Thursday, July 29, 2010

Screaming Sarah's Rough Week and The Tale of Flippy McBedHog

Sarah had a rough start to her week this week. What started out early Tuesday as an absolutely GORGEOUS, cool morning, turned into a trip to the ER at 10AM. Shall I share?

This is what the sky looked like when I left the house at 6:15 on Tuesday morning to run - it was just so beautiful and cool, it was a really great start to the day! How could things go wrong, right?

So we left the house to get Evie to the pool for swim practice at 9, and I grabbed 3 Capri Suns from the fridge for the kids - 2 Cherry, 1 Kiwi Strawberry. We arrived at the pool and got settled in the shady snack bar area to color and otherwise entertain ourselves. William and Jason were drawing, and Sarah was playing a game on my phone. All was well until Sarah decided she was thirsty, at which point she threw a fit when she discovered she was stuck with the Strawberry Kiwi. Well - being Sarah, she chucked my phone to the ground and then threw herself backwards on the picnic bench, whereupon she rolled off onto the concrete - maybe a two foot drop.

Commence the screaming. I scooped her up out from under the table & sat with her on my lap, trying to soothe her and stop the crying. Since I didn't see anything wrong at this point, I asked her where it hurt & she pointed to her chin. There on the point of her chin was an inch-long split. Not very deep, and not bleeding much at all - certainly not like when Evie did the same thing maybe 4 years ago - but I've seen this before and figured it needed stitches.

Thankfully, Matt was home Tuesday morning & he was able to come get the other three so I didn't have to take the Fab Four to the ER (can you say 'worst nightmare ever'?) Also thankfully, my neighbor and fellow swim team mom, Kim, happens to be an ER nurse - she was at the pool that morning was actually headed into work at 11 so she helped us out while we were there - she even brought me some coffee, which I truly appreciated :)

We arrived at the ER around 10:20 or so, at which point they were a little backed up so we were assigned a room & told to wait a bit. Around 11:30, Kim numbed up Sarah's chin with this fab gel that makes getting stitches so much more pleasant, and brought Sarah some graham crackers and apple juice. So far so good!
At 12, Kent the PA came in and gave Sarah four stitches in her chin. She was a real trouper through the whole thing and only flinched a little bit on the last one. She only lost it and started crying when I, being the fantastic mom that I am, asked her if she wanted to see what it looked like and gave her a mirror. She was horrified, to say the least. I guess she thought they were permanent. When we got home, she was very relieved to see that Evie's chin only has a little scar & not these blue threads sticking out of it...and we are of course keeping it covered with a Band-aid so she doesn't have to look at them. Fair warning, the next picture up is of her stitches, in case you'd like to scroll past...

So 3 hours, 4 stitches, a Happy Meal and a Band-aid later, she's all happy again and back to her usual self. Do you think she learned anything about losing her temper? I seriously doubt it.
All she may have learned is that when you go to the ER, you then go to McDonalds and get a LPS giraffe to take home with you! Photo courtesy of Sarah.

The Tale of Flippy McBedHog

I've been getting a late night visitor. I'm not sure what it is about children and the magical age of not-quite 3, but it seems that THAT is the age when the night time wandering happens. I'm grateful we haven't had a repeat of The Apple Juice Story with anyone (clearly William is in a league of his own) but it seems that it's now Jason's turn to come hunting me down in the middle of the night. Because, and I quote, 'he just wants to sleep with me'.

I explain to him every night at bedtime that he sleeps in his bed and I sleep in mine, and every night he asks me to sleep in his bed. And recently, he's been waking up and crawling in with us sometime in the middle of the night. Which maybe I wouldn't mind so much if he didn't toss and turn and twist and push. But really? I get 6 hours pretty regularly and it's just not enough as it is, and to have to cart him back to bed and then try to wait him out & make sure he stays there is asking a lot.

Last night I made the effort & tucked him back in, only to have him back at my side 20 minutes later - at which point I gave up and just crawled into his bunk with him (thankfully, it's a full and not a twin so there was plenty of room). Matt came in and kissed me goodbye at 5:45, and I swear not 10 minutes later Sarah was up and crying, because she'd looked for me in my room & didn't find me there. So off we trundled back to my bed for whatever shut-eye we could manage for a few minutes. Until the alarm went off at 6:15 :(

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ramblings, and a request

Sometimes I sit down here to type something up and the words just flow and the story comes easily from my head to the keyboard. Others? I've got nothing other than a sense of obligation to get SOMETHING out there for the kind people who actually click over here daily to see if perhaps I have anything interesting to say (otherwise, why would you bother, right?)

Today is one of the days where I really don't have much of anything. I keep getting distracted by the playlist I've got running in the background :) I'm trying to come up with something to listen to while running other than the soundtracks to the Twilight movies - because while I like most of the music, it's getting a little repetitive. And I have who knows how many HOURS of music on my ipod, surely I can come up with something else to listen to (I told you I had nothing to say today...)

Anyway - it was HOT this weekend! Yes, I know I've been going on and on about it. The real kicker was when I got up this morning to meet my neighbor at 6:30 am to run and discovered it was 82 degrees. 6:30 in the morning people, and 82 degrees. Let's just say it was a really sucky run - 7 miles of sucky - Michelle, THANK you, if you hadn't been there I probably would have turned around at 1 mile and gone back to the house. Happily, we had a crazy windy storm blow through here around 3 this afternoon - the temperature dropped into the low 70's in less than an hour - and it cooled things off a bit. I am afraid to open the electric bill for July when it comes because I may keel over of a coronary.

In other news, Matt has me frightened of turning 40. My poor HH did something to his knee playing soccer Thursday night and things are not improving. We're hoping he did not actually hear a 'pop' at the game & that he will not need surgery. This is just a nice complement to the possibly herniated disc in his neck. He seemed to be fine and in good health up to 40, but it seems like things start to fall apart after that!

Anyway - here's the request part of today's post: Matt is a big fan of the show Mad Men (surely you've heard of it?) Well Mad Men is teaming up with Banana Republic for a contest where you can win a walk-on role for a season 5 episode. It's basically a popularity contest & then they take the top 10 men and top 10 women and vote it down from there to finalists who are then chosen by producers or something - long story short, click on his pic below and vote! Vote early and vote often! Really - you seem to be able to vote more than once, although maybe not at the same time. I also have the link at the top right corner here, so vote every time you stop by! Voting is open until early September.

Click me! Click me!
Who needs Don Draper when you can have Handsome Hubby?

And now for some more of the insanity that is the life of the at-home mom. Sorry for the iphone pics, but a lot of the time the camera is in the other room while my phone is, if not in my hand, close by (imagine that!) Note to self, make more of an effort with pics on the blog...

Sarah, circa December 2009
Just found this, still love it :)

I call this Butterfly Cowgirl in Sparkly Shoes.
Note the laundry for 6 in progress in the background.
Ignore the bag of bags on the floor.

Sarah riding her 'horse'. I'm pretty sure this was Evie's idea.
Yes, Evie is wearing the saddle from her toy horse.
I'm wondering when she will outgrow stuff like this.

And finally: Saturday morning it was SO hot (high of over 100) that we sent Dad off to the swim meet with Evie while I stayed home in pjs with the little ones - Sarah entertained me with a puppet show, and then Jason had to get in on it too. Sometimes I love my life :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hot Hot Hot

It's hot. And sticky. And my grass has dried out to the point where it's hay. Well, except for the green parts around the things I've bothered to water, and in the back it's still sort of green where the house shades the grass in the mornings. I'm sure after this weekend even that will be hay-like. At least Matt doesn't have to mow much, if at all. I'm tired of taking the time to dry my hair and then having it turn into a fro within 5 minutes of being outside - I think helmet head suits me better.

Small people are getting tired of each others company, and frankly I'm a little tired of theirs. You know how every once in a while you can just feel the rage bubbling through your skin? (talking to the ladies here...) That's where I am right now, it's like I'm at a simmer, and any little thing can set me off. Completely irrational, and completely out of my control. I've warned Matt that probably the best thing to do for the next week or so is just leave me be. And stay out of the way. Better for everyone all around. By next week I should be back to my slightly less bitchy self :)

Anyway. Can you believe it's nearly the end of July? I can't. School will be here before we know it. And yes - Sarah is still wearing pull-ups. In a fit of frustration I put her in panties at nap time & told her we were done with pull-ups. Guess what I found when she came out of her room later? Panties on the floor - she'd taken them off, put on a pull-up, then tucked herself in. She really wants nothing to do with them. I'm baffled. And so over it.

Okay I just played this song and feel so much better :) Listen to it while you look at some pictures from our visit with Matt's sister and her family! I don't have a lot because she was taking them all, and then I couldn't copy what she had - no cord & her card didn't fit our pc ports :(

Saturday evening we walked downto my favorite local restaurant to have dinner on the patio and hear some live music...
Sarah was freaked out by the musician & much screaming ensued, but thanks to Aunt Amy she settled down and actually enjoyed it.
Evie and Evan, tired after a long day.
William, who always somehow surprises us by being easy-going.
The table's umbrella made an amazing shadow on the wall :)
Sweet cousin MadelineGotta love a restaurant close enough to walk to...
Almost home...

Monday we took the day to drive into DC and do a quick visit. It's impossible to see everything in a few hours, but we hit some highlights and had some hot dogs from a street vendor. Have I mentioned that it's hot? It's hot. Really hot. Especially when you leave your stroller at home and carry around a 30lb dead weight. Hot.

Thankfully E&W were there to hold up the monument.

Matt decided it was a good idea to walk everyone down the Mall from the American History museum down to the Air and Space museum. Little Buddy and I decided to just wait for them at the Freer art gallery because you know, it's hot. And Jason won't let Dad carry him, he wants Mom. And Mom knows her limits. Mom is smart - the Air and Space museum is a LOT farther away than Dad thinks it is, but Mom remembers from the last time they were there...(have I told you it's really hot out?)
Jason had a lot of fun in the cool museum showing me all the pictures.
Once they walked back from Air and Space -which didn't take long as the bag-check line to get in was too long and they just turned around (I told you Mom was smart!) - we headed over to the Natural History Museum, where Jason and I looked at a few dinosaurs & then went and got some apple juice and a latte. Because really, he's 3, and it was nap time, and I was tired of carrying him, and I'm sure we'll be back someday when he might actually remember it a bit more.
After the History museum we headed back out of DC toward home, trying to beat rush hour traffic. Jason dozed off in the car, but Sarah amazingly didn't - I guess I need to come to terms with the fact that her napping days are numbered. Even with being busy and outside, she's skipping them more often than not recently, much to my dismay. I really relied on those 2 hours or so to regroup and have a little peace to myself. At least she stays in her room until the music stops. It may be time to make her a longer playlist....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

License to Ride - Or, the story about motorcycle class!

So I went on vacation this weekend! Well, not really, but it did sort of feel like it in a way - my sister-in-law, Amy, came up to visit with her family and we went to motorcycle class! How was this a vacation? I SPENT 15 hours AWAY FROM MY CHILDREN TALKING WITH OTHER ADULTS. Srsly. Matt and Amy's husband Marc had the 6 kids Friday evening, and all of Saturday and Sunday morning. It almost felt like I didn't see little Jason at all! Let me tell you about it :)

Late Friday afternoon Amy and I left the kids in their daddies' good care & drove to the Harley dealership where our class was to be held. The course is through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and they hold it up at the dealership. Clever, no? While you're waiting you can browse all the bikes and all the merchandise! (Need to go back and see if they still have that pink button-up shirt...) We wanted to be the first ones there because, as Matt knew from his experience back in March, when the instructor arrives for class he has the sign up list for the next day's session, either morning or afternoon - we definitely wanted to be in the morning class - it is July, after all.

So we were the first ones there & got our slots for the 7:30 am class Saturday and Sunday. Everyone else arrived and by 6pm we were ready to start. In addition to us, our class had one older married couple, 4 college-aged guys, a retired truck driver, an older lady who had a scooter, and two other women (nurse co-workers). We were relieved to see that we would be riding in the morning with the nurses and the married couple, and not the testosterone crew - one of whom would apparently do a wheelie the next day and put a big divot in the practice area.

Friday night was classroom time - we hunted for the answers to questions in our study book & then watched videos, followed by a discussion. Class was finished by around 9:30 & we then headed home to stress about the written test, drink a pitcher of peach sangria and get ready for the next day.
Amy, bright and early, pre-helmet

Saturday morning we didn't waste any time getting on the bikes - our instructor, Dave, was a really great guy who couldn't have been a better teacher, he really made it a fun, manageable task. Everyone was assigned a bike then we looked at all the controls and went over all the basics. Before long, we were in 1st gear riding from one side of the parking lot to the other. Before the day ended, we were riding in circles shifting from 2nd to 3rd. I wish I could remember everything we did Saturday morning, but honestly we were out there for a long time - 5 hours - and it was HOT HOT HOT. One girl was really struggling with the heat & we weren't sure if she'd make it through the day, but she did, and happily didn't have heat stroke - oy. At 12:30 the afternoon crew arrived & we all went inside to take our written test.
Me, not so early, post-helmet

Just like everyone said, 'don't stress the test'. You have to love multiple guess choice! 50 questions, choice of 3 answers, piece of cake. I was the first one done, and only missed one question. Apparently I'm a good guesser :) When Amy was finished, we headed back to the house and about collapsed - it was a physically and mentally draining morning. Of course, after being home for an hour or so I thought it would be a good thing to try to practice on my bike, you know, so I didn't forget anything - that was a mistake. My bike is double the weight of my class bike, and has nearly 10 times the power. I was really intimidated by it just sitting on it, let alone riding it. Matt insists that it's the right choice for me though, and will not even consider getting something smaller for me to practice on. Meanie :(

Anyway - we decompressed & had dinner out followed by yummy drinks at home - 1oz Vanilla Vodka & 1 oz Amaretto over ice in a big glass topped with sparkling lemonade (recipe thanks to a tweet from Connie) - and tried to get some sleep before Sunday morning.

Bright and early Sunday we arrived at class to find all our bikes waiting for us to ride them from the garage up to the practice area. Apparently I'd forgotten everything from the previous day and almost ripped my feet off trying to get the damn thing going in 1st (CLUTCH CLUTCH CLUTCH!!!) After that confidence-shaker, things went a little more smoothly & we moved through our drills until about 11:30 when Dave set up the course for our practice and then skills test. The test consisted of doing 2 U-turns inside a box, swerving at 12-17 mph to avoid an obstacle, stopping quickly without locking the wheels from 18-20mph (I think), and being able to negotiate a 135 degree curve at about 17 mph. Most everyone was struggling with the box, but as Dave said in practice, if you turn your head in the direction you want to go, everything else sort of follows along. We went through the course one by one practicing each task in a loop until it was test time, when we all got to watch one another. What a nerve-wracking experience that was. I thought I did pretty good until the curve when I had trouble getting the bike into 2nd gear, but that didn't affect my score. I lost points for taking an extra foot to stop on the quick stop and for not taking the curve fast enough - but I think almost everyone lost points for that.

Long story short, we all passed! Amy and I were pretty giddy and relieved that it was OVER and that we were successful. Never in a million years did I ever think this was something I would do, and I'm so glad I did it. It feels good to have gotten out there and accomplished something for myself unrelated to the care and raising of young children - this is something completely separate from them that I went out and did on my own, and it's been a long time since I've had that feeling. Now to get some practice on my big-ass bike and ride :)

Visual proof that I'm not pulling your leg.

The kids had swimming lessons last night and while I was waiting and chatting, Evie asked me to watch her do a flip - which I of course completely missed the first time, so she went and did it again. My jaw dropped to the pool deck when I saw her do a flip off the diving board into the deep end - I have no idea where she picked up THAT from! Needless to say, I grabbed my handy-dandy iphone and took a quick video of her next two flips. Clearly, this child is not related to me (although I do vividly remember her birth....) Take a peek, please:

Can you imagine? Maybe YOU can, but I can't - swimming always feels like almost-drowning to me, and hurtling myself through the air like that? Can't say I would attempt that. EVER. You go girl :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Ambulance Story

So I finished my bottle of wine earlier and Matt made me a Cosmo - here it is before I drank it :)

Yum! Can I just say that WOW the days are long and filled to the brim? Matt's sister is coming into town tomorrow (today by the time this posts?) so we were racing around like idiots trying to get the house presentable. Did you know that kids can't clean up? I moved the ottoman in the playroom back to where it belonged and uncovered a ton of crap that they'd left behind. And don't get me started on Evie's room, where guests usually stay. The girl is a pig - or destined to be on one of those shows about hoarders. Anyway! Something happened on the way to Hogwarts this week & I was inspired to share... (fyi, Evie, our resident Harry Potter fan, is attending a 'Hogwarts Camp' nearby this week - she's having a BLAST!)

So I hit an ambulance. No, not recently, this was a long time ago. I think the most awesome part about this story is the fact that I had JUST passed the test for my driver's license, back in January 1987. This is one of those stories that is pretty much burned into my brain.

It's January 1987, and I am a newly licensed driver. So new, in fact, that I don't even have my actual license, I have my learners permit with a stamp on it saying I passed the test and can now drive on the road with other people. This is all thanks to my soon-to-be BIL Joe, who was visiting my sister the week or so prior and let me take the road test for my license on his dad's Dodge Omni - thanks Joe! Now up to this point, my driving options were a 1980 Chevy Citation with a stick - I didn't master manage to drive THAT beast until a few years later - OR my late grandmother's 1969 Oldsmobile 98 - a true Land Yacht. Or, as we referred to it, The Oldmobile. So driving Joe's Omni was a breeze in comparison, and I was happy to pass my test in his significantly smaller ride.

This is not our Oldmobile, ours had 4 doors - I think. It was a long time ago :)

Fast forward maybe 10 days, and we're at church as a family on Sunday - Stephanie, my older sister, must have been home from college on a break, as we were all at church together, although for some reason had two cars there. After church my parents left in one car, we left in the Oldmobile. They assumed that Stephanie was driving. Stephanie thought it was a good idea for me to get some practice, and drive home from church! After all - how much trouble could we get into driving MAYBE 3 miles on a Sunday morning in January? Why are your siblings always getting you in trouble??

So one mile into our trip, maybe 2 miles from home, I'm headed up Dreher Avenue (for any potential locals reading this) in the Oldmobile with my sisters along for company and I approach the exit ramp for I-81. This next part happens in blurry slow-mo - there's an ambulance there approaching the exit ramp stop sign, lights flashing but I don't hear any sirens - what to do? Oh crap! He's pulling out in front of me! By the time I realize I should stop, and stomp on the brakes, it's too late - there's ice on the side of the road and we sort of slide slowly into the ambulance. It really was this slow, crunching, horrifying kind of experience for my 16-year-old self.

Well if you're going to hit something, it might as well be an ambulance, right? They were so nice - very concerned about whether we were alright or not - and of course they radioed the police right away. That was a lovely moment, handing over my stamped learner's permit to the police after sliding into an emergency vehicle on a winter morning - the ONLY thing I was grateful for was the fact that no one was IN the ambulance being transported anywhere.

So the police finished up what they needed to do, and we were sent on our merry (?!) way home to face my parents, who of course wondered HOW IN THE HECK it took us an hour to make an 8-minute drive home from church - especially since Stephanie was supposed to be driving? I remember confessing what happened and tossing my learner's permit on the kitchen table muttering 'here, I don't WANT it!' before heading up to my room to hibernate - or be horrified - whatever. I was sure I'd never drive again. (Even though the crunched fender I'd made on the LEFT side of the car now matched the crunched fender on the RIGHT side of the car that was courtesy of my father - Hi Dad!)

So what brings this up? On Monday, as I was taking Evie to Hogwarts Camp, an emergency vehicle came up behind my van, lights flashing, and I had to pull over to let him pass. And I had an adrenaline rush like you wouldn't believe. Any kind of flashing emergency lights - red, white, blue (curiously, I know better than to react to yellow) - even a sun reflection in the rear view mirror - sets my heart racing, stomach dropping, and I am in full on FLIGHT mode - like I've done something wrong (not that I've NEVER been pulled over for speeding...) Doesn't matter if my HEAD knows what the situation is, I have a completely visceral response to that particular situation and it takes a few minutes for my heart to stop pounding & everything else to settle. And every single time I think back to the ambulance, and the driver who we later found out had a reputation for being an aggressive driver. It is absolutely FABULOUS.
So my Matt's sister Amy and her family arrive today and this weekend she and I are going to learn how to ride motorcycles! I have to say, I'm very excited to learn how to ride my bike. We tried going over to the local school parking lot back in May to let the kids play on the playground while Matt gave me a lesson, but Sarah managed to walk into a pole or something and give herself a big goose egg on the forehead, so that ended THAT - so this weekend Amy and I will be baking in the sun in a parking lot in July for a few hours - think maybe I can lose a few pounds? Yeah, me neither...

Monday, July 12, 2010

A-hiking we will go - and a hummingbird

We went hiking! As a family. My compromise with Matt, as I'm not ready to go canoeing with S&J. I can hear them fussing now about the heat, the sun, the itchy life vest. Although Matt says the Shenandoah is about 2 feet deep and you can walk across it, I'm just not ready to go there yet. So hiking we went!

We live not far from the Appalachian trail so Sunday morning we drove up to the trail head and set off for Bear's Den, a 20 or 30 minute walk up to a rocky lookout spot. Now look- here's Jason walking with Dad:
And look again! Guess who gets to carry Jason!
Jason wanted to walk where it was flat and easy, but as soon as he spied any rocks it was 'up! up! carry me!' And of course, he doesn't want Dad, he wants Mom. Nothing like adding 30 lbs to your hip for a hike :) Jason had also decided last week in the 100 degree heat that it was too hot for him to walk, and I had to tote him everywhere. Because that's cooler, I guess? But back to our hike - not far up the trail is this nice board with lots of information about it and some neat tiles that kids had made to decorate the board with.
Along the way and up at the top where we stopped to rest Matt and I busied ourselves with taking pictures of our babies :)
It's beautiful up at the top, you can see for miles - facing west, back towards our town.
On the way back down, I managed to lose my sunglasses - they probably fell out of my pocket one of the many times I picked Jason up and down - but I found this!
He reminded me of Absalom from Alice and Wonderland - which then got me thinking about Halloween and what we're all going to be - we need to get started on that!
And now for what feels like our weekly wildlife update - I was getting some things for dinner together while Matt got the grill going when he called me out to the garage. Sitting up on the pully for my bike was a HUMMINGBIRD of all things! The garage door was up for a while yesterday afternoon and it must have flown in & not been able to figure out how to get out. They are SO SMALL! Or as Jason said, 'it's so tiny and cute!'
Matt, being Matt of course, rescued the bird from our garage with a toy net and took it outside. The bird kindly stayed put so I could take a few pictures before he flew off :)
Oh - and the BEAR has been spotted near the jogging trail over at the county park. So I don't think I'll be running around the path over there for a while - I hope they find him and relocate him soon!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How a Harried Mom spent the last week or so...

My wine glass is empty and I've had darn near half a bottle. The kids are sleeping, and Matt's off doing something somewhere with a friend, and I've fiddled away the last almost 2 hours trolling the internet, enjoying doing nothing and SO! Let's chat - how the hell heck did it get to be July 7th already?

It's been a busy, busy week and a half or so. Let me share with you :)

I received a surprise package in the mail from my nutty aunt! Yes, one of the packages was opened when I received it.
Who can't use an opened package of maxi pads?

William brought a 'dirt buddy' home from vacation bible school. He thought it would have flowers. Sadly, it's just grass. Maybe we can use it as sod once this heat wave we're having breaks, as our lawn at this point is crispy hay.
We had fun swinging at the park during the church picnic.
My Beauty. You can't see her temper from here.

I saw Eclipse twice - once at midnight last Tuesday the 29th, and then again the 6th in IMAX. TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY WORTH THE HOUR DRIVE TO SEE IT IN IMAX. I won't go into further detail because I think it irritates Matt, but he loves me anyway - as you'll see in a minute.
Me and friends who share my obsession - for the most part. Minus the friend who took the picture.

Evie had her first swim meet Saturday morning and had fun playing with her friends in between swimming...
and was SO COMPLETELY and totally excited to have won a first place ribbon for the relay :) Go Evie!

We had fun playing cards at the pool during swim team practice...

And I had a BLAST grocery shopping with Sarah!

The power went out Monday evening for 3 hours...if you 'embiggen' this picture and look closely, you can see the workers from one of the four trucks that was out there 'working' to fix our power diligently cleaning the windshield on their work truck. I think they cleaned it two or three times while we were watching...
Jason was super excited to get some Swimming Gobbles of his very own, to go along with his Baby Soup that he wears to the pool...
AND - we had a lovely July 4th weekend! With family! My younger sister and her family came to visit, and I was super happy to have my older sister's son come down too - it really tickled me that he wanted to come spend the 4th with us, and I hope he had a good time - I think everyone else did :)

My sister Becky :)
Or - this was a picture of my sister Becky until she asked me to remove it.

Her husband Steve, hamming it up for his wife who was having fun playing with our camera :)

The 3 youngest out of 11 cousins. Wonder what they're talking about.

Water slide fun

So that's what we've been up to! Sunday evening we had family and friends here for a cookout and then walked down to the county park to see our local fireworks display - there are definite advantages to living in Mayberry, even if you have bears and snakes and BATS (I found one next to the fence Tuesday morning, hissing at me after my run - what is UP with the wildlife around here??)
So Matt spent a week in Korea right before the 4th, and of course he came back bearing gifts! The kids each got pencil cases, which are apparently all the rage over there, as well as Pokemon stickers & others, and Jason lucked out with a Thomas train (Sarah was very envious...) Interestingly, Matt found it difficult to find things to bring back that were 'Korean'. Apparently, being 'western' is so popular there he didn't have much luck finding things that weren't either written in English or just some every day thing you could get here. Even the Thomas train was packaged in the US packaging, with one little sticker on it in Korean.

Before he left, Matt asked me what I'd be interested in having from Korea, and knowing that Twilight is big over there & Eclipse was just released, I said I'd love some Twilight 'crap', really thinking stickers or a button or something. Well I hit the mother lode - he brought me - and my friend Kerri! - back a copy of Twilight in Korean for us to add to our bookshelves - how cool is that?? I also lucked out with some green tea, ginseng tonic, and he also brought back some cookies and egg biscuits for us to try. Yum! Now look closely at the 3rd item in from the left, next to the tea in the yellow box...

And look! There it is again! Matt traveled halfway around the world and brought those cookie sticks back from Korea in his luggage, and here they are, on the shelf of a grocery store in northern Virginia.
I stopped in this particular grocery store Tuesday night to buy gummy bears and water to sneak into the Imax theater (they didn't have concessions, it was at the Air and Space Museum - yes, I'm bad, and yes I need candy to watch a movie) before we saw Eclipse. I knew there was a large Asian population here, but how crazy is that?? It's a small, small world...

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