Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The God of Miracles!!!

HE DID IT! I just got a call from our adoption agency letting me know that we got our Travel Approval today!!! That was just over a week (it was suppose to take 3-4 weeks.) A few posts back I declared that I would brag about God all over this blog and here I am to declare that I truly believe God heard my cry and answered our prayer. What seems impossible with man is totally possible with God. So this is where I want to give HIM total credit.

Okay, so what does this mean? Our agency will now schedule an appointment with the Consulate in China. (They need us to have a TA in order to schedule the appointment.) Once the Consulate appointment is on the books we can make our travel plans. Our agency told me that there is a little group who all got their TA's today (although we may end up just meeting most of them at the end of the trip since we are planning to head straight to Quinn's province and skip the Beijing trip most people do) and that it looks like our travel dates will be July 22- August 6th.

3 WEEKS, people. I'm so thrilled. I'm getting my boy in July, just like I had hoped and asked for.

That means the Colorado trip that was off and then on again last week is now off again. (Just this morning I was letting myself get excited about going to the mountains, seeing friends and having a change of pace.) That'll teach me to try and be flexible :)
Thanks to those who have joined us in prayer. And to others who may be skeptical, I sincerely hope that Quinn's life will forever point people to the goodness of Jesus. This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's good to belong

We have the COOLEST kiddie pool in town and this summer, we have a family membership! The big pool at it's deepest is 3 feet, which is perfect for my kids!

Because it is only a quick 15 minute drive from our house and the crowd thins around 4pm (right after naps at our house) we tend to hit the pool for an hour and a half or so and Steve meets us after work. Its been super fun this summer.

And I've watched Olivia blossom. In fact, this afternoon, Olivia was totally the popular girl at the pool. (It did a mother proud.) She brought a small ball and quickly had a gaggle of "big kids" around her who wanted in on a game of catch. I left her for about 45 minutes where she and several other kids played catch (check her out in the middle there!)
A new element O has acquired this summer at the pool is independence. I can leave the girl to chase her brother and she is happily playing by herself. Just today she ventured out and for the first time tackled the "mushroom." Until today she didn't even want to go near it. Super fun!

Turner is another story. He's a major challenge! He's not that into water in general (which makes a trip to the pool challenging.) But if he has a car or anything with wheels, he's good to go.
One thing that has left me mystified this season at the pool is what some moms choose to wear. It really is a test in good 'ole fashion common sense, judgment and not to mention good taste. I've seen more boobs, rolls, vulgar tattoos and a certain style of suit that kind of swoops in on the sides leaving WAY too much exposed, for my taste. Usually I'm wondering what mom would let their 16 year old out of the house with "that" swim suit, but after my summer thus far, I'm wondering what 16 year old is letting their mom out of the house with "that" swim suit? I sincerely hope that I would have a friend that would gently sit me down or slap me upside the head if I headed off to the kiddie pool like that.
But thankfully, my Target special with the "skirt" (which once upon a time I SWORE I would never wear; but now appreciate the *need* for a skirt) doesn't exactly expose much. But should you see me and disagree, I'm open to the head slap. Here's to two more months of shock and horror, I mean pool fun.

Headed for greatness

As we tried to keep from turning into little piles of Polish blobs in the 94 degree heat (and yet wanting to keep them outdoors- hey, the heat ensures a great nap, what can I say?) it was time to break out the Play dough.
I remember when O was still too little to crawl, longing for the day we could bust out the Play Dough. I spent many hours of my childhood with the Play Dough barber shop. It was so fun squeezing out that hair and then cutting it all to do it over again. Well, I'm not sure if they even make the Play Dough barber shop anymore, but we don't own it. We do own a variety of cookie cutters and plastic knives though.
I have to admit that as O created, I cringed. I had to bite my tongue more than once when I wanted to correct her for swirling the colors. How quickly you go from being 3 to 37, have I lost all sense of fun and creativity? But doesn't she KNOW that the pink stays with the pink and the blue with blue??? Ugh.
As for her brother, he's more interested in how much he can eat without me seeing him do it. Maybe art just isn't his thing.
We indeed survived the heat and a long nap was had by all. Its a fine line between tiring them out and child abuse!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lazy Hazy Summer Days

Pretty much my summer has been a summer of waiting. Waiting for Steve to come home from China and waiting to get word on travel for Quinn . So in the meantime, I've decided to fully embrace summer television. Hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. And while I'm embarrassed to say it out loud, I LOVE summer tv! I started out the summer season with some whining and complaining after American Idol wrapped up and I realized it would be another full 6 months before I had something truly inspiring to lose brain cells over. But lo and behold... along came I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Outta Here.

Go ahead, roll your eyes and cast some judgemental comments my way, but this show sucked me in the week Steve was away (it's on four nights a week and when you're home bound with two little ones tucked away and no other adult companionship; a Costa Rican jungle full of near celebrities will do just fine.)

Not to mention SANJAYA was going to be on and oh how I loved to hate him two seasons ago on the American Idol. Well, what a fun little surprise he has turned out to be. I am a bonifide Sanjaya Malakar F.A.N. For a spindly 130 lb. guy (they weighed in earlier this week and he's down to 123 lbs) he can kick some jungle booty! And once Holly Montage (from the show The Hills- which I've never seen) entered the jungle, a little summer romance started between the two and I was hooked!!! These two are both super likable and I found myself pulling for them right away (not enough to actually pick up my phone and vote or anything, but a silent pull nonetheless.)

The show has had an interesting blend of annoying people, true blue leadership, aforementioned romance and lots of trials in which these "celebrities" had to eat gross stuff (always a good laugh in my book.) The shame of it all is that it ends tonight. I'm hoping Lou Diamond Phillips will be crowned "King of the Jungle" (he sure was good in La Bamba) but I'm left wondering what will I do with the next two months of summer? Read? Clean? Catch up with friends? Invest in my marriage? OR... start watching I Survived a Japanese Game Show. Don't call me Wednesdays at 9, I won't be picking up.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What does 37 look like?

It looks like this around our house.

This past Sunday your house may have celebrated Father's Day but our house had a double whammy.

You may recall a recent post about my inflexibility. Well about every 6 years it gets maxed out as I have to share my day w/ my dad AND NOW with Steve too. What's a girl to do?

Steve has always made fun of me (and my parents I guess) because growing up, my birthday was basically a national holiday. I didn't just have a birthday, I had a birthday week. One of the "perks" of being an only child, I guess. But I'd have to say this has made life rather difficult for my husband.

But before you go feeling too sorry for him, we did have a bit of a rocky start when we were first married. Ok, that's an understatement, he bombed it big time.

We were married on May 3rd. My birthday is June 21st. That same day Steve's sister Kerry got married. I knew that my birthday would take a backseat to the day's festivities and I was setting my expectations accordingly, but I did expect some sort of fan fare from my new husband.
Kerry and Mike had a beautiful wedding! And right before Kerry headed down the aisle, Mike had a dozen long stem red roses and a pair of diamond earrings delivered to the bridal room. Super romantic!

As expected, we stayed at the reception until late into the night. When we got back to Steve's parents house I subtly hinted at my birthday gift (probably by saying, where the heck is my birthday gift?). So Steve got all giddy and excited and took me into the garage where he hid it for safe keeping.

There I found a small gift bag with a yummy smelling candle (off to a fine start) and under the gift back was a large UNWRAPPED brown box. When I opened it I found a set of speakers. "You got me speakers?" "Yeah, surround sound! Pretty cool, huh?" Yeah, almost as cool as long stem roses and diamond earrings.

After we crawled into bed I couldn't keep it in any longer. "So, what made you think I might like speakers for my birthday?" A shiver of terror ran down Steve's spine...

"Well, remember how surround sound was on our wedding wish list and since we didn't use our wedding money to get it, I thought your birthday would be a good opportunity." Then the dam broke and tears started coming. I then proceeded to explain how my birthday was not the occasion to fill our house with "left over items" from our wish list.

Point taken!

Steve has grown a ton and learned a
lot about me since then. This year he did awesome and even provided me with a birthday weekend. Friday night was dinner and a movie, Saturday he kept the kids so that my friends could kidnap me for a special girls only lunch and Sunday he arranged a fun dinner with good friends at the Cheesecake Factory.

(I did not make my goal of funnel cake this week, but birthday cake will have to stand in the gap!)

As for my gift, we are going with some friends to a Diana Krall concert (he tried really hard to get us David Cook tickets, but with our adoption travel dates still up in the air, he played it safe.)

So, you live and learn. Some years you get long stem roses, some years you get surround sound. That's what makes this marriage thing so fun! And for now, we have a kick butt stereo system. All the better to watch Barbie's Nutcracker with!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A sore subject

After many long discussions and some gentle prodding on my part, Steve and I went to talk with a urologist this week about "the operation." Yeah, it was about as awkward as you would guess and after some begging and pleading, Steve agreed that I could blog about our appointment and his upcoming "neutering" as he keeps calling it. I'm trying to convince him he's not becoming a eunuch, he's just getting a vasectomy, but I guess guys are kinda touchy about this stuff.

Since we were the only people in the waiting room under the age of 65, we were curious to meet this doctor. Once we got in the examining room, the nurse handed us this brochure and Steve immediately said, "You're gonna blog about this, aren't you?" Because, as you will see, the cover on the left ensures me that life after the vasectomy is a walk on the beach. Apparently your $600 bucks also includes a weekend in Wildwood, NJ!

As the Dr. made his entrance (who by the way is CLEARLY a guy straight out of a sitcom, because if Ray Ramono was ever going to get the "big V" he would most certainly go to THIS guy!) his opening line was, "I'll answer your first two questions right away. First, YES! I've had a vasectomy and second, NO! I didn't perform it on myself." (insert canned laughter here.)

After having all of our questions answered, Steve found out that we could schedule it for as early as next week. And as we were interacting with the receptionist his eyes got as big as saucers. "Next week? Umm.. don't you have to check in with my family doctor or something?" She got a slight smile "No, sir, we just inform him once it's over." My deflated husband, "Oh, I see."

While I totally understand there's lots of stuff swirling around for a man regarding this procedure, it is a bit hard to have too much sympathy for a man who has to endure 10 MINUTES of a procedure after having gone through 20 hours of labor- T.W.I.C.E! Oh and I may have failed to mention that with Olivia, our first, I had hemorrhoids the size of a small mountain and 2 weeks before her due date I had to have BUTT SURGERY. (I tell you, a proctologist is every bit as out there as a urologist, if you ask me!) Oh and the stories I could tell about my first go around with nursing would send even the bravest grown man running screaming and crying like a little girl.

According to the same brochure, apparently THIS is the treatment a man will receive during HIS recovery from his 10 minute little deal. Oh how I wish I could have reclined in a lazy boy while "people" *ackhem* my spouse, brought me finely chopped apples and fluffed my pillow. But to "avoid complications" from my butt surgery, I'm pretty sure I did laundry and cooked dinner.

Don't get me wrong. I have an incredibly servant hearted husband who is loving enough to go through with a neutering (especially when he found out that one surgery equals the price of one year of the pill).

So If you don't hear from me sometime in the not so distant future, don't worry, I'm just probably chopping apples. Oooops, sorry, I'm not suppose to say chop around here.

Happy Father's day, everyone!

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm just not that flexible

While I have never been able to do the splits, that's not the kind of flexibility I'm talking about here. When Steve and I were engaged we went through some pre-marital counseling with our good friend Ed. Ed gave us a test, not to see if we were compatible or if this whole thing would take, but rather to uncover any blind spots or areas of weakness in our relationship (weakness, who? US? right.) Lo and behold the test uncovered that we are both *rather* inflexible. Neither one of us does a great job with a change in our plans or a wrench in the works. This has caused various points of tension over the past 6 years, but thanks to Ed's great counseling and "the test" we are aware of our issues and can usually, after a few go-rounds, nod our heads and say, "Oh, yeah, I forgot YOU are inflexible."

Well... enter adoption. Just what the freak were two incredibly inflexible people thinking? People have asked us time and time again what made us want to adopt? That is a very difficult question to answer. Because in fear of sounding like a loon the only really solid answer I can come up with is God wanted us to. And I couldn't be happier and more excited (especially since I didn't have to deal w/ baby weight on this one. Funnel cakes, yes, birthing a baby, no!)

I'll tell you what though, this final stretch to getting Quinn is really maxing me out on this flexibility thing. We finally did get word this afternoon from our agency coordinator that our "stuff" (I'll just call it that because you don't care about the technical jargon. I'm not being rude, it's just that I DON"T CARE about the technical jargon. I just want the right papers at the right office) is now with the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs and there it will sit for approximately the next 3-4 weeks until they issue us our Travel Approval. Shoot!

So here is the deal... since God is the One who wanted us to adopt, I will wait for His timing. And I'm still going to ask Him for travel to Quinn in July. It DOES NOT appear to be humanly possible! And maybe it won't be. But all things are possible with God. Would you please pray with us for a miracle by human standards? How fun would it be to be able to brag on God all over this blog if He answered that? And even if His answer is, "August travel is best for you and Quinn" then I'll still brag on God all over this blog.

And you know what? In the midst of this, Steve and I are stretched further and our flexibility muscle is getting stronger. (I was trying to get better triceps but I'll take a toned flexible muscle too.) In fact, just the past two days we've been trying to plan a 2 week Colorado trip for work that we had already cancelled b/c of China travel- that we may or may not even take. The flexibility in that goes against everything we are and who we've been for the past 3o some years. But through this adoption process, may we not stay the same.

Hang in there just a little longer, little boy, we'll be there just as soon as we can! We just might have to make a quick trip to the Rockies first.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to

I like to keep this blog as a way to journal my life, my family, the fun stuff and help my perspective on life and circumstances stay in perspective. I also want to keep it real. I don't want a shiny vernier on an otherwise dull or rusty day. Today is a dull and rusty day. And yet, there is so much to be thankful for and there is an eternal perspective to be had. So in some ways, this blog is my therapy, my journal and my own swift kick in the rear.

Yesterday began a slow and steady ride to frustration and sadness as I realized that our adoption agency failed to "mention" a little 8 week step that goes between what we've accomplished and what we are waiting for (our Travel Approval.) A sufficient whoops would do, but so far we aren't even getting that. I realize the adoption process is an ever-changing one and there are many bumps in the road. We have had a relatively smooth ride and so far I really have had few complaints. And I am willing to wait another 8 weeks, Quinn is certainly worth it but today I just feel like whining.

What I've realized over the last 24 hours are actually some ugly things about myself. One thing this potential extended wait has surfaced is pride. Ugly stinky pride. In some ways this adoption has become about me... gross. When I found myself staring at another push back of travel dates a feeling of, "I'm beginning to look stupid" arose. I know that is a lie from the devil. One, who else really cares? (Other than our immediate family) and two, so what if we don't go when we said we were going? It's an adoption, not a shopping trip.

But still...

First we thought we would bring Quinn home in May/June, then we were really sure it would be July. Now I'm wondering if we can even squeak it in by August (if things turn out the way I think they may.) It's just really hard imagining that little guy day after day in the orphanage when he has a mom, dad, sister, brother and dog waiting for him!

And yet, God is still on His throne. He is in control. He is the one who thought of this whole adoption thing anyhow! So I will trust Him today. But I may also cry. I'll try and get over my pride and still pray pray pray for a Travel Approval to arrive without any warning. My God is just that big. And if His plan is different, He will take care of Quinn until we pick him up (and dare I say even after!) But I'm still hoping for but not counting on a super awesome birthday gift of a TA.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

At your service

I read a ton of interesting blogs. Some make me feel as if I'm living in New York City, some have interesting shopping tips, several involve fashion or girls' jobs in the fashion industry. Many are about my friends' lives, which is always interesting.

One in particular, Big Mama, makes me laugh out loud each and every day. It's mainly about her daily life as a mom in Texas. Somehow that lady can make even a trip to the neighborhood pool seem glamorous and like a ton of fun.

So I guess that's why I'm here.... to make YOUR life seem interesting and glamorous. Because honestly, sometimes I think why the heck am I writing about THIS?? Case and point: the most interesting thing I've been working on recently is spray painting our old bistro set.

When Steve and I got married 6 years ago, I just HAD to have this adorable white, rod iron bistro table from Pier 1. (Thanks, mom, for making all my dreams come true!) Because I could already see Steve and I having coffee every morning at this darling table- isn't that what all married couples do? Yeah, well, we used it a few times, but I forget sometimes that we live in Ohio where it's really only comfortable to sit outside about 7 weeks out of the year.

It looked really cute on our back porch though!

Hey, that sucker is HEAVY. And there may have been a *few* winters we didn't take it inside. So, lately the white rod iron is a bit more rust colored. And then this summer it got totally replaced by a great new patio set from Target (since our family has expanded to a few more than Steve and I.)
So I got the brilliant idea to re-invent the bistro table by painting it black. Steve told me I would need to use a wire brush first and then paint it. I've never wire brushed anything before and because I'm lazy and like to find short cuts, I was happy to find out that the rust wasn't so readily coming off with the wire brush so I did an obligatory swipe at the 2 chairs and the table and was off to spray paint. (Please excuse that rotting fence in the back ground, that is our next backyard project.)

I was happy to find that it only took me 2 cans of paint and 2 coats on each piece of furniture to bring our little set back to life. (I'm not too sure how this happened, but I also managed to put a double coat on my feet. I was able to scrub most off in the shower today.) Oops.
We moved the bistro from the back to the front where I'm sure we'll have many more cups of coffee together greeting our neighbors! After all, we've still got about 5 more weeks of good of weather here in Ohio until we have to retire the set for another year.
So this blog entry has been my public service to you. Hopefully you can walk away saying, "Whew, at least my life isn't so dull that all I have to talk about is a refinished bistro table!" - for lots of paragraphs. I'm glad I could help you out. Now I'm off to read some really cool blog.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

No contest

This morning I faced a real moral dilemma. As Steve and I discussed our options for the day, it came down to a battle of good vs. evil. Work out or go to a Street Festival in a cute, artsy, if not a bit weird, nearby town called Yellow Springs.

Evil funnel cake won. And why wouldn't I decide on funnel cake over kickboxing every time? Isn't that the normal thing to do? I made a vow today... I vow to eat funnel cake EVERY Saturday from now until August. That sounds like a wise and Weight Watchers friendly thing to do! (And just to clear my innocent name, I only had a *taste* of evil.) The rest was eaten by my husband and children-- because "You're never to young for angioplasty", that's our family motto.
Speaking of family, do we look like hillbillies in this shot or what? It was against my better judgement to post this picture (since we're much cuter in real life) but we rarely get a shot of us all together.

We were able to capture it today because our good, and always available festival going friends, the Hardy's met us there. (The two of our families always manage to find bombs of festivals and have a good laugh together. But this one was quite a good find!)

Matt, Sally, Steve and I have been good friends for years and now our kids are growing up together. It is super fun to have kids about the same age and have them be "best friends."
As soon as we got there, Olivia spotted some girls with princess crowns. There was no peace to be had until girlfriend was the proud owner of a crown. Ava joined in the princess fun.

After the funnel cake plate was licked clean, my Indian food (yes, the typical fair fare don't 'ya think) had promptly fallen on the ground and Turner was grumpier than all get out from the heat and no nap, we got in the van and headed back to downtown Dayton. (Sad you weren't on that van ride, arn't 'ya?) Summer marches on and we'll see if I can keep the funnel cake streak alive! Wish me luck.

summer fun

Since our family is still making up for some lost time together, Steve took off early from work last night and we decided to go out on a family adventure.

Word on the street was that there is a really cool garden with a FREE kid's play area just a few miles from our house. Naturally, we like to drive really far and spend lots of money for places we don't enjoy that much, or at least that seems to be our tendency. We set out last night to put a stop to that pattern.
Enter: Dayton's Children's Discovery Garden. What a hidden treasure in our fair city! And it was literally 7 minutes from our house (would have been less if we had actually known where we were going!) There were several different play areas in this "garden" including a bunch of water activities for the kids. Perfect for our kids' ages.

There was also a sand area. The table was fun and Turner LOVED being able to get dirty. The only problem we had was trying to get him to keep the sand ON the table. (boys will be boys!)

So this is Turner wanting OUT of his time out after we had told him "Don't throw the sand out of the table area" about 17 times. Some lessons just have to be learned the hard way. The crazy thing about this play area is that we were nearly the only people there. There were 2 other families there while we were there. It was lovely! We will go back, FO SHO!
After our family outing we went to dinner at Olivia's favorite spot (mine too, if the truth be told.) Most 3 year olds beg to go to McDonald's; ours begs to go to Milano's (a local chain that serves baked subs and pizza....mmmm!) She mostly likes it because they have video machines at the booth and a game that you can win stuffed animals at.
On our way home we drove with the windows down and our hair blowing in the wind. What a perfect ending to a summer fun day.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Back to normal- almost.

Steve arrived home safe and sound late Monday night. It was a very sweet reunion. Maybe husbands should go away for a week+ every once in awhile for the pure appreciation factor. It really has been nice to have him home (and not just for the "stuff" he does, 'cuz let's face it, when you're jet lagged out of your mind, you're utterly useless on many fronts!) Poor guy got home and in less than 12 hours we were loaded up in the van and on our way north to see my parents and an aunt and uncle who were driving through on their way from Arizona to New York state. (Now before you think I'm a heartless witch and start talking about me behind my back, he was fully aware of the jet-lagged state he would be in and he, in fact, insisted on joining us. No guilt trips involved!)

Our visit was a short 2 night stay, but a good one nonetheless. Now we are back home and getting back to normal. Steve is just about over jet lag, the weather is cool if not a bit drizzly and we are looking at a mighty fine weather weekend. But this brings me to one major disappointment of my week.

No word on our travel approval for Quinn. I was so sure I would receive that while Steve was in China. No word. Then I figured we would get the TA this week, no luck. I feel like up until now I've been able to be rather patient. Have a good perspective. Now it's just getting downright hard and frustrating. I guess more due to my own, perhaps unrealistic, expectations. This whole time (meaning since October) when we received our referral, I've thought we would go and pick Quinn up early summer. Guess what, early summer is here and slipping through our fingers rather quickly.

I know we will get him when we get him. God's timing is perfect and really, there is NOTHING I can do to speed things up or slow things down at this point. But honestly, last week when Steve was away I had several melt downs as I had this incredible sadness in my heart of "several members of my family are missing and I want them home!" 2 of my "boys" were in China last week without me and it made me long for our completed family.

I'll continue to wait and hope that the Travel Approval comes on Monday. One of these days it will arrive and we will celebrate and these agonizing days will be a distant memory. But dang it, I want my son out of that blasted orphanage and home where he belongs.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A real crappy morning.

For a variety of reasons, last night was the first night in 6 nights that I got awesome sleep. It must have been my praying husband. I told him to pray hard, because if I didn't get a good night's sleep last night, I wasn't sure there would be a wife and family to come home to.

Well, it's a good thing I was coming off a sleep high, because we came across a bit of a challenge this morning. After I got the kids dressed, watching cartoons and drinking milk, I was able to slip to my room and get myself dressed and pack my gym bag for a morning of YMCA fun.

When I got back to our upstairs sitting room where the kids were watching Saturday morning cartoons I could tell that Turner had pooped. No big deal, that's kind of the morning routine around here.

As I was changing Turner and before I could stop him from what I saw coming, he grabbed the top of the dirty diaper that was still under his buns but had just been unfastened and pulled it up toward his head, plopping a huge glob (and pretty much the entire contents) of poop ON HIS FACE! He then rubbed it off his face (getting it all over his hands) onto the comforter of the guest bed that I had been changing him on. "Oh my goodness, Lord have mercy" was all I could mutter over and over.

But here's the kicker... As I was running around trying to figure out what to do since I had yet to wipe his poopy buns, get the poop off his face or the comforter the only thought that ran through my mind was, "I wonder where the camera is because this would make an AWESOME blog post." Am I a sicko or what???

Thankfully, prudence won out (as did the fear that the authorities would show up at my door after a blog reader turned me in) and I skipped the photo op and calmly and cooly got everything cleaned up, including the comforter after 2 cycles through the wash. We even made it to the Y and ended up having a real nice rest of the morning. All I know is, Steve owes me BIG time when he gets back!

Take me to the pool, baby

I have a great habit of talking "us" into memberships. Memberships of all kinds. I'm a firm believer in being a member, saving money and loyalty. The problem is, being members at different places has not always worked out quite like it did in my mind (see post about our Cincinnati Zoo membership.) Well, this summer is going to be different!

We got a membership to the Kettering Rec Pool, which I am a huge fan of! It is a little less than a 15 min. drive from our house. There is a fabulous kiddie pool where nothing is above 3 feet. Perfect for our kids. The problem, it doesn't open 'til noon. Not a problem if you don't have afternoon napping kids. But, we do. So we don't roll into the pool until about 3:30/4:00. So unless we have a season pass, it's just not worth our money. So I've anxiously been waiting for a warm day this week to take the kids. I may have pushed it a bit yesterday. But come hell or high water, we were going swimming. The kids had fun (and a few goosebumps.) Here we are sitting out having a snack.
Now most people go to the pool to swim. Not us, we go to the pool to eat. Not long after snacks we decided to eat dinner there. Here is Turner eating his mistake of a dinner. *Editorial note* If you go to the Kettering Rec and decide to feed your kids, DON'T get them the cheeseburger from the snack bar. They were like dried up hockey pucks. Luckily I didn't buy my dinner there (I was saving money and waiting 'til we got home.) Or else I saw them pull the meat off the grill and changed my mind. Whatever.

Here is O wondering why I just didn't take them to "Old McDonald's." Great question O. Next time Daddy goes to China for a week without us, that's exactly where we'll go.
I did get a wee bit of insight into Turner's budding personality after they "ate" their dinner. (Mostly they just looked at it and ate the bun. I can't blame them for that!) At the concession stand there was a jar of nickel candies. The way I got O to eat anything was to promise a sucker when she was done (Weight Watchers, here she comes.) Knowing I couldn't come back empty handed, I grabbed a Twizzler for Turner (because I just hate it when he has a Dum-Dum sucker, he ALWAYS eats the stick.) I unwrapped the Twizzler, cleaned up our spot and by the time I got back Turner was red faced, screaming and the candy was on the ground. "Oh, Turner, here." I grabbed the Twizzler and gave it back. Here's the kicker...
Kid looked me straight in the eye, threw the Twizzler down and yelled right at me. Surprised, I picked it back up and we did it all over again. Finally, I got his drift. Boy was TICKED that he didn't get a sucker too. Well, I wouldn't *normally* do this but I went up and got a dang sucker just to make him happy (yes, we have reached that point in our daddy-less week where I'm doing just about anything to keep the screaming children at bay). Worked like a charm. Don't you know he popped that sucker in his little pie hole and off we went. Plus mommy got a Twizzler out of the deal. Not bad for day #6. Now, on to the home stretch.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day 5- not our best

It was SO not our best that I don't even have a charming pic to add. You also know it's SO not your best when your daughter concludes the day by saying, "You were mean tonight, mommy." Thanks for the verbal encouragement, dear! The day probably wouldn't have been so "bad" had I not had any expectations. You know, to not have a dream equals not having the dream squashed like a bug under your feet.

Let's just say I made the fatal mistake of trying to make our outside play time "productive" by weeding. When the freak have I ever weeded before, anyhow? Try weeding with a 3 year old, a 1 year old and a 5 1/2 year old basket case of a dog all trying to "help." Yeah, thanks but no thanks. I guess I just thought I'd try to surprise Steve when he gets home with some home improvement. Needless to say I nearly lost my mind. It all went pretty much downhill from there.

Of all of us, I think Turner is feeling the effects of daddy being gone the most. Cooped up in the house of women is not boding well for the little man. Something snapped and testosterone took over tonight. Somewhere between early bath and bedtime he became a full-fledged B.O.Y. Perhaps he is always like this but I think daddy usually takes the brunt of the physical force. Kid was so disobedient today he went from never being spanked to his first 15 all in the course of about 2 hours.

I'm not sure I've ever been happier to see 7:30 roll around in my life. We have nothing planned for tomorrow evening, but I'll tell you one thing, we sure as h-e-double hockey sticks ARE NOT staying around here. Here's hoping the weather is good enough to wear them out at the pool tomorrow. Sweet family pics to follow, but there I go with those pesky expectations again.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Man's work

This is one way to know that daddy isn't home.

I don't know how it works at your house, but at ours we each have "jobs." Most of which have never been declared, per say, but all of which are designated nonetheless.

My jobs include, and are not limited to, dusting, vacuuming, laundry, grocery shopping, putting empty cereal bowls in the dish washer (sorry Steve, I couldn't resist) and pretty much anything includes keeping stuff stocked.

Steve's include, child bathing, mowing the lawn, paying bills, cooking meat, garbage, recycling and anything to do with the outside and automobiles.

So since I've been on my own I've had to pull double duty. Today I did all my own stuff but I also realized there was no magical recycle fairy who shows up just in the nick of time. When one more pop can simply can not teeter one second longer, the recycling usually finds it's way to the garage. Shazamm... today I found out how it makes its way out there! IWAS the recycling fairy...

and bath man not to mention garbage man. Shoot, it's a good thing friends had us over for dinner tonight because I don't think I've eaten meat since Sunday. (Not sure that is a joke.) And wouldn't you know the check engine light went on yesterday (indicating time for an oil change) but sorry, Charlie, mama does have certain lines she JUST won't cross. Hurry home, baby, things just aren't the same around here with out you :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Life is like a game of Risk

The better the strategy, the more likely you are to win. That has been the name of the game since Sunday.

Today's strategy? The mall! O has been bugging me to go play at the mall for weeks. (We drive past one nearly every day on the way home from the Y.) When I tell her no almost every day she usually says, "You keep forgetting to take me." Whatever. It's finally nice enough to get our butts outside, we're NOT playing at the mall.

Except today. It was 86 degrees and 100% humidity. Plus it was something she wanted to do. So... the mall it was.
Since we were already there, I had to pick up a few things. Bath and Body Works was having its semi-annual sale and if you haven't gone yet, I recommend you do. Great buys.

We also swung through Gymboree. They were having a cool sale. You got 30% off whatever you could fit in a Gymboree shopping bag. Don't worry, Steve, I didn't fill it up. But I did walk away with 3 really cute hats. Turner and Quinn now have these matching baseball caps. And although this is not a great shot of T in his, trust me it is adorable. For the 17 seconds he'll leave it on his head. Good thing it was only 5 bucks. I've gotta find something that will keep his Polish little head from burning this summer.
Just yesterday I pulled out an adorable floppy sun hat for O that I bought at a different Gymboree sale a few months ago. I thought it would make a great hat for the pool. She said, "Nope" to it yesterday. But when I got hats for the boys, O really really wanted a hat. "But I like hats now." Hmmmm... okay, here's a 3 dollar visor. Girl never took it off today.

After the mall I was about to make a middle of the day adjustment to the strategy and instead of going to the Y for an evening Zumba class where the kids could play in childcare, I was going to take them to the pool. But at 3:00 the heavens opened and the thunder rolled. So back to plan A. On our way home we got caught in another fierce storm and I need to inspect the van tomorrow in the daylight, but I fear hail damage. Hail damage? Hail no!

3 down, 6 to go!

Monday, June 1, 2009

day two

Whew! We made it. Day 2 under our belts. (Or am I about to jinx it???) There is currently a severe thunderstorm watch up for our county, and with a 3 year old who H.A.T.E.S. thunderstorms, I may be a bit premature in congratulating myself for a day well spent.

Day 2 started out with an early (as in 7:50 early) 18 month check-up (even though he's not quite 17 months, whatever). Poor planning on my part- 4 shots today! I usually try and schedule those on an appointment when his daddy takes him

But after a graciously long and quiet nap from both kids, we took it to the back yard. Ahhh.. the sprinkler. What a marvelous invention. Both of my kids enjoyed about an hour and half of cool fun.

Then 1/2 way through, my hair gu-ru Aimee made a house call. I got a hair cut on the back porch as my kids ran their heads off. I feel like if I can have something "fun" each evening to look forward to or get us out of the house, I'll make this run w/ flying colors.
After dinner my kids played quietly and so sweetly together. It was so fun. They had early baths and were squeaky clean and cute. Too good to be true?? Probably.

Even my dog was calm and quiet. (Pretty sure he smells the thunderstorms that are still about a 100 miles away.) Whatever it takes!
So, yeah, looks like we made it. Here I am, settled in watching "I'm a Celebrity, get me outta here" (why is summer tv so bad, yet oh so good?) But probably on the other side of this post is a night full of lightening, thunder and screaming children and crazy dog. Oh well, I'll take good while it lasts.