Sunday, February 24, 2013

Playing Store

CAM was just downstairs playing store with her brother, when she came up to me with an urgent need.

"Mommy!  I don't have any coupons!  May I have some of your coupons?"

We compromised -- I made her some of her very own. 

They are now all colored in.  I jumped the gun on the photo, I guess!

Like mother, like daughter.  Just can't shop without coupons now, can we?!




I promised CAM late last night that we would absolutely find Bea today, no matter what.  We made plans to tear apart places we'd already torn apart, and CAM went to bed.  Then this morning CAM and WHM were playing with one of their pillows.  You know -- the kind that you unzip and it turns into a sleeping bag -- the perfect place for Mommy to somehow not check, but for CAM and WHM to hide things.  Things like BEA!

She once was lost, and now is found.  CAM was sad and now she is ELATED.

How appropriate for a Sunday morning.


CAM Loves Puzzles

It's pretty difficult, really, to find a good puzzle for an almost-six-year-old.  We can find plenty of too-easy puzzles, and even more of the adult-level too-hard puzzles, but the "just right" ones are trickier.  We need about 100 pieces, give or take, and I've had good luck in places like Hobby Lobby and, of all places, Goodwill -- which inevitably involves my sitting on the floor of the aisle and making little piles of ten pieces until I get to ten little stacks... and sometimes, I get home to realize one of those stacks only had nine!  Yesterday I stumbled upon this little gem in Kohl's and had to have it for CAM.

This is our victory celebration this morning. 


The View from Our Living Room

It's still comin'!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

BEA IS MISSING!!! (Or: I don't lose things.)

... but when I wasn't the one to pack them, I may think things are lost.  That's just how my brain works, and without the reference point of having packed them, I am all out of whack.

And I will obsess until I find the "missing" things.  I will make Mick crazy, but I will find them, and all will be well in the universe. 

I had a lengthy -- wait for it, I know it will shock you -- list of things to find.
  1. Library book that I last saw when we cleaned the car to travel for Christmas.  (It was only due in October -- but luckily, it was checked out from the school where I teach, so I have the faculty-status infinite renewal privilege.  Or at least, so far.)
  2. CAM's barrettes in the gorgeous little Pottery Barn pharmacy jar, last seen on my dresser in Georgia.
  3. My little blue waterproof camera, last seen on my desk in Georgia.
  4. Prints from Georgia that I wanted to frame.
  5. My socks.  (Yes, you read that right. My socks.)  Last seen in my dresser in Georgia.
  6. Mick's wireless headphones to listen to tv late at night while I'm sleeping.  Last seen in Georgia.
  7. CAM's most prized baby doll, Bea, who's been missing about a week. Last seen ... here, maybe in her stroller?  She's not there now, I assure you.
  8. Our St. Patrick's Day wreath.
  9. The kids' Easter baskets.
We made some progress today, and I am thrilled to say that the list now looks like this:
  1. Library book.
  2. My socks. 
  3. Mick's wireless headphones. 
  4. BEA.
  5. Our St. Patrick's Day wreath.
Of these, I am okay with the socks -- I've been buying a new few pair here and there every week.  I'm okay with the wreath, because I have a new one in mind to make with the kids anyway, and we don't need two wreaths at once.  The library book will grate on me, but the worst case is that I buy it.  I will moan and complain but it will not literally kill me.  The wireless headset?  Well, it won't be any worse to not have it.  I've gone five months without its benefit, after all. 

I am NOT okay, not by any means, with losing BEA.  I am sick over BEA.  I have torn about CAM's room, WHM's room, the basement, my car, and most of my room -- there's still one corner buried by laundry, but I feel like I've at least turned that corner over -- and can't find her anywhere.

Lots of prayers to St. Anthony are in my immediate past and my immediate future.   I'd like to say that he's usually pretty good to me, but I. Don't. Lose. Things. So, I don't have much experience.

I do have faith, though.  I'll keep you posted.  Bea has to turn up.  She just has to.


Anything in a Nice Package

Last year (well, 2011 -- on our way to Mick's cousin's wedding), Mick and the kids and I spent some time on a deserted beach and picked up buckets worth of gorgeous beach rocks.  They were special to me for the memory we created as well as the particular beach where we got them.  

This is our moon-landing photo.  Cool, huh?!

my camera was still new and we were playing with the functions.  It was dark out.

lining them up to pick the BEST ones. 

What it looked like.  Deserted, rocky beach and pitch black water.  It was gorgeous.

Everyone was in on the rock-picking action.

Believe it or not, we could not get gorgeous little rocks (did I just say that?  I think I did) in Atlanta, so they were especially cool.  For just shy of a year, our family jewels rocks sat in a giant fishbowl on our dining room table, and I loved them. 

Then we moved.  And the rocks in the fish bowl turned into rocks in a box, and it was a running joke that Mick actually moved a box of rocks.  (Actually, he moved those rocks from NY to Georgia and then Georgia to Maine.  Those are some well-traveled rocks, nevermind the fact that they were formed by a glacier and so who knows where they originated!)

Fast forward.  

We've been in Maine now for five months, and I was out puttering today and found myself in TJMaxx.

Lookee here, kids, lookee here!

Only $3.99!  (Compare at $6.00.  If, you know, you can find a place that sells rocks.)

By this price point, I'm at least a hundred-aire!  Whooo hooo!  And I know where I can get more, whenever I want ... in fact, there's a limitless supply. 

Hmm.  Almost tempting enough to say "Rocks for Sale!"  (Except they are, after all, in TJMaxx.  Perhaps not a best seller.)



"Roll Tide" is ALWAYS the right answer

Actual conversation just now (keep in mind it's nearly 10:30 and CAM's bedtime is 7:30):

Mick:  CAM, you NEED to keep your voice down.  And WHY are you even out here?

CAM, just as loud as she had been:  OKay.  Roll Tide.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sick on break ...

Ugh!  I hate being sick, and although I am incredibly thankful to be sick when I can be as lazy as I want, I am also frustrated that I am losing time on my productivity list.

I did about half the laundry that was already washed, which was about half the laundry in the house.  Mick and I have been washing stuff, though, so I'm back to needing to do about 80% of our laundry.  I've been updating progress on my previous post and wanted to add here that I have also completed about 80% of the basement playroom. (Take that, laundry and cold!  I'm still being productive!  hah!)

Oh, and another thing:  I just might be punting on the rest of my list, even if I will kick and scream and curse about it 'til our NEXT school vacation.


p.s.  They card you to buy Nyquil here.  Regular, dumb-old, OTC Nyquil.  I was flabbergasted.  Is that new everywhere nowadays, or it is just a Maine thing?  It's not even behind the pharmacy counter -- I totally don't understand it and am curious your experiences elsewhere.  This is not a political comment.  This is pure, codfish-face-jaw-on-the-ground shock.  So please enlighten me! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Here in the Northeast, schools traditionally start in late August (or even Tuesday/Wednesday after Labor Day) and go through mid-June.  We tend to be on quarters rather than semesters, and high schools take midterms in mid January.  And instead of one Spring break, we get a February/winter break and then a Spring break later on (usually late March at the earliest).

It's glorious.  It's how I grew up, and I love it.  Other than March, there's never a month without some sort of break, which is wonderful for recharging for kids and grown-ups alike.  Sure, I'll be a bit glum when all my Southern friends are out for the summer come Memorial Day and for us it's just a three-day weekend, but the roles will be reversed when they head back the first week in August and we've still got a month left of summer.

As of yesterday after school, we're officially in February Vacation!

And for the first time in years -- literally, as long as I can remember -- we've got a school vacation without any sort of travel plans.  No trips North to see family; no trips South to see friends or family... no surgery scheduled for WHM (that was the last time we had a vacation where we didn't travel) ... we're just here.

With absolutely nothing to do.

My favorite notepad from one of my favorite shops.  Buy it here:

Here's our list for the week:
  1. Clean/organize CAM's room done! Saturday
  2. Clean/organize WHM's room  90% done -- we need to buy and install two shelves, but I'm calling it done.  For now. Monday
  3. Clean/organize/unpack the master bedroom
  4. Clean the living room done!  Couldn't sleep the other night, so I attacked the living room.  Friday
  5. Work in the basement and create/clean/organize the kids' playroom, finally.
  6. Go to the storage unit and organize/consolidate/find stuff we've been missing since August
  7. (Cry about anything we can't find even after we do that)
  8. Cook a bunch of cooking club stuff
  9. Blog about the above
  10. Wash, fold, put away all the laundry in the house
  11. Stop laughing about the previous goal
  12. Visit with my parents (they are coming up from NY!  Hooray!)
  13. Move stuff from the basement and garage to storage
  14. Clean/organize my desk area
  15. Make a dent in the filing basket
  16. Work on Mick's business plan
  17. Work on my resume and get out some job applications (or at least get in the position to apply when jobs come up)
  18. Finish some odds-and-ends craft/sewing projects
  19. Schedule dentist appointments, find a doctor for me, and inquire about speech testing for CAM
  20. Make St. Patty's wreath with CAM -- find last year's wreath as well.

See?  Absolutely nothing to do! 


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines 2013 (Or: The Surprise Health Benefits of Paper Pea Pods)

It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day week at work.  (And not just for me: it's the week before February vacation and it's been awful for everyone.)

I was lazy this weekend and didn't make Valentines with the kids.  I had in mind what I wanted to do with them, though, and we didn't need 8 million.  WHM only has 4 kids in his class, including him!  And CAM has 18, including her.  So I was lazy, knowing we could do them Monday or Tuesday.

But Monday stunk.

And Tuesday, we took a family trip out to Target. (Remember, it's an endeavor now -- so it's not ridiculous that we make an event of it.  We usually go out to Target and then eat dinner, and that's our night, kids!)  Among other things we needed to pick up, I wanted to look at their Valentines to decide if I was going to make them with CAM and WHM, or if we'd find something too cute to pass up.

(On our way home from school, CAM and I had already stopped at the store and purchased some extra buttons to make the ones I had in mind.)

Now, I am the first to admit that sometimes am frivolous with money, or at least I splurge on things that might not make sense to people.  But I am also the first to admit that I am downright cheap about the weirdest things.  Valentines?  It physically HURTS me to spend $18 on store-bought Valentines.  HURTS me.  And after last year's Valentines (which were themselves making up for the year before's -- oy vey), I couldn't just do store-bought little folding cards.  (I mean, I could, but ... I've let my kids and myself down enough already this year.  They wouldn't know the difference, but I would.)  

But there was Mick, in the aisle at Target, arguing for spending $23 on Valentines.  $23!!  That buys 2/3 of our family dinner!  (We had a coupon.  See: "I'm cheap," above.)


I spent a solid 20 minutes hemming and hawing and calculating and contemplating, rummaging through the picked-over Valentines section, and then finally said forget it.

I did it.

Mick's argument:  "I know you, and you're going to not make the Valentines tonight which means you have to do them all tomorrow and it will be too much and you'll be all stressed and I'll have to deal with it."

Wrong -- I knew they were going to be easy.

But whatever.  I rationalized it that if I hurried up and did them with the kids Wednesday night then it was possible that Mick could return all the unused Valentine stuff to Target with the receipt and still get full price back but would he mind driving all the way back to Target and would the round trip eat up the "savings" of returning the Valentines we don't want?  I made myself crazy.  I'm awful like that, I know, but I convinced myself that I could convince Mick to go back if I asked.

I'm sick even writing this out.  I could have bought a few bags of tootsie rolls and made pretty little Valentines bags.  But nooooo, we got $1 each little Tootsie Roll banks ....

(Side note: I opened one and in retrospect, they have a boatload of Tootsie Rolls in them.  I was very pleasantly surprised and probably would have had to spend close to $18 on bags of candy to achieve the same volume.)

Anyway.  In the meantime, we got an email regarding CAM's class party, and I found myself needing to send something in -- and of course, I have no "easy to send in to school for a class party" food -- no unopened bags of chips, no fruit snacks in large quantities, nothing.  So the tootsie rolls?  Well, maybe they'd work, after all ... maybe Mick wasn't going to have to drive to Target.

And on top of that, yesterday I was so angry and frustrated at work that I almost took a half day to come home and cool off.  Instead of doing that -- which would, in the end, punish me because it would be my own sick time I'm wasting -- I sat at my desk and steamed, resolved to do nothing (nothing!!) related to "real" work.  And so, I cut out pea pods.

Yep, you read that right.  I cut out 25 pea pods.

While Mick cooked dinner last night, (you read that right, too -- homemade tomato seafood soup, no less!) I cut out hearts.  Those were the two things the kids couldn't cut on their own.

Then, after dinner, we wrote and glued and stuck ...

... and these were the result:

Not too shabby, huh?!  I'm especially proud that although I did the hard cutting (and really, CAM could have cut the pea pods, but I knew it would take her a long time to cut out 25 of them), the only other thing I did was write the "To/From" parts and put down the glue dots.  The kids put the buttons on, put the pea pods and the hearts on, and CAM wrote her name and her friends' names, and WHM signed his own name.   I love that these valentines were really from and by the kids. 

Best of all, the crafting and the time with my kids was rewarding enough that I calmed down enough to function.

And now, I don't even need to move to Australia.

It's really amazing what a few pea pods can do!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras

I totally forgot today was (is still, technically) Mardi Gras.

What kind of a drunk partier pious Catholic girl am I?!

At least I did one thing right:  I ate dinner tonight as if food was going away tomorrow.

Or, wait a minute ...

Anyway.  Now I realize I need to give something up for Lent, and that I need to cook a vegetarian dinner tomorrow night.  I'd swear, but, well, you know. (For the record, I dropped a choice series of swear words when I dropped CAM off at school last week ... and she goes to a Catholic school and I drop her off AT THE CHURCH.  I have serious @#^%&!$^!#!! issues.)

Years ago, I gave up fast food.  (I had escape plans:  I could eat a potato or salad at Wendy's, and Subway didn't count -- I had to be reasonable, because I often worked late, but I still made it hurt.)  More recently, I try to give up NOT doing something*. For example, one of these past few years, I've given up being lazy about laundry -- didn't work very well -- and being lazy about going to the gym (worked moderately better).  I've given up fast food relatively recently, too, but it's not been as meaningful because I don't eat fast food as frequently as I used to, which means it's not a sacrifice.  (And now that we have no Chick-fil-A near us, c'mon.  God would strike me down for trying to find a loophole.)  Truth be told, I can't even remember what I gave up last year.

So, I'm stuck. 

Do you give anything up for Lent?  What do you do?


*one of my non-Catholic friends made fun of me for this.  After I told her she needed to don a habit before she told me how to be Catholic, I gave what she said some thought.  And I decided that as I understand it, the point is to sacrifice something that you enjoy, or which is important to you, or which you would do well to change.  I'm no priest, but I'm just sayin', I think that giving up a negative habit qualifies -- even if the negative habit is a non-action and giving it up requires a positive action.  Now please excuse me while I go say 57 Hail Marys and some Glory Be's.

p.s.  how do you pluralize "Glory Be"?  "Glory Be's" looks wrong, but "Glory Bes" can't be right.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blizzard 2013*

* does anyone else find it stupid a wee bit ridiculous to name a blizzard?  I refuse to call it Nemo.  Just sayin'.

We got some serious snow up here this weekend.  You may have heard about it.  It truly was a blizzard (as opposed to just a snow storm).  My parents got three feet in NY.  We got well over 2 feet.  It was windy and nasty and cold Friday afternoon and evening and most of Saturday.  But Sunday was glorious.

I mean it:  it was GORGEOUS out.  Sunny, only a mild breeze, and "winter-warm," which is to say, not bitter cold, and only barely freezing.  We had a blast playing with the kids.  This wasn't their first major snow, but it was their first where they were both old enough to play in it.  (Even if WHM wasn't quite tall enough to walk in it!)

sliding down the drifts from the top of the back deck, down into the backyard.

family portrait -- before we got covered!

I love this picture.  She looks jubilant. (She was.)


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Disney on Ice

We took the kids to the opening night of Disney on Ice Wednesday night.  The show started at 7 and the intermission was just before 8.  We had great seats -- what a pleasant surprise to see how intimate the arena was!  WHM made it through the first act pretty well, but the piece before intermission was Disney Fairies and he was not impressed.  After intermission it was a nice Toy Story 3 finale, and both kids loved it.

look how close we were!

The finale of the Little Mermaid

during intermission, WHM did NOT want his picture taken.

Check out the crossed arms. I wish I'd been able to snap his face -- the pout was priceless!

Possibly the coolest part of the whole show was the army men.  They were fantastic!

Barbie, Ken, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, and Jessie

It was really a great show and even more fun watching the kids watch it.  They slept on the ride home and were tired Thursday -- thank goodness for our blizzard to make Friday a day off!


A Diabolical Plan? Maybe Not.

Conversation just now:

CAM:  WHM, are you finking what I'm finking?
WHM, emphatically and instantly:  YES!
WHM:  CAM, what are 'upposed to be finking?


Friday, February 8, 2013

Not to be Outdone, WHM Gets A Hat

It "came with" the cotton candy.  (The assault on our wallets was collateral damage.)