Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring Break, Day 2

So, what did we do this afternoon? Well, I'm glad you asked! We had the long-awaited-by-Mister J-since-the-snow-closed-everything-for-two-days-and-our-appointment-got-bumped trip to the dentist. The kids had back-to-back appointments, and thankfully Big J was able to get away from work to help out. Here's Mister J wearing his cool, dentist-provided shades to keep the bright light out of his eyes.

(Opening up to say, "Ahh," for the camera was his idea!)

Have you ever seen any better incentive for opening wide for the dentist? My kids are wild about video games (I have no idea where they got that from...), and were very excited that this one is a two-player game that doesn't need money. Woo hoo! Never mind all the rest of the swag they came home with....

Next on our list was the grocery store. I usually love going to the grocery store. I usually go alone, while the kids are in preschool. Today was a reminder of why.... When Mister J asked if he could push a small cart today, I thought he was talking about one like the lady is pushing in the background of the photo below. Nope, he meant the tiny, kid-sized carts - and he pulled out one for Miss M, as well. I forgot they had them at this particular store.... Two small carts + two smallish kids + one nutty mom = lots of comments from other customers, some of them unwelcome. Do I sound like I have a story? You guessed it, I do! Miss M's cart wasn't quite as easy to push as a cart designed for a child should be. I was trying to help her steer when she told me (in a less-than-patient manner) that she didn't want me to help. Lady (not in photo) walking by laughed out loud at the exchange. Then, she wanted to tell me a story about her granddaughter that I wasn't very interested in listening to - aside from the fact that she laughed out loud, I still had another child to keep track of, and he was walking in the opposite direction! To say I was somewhat frazzled at the end of this grocery run would be quite an accurate statement. To say that I missed preschool today would be accurate, as well. Here are my two personal shoppers. Jonah is trying to explain to me how the ice cream scoop he is looking at works, and why we need it. We actually have two ice cream scoops, which I have found to be plenty, so we did not purchase the ice cream scoop in question. Please ignore the frozen french fries and pay more attention to the organic lettuce....

It's been overcast all day today. It's supposed to rain the rest of the week. On our way out of the grocery store I stopped by the redbox for a movie we could enjoy as a family. It's not animated, so I expect it'll be just the adults watching. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Loooong Overdue

My, has March been a busy month! And, when Mommy gets busy, the blog suffers :( Here's the quick rundown of our month before I get to the pictures (which I know you will probably scroll down to, then maybe come back and read this part of the post....):

March 1-7 - Major UMW fundraiser at church, only slightly impacted by the weather
March 7 - my birthday :)
March 9 - Miss M's tonsillectomy
March 9-23 - Miss M's recovery from tonsillectomy (yep, it really takes 2 weeks)
March 12-15 - Visit from Mom (we celebrated BOTH of our birthdays with a yummy, baked-from-scratch carrot cake and a girls-only dinner out)
March 20-21 - overnight trip for scrapbooking fun with friends!
March 27-29 - solo trip to my Dad's
March 30-April 3 - kids' Spring Break from preschool

So - you wanted pictures? Here they are - don't say I didn't warn you that there are PLENTY!

Mister J visiting Miss M post-tonsillectomy. When I looked back at these pics, I realized just how miserable she looked. Some interesting tidbits - she refused to wear the hospital gown (or any other PJs, for that matter) the entire time she was in the hospital; she wanted to eat bananas more than anything else post-op, and didn't care for popsicles at all; she got very annoyed by the pulse/ox monitor on her toe, and pulled it off several times; I have never been so thankful for NOGGIN shows available 24/7, as we were up most of the night that we were there.

Grandma and Grandpa R sent flowers to Miss M while she was in the hospital, but she didn't get a chance to really appreciate them until we got home. Still working on where we will plant the azalea when the weather finally warms up!

I didn't take a picture of the delicious, two-layer, made-from-scratch carrot cake with delicious, made-from-scratch frosting that I baked for mom's and my birthday celebration weekend. I suppose that pat on the back I just gave myself will suffice.

The next weekend, I got away for an overnight trip! Spent the night (and ate Chinese!) with my former student worker-turned-great friend, H, and got to catch up the latest news that I can't get via her blog. The next day was a HUGE, all-day scrapbooking event! We were joined by my friend J and her friend B for the beach-themed day of fun! Don't we look cool? (The answer, in case you aren't sure, is most certainly YES!)

J, B, H, and me

It was back to real life for a few days, then I was off on another solo trip - this time a weekend at my Dad's! (Seems I didn't copy a pic from my camera that I was going to post here.... can you tell I'm wiped out by all the busy-ness of the month?!?). I had a great time, and wished I could have stayed longer - but I sure did miss my kids! It hit me most on Sunday morning when I was sitting on the couch all by myself, watching the news, and nobody interrupted me. Never realized what a treasure those little interruptions are!

The kids are on spring break this week, so today I took the kids to a new-to-us local park for a picnic and some geocaching. Mister J has been asking to go 'treasure hunting' for a couple of weeks now, since Big J told me they wanted to upgrade my membership at geocaching.com for my birthday (yay!).

This first picture is for those of you who asked me to post more photos of the kids' lunches. With the addition of a baggie of crackers and my big, blue bottle of water, all three of us ate from the Laptop Lunch Boxes today.

Mister J was trying not to squint even though he was looking away from the sun. Oh, and how cool is it that I took this pic with my cell phone and emailed it to myself and posted it here?!? Yes, you should be impressed. I have an even cooler trick up my sleeve, but I'm waiting until the next cell phone photo op to share.

Next shot was me trying to get a photo of them together. Well, they are together.... I never said I would be able to get them to look at the camera at the same time! Check out how big they are getting!

Oh, look - here they are again, and they are both looking at the camera! I managed it once - on our only cache find of the day. They sure had fun checking out the treasures inside, but in the end we TNLNSL.

Aren't they just the cutest little geocachers you have ever seen? They were pretty adventurous today, and stuck it out even though we were 1 for 3 today. There was another interesting find at the park today - a 500+ year old poplar tree. It's been struck by lightning, and the remains of the trunk are now hollow - a pretty cool hiding spot for a 5-year-old!

Here are a couple more shots as we were wrapping up our afternoon of geocaching. The kids enjoyed the gravel path (picking up and tossing the rocks) and thought the storm drain under the path was very cool. They wanted to crawl through it, but I exercised my mommy-veto power on that one!

Jonah was a big help today - he carried our caching backpack when Miss M got too tired to keep up with us and 'needed' to be carried (though she had plenty of energy to play when we stopped here!).

On the way home, we got a call from friends who were meeting for a quick playdate at another local park. The kids were excited to see their friends E and C, and I enjoyed a brief visit with my friends AW and AT. I was amazed that the kids still had enough energy to keep their eyes open - nevermind swing, climb, run, and generally just play hard!

I did manage a snap of Miss M and Miss E when they were taking a breather. They are hanging out under the playground equipment playing with - what else? - rocks! Not sure what it is about rocks, but my kids both seem to want to pick every one they see. Is it a stage? Will they outgrow it? Insight, please!

So, what's in store for tomorrow and the rest of Sping Break? Well, tomorrow is the dentist - the kids have back-to-back appointments. Wish me luck! The forecast for the last half of the week is for rain, so perhaps we will do some crafts. Big J's birthday is Thursday, so we also have to do a little shopping. We have to buy a gift, of course, and the ingredients for a(nother) delicious, two-layer, made-from-scratch carrot cake with delicious, made-from-scratch frosting! Yippee! Perhaps I'll remember to take a picture this time!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank #4

This week, I'm thankful for:

A weekend with friends - spent shopping, eating, and scrapbooking.
Springtime - the few days of it we have had so far, though the forecast is for rain and cooler temps.
Parking in the garage again - thanks to my dear husband for working so hard to get it cleaned out this past weekend.

And - that you are still checking in here although I've taken an unplanned blogging break. Thank you. I hope I'll be back soon.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank #3

  • NOGGIN shows 24/7 - it's been a lifesaver as Miss M recovers from her tonsillectomy.
  • Witnessing the power of prayer - check out this little miracle!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank #2

This week list of things I'm thankful for:

1) Being pushed outside of my comfort zone. In the past few weeks I've been a substitute preschool teacher (in a music class, no less!) and been interviewed for our local tv news. I've been challenged, but I've received an equal boost in self-confidence.

2) Milestones. It's sometimes hard for this sentimental mama to look back and think about how tiny my kiddos used to be. How dependent they were on Big J and I for everything. But I am also puffed up with all kids of pride when I see them reach new milestones and accomplishments.

3) Jello and Bananas. Especially bananas, Miss M's top food pick since she had her tonsils out on Monday.

4) Our local 'family'. We have had plenty of prayers and support leading up to, and since, Miss M's surgery on Monday. Our parents don't live nearby, so it has been wonderful to have our local 'family' checking on us. Yes, mostly checking on Miss M, but also asking how the rest of us are holding up, too. (Those first 36 hours post-surgery were alternately restful and challenging....)

Monday, March 9, 2009


My sweet Miss M has her tonsils and adenoid removed today. It's been a long day, there's been a lot of snuggling going on, and there have been copious amounts (well, copious for a 2 1/2 year old) of jello and ice cream consumed. We tried popsicles twice, but she didn't enjoy those. What excited her most, however, were the bananas. Bananas!

Trying to settle in for the night now. Rest easy, my sweet M.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

He Read to Me

We received a set of BOB Books a few years ago, handed down from a cousin whose son is about 3 years older than Mister J. I found a second set this week at my church's consignment sale (and a third and a fourth, but I didn't get to them fast enough!), which I gave to Mister J this evening. I told him he could pick out two of them to read at bedtime. He was very excited about getting two stories! I left him to finish getting ready for bed while I read to Miss M and got her settled in for the night.

When I was heading back to Mister J's room, I was reflecting on some of the things I'd seen him try to read today. I decided to see if he could read the BOB Books. Y'all, he read them BOTH!

He needed a little help with words containing a short 'i' sound, but otherwise he was on his own. Wow! He was so proud of himself, and I was so proud of him, too!

I think she likes it

I picked up some new bedding for Miss M yesterday (along with a new bed frame and headboard at my church's clothing exchange; still need a mattress and box springs). I saw it at TJMaxx a few weeks ago, and decided on Wednesday that if it was still there on Thursday morning that I would buy it.

When I resist the initial impulse to purchase something I often find that when I go back to purchase it, the item is more 'perfect' in my memory than it is in person. My own mental 'fish story' of sorts. When I went into TJMaxx on Wednesday, I was not disappointed. In fact, I found another piece of the set that I hadn't seen on my first visit! Woo hoo!

The kids were with me, and were much more interested in the purchase than I imagined they would be. Miss M even wanted to carry one part of it around with her, but I was able to convince her to put it in the cart. She keeps asking to put it on her bed (which, for now is a toddler bed, so a twin bedding set is just a teensy bit too big). This evening, she started pulling it out of the packaging. I think it's rather cute that she likes it so much, so of course I have photos to share:

She's got her head on the decorative pillow, and she's covered up with the pillow sham. She wanted to pull out 'my big blanket' (the quilt), but I distracted her with KittyCat (who's tucked in there with her). She was just a little tired after a busy day at preschool and an afternoon run for a few groceries.

Thursday Thanks Tank #1

I found this meme over at Gravity of Motion, and have decided that I'm ready to give it a shot. Here are just a few things I'm thankful for this week.

1) A surprisingly good day with the family. I had expected just an average rainy day. This particular day turned out so nicely that I had no need for sunshine to lift my spirits.

2) Pix messaging. Ok, so I didn't use it for entirely honorable means in this particular moment, but I did send a sweet message to my sweetie when I sent him the picture of the doughnut that would be waiting for him at home.

3) Video Games. Seems unlikely, I know. I don't particularly enjoy them, but I'm thankful for the one-on-one time that Big J and Mister J have while they play. They are spending a little bit of time (around 30 minutes or so) a few nights a week playing video games together, and I can see that Mister J really enjoys showing Daddy how the games work and how much he's improving.

4) Snuggling with my daughter. Miss M has never really been a cuddler like Mister J was when he was her age. However, over the past couple of weeks we have been sitting in the glider in her room on the occasional day when she naps, and some evenings at bedtime. It only takes about 10 minutes for her to relax, and sometimes fall completely asleep. The sweetest moment was one night when I told her it was time to lay down in her bed and she asked to "lay down in the rocking chair" instead.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Top Ten Favorite Posts

Ordinary Extraordinary - A post about enjoying the simple things, like time spent together
Overheard...#10 - A "boy" moment, for sure!
Sweet Heart (aka Overheard #9) - My sweet Miss M has a heart for giving.
Overheard #8 - Just a little misunderstanding (and he still calls them 'porcupines').
Overheard #7 - I cannot deny it, she is growing up!
What are you waiting for? - Just another major revelation among the ordinary 'stuff' of my life as a wife and mother.
Shhh... - A total "awww" moment.
Patriotism - A big pride moment for Big J and I. This moment nearly brought me to tears.
Dough-NUTS! - Another pride moment, and a testament to the bond between my two kiddos.
A Tail of Epic Proportions - One of those 'when I look back on this in 10 years I'll laugh" moments.

Now is the point where I tell you I was encouraged to post because of a bloggy contest that's happening over at Barking Mad. There's a chance to win a $250 gift card to Target - but I enjoyed this little 'scroll' down memory lane way more! (Tag to Barking Mad's bloggy contest over there on the right...)

Pray for Us ... Pray for Others

I follow several blogs that include prayer requests or buttons, and found one today that encourages a community of prayer. Today, I posted my prayer requests there, and I want to share them with you.

Miss M is having her tonsils out on Monday morning. Please pray for us, and for all involved in her care. We will be at the hospital overnight, but are anticipating a quick recovery (and lots of popsicles!).

If you have noticed the new "Praying for Jonah" link on my blog, please follow it to learn more about the Williams family. Their son was born on Feb 27th with a rare, genetic skin condition. Please pray for them, too.

Please visit ...where laughter lives... for more prayer requests. It'll be updated often throughout the day, so keep checking back when you have a few moments.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oh, and...

We took down the last baby gate yesterday. Both of the kids have been able to open it for a while now, so it wasn't all that effective anymore. We might have kept it up longer if Mister J hadn't taught Miss M how to open it....

Plastic Wrap

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike plastic wrap? I can never get it to 'work' quite right, and end up throwing out half of what I pull off of the roll. Then I end up feeling super wasteful since it's not so environmentally friendly (and I try to be).

I despise plastic wrap.

That is all.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow MUCH Fun! - Updated

Greetings from our snowy corner of the world!

We got a lot more snow than our previous two snow days, but exactly what was called for on the news - about 5 inches. The kids, even in their rain boots, eventually ended up with damp socks. Miss M sunk up to the top of her boots when she went walking across a fresh area of snow.

We had fun out in the snow this morning, although it was still too dry and powdery to make a snowman. Daddy is working from home today, and was able to come outside for a few minutes with us. I'm sure we'll all head back out again in the afternoon. Hopefully by then the snow will have melted just enough to stick and make a decent snowman. It'll be a first for the kids, so I know they will be excited if it all works out.

I know the picture of Miss M makes it look like we were outside while it was snowing. It actually stopped before we got up this morning. The snow in her hair is from when she licking it off of the mommy-van. She looked up at me once and said, "Mmm! This tastes like ice cream!" At that point, Mister J decided he wanted in on the action, too.

We also played with the little sled I bought back when Mister J was just a toddler - about 4 years ago! Of course, both kids are bigger than the sled now, but we still managed to have some fun. Mister J tried to pull Miss M, but going uphill was a little tough.
I finished her trip uphill, then got some help from the ice and slush on the way back down with him in the sled. Oh, yes, it might be pretty and snowy on top, but underneath is ICE from a day and a half of rain and sleet. There have been a few cars and trucks up and down our street (no snowplow yet...), so right now there are slushy tracks that helped make 'pulling' 40+ pounds of boy and sled quite easy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Afternoon update:

After we'd had a chance to dry out and warm up, we went back outside. This time we had two things to do - make snow cream and make a snow man. I've never made snow cream before, so I was just as excited as the kids. Plus, I can't resist a new recipe! I gathered up all of the ingredients (well, except for the snow!) and we headed outside. I can't believe how well it turned out! (Nor can I believe how much it made!) I decided to try chocolate, and it tasted very similar to a Frosty from Wendy's. The kids enjoyed it, I think - but take a look at these photos and judge for yourself.

And, in other 'snowy firsts' news, we were able to put the kids' Snowman Kit to good use today! The snow had melted a bit, so it was finally sticky enough to roll into balls for our snowman.

Unfortunately, even though he was 'made in the shade' he didn't last very long, but Mister J and I were sure proud of him anyway!

Schools are closed again tomorrow - melting snow+overnight lows in the teens=icy, icy, icy! I know the kids are getting tired of being inside (even when we went outside today we didn't stay very long), so I'm going to pull out the paints and Play-Doh tomorrow. Lunch will be fun, too. I had already started packing the kids' LLBs in anticipation of a delay tomorrow morning (which would have meant an extended day at preschool, including lunch), so I'll finish packing them in the morning and we might even have an indoor picnic!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Overheard #15

It's snowing. After a rainy, sleety, generally yucky day, it's finally snowing. The kids are thrilled. Here are just a few things they said when we looked out and finally saw snow:

"It's a blizzard of snow!" - Mister J
"We can make snowballs!" - Miss M
"I can't wait to taste the first snow flake!" - Mister J
"I can not be--lieve it!" - both, a la The Little Einsteins

Of course, it'll be impossible to get them in bed. But, since school is cancelled, we can sleep in a bit. Still wondering if the dentist will be open....

sNOw - again

My goodness, it's March 1st and here we are, perched on the leading edge of what the news is calling a BIG snowstorm. I'm not a fan of the snow - haven't been since the first time preschool was cancelled due to the weather. Mister J actually gets sad about snow days. He doesn't like missing school, either. Add to that a busy week ahead, chock-full of appointments and things to do, and this potential for snow is pretty aggravating. Never mind that the kids are already annoyed by the 2nd rainy day that's kept them inside.

Mister J woke up this morning feeling a little crummy, so we stayed home from church (for the 3rd weekend in a row...). I fixed a light breakfast, let Big J sleep in, put some chicken chili into the crockpot, and snuggled with the kids for a good portion of the morning.

I had to head out to church this afternoon, and stopped by the grocery store on the way (after all, it's cold enough out there that the groceries were just fine to sit in the mommy-van for an hour or so). It was busy, but not overly so, and the lines were short. Perhaps most people actually believed the weatherperson and got their inclement weather staples yesterday. I can't believe I spent over $80 on four bags of groceries in a trip that lasted about 20 minutes. (Confession - I did pick up a pack of 4 pinch bowls to use in the kids' Laptop Lunch Boxes. Since I bought them at the grocery store they were a little on the pricey side, but I haven't been able to find them anywhere else on the beaten path, and I hate to pay shipping for online purchases. Perhaps I should have checked with Esbee first to see if she knows where to find them locally. Oh, well, they are mine now - and in fun colors that will look great in the LLBs!)

When I got home, the kids were bored with being downstairs and getting cranky. We sent them upstairs to find something to do - there were groceries to be put away, so I went upstairs and checked on them a few moments later. It seemed too quiet for them to be in the playroom.... Well, let me show you what I found - my two sweeties, snuggled in with their blankets:

Miss M has been asking me lately to rock with her for a while at bedtime - she calls it "laying down in the rocking chair."

The forecast is still calling for 4-8 inches of snow. In this part of the nation, that's a lot, so I guess I need to accept the fact that tomorrow's dental appointments are probably going to have to be rescheduled. Mister J will not be quite as disappointed about missing school if everyone has to miss. And, if it's snowing instead of raining, the kids will get to go outside and wear their new rain (um, snow) boots!