Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I got my gorilla fix

On Saturday we woke up with pretty much a
blank slate before us (my ideal Saturday! I love possibilities.) It was one of those crisp beautiful late summer mornings that screamed:

"Let's go to the zoo!"

I LOVE the zoo. I could go to the zoo all the time. We are lucky enough to live pretty close to two really great zoos. Last Saturday, we went to the Cincinnati zoo.

There are several things that make this zoo stand out, but at the top of the list is the opportunity to feed the giraffes. My kids, especially Turner, couldn't wait to feed them.

Another thing that I love about this zoo (that I didn't even know until this trip) are the many opportunities to interact with animals up close.

Several times we were strolling along and a zoo keeper would be hanging out with an animal that the kids could get close to and occasionally touch. (They were not allowed to touch the owl... thank goodness.)

But they were allowed to touch this alligator. We could barely pull Turner away from it. The poor gator.

And it really surprised me, but Olivia was right there, touching everything. She used to be shy about such things, but it seems that she is overcoming a lot of her fears. Its really fun to watch.
But I'll tell you one thing, I didn't go anywhere near that snake. thankyouverymuch.

We did, however, make the unfortunate choice to hit the Y on our way to the zoo for a quick work out.
I forgot that the zoo is set on a plot of land with a bunch of rolling hills. Not to mention, our wagon only seats 2. We have 3. Say hello to mama wagon.

Olivia enjoyed the zoo a ton. And she did pretty good hearing no. "No, you can't get your face painted like that girl has." "Why not? Because your mommy is mean, that's why."
"No, you can't ride the train or the merry go round. We're feeding giraffes instead"

"No, you can't have ice cream. It will melt before it even hits your mouth." geez. What a boring mom. I'd say she re-bounded pretty well, though.

You may have been wondering where Quinn is in all of these pictures.
Right here. He may be the least zoo enthusiast in the bunch. Not to mention all that black hair can really make you sweaty. So this is where he could be found most of the time. (Did I say the wagon seated 2? yeah, well...)

And when mommy and daddy got tired of pulling him around, the other kids pitched in.
Hey, it takes a village, what can I say?

All in all, it was a perfect day. We got a little hot. We got a little tired. We got a little sweaty. We got a little cranky.
But the kids did swimmingly!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It didn't take much

Its been a LONG time since I've reported in on any CVS savings. There's a good reason for that. I haven't really had any. With my mom's death, summer time and just general laziness, couponing/CVSing have not been at the top of my priority list. I know, shame on me. Its just that some seasons of life certain things get pushed aside.
But because my ECB's were about to expire, we could use a a few paper products and pennies have been a bit tight around here (ackhem) it created the perfect storm for me to get off my duff and CVS like there is no tomorrow. And that was all I needed to get my mojo back.
Everything you see here (Charmin 16 pack, Bounty 12 pk. 4 boxes of Puffs, a Gillette Pro glide razor, 36 Tampax Pearl tampons, 1 tube of Crest Pro-Health toothpaste, 1 pack of gum and 2 packages of Peanut Butter M&M's *what can I say? they were free*) cost me $15!
Yep, $15 out of my pocket. AND I got 2 ECB's back for next time. I would have spent less (as in almost 40% less) but my CVS was out of this certain money-making product because I went so late in the week. Because they were out of the product, I had to retreat to my car and work up a new scenario so that I could still spend the least amount of money. I was pretty proud of myself! I would have been prouder if I had only spent $9 for all of this, but no use in crying over spilled milk (unless all 3 kids do it in the same meal, but that's a whole other post!)
So, that was how I spent my Friday night. More weekend high lights to come. Bet you can't wait!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

pretty gawdy in pink

We had Olivia's buddy, Raine, over to play last week. Olivia is beside herself with excitement for school to start. She can't wait to see her friends and her teachers. So it seemed like a good idea to ride that wave and have Raine come and play since class for the pre-schoolers doesn't start until after Labor day.

When Raine arrived, she had on a *lovely* skirt. The kind of thing that a 4 year old princess would kill for.

Needless to say, we marched right out that next afternoon and got one. Oh my the delight on O's face was worth the $11.99. The thing twirls like none other.
Because Raine is a kindergartner this year, she will start back a week before Olivia. But they have plans to wear their matching skirts on OLIVIA'S first day back. (Not exactly what I have in mind for a first day of school outfit and all of the photos that go along with such a day.)
So now I'm in a dilemma. Do I let the 4 year olds plan the outfit or do I trump the 4 year old plan and deeply disappoint 2 aspiring princesses? I have yet to make up my mind. Check back Sept. 7th for the final verdict.
PS: that IS a paper towel hair bow in Olivia's ponytail. She *created* it herself. I've felt the need to explain it only a few times. I applaud her creativity. I cringe at the creativity going public.
PPS: All the kids now have their fall haircuts- after these photos were taken. Another thing I will no longer feel the need to explain in public. Oh the pressure.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Like a punch in the gut

Monday afternoons I have a babysitter come during naps. I've done this for several years. It is really nice. Some days I run errands that I don't want to do with the kids around. Some days I sit and read. Some days I spend time with God. Some days I clip coupons at a coffee shop. Today? I shopped.

For some reason, today, I've been a bit sad. I've been thinking a lot about my mom. I hope you don't get tired of reading that here. But that is one of the reasons I keep this blog. To get my feelings out. To keep a journal. To feel like I'm sharing something with someone, even if there is no one around. Last night I had a dream and my mom was in it. I think that led to my sensitivity today. So I thought I would do a few errands and then run to a few stores that I knew were having some good sales. I guess I thought it would make me feel better.

While I was in Loft I found a great pair of jeans on sale AND I had a super old gift card that nearly paid for them. While I was standing in line waiting to pay, I realized I was in line behind a mom and a daughter. The daughter was a bit older (clearly out of college, but not as old as me) and the mom was a hip older mom. The mom took out her check book and bought the daughter's outfit. All of a sudden I had to choke back the tears.

I realized that I'd never go shopping with my mom again. Honestly, its been at least a year, maybe more, since I'd really been shopping with her; she just hadn't been feeling up to it for a long time. But the last time my mom and I went into a clothing store together and she whipped out her credit card, it was in a Loft and for some reason today I got smacked in the face with that memory.

I know this probably seems shallow- and spoiled- but I realized my mom would never buy me anything again. My mom's love language was gift giving. It always has been. Maybe it was a candle from QVC, a tube of lip stick from Target or a random coffee table one year from Pottery Barn; there was no gift too big or too small for my mom to give. Even in her last 3 weeks of life, she bought my boys shoes and my daughter a dress. She loved it. She lived it. And it wasn't too shabby being the recipient either!

She paid for Olivia's dance lessons last fall (the ones she protested eventually) but today I went to sign her up and realized how my mom would have INSISTED on paying for them. Don't get me wrong. It's not that we can't afford stuff. It's not that we looked for her to foot the bill. Or that I wish she was still here so I didn't have to pay my own way. Its just that she wanted to. She lived to give. Now... well, it's a hole where there used to be no hole.

As I stood in that line and waited to fork over the $13 for my new jeans, I realized that around unsuspected turns there will be grief; waiting to sucker punch me. Reality waiting to take my breath away. I think I'd better get used to tears in public, in weird places.

I also need to get used to running to Jesus rather than the store. He's a lot less expensive.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


This is the summer in which my boys learned to wait in line.

Take their turn.

Not to cut.

One boy learned faster than the other.

But I'm not naming names.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Flying solo

Steve has been gone all week for a work retreat. That means I've been home holding down the fort. I used to dread him going out of town, with a capital DREAD. It's still not my favorite, but this time has been different. I'm sure there are several factors involved. First, its summer. Summer ='s lots more options. We can get out. We can go go go. And for some reason this family unit seems to do better when we go go go. Secondly, the kids are older. Dare I say, they are almost like companions? Yeah, that's probably a stretch. But its different than when they were babies and needed constant care and supervision. There were stretches this week that I didn't even know what all three were doing. They were actually entertaining themselves or each other. It was nice. And fun. And not as draining as it used to be. NOT that I want to start making these stretches of his travel more regular or anything.

Seriously, though, I don't know how single moms do it. I really look forward to 5:30 when Steve walks through that door. He usually takes the kids off my hands for an hour while I cook or finish a chore or just veg. The hour really helps me through out my whole day. Its hard (but doable) if I don't get it. I just can't imagine never getting it. I guess you adapt. You deal. You get into a new routine. But I'm really thankful for my super involved husband who absolutely adores being a dad.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I should have just texted this, but I'm too old for that

Dear Emily, Ashley, Brianna or some other really popular name in 1997 when you were born,

Thanks for stopping by my 9:15 spinning class this morning. It was great to have you join us (and by us, I do mean the 17 other stay at home moms of the greater Dayton area who regularly attend the Tuesday morning class.) It was also really great that you decided to put your towel and your ear buds on one of the only 7 *new* bikes that monitor heart rate, RPM's (that means how fast your legs are going... you seemed a bit confused by that one) and has an actual working gear on it, so that you could save it at 7:30am when you arrived- or so I heard you tell your friend. I thought I should let you know that next time you come, you are suppose to get a pass that reserves your bike... not your towel or ear buds. But I'm not bitter.

I just wanted to let you know, I really enjoyed my work out on the squeaky bike that was left when I got in there fifteen minutes before class even started. I also enjoyed the lesson I got in prayer. Because after the first 25 minutes of class when I thought of all these clever barbs to throw at you for *taking one of the good bikes away from someone who really deserves it*, it seems as though God wanted to use you (and your size 0 in the Junior department shorts) to convict me and teach me about loving others and praying for them. So, I thought I should let you know that I spent the rest of the work out (while I wasn't gasping for air, gulping down water or wiping sweat from my eyes) praying for you. Blessing you - rather than cursing you. Praying that you would not have to endure body issues like so many young (and even some of us old) girls do. I prayed that although you weren't following the instructors orders or even breaking a sweat, you would have a great work out and feel refreshed afterward. I asked God to forgive me for feeling a sense of entitlement.

So Emilyashleybrianna, have a great day. But next Tuesday at 9am, I hope you join some of your other tween friends as they down load some Justin Beiber tunes, hit Justice at the mall or ride your Huffys around the neighborhood. Because I'll pray during one class, but come second class- I'll toss you out by your cute little pony tail.

your new BFF, the old lady in the row behind you

Monday, August 16, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

suped up on sudafed

With a nose drop chaser.
I have one of those summertime colds. And its really got me down. I'm pushing through and I'm making it, but I'm pretty miserable. It has made me realize how healthy I've been for a pretty long stretch. And for that I'm thankful. Mostly, I just want to lay around and whine. Fat chance when you've got three kids who can out whine you with one lung tied behind their back.
So even though I didn't feel like it, I loaded up the gang and headed off to the Y for my kickboxing class. Because who am I kidding? Am I really gonna be all, "Mommy has a stuffy nose, I'm going to go lay down, you kids play quietly together for a while." You saw pictures of the great butt paste caper of 2010... I think not. At least at the Y, someone else deals with the million "Why?" questions for an hour and a half.
Right now I'm decompressing and hoping the Sudafed kicks in soon so that I can get a wee bit of air through at least one of my nostrils before we head off to the pool. The clock is ticking on our outdoor pool outings and quite frankly, its about time. Don't get me wrong, I've loved EVERY MINUTE of our trips to the pool this summer. It has been a blast to watch my kids get braver and braver and barely need me. (Not to be misunderstood, it's not like I'm in a lounge chair reading a book sipping Margarita's or anything, but they are a bit more independent than when we started at the beginning of June.)
It's just that we've reached that point in August when I take a look at the large, over packed beach bag that goes along with us to the pool and give it a heavy sigh. Swim diapers? check Barbies? check Squirt guns? check Goggles that need to be in there but are NEVER used? check. Sunscreen that's almost empty but do I really need to get more with only 3 weeks left? check Snacks? check My mind? gone! Its been lost for weeks.
But we press on. Because I know by the end of September and CERTAINLY by the first of December I'll be regretting every missed opportunity these last weeks of August. Especially in February when our house seems to shrink by at least 1,000 square feet and the "I just have to get out or some body's gonna die" feeling takes over.
This summer I've realized that I'm definitely a warm weather girl. I never considered myself that in all my 38 years. Maybe it's having older kids. Maybe its the fact that our latest *heat wave* hasn't made me want to drown in a pool of my own sweat. I kind of enjoy that suffocating feeling you get when you leave the air conditioning. I enjoy it much more than that death defying cold slap you get when you leave the yummy warmth of a heated store and trudge out into the subzero temps with minus obscenity wind chill factors. Who knew there was a southerner trapped in this Midwestern body?
Or maybe it's just my over-medicated mind playing tricks again. We'll see, Y'all, we'll see.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pride comes before the Butt Paste

That is one sad kid! But don't feel too sorry for him. He's all tears and sorrow because he unleashed the wrath of mommy. And let me tell you why!

Once upon a time, I had heard stories from other valiant mommies of their toddler woes. Usually involving sneaky boys and tubes of diaper cream. And being the judgemental pig that I am, I secretly had thoughts of, "Well, MY kids would never do that. I run a tight ship. I'd tan their hide." etc. and etc. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Because while I was out for 2 hours yesterday (where, ironically, I was typing my post with all of the adorable smiling kids and spinning tales of a fun-filled family weekend) my boys were wreaking havoc on my upstairs. (and YES, that is blood you see on the walls... not grape jelly.)

My poor, sweet babysitter had tried to call me and warn me of what I was about to walk into upon returning home. But my phone was in my purse on vibrate. Good luck with that. So you can imagine my surprise and horror when I found the mess that awaited me. Oh, and don't let the fact that Quinn escaped the photos make you think he was an innocent bystander in all of this. He, too, was caught red handed.

The boys not only smeared Bordeaux Butt Paste all over the walls, carpet, doors, themselves (Turner still looks like the biggest greaser even after a good shampoo) and Quinn's bed; they also broke a toy basket, and emptied all of the clothing bags that I had sorted/organized to be sold at the consignment shop. (Another strike against being organized. It usually ends up being a waste of time.)

Turner also managed to pull apart several picture frames, where he presumably took a chunk from his pinkie finger. Bloody evidence remained all over their room and closet.
It seriously looked like someone had been murdered in my upstairs. And lucky for the presence of the babysitter, no one was!

I thought I had *gotten my point across* rather well with a few bare bun spanks. But frick and frack were up to their old tricks TWICE today during naps. First, they got into a second closet where they threw clothes all over. Then they got busted a second time when I heard some noise that didn't sound like napping where I found about 500 Q tips thrown about. This time I had to get daddy involved. Here's hoping the point was well taken.

And just to rub my nose in it (thanks, Lord, I think I'm getting it... don't be prideful and stuff like that), Steve called about 7 minutes after the Q tip incident to let me know that a potential buyer called and wanted to see the house in 2 hours. (Did I mention that we took the house of the market YESTERDAY and have not had a showing since March?) Let's just say my house wasn't exactly *tidy.* Yep, nice timing.

There you have it. My kids are not above mischief after all. And yes, God, I think I got the memo. I'll work on that pride problem. Thanks.

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's more of a mix n match kind of thing

Here is my bloggy disclaimer:
These pictures have nothing to do with anything. And really neither will most of this post.
These were pictures taken two weekends ago at my high school reunion. And *some day*, I'll get around to posting pics of the adults that were there, but that would require me hiking up to the 3rd floor of our house (it sounds cooler when I call it the 3rd floor rather than the attic) to retrieve photographic and damning evidence that the lovely ladies in my current photos did, once upon a time, have hair bigger than many 80's rock bands. But frankly, I'm too lazy to do so. Therefore, you have silly pics of my kids.

We did a lot of nothing important over the weekend. We swam on Friday night. We worked out, shopped and went to church on Saturday.

Sunday, the 5 of us showed up at the UD women's soccer team practice to hand out watermelon and Popsicles. Olivia got a blister. We later attended a graduation party for a boy we know who just graduated high school. His school colors were blue and white. They had blue cupcakes: we had blue poop. Gross. FYI- when hosting a party, fore go the blue icing. Its nasty coming AND going.
Today, I find myself staring down Monday, a bit depressed. Tonight there will be no Bachelorette and I'm not sure how to spend those 2 hours. I could clean. I could read. I could talk to my husband.
I know in an earlier post I mentioned I was looking forward to Bachelor Pad. I have to say, after seeing multiple commercials for the show, I have made the decision to pass on this show. You see, there is trash and then there is TRASH. There was plenty of stuff I could not condone on the Bachelor/ette, but this seems to be a new level and knowing my husband *might* be around, I can't let into my living room. (Hey, even I have my limits.) Now if you are planning on tuning in, don't hear judgement from me (in fact, I wouldn't mind a little fill in on the show!)
Any suggestions on how to use my new found bonus 2 hours a week would be greatly appreciated. Maybe I'll use the time to root through some boxes on the 3rd floor for an exciting 80's hair post. Hey, I said maybe.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The heart of it all

Yesterday we had some good 'ole Midwestern fun. We went to the county fair.

The fair came complete with plenty of animals AND stinky barns. In which my snobby daughter entered each one holding her nose yelling, "P. U." Nice. FYI, I have NO idea where she gets that from!

My kids were enthralled with the animals. Especially Turner. He is my animal lover! Expect when he walked around and growled at the bunnies. Then he laughed a snarky little laugh and would walk away. * No bunnies were actually harmed in the making of this blog.

Then we hit the fairway. And *back when I was a kid* either my parents were loaded or rides didn't cost what they cost these days. These days you have to sell a kidney to let your kid have any kind of fun at the county fair. We let them ride 2 rides each and we packed our dinner. (Hey, its been one of *those* kind of financial months, what can I say.) But we did have some ice cream for dessert that melted in exactly 7.2 seconds in the 90 degree heat. Yep, money well spent.

While these pictures would make it look like the kids rode speeding cars, I assure you this was one of those annoying kiddie rides that when it ends after 5 laps around you wonder how in good conscience they could charge a dollar twenty five to ride their death trap. But with smiles like these, the ride becomes priceless.

Then we moved on to something that I never would have dreamed I'd be doing. I let my kids go on their first roller coaster ride on a roller coaster that has travelled the country tagging along on the back of some RV. Well, the good Lord was smiling down on us yesterday because all three kids came off in one piece and actually smiling. They all thought they were so grown up. And me? I only had a mild heart attack.

And then to round out our stint as hillbillies at the county fair, we attended the *traveling circus.* It consisted of a short dog act, 2 camels and 2 Shetland ponies whom all danced together and the grand finale... 2 elephants. Before the elephants *preformed* (I was actually ashamed of myself for sitting and watching these majestic animals lay down and play dead... and hey... I'm not animal rights activist) the kids were called down to the fence and were allowed to touch the elephant. For free.

I gotta say. That was cool.

And it was a good thing that our friends brought their covered wagon. Because the brothers were hot. And sweaty. And covered in ice cream.

But you're never too hot. Or too sweaty. Or too ice cream-covered to get your groove on.
Yes, indeed. An Ohio county fair is certainly a rite of passage. Maybe next year we'll let 'em try a deep fried Twinkie.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Some other day

I know I'm behind in posts. There are so many fun pictures and stories to tell from my 20th High School reunion (someone reminded me of the lamo cheer we came up with *we are cool. cool we be. we are the class of 90.*) But honestly, since my reunion I've just been kind of down. Which is weird, since I had SO MUCH FUN and had SO MANY laughs over the weekend. But coming back to Dayton found me blue. Frankly, I miss my mom so much it hurts. Things have made me sad. I've had dreaded anticipation before certain days over the past 2 months, but this is the first time that an event has left lingering sadness.

I think partly because oh how we would have had such fun talking about the reunion. Who got fat. Who didn't. Who is living in interesting places. Who is not (umm... me!) I would have told her about the folder that I dug out of our attic that was crammed full of my old River Phoenix and Corey Haim posters (laminated of course) that hung in my locker. She would have even wanted to look at them with me. She would have questions. And follow up questions. And she would have wanted to see pictures. And she would have sat down and looked through my old year books with me. She would have remembered things about my high school years that I don't even remember. She would have been equally as agitated by the fact that the old Athletic Director (who cheated me out of my varsity letter for swimming back in 1987-but I'm not bitter) is STILL working at the school.

Oh what fun it would have been.

Instead, my sweet dad took a stab at being interested. But his eyes glazed over somewhere around my River Phoenix posters. Steve was a real trooper as he spent many hours being my *date* (I went to an all girls high school. We agreed to bring our husbands to the reunion and then promptly left them huddled in a corner eating snacks as we laughed until we cried over pictures of our 80's hair!) But he could only look at so many River Phoenix posters before getting bored.

I can't help but feel a bit *cheated.* Why couldn't she have lasted a few more months? Just long enough to gossip with me post reunion? Why couldn't she have lasted long enough to celebrate Quinn's one year anniversary of his U.S. arrival on August 5th? Why couldn't she have lasted only 10 days longer to see me turn 38? Its all selfish. Because I know if she had lasted longer, it would have been painful. Full of suffering. But shoot... today I just want my mommy.

I'll rally. I know I will. And when I do I'll have lots of big hair photos and current shots of my high school girls. Just not today, but I think you'll understand.