Snapshots from a Monday

I've seen "day in the life" posts, but never done one myself.  My Monday was a fairly balanced day (now shoveling like today), so I thought I'd give it a try.  It still turned out pretty boring, but here's a glimpse into a typical Monday...

Breakfast of champions...banana bread & diet coke.  Everyone had been talking banana bread this last week and I had 3 pretty ripe bananas, so I made some bread Sunday morning.  Yum!  By this time of day, everyone is up, ready & eating, except me.  So I eat, throw on some clothes and we head out to school.

Three kids in three different schools.  I spend a fair amount of time each day right here.

9:30 AM
Unpacking the necessities from quick errands.  I got just a few food things from Target to get us by for a couple dinners so I could save my big grocery trip for later in the week.

10:30 AM
Therapy and exercise (as fast as possible) so I can make it out the door to pick up Olivia on time.

11:30 AM
Mom of the year...Liv gets lunch in front of the tv (lunch with "The Street") & I spend a half hour on the phone making dentist, doctor, & mammogram appointments for me and the kids.

12:30 PM
Quick lunch for me while I plan out a new project (yes, I bought out the felt department) for EJ's birthday.

1:30 PM
Shower and normal clothes for me...finally!  Of course that also means that the cords/electrodes have to go back on (uck!).

2:30 PM
In front of the tv (currently hooked on Brothers & Sisters on Netflix), beginning the other project for EJ's birthday...5th times a charm on this one (I hope)!

3:30 PM
Dance class for EJ!  Yes, I forgot it was dance day, so she wore jeans to school and class...I tight-rolled them for her at least.

4:30 PM
Back home for homework/reading.  Just below there feet is my laundry to fold while EJ reads (no one needs to see our undies) and then we moved it into the kitchen for dishwasher unloading.

5:30 PM
Dishes while dinner cooks...I was really just heating dinner in the oven, so it seemed like the perfect time to catch-up on the Sunday dishes that I had left to rot on the counter (so gross!).

6:30 PM
It's after dinner.  Livie is the last person at the table...staging a sit-in as usual.  I seriously don't know how this child keeps growing because she certainly never eats dinner.

7:30 PM
Waiting for Jack to get done with baseball practice.  I finished my other book (kids' books are quick reads), so I brought a new one.  Didn't start it though...too busy watching batting practice.

That's all the pics I have for the day.  The rest of the night included getting kids to bed, more crochet and my other Netflix habit, Freaks and Geeks (I feel like I have missed a lot of great series when they originally aired)...and no snacks.  I'm still being good about that, but man, does it suck!


We had a lot of fun this weekend, but my absolute favorite thing was going to the play Pinkalicious with EJ and Olivia.  Grandma got us tickets for Christmas and the girls have been anxiously awaiting the big day.  They dressed all in pink (most girls there did the same) and we headed out for a "past their bedtime" night out.

The play was really a musical, so there was lots of dancing and singing.  The lead actress was young and I was super impressed.  I have no idea how much they rehearse, but I'm guessing a lot!  Wow!  The  girls had a blast (the bottom pic is before the play began and the top two are during intermission...I think the smiles say it all) and did such a great job that they earned special treats after the play ended.  It was so late that we closed girls for sure!

Thank you for a very special night with my girls, Mom!!!

Quick Quiz on a Snowy Day

We got a little snow last night and there is supposed to be some more coming this afternoon.  While I am actually out running errands today, I am thinking about being snuggled up inside the house.

So, some questions about days at home...

1. What movie must you watch whenever you pass it while flipping channels (even if you own it and have seen it 5000 times)?

2. What is your favorite treat food?  No matter what time of year, it's your go-to treat.

3. Slippers, blanket, or both?

4. Hot cocoa, hot toddy, or wine?

For me it's...Clueless, ice cream, both, and wine (or hot cocoa if it's before wine o'clock).

Stay warm this weekend!

What's Going On

Not too much craziness going on this week (just the normal amount), but I thought I'd share some random thoughts starting with the photo above.  On the way home from school, the girls spotted 10 deer right along the side of the road.  They were across the street from a river and we've seen one or two there before, but a pack of 10 was pretty spectacular.  We hung out until the crossed back towards the more protected side of the road and it was so cool to watch them!

EJ's birthday is coming up and after a couple of years of nothing, we agreed to a friend party this year.  She is so excited and so we have been planning away.  The always awesome nellie*design (check her out folks, she rocks) designed fun invites as well as a lot of extras.  We are hosting it away from our house (huge YAY from me on that one), so I don't have to do as much as usual, but am still shopping for some fun things for the favor bags.  I put out an APB for some cute (the perfect) crayons I could not find locally and luckily I was rescued by Alyson, Cyndi & Cathy.  Thanks gals!

I baked chicken breasts tonight.  I know this sounds like nothing to most of you, but I absolutely hate touching raw chicken.  Words cannot describe how much it disgusts me.  So sure, Matt had to move it from the packages to the pan, but I cut it up and shredded it (still can't get over the KitchenAid shredding easy)!  And now I have the chicken all ready for 3 recipes.  My family will be in shock!

Speaking of shock, I had to have an intervention with myself.  After surgery/recovery time, vacation eating/drinking, birthday & valentine's treats, and my wine o'clock habit, things were not good.  I am never at a skinny weight (and that is fine with me, because I like food and treats and drinks, and it's a price I'm willing to pay), but I was entering "not fitting in my pants" territory and that ain't good.  So...I have spent the week eating reasonably-sized meals, not snacking between meals, skipping dessert/no late-night ice cream, & forgoing wine/beer with dinner.  I'm not liking it so much!  Especially because I got a lot of treats for my birthday that are calling to me from the pantry.  Hopefully, I'll fit in pants again soon, so I can go back to my wicked ways (with a little more moderation).

I've been doing a new volunteer job at EJ's school the last few months.  I work in a (big) closet/storage room that everyone there refers to as "the Taj Mahal" (so you get the idea of how glamorous it is).  They worry about me because it's cold in there and I work on my own, but I have to be honest and say that I'm loving it.  I'm organizing books...what's not to love?  I like having volunteer gigs at both of the schools that are outside of the kids' classrooms.  It's nice to spend time there and have a chance to show your face and be connected to the teachers, but not crowd the kids too much.  Both of the big kids love having their private space at school.  It's fine for me to visit, but they don't want me in their way.

Last Saturday, the kids had a mini-session with the always awesome (very glad to call her friend) Robyn Vining/Ticklebugs Photography.  I love every single photograph!  I think I finally know which ones I'm getting to hang on the wall, but it was a tough call.  I never imagined that I would get so many images that I love this much.  If you're looking for photographs, Robyn is magic!

Finally, I don't know if I mentioned it here, but our washing machine took a dive two weeks ago.  We ended up having to buy a new one (which is fine), but it's on backorder until next week.  So, I've been putting in some time at the very conveniently located neighborhood laundromat.  It's actually nice to run 3-5 loads of laundry at one time and then dry them back at home.  I just wish I wasn't paranoid so I could leave the laundromat while the machines ran.  I heard way too many laundry room horror stories in college and I don't want to come back and find all my bras stolen from the machine (yes, that truly did happen).

Snowflake Blanket

The snowflake blanket is done (WIP here) and the first thing Livie wanted to do when she saw it was to snuggle up in it.  And then she didn't want to take it off (it is a warm one), but I talked her into it so I could get a few photos of the finished product.

Pattern - Art of Tangle
Hook - H (I crochet tightly)
Yarn - Red Heart in Shaded Dusk & White

Obviously, this blanket is in need of some blocking but I literally ran out of time.  My Aunt's birthday is January 6th.  I delivered this blanket on February 15th.  It was a time-consuming project, but the detail is gorgeous.  I especially love the edging...simple, but it adds so much.

Have a Heart...

Happy Valentine's Day!  Hope everyone takes time to let the people you love know how much you love them.  We'll be celebrating tonight with our traditional heart-shaped pizza (you can't beat tradition) and then a long weekend hanging together (in between conferences & our usual running around).

Valentine's Day is all about the hearts, right?  I read this post yesterday written by a woman awaiting a heart transplant.  Matt and I are both organ donors...we've marked our driver's licenses, we've told family, we've put the information in our living wills...but we missed a step.  If you are an organ donor, please click here to add your information to your state's organ and tissue donor registry.  And if you are not yet a donor, please read and consider giving someone a second chance.

Valentine's Day Is Coming!

It's coming, it's coming!  There are hearts everywhere in our house (which I love, especially when they are candy hearts) and everyone is getting in the spirit of giving things to others on Valentine's Day to make them smile.  Livie gave me this giant perler bead penguin this week.  I don't even know how long it took her (or how Matt has learned to iron multiple boards together), but it's really brightening up the dining room.

We've got the kids' Valentines all set for school too.  Have you seen the straws that turn your milk chocolate or strawberry (there are little beads inside the straws)?  They are kind of cute as is, but Auntie Sandy designed the coolest card for them and made them so awesome!  I love that they are big kid enough for Jack, but the pink version is super cute for EJ's age as well.  Seriously, I think these are so great (and Jack absolutely loved them too...he may have grinned ear-to-ear when he saw the design).  Thanks so much Sandy!

We also made up some little gift packs for some special teachers (current and past), as well as the Grandmas.  Nothing crazy...just some treats to let them know how much we value them!

Happy Valentine's Day!  We're celebrating tomorrow with class parties and heart-shaped pizza and cookies...and then a long weekend too!  Hope everyone has a fun day!

My spine...

Yesterday I had my 3-month post-op follow-up doctor's appointment and it's crazy to think how far I've come in these three short months.  It seems like a million years ago that I was wearing a neck brace & compression socks, sleeping in a chair and drinking through a straw.  Things are so much easier these days...I'm driving comfortably, I "graduated" from physical therapy, and most of my restrictions have been lifted.

The last big thing to get rid of is my brain stim machine (the lovely cords you see in the pics above).  They drive me batty (they don't stay on and the machine itself is the size of a 1990's pager), but I will be wearing them for another two months.  It's easier to do now because the other day we saw the full bill for my surgery (think of the most astronomical amount you can...then triple it!) and I got, yet another, reason why I don't want to do this surgery a second time.  It's not too bad, right?

I think when these cords come off I'm wearing every necklace I own one time...Mr. T style!

Post title is a reference to a running joke my brother and I have had for years.  Just so happens that it's his birthday today too!  Happy Birthday little brother!!!

Being read to...

We do a lot of reading in this house.  And a lot of being read to by others as well.  In fact, as we get more independent readers in this house, I think the amount of reading to others grows.  So, as I was reading this past week, this really jumped out at me.

"When you read a book, the story definitely happens inside your head.  When you listen, it seems to happen in a little cloud all around it, like a fuzzy knit cap pulled down over your eyes."
-Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Enjoy the weekend!  I hope you have time to snuggle up with a book yourself, or even better, have a little person read you a story or two.

Work-in-Progress Wednesday 31

It's been awhile since I posted a WIP Wednesday.  Between my surgery and secret holiday projects and therapy time, there has not been a whole lot to post about.  This project was supposed to be a secret holiday project (for my Aunt's birthday on January 6th) but that didn't quite work out the way I had anticipated.  So...I'm still trucking along and my end of January deadline has passed me by.

But all of these have been made...

And almost all of them have become these (I have 10 left as I type this post)...

And I even sewed in ends and made one strip (one of 9)...

I'm really hoping that I'll be able to post the finished project next week (Friday would be awesome, but it's also a pipe dream).  Then it's on to even bigger top secret projects for my girls' birthdays (but those are only secret to them, so I'm sure I'll be sharing as I go).

The pattern for the snowflake blanket is here.

Reading List Summary, January 2013

Mom's List
Eight Keys (Suzanne LaFleur)
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend (Matthew Dicks)
Talking With My Mouth Full (Gail Simmons)
Falling Together (Marisa De los Santos)

Jack's List
The Kid Who Became President (Dan Gutman)
Lunch Money (Andrew Clements)
NERDS: The Cheerleaders of Doom (Michael Buckley)
The Talent Show (Dan Gutman)

EJ's List
Sam and the Bag (Alison Jeffries)
B is for Books! (Annie Cobb)
Mouse Makes Words (Kathryn Heling)
Slower Than a Slug (Larry Dane Brimmer)
A Dog for Each Day (Lynea Bowdish)
Dixie (Grace Gilman)
Friends for a Princess (Melissa Lagonegro)
Mouse's Hide-and-Seek Words (Kathryn Heling)
Ducks in a Row (Jackie Urbanovic)
Boats! (Shana Corey)
Scat, Cat! (Alyssa Satin Capucilli)
The Sad Princess (Lynne Benton)
Old Mo (Stacey W. Hsu)
Pet Costume Party (Gwendolyn Hooks)
Pirate Pickle and the White Balloon (Ann Burg)
Funny Lunch (David Catrow)
Carl and the Baby Duck (Alexandra Day)
A Bed Full of Cats (Holly Keller)
Election Day (Margaret McNamara)

Family List
Penny and Her Doll (Kevin Henkes)
Animal Baths (Bob Barner)
Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band (Kwame Alexander)
A Visit to the Airport (Sandra Ziegler)
Going on an Airplane (Fred Rogers)
Your First Airplane Trip (Pat and Joel Ross)
The Princess and the Pig (Jonathan Emmett)
Oink-A-Doodle-Moo (Jef Czekaj)
Goldilocks and Just One Bear (Leigh Hodgkinson)
Meet Me at the Moon (Gianna Marino)
Rabbit's Snow Dance (James & Joseph Bruchac)
Don't Copy Me! (Jonathan Allen)
Bea at Ballet (Rachel Isadora)
Slippers Love to Run (Andrew Clements)
Little Mouse's Big Valentine (Thatcher Hurd)
Crafty Chloe (Kelly DiPucchio)
Foxy (Emma Dodd)
Valentine's Day (Dana Meachen Rau)

Some thoughts on the week

-The boys got haircuts last night and at the last second I realized that Liv really needed her straggly hair cleaned up (big time).  I was shocked that she agreed to get hers cut as well at the "boy place" (and thereby missed out on a fancy bow and spray glitter), but she was down and she did a great job (and her hair looks so much healthier too).

-Which leads me to my next thought...we were all at the haircut place because my kids will drop whatever they are doing to go with Dad to get his haircut.  What makes them run for this outing?  A free sucker.  A Dum Dum actually, which is basically the cheapest sucker out there.  Mind you these are the same kids who still have Halloween and St. Nick's candy to eat (including the same suckers).  That doesn't seem to matter to them at all!

-Today is February 1st!  This makes me excited because it's my birthday month (as well as the birthdays of a couple VIP friends and my baby brother).  We're also starting Valentine's Day fun and have a lot of fun things on tap in general.  Yay!

-I've been eating my body weight in Anjou pears this week.  I love them in the salads I've been making EJ & I for lunch this week.  Don't worry, I'm not going all healthy on you or anything.  I've also eaten my body weight in the sour cherries shown above (I love them even more than pears)!

-I "graduated" from PT yesterday and I am so glad to be done!  I still have to do my exercises at home every day, but I won't be getting the deep tissue massages anymore.  Why am I excited about this again?  Oh yeah, no more crazy co-pays!

-I spent most of this week looking for an app that I could customize for EJ to practice sight words.  I have her lists, but it's only specific ones she needs to work on from the Dolch lists (and the next set is bigger words not on the lists at all).  In the end, I found one app that I could work with Sight Words by Photo Touch (it's free in the app store).  It's a little labor intensive to set-up but nothing too terrible.  The app has the set Dolch lists, but allows you to make custom lists as well.  You type in your words and record your voice saying the words with the word list.  The only big issue is that you need a photo to go along with your word or you don't see anything on the screen.  I typed the words into Word and then did a screenshot of each to use for the photos.  I will probably try to make them a little prettier in the future, but for now, EJ's screen looks like the pic above (yet another screenshot while she played yesterday).  The best part of the app is that you can record sounds for the positive reinforcement part.  So, every time EJ gets a sight word right, she hears me, Livie or Jack saying fun things like "Awesome!"

-Today Olivia is off of school, so after our volunteer gig, we're heading out to Grandma's house to deliver some GS cookies.  Liv is super excited to show off her hair and I'm super excited to see my Mom (it's been way too long)!