Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 88 - To-Do List

I am the (self-proclaimed) Queen of To-Do Lists. I have binders and notepads full of them. I've learned that I don't use them the conventional way...I do it more as a method of head clearing. Most of the time after I've written it out it never gets looked at again. Which means a week or two later, I'd write out another very similar list because nothing would get accomplished.

So, I decided to try a new approach - the micro-manage type of list. Instead of giant areas, I picked small problem areas to work on.

I am even attempting to cross things off before I make a new list. We'll see how long this lasts.

Here is one of the things I get to cross off the list today - I cleaned the toy cubbies. If I was thinking ahead I would have taken a before picture, but maybe that would have been too embarrassing to share. Anyways, for now, the bins are organized.

Elise is really starting to get around. Not only can she roll to get from place to place, but she has recently mastered the 360 move...which means her head stays in generally the same place, but her feet can swing around for changing directions. Crawling is just minutes away and our house is not ready!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 87 - Craving Normal

Okay, this is getting old. I'm craving normal today. I want him to come back so we can get our lives back on track. There is a fine line between wishing away time and trying to enjoy each day.

I know a year from now, this will all seem like a blink of an eye...but each day is getting longer. And as Chris starts telling me of his upcoming duties overseas, the worry is starting to set in. We are not even at the hard part yet.

Today I'm down because I'm feeling bad for my kids being stuck with a grumpy, overextended mom. I'm jealous of other families getting to do normal weekend types of things like going to movies, yard work, and baseball games. I'm tired of my main form of adult interaction being Facebook.

Feeling sorry for myself is not one of my normal traits, so hopefully this is just a short phase and will move out quick. Soon the baby will wake up to distract me so I can get on with my day.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Day 86 - Luke the Artist

Luke has come a long way in art since his early kindergarten scribbles. He used to despise drawing, coloring, or anything else that involved sitting down. He's made great strides...

It's a slow day around here. Elise is napping, and Luke and Maria and I are just hanging out making messes. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to let Maria do finger paints today. Notice how I didn't take any pictures of that?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 85 - Spring?

You would think that after the miserable winter Mother Nature dealt us this year she could at least make it up with a decent spring. Not so. Today I really started wondering if I had put the winter gear away too early. It was so cold and rainy today. Another day to hibernate.

We broke out the craft stuff today and the kids worked on these plastic things. Luke made a dog and Maria made a butterfly. They followed the patterns and then I ironed them which fuses the beads together. It totally killed a half-hour today. One less episode of Sponge Bob than usual.

As for the weather, it better get here quick! Luke only has 4 days of school left!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 84 - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Luke tried to leave school today. He had a pretty ugly outburst and wanted to leave. He ended up with a one way pass to the principal's office.

"Mom, can you come get me?" Uh, "Nooooo way. You'd better fix your attitude because you're going to be there for another 2 hours."

I thanked the principal which is code for "sorry for having to put up with my child" and immediately called the pediatrician.

I get the OK for a prescription change that I hope will be miracle #2. Concerta (miracle #1) did work wonders at first, but lately his behavior is challenging. Time to tweak.

I wonder how much of this is ADHD, how much is his Dad being gone, and how much is just Luke. I know I can't blame my perfect parenting skills. (ha!)

So, Strattera, I need you to work. Really, really work. Because I just might make it if you don't.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day 83 - Craft World

The other day my purse maker friend Karin from A Window into Whimsy offered to take some of my cards to her weekly market booth to sell for me. I looked at my stash of cards from last year and was surprised to see it pretty much depleted.

Time to get my craft on.

Between loads of laundry, feeding the kids their meals, and picking up toys, I've been sneaking away to the kitchen table to try to work. It's a controlled chaos situation. But, somehow, I've managed to get some finished by tomorrow's deadline.

We'll see how many more the kids let me complete tonight!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 82 - Memorial Day

Chris is on his way back to Camp Pendleton today. We get 2 more visits before he heads overseas.

I just wanted to show you our refrigerator. Among all of the report cards and colorful school projects lives our daily reminder of some young lives cut short by war.

I never really thought about the price of freedom until I married a Marine. I'm thankful for that.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 81 - Dinner

Tick Tock
Hear the Clock
Now it's time to pray.
We fold our hands
And bow our heads
And thank the Lord for daily breads.

Let's eat! Tonight we tried to spoil Chris one last time before he leaves tomorrow. We had beef tenderloin, veggies, bread, and beer (well, Chris did).

It's always a game to get the kids to eat their veggies. Here is evidence of both of them eating something they don't normally eat:

Luke with the corn on the cob. It's funny how neither kid will eat corn off the cob. Tonight we got him to eat it by explaining how a typewriter worked (which means we are officially OLD). Once he found out that old cartoons used to show characters eating corn in typewriter fashion he went to town.

Maria with something GREEN! I know, we can't believe it either. She almost liked it...meaning she didn't spit it back out. There is hope for this child after all.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 80 - Chris' Birthday

We celebrated Chris' birthday today. It was wonderful that he could be home for it.

His annual present is always beer. This year he got a mini keg of Oberon which he's been working on furiously.

He took Luke and Maria to see Night at the Museum 2 today. They ate popcorn for lunch followed by Pepsi and Nerds.

Then Chris went on a much needed bee hunt. Armed with beer, bee spray, and a tennis racket, he managed to kill 4 bees for sure. We know more are dead, but they are burrowed up into a post on our deck so we couldn't see for sure how many. We could hear them buzz as he shot the foam into their 8 inch tunnel in the wood. We know there is one bee that escaped his death, so he will work on that one tomorrow.

Then we went out to dinner with our neighbors. Chris got a free steak, chocolate cake, and thankfully, no happy birthday serenade.

Here is the marbled cake I made today (not knowing he'd get a free dessert at dinner). It turned out pretty yummy. The recipe came from "The Cake Doctor" book which I use all of the time for yummy cakes using cake mixes. Thank goodness for that book, because Chris wanted a chocolate cake but all I had was a yellow cake mix. The recipe was a happy comprimise.

So, 80 days have gone by...that means 20% of his activation is over. It is going by faster than I thought. Birthdays especially make us realize how fast time flies.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 79 - Customer "Service"

Today I unleashed a bounty of crazy piss & vinegar psycho talk to a customer representative (and then a supervisor, and then a cancellation specialist), but I still completely feel scammed and slightly idiotic. The rampage happened more than an hour ago, but my blood is still boiling.

This has happened once before with the lovely folks at AOL when they were double charging us for several months before we caught on. It was our fault for not catching on, so we were up a river without the paddle so to speak. Lesson learned...never again. Right...

But, the evil Direct TV had a far better scam for me to fall for. They wooed me with their twice-a-week letter bombardment for the last year stating they wanted me back for only $29.99 a month plus more receivers (a bonus since we wanted to get the basement hooked up!) After calling Dish and hearing that they could not do better, I canceled with them and looked forward to the switch to Direct TV.

Fast forward 3 months, and I'm now seeing that the bills are $58. So I called to get it figured out. That's where I first hear the word "rebate". That's a new one. (Insert a lot of pissiness here.)

Well, my rebate window of opportunity closed 2 weeks ago, and there is "nothing they can do".
SO...I try to threaten a cancellation, but I'm obligated to be with them for 18 months and it costs hundreds to leave them early. PISS OFF, are you SERIOUS?

So, that leaves me paying twice as much for Sponge Bob, Pokemon, and Phineas and Ferb. And there is nothing I can do to fix it. How frustrating!

(I wish I had a tape recording of my conversation today, because I was on fire. In fact, she laughed at me because I was so fired up...and I called her out on it..."Are you LAUGHING at me, Seriously?? That's so unprofessional.")

Well, I'm off to get a drink and simmer down. Chris is on his way and I don't want to be too feisty when he gets here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 78 - Freedom to Work

My mom has been staying with me the last couple of days so that I could knock off a couple of jobs on the huge to-do list. Combine that with a weening baby who will take a bottle willingly, and presto, I have FREEDOM!

Today my neighbor Melissa and I went for our annual trip to a locally owned garden center. When we buy 10 flats of flowers and veggies they knock off a dollar each bringing them to $8.95 a flat. I ended up with 4 flats, Melissa got 4, and I got to pick out 2 for my mom.

The fun part is the shopping, but then I get them home and realize I have to plant them all. That's nearly 200 plants. Yikes.

Thankfully, I had a willing kid helper today. In the veggie garden we planted corn, potatoes, strawberries, zucchini, summer squash, spinach, watermelon, tomatoes, beans, and jack be little pumpkins.

Then we moved on to the flowers. I got most of the pots planted and a few things planted in the flower garden. I still have over 2 flats left to plant, but I made some really good progress today.

Now I'm going to concentrate on the inside of the house because....Chris is coming HOME - tomorrow!! He's flying from California to St. Louis as I write this...then he'll drive the rest of the way tomorrow! It's his 40th birthday on Saturday, so it's going to be a special weekend. (And a short one...he flies back on Monday morning.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 77 - The Bus Stop

I drive about a mile to take Luke to his bus stop on his school days. We usually get there a few minutes early and (knock on wood) have never missed it. (Disclaimer...I've never missed dropping him off in the morning...I did miss picking him up once, but that was McDonald's fault for forgetting my french fries and making me go back to get them.)

Anyways, there is a great tree at the bus stop that the kids love to climb on as they wait. It's almost like the scene out of "The Sound of Music" where all of the children are hanging out in the tree tops.

I want this tree in my yard. Either this one, or one that a tree fort could be built in. Luke loves to climb. (I'm not sure about Chris, but I loved to climb trees when I was young.)

It is always a great way to start the day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 76 - Preschool Graduation

Today Maria had a ceremony to celebrate finishing preschool. The kids sang a few songs and received certificates. The best part of it was letting Luke videotape the whole thing. It was so funny to watch it back because he turned the camera around on himself, talked to it like a narrator, and would put his fingers in front of the lens. The highlight is when he found the zoom button. It kept him busy and quiet throughout the ceremony, so even though the end result was compromise, it was worth it.

Then all of her classmates and parents met at a park for a picnic. It was such a warm and beautiful day. The baby slept through most of it too - bonus!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day 75 - m&m's

Chris loves peanut m&m's. He pretty much won't eat any other type of junk food, candy, or sweets. He's getting worse about that as he gets older (as if it's some sort of ailment). So, because of this I now think of peanut m&m's as health food.

Knowing that Chris was coming for a visit, I decided to stock up on them when they went on sale a couple of weeks ago. 24 ounces of peanut m&m's sat there and taunted me.

Well, big surprise - they are GONE. I cannot even blame the kids for their disappearance. (And I wonder why the post-having-a-baby-weight isn't coming off.)

So, what do you do when you have no more m&m's? In my world, you buy more!

But this bag was *ahem* for the kids. Strawberried Peanut Butter Transformer m&m's. They sound both disgusting and intriguing , don't they? They taste a little like putting a pb&j on a saltine cracker with some chocolate sprinkles on top. They aren't bad, but you won't see me devouring them like my healthy version. (But don't hold me to that...)

I need to stay out of the candy aisle.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 74 - Crafting

As my shows are winding down for the season (I only watch 3 - Lost, Desperate Housewives, and American Idol), I am looking forward to spending more time crafting in the evenings. It makes my house messy, but my house is usually messy, so it's a well-fitting hobby.

I am slowing building up inventory in my etsy shop. I'm also dreaming of the things I want to make for the shows I'm signed up to do this year. The first show is coming up in a month, so I really need to get busy!!

Here are the newest things in my shop:

I think these shabby tags turned out so sweet. They were fun to make. I'm hoping to crank out more in the next few days.

I've sold some sets of these in a green card stock, but I wanted to use up this turquoise color I had. I love the pink and green showing through.

So, keep an eye on my shop. I'm hoping to continue to add to it as time (and my kids) will allow!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 73 - Outside

We spent a good long time outside today. We had to move the mulch mountain that was delivered this morning. I'm so thankful one of Chris' co-workers brought his family over to help. Luke had a friend over and a neighbor boy came to join the fun. With all that help we were done in 2 hours.

The mulch pile had a stowaway - a big fat toad. The kids played with it all afternoon. They made it a house in this bucket and gave it everything they thought it needed - including a paper bug, a bottle cap full of water, and grass.

Luke named it "Doesn't Bounce A Lot", because, well, it didn't bounce a lot. Later it got a little jumpy, so Luke decided to let it out in the garden.

So, mission accomplished on the landscaping job. Now, if I only could brew up some energy to go cook dinner.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Day 72 - Changing Times

It's 2:15 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. I'm so tired I can't even peel myself off this couch to get the Coke I so desperately need in order to wake up. The good news is that this is the last crazy Friday I will have for a long time. We are entering a new kind of crazy soon - summer vacation.

Today was Maria's last day of preschool. She's been going there for 2 years, so we were both feeling a little sad on the drive over today. This morning she made her teachers cards that said "I will miss you" on them. She's so big now, but it's still hard to imagine her going into Kindergarten next year.

After I picked up Maria we zipped over to Luke's school. It was his field day today and at lunch they had an all school picnic. It's really a fun scene to see all of the families sitting on blankets eating their lunches.

We got home just in time to greet the Fed Ex guy. He was delivering the new baby. Up until now our family on the wall looked like this:

These people are designed by Kathryn Arnett and are made from recycled metal. You can check out the website here. We've been one person short for 7 months - but now we are all caught up...(plus a bigger girl for when she's no longer a baby.)

OK, time to go get my Coke so I can perk up for the rest of the day. Maybe I'll get motivated to hang up the new addition to our family.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 71 - Trees

I got the best present today. My mom and step-dad bought me 15 white pine trees to plant in my backyard. (I'm still trying to solve the neighbor problem as described on Day 34.) Even better, my step-dad is planting them for me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Day 70 - Unglamorous Life

Today I took the girls with me on a drive to the school I used to teach at. I needed to do an errand there, so if was the perfect opportunity to pop in for a short visit during the school's lunch hour.

My first thought was, "Wow, I'm talking to grown-ups" and my next was "Wow, I don't miss this at all."

I stopped teaching the year Luke started preschool - 3 years ago. I had to let my teaching certificate expire because I did not get the 18 credit hours I needed to keep it up. The years I should have been taking classes were spent having 2 children and having Chris gone 8 months at war.

So that left me being a stay at home mom. Thank goodness. I'm so thankful that the hard work Chris does allows me to stay home. It's a different life now. I never wear make-up. I consider myself lucky if I get to take a shower. I can wear the same pants 2 days in a row and it's no big deal.

I have no desire to work again anytime soon. I'm so happy with where I am at and the life that I have. I'm really looking forward to Chris getting back to share it with me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day 69 - Work Crew

Today we had a little outside time. It's been hard to get yard work done this spring with the baby since she's not much of a napper. Today we managed to get a little work done while she was strapped in her stroller.

Maria is the head water girl at our house. We are trying to keep these flower baskets alive until the end of the school year and then we will give them to Luke and Maria's teachers.

Then we worked in the garden. It is going to get tilled this week, so we tried to get some of the weeds out. This is probably the one and only time this land will be weeded this year at this rate, unless the baby starts enjoying her naps.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 67 - Rolling Rolling Rolling

It's official. Elise is on the go. I'd better get to baby-proofing.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Day 66 - Tradition

I'm going to let all of you know our Mother's Day tradition. We go to Chuck E. Cheese for Mother's Day. While everyone else is sitting down at nice breakfast eateries, we are eating pizza and playing skee-ball at C.E.C. And, yes, that really is by choice.

See...empty! Ok - on with the fun...

Luke is now realizing the power of the token. A token, if used wisely, equals tickets. Tickets add up to more choices of (cheap) toys. Today's mission was to see how big of a (cheap) toy he could get. Skee-ball was his game of choice today. Look at the technique on his release.

Maria on the other hand bounces around and tries everything. She loves to chase the big mouse around when he makes his appearance and gets her sketch made in the little picture booth.

So, we had a nice morning playing. Come join us next year - we'll be there! (Unless we are at Disney which would be a perfect way to spend Mother's Day!)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Day 65 - Mess

Just another day here in crazy land. We pretty much stayed in and played today, which was nice. But, the toll it takes on the house is another issue. I am posting these to make you feel good...consider it a mother's day gift, from me to you. (Unless your house looks like mine...)

Good thing I won a blue ribbon in the 5th grade obstacle course because you need skills to travel through our house at the moment.

Luke's room after dumping out everything in order to find one small toy. I don't think he found it.
The never-ending laundry pile which sits on my bed until night time. Whatever doesn't get put away during the day retires to the floor for the night and then we start all over the next day. Socks are truly my worst enemy.

Elise is not the #1 mess maker in this house, but she is learning quickly.