Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ask and you shall receive...

Here is the (vintage) picture of my crayfish incident (as mentioned in the 'Nostalgia' post). Thanks Grand Matriarch!

Under normal circumstances, I never would have touched this little guy... but there were a few things in play here...

1. I needed to grab the crayfish to win the scavenger hunt for my team (win, win, win)... and

2. everyone was watching... I was the center of attention... I couldn't let my fans down...

I look at this picture NOW and just shake my head... what was I thinking?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Julie and Julia - a book review

I finished... kinda... the Julie and Julia book. You know, the one about the girl who decides to make Julia Child recipes for a year and blog about it... Why didn't I think of that??? Julie's blog still exists and you can read it, in its entirety (including blog comments) here.

When I say that I "finished" the book I mean that I really skimmed the topic sentence on every paragraph for the second half of the book and, therefore, I know what happens AND how it ended.

Yuck. It gets... something like... 2 stars from me. And, that's being generous. Really it gets 1 star and then 1 more star for being a book about a blogger.

I was starting to worry - you remember that I didn't like the very popular The Shack either.

Turns out that I'm NOT alone. Most of the customer reviews on Amazon weren't that great either.

However, I heard that the movie version of the book is awesome and worth seeing a second or third time.


The challenge at I ♥ Faces this week is to post a photo that would bring a nostalgic feeling back to us (and it had to have a face in it of course!)

nostalgia: noun. A longing for things, persons, or situations of the past.

Without a doubt, my fondest childhood memories took place on this mountain. From ages 8-13, I spent one week every summer with new friends at the best summer camp ever. We laughed, we played, we sang songs, we visited with nature... there's even a picture of me "eating" a live crayfish somewhere...

The moment that Em was old enough to go to this camp, we packed up our bags and took the 9-hour trip to Grandfather Mountain. I was a counselor and she was a camper. I had hoped and hoped and hoped that she would love camp as much as I did. She did love camp and the next year we went back and took a friend with us.

Here is a view from the mountain. Keep in mind, when I took this picture it had been 20 YEARS since I had been to this very location. For me, this picture, and all of the pictures from this trip are just breathtaking.

Today, one of the other best things about camp is that Grand Matriarch is a counselor at camp with us. It is really, really, really super cool to spend a week... at my favorite place in the whole world... with my little Lulu and my cherished Grand Matriarch. (Which, is why I threw SUCH A HISSY FIT when the timing did not work out for me to go this year. I'm def gonna be there next year. Apologies to all who witnessed my tantrum.)

Isn't She Lovely...

I'm just feeling kinda sad today...

I feel the exact same sadness that I felt when I was pregnant with Bro... and was going through all of Lulu's baby clothes... knowing that I needed to get rid of them... to make space in our home for a baby brother...

I called my mom and dad and I was sobbing... I mean really sobbing... all I could think was that "I'll never be able to send her to college... I just won't be able to do it"...

My dad, who had been harassing me for years to come over and clean out stuff that I had jammed in their attic, told me to stop crying and said that I should just pack up all of her clothes (enough to fill a small room) and bring them to their house... that he would store them for me... for as long as I wanted to... seriously guys... that was exactly what I needed to hear...

Mom (a.k.a. Fairy Grandmother) kindly asked if there was a way that I could get rid of some of the clothes... I could keep my favorites... but I could get rid of some of the clothes... yes... I dried my eyes... I could let go of some of the clothes... but it would be okay to keep my favorites... forever... if need be...

I don't know why middle school makes me sad. She's just growing up. I just want to hug her and hold her and keep her all to myself... keep her happy and safe... forever...

Well, the good news is that several kids were at the bus stop with lunch totes in their hands. Also, all of the 6th graders admitted that none of them knew how to open a locker combination lock... so Lulu won't be the only one... which was OUR main worry as we were trying to go to sleep last night.

I'm courting down the minutes 'til I pick her up from school.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Twas the Night Before 6th Grade...

Tis the night before 6th grade and all through the house,
everyone is awake, (probably) even the mouse.
The bookbag and Converse shoes are both near...
because tomorrow morning... middle school will be here.


The big debate is whether to pack a brown bag lunch (as I was told ALL the middle-school kids do) or pack a lunch in her lunch tote. She told me that she is going to pack a lunch tote tomorrow because, in her own words, "You can bet that SO-AND-SO and SO-AND-SO are going to have their Very Bradley lunch bags tomorrow... I just know it."

She can't sleep. It's 10:15 already and she is reading... because she says that she is too excited to go to sleep. Luckily, the 6th graders have the school to themselves tomorrow; the older kids start on Tuesday.

The cinnamon bread just came out of the oven, which means that I am going to try to coerce Lulu into going to bed so that I can get some sleep too.

Great Day for Up!

Way back before we had baby Bro... Dear Husband and I would often sometimes take advantage of a gorgeous afternoon and meet at the harbor for Happy Hour.

A recent afternoon was just to gorgeous to spend in the confines of our suburban home... so we took the little man to hang out with us in one of our favorite towns.

I discovered a new Crepe restaurant (Sofi's Crepes) and we ate there as a family. This restaurant was rated the at the "top of the list" for affordable fare in the area (meaning, you get lots of bang for your buck here).

Bro and I shared the B.A.T.S. (bacon, avocado, tomato, and sour cream) while Dear Husband had the Mozz (tomato, mozzarella, and basil). It was so yummy! They have dessert crepes too!

I'm so upset at all of the cute baby pictures that my friends capture (ahem - Bird's Nest... and a whole slew of facebook friends). How cute would this have been... if only he would smile. THIS is the typical response that I get when I try to take his picture. I couldn't resist. I cannot WAIT to show this to his future wife.

I thought that letting him stand on the bench would get a smile out of him... right????? NO.

I swear... if I did NOT have the camera out he would have been all smiles. Infuriating.

He calmed down when he thought that mommy put the camera away.

And then Bro and Daddy contemplated the meaning of life.

Then, we went to the park where he was WAY TOO BUSY to smile for mommy... too busy playing with dirt...

... too busy climbing on rocks...

... too busy flirting with the ladies...

... but I was persistent and got a good picture anyway! (Look at him, I'm standing RIGHT THERE and he refuses to look at me... maddening!)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Show Business

As you know, Lulu woke up perfectly healthy the day of her play... nevermind the fact that she throwing up the very NEXT morning... how is that possible?

The morning of her play she was n-e-r-v-o-u-s... if you can believe that.

I gave her a little pep talk saying that even though she was nervous she needed to not mumble her lines and she needed to speak clearly... and... then she interrupted me...

"MAWM... I know what I am doing. I am an ACTRESS."

Humph! Well, she put me in my place.

It is very hard to share pictures from the play without spreading the faces of dozens of other children all over the net. Here are a couple that I thought were harmless.

1. Alice falling down the rabbit hole.

2. Alice trying to find her way back home.

I can't believe that the summer passed so quickly... and... now... she is a middle-schooler.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Photo Fun

Much thanks to Ready to Tackle Two for pointing me to the PhotoFunia site.
Do you recognize these folks???

Lulu on the cover of Vogue.

Dear Husband as a famous environmental activist.

Napmom... forever a part of history.

Paris hits the red carpet with Bro's hit single "I babble babble."

Please, leave a comment if you add similar pictures to your blog so that we know to rush over to see them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Books, books, and more books

It came highly recommended… I mean very HIGHLY recommended. I didn’t finish it. I mean… I read the first 3-4 chapters and I just couldn’t take any more. I don’t know that I have EVER NOT finished a book. I don’t plan to ever pick it up again. I think that the point of the book is to justify how God (for those who believe in God) can be so good and loving, but also allow bad things to happen to people in the world. That’s great. And, some people might need that type of an education. I don’t feel like I need that information. I had 7 years of perfect attendance in Sunday school… all the while attending Christian based schools complete with daily religious classes and weekly church services… as well as attending church with my family on Sundays. I’ve heard the message before.

I feel bad even writing a “review” about a book that I didn’t even read. My book club will be reading it in a few months. I’ll sit in on the club meeting and see if I am convinced to pick it up and finish it. I’ll let you know if I change my mind.

Has anyone here read The Shack. Did you like it? Am I missing something?

I read the rest of Philippa Gregory’s books as well as a few dozen other historical and historical fiction books related to the wives of Henry VIII. Maybe I should suggest Henry VIII as a grab bag category for Monday night trivia.

Anyways, I liked the book. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Yep. Book 3 of the Twilight series. Seriously, I know that I am NOT going to win any friends here… but Twilight doesn’t really capture my attention. I just don’t see what’s so great about a high school love story between a vampire and a girl who seems to no interests other than her vampire boyfriend. I’m in the minority, I know. Just being honest.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

A book club suggestion. I don’t normally like mysteries… was NEVER a Nancy Drew lover… but I liked this book because it takes place in my local community and has bits of Annapolis politics wrapped up into it, which I find exciting.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

You must read the Time Traveler’s Wife before you go to watch it at the movie theater. I read the book a few years ago, and I might read it again (I rarely read books twice). I only mention it here because the movie is coming out and the book was so good (as is the case most often). It is a fabulous and interesting love story.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I just love trivia. Jeopardy is one of my all-time favorite shows ever… after Survivor of course.

Recently, we discovered that a local bar restaurant watering hole offers a trivia night on Monday nights. You just show up… they always have a table available… and you listen to the game show host lady in front of the computer rattle of trivia questions every few minutes, while you write your best guess on an answer sheet. Then, you hand in your sheet, she scores the sheets, and gives the answers.

You can play in teams of no more than 6 players per team. Top prize is a $35 gift card.

Fun, fun, fun. So far we play with some neighbors of ours, which is good because we (Dear Husband and I) don’t know the answers to any of the questions.

Here are some questions from last night’s game. Do you know the answers?

1. What is the only country with a flag that only has 1 color… no design, insignia, or other details? Yuck.

2. Which animal is the only animal that is born with horns? NOT a Rhino, which was our guess.

3. When will Halley’s Comet come around again? OK – I got this one right actually.

The bummer thing is that we just found out about this trivia-night event. It's on Monday nights. School starts in one week. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted!

Answers: 1. Libya. 2. Giraffe. 3. 2061.

Friday, August 14, 2009

elated... ecstatic...

Lo and behold... she woke up this morning... feeling (and I quote)
"5 billion times better!!!!!!!!!"

She was giddy!

She was squealing!

She was grinning from ear to ear!

Oh my gosh.

I can't believe it.

I can not believe that she is better.

This was everything that she ever wanted. This has been so wonderful for her. She had a fabulous morning performance.

She made it!!!!!

Ok - so her microphone wasn't work, which meant that she had to yell out all of her lines (I mean, good thing that she was feeling better). But, other than that... everything was perfect. Can you believe that she woke up perfectly healed this morning? I can hardly believe it... 101.9 and can't get out of bed... to... perfect!!!!!

Thank you for all of your well wishes. She reads this blog regularly and I told her that we were all thinking about her. :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Alice" is sick

I hate to be so... shallow? self-absorbed??? I don't know what the word is... all I know is that I am very sad because little Lulu is sick... the real high-fever stuck-in-bed kinda sick... and she is supposed to play the lead role of "Alice" in Alice in Wonderland... starting bright and early tomorrow morning.

Yes, most girls (probably) dream of a life on stage... my Lulu is different. She really believes that she is going to be on stage... an actress... a celebrity. She talks about her "trip to stardom" on a regular basis. She has spent many summers sacrificing other things that she could be doing... so that she could get to THIS point. She is "Alice" - she is the lead role in the summer play. It is all that she has ever dreamed of... it is HERE... and she is in bed with a fever of 101.9... the last time I checked.

We went to the doctor this a.m.
She does NOT have the flu.
She does NOT have strep.
She does NOT have an ear infection.
I CAN double-up on the amount of Motrin that I have been giving her.

I just don't know what to do. I just don't know what I will say to her if she cannot get up on that stage tomorrow morning. I know that 20 years from now this moment won't matter... but to her... to this 11-year-old girl... who truly has made sacrifices to get to this point... who has dreamed about this moment for most of her life... this will be devastating to her... and that is so very sad to me.

On a side note, I never wanted her to dream of any of this or want any of this... we have tried to make her a well rounded child... soccer... ice skating... Girl Scouts... but I can't help that this is her dream... OMG - I just can't believe that this is happening.

Sorry to vent (and to be so selfish as I do realize that this is NOT the worst thing that could happen to my family).

I'm just so sad for her... today.

For now, I am going to give her a second Motrin at 11:00 - I hope that it helps...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

What is your favorite OUTDOOR hobby?

I have to be honest, I am not much of an outdoor-type person. However, I have taken to the hobby of letterboxing like a fish takes to water... I love it!

I know, I know... I'll blog about my beach vacation later... I can't resist the letterboxing update.

What is letterboxing? Letterboxing = treasure hunting for unique and hidden stamp images.

Napmom went letterboxing with family while vacationing in N.C.. Hello? Did I mention that coastal N.C. has more letterboxes than I could ever imagine????? I didn't want to come home!!!

We found a letterbox under this shady tree...

... out in these woods...

... overlooking this view...

... and in this sweet shop.

Part of letterboxing is to NOT get noticed. Do you think that this was too obvious (sarcasm)?????

Are you letterboxing yet? Got to to get letterboxing clues for your area. What is your favorite outdoor hobby?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Great Product - Bottle Labels

Moms -

AAAAhhhhh - I just had to share this with you. How great? Check out these bottle/sippycup labels. They aren't really labels at all... more like "wraps." Yes, I have seen them in person.

This is great for me because, as you know, we send Bro to daycare which means that we have to label his bottles and sippy cups. I saw another bottle in the refrigerator with this type of wrap on it. Yippee!

I know, Bro should probably have been weaned off of bottles at this point. Fine. However, we will be sending in soy milk for him for as long as I can tell... so I think that we will definitely get some use out of these... and... this is much better than the sticky label system that we are currently using.

IF, by chance, you are currently using these wraps and DIDN'T tell me about them... well... then... shame on you.

By the way, you can use these on sunscreen, flashlights, lotions and more. These are not just for moms of daycare kids - these are for the whole family(see article)!

For now, I hope you check these out. I searched high and low for them...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Double Whammy!

Bro has a paronychia. Paronychia is a medical term fancy word for infected hang nail. He's had this infected hang nail paronychia for 3 weeks now. Prior to torturing myself at the beach with the kids going on vacation last week we took him to the doctor and they said to soak the finger 3 times a day for 15 minutes and that it would heal in about 24 hours. We soaked his finger religiously for the entire week (a special thanks to Baby Einstein for such inspiring programs that keep my child still for 15 minutes at a time). Still, the finger did not get better. He is now on antibiotics (topical and oral) to heal the finger. If this doesn't work, then I think they are going to cut out the infection do something else to get that infection out of his finger.

About a year ago, I was in mommy heaven. Here is the post to prove it. Remember?

This year, however, we grabbed this pamphlet at the doctor's office.

To be honest, Lulu was a perfect (I'm almost NOT exaggerating) child. I, in turn, thought that this was because I was the perfect mother. In fact, as it turns out, God just gave me a perfect child... the first time. Now, I have a challenging normal child. How wonderful!

At least once a week, when Lulu was a child, someone would look at my nearly perfect girl and remark, "Don't get too excited - she'll be a teen one day and things won't always be this wonderful."

Guess what? They might have been right... which is why we also grabbed the "Tips for Parents of Adolescents" pamphlet as well.

Any, any tips that you can provide about dealing with these life cycles would be greatly appreciated.


Life's best birth control = living with a tween and a toddler at the same time!

p.s. No, the beach was not torture (for gosh sakes). It was fabulous!!!!! Can't wait to share the pics with you... plus, the great letterboxing... I mean, N.C. must be... like... the letterboxing capital of the world. Good Great times!