Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday 13

Playing along. I am creating a list of 13 things... any 13 things.

Today's list = 13 random things I need to pack for camp this weekend that are not already on my list.

1. 2 gallons of water
2. 2 chairs
3. a table
4. the troop camp bin
5. flashlights
6. Lulu's SWAPS (more about SWAPS at another time)
7. foul weather boots
8. 2 mess kits
9. water bottle
10. camera
11. small pillow
12. baby wash cloth
13. my cheery disposition ;-)

Join the Thursday Thirteen here.

You gotta play to win...

I'm not much of a gambler... in life or with money. However, my coworker tells me that the current lotto is up to about $220 million. So, I am going to buy a lottery ticket today.

I may be a millionaire in the making - who knows?

They will announce the megamillion winner this Friday. However, I won't know if I won because...

I will be camping... with a dozen of my favorite 5th grade Girl Scouts. There is a 30% chance that I will be camping in the rain. Wish there was a 30% chance of napmom winning the lotto.

Back to the lotto thing... if I win, my first purchase will be a vacation for just Dear Husband and me (and we would get pregnant again during this vacation). My justification for this selfish purchase? We have never had a vacation with just the two of us (unless you count the two overnights at a local hotel right after our wedding). Then, I'll take the kids on a vacation. Then, I'll buy a bigger house: not a mcmansion, just a larger home. Then, I'll buy a vehicle big enough for 3 kids (and their friends). Eventually, I will quit my job (eventually) and work as a volunteer for an organization that helps abused children.

Wish me luck (with camping... and with the lotto thing).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy Birthday to My Rockin' Hubby

1. Where did you meet?

In high school. He was very pesky. We shared mutual friends and worked at the same video store. He picked on me, relentlessly, all of the time - it was awful. Then, we were reconnected after college when he called my mom (a real estate agent) to help him buy a house.

2. How long did you date b/f you were married?

16 months.

3. What does he do that surprises you?

Most recently? He offered to help me with a craft project that I need to complete by this weekend. I mean, a really girly and frilly craft project. And, he offered to do this on his birthday. And he doesn't even care that it will be his birthday and he will be sitting on the floor with a glue gun and pony beads in his hands.

4. What is your favorite quality of his?

He never quits. He is one who will "go down with the ship." It amazes me.

5. What is your favorite feature of his?

Like physical feature? His hotty arms - oh yeah!

6. Does he have a nickname for you?

No - not really. He did call me Winnie-the-Pooh recently. What was that supposed to mean? Hah!

7. What is his favorite food?

Beer - does that count as a food? Seafood - definitely seafood. Anything that I bake. His mom's potato salad.

8. What is his favorite sport?

Hockey. Go Caps!

9. When and where was your first kiss?

Several months after we started dating - in his first house. Why the wait? I don't know, it was kinda hard for me to make the move from seeing him as the pesky kid from high school to an actual sweetheart... despite the fact that we hung out all the time, talked all of the time, e-mailed all of the time, and really liked each other.

10. What do you like to do together?

Before Bro (and when Lulu was at her dad's house) we used to go out to dinner and watch movies and just generally hang out, pal around, go on errands, anything that we could do together. Also, every year we looked forward to the first few good spring days where we could leave work early and go hang out at the local crab shack... table by the water, drinking Coronas and eating mussels. Very good times!

11. Do you have any children?

Lulu is my daughter and his step-daughter. Bro is ours together.

12. Does he have a hidden talent?

Patience. And the uncanny ability (as it seems to me) to "hold his fire." When I am mad I am steaming mad and I have to let it out. He just holds it in. It kills me.

Actually, when he's pissed off, he starts cleaning. The reaction is almost robotic. As soon as I get mad, he starts cleaning the whole house. It is almost comical.

13. Who said "I love you" first?

He did.

14. What is his favorite type of music?

Classic rock (I think that's what it's called). Pink Floyd. Allman Brothers. Tom Petty.

15. What do you admire most about him?

The way that he has loved me unconditionally. The way that he took on Lulu and me and loved us like it had always been just us. He is a very caring and loving person. I am so grateful to call him MY husband.

16. Do you think he will read this?

Probably not. He doesn't really have time to read the blog.

He needs another blog name besides 'dear husband.' Something to do with nature perhaps?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Creative Crystal Clusters

Way back last week, when I was sick with strep throat but didn't know it yet, I helped Lulu put together her science fair project.
Thanks to the wonders of a Fairy Grandmother, Lulu had a scale to weigh the results of her crystal growths and Daddy helped Lulu weigh her crystals.

Then, napmom helped her put together the display.

How easy was THAT? Let me just tell you... it was NOT this easy when I was in grade school. Lulu just typed in the text for each section, printed, cut, and pasted. The wonderful chart on the top right corner - the hard work of about 3 minutes and a couple clicks of a button. Do you know how many minutes went into the final display for this product and how many DAYS I spent on projects when I was younger... gently marking the lines for my writing and then spacing out all of the letters just perfectly.

Not fair!!!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

No words.

There are no words for how busy I am going to be for the next week.

For starters...

We (meaning the whole entire family) are just getting over strep throat.

The Girl Scout camp event (at which I volunteered to attend) is THIS weekend NOT two weekends from now (how the H-E-double-hockey-sticks did I miss this), which means that...

1. I owe Lulu's dad a huge apology because she was supposed to spend this weekend with him. AND, he has already scheduled a job for the weekend that I thought was the camp weekend. Seriously, I owe him big time for this.

2. I owe my dear and wonderful husband a huge apology because now he is in charge of Bro all weekend, which is not what he had planned. It's not really a big deal, but I'm kinda looking at him and saying, "I know you might have had other plans this weekend, but can you just drop everything and watch the baby for me?" Plus, it is his birthday weekend! I feel like such a schmuck! If any of you had lived the past 3 months with this man and seen all that he has done for me so selflessly - you would feel my pain.

3. I have to pack my stuff for camp. I have to pack Lulu's stuff for camp.

4. I need to get materials together so that Lulu can put together her SWAPS (small little trinkets that the kids make and trade) before camp.

5. I still need to plan a birthday dinner for my wonderful husband... schucks and it'd better be good NOW. I might be digging into the save-for-the-new-camera fund to get a crab bomb. Something! I know, maybe I'll just pull a rabbit outta my hat. ;-)

6. The house is a wreck because we've all been sick. Hubby hates a wrecked house.

7. I know that it doesn't sound like much, but this is a logistical nightmare for me.

When I get back to life as I once knew it... I will have cute pics from Earth Day, cute pics from camp (geez), and a little update on how my Earth-friendly ways have influenced my neighbors! Plus, I made and ordered (what I hope to be) the cutest Mother's Day card ever and I have a great Father's Day idea too.

Wish me luck!

Mother's Day spoiler alert!

Mom - don't read this part.

Seriously - and Grandma can't read it either.

There is nothing here for you.

Go back to Millsberry now!

"Fairy Grandmother and Grand Matriarch, this is your conscience speaking, please step away from the computer!"

So, I made a Mother's Day card at It's inexpensive to make the card but rather expensive to ship it -- but moms are totally worth it. If I really like the card, then I'm gonna make others for the other "mothers" in my life too. Paying that much $$$ for shipping won't be quite so painful if I get a group of cards, not just one. Nonetheless, I'll give you a full review when I get my card in the mail - hopefully this week. Either way, run on over to It's very cool and very addicting fun just to see what you come up with - without the commitment of ordering!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Can't Help Myself

Dear husband's birthday is coming soooooon and Father's Day is almost here.

Augh! I can hardly control my buying urge.

Took a little stroll through downtown Annapolis the other day. Annapolis = very, very expensive but very ,very cute kid clothes.

I spotted this great store (sorry store owner, don't remember the name of your store). What caught my eye was the toddler mannequin in window wearing this ultra cool Johnny Cash shirt. I charged into the store. I found the shirt. It was priced at $58. Gasp! Um, Bro would have to wear that shirt every day for the entire summer before I would pay $58 for it. I mean, like, it would have to be his only shirt. Then, as I was browsing, things got worse... there was a Pink Floyd shirt... for $58. Ok, like, if any of these shirts had been $30 or less, I would have walked away with one of them... maybe even both of them (thus, draining my saving-for-a-new-camera fund). Oh the torture.

If you want to view baby and toddler rock t-shirts from the brands I saw on Main Street, then check the Kaos clothes at this web site and Lola and James products with this online retailer. It seems that the shirts are, in fact, made from authentic and genuine vintage rock t-shirts from back in the day. Thus, the hefty price tag.

I did find another not-so-pricey Pink Floyd gem at Babywit. It is also nice because it is not black. Bro just isn't going to wear black in the mid-summer Maryland heat and humidity. Not going to happen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Wow! I think that I made it. Well, maybe I didn't blog about Earth Hour to Earth Day every day, but I sure made an attempt to be better to momma Earth over the course of the past few weeks.

Besides blogging about the challenge, I also purchased (and used) reusable grocery bags, started a tomato plant (ok, DH did this really), started a basil plant, recycled even more products, and volunteered to participate at Lulu's school for Earth Day.

I also plan to use wash cloths, instead of paper towels, to clean Bro after he eats; plug my entertainment equipment into a power strip and turn it off after each use; and visit the local farmer's market.

How about you? What 1 earth-friendly change have you made this year? It doesn't need to be monumental. Just one little change can make a difference.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Science Fair is Almost Here

Here are the crystals that Lulu grew for her science fair project. Lulu drained the liquid from the jars so that she could get a better picture of the crystal growth.

Crystals growing on yarn.

Crystals growing on fishing line. The fishing line scrunched up on this first jar so she was not able to dump the liquid out.

Crystals growing on rope.

The project is due Wednesday night (or she is permitted to push it off til Thursday morning, but I'd prefer not to do that).

Here is her project to-do list:

  1. Experiment (Complete)
  2. Locate a scale that will weigh small amounts (Complete - thanks Fairy Grandmother)
  3. Display (Most of the sections are ready to print)
  4. Catchy Title (Still Need to Do)
  5. Print Out Picture for Display (Still Need to Do)
  6. Weigh the Crystals (without disturbing them because she needs to have them if she gets chosen to go to the County Fair) (Still Need To Do)
  7. Create Data Chart (Still Need To Do)
  8. Come Up with 2 Research Resources (Still Need to Do)


Green Tip of the Day (for Crafters - and eaters too)

True confession. My household has become moderately green (eco-friendly) over the course of the past year. Seriously folks, we didn't even recycle our trash last year. Please, don't hate. Our newest waste is... (drum roll please)... napkins and paper towels.

Why so much paper towel waste?

Bro (like most babies) makes a sizeable mess when he etas. Then, we need to wash off his hands, his face, his tray, his cup, and his seat. We probably use 12 paper towels just in cleaning up Bro from a day's worth of food. This drives the eco-friendly part of napmom crazy.

My personal challenge is: to bring down some wash cloths and use one a day to wipe/clean Bro and his tray. Rinsing out after each use. Tossing in the dirty clothes at the end of each day.

Ok - now for the crafter part of this post. Skip To My Lou made her own reusable napkins. They are very easy (for those of us with no sewing skills). Plus, you can coordinate with fabrics to match your kitchen or to match the season.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mine. All mine.


Green Tip of the Day (for Readers)

Confession: I want to own my books. I don't want to borrow them from the library. I want to own them. I want to read them quickly (or not), loan them to a friend (or not), or... just... have them. I like books. I like the way that they feel... I like the way that they smell. The library is one of my most favorite places on the planet and I am like a book-oholic when I walk into a bookstore. I give books as gifts and I like to receive them as gifts. I love them.

There is one problem with this. I do not have the place to store all of my books and it is a waste of money (sad to say) and trees (yes,
trees) to buy a book, read it once, and sit it on the shelf. I just doesn't make sense.

PaperBackSwap to the rescue. According to the PaperBackSwap web site, it is a way to
Mail a book. Get a book. Any book you request is yours to keep, share or trade. No late fees. No processing charges. No hidden charges. Every time you mail a book to another member, you can request one for yourself from over 3 Million.
PaperBackSwap was advertised on the Today Show over the weekend. The idea was touted as a way to read, own, and/or trade books economically. The upside is that this also saves trees! Check it out and see what you think. I haven't tried it yet, but I do have a few books on my shelf waiting to be traded, including this new one that Matt mentioned. Now that we are over the "Is Twilight appopriate for my tween" dilemma. I can read something for myself.

Do you rent your books from the library, borrow from your friends, or buy new?

Not me.

A little bird blogged her "not me" confessions and asked others to play along. Here is a small list of my little indiscretions (or not) from last week.

NOT ME confessions, April 13-20.

It was not me who revealed the Easter bunny's true identity to Lulu.

It was not me who allowed my children to eat donuts for breakfast on Easter morning.

It was not me who finished off the bag of cheetos (and ate a cupcake) from Monday night's "end of the 2009 legislative session" festivities when I got to work Tuesday morning.

It was not me who kept sipping from my empty drink cup as if the melting ice magically produced a thirst-quenching amount of liquid (thus, probably totally irritating my coworkers).

It was not me who ordered a copy of Twilight for my 5th grade daughter to read.

It was not me who used DH's deodorant (for a week now) because I ran out and haven't had time to go get more.

It was not me who ate a breakfast croissant sandwich, a large cinnamon bun, and a donut or three for my birthday breakfast.

It was not me who celebrated my birthday for a whole week.

It is not me who is planning retaliation against my husband because he used the last ice cube in the ice tray.

It was not me who started doing house chores right before DH got back from walking the dog so he wouldn't know that I had been reading my book instead.

It was not me who forgot to bring the reusable grocery bags to the grocery store when I went shopping.

It certainly was NOT ME who walked to work under the protection of a Sponge Bob umbrella this morning. Nope. Wasn't me.

What is YOUR "not me" confession?

It's Monday; It's Raining; It's... Complicated

Ugh... let me just tell you how my day started.

Bro was up several times during the night (probably teething) and so I was very sleepy this morning. I decided to get a little more sleep before heading into work (since session is o-v-e-r).

Weather report: It is raining cats and dogs today.

Unfortunately for me, I left my umbrella at work. Thus, I had no option but to use Lulu's umbrella today. Ahem. Lulu's umbrella is a bright yellow Sponge Bob umbrella with the circumference of a large plate (much like the one seen here).

Flickr Photo by G-Dog68

So, I was already humiliated at the thought of walking into work with the Sponge Bob umbrella, but I had no other choice.

As I was leaving my town, I was completely stopped at the light (the one between the church and the convalescent center - for those of you who know the area) and waiting to turn left. Stopped. Stopped. Listening to an old Bon Jovi song and then BOOM. I was freakin' rear-ended.

First thought = umm... some adult words.

Second thought = should I call DH. Not much he can do. I don't want him to bring Bro out in this rain.

Third thought = Oh my Gosh - I'm gonna have to stand out in front of my whole community and exchange information with this person, while HOLDING A SPONGE BOB UMBRELLA!!!!!

This is my punishment for sleeping in.

Fine. The driver came around to my window and apologized. He was a somewhat older man and explained that he was on his way to see his sister who was just put in intensive care. He went to his car to get his information and came back... in the rain. I asked him to jump in my car so that we could exchange information and we did. After we exchanged information, I snuck out to view the damage. Nothing... well, nothing that I could tell in the middle of the highway when it's pouring down rain.

Drove to work.

How was the start to your Monday?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Session = Giving Birth

The Maryland legislative session starts the second Wednesday in January of each year and runs for 90 consecutive days (if we are lucky).

The session of '09 was my 8th session with the Maryland General Assembly. Every day someone asks the question, "How's session going?" Ok - I've decided that session is like giving birth... seriously. How's it going? It's tough (and those are very polite terms)!

There is always lots of anticipation for session. Session starts of slow and uncomfortable. Then, the work of session builds and builds until it is synonymous with very hard labor (as we are laboring at work, quite literally). The work builds to a very intense and painful process and comes in waves and then comes faster and harder and it is stressful and YOU JUST DON'T THINK THAT YOU CAN TAKE ONE MORE MINUTE OF IT!!!!!!! At that point, managers start cheering you on to "keep up the pace" and only XX more time until.. it will all... be over. And then... it is over... just like that. And there a few loose ends to tidy up (no pun intended): the writing, reviewing, editing, and printing of the 90 Day Report (kinda like delivering a placenta). You can't prepare for the next baby session. Each session is a bit different. You never know what you're gonna get until it gets here.

After the printing of the 90 Day Report, life goes back to normal (a 9-5 schedule starts to feel like part-time work). You forget how painful session was. And, you do it again next year.

In my spare time this session, what little there was of it, I was supposed to be taking grad school courses. I played with my kids, laughed with my husband, and blogged instead. Sorry mom. But, it was what I needed to get through it.

Anyways, I thought that I would give you a small glimpse of what the last 90 days have been like for me. For those of you with children, you know it wasn't pretty.

Also, I want to say thank you for a few things that really helped this last week.

Thanks to my family for sticking by me and for all of your help and support. Thanks to my dearest hubby for making me a surprise birthday cake and for staying up to share it with me.

Thanks to my mommy for bringing me a delicious lunch and making my favorite cookies to share with my coworkers friends.

Thanks to all my coworkers for being so great through session and during my birthday week (tee hee hee - more on that later). We are all in this together and it is a wild ride every year. While session is very tough, it has been a blessing and a privilege to work for the Maryland General Assembly and with so many smart and fun people - a home away from home.

Friday, April 17, 2009


So, session is over. Life, as I once knew it to be, is fine and dandy once again. "oh - hello normalcy - I didn't recognize you - where in the heck have you been?"

I had planned to take a field trip, per say, (during my break - because I actually get to step away from my desk for a break during the interim) over to the House of Delegates Office Building today. Why? To take pictures of the art work that has been hanging on the wall for three whole months now. Walls and walls lined with awesome artwork made from (drum roll please) recycled products. Ah yes - lets all do the trash-to-treasure dance!! jiggle, jiggle

Guess what I saw when I reached the top of the stairs...

and looked down the hall?


Geez! They wasted no time taking down the art work. Really - it was dynamite... you would have loved it.

On the way back I spotted this cute Oriole (he's fake. cute, but fake). That counts for something, right?


(Grocery) Green Tip of the Day

So, since I can't blog about turning trash into treasure (see above - sigh) then I will ask you to go to your local farmer's market this weekend. My local farmer's market is open on Saturday mornings. It opened two weekend ago. I haven't been yet because... well, we all know where I hang out on Saturday mornings. I am going to make a conscious effort to go tomorrow. I've never been to a farmer's market before and I am excited to see what the buzz is about, find some fresh produce, and reduce my carbon footprint on the Earth. Do I need to bring cash or do they have credit card machines? When is the best time of year to find fresh produce at the farmer's market? AH, wish me luck.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's a Natural Thing


Not much going on today, but I did get an interesting event e-mail and wanted to share these events with you.

Vote Now! Vote for the Ocean Conservancy 2010 calendar cover. Will it be the Florida Manatee, a Sea Otter, or the Sea Lions. You decide!

News about
Nest Watch.

Nest Watch is a continentwide citizen-science project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Cornell is looking for volunteers to help them track the progress and success of this year’s newborn birds. It seems that this is kinda like the Great Backyard Bird Count, but participants are looking for and monitoring nests, not birds.

The other event is the Great American Backyard Campout, which is officially on Saturday, June 27, but you are encouraged to participate at any time.

Lulu has a June birthday and is planning a campout theme party (including the campout part) - lucky me!

The National Wildlife Federation wants us to participate in Wildlife Watch. Help the federation track the health and behavior of wildlife and plant species nationwide by simply going to their website and telling them about wildlife in your area. You can upload a picture or tell your story. Participation is super easy. See what wildlife watchers are tweeting about. View their flickr pictures and share your own wildlife pictures.

For those of you who live in the MD/DC/Va area (and even for those who don't, I think), the Chesapeake Bay Foundation wants you to watch the PBS special Poisoned Waters. Click
here to see a preview.

From their website:

More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, iconic American waterways like the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound are in perilous condition and facing new sources of contamination. In FRONTLINE’s Poisoned Waters, airing Tuesday, April 21, 2009, from 9 to 11 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings), Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith examines the growing hazards to human health and the ecosystem.

I hope that you have a chance to get out and enjoy all of nature's natural treasures this Spring!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter: (Part 4) A Birthday Surprise

We now return to our regularly scheduled program. Eco-friendly tips are found at the bottom of the post.

Note: Sadly (sniffle, sniffle), at the time of this posting, I will be working. I will be working on my birthday -- which isn't soooo bad. However, I will leave for work before my family wakes up and I will not get home until they are asleep. However, I will make it through with a smile on my face because this past weekend gave me the go-juice to carry on.

You see... after all of the eggs were hunted...

... and the children had tired... and the sun was setting...

there was a little more fun to be had... a birthday celebration... for little ol' me.

I don't point this out to be vain, but because I was so caught off guard and overwhelmed. I was not thinking of myself. I didn't have any birthday events planned. No one had even mentioned that my birthday was coming. But then, there were cakes... and my family (aunts and uncles and cousins and all...) were in Grammy's kitchen singing Happy Birthday. I was overwhelmed. I was tearing up... over a birthday song. So much of my life is about pleasing others and thinking of others and I have been so busy... that I had almost forgotten that my birthday was coming... and then all of a sudden... it was here... a bit early... if even for a moment.

Look at the beautiful cakes and pies.

It was such a sweet and sincere ending to a very wonderful weekend. I am so grateful and so blessed to be surrounded by my family this holiday season!

(Birthday) Green Tip of the Day

Have you had an eco-friendly birthday this year? Well, really this is a kid birthday idea started by our friends at EchoAGE - where children celebrate giving. The idea is simple. You register your child's party online and he/she gets to pick out an e-vite style invitation (for a real party of course) as well as a charity cause of his/her choosing. The guests do not bring gifts but instead they donate money to a cause of your child's choice. Once all of the money is collected, EchoAGE takes 15%, the charity gets 50% of what's left, your child gets the other 50% of what's left to use as he/shes wishes.

I know, I know. It would be difficult to get a child to go along with this. Start small. You could encourage your child to register their "friend" party with EchoAGE which would still allow him/her to get something special from Grandma and Grandpa.

This is so great -- on so may levels. Click here to see what other well-known companies are saying about EchoAGE.

Other benefits - no paper invitations to send out; no wrapping paper get rid of; no toy packaging to get rid of and so on.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Early birthday card

Look at the decorations on the envelope to the birthday card that Lulu gave me.

Just in case you are wondering... 'u rock' is the highest compliment that a tween mom could hope to receive!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming

We are blogging about Easter (and this may take awhile folks).

We haven't forgotten to blog about the Earth Hour to Earth Day challenge and will be back to our regularly scheduled programming soon.


In the meantime, check with How to Make a Difference for the latest and greatest eco-friendly tips.

Easter 2009: (Part 3) A Photo Shoot

Here's the second-by-second rundown of the entire photo shoot.

Mom: Oh now, Daddy watered the lawn. Where are we going to take the pictures. Here -- let's take them in J and A's yard.

Lulu: Mom, no seriuosly.

Mom: Come on. They won't mind. Stand next to this tree.

Mom: Here let me get a picture of your Easter basket.

Lulu: Seriously Mom Ma-awm?

Mom: Hold your basket out a little bit farther so it doesn't squish your dress. Try to look natural.

Mom: Oh, oh. Sit down back here on J and A's bricks. Ah. Perfect.

Mom: Lu - look down at your basket like you're thinking.

Mom: Let's take a picture of our new matching shoes next to the Easter basket.

Lulu: Are you serious?

Mom: Yes!