Monday, August 30, 2010

Random post with no title.

After August's whirlwind of travel and back-to-school prep, I finally sat down and cleared off my DESK. Phew! I think I payed all the bills & dealt with most of what I needed to - at least I hope so. Maybe this week I can tackle something FUN! Like a project! Something to think about.

Evie and William went back to school last week and Sarah starts preschool on Tuesday. She is SO excited - I can't even tell you. Sarah is a girl of extremes - she is either shrieking in delight or hollering her head off because 'I'm trying to tell you something. No one is LISTENING TO ME!!!!' Sarah, we are listening - we just can't figure out what you're saying because you are SCREAMING it. But anyway. I was thinking about this very thing last week, Sarah and preschool, and I realized that this will be the first time in 5 years where I will only have one child with me, if only for a few hours. Not since Evie started preschool at 4, and I only had William for that school year, have I only had one with me. And technically, I was pregnant for half that year and carrying Sarah with me everywhere anyway, so I don't think that really counts. Although they are a lot easier to deal with that way. Less noise, anyhow. Moving along!


My neighbor and I are 4 weeks out from our half-marathon. What started out as a seemingly impossible goal now feels reachable - it's right there, I just need to grab it with both hands and hang on. Really - a lot about running is in your head. Granted, you do need to train and condition yourself - but I'm finding that on the days I set out to run 5 miles, 5 miles is about all I can do. Sunday is the day Michelle and I meet up early for a long run, and I think just by anticipating that it will be a long run ahead of time, you're more accepting of actually doing it. We've worked up to 10 miles so far, and will do 11 and 12 in the next two weeks before our 'race' on September 19th. I say 'race' because I won't actually be racing - more like hoping to make it to the finish to get my medal, ice cream, and free post-race massage. I wish they were doing post-race pedicures, because at this point I could REALLY use one. It's ugly. I was doing pretty well up to about 8 miles, but I'm getting runner's feet. Bleck. But back to the mental part of it - I'm at the point where I don't really feel winded, if I'm running at my own pace - so to add another mile each week is more of a head game at this point - you just keep going. Believe me, I'm glad to stop when we hit our goal, but I guess we're in pretty good shape right now. Too bad I haven't lost that 10 lbs. Or an ounce. Seriously. I'm thinking about cutting out sugar for the next 4 weeks (damn birthday cake!!!)

So I'm running, we're getting into the groove of school, birthday season at Harried Mom's house has begun- I still need to plan a friend party for William and Sarah is up next! - and fall soccer starts on Tuesday. I have to say, I do better with a routine and having at least some of the kids out of the house part of the day. When they are all here it's almost impossible to accomplish anything without constant interruption, and if they aren't interrupting you they're most likely doing something they shouldn't - and I never realize that until its too late. While Sarah is at preschool three mornings a week, I'll get to spend some quality time with this little guy, and I must confess - I'm pretty excited about that - he's a lot of fun to have around :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And William turns 7

Seven years ago today William came into this world. He had the benefit of not being the first, so I sort of knew what to do with him - as an infant, at least. Definitely not as overwhelming as the first, Matt and I were already 'experienced' parents - at least experienced with children up to not-quite 2. William joined our family on August 26, 2003, and thus ended Evie's only-child-hood! Poor William, with where his birthday falls, he's always headed back to school :) At least this year it wasn't on the first day, as it was last year.

Bright, shiny and ready to learn!
Back to school, 2010 - 3rd and 1st grade


The birthday boy always gets to choose dinner and what kind of cake we eat, and I think this may have been the 3rd year in a row we've had Broccoli Soup and Pepperoni Bread for dinner. Apparently, there is NOTHING William likes better than broccoli soup! He also picked out this cake from pictures I'd showed him, but I think he was most impressed with the fact that it was a four layer chocolate cake. He ended up with a fabulous chocolate cake with chips mixed in and peanut butter frosting on top! Thank you Laura for the cake recipe. And the frosting recipe. I tried hunting for the frosting recipe on your blog, but couldn't find it :( I think I ate enough of it to add another 5 lbs. But back to William!


William had a few small things on his wish list - a signature Webkinz, the K'Nex small roller coaster set, something called 'meade' (I have no idea what that meant) and Super Mario Brothers Galaxy 2. He and Evie have also expressed an interest in fushigi, but thankfully they've both forgotten about it! William almost NEVER asks for anything, never pesters us to buy things at the store, unlike She Who Shall Not Be Named Right Here - and if he does ask for something, it's a video game. So Matt and I tried to come up with an idea or two that he would really enjoy.

After some back and forth, we settled on some Heelys and an iPod and docking station. The Heelys were Matt's idea, and William seemed excited by them! Once he figured out what they were, that is - I think he thought they were just sneakers. I told him to read the box and he thought it said 'high heels' - I expect big things from his reading teacher this year :) Of course, they're too big & need to be exchanged, and of course it's all my fault, I should have KNOWN better and ordered the correct size to begin with. Jeez, Mom! Ahem. (And of COURSE, Evie wants to see if they fit her so she can just KEEP them! Why should she have to wait until her BIRTHDAY???) ok enough about her.

The iPod was a hit! I've been thinking he would enjoy one of these for a while. On the rare occasion I'm playing music that I like in the car, he'll always tell me when he likes a song that he hears, so I look forward to loading it up with music for him beyond the Spongebob Yellow Album and Other Kids Whatnot. Evie mainly uses hers for taking videos and listening to audiobooks, but I fully expect William to use his for music. The boy has an ear :)

I'd spent a few hours last night loading it up with some music, so it was all ready for him. He headed right out to the swing, iPod in pocket and headphones on, to swing and listen in peace while the other three played. Happy Birthday William, I hope you enjoyed your day!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I thought I'd start with this, because it makes me laugh! AND I've had too little sleep and too much wine, please prepare for a fairly disjointed post ahead:


So - there's a full moon today and school starts on Wednesday. Can you say 'the kids are acting crazy'? Is it just mine? Lots of bickering, raging, and crying going on. My smallest people no longer want to take naps - sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, sometimes they alternate days, which makes me NUTS because I usually plan to do something during that time - silly me - and I know this will be a big adjustment for me. I think I finally showered at 10 pm tonight. Oy. Moving along:

William has a birthday on Thursday! He turns 7 , and as my mother was here to visit this weekend and he had a Webkinz on his list, we took him shopping for one so he could pick it out! (Evie always has a particular one in mind - William always just asks for 'a Webkinz') He chose the Signature Tabby Cat and decided to name it Jack - I have no idea why.

Mom was also kind enough to buy him one of the Amazing Hamsters - are these on your radar yet? Evie's been asking for one for weeks. In fact, when we got back from the store & she discovered that he had one - which we KNEW would set her off - she actually packed a bag and left the house. No idea where she thought she was going, but William told us she'd gone out the front door & Matt caught up with her walking down the sidewalk, backpack in hand, packed with the following:
She had a book, her blankie, crayons, a dream catcher, pajamas, and 6 pairs of panties. Clearly this was a well-thought plan (at least she had plenty of clean underwear!) Matt told her that when the police stopped to question why she was walking down the street alone, he was going to say he didn't know her. She promptly turned around and came back to the house.

Now check out my newly inherited chair:

This used to be my great-grandmother's! My mom brought it with her this weekend as she no longer has space for it & I was more than happy to take this small, sturdy chair off her hands. At some point I'll get around to either making a new slipcover or reupholstering it, but right now I can't imagine when. The kids think it smells 'minty' - it does! - and Jason was so funny - after mom and her husband left this morning, he was very concerned that they'd left their chair behind - doesn't everyone travel with their own furniture?

Things have been just crazy here since we got back from Florida. We actually vacationed a week earlier this year than we have in the past, and I can't imagine how we pulled that off, rolling right into a new school year, William's birthday and soccer season. I'm feeling pulled in a thousand directions as it is, and I've had an extra week to get ready. That said, I'm working on being more Positive, Productive, and Harmonious! Believe it or not, this comes from a classmate of Evie's - we were at a lake last Tuesday and I overheard him saying it to his older sisters and it REALLY struck me. It's my new mantra! So far I'm still yelling, but I'm working on it. That's all we can do, right? Try to improve. Speaking of improving, my motorcycle? Still scary - went for a short ride about town on Sunday, lots of stalling and a BACKFIRE - ALRIGHT! But - I do actually WANT to get back on it again and try. Tomorrow is another day...
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After my last post about our Florida trip, there was some talk in the comments about a blogging gal's non-BlogHer-type get-together one weekend in Savannah, which I personally think is a FANTASTIC idea! So - if you're interested, please email me with 'Savannah' in the subject line at girlyshappymom at yahoo dot com and let me know. Maybe sometime in the spring (May?) or next fall? Right now I'm just trying to gauge interest and see what time of the year might be best. So let me know!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Traveling Jen, A pictorial - Or, A Harried Mom's trip to NY and FL

Hi! I'm back :) I think. I'm having a hard time stepping back into reality, seeing as how I left on August 5th for Blogher and returned home on August 15th from Florida. I actually COOKED dinner tonight, if you can believe it! I also went to buy school supplies & didn't realize I'd left my wallet at home until everything was on the belt and rung up, but hey - what do you expect from a Harried Mom?

Anywho! I spent the last 45 minutes uploading pictures from my travels, because I feel really really bad that the 76 people who check in here daily haven't had anything new to read in over a week - so go fill up your coffee mug/wine glass/flask/what have you while the pictures load, and then sit down while I tell you my tale...

BlogHer 2010, August 5-8th, NYC

BlogHer was interesting. I won't say too terribly much about it, because Laura has already said pretty much all of it here. Really? I went up to meet Laura and get away from my family for a weekend. We spent 2 days taking lots of pictures of ourselves, eating (well - I ate, anyway) and walking around the city. Can I just say - I love New York? I was really freaking out about driving myself into DC to get the train - alone! - and then getting a cab to the hotel - but I managed to do it all, and I had a fabulous time. Seems like a lifetime ago already! Here's just a few pictures, and some commentary. I've discovered I take really lousy pictures with my little camera, and really need to drag the big one around. Next time!

Laura and myself at the Newbie (Nudie?) Breakfast
Tropicana sponsored breakfast, and brought Bruce Jenner! No Kardashians in sight.
The Keynotes were good, conference sessions were a yawn for a little fish like me.
Laura made a friend in Vincent the Bartender - I think he's sweet on her!
I stopped by the Harley store and grabbed a T for Matt...
We scored some swag from the BlogHer sponsors (OMG there was so much FOOD there!)

We drank some wine...this is probably the best photo I took
Laura and Sarah took me to SoHo for dinner!
and I drooled over all these desserts.

New York was a whirlwind last minute trip and I'm SO glad I went! Thank you Matt for always pushing me outside my comfort zone :) I learned that you really can find people that you connect with in BlogLand, who could possibly be lifelong friends; I also learned that there are a lot of interesting people out there with all kinds of different blogs, and more than a few moms willing to spend 2 days in a hotel at conferences with babies under 6 months of age. More power to them, I couldn't do it!

I didn't seem to manage to get to sleep before 1am while in the city, so Sunday the 8th was a long one for me - I caught the 8am train back to DC & was home by 1:30pm, just in time to do laundry and PACK for our trip to Florida! Wheeeee!

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Orlando, FL August 9th-15th

We managed to get out the door by 9:20 on Monday; the plan was to stop in Savannah overnight, so the drive was pretty manageable, split over two days as it was. For anyone who hasn't done a long road trip with small kids, it is NOT as bad as you think it is. The potential is definitely there for some horror, but we've always found the kids to be pretty pleasant. Sarah did ask a million times when we were going to be there, but over all it wasn't bad. Except for the thousand potty stops.
Evie and William had a DVD player to share
Jason getting ready for a nap
My traveling buddies :)

Somewhere in South Carolina near the Georgia border we decided to stop for dinner. Looking at the nearby restaurants in the GPS, we thought Longhorn sounded like a great option! Note to anyone traveling this way, do not confuse THIS:
with THIS:
They are two COMPLETELY DIFFERENT restaurants. One has a scary salad bar, the other doesn't! One has lots of dust and dead spiders, the other doesn't! (I could go on and on...) I blame the 15 hours of sleep I'd had in the past 4 days for the fact that I actually allowed my family to eat there. Matt chalks it up to part of the traveling 'experience'. Thankfully no one got sick :)

We escaped the Long Horn from Deliverance and headed to our hotel outside of Savannah for the night, where my children attempted to lope around and jump on beds. I'd planned a tiny bit ahead and gave the girls glitter toes to keep them calm while Matt dealt with the boys. The following morning, we headed into Savannah in search of breakfast and The Bird Girl!Borrowed picture from here Check out the link for the history of the statue.

We arrived downtown and I was just enthralled with all the Spanish moss dripping from the trees, and it was a perfect, humid Southern summer morning.


While we were there I dragged Matt and the kids to two different cemeteries before realizing that the Bird girl had been donated to a museum years ago. Oh well :) At least breakfast was worth it!
William and his stack of sugar packets and jelly

The iPhone, being considerably more helpful than the front desk clerk at the hotel, led us to B. Matthews for breakfast, a highly rated eatery! The kids noshed on banana bread french toast while Matt had shrimp and grits and I had Mamey's Omelet - YUM. I will be headed back to Savannah in the future, to explore the squares and eateries sans kids - someday :)

Back on the road, I amused myself with the camera and internet while Matt drove.


We arrived at our rental house Tuesday afternoon and settled in before our trip Wednesday morning to see the Mouse. Can I just say that when we were approaching this...
I got all teary-eyed and choked up? Which is odd, because I don't perceive myself as being sentimental. But there you have it. Maybe I was crying because in the back of my mind I knew we would soon be waiting in this big crowd to get the monorail into the park:

It took us an hour to get from the parking lot to the ticket windows, onto the monorail and into Main Street. The kids didn't seem to mind though :)


And we're here!

I wish you could have heard Sarah's gasps of delight at all the sights she was seeing - that alone made the trip all worth it :) Jason was SO excited when he saw Goofy posing for pictures outside Pirates of the Caribbean!

That said - Disney with a not-quite 3 and 4 year old involves spending a lot of time snacking, using the potty, and purchasing drinks and snacks that the 3 yo won't eat, which was frustrating. Splitting up for some of the rides was also a bit of a hassle, but the Magic Kingdom is an easy place for families with young kids to be while waiting for older kids to ride a few of the more exciting rides.






So we arrived at the park at 9:08am, and we were on our way back to the van at 10:30pm. I think it's safe to say a good time was had by all! Evie and William weren't so keen on Disney before we arrived, but by the time we left they were loving on Mickey Mouse :)

Thursday we spent the day in the pool at the house, and I think we wore William out:
We had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in downtown Disney & I think I consumed an entire week's worth of food in one sitting - loved the nachos!


This is William's angry face :)

Friday we went to Universal's Islands of Adventure and my camera battery died after taking 5 pictures - I swear I'd checked it the night before and it was fine, but I guess that's a lesson learned. I'll say this - Universal did an AMAZING job recreating the world of Harry Potter - just amazing. Unfortunately, everybody and their brother was there to see it with us. It was very crowded and difficult to maneuver around that section of the park with strollers. The shops were almost unshoppable because of all the people. I'd like to go back in 5 years and see it all again, once the novelty has worn off. The rest of the park? It's not Disney. You can smoke and drink beer, and they are not as meticulous about picking up the bits of trash on the ground and the Dr. Suess section looked like it could use a coat of fresh paint. The Magic Kingdom, in comparison, was SPOTLESS.

Saturday we spent the day at the house relaxing and enjoying our last day. My best friend from college came over to visit and we sat around the pool playing. Sarah is still asking when we'll see Miss Michelle again :)

William, emptying the pool using a noodle on the outflow jet
The big 3 playing ring around the rosy

And in the blink of an eye, it was time to come home! We drove through some pretty heavy rain Sunday afternoon, but I did spy this interesting sight:
Looks like my kind of place!

...and I spent most of the 3 hours that I drove struggling through this:
Amazingly enough, Matt and I traded out driving around 5 pm and lo and behold, the sun came out again. Figures :) That's ok though, he got to drive through rural Virginia on twisty roads at 10:30 at night when all I wanted to do was jump out of the van and run away screaming - I think 12 hours is about my max on any given day. We managed to drive straight through and sleep in our own beds that night, and Monday morning when I woke up and didn't have to get in the van to drive 5 more hours, I was very grateful - we survived!

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