, nibble! (from the LifeSavers commercial) Oh well, more for me.

Back home, Jade had already been picked up by her mom's friend, which gave us a couple of hours to coach Chloƫ on her monologue and scene before her iPOP! class. She needed it. I hadn't touched the monologue in a while, and man, it showed. I was getting pretty frustrated. I might have yelled. I probably did, since on the way to class, Chlo said, "Mom, I still love you, even though you yelled." Heh. I'm trying not to think of all the money we've spent on classes and this L.A. trip. I'm trying not to put that kind of pressure on the kid. I'm trying to just let this be about fun and self-expression and confidence and following her bliss. But gawd, it's frustrating when she keeps forgetting the same one line over and over again!

All the practice paid off. We went to class, and I got to sit in on it for once. We discussed all of my concerns (like, she doesn't project very well, and she is doing a lot of coughing which throws her monologue well over the one-minute allowance) and some solutions (she might be miked, and hopefully she'll be better in three weeks when it's time). She practiced slating and doing her commercial, monologue and scene for Sean and the camera. We discussed all those weeks that she missed audition class, which Sean is also teaching. He's going to spend a couple of hours with her after the new year, one-on-one, to get her caught up. She'll get a lot more done with individualized attention anyway. It'll be fine. And we decided to do a few different things with her acting. She's going to do her monologue lying on her belly! It should be cute. And memorable. It's good. And her scene was GREAT. She was charming and funny, and she made both Sean and I laugh even though we've both scene seen her do it dozens of times.

Phew. We'll be ready. I know we will. 19 days to go until iPOP! We'll be ready. She'll. She. It's her thing.

So I've spent the rest of the day cataloguing my yarn stash on Ravelry. Why? Because it's cool. All the "in" kids are doing it. Not really. But it's helping me get back in touch with some yarns I haven't met in a while, at the bottom of the barrel, and will keep me better informed about what I've got before I buy more! And I have a bunch of crap that I hate and want to get rid of. <gasp> I might even give it away without asking for any in return. I hate it that much. (Red Heart Super Saver, anyone?) Especially those variegated yarns. SO ugly. JMHO, of course.

That's all. I was hoping to watch The Human Stain with Rob, but he appears to have, well, disappeared on me. Y'all know he's narcoleptic, right? It's really irritating for me. I know the boy can't help it, but at least be near me when you fall asleep! Welp, as long as he's not driving...


Chloƫ B. Jones

100_4595_3That's what I like to see. My little six-year-old daughter, in her jammies, cuddled up reading her Junie B. Jones book from her grandma, on the couch. The thrill of her being able to read is unrivaled and, so far, undissipated by time.

100_4594Evidently Junie B. has some surprises for Chloƫ!

So yesterday, we were supposed to go to the Silver Diner for a breakfast mystery shop. We didn't. We overslept. Surprise! The Odettes oversleeping? Nah. Never happens. So we'll have to do that tomorrow morning instead.

Then I went to Michaels for a rare adventure: Black Friday shopping. I never go. Literally, never. But Rob just gave me that Cricut machine for an anniversary/Christmas present, and now the cartridges for it (and the machine itself, but let's not think about the $170 we could have saved if we'd waited just another week or if I could find the effing receipt!) were on sale. He let me get six cartridges! Lots of different fun fonts and shapes for scrapbooking. I'm so excited about it. Not Europe excited, but in the ballpark. So I went home and ordered a bunch of pictures (hey, I had 200 free ones coming my way, thanks to Coke rewards!), so I can use my new toy soon.

After that, we headed to the Ghent section of Norfolk for a Panera lunch shop. We heart Panera. Have you eaten there? You should. It's good stuff. I got a Tuna on Focaccia half-sandwich, broccoli cheddar soup, and a piece of French baguette for dipping into my soup. Rob got something with bacon and Gouda and turkey, and the same soup. The kids shared ours, since Rob had just stuffed them with pancakes while I was on my little shopping spree. I actually managed to get out of there without dropping any soup on my shirt, which seems to be an enduring challenge for me.

In the evening, we went out to Lynnhaven Lanes for some Xtreme bowling. Another mystery shop. Yep, I know. Broken record. Whenever we do the bowling shops, we follow pretty much the same routine: Sophie stays in the stroller, Rob bowls with Jack and I bowl with Chloƫ for the first game, then just Rob and I bowl against each other on the second game, and we get a small pizza combo. Last night was no different. Now, we are terrible bowlers, but it was a bit amusing last night when I bowled better with a six-year-old than on my own. I think I knocked down maybe 33 pins. Rob fared much better. He got into the 50s. We are quite a team. No wonder our minds are always in the gutter, eh, Stephanie? We can't get out of them!

Today, Rob had to stand watch. Ugh. My favorite words are, "I'm coming home early." Least favorite? "I have watch this weekend." Hate it! So he worked 0600-1400, and Jack woke me up at 7:30 to tell me ChloĆ« was puking in the bed again. Again??! That's, like, the fourth or fifth time in a month. Rob's starting to wonder if her reflux is coming back. God, I hope not. I just think it's all the snot and goo and the coughing and coughing she's doing. I think I'm going to take my bottle of Clorox Sanitizing Spray and disinfect every surface in this house. It's been a bad month. I'm convinced I've moved on to pneumonia myself. Anyway, so I ran in and pulled her out of bed, sent her to my bathroom to finish puking, and assessed the scene. Not bad. I checked on my poor schweetie, heaving over the toilet, and then cleaned up the bedroom. Jack was pretty pissed when I sent him back to bed, but that's early for him.  ChloĆ« crawled weakly into bed with me and fell sound asleep.

I didn't have the heart to wake her at 9:00 when the alarm went off for her auditions class at the acting school. I looked over, and she was snoring softly and completely knocked out. Nah. She's going to get her sleep.

Which is good, because we did make it to the acting school at 2:00 for her regular acting class - the last one, the "showcase," I thought, hardly anyone was there. They came from the back to tell me that there were no classes on Thanksgiving weekend. Oh! Really? I must have missed that. Well, good, because I hate sitting there for hours on my own, let alone with Sophie and Jack in tow, bored out of their gourds.

So we headed to Sears. I'd gotten a call that my glasses were ready and I could come pick them up. Yay! Clearer vision, here I come. I went from 20/200 to 20/400, if you must know how blind I am. :p When they say "read the sign on the wall," I say, "What sign?" So I read my report, since this was of course part of a mystery shop, and we picked up las gafas. (I'll be dropping some more Spanish on you between now and June, just so's ya know.)  Then we went around to housewares to see if I could find a new pre-lit fakety-fake Christmas tree, since the lights went out on our current one, and I don't want to deal with that BS this year. They had some, sure, but they were more than twice what I wanted to pay, and they ended up not having the one I chose in stock anyway. Rats.

And since Rob was asking me whether I wanted my cruise or Christmas lights put up - such is the amount he loves doing the lights - I thought I'd make it easier on him and find some battery operated Christmas thingies to put out in the yard. Cord, cord, cord, cord, cord. Nothing but corded stuff. We don't have any outlets outside, so I bagged the idea and left with just my glasses. And my babies.

Rob was home when we got home, so he gave the tots some food while I worked on my shop reports. ChloĆ« wanted to make her own PB&J sandwich. It took  her ages upon ages, but the girl got it done. Whether she ate it or not is a different story.

After 6 pm, Stephanie and Tim came over to watch the kids while we went out to dinner at Phillips, at the Norfolk airport, for another shop. Only, when we got there, it was closed! Closed! During the time the shop said to be there. Odd, very odd. So we stared at each other, twiddled our thumbs, and decided to go to Moe's ("Welcome to Moe's!") instead.

We also heart Moe's. You get a huge, filling meal, and it's way not expensive.  We got our grub on, Rob fussed at the news for showing stuff about Kanye West's mother (who cares? he says. Who cares? I say!), and then we went to the movies. I had cashed in more Coke rewards points for two free AMC tickets, and I really wanted to see Dan in Real Life with Steve Carrell. It was a good flick! I blubbered for no reason for pretty much the entire movie, and we laughed. Worth what we paid for it, as Rob said. No, he liked it, too.

So that's about it. Oh, I forgot to tell y'all what Jack did/said at Thanksgiving dinner. He asked me if Christmas was after Thanksgiving. I confirmed that it was. So he pushed his plate away and said, "I'm done! It's Christmas time!"  Pretty fricking hilarious.


Intense Russian: NYET!!

Well, I'm starting to feel a bit better. I know you're all on pins and needles about that.

Jack and Chloƫ both had a half-day of school today. I put Chloƫ on her bus, turned around and got Jack ready, took a little nappykins while Sophia was still sleeping, got Jack off the bus, Sophia woke up, and Sis came off the bus soon after that. Those half-days seem so pointless! Except for the nap I get. That part I like.

We had 80-degree weather today. Just thought I'd share, for those of you having snow. Sorry.

Rob got out of work really early. That's the best thing ever. Except for the part when we argue about who gets to take a nap. I didn't mention that I had already had a nap. But then, I didn't take another one, so it's all good.

I spent a lot of time online today, preparing for our trip. I like to plan in advance. Way in advance. Like, I've already got our boarding passes printed out, advanced. I also booked our hotel in Barcelona and our residenza in Venice, which is on the canals near the Bridge of Sighs! I can't wait to take a romantic gondola ride with my husband - maybe our gondolier will even croon. ;)

I typed up our detailed itinerary, which grew each time we made new plans and arrangements, and I took great pleasure in editing it and re-editing it. I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to planning things, I must say. And I like it that way just fine. Then I added more and more to the babysitter's guide we're leaving with Stephanie, who'll care for the children while we're gone for more than two weeks. Two weeks! Without my babies! Rob says I won't get homesick. I don't know. I'm already missing them!

I did, at least, before this: 100_4581_2

That's our office carpeting. Where Sophia and Jack had just been coloring with those new super-slick Crayola Twist-Up crayons? You know those ones? They're great. Until you turn your back for five seconds to tippy-type some more on your little Europe planny-plans. Here's the culprit: 100_4580

I'd show you the rest of her, which is very colorful, but as you can see, she's desnuda. (See? Already practicing mi espaƱol.) So that was a fun little interlude tonight. Coloring will strictly be a kitchen table activitiy with those things from now on!

So then I went back to the planning, figuring out which ports we want to do an excursion and what kind. Oh, it's going to be so fun! We're going to see a flamenco show and eat tapas in Barcelona. In Monaco, we might hit the casino before heading to France to visit Nice and Eze (Get it? Nice and Eze? Har har) and shop in the famous flower market there. At least, the website tells me it's famous. When we get to Livorno, near Florence, Italy, we'll tour Lucca in the Tuscan countryside and then go to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. I'm ecstatic about that! There's so much to do in Rome, we'll just tour around on our own, but I plan on making a beeline to see the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. We're on our own in Messina, Sicily, and Navplion and KatakolĆ²n Greece, where I hope we'll get to do some actual swimming in the Mediterranean, Ionian, and Ɔgean seas. In Corfu, Greece, we're going to take a four-wheeling adventure through villages and vineyards and have a meal at a large country estate. Then in Dubrovnik, which I keep saying with a heavy Russian accent, we're going to go sea kayaking. What else would you do in Croatia, am I right? You know that crazy kayaking in Croatia. Then in Venice, we're going to take a tasting tour through the city, sampling everything that's great about Venetian food.

I am so in heaven just thinking about this stuff. I can't even imagine how I'll be when I'm actually there.

So I called my sister, who is apparently jealous?? Who knew she wanted to go to Europe? to tell her hey! She can go on the Holland America website to gift us with shipboard credit. She was delighted to hear about this opportunity. Absolutely thrilled.

Don't worry. Soon I'll run out of things to say about this trip, and you won't have to hear anymore about it until we actually go.

So then I had to run out and do a Sonic shop. The only good thing about that was getting to drive on the newly paved stretch of the Boulevard west of Witchduck. Niiice. Oh yeah, I have to do that report still.

We're about to go watch Man of the Year while I do some knitting on the baby sweater I haven't touched in too long. And that's about all that's fit to print.