Friday, September 30, 2011

A Letter To My Girl

**This post is for My Girl.**

Dear Sweet Girl,

I want you to know that when you came home yesterday devastated, that I too was crushed.  It pains my heart when you hurt.  I know you had your heart set on getting a part in the school play, and even though we talked about the possibility of it not working out, the thought never crossed your mind that you would have to cross that bridge.  I'm so sorry that life's path isn't always as smooth as we would like it to be.

Can I tell you how proud I am of you, though?  I am so proud that you were brave enough to even try out!  I am so proud that when the drama teacher came over to apologize to you about not having enough speaking roles, you quickly shut off the tears, looked her straight in the eye and said, "That's OK.  I completely forgive you."  After that, no more tears.  You continued on in practice and found a way to have fun, even after feeling hurt and rejected.  I am so proud that after we discussed the pro's and con's of staying on with the show, despite not getting what you wanted, you decided it would be better to go on ahead, have fun with your friends, learn some new things, and stay loyal to your commitment.  You are demonstrating such courage and perseverance.  What blew me away the most was later last night, when we said our prayers, you thanked God for the opportunity you had been given to be apart of something so fun.  You thanked Him for helping you to understand and not to be sad anymore, and then you asked Him for His help.  You asked if He would help your heart learn to love whatever job they gave you.

There are no words to describe how I felt.

Since you have accepted Christ into your heart this past summer, I can see how He is changing you and growing you.  To be thankful in a time of hardship is an amazing example of being Spirit led.  Relying on Him to grow your heart to desire His will, is far beyond your years. 

I want you to know that He sees you.  He sees you yielding to Him and His ways, and He is glorified by how you are dealing with this.  These bumps in the road, while they can be difficult and hard to understand, they are part of life.   You have chosen to deal with this bump wonderfully. 

I am so very proud of you.


 "The LORD your God is with you,
   he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
   he will quiet you with his love,
   he will rejoice over you with singing."

-Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

Monday, September 26, 2011

Do You Hear That?

I know that some of you that read this blog live very far away from us.  Alas, I still think if you stop what you are doing right now, and concentrate really hard on listening, you will hear a faint far off noise.  It will kind of sound like a weird sucking noise.  You know, the kind of sucking that happens as a drain gets close to emptying the liquid contents of whatever it's attached to.

Do you hear it?

That is our bank account, people.

The last few days have been expensive.  First, the dog.  She had her surgery on Friday.  Poor girl was terrified when we dropped her off at the vet in the morning.  I couldn't help that she thought she must have done something in the night to suddenly make her people hate her.  First, there was no night time snack.  Second, when she got up to get a drink, there was none available.  Then, no breakfast, and last, when she tried to sneak an apple from the trees in the back yard, BUSTED.  As I dropped her off for her surgery, I felt horrible that we not only had to with hold all foods and liquids for 12 hours previous to her surgery, but then I had no way to explain why I was going to abandon leave her at the vet where she would be put into a deep sleep and then wake up completely groggy and discombobulated and at the same time have horrible pain in both her eye and leg. Don't forget, the teeth!  Somehow she got fresh breath and lost those pesky teeth that were not only slowing down her meal times but also made keeping fresh breath impossible.  I just wanted to sit her down and somehow explain to her that we loved her and we were helping her.

I am certain that she did not get the message.

She spent a few days totally ticked at us.

Or ticked at the cone they put on her head.

Or both.  It's hard to tell.  But she was ticked.

I was ticked too.  You should have seen the vet bill!  Good grief!  Next time those vet people give me a hard time about not bringing her in more often, I now know how I will answer back.

It won't be very nice.

And it will involve how much they charge people who are vulnerable.  People who are put in between a rock and a hard place because they love their pets and feel like total schmucks if they don't take care of them the way they are told to take care of them by the vet.  However, the cost?  I think I do not speak alone when I say that vet bills can give a perfectly healthy person a heart attack.

Then today, I was told she needed to come in and have a post-op check.   Sounds pretty normal.  I mean, I've never had surgery myself, but I have heard how important it is for humans to have post-op checks.  It's probably a good thing to make sure all is going well and there isn't some sort of complication or infection setting in.  Guess what?  That will be an additional charge.  Oh, yes.  It sure makes it difficult for responsible pet owners to want to do the right thing by their pets.  I can't tell you how badly I want to cancel that appointment.  I know that if I do, though, something will happen, and I'll never let myself off the hook.  The good news?  It's free for us to have the stitches removed.

Gee, thanks.

Later today, after the kids had come home from school, The Little Man was watching TV.  All of a sudden, he's all, "Oh WOW!"  Mommy, my tooth just fell out!"  I was a little shocked considering, the tooth wasn't really loose.  He had complained that it was hurting him the last few days, but as I looked at it and saw nothing that would suggest a problem, I just told him not to worry about it and to eat on the other side of his mouth.  I did notice that the front tooth that was next  to it (and that was attempting to grow in)was awfully large for the space that it was given. 

Well, sure enough.  That front tooth?  It wanted to move in, and it made room for itself.

That space you see there, it's supposed to be big enough for TWO adult teeth.  Can you see how the gum is actually coming down in the shape of the new tooth?  So, then you can see how much space the tooth next to it (the one that just fell out) will have.

Houston, we have a problem.

It looks like we will have a lot of time (and money spent) in the orthodontist office.

The Girl, in an attempt to tease him, was telling him all about his future in braces.

d: You're going to have to wear braces.  You're going to have to wear braces!
p: What?  (and not a "what" like I didn't hear you, but more like a "What?  Are you talkin' to me?  Did you just try to tease me?" type tone)
d: HA! You're going to need braces!
p: What?  You've never heard of Invisalign?  DUH!  I'll get Invisalign and it won't be a problem.  I'll take them out whenever I want to!
d:  (Dumbfounded and shocked.  No response)
me: (Dumbfounded and shocked.  Laughing and refraining myself from giving The Little Man a high five. Well played, Little Man, well played.)

Invisalign, braces, whatever.

Do you hear that sucking noise?

Yea, me too.


Monday, September 19, 2011

The First Day of School and Nine Other Things

Do you see what happens when I blog (almost) four days in a row?  I was exhausted.  Not really.  But that's the excuse I'm going with.  I have a lot to catch up with, so the easiest way for me is a list.

1)  First up, the kids started school.  About a month ago.  The feelings of guilt that I have had about not blogging about their first day yet have plagued me.  For a while I think that I actually convinced myself that I had actually blogged about that day.   You would think that since it was The Little Man's first day of Kindergarten, that I would have gone on and on about it, but since it went off so smoothly, I guess I didn't feel too much pressure (obviously).  I did take pictures, and have been keeping a mental note of all things note worthy since the first day.

Here they are:

Don't even get me started on how grown up The Girl looks, and my sweet Little Man?  Poor dude had a horrible cold for his first day.  He had such a good attitude though and was super excited to start at his new school as a Kindergartner.   Until we got in the car.  Then there were some tears again.  I kept it together though, for the both of us.

When he came home he was so happy, and told me all about how he didn't even get lost once and he was able to find his carpool line really easily.  I guess that was what all the tears were about in the car as well as the night before.  Poor guy was scared silly that he was going to get lost, and that that car ride to school was the last time he was going to see his family.  Once he figured out that he wasn't going to get lost, he was all good.  He was even comfortable enough to start complaining about stuff again, you know, like homework and the uniform.  (Side note: Never once has The Girl complained about her uniform, but The Little Man?  he complained five times in the first eight days of school.  I thought for sure since he was a boy he wouldn't care.  I thought wrong.)

The Girl started her 3rd grade year without a single bump.  It was smooth sailing for the four year veteran of the school.  She was excited to see her friends, to start a new year of learning, and to meet her new teacher.  For the first time in her lengthy academic career, she's been assigned a male teacher.  I thought for sure it would freak her out, but she was really excited about it.  Turns out, many of her friends were also assigned to the same class, making starting the new year even more exciting.  Speaking of exciting, she was elated to find out that they now have a drama club for third through fourth grade.  You used to have to be in fifth grade before you could try out for the school's Dinner Theater group.  She's been anxiously awaiting the day when she could be apart of this group.  Come to find out, her wait is over (kind of).  She is currently part of the drama club and will be trying out for Annie Jr. in the next few days.  She is very excited and really loves drama so far.  I love that she loves it.

2) Speaking of activities, we are in full swing around here.  We had a small hiatus after school started, but beginning last week that hiatus came to an end.  We are now juggling school and homework with swimming, drama, and BSF.  It actually hasn't been too bad.  I realize it's only been a week, though.

I was killing myself trying to make the activity count equal between the kids.  The Girl is participating in both drama and swimming, but The Little Man just has swimming.  I thought for sure that I should find him something else to do because he would notice right away that he's only doing one thing while sister is doing two.  I looked everywhere for something that was both affordable and worked in our schedule.  Finally, I had an "ah-ha moment" and realized that not everything needs to be "Even Steven".  Turns out, The Little Man could care less that he doesn't have a second activity.  Besides not caring, I don't even think he's noticed.  Maybe Kindergarten and swimming are enough for him right now.

3)  Just when we were falling in love with our dog again (you know, after years of barely noticing her due to having little babies that needed tons of attention and care), we found out that she has a tumor on her leg.  Of course, I just assumed that it was no big deal and didn't even think twice about asking The Girl to accompany me to the vet's visit.

Great job, Mom.

So, my sweet tender-hearted girl was sitting there hugging on our dog as the vet told us that he thought it could be serious and we should have it looked at.  On the way home she asked me if I thought the dog had cancer.

Dang it.

I'm not ready to explain this to the kids.  My own heart hurts as well.  I can't imagine what theirs will feel like.

She goes in on Friday to have it removed and biopsied.  I'm praying that it's benign, and I don't have to explain anything.  On the good side of this, while she's out getting the tumor removed they're also going to brush her teeth.  Fresh breath for the pooch is always a plus.

4) The Little Man just learned how to jump rope.  I don't know what is cuter to me: his crazy body movements or his giant grin as he makes it over the rope one more time without tripping up.

5) In other Little Man Accomplishments, he officially can run the TV, Blue Ray player, DVR, and OnDemand like no one's business, proving that remote control ability is innate in the male species.

While trying to get ready for the upcoming Biggest Loser season, I found that my DVR was almost completely full.  Which would have been totally awesome if I wanted to catch up on Phineas and Ferb, Tom and Jerry, Star Wars the Clone Wars, and Scooby Doo.   When I asked him about it, he just said he needed to make sure he wasn't missing any of his favorite shows while he was in school.


6) The kids are in L-O-V-E with Tom and Jerry.  And I am in L-O-V-E with the fact that they love it.  I have been known, on occasion, to kick off the old flip flops and settle in for an episode or two myself.  I love it when an episode comes on that I can remember from my own childhood.  I also love that I don't have to worry one single bit that there are any distasteful words or inappropriate body part/function jokes, you know, since no one talks at all.  No, when I hear the full on belly laughs coming from the living room, I can rest assured no one has made a fart/butt joke, but instead that Tom probably just got annihilated by Jerry.  So much better.

7) I recently became a subscriber to Door-to-Door Organics, and I love it.  I had heard about this company a few years ago when my sister-in-law tried to convince me it was the best thing since sliced bread.  I wasn't sold.  I mean, I like to be able to pick out my own produce, you know?  What if I got all sorts of nasty bruised apples?  And there's nothing worse than getting over ripened fruit.  I like my produce the way I like it, and that means I need to pick it out.

Well, I got a Groupon that made trying Door-to-Door ridiculously cheap, so I grabbed it and tried them out.  I am a little embarrassed at how giddy I was, and the amount of happiness I felt when that first box arrived.  I brought it inside and opened it.  Awaiting me was all sorts of delicious and beautiful organic fruit and veggies.  It was like Christmas.   It was food that I didn't have to shop for.  Since I don't get milk from the milk man, this whole "food to your door business" is new to me, and now I love it, and look forward to Thursday afternoons like they are some sort of food holiday. 

8) In other food related news, our garden is on it's way out.  I can't say that we had a very stellar year, either.  I don't think I can do another garden for a while.  It's fun,  the kids really do love it, and, heck, I love growing our own food and feeling like we are eating for free, but it's also a lot of work.  I feel like there should be an equal proportion to the amount of work put in to the amount of food brought out.  Granted, it wasn't quite as horrible as last years crop, but it certainly wasn't great either.  In fact, I'll be surprised if I get a single edible squash.  Also, why in the world did I NOT plant zucchini?  Seriously?  All I want are some delicious zucchini and chocolate chip muffins, some zucchini bread, or Parmesan zucchini sticks.  But, oh no, I had to plant the squash this year.   I think I was all, "Variety is the spice of life!"

No, actually a good zucchini muffin is the spice of life.

Lesson learned.

If we have a garden next year, it will be only because I convinced The Hubs to install an automatic drip system.

9) Speaking of baked goods, this whole summer the kids and I experimented with all sorts of new dessert recipes.  It was so fun, and so good.  Now that schools back in session, I've slowed down quite a bit.  We got to try all sorts of goodness, and I think our favorite was the Almost Too Much Chocolate Chocolate Cake with Satiny Chocolate Glaze.  We made it for The Hubs' birthday.  The kids have both requested it for their birthday's now as well, and I'm trying to find any occasion I can make that puppy for.  It was so good, but so bad.  The only bad part about our fun times baking, is that I am now paying the piper, and am having to count every last calorie that goes into my mouth.  Thank goodness there's an app for that.  It's ugly.  And hard.  But I'd probably do it again.

10) You may be wondering (or not) where I was getting all of my delicious recipes from.  Well, have you heard of Pintrest?  Um, you should check it out.  But be careful, you will be addicted.  I love it way more than Facebook.  Why?  Because I would rather find an amazing recipe/craft/photography idea/decor idea/cute product/fashion/must have hair cut any day over reading strange status updates from people I barely remember and/or haven't spoken to in over a decade.  Don't get me wrong, I love keeping in touch with people, but knowing all the details of someone's potty training accomplishments (and/or not), leaves me feeling like I could be spending my day doing something else.

Like finding the best desserts I have ever made.

Or pinning up ideas for the office that I may or may not ever re-decorate.

Hey, it's always good to have a plan...even if you never use it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Last Bite

So Labor Day weekend kind of halted my blogging mojo.  I was doing pretty good there for a couple of days, though!  I need to finish up this trip to Boston so that I can blog about other stuff.  Possibly more important and even more interesting?  Nothing is actually coming to mind right now, but if it did, I would need to have the Boston trip finished before I could start something new.  I'm that kind of gal.  I like to finish things/things to be finished.

When we last met, we had traversed, on foot, much of downtown Boston in our flip flops.  After coming home and resting our "dogs", we enjoyed sleeping in very late again.  The next day (and our last day), we woke up to clear blue skies, and much warmer temperatures.  We considered heading back into downtown Boston again to try to catch a whale watching tour, but thankfully I listened to the voice that was screaming inside my head telling me, "ARE YOU CRAZY LADY? NO!  Just chill and relax your last hours here!! PLEASE!". 

So we did.

Something really cool, that I haven't shared yet, is that my sister lives only four houses from the beach.  Yes.  Four houses.  Do you see why having rain for the majority of the trip kind of put a damper on what my sister and I had planned on doing while I was there?  

Speaking of the rain, I guess when it rains in the Boston area (maybe everywhere else too?) it really increases the amount of bacteria in the water (I'm not really sure about the science behind this, sorry, no explanation).  So gross.  All that to say, there weren't too many beaches nearby that were considered "safe" to swim at.  Including the one down the street from her house.  However, the beach by her house also had a lot of rocks.  These rock formations made great places for tide pools and all the stuff that The Girl loved so much the last time we hit up the beach.  So, despite the "No Swimming Due to High Bacteria Levels" signs we ventured onto the beach, not to swim, but to find stuff.  Any kind of stuff. 

(A little Hermit Crab)

Turned out, it was a BLAST!

My sweet compliant boy posing for the camera!

My sweet girl, showing off some of her loot:

The Little Man making it out to the highest point:

It's not as much fun unless sister joins in too:

Back on the beach we searched for sea shells.  The Little Man wanted any kind, but The Girl, after taking some time to consider things, decided to only collect the ones with holes in them so that she could turn them into a necklace when she got home.  So creative, that girl. 

I thought for sure that the kids would give me a fit about not allowing them to go into the ocean to swim, but they never did, and had a great time.

(I am sort of dying about this picture being taken at high noon.  No pretty light, and harsh shadows.  Boo.)

Yes, we did quickly wash up after this little "incident":

After letting the kids down, yet again, because I wouldn't allow them to bring their Hermit Crabs home, we headed back to the "Bungalow" to clean up and catch our plane.

The flight home was just as smooth as the flight there (Thank you Harry Potter), and soon enough (well as fast as five hours can go), we were back at our little "Bungalow".  We were tired, but thanks to our late nights and even later mornings, no one showed any signs of jet lag. 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

I've Got More Where That Came From!

Are you still with me?  I can barely follow along with where we are, so if you are keeping up, nice work!

After wrapping up our day in downtown Boston, we thought it would be fun to take advantage of "Tax Free Days".  We had a coupon for a chain restaurant that was close to where my sister lived, and more importantly, somewhere she could get to without needing me to navigate.

I guess I am not very good at navigating.

Normally, I would refuse a chain restaurant on a vacation opting for more "local fare", but we had a coupon AND this particular chain is not in our state, so it kind of was like "local fare" in it's own way.

This excursion didn't end up so well.

Food wasn't the best I've ever eaten, but edible.  However, the worst part was that The Girl accidentally ingested peanuts.

Yes, my daughter who is anaphylactic to peanuts ingested peanuts.


Not really.

The good news is, she knew right away what had happened.

The bad news is, I didn't really believe her.  You see we were at a pizza place, and there was nothing on the menu that had peanuts in it.


I thought she was kind of being dramatic to a bad stomach ache.


Anywho, the good news is she is just fine.  We completely drugged her up (per doctors orders) for 24 hours until the food she ate had passed.  Also, in other good news, the restaurant that we ate at is now aware that the dipping sauce for their Avocado Egg Rolls has peanuts in it (they were completely oblivious to this prior to our visit).  Hopefully, they will now put a disclaimer in their menu for that.

Needless to say, when we woke up (extremely groggy from checking on her every four hours) the next day and saw that it was raining cats-n-dogs, we weren't too disappointed.  We were feeling pretty lazy, and The Girl was wiped out from all the Benadryl coursing through her veins.   The Little Man?  Not so groggy, and not feeling so lazy.  So, for a couple of hours we try to come up with something to do while it poured rain and everyone (except him) was tired.  We decided to hit up a cheap movie theater and see Rio.   This worked pretty well, but for obvious reasons, I did not take any pictures this day.

You're welcome.

We woke the next day much less groggy, the rain had stopped, and we were all done administering enough Benadryl to put an entire block asleep.  All that to say, it was a new day!

We thought it would be fun to take in more of Boston's sights and planned to go to the aquarium, take in some whale watching, and then some of the historical sights that I had filed away previously on the Duck Tour.  You know, when the dead kazoo duck bill things weren't blowing in my ear.  Again, we decided the train option was our best choice.  And it was.  Oh, it was.

However, when we got into Boston, we found that all the whale watching tours had been canceled.  Apparently, the storm that brought us all the rain the day before was making the ocean a little less than favorable for viewing whales.  Although we were disappointed, I was thankful that I saved my money instead of paying for a morning of barfing.  Anyway, there was the aquarium with an IMAX theater.  It was all good.

I think that was the plan of everyone else in the Boston area as well.

To say that the aquarium was a little packed is an understatement of grand proportions.  I did get this cute pic of the kids before we went in, though:

Also, we did get to see a very cute movie about orphaned animals called Born to Be Wild.  Ironically, The Girl, had mentioned before we came to Boston that she wanted to see that movie.  So it was perfect.

After we ditched the aquarium, we thought it would be nice to take in some of those historical sights of Boston. If I had to do the trip all over again, I would have arranged a tour with one of those dudes who dress all historical and talk in an English accent and walk you through the Freedom trail.  We thought that would have been too much for the kids, though, since The Freedom Trail is two and a half miles.  No, instead we paved our own path through Boston.  Sometimes covering The Freedom Trail, sometimes taking detours (and maybe picking up pastries at Mikes Pastry).  Instead we trekked closer to SIX miles. 

In our flip flops/Crocs/sandals.

Yes, the kids were tired.

Yes, the adults were a little worn out as well.

The Little Man cracked us up when we got back to the "Bungalow" and he said he needed the couch to himself because he needed to stretch out since "His dogs were barkin'".  I love that kid.

We did get to see some cool stuff, though:

A little North Church action:


The Little Man and The Girl balancing themselves on The Freedom Trail:

Paul Revere's house:

More Paul Revere:

Inside the North Church in one of the pews.  I never knew that the pews back in those days were like little closed in box areas.  You used the same pew every week (you had to pay for it) and you could even decorate it like you wanted!  How cool is that?  Anyway, the reason for that is they couldn't heat a church as big as the North Church so instead people just heated their pews.

Here we are on the U.S.S. Constitution:

Reliving their duck boat driving days:

At this point we decided it would be best to try to get back to the "Bungalow" so we could clean up and grab a nice dinner after all the walking we had done.


We underestimated how long it was going to take for us to walk the almost two miles we had traveled from the train station.

So, we missed our train and it turned out the next one didn't come until around 7:30 putting us back at the "Bungalow" at around 8:15 and, thus, missing dinner.

So just like the day before, we flew by the seat of our pants, and instead did dinner at a little Mexican place in Quincy market.  I'm sad I can't remember the name of the place, but the chips, salsa and the margarita my sister and I split was just what the doctor had ordered.  Happiness returned to everyone, and we did some shopping there in Quincy market before we nearly missed the next train.  I was surprised at how fast the kids could run.  Especially since we had some ground to cover.  Again.

Good times. 

You can't say we didn't get a work out in while we were gone, though.  I just didn't know I would do it in flip flops.

Next up: we take a break again and soak up the beach one more time before heading back home.