Entries categorized "Sporting Events" Feed

Random Tuesday: Baseball, #Jamberry Nails, And Pancakes?!


This may be only the second or third time I've participated in Random Tuesday with Stacey Uncorked, but I'm feeling it today, so here I am! Link up if you're completely random on a Tuesday, yes?

Shall we?

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Last week, Sophia and I spent a good 3½ hours at the pediatrician's office to get her bloodwork done. She's completely traumatized by doctors and dentists and especially their needles, so she spent that whole time screaming and carrying on about getting the blood drawn. It was exhausting - for her, for me, for the poor bewildered doctor, for the staff, and maybe even for the next office over, some of the staff of which had to come in and help hold her down to end the whole episode.

I had promised Sophie pancakes at IHOP, having gotten a certificate for a free stack in my email inbox a few days prior, but by the time we got home from the doc's office, she just wanted to go to sleep. I couldn't blame her; so did I! And that we did.

By the time we were both ready to go to IHOP for a short stack of flapjacks, it was about three o'clock in the morning. But we went anyway, and as you can see, the trauma had subsided and she was all about getting her stawberry hotcakes on. 

I don't quite have the heart to tell her she needs more bloodwork and some immunizations in the very near future... :\

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Crafting 2

I've been doing a buttload of planning for this upcoming homeschool year, 2014-2015, and the kids have been kicking around the house kinda bored. I had stocked up on craft supplies for Sophie's birthday party, but we never held it, to her utmost disappointment.

I had also had a ton, give or take a few hundred pounds, of both cardboard and styrofoam egg cartons saved up for a crafty occasion. Actually, I was hoping to Freecycle them to someone who needed them for chickens or what-have-you, but such a person never materialized. Enter Pinterest! I found oodles of egg carton crafts on that wondrous site, and behold, two or three days of crafting were born.

Crafting 1

All three kiddos started out with the supplies, which included pompoms, feathers, glue, patterned crafting tape, paint, and so much more aside from the egg cartons. Jack, my least crafty kid, wanted to join... but he finished with slap-dashery that was hard for me to encourage. And so, in a rare (I hope?) moment of shoddy, discouraging parenting, I asked him why he bothered. Admittedly, that was pretty shitty of me, and we both agreed to have a time-out from each other for the remainder of that afternoon. #MomFail

Chloë is pretty crafty, but I think it's Sophia who is the most talented in this arena. Not that Chloë isn't artistic, because she is; however, she's a complete perfectionist like her mother, and therefore she finds it harder to break loose and just have fun with the process with no perfect goal in mind. The above pompom family was Sophia's creation, with no inspiration form Pinterest or anything else but her own imagination.

I could wrap up this segment of post in numerous ways, but suffice it to say that I learned something about the kids and their different abilities and learning styles, yes, but more about me and how I parent differently to them. Fortunately, I think I grew from the experience!

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Somehow, I managed to lose my entire post and get it back again without having saved it myself. Whew! I tend to give up when that happens. Yay for Autosave features!

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Another difference between Jack and his sisters is that he does not generally enjoy being photographed, whereas the girls love having a camera lens aimed at them. So when I changed my Facebook profile picture to this, my dad started condemning the lack of Jack, talkin' 'bout how he (my dad) applauds Jack for being a different kid, etc, blah blah, yakkety yak, and I shouldn't exclude him.


It touched a nerve, as parents and their comments are wont to do. I bend over backward - occasionally literally, even! - to make sure my kids feel recognized for their individuality and their strengths. Rob and I both have abysmal self-esteem, and so it is high on my list of priorities to develop a healthy sense of self in all of my children. Furthermore, I try to spend time with each of them, alone, every single day, and honestly, I do the best I can do be the best mom I can be for them!

I think we're doing all right. So my message for all the grandparents in the world, if you happen to come across this is: Unless you have cause for grave concern, step aside and let your kids do their job with their kids. You raised yours, and now it's our turn to raise ours. Not that input isn't necessary or even desired, but come on. Wait until we ask, if you can, and in the meantime, be as positive and supportive as you can manage.

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Baseball 1

On Saturday, Chloë and I took Sophia over to baseball tryouts at a park in Miami. How cute is she here?! I love this picture of her.

She was "trying out" (which really meant having her skills assessed for placement on the best team for her) at the oldest age group, 9-10 years, in the league we're joining, so really she ended up being one of the very few with no experience playing baseball.

I don't think she cared. She's got confidence to spare, that one!

She was also the only girl we saw on the field, the only one not fully decked out in a uniform from season's path, and from what I could see, the only Southpaw. That didn't stop her! She went up there, swung her bat three times at the pitches, ran around the bases, and practiced catching and throwing with an assistant coach.

She thinks she did poorly because she didn't hit the ball, but that will improve. I think she did fine because she showed up and bravely tried something new!

Baseball 2

After Sophie's try-outs ended, the three of us ran across the park to the playground for some fun. Both of them made friends, as per usual, and they played until we ran out of water and heat exhaustion became a threat. I haven't heard back about the baseball team yet, but I'm sure there will be more on that in future posts. Watch this space!

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Jamberry 0

Apropos of not much, I painted a French manicure on my nails the other day. I'm sharing partly because I just like the picture, and partly as an intro to the current state of my nails (I know you're waiting with baited breath to find out).

Jamberry 1

My friend Tiffany sent me this awesome package on Saturday, so that I could experience the Jamberry phenomenon! As a JAFRA Consultant, I haven't had the pleasure of being introduced to Jamberry nail wraps until now. I couldn't wait to get started... but I did until yesterday, because I didn't open the mail until late Sunday night and discovered the treats contained therein!

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How cute is this manicure I did all by little ol' self, with Berries and Gingham? I love it!

Tiffany sent me more "grown-up" adult-sized nail wraps, with these in mind for Sophie and Chlo, but I kinda stole them because I thought my nail beds were too tiny. Luckily, there are still plenty left for the girls, because each sheet comes with enough for several manicures. We'll have to do theirs tomorrow!

A few observations I've made so far about my Jamberry mani:

☼ There's just a very slight learning curve! I did my left hand first, starting with the thumb, and I immediately realized upon application that I could have gone with the larger size and dealt with minimal trimming of the wrap. I did my index finger second, and I accidentally wrinkled the wrap. I'm going to try to use my hair dryer, which is used to soften the wraps to make them easy to manipulate, to smooth that down. ☼

☼ There are SO many designs in the catalog, even for little girls' hands, that I know I'll be getting more in the future. Plenty of mature, adult designs (please, get your minds out of the gutter!), along with lots of whimsical themes. I love them all, and I can't wait until the Collegiate set includes one for my UM 'Canes! ☼

☼ For my oddly-shaped upside-down triangular nail shapes, I realized I could either go to the larger, regular size and trim the decals down easily, or paint my nails to match the wraps before applying them, so the gap's not so obvious. Tiffany assured me the wraps go on just as well over painted nails as bare ones. I'll be trying both methods soon, and you know I'll be reporting on that! ☼

Have you tried Jamberry nails yet? I'd love it if you would check out Tiffany's site and tell me what your favorite design is. Stay tuned for a special offer in the near future!

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Finally, we had a bunch of burnt-out light bulbs in the house, so we ran to Lowe's to get a bunch of new ones. What did we spot but this huge Halloween décor display?! Seriously, mid-August is way too soon for that. Do you agree?

Thanks for stopping by!


Wordless Wednesday: Superstar Soccer Nieces!


I don't know how well you can see that my niece, Hanna, has bright red hair in this picture, but she's the one on a full-on run in front of the girl with red shorts. She's a "Pink." And she plays the game well, as far as my uninformed eyes can tell, especially for a 12-year-old.


My other niece, Karen, is the blond about to go for the ball in this picture. She's 14. Watch out for these two! I had the pleasure of watching them play in Upstate New York this past weekend, and believe me, it was truly a joy to watch them maneuver on the field.

Thanks for stopping by!


Go Fish!




I gotta hand (heh, heh) it to my great pals, Marc and Jenna (aka Team Fried): they gave us a terrific gift recently! Marc works for the University of Miami - Diabetes Research Institute, and sometimes he's able to score wonderful things like tickets to the MLB's Miami Marlins vs. San Diego Padres game during Opening Week. They have young twins, so they can't be out until midnight like we were Saturday night. Team Fried gave us those tickets, and off we went to have a great time. It was UM family night, so naturally, I had to paint my nails orange-and-green, amiright?!


We arrived at the appointed hour of 1700, for the UM family activities. See all those balloons over there? That was our destination. Sophia willingly posed for this picture, right before we realized the sun was blazin' and Chloë had forgotten her ballcap back at the car. We went back for left-behind items maybe two more times.


After getting our faces tattooed with Sebastian the Ibis on one side and the "U" on the other, my lady-babies and I posed for this selfie. The official UM shutterbug insisted on photographing this selfie moment and asked permission to use the pictures. Of course I said yes, but I felt a little silly holding my iPhone up there for two minutes while he took 37 snaps!

(Speaking of selfies, I love that song by The Chainsmokers. Cracks me up every single time, and then I can't stop saying, "That's so ratchet" about EVERYTHING!"


I don't know if UM or the Marlins put out the bouncy thingies, but my kids killed an hour playing, which was good, since we had that much time to waste before taking our seats inside the stadium. Rob and I sat in the shade. Did I mention how hot it was?! We actually bought a $4 bottle of water for everyone, and you know that killed me, right?


Oh, all right, some of us (me) had more than water. I love that Family Night included, in large part, a bar. Really? No soda for Hubs, but plenty of alcohol. Oh, but look! UM-themed silly bandz! I haven't taken mine off yet. (I'll admit it, I love my alma mater.)


Sophia, who will be freaking nine on Sunday, looking beautiful and every bit as old as she is


I look better in the selfie-with-ladies pic, so please, just look at Jack here. Jack, who needs a haircut and is sporting 70s-style wings, is much cuter, no?


Chloë and Sophie wanted to pose with a couple of Marlins cheerleaders dancers Energy Team girls, and we started a huuuuge line of followers. Who says I'm not leader material?! (Me, that's who.) 


Our game tickets included meal vouchers for 'dogs, drinks and chips, so Team Odette ate on the cheap, at least, thanks to Team Fried. Of course, I don't eat frankenweenies, so I had a hot pretzel. It was terrible. This ain't Philly, after all.


I behaved myself and did not take any photo or video during the game itself, unlike many a fellow fan. However, I will give you a few salient details about that part:

1. Baseball players are hot. Hello, José Fernandez, I'm your newest fan!

2. I somehow did not lose my voice while helping to cheer the Fish to a 5-0 shutout against the Padres. WOOT!

3. My dad remains, and my grandparents were, huge fans of the Mets. I grew up going to games at Shea Stadium. Dad always fell asleep next to the television, newspaper in hand, reading glasses sliding down his nose, while games were airing, too. All that being said, Saturday night's game was the most exciting one I have ever watched. It was so fun!

4. Jack grumped about wanting to go home after Inning Four, but even he had to admit that we all had a blast.

5. Did I mention the players' butts? Oh em gee. So cute! Shh... I can look.


I tried forty-nine three times to get a clear picture of this girl from The Clevelander. She was on mega-high stilts and dancing like she was barefoot. I wonder how long she had to practice before she stopped falling on her face? She got everyone's attention. No one could get out the door, because everyone was gawking - myself included!



Rob, still visibly affected by the steroids he's taking, and moi in yet another selfie


Thanks for the super-awesome fun night, Marc and Jenna! We you guys!


Sunday Stealing: For Old Times' Sake


Link up here if you're a latecomer, like Yours Truly!

From For Old Times' Sake 

The For Old Times' Sake Meme

When was the last time you swam in a pool? 

March 5th or 6th. It was cold, in Suffolk, VA, with an unheated indoor pool. I preferred to jump into the pool, warm up in the hot tub until I was about to pass out, then lather, rinse, and repeat. Ah, good times.

 Do you like to party? 

I didn't go to a single frat party during my years at the Universities Miami and South Florida. I studied hard, and I worked up to three jobs at a time, besides. Apologies in advance to all you Greeks, but I don't like to be told with whom I can be friends, what parties and games to attend, and what guys to date. And I didn't want to check my brain at the door and share the community one. So nope, I didn't rush, pledge, or whatever those sorority girl-types do these days. Ah, I've waited a long time to say that "out loud." (I mean, uh, no.)

Describe the shirt you're wearing? 

It's green, with a peek-a-boo slit where you would be able to see my cleavage - if I had any.

What is one feature film that you don't like?

If Ernest went there, I hated it.

Would people describe you as happy? 

OMG, is anyone else sick of being told to Keep Calm yet?! Anyway, long story short, yes, I am generally considered to be happy. So much so, my dad called me "Joyous" as a kid. Nowadays, though, I need to take my meds like clockwork in order to be anything but a total $%^&* bitch. Sad to say.

Sleep with or without clothes on? 

I generally crash in whatever I've been wearing for the day. I have about four sets of PJs that haven't touched my skin, other than to be moved from drawer to box and back again, in ages.

Oh, and don't do a Google Images search for "sleep naked" with kids around. Consider yourself warned. (*ahem* I don't know whether to apologize or say "you're welcome" to my 11-year-old son now...)

Does it bother you if people swear around you? 

Are you kidding me? I'm a native New Yawka, my husband is a sailor, and... no. I don't mind. I'm trying to quit, but truth be told, I'm not really trying as hard as I could be.

Do you prefer Wednesdays or Thursdays? 

My favorite day of the week used to be any day that Hubs was home from work, spending the day with us. Now that he's retired, every day sucks. Haha! I kid, I kid.

Like to travel? 

Is the Pope Catholic?

Does a bear shit in the woods?

Do I like to swear?

Yes, dudes. I live to travel.

Think you're attractive? 


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You tell me.

Are or were you a good student? 

I didn't get a 100 average in high school; I got a 119. I'm 37 years old now and other than this silly ol' blahg, no one in the world cares anymore. It was important at the time. I went into college as a mid-year sophomore and graduated from a 5-year program in 3 years with a double major and what would have been a triple minor if I'd gone another year. 

Yeah. I was a good student. But who cares? (ME, obviously! ha.)

Are you currently happy? 

So my husband left his critically-important medicine at the ballpark last night (why he brought it there is beyond me), and now he's retching between sobs. I feel bad for him. It's hard to be happy at this juncture.

Colored or black-and-white photo? 

I mean, there are great color pictures that would lose their grip in B/W, and vice-versa, but as for me? I live my life right out loud, in living color, every single day. Give me turquoise, give me fuschia, give me chartreuse any day of the week. I'll take the brightest, noisiest colors you have. (Oh, was this question not supposed to be metaphorical. My bad, yo.)

Do you consider yourself the life of the party? 

Not without major chemical assistance, no

Do you drink? 

I prefer to drink when they pay me to do it (my job has its perks), but yeah. And, I seem to imbibe a lot more frequently since Rob had his brain surgery. Coincidence?

Do you make fun of people?


Never say never, but I generally try to be nice. On the other hand, that girl at the store tonight should not have been wearing that strapless dress with all her bacne. I'll stop there.

Do you think dreams eventually come true? 

I think I'm some special kind of psychic, because I often have realistic dreams about mundane conversations or real-life situations that, the next day or a week later, actually happen. Does that count? And is this just moi?

Also, sure they do, or else I have been an idealistic daydreamer for nothing my whole life... and I refuse to allow for that possibility!

Favorite fictional character? 

I'm rather fond of Anne of Green Gables, but that's just the first name that came to mind... (P.S. It occurred to me, just before hitting "publish," that I only thought of characters in books. Interesting little factoid to probably no one, huh?)

Go to the movies or rent? 

Remember the days when your parents used to take you and your sister to the drive-in in your paneled wood station wagon, and they'd put the seats down in the back and buy you candy and popcorn, and there would be a cartoon before the feature started? And then you two would fall asleep, or at least that's what your parents thought before they started smooching, and everything was all right with the world?

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I'll pick the theater, if only because it brings me back to that place over three decades ago.

Have you ever moved? 

Follow me: Monroe, NY ► Syracuse, NY ► Aiken, SC ► Coral Gables, FL ► Warrenville, SC ► Coral Gables, FL ► South Miami, FL ► Coral Gables, FL ► South Miami, FL ► Coral Gables, FL ► Sarasota, FL ► Coral Gables, FL ► St. Pete, FL ► Tampa, FL ► St. Pete, FL ► Panama City Beach, FL ► Panama City, FL ► Hagatna, Guam ► Yigo, Guam ► Norfolk, VA ► Virginia Beach, VA ► Portsmouth, VA ► Homestead, FL ► ???

Have you ever stolen anything? 

I stole a Koosh Ball once, quite by accident. I walked out of the store with it, forgetting it was in my hands, until I got back to the car. I didn't return it. I felt so guilty, I just stuffed it into the back of my closet. I don't know what became of it after that.

How's the weather right now? 


Last time you cut your hair? 


On March 9th, I got this haircut. I like it.

Last person you talked to on the phone? 

A scheduler for a mystery shopping company called me to have me do an evaluation. 

Last time you showered? 

The water pressure in our shower sucks butt, so I prefer to take baths. Normally, I hate baths, so this irks me. I did shower a couple days ago, though, because it is faster, and I was in a hurry. Hey, you asked.

Loud or soft music? 

When I'm alone in my car, I love listening to loud music. I turn it down for the kids' sakes, though.

McDonalds or Burger King? 

I prefer Panera.

Night or day? 

You saw what time it was on the weather question, right?

Number of pillows? 

One if it's firm, two if it's so squishy that my head hits the mattress. I mean, what are the point of those?!

Piano or guitar? 

My friend Shana plays (among other things) the electric violin. I think that's pretty cool.

Current longing? 

I just want Hubs to...

Current disappointment? 

I was hoping for an avocado-on-toast, with cheese and lemon, sammich. I forgot we were out of the cheese and avocados, though. Bummer.

Current annoyance? 

Jack, my son, is watching Gravity behind me. He's talking through the entire freakin' thing. (Yes, he's awake at this hour. They all are. Our sleep patterns are all messed up this past year of Brain Drama.)

Last thing you ate? 

I'm eating sunflower kernels right now, since the last disappointment.

Last thing you bought? 

These are free at Walgreens this week, so I "bought" six. I drank three already, and I'm not wired.

Pick a lyric, any lyric or a song...

When I hear John Legend singing "All of Me" on the radio, it makes me question why no one's ever written a song like that for me. And sung it to me. I've always wanted to be serenaded outside my window in the middle of the night. Or ten o'clock. Because, you know, neighbors...

But Hubs can't sing. And he can't dance. However, no one makes me laugh harder than he does. And behold, that is good.

Pick a movie quote...


... But my favorite line in Dirty Dancing is, "Just put your pickle on everybody's plate, College Boy, and leave the hard stuff to me."

I actually say it all the time, when the moment's right. Crack myself up, I do.

Well that was fun. And long. Speaking of pickles...


Saturday 9: Susan

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Susan

Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) In this song, our hero tells Susan that "no other girl could ever take the place of you." Crazy Sam feels that no other earmuffs could ever take the place of the ones she left in restaurant coat room last month. Tell us about something you recently broke, lost or misplaced.

I was frying an egg in olive oil, and I had my iPhone next to the stove to listen to music. Well, I ended up spilling hot oil all over the phone, and now I can't hear anyone who calls me. Not cool, Self! (This was days ago, and the 'rice trick' didn't work. :/ )

2) When this song was first released back in 1968, the name Susan was very popular. According the Social Security Administration, it was one of the top 10 baby girl names of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Today it's not even in the top 100. Do you know anyone named Susan (or Suzanne)?

I do, but I don't think I have any Sue-ish friends on Facebook!

3) The Buckinghams were Chicago's attempt to get in on The British Invasion begun by the Beatles. (Hence the silly suits.) But they took their name from Chicago's famous Buckingham Fountain. If Crazy Sam visited your neighborhood, what local site would you recommend she check out?

We have yet to go ourselves, but I plan to take the kids to the Coral Castle right down the road from us soon. A man built his paradise for the unrequited love of his life. It's a pretty amazing story.

4) Chicago is known for deep dish pizza. Describe your dream pizza. (Calories, carbs and gluten need not be a factor because it's dream pizza!)

There's a local pizzeria in Leonia, New Jersey, where the pizza can't be beat. It's a traditional New York-style thin crust, that you fold in half, and nothing is better than a fresh, hot slice of cheese pizza from there. If you've ever been to a Manhattan-area pizzeria, you'll know that it defies further description without being personally tasted!

 5) The Buckinghams got their big break by winning a local "battle of the bands." Do you often go to concerts or bars to listen to live music?

I haven't been to a concert in a couple years, but I adore it. I'm good with anything from a major-venue, mainstream artist to a local band playing for free at the park... Actually, if that counts, then yes ,I've heard a lot of live salsa and merengue since we've lived here!

6) The best-selling book in 1968 (the year "Susan" was released) was Airport by Arthur Hailey. It was set during a snowstorm at Lincoln International, a fictional airport based on Chicago's O'Hare. What's the most recent airport you flew to? Why were you there?

We flew from New York City's JFK International into Barcelona and back for our European cruise in 2008. I don't think I've flown since then, but we have maybe three different flying trips planned for this calendar year: back to Virginia to visit our friends there, to Central New York for my 20th high school reunion (!!!),and to Central Missouri for a visit to Hubs' family.

7) Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, Sox ... Chicago is a big sports town. What's your favorite pro team?

Now that we don't have any TV service at all, I don't really follow any major league sports. I do, however, take every opportunity to root for my alma mater. Go 'Canes!

8) Thinking of sports, did you watch the Olympics? If yes, which events?

I did not, because no TV, but the Olympics are one of the few reasons I would consider re-suscribing to a service! I adore watching the Games, normally.

9) Do you consider yourself an idealist or a pragmatist?

Oh, I have my rose-colored glasses firmly planted on my head at all times! ;)


Friday Fragments, Episode 6.14.13

Unknown Mami

Link up with Mrs. 4444 Unknown Mami, who is taking over for summer, if ye be fragmentin' today!

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Is it seriously Flag Day already? Holy cow. Where is this month going? It's flying by, that's for sure. For you, too?

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I was talking with Rob (Hubs) in the car today about Kate Middleton and how I enjoyed following the Royal Windsor (right?) family ever since I watched Lady Di marry Prince Charles back when I was five years old, in 1981. He was surprised I remembered it. Who could forget this:

I've long been a fan and was honestly crushed when she died in 1997. Here she was, in her 30s, blonde and blue-eyed, dying suddenly and tragically, leaving behind two young children of the same sex... hm. Similarities to my own story much? Anyway. So I have followed Prince William's marriage and the baby bump story and all that with keen interest.

Rob posited that the Di/Charles story was a bigger one than the William/Kate one, on the world stage, as far as news stories go. I heartily disagreed. So I thought I'd ask you guys. What do you think? Is Kate as big a fairy tale story as that of her departed mother-in-law? I say equal.

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So sorry for the shameless begging request, but could you please comment on this review post? I don't have a huge ton of readers and need to get back to my sponsors with some feedback from folks. Thanks, y'all rock for helping me out! I promise I'll be a good little blahgger and visit back this week, too. No slacking for once, swears!

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Didja get your free donut on at Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kreme, or anywhere else on Friday? It was National Doughnut Day. Yup. We partook. I didn't eat a single bite, though; I am behaving so I can stay put in Rob's jeans! 

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The kids were sent books and pens (because you write in books?) by my dad on Saturday, and the girls dove right in. Jack just rolled his eyes and sarcastically said, "Oh, yay, another book." He's picked up reading a little more in the last couple-three months, but I definitely wouldn't call him a bookworm yet. We've instituted Family Reading Hour as of yesterday, and so far it hasn't stuck. We'll keep at it, though. It's important to us.

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We made Pillsbury Cresent Rolls the other day, and Sophia took the ends off the tube and turned herself into a housefly! I loved it. She's so fun, so creative, such a happy-go-lucky girl... I do adore her so, like all the children, but Sophie really has a knack for making us laugh!

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I took the kids to the $1 movie on Tuesday for Regal Cinemas' summer movie program. Used to be a free one by AMC or Cinemark or something too (nope, I just checked; it was Regal itself that used to be free), but apparently they're all a dollar now.  It's a bit of a hike to get there, too, or we might have gone back for The Three Stooges on Wednesday. We saw Ice Age: Continental Drift this week, and it was really pretty good for a multiple-sequel flick! I'd brought my knitting along, expecting to be buried in it, but I actually didn't get that much done because of having my eyes on the screen. I can't wait to go again next week. Looks like we'll have to choose between Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days and Parental Guidance for next week. We've seen the first, and isn't the latter not for little kids??

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The rain actually let up for once today, so we headed out to a park we haven't been to before this. Of course, as we made our way there, the sky completely opened up and down it came. Rob and the kids sat in the van when we got there and, hopeful, applied some sunscreen. Finally, the downpour slowed to a trickle and they got out to fish (the boys) and rollerskate (girls) while I stayed inside to knit. My nausea and dizziness returned with a vengeance after a few days off today, plus it's no fun to knit with wet yarn, or I'd have been happy to join them.


I actually did come out temporarily when I got bored of being by myself, and the whole fam-damily was all gathered on the fishing platform. I caught up with them as they watched a turtle chug down some shrimp left behind by a previous fisherperson. {As for Rob, he was using some crab legs that we'd gotten from Omaha Steaks for bait. I gave him my blessing to do that because I really didn't care for it the first time we tried it; I don't think I'll order from them again, since they're pricey and yet, a letdown! If we ever order frozen food to be delivered again, I already known Schwan's is the way to go - at least for Team Odette!}


After a spell, with no fish biting, we decided to make our way over to the restaurant at the park marina for dinner. The kids ate French potaters and mozzarella sticks - too much fried food, anyone? - while Hubs and I noshed on spinach and artichoke dip (meh, it was okay, but I wasn't wowed by any stretch) and tilapia sandwiches (total blech. I took two bites and ran to the bathroom, overcome with nausea). Rob will finish my sandwich, and I'll gladly be returning to full-on vegetarianism after this, I think!

We all shared chocolate mousse cake and Key Lime cheesecake for dessert, and I remained underwhelmed. For our limited budget to be spent on a dinner that I didn't find terrific, I was bummed. I know the grille at the park we usually visit will cook your catch and provide sides for just seven bucks a plate, so I'm planning on Rob catching some fish in the future! I won't eat it, but I can still proudly Instagram him doing it, right?

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Speaking of today's failed fishing venture, Rob managed to catch his karaoke kabuki suzuki sabiki rig on the bottom and get it stuck. He ran over to the van and got out his dive booties, so he could jump in and retrieve it. I was just looking on with interest until he said, "There are no crocodiles around, right?" Duh, Melanie! We were RIGHT NEXT TO the croc warning sign, and yet I'd forgotten about them. Instantly, I freaked out on him and refused to let him jump in, despite his protests about what we could do with his life insurance funds if he got eaten. Um, no thanks. Twelve-and-½ years ago I swore I didn't care if we were poor and living in a shack with nothing but each other (and our future children), and I meant it, dadgummit!

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Well, that's enough, I'd say. Nothing else in my brain rattling around right now. Lucky you - I'm finished! Have a good weekend, folks.


Saturday 9: Sweet Caroline

Link up here if you're playing along with Crazy Sam and the gang today!

The idea for this week's song came from Harriet, who suggested the baseball theme.

1) "Sweet Caroline" has been sung during every Boston Red Sox home game since the 1990s. (Click here to watch Neil Diamond lead the fans in the first game after April's bombing.) Do you know the words well enough to sing along?

I know the title words; does that count? I used to know them in college; we had to sing them for some pep rally or something I was part of for my dorm. That was aeons ago, though.
2) Do you have a favorite major league baseball team?
My family were traditionally Mets fans. I grew up with them. I remember going to Shea stadium for a game or two in my youth.
3) Budweiser is the "official beer of major league baseball." Do you reach for a cold beer on a hot summer day?
Oh, God, no. I can't stand beer. I like the occasional wine cooler and was really chagrined when Hubs pointed out that it's really just flavored beer. Poo.

4) Every season, more than a million Vienna Beef Hot Dogs are consumed by baseball fans at Chicago's Wrigley Field. When you get a hot dog, what do you put on it? 
I don't eat hot dogs. Okay, okay, recently I bought (and ate) turkey dogs, but I don't put anything on them. I think it's offensive to murder an animal and then tell it it doesn't taste good enough to be eaten without dousing it with myriad condiments. (Just kidding, really.)

5) The odds of a fan in the stands being hit by a baseball are 300,000 to 1. The odds of winning the lottery are (approximately) 1 in 12,000,000. Do you play the lottery?
Once in a moon so blue it's ultraviolet, I might play. I can probably count on one finger how many times I've played in the last year or three! It's just throwing money away.
6) Though his song has been adopted by faithful Boston Red Sox fans, Neil Diamond was born and raised in New York City. Have you ever visited The Big Apple?
Ha. That's like asking the Pope if he's ever been to Rome. I tawk like this maw than I cayeh to admit! ;)
7) Baseball players are notoriously superstitious. For example, the Cubs' Matt Garza eats Popeye's fried chicken every day that he pitches. Joltin' Joe DiMaggio touched second base with his foot every time he ran on or off the field. Do you have any superstitions?
I knock wood, but I don't really believe in it or any other superstitions. I'm kind of a 'scofflaw' when it comes to those silly things. I like to laugh in the face of danger. Mwahahaha!

8) A ball signed by Babe Ruth can fetch tens of thousands of dollars at auction. Have you ever asked a celebrity for his/her autograph?
Just Dave Barry, who used to come into the Publix in Coral Gables where I worked while going to the University of Miami. I followed him and Michelle, his wife, around the store with a copy of his latest column in the Miami Herald in hand, until Michelle pointed me out to him. I was SO shy and shook like a leaf, but I got the siggy! It got wet and ruined in a subsequent move. :*(

9) Baseball means summer and summer means sun. Are you working on a tan, or do you slather on the sunscreen?
Tanning is foolish. I hate sunscreen, but I hate cancer more. I'm pretty fair-skinned, so you should see my humongous stockpile of sunscreen for Team Odette this year. I should take a picture. It's kind of got its own cabinet in the bathroom now!
Well, that was fun. I feel like answering more questions, though.  Shoulda been Saturday 90 this week! 

Aloha Friday


Link up here if you've got questions for Kailani and friends today!

My question for you this week is:

If you were an athlete, an Olympian, say, would you rather win by a close or a wide margin? Would you rather lose by a close or a wide margin?

Hubby and I differ in our answers to these questions. I'd rather barely win, having hung on through a tough, close game/match/meet, and squeaked out the victor, leaving the fans on the edge of their seats the whole time and on their feet cheering when I win. If I had to lose, I'd rather get absolutely trampled, with no hope of a win at all, than come so close and miss the Gold or whatever by a painfully narrow margin. Rob is the complete opposite. Guess they do attract!

So what do you think about it?

Have a great weekend, y'all!




Link up here if you've got questions for Kailani and crew today!

My question for you this week is:

Does it move you that the first African-American gymnast just won all-around gold for the USA, or could you not care less about her race? Were you rooting for Gabby Douglas (a Virginia Beach native who, by the way, formerly trained at the gym where my older daughter will be training starting next month!) to take gold?

You can probably guess my answers, but yes, I was on my feet, cheering, clapping and whooping it up for Gabby D. I'm SO super proud of her, and thrilled that a young black woman accomplished a feat that will inspire many young female athletes in the years to come! GO GABBY!

Have a great weekend!


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up with Mrs. 4444 if you're torn to bits today!

I hope all of you Americanos had a nice Independence Day! I didn't. It's my favorite holiday, but Hubs was being a jerk in the morning and ruined my day, along with my desire to go do anything celebratory. Humph. Didn't even see a single firework, though I heard plenty of kabooms near the house!

Still not done moving. It's getting to be a big, fat joke, ain't it??

New York was fun, yet fast and furious. Lots of work for me, yet lots of fun for the kids. Here's a quick sneak peek, since I have yet to write a post about it yet on the blahg:


Poor Jack, he loves being squididdled by his sisters SO much!! ;)

After the theme park shops were done, we got to go see my sister and watch my nieces' soccer game. It was a good one, really exciting. They were by far the underdogs, but they lost 2-1 in double overtime, which was great for them. Here are some pictures, if you care to see her lovely ladies!

After the game, we went back to Stacey's house and had dinner before heading back home to Virginia. They have SO many pets, most being bred for selling or feeding those that they're selling. We're talking, like, a hundred ball pythons in the basement, for starters. They won't tell Stacey the true number, so I could be way off in either direction, but a LOT!

Anyway, it was wonderful seeing my sister after 1½ years apart, which was the main perk for why I took a shop so far away. ;)

I drove all night to get back in time to let Rob drive the van to work Monday, since his motorcycle ride didn't go too well last Friday after all. He's still too sore after quadruple hernia surgery. So now I'm way off my sleep schedule and have been up all night and sleeping much of the days since. Sucks, but I'm going to have to break this cycle starting TODAY and get back to moving, moving, moving...

Guess that's all in my head right now. I don't have any license plate photos this week. Been too busy recuperating and hibernating myself!

Have a great weekend, y'all!


Future Olympian


(Click collage to embiggerate.)

 Admittedly, these are not terrific photos of Sophia at gymnastics, but they were the best I could do under the circumstances, which are that there is very little access to do so at the gym where she and Jack go to class. Parents aren't allowed on the gym floor - at least, certainly not to take pictures - and the opening to see in is a small sliding glass door. But, I wanted to show these pictures as sort of a baseline for the progression of Sophia's gymnastics career. I'm joking about the title, but I really think she is naturally fit for the sport and will go far with it if she decides to continue developing her skills.

As for Jack, he wasn't anywhere in sight when I had the camera out! So what else is new? I'll try to get him another time. He's always a fearful little boy - on the mats and off - but for some reason, a little of that trepidation disappears when he's out there, and he becomes more adventurous. It will be interesting to see how he progresses with gymnastics, as well.


Six Word Saturday


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

My six words for this week are:

Sunday: first time playing Laser Tag!

We are going up to Chantilly, Va, almost 4 hours away on Sunday night to play Laser Tag with Jack. Partly for his 7th birthday, also for a mystery shop. The girls are going to stay with my friend Steph until we get back... I think, although I may call and see if we can all go. Sophie, not quite 5, might be too young. I'd rather all go and celebrate his birthday that way, though. I think he'll have a blast!


It's The End Of The World As We Know It

Not to worry. I'm not going all Nostradamus on you or anything. That song just popped into my head while I was trying to think of a blog title for this end-of-soccer post. So I went with it.

By the by, I'm way behind on answering your comments, and some may not get answered at all, because my entire Yahoo email inbox disappeared on me the other day! Like, vamoose! I don't know what the hell happened to it, but it doesn't appear to be coming back. Color me perplexed.

And on another thought, I seriously doubt I'll make my goal of being at 175 by my one-year mark, because I'm almost at the 10-month point and not only have I not really lost any weight this past month, but I gained two pounds since my last weigh-in. What the hell? ("What the hell" is my phrase of the week, apparently.) I'm hoping it's just because I need to take a giant you-know-what (hee), but in any case, I am kicking up the protein intake. I'm trying not to eat ANYthing but protein-rich foods until my next weigh-in, so hopefully that'll make the scale budge in the other direction. I'm not getting stuck at 199, damn it!

Anyway. Saturday. Getting ready for soccer was a bit crazy, partly because I'd meant to get up a half-hour earlier than I did, partly because I still had to package up the soccer snacks and take a shower, partly because the kids were slow-moving, and partly because Rob had to leave for work at the same time. We both got pissy at each other, so that wasn't fun.

As for the snacks, I put a Juicy Juice box, a banana, and three wrapped "homemade" cookies in each white paper bag, which I had left over from some other project. Then I made tags that matched the color of the girls' game shirts, punched a star with a Creative Memories punch in each one, wrote their names in glitter pen, and added flower and brad embellishments. I hot-glued those onto the bags, packed them all in a big canvas bag, and called it good. I'd meant to do more, more treats, more fancy, but I just didn't end up having the time.


We got to the field first after Coach, and he was worried that no one was going to show up. But eventually, all 10 girls arrived, and the game was started. Oddly enough, the other team only had four girls, so four of our girls played them, and then the other six donned those green shirts to play against their own teammates on the back field. That's my Sophie in the green overshirt, pink socks and piggy tails.


Sophie was on the back field, not with Coach, but with another daddy (also a cutie!) who volunteered to help the back field girls. There's always a parent volunteer, because there are always two simultaneous games. Did I ever step up? Hell no. I don't know a thing about soccer! But Rob did, once.

Here's a video of Sophie in her game. That's how she is. She plays some, but mostly stands around and does nothing. It's actually kind of the way she helps clean the house, too!


Aaaand, then she decided to sit it out. She PROMISED she would play, so I was disappointed that she didn't. I guess the bottom of her shoe was more interesting than kicking the ball around.


Oh, but what's this? Back on the field? She snuck over to Coach's side and followed him around, trying to get on his team. Defector!


But no, Coach refused her, and told her to go back to her team. Instead, she went and sat down on the blanket between fields with K, who was hurt and cold. (We froze our arses off at soccer. Brrr!!!)


I guess she got bored of that, too, because soon she was back on her field and running around again! Yay for rallying!

I guess I forgot to take any more pictures, but in the second half, she DID manage to worm her way onto Coach's team, and as usual, she insisted on holding his hand while she ran around after the ball. He told me he was flattered that she liked him so much and wanted to be with him, and I apologized for her difficult behavior this season. He was nonplussed and just hoped that she enjoyed going back to her dance class. I know she will. She truly enjoys it, and she's actually good at it, too!

We made the parent tunnel for the girls to run through, and then I handed out their snacks. I was the only one who ever packaged them up like that, and put their names on it, so the girls were a bit confused at first. The parents complimented me on the idea, though, and several girls thanked me, saying they liked their pretty name tags. And the cookies were a huge hit! So although I didn't get to do as much as I wanted to with them, I'm happy they were so well received.

After that, we had about 15 minutes to kill before Chloë's warm-ups. Jack and Curls were both in tears from being so cold, so I hustled everyone back to the van to kick on the heat. Everyone was hungry, too, so I drove around looking for somewhere cheap to eat. I found a shopping center with lots of cool stores in it, and I felt a twinge of, I don't know, disappointment and frustration, I guess, that I didn't have any money to shop for the kids. But we found a Firehouse Subs shop, and I ran in to get a sandwich. By that time, it was
time to get Chloë back to her field, so we hurried back to the Sportsplex.


Chloë warming up with the team - she always has her hands in her ponytail during soccer!


Chloë in the air, making a goal kick


Coach C, the assistant coach, telling Chloë where to send the ball for her second goal kick


She actually made a pretty fantastic kick, and I was really impressed with her playing yesterday. She managed to get the ball a few times and took it down the field; normally she is very shy and intimidated by the other girls, so she doesn't really try to get in there and take the ball away from the other team. I was cheering like mad!


Meanwhile, Sophie made a buddy, the 4yo sister of another player on Chloë's team. They were so cute and giggly together. A's mom and I laughed at them frequently. They had a good time rummaging through my purse and finding fun things to use, like wipes, hand sanitizer and lotion. I wasn't loving that so much!


Come on, Curls, get in there and get that ball!


Finally, the game was called, and that was the end of our soccer career, I think. We made the parent tunnel for the players again, and Chloë and her teammates got their snacks. We said lots of good-byes to the girls and coaches. Coach told me to try and get her to come back in the Spring, instead of going back to ballet, but I think her mind is made up. If she really wanted to go back, she probably would have cried a little that it was over - but there were no tears. Only relief and joy.


When we got home, I noticed Sophie's crepe myrtle had turned colors. Pretty stuff, huh.


And on the porch, there was a package from my Canadian blogger friend, Darci, for CARE Package, Inc. She knitted a cotton ripple blanket for the charity. So pretty, so soft. I love it, Darci, thank you!!!


Darci also sent some Partylite candles, which I think I won in a contest she had on her blog a long time ago. Apple scented, my favorite! I'd never smelled PL candles before, I don't think, but they're fantastic!


I quickly lit some and put them in the downstairs hallway, where I could smell them the entire time they were burning. Mmmm, yummy.

We didn't do a lot in the evening, other than run out and pick up some more Fall Product, and then a Freecycle pick-up. I could NOT find the woman's apartment in the dark, so I was kind of grumpy about that. But it was worth it, because I got all kinds of crafty books and magazines, which I can't wait to paw through and be inspired by. (Plus there were three hot football players in the next building over, and they were checking me out after I asked them where to find her building. I heard something about "that white girl" as I was walking away... If I weren't married, I'd have gone back!)


When Rob came home, after I fed the kids dinner, I revisited the pie crusts. They'd chilled long enough, I should think. They rolled out really well, and I only tore one a little bit when I was unrolling it into the pie pan. Which is too big, it's a 10" deep dish, so I didn't quite have enough filling for this big guy!


For Rob, happiness is a pumpkin pie, all for him.

Today was really quiet and pretty lazy for us. Well, four of us. Rob had to work, again, all day. :(

I baked the kids a couple dozen muffins for breakfast and lunch. And brunch. And snack. They have eaten all but four, so I guess they were good. I chatted with my sister, and I talked to my dad for nearly an hour and a half. We went out and delivered all of Chloë's Fall Product orders, went and picked up some more that another mom ordered from me today, and received yet another mom who was picking up her order from last week. I made dinner - pasta, garlic bread and veggies - for the kids. I cut out a ton of coupons and read the Sunday paper. And beyond that, I accomplished not much at all. I just had zero motivation today, and I'm not bothered by it!

Hope you all have a terrific Turkey Week!


Let's Hear It For The Boy

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

On Friday morning, I had to run.

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

And thus began my day.

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

Jack's braces 1

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

Jack's braces 2 

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

Jack's braces 3

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

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

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


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

Then I made a big mistake.


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

Big mistake.

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

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

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

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

Shwans truck

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

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

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


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

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

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

Stay tuned for Saturday's update!


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

Call Me Dolly

...since I must have cloned myself, having just about managed to be in two places at once, more than once today!

Sophia Classroom 

I woke up earlier, but I had to finally wake up the kids around 0830 so we could get to Sophie's preschool open house by 0900. I forget what I shoved in their mouths for breakfast, but it was surely nothing to write home about! At the preschool, which is part of and behind Jack and Chloë's school, we all listened to one of the teachers give a presentation about the class rules and daily routines. Each student stood up and introduced him- or herself, and Sophie would go up and say hi to each of them. She has gone from being afraid of school to terribly excited about everything related to it. She barely puts her lunchbox down!

After the talk, the kids were free to start playing with things in the classroom, and that they did. They made quick work of the neat and orderly arrangements. I filled out some more necessary paperwork for her to be in the program (there seems to be no end of it!), and after we'd been there for an hour, it was time to head out. Sophie hugged her new teachers good-bye, and we fled. But not before I made my kids put away their messes, natch.

Sophia coloring 

We arrived at the hospital a half-hour later and actually found a decent parking space for once. The girls were cold, since the fall weather seems to be upon us this week, and I was glad to find a blanket in the waiting room of the orthopedics clinic. After Sophie cuddled up in it, another little girl sat next to her and started coloring. Well! Sophie, of course, made quick friends with her, as she is wont to do, and the little girl offered her a coloring book and crayons. In an instant, they were old friends coloring princesses. I hope she keeps this outgoing nature throughout life!

Jack doctor 

Before too long, we were called back to get Jack's vitals and wait in an exam room. Somehow, my tiny-kins managed to get up on the table by himself. He's been asking about this doctor visit for a long time now, every day. I've been telling him he might need braces for his legs, or casts, or I don't know what, to prepare him. He was seen when he was about two years old for his tip-toeing problem, indicating a tightness in his Achilles tendons, but he didn't need the braces then. The tip-toeing has since gotten worse, and it seems he's in pain sometimes, too. 

Girls Doctor 

The girls did not like the sit-and-wait part, even though it wasn't very long. See how thrilled they look?

The doctors came in and gave him a thorough examination, making him walk and run up and down the hallway and bending him this way and that (which elicited a lot of giggles from the patient), before telling us that yes, he will need to wear braces in bed at night. He didn't sob, he didn't make any noise at all, but when he quietly said, "I need braces?" I looked up, and the tears were rolling down his cheeks. It makes me want to cry just thinking about it now. I hugged and consoled my bitty boy, telling him it was only at night, and he could run and play in the daytime, and they wouldn't hurt (gosh, I hope they don't!)... and he stopped.

Then the main doc told me that Jan, the person who fits the kids for their braces, was right next door, and she might see him. He popped over there and came back, telling me to meet her at her office in 15 minutes, and she would see him for the fitting.

This is the part where things got really frustrating. We had to walk over to the next building to get to her office. I had been there before, when he was seen at age two, but I couldn't remember exactly where it was. And Sophie's feet were killing her, because she was wearing the new sparkly shoes, and I was wearing flip-flops not made for lots of walking. I had to carry her half the time and let her go barefoot the other half, trying not to trip and fall myself. We went up to the fourth floor of the old building, where I thought Jan's office was, and I couldn't find it. We went back down to the 2nd (main) floor, so I could get my bearings and start over. Yes, the 4th floor, I was certain... We went back up, and it still wasn't there! (Imagine that.) Back down to the second floor, it finally clicked that it was just down the hall. At last. I was getting a little short with the kids by that point, but it wasn't their fault.

In the waiting room, I had the kids go play while I spoke to the receptionist about seeing Jan. I told her what the doctor had told me, that she would see him in 15 minutes in her office. She smirked unkindly and told me, "Uh, the doctor doesn't know her schedule, because she has patients sitting here waiting." I remarked that SHE had told him to tell me that, and she again said that patients were already waiting for her, and that I would have to wait and be "fitted in somewhere."

Oh, hell no. I had too much to do today to sit around for goodness knows how many hours at the hospital. I sighed impatiently, maybe twice, before saying I would make an appointment for another time. The soonest she could see me was next Friday morning, which means he'll have to miss some school in the very first week. Bah! Annoying. But whatever. I just hate when the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing, y'know?

So then we headed over to the regular Pediatric clinic, to follow up on that physical form for Sophia. They'd told me Monday that it would be ready in two days, and that they would call when it was. Three days and zero phone calls later, I arrived at the clinic, and there was no sign of her form, completed or otherwise. I managed to hold in my temper and tell them that I had to turn it in today so that she could go to school next week. It was the truth, after all. The corpsman told me to sit down and wait while he tracked it down.

After what seemed like an eternity but was probably only 20 minutes (at least I had my knitting with me), the charge nurse came out with Sophie's completed form and shot record, telling me that another doctor had stepped in to fill it out. Her pediatrician was off today, apparently. I was so grateful, I could have kissed her!! So we left the hospital, and I refrained from skipping on the way to the van.

Jack's Classroom 

We rushed back, late now, to the kids' school for the Back-to-School Picnic. By the time we got there, it was PACKED, and I couldn't find a parking space to save my life. I ended up, like, a mile away in a church parking lot, ignoring the signs telling me not to park there. I had to carry Sophia everywhere on my shoulders, because of her poor feet. Seven months ago, my back never would have allowed such a thing!

The line for the picnic area was about three miles long (maybe I exaggerate), so we all decided to go meet the teachers first. Here is Jack in Room 10, meeting his teacher, Mrs. Johnson. She was really nice, if not a little flaky, as she told me it was her first year at this school and she was thrilled to be there. Jack was completely disappointed not to find all the toys and fun things he'd had in his kindergarten classroom, to which Mrs. Johnson replied, "Oh no, we WORK in first grade, honey!" Eek. Way to scare the kid off school before it even starts! He pretty much bolted for the door after that, no lie.

Chloë's Classroom 

I chased after him, and we all made our way to Room 20, to meet Mrs. Bacle and Mrs. Weaver, Chloë's third grade teachers. One teaches spelling and reading and stuff, and the other teaches math, science and social studies. But hello, THIRD GRADE?!! What the heck? Didn't I just bring her to her first day of kindergarten yesterday? Holy COW, I cannot believe she is in Grade THREE!

I loved Mrs. Bacle right away, and Mrs. Weaver was really nice, too. I can't wait to see how things go for her this year. (Did I mention she stayed up really late, reading her library book by the bathroom light? She loves to read!) She's again in the gifted classroom, but after things get underway, we are going to have her tested for a math learning disability. Apparently being twice exceptional is not uncommon, and if she needs the help, I am glad she will have a way to get it.

After that, we found Jack's Special Ed teacher and chatted for a moment with her before going to the gym to see Chloë's favorite person on the planet, Mr. Rock. She loves that man, absolutely adores him. And he loves her, too. He was absolutely thrilled to see her. They have some kind of special friendship going on, and if you think I watch that relationship like a hawk, well, you better believe I do! (I don't get any kind of weird vibes or anything, but you can never be too safe, I think.)

Mr. Rock gave Jack a little foam airplane, and oh, boy, was that the highlight of his day!! It broke three times, and we kept having to tape it back together, but he didn't care! He flew it all over, everywhere, and was devastated when it could not longer be fixed. Until I told him I could probably get more for a dime the next time I was at the party store...

We saw lots of old friends, both mine and the kids', as we wandered the halls to get back up front for the picnic line. Not one person commented on my weight loss, which was a bit disappointing, but oh well. I know I look a lot better than I did, and that will have to be enough!

The line was still huge and slow-moving, but eventually we picked up a hot dog, bag of chips and Capri Sun for each of the kids. Nada for me. They ate their dogs (not without tears on Jack's part) and devoured their chips before I let them loose to run around and get the crazies out for a few minutes. Oh, and we ate with Sachi, our nice Japanese neighbor lady, and her three kids, which is significant because this is the first year that Felicia, the oldest, will be going to our school!! I guess they don't have a choice, now that the year-round schedule is gone. And Felicia's in third grade, too! A different class, but still, fun.

Sachi and I talked about my possibly needing her to put the kids on the bus in the mornings and get them off in the afternoons, if I start subbing. She immediately agreed, and I was thankful. Of course, I will pay her. I don't know what, but something, even if it's only five minutes each time.

I corralled the kids, finally, and we walked back to the preschool again to deliver Sophia's physical form. Ahh, at last, the never-ending paperwork is complete. Until school starts, that is. I carried Sophie on my shoulders all the way back to the van, and rubbed her poor little feeties when we got there. She loves those shoes, but I'm ready for them to be broken in, already!

After a couple hours' downtime, during which Rob came home from work, we got the girls ready for soccer practice. They both have practice on Thursdays at 1800, in completely different areas of town. It sucks, because that means I'll have to miss it and not know what one of the girls is doing, and I like to see all, watch all, know all.

Sophia soccer 1 

Sophia soccer 2

Sophia soccer 3 

Girls Soccer 1 

Girls Soccer 2 

I couldn't pick just one pose to show you, because hello? The cuteness!! Right?!

Rob took Chloë to her practice, and Jack accompanied me and Sophie to hers. Well, I'll be darned if Soap didn't dribble her ball all the way from the car to the field as if she'd been doing it her whole life! I was thoroughly impressed with her instant ability! She ran around the soccer field (we got there ten minutes early, with only two other girls and the coach already there), kicking her ball around like a four-year-old pro. I was just astounded.

Practice got started, and they were playing fun games and drills that she was totally enjoying. I could see the grin on her face from far away. However, she'd had an exhausting day, and not 20 minutes into practice, she just sat down, pooped. Poor little girl! At water break time, she came trudging over, telling me she was tired and wanted to go home. Ha! I managed to talk her into going back out on the field with the other girls, but she pretty much just stood there, sucking her thumb and twirling her hair, while they all ran around. At least she stuck it out. I'm thinking naps may be in order on Thursdays.

Rob and I texted each other the whole time, telling each other what was going on at our daughters' soccer practices. On Chloë's team, one of the girls kicked the ball into the coach's nuts! Excuse me while I stifle a giggle...

After practice, I let Sophie and Jack run around the playground next to us. (Jack was free to run back and forth between the soccer field and the playground during the drills, but mostly he sat in my lap and fiddled with his airplane.) They only lasted five minutes before telling me it was time to go home!

Home wasn't in the cards just yet, though. I had two shops that needed doing. I needed to buy a sub sandwich at each of them as part of the shop, and Jack started begging me for a ham sandwich with nothing on it. Rob had already decided on dinner, so I kept telling him no, you're having XYZ at home! Finally, I gave in and asked him what he wanted. Really, he wanted ham and NOTHING else, so I got one on the second shop. And behold, when we got home, he ate that ENTIRE sandwich in nothing flat. Wow!!

Tomorrow will be another busy day, so I'm off to get some shut-eye. Maybe. Possibly.


In Which I Spent All Our Grocery Money On Other Stuff

And I thought Monday was busy. That was just the warm-up! Tuesday was just plain crazy.

We woke up around 0800 and got the kids fed, dressed and me showered. By the time the floor guy got here at 0900 (after Rob once again stayed up all night doing as much as he could to empty out the living room), we were about ready to embark upon the day's missions. And so we did.

First up, we went to the local Boy Scout council shop to get the rest of Jack's uniform. At the non-camp-out on Friday, the pack leader provided us with the Tiger Cub neckerchief, slide, handbook and a hat that was much too big. So I exchanged the hat at the shop for a Small and then started gathering the rest of his uniform pieces. The smallest shirt will probably be huge on him, but we'll make it work. The available pants and shorts (which are not required, but which were on sale) started at a 6, and since he wears a 2t or, at most, a 3t, that was a no-go. We got the belt and patches, and I scored two BSA car magnets for my car and Rob's for free! Rob has to sew on the patches at work sometime this week, so I'll take pictures of him when it's all put together - hopefully by his next popcorn show-and-sell on Saturday.

Second, we went to Pembroke Mall to get the kids some new shoes. Payless was running a BOGO-50% off sale, and I had a coupon for an additional 20% off that, so that's where we went. I was happily surprised to find Champion soccer cleats for both girls in just the right sizes there (9½ for Chloë, 10 for Sophia!). The minute Jack saw those black "boy shoes" on his sisters, he wanted to sign right back up for soccer! Uh, no. Too late for fall, buddy! All three kids got a new pair of sneakers for starting school, and Sophia got a pair of pink, sparkly dress shoes since her feeties have grown, and those are her favorites. They'll model those for you on the first day of school next week.


On the way into out and out of the mall, the kids insisted on stopping in at the pet store to look at the kittens and puppies, and though we had a thoroughly packed schedule, I obliged. They were very cute, of course, but I always feel so bad for them in there.


I really really really really want a chihuahua, but barring that, I'd take just about any little tiny schmoo. I wuv the widdle babies!

Our next stop was around the corner at Kmart, where I had called earlier and found out they had soccer gear. Well, that was a big fat LIE, because I found soccer balls and nothing else. Bah. That was annoying. But Sophie found a backpack for preschool that she liked: purple with a butterfly on the front, and it was 50% off. The girls needed new undies, so I bought them two huge packs each, also on sale. I picked up some composition notebooks that I remembered I still had on their school supply list, and then we were done.

By that point, the kids were seemingly beside themselves with hunger, so we stopped at the Kmart café to get them each a nasty Kmart hot dog. It came with a drink and a bag of chips, and they all ate every last bit. Except for a few chips that, wonder of wonders, Sophie of all kids didn't finish. Shocker!

Soccer girl 1

Then we went around the corner to Dick's Sporting Goods, to see if we could get the rest of the girls' soccer gear. They were required to have cleats or sneakers (check), soccer shorts, shin guards, soccer socks, a size 3 ball (check) and, of course, a bottle of water for practice and game breaks. Everyone had to go potty as soon as we got there, so to Jack's enormous dismay, we had to ride down the highly-feared escalator to get to the restrooms. He clung to me and sobbed, his shrieks of fear echoing all over the store. As soon as we were down and stepped off, he breathed an enormous sigh of relief. At the bathrooms, I found an elevator on which we could go back up, and I breathed my own enormous sigh of relief! But, hello, doesn't she look so cute in her black, pink and white get-up? Sophie will model hers on Thursday when it's her turn to practice.

We had circled back around near home again by that point, so I stopped in to get my coupon for a desperately-needed oil change and my nailclippers, since I'd chipped a nail. Not that I'm whining about it; since it was pretty much the low point of my day, I can't complain!

We rushed to the Texaco around the corner for my oil change. I try to go there for them, because the price is right (and I had another $10 off, woot!), and they give excellent, fast service. Yesterday was no different, and I was pleased when I left.

We were in such a hurry because Up was playing at the dollar theater again - and this time I really could call it that, since it's only a buck on Tuesdays. I figured four bucks to entertain the kids in the middle of a busy day was a bargain, and since the movie was so spectacular, I didn't mind a bit. This time, I was able to catch everything I'd missed the first time, which was a lot. I managed to cry three times. Jack moaned the whole time about being staaaaaaaarving, so I broke down and bought them some cheesy fries. After such a good lunch, I was surprised when they all disappeared within a matter of minutes!

Soccer girl 2

I had called Rob to come home from work during my oil change, because the floor guy was alone and couldn't move the huge TV and entertainment system by himself. So he was home after the movie ended, and we went over to pick him up and bring in our plethora of bags from the van. After getting Chloë all dressed out for soccer practice, we went right back out again, this time to Wal-mart to find a lunch box for Sophia. Kmart didn't have any, at least none that were kiddie and of interest to Soap.  So we got that, and I'd brought along the school shopping lists to finish the rest of the shopping. The school aisles were a freaking mad house! We managed to find everything except the folders with prongs, of which we need a LOT. So, shit, I'm still not done. Ugh. And I didn't buy any of the "optional" stuff like tissues and hand sanitizer, because I'll get that after the next payday when I have my coupons with me. They can wait a week, right? Maybe I'll write an explanatory note, just in case...

Soccer practice

By that time, we had to race to get Chloë to her first soccer practice on time. I, of course, had forgotten the directions (I could get there from home easily enough but was confused on the route from Wal-mart), so once again the iPhone came to the rescue! I first used the Google voice search app to look up the school address, and then the Maps app to get the directions from our current location. Love that thing!!! We were on our way in no time. The only problem was, the school field was HUGE, and we ended up on the wrong side. We had to load everyone back up in the van, drive around to the other side and walk across another huge field to get to the right place. So we still ended up being ten minutes late. Bah! I hate being late!

Soccer practice 2 

Soccer practice went really well. For being easily the smallest girl on a team of 6-8 year olds, and most of them having prior soccer experience, my novice player did a great job! She worked really hard at following Coach Matt's directions, and she never gave up. I'm not saying she was great at it, but she wasn't terrible, either. She tried and tried. I was so proud of her!! ♥

When it was over, she was visibly exhausted, despite three breaks for water. The coach talked to us parents, and it was decided that their team name is the Purple Dolphins. (She suggested the Sparkles, but even she voted for the Dolphins instead!) Then the coach informed us that the practices will be every Tuesday and Thursday at 6... Well, guess what? Sophie also practices Thursday at 6, and Rob probably won't be able to get home from work on time. So that sucks. Anyone want to drive Chloë to soccer on Thursday? ;)

We got a bag full of loot, too: Chloë's purple shirt for games, a bunch of Rush soccer stickers, all kinds of information about soccer, soccer tattoos, a patch, and other fun stuff. I'm glad for the soccer rules, because I know virtually nothing about the game and will need to brush up.

Anyway, we still weren't done, although we were all tired by that point. I used my iPhone again to get us to my first shop at a convenience store, and I used it a third time to get us to the next one at a taco shop. (Heh heh). Those shops went by quickly, and we finally made it home at 2030. Dinner, baths, bedtime... well, I assume bedtime, since I fell asleep myself before 10 and didn't wake up 'til 0400. And even then, just for a short while, and I got about five more hours of sleep. And I'm still tired!

Now it's time to go start our Wednesday. The floor guy is here, the kids are corralled and restless, and I need to get them involved in something. Ciao, then!