Tuesday, December 30, 2008
So, we got 2 of the same floor puzzles for the twins and I knew that one of them was purchased at Toys 'R' Us and also 2 Sleeping Beauty DVD's. Off I go to the store to make an exchange or get a gift card. With the girls birthday coming up in just a few weeks, it's not like I'll have any trouble spending it! Whoa...nice try! Game over. Toys 'R' Us apparently will not take back ANYTHING without a receipt. Period. And if you do have a receipt, it will be credited back to that person unless they paid cash.
They then proceed to tell me that they can look up the purchase if I have the phone number of the person who purchased it and around what date. Luckily, I had my sister with me, who was able to supply mister-grumpy-pants-customer-service-yeah-right-rep with my sister-in-laws # and the day it was purchased on. Nope. Nothing. He says it never happened. Sister tells him it was right here, in this store on Nov. 27th. Sorry. Take your stuff and leave. You're getting squat. Be happy you have 2 of something instead of nothing! AAARRRRGGGG!
Target and Meijer are the same way now, or so I've been told. Wal-mart appears to be a little better-if it has their sticker on it, they will give you a gift card without a reciept. Now, I understand where the stores are coming from to a certain extent and I realize that theft may play a role in this as well, but I am returning something that is NEW, unopened and not seasonal. They will sell it again and I am going to be spending that same return money in their store and most likely more! It seems like a no-brainer to me...now I just have a bad taste in my mouth and will reconsider shopping there in the future. Does anyone else run into this problem? Is there some other way around it? Sell it on eBay, you say? Good idea. At least I can get something for it rather than a snotty CSR telling me to take my business elseware. Fine. I will!
P.S. Thanks...now I feel much better!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
We had a lovely Christmas at home with the girls Christmas morning, promptly followed by Christmas with my family over at my brother's home at 9:30am and then over the river and through the woods to my Grandparent's home for Christmas at 3:00pm. All the food was great, the gifts never-ending and the time with family was priceless. Every member of my immediate family was in attendance! The girls did really well and we had almost no conflicts the entire day-a real Christmas miracle!
The dollhouse that Lauren and Tara got from Santa was by far the biggest hit and they haven't stopped playing with it since. Mike and I both received many of the things on our wish lists and couldn't be happier. You know, I do enjoy opening gifts but what I really like is watching other people open theirs. There's just something about seeing smile, after smile, after smile in succession-you can't help but be touched by the joy they are radiating. It's just plain wonderful. I love Christmas. Yes, I do!
***I'll try to get some photos posted of the girls opening some of their gifts in the next day or two, so stayed tuned!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
All of our presents are wrapped and under the tree, with the exception of the gifts Santa is bringing for the girls. The stockings are hung and there is a serious layer of snow on the ground. We should be all set to enjoy a wonderful Christmas Day together with our family-something that I look forward to every year!
So to everyone out there who reads this little blog, Merry Christmas! May your day be filled with the Wonder and Joy of the Season!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Ha! No way! Next was Lauren at 12:30am, then Tara, then Lauren....you get the picture. I ran out of sheets and blankets and pillowcases sometime around 3am and had the laundry going full throttle. Mike was a big help, as always, and finally took over the process on his own after 3am. I was starting to have a serious breakdown by that point.
It's now 9:30am, both the girls are up and snuggled up together on the couch. I am afraid to give them anything to eat and I know that every parent goes through this dilemma at some point or another. Small sips of water seems to be staying down ok, so I think we'll stick with that for now. Now the waiting game begins to see if Mike or I are next. We're still not sure if it was food poisoning (they both had the same dinner and lunch) or something more severe. Please keep your fingers crossed for us that this is the end and we'll all be healthy enough to enjoy a wonderful Christmas!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday's snow was so deep that people all over the city were getting stuck on the side streets. With 1-2 inches falling per hour, the plows just couldn't keep up! Mike and I helped several people in our neighborhood get home, even towing their cars with our Yukon. We let several neighbors borrow our 10hp snow "thrower" (as Mike likes to call it) and dug others out. It was crazy but also a good way to come together, reconnect and lend a helping hand.
We got Mike's parents off to Florida yesterday, after the second attempt. There were so many flights canceled and delayed and rerouted-but I think they finally made it to PCB! And I couldn't help but check out the forecast for down there-Thursday, December 25th...78 degrees!!!!! Now that would be weird....but I think I could handle it!
The girls are really chomping at the bit to get outside and play with all that new snow but with wind chills below zero, I don't think it's going to be happening any time soon. But I'll get the scarves and hats for the snowmen ready anyway-just in case!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The girls have their Christmas party at school today and I am in charge of the games. How do I get roped into these things? I came up with one where instead of passing the "hot potato", we are passing the "freezing snowball". I went out and bought one of those bath-scrunchy-thingamabobs in white to make a pretend snowball-it's soft and easy to catch so I figured it would be good for minimal injuries! We are also going to go "ice skating" using paper plates. They have to skate around the room on their skates/plates slowly or quickly depending on the speed of the music! This should be good...
Quickly, on a health note, I spoke to the Dr. yesterday and I am being referred to a Hematologist. He just wants to make sure that I don't have any other factors that are causing my blood to clot abnormally, such as Factor V (one of the substances involved in coagulation (blood clotting)). He was not happy about the clots still remaining in my lungs and neither am I. So, I'll keep my chin up that everything will work itself out in the end, like it always does!
And lastly, I got my Christmas present from Mikey early. I got to upgrade my cell phone to the new LG Dare! It's so cool! It's all touchscreen and easy to use, although I still have to do a lot of playing around with it to make it mine. I really liked my Razor but this phone is 10x better and the sound quality is awesome, which is the most important thing anyway! Oh happy day! :)
Monday, December 15, 2008
I just couldn't wait any longer to post one of our Christmas pics. I did the Photoshop stuff myself. No sense paying an arm-and-a-leg for the service when I can do it myself! Plus, having cute subjects to work with helps too!
The girls had their very first Christmas Program at Church yesterday and it was the cutest thing I have ever seen! There were about 50 kids, all 3 or 4 years old, and they did several songs and recited several passages with actions. Just adorable! It also helped that the girls were in the front row, so it was easy for our entire family to see them. I already can't wait for next year's performance!
We also celebrated Christmas early yesterday with Mom and Dad Brace since they are going to be spending Christmas week in sunny Florida. It was strange to be doing it so early but once we were all together, we just fell into the normal swing of things and it was great! Tara got her longed-for scooter and Lauren was so excited to get an Easel. It also gives them something to play with before Christmas gets here, which is kinda nice. As always, Mike's parents were WAY TOO GENEROUS-Mike received the new desktop computer he has been wanting and I was surprised with a new Digital Camera and the latest version of Photoshop! Yay! Photography has become a great outlet for me and a fun way to de-stress. I can't wait to get them both up and running!
**and as a side note, if you're not in Michigan to experience it yourself, it was 48 degrees here last night with scattered showers and we now have 35 mph winds, snow and it's 16 degrees, with a wind chill of -4. Nice, huh? Burrrrrrrrr.........
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Logically, I have to think that if it was really serious, I would have gotten a phone call and had an appointment set up to talk about it. As of right now, we are just supposed to "discuss" it at my next monthly appointment. On the other hand, I can't help thinking that this is not good. Did you know that 15% of all sudden deaths are caused by Pulmonary Embolisms? What am I DOING! I'm starting to scare myself for no reason! Plus, my appointment isn't for another week...great...another 7 days to think and fret about it. Arrrrgggg...why can't anything be easy?
WAIT...I do know something that was easy! Getting our Christmas pictures taken last night was EASY! The girls did fantastic and our family photo turned out really nice as well! I will post some once I get the cards out-don't want to spoil it for anyone! ;)
That's all for now...gotta go pick those little munchkins up from school. I wonder what they made for me today? :)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
We did some much needed cleaning this weekend and have more to do this week. Our goal is to get the house ready for Christmas and our New Years party as soon as possible so that we can enjoy our space even more. Do you ever think about your space? Are you happy with it, what's in it, how it looks, etc? I do not do a very good job of keeping things neat and tidy and this effects my home-my space. I want to work harder to remedy that and we've made a good start-the 2 biggest rooms are done and the kitchen (ahhhhhhhh!!!!!) is next! Be afraid....be very afraid...
We get our annual Holiday Portraits taken tomorrow evening, which is good because I really want to get our cards out by next Monday. Please keep your fingers crossed (like mine) that all goes well and the girls cooperate. They usually do a great job but once in awhile, Lauren withdraws or Tara turns sour and it's all over. Lucky for us, we have a SADIE'S here in Grand Rapids (there are only a handful in the US) and they are the BEST! They do make it hard for kids not to have a great time...and hard on my wallet too! :)
Countdown til Christmas: Only 15 Days Left!!!!
Friday, December 5, 2008
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? -Both. I really enjoy making my gifts look nice on the outside, too!
2. Real tree or Artificial?-I prefer a real tree but with the little ones, the artificial works much nicer!
3. When do you put up the tree? -1st Week of December-usually! Ha ha ha...
4. When do you take the tree down? -Sometime in January when we're bored and tired of looking at it!
5. Do you like eggnog? -Nope.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? -A baby doll with all her accessories in a little wicker suitcase.
7. Hardest person to buy for? -My Brother!
8. Easiest person to buy for? -My girls...they're so easy it's hard not to go overboard!
9. Do You have a nativity scene? -Yes
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? -Mail of course! We have to support the USPS some how!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? -Hmmm...how do I answer this...who's reading this blog...just kidding! It would have to be a computer game about trains that Mike got me years ago. Sorry honey! (p.s. He still loves it and plays it all the time!)
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? -A Muppets Christmas Carol
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? -About mid year.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? -I'm not ashamed to admit it!
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? -My Mom's goodies!
16. Lights on the tree? -Duh! Colored lights on the inside tree and white lights outside.
17. Favorite Christmas song? -O Holy Night
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? -Home with my family and friends!
19. Angel on the tree top or a star? -Angel
20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? -Christmas Morning/Day
21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? -The commercials!
22. Favorite ornament theme or color? -White and Blue Snowflakes
23. Favorite Christmas dinner? -Kielbasa and Ham
24. What do you want for Christmas this year? -A new cell phone or camera.
25. Believe in Santa?-Yes, I do believe! Ho ho ho MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Monday, December 1, 2008
And while we are on the subject of crazy things, where did December come from? I just can't believe how quickly the days fly by-you blink and another year is over with a new one hovering just around the corner. For example, I starting working on our annual Christmas Letter for our Christmas cards just before we left on vacation and I was having some real trouble. The multitude of events on our life in 2008 was making itself into more of a short story than a quick synopsis. Sigh...maybe if I just left out all the bad parts, everything would fit! But alas, the bad parts are the real parts too and make us the people we are, which is what our friends and family really care about, right?
My Holiday shopping is about 1/2 done and I intend to complete most of the rest this week-not going out this past weekend, as is tradition, really put a dent in my gift gathering schedule but have no fear-the internet is here!!!! I love shopping on the web anyway-best way to find the absolute cheapest prices on those hot items. Who else out there uses the web to find their gifts? I'd be curious if you always end up at the same sites, such as eBay and Amazon, like I do. Did you know that if you get a PRIME membership with Amazon.com ($79 annually) that you get FREE 2-Day delivery on most items and Overnight shipping is only $4! We did this last year and I can not tell you how valuable it became so we signed up again this year and it's already paid for itself! Just a little tidbit that I thought I would pass along to you...
I finally had my CT Scan today down at the Hospital (rescheduled from a week ago) and all went well. Now, the waiting game begins...anyone want to place a bet on how long it takes for anyone to tell me what the results were? :)
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Such a beautiful day yesterday to be out Geocaching. Discovered many hidden beaches and parks and let the girls play in the sand and soak up the sun! It was about 68 degrees and not a cloud in the sky...what more could we ask for?
Plan to go again in the next few minutes but thought that I would post at least one pic-it's one of my favorites and I wanted to share it with you! It's supposed to be a couple of degrees cooler down here today but sunny so we will be enjoying as much of it as possible! We're sending sunshine your way, where ever you are!
Monday, November 24, 2008
It was about 70 degrees this afternoon with mostly sunny skies and a light breeze. We went swimming in the heated pool and hung out in the hot tub for awhile too! We are planning on driving over to Fort Walton Beach tomorrow to do some more Geocaching since we have a bunch of family activities planned for later in the week!
Hope that everyone is well-hope to post some vacation pics tomorrow!
Friday, November 21, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Saw the Dr. today as I do every few weeks and we talked about the debate to keep me on blood thinners for life or trying to wean me off on my 1 year anniversary of the clots. There is a strong argument for both sides and I'm not really sure how to feel. I trust my Dr. to look out for my best interests and right now, he would really like to see me be able to stop taking the drugs in the near future. So, to be able to do that, I am having a CT on my chest (heart and lungs) this Friday to access the situation. We are hoping for clear lungs and normal heart size/function.
I have been having dizzy/lightheadedness/nausea spells for the last week as well so I now have some anti-vertigo medication that I hope will help. One more reason to get checked out!
On a positive note, I have also been losing weight. I am now down about 50 pounds from last year that this time. I have a long way to go in that category but I'm feeling great about looking better! One step at a time, right? :)
And at some point this week, I should really consider packing for our trip to FL. I mean, we're leaving on Saturday and I have not even started! There's always tomorrow, I guess!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I added a few songs that are special to me but I really need to go back and pick a few more to add to my playlist. I think it really adds a special touch listening to someone's songs while reading their words-it really gives you a good sense of the person, another layer to ponder, ways to connect.
So enjoy some of my picks...or not! You can always use the "Mute" button :)
Sunday, November 16, 2008
And speaking of tropical, we'll be heading down to Panama City Beach, FL in just a few days to spend Thanksgiving week with family and friends in the warmer climate. It's really hard to pack for trips like this one because it's so cold here and warm there-I almost have to have 3 sets of clothes for all of us!
- Michigan clothes-sweaters and fleece
- Tennessee clothes-jeans and long sleeves
- Florida clothes-shorts and t-shirts
I hope that everyone had a great weekend! It's sure to be another busy week ahead....
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I wish that I had time to write more. Here it is already Thursday and I've posted nothing all week. We are having a big New Year's Eve party at our house again this year for all of our Geocaching friends and then another big Geocaching Event 2 weeks later. It's a Road Rally that we are hosting and it's sure to be a ton of fun! However, mixing that in with our already busy lives, a trip to Florida for Thanksgiving in a week and Christmas only 6 weeks away makes for a little craziness around here! I am really looking forward to all of it and I'm working hard to get as much in place ahead of time to make each of these big moments go as smoothly as possible!
Wish me luck!!!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Sorry that it took so long to get these posted! Lauren wanted to be a Doctor and Tara wanted to be a nurse. They both looked really cute in their costumes and now have fun outfits to use for dress-up! They really had a ball and with the temp's close to 70 degrees and sunny skies, it was the nicest Halloween that I can remember!
Those empty trick-or-treat bags that you see were so over-flowing by the time they returned home, that there was a trail of candy up the driveway the next morning! They made quite the haul and are already talking about NEXT Halloween! I wonder what they will want to be then?
Friday, November 7, 2008
We got our drinks, ordered our food, had our soup/salads, rolls and we ordered an appetizer. I know...where am I going with all of this? Things were progressing smoothly when all of a sudden strobe lights started flashing and the loud "waaaap" "waaaap" "waaaap" of the fire alarm started going off. We were all like, " You've got to be kidding me!" but our waitress came out and assured us that is was just a false alarm, the building was not going to burn down any time soon and our food would be up shortly. No harm done...just annoying flashing and beeping while you're trying to carry on a conversation.
However, as we waited and no food came out and the alarm was getting more annoying, that's when we started to worry. And as we feared, the waitress came back to the table to explain that all the grills and ovens were down-automatic precautionary measure-and they would not be able to serve us afterall. We were all given cards for a free meal next time and they did not charge us anything for our pre-dinner food or drinks. And now that I am sitting here thinking about it, I realize that we probably still should have left a little something for our waitress. It certainly wasn't her fault what happened and she did a great job up til that point. Might have to see what I can do about that...
The funniest part was just a month or two ago, Mike and I were at a local hotel for the night (a gift from my brother and sister-in-law) and at 3am we were awakened to the same sounds. And yes, we had to get out of bed, use the emergency exits and stand out in the freezing cold in our jammies until we got the all clear from the Fire Department to go back in. That little nightmare was caused by 4 guys smoking and drinking and catching their bed on fire a floor or 2 above us. Nice, huh?
So, to the entire X4 family, we apologize. The "fire" last night was clearly brought on by you guys having to hang out with us. At least you weren't caught in the elevator! Ha ha ha ha..... :)
The week of April 21st, 2006, we received an e-mail through our Geocaching account from another cacher who had solved one of our "Puzzle" caches. They wanted to verify that they did indeed have the correct coordinates before hunting for it. When responding, we noticed that this player was from GA and was an airline pilot, so we started a conversation through e-mail and found out that he had 2 Geocaching Accounts, (1) for when he cached at home and (1) for when he cached on his layovers or overnights as a Commercial Pilot. Mike of course, thought that this was really cool, and so we offered to pick him up from his hotel on the morning after his flight into GRR, and take him caching around our town until his scheduled departure later that afternoon. What soon followed was a friendship that has grown over the past 2 1/2 years into something special and unique. He has flown in several times over the years, and in January of this year, his family was gracious enough to have us stay with them for a short time while on our way to FL for vacation.
So, we were blessed when CaptRussell or KBI called us late Monday. He let us know that he would be coming in Tuesday night and wondered if we could get together for some geocaching on Wednesday. OF COURSE! DUH! It was wonderful that Mike was actually in town and not out in CA like he was supposed to be. It was glorious day with a light breeze, clear blue sky and 70+ degrees...in NOVEMBER! We had a wonderful breakfast and then went caching for a few hours before grabbing some quick lunch and returning Russell safely back to his hotel. It was a perfect morning and it went way too fast as usual!
We also had dinner plans with some friends of ours from GE that we have not seen in way too long. It was really nice to reconnect. They have a daughter who is about 2 1/2 and have another daughter on the way. Girls-now that's something we know a little bit about!
Stay tuned to find out about our fun night with fire on Thursday!!!!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
On a historical day such as this, I thought it was fitting that we broke the record for the warmest day ever on this date here in Grand Rapids, MI. We hit 73 degrees! On November 4th! It was over 70 on Monday and will be tomorrow too-we will then set the record for the most consecutive days over 70 in a row in November! Now, I'm not disillusioning myself, because I know that the cold weather is very close...but this weather we are having right now is FANTASTIC!
They are projecting that Obama will win the Presidency. I am not surprised in the least. I did not vote for him and some of you may gasp at the shock and horror of it all, but I thought he was going to win anyway. I am not going to be embarrassed or feel ashamed of who I voted for either. I just felt that McCain was the better candidate this time around...and I love that I can vote for whomever I feel like in this great Nation of ours...GO USA!!!!
We have a lot happening tomorrow and I will fill you in later. And I promise that those Halloween photos are on their way!
Monday, November 3, 2008
Here are a couple of pics from our trip to the Pumpkin Patch a week or two ago. I love PhotoShop and am slowly learning how to use all it's features. I am currently working on layers and now have the know-how to "colorize" objects in a B&W photo. It's quite fun actually!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Granted, Mike has had a lot of catching up to do, not just at home but with work and Geocaching, friends and family, etc. Being essentially gone for 5 months can do that to a person. Plus, Halloween is always busy with the twins. Lucky for me (not), they got to be 2 things this year. They were both Ladybugs for their Preschool party (their school preferred they were either a Christian character from the Bible or something from nature that God made-not my rules but I'm ok with it) and for Halloween, Lauren was a Doctor and Tara was a Nurse. I will post pictures tomorrow. There was lots of running around getting everyone ready for Trick-or-Treating and "I" was in charge of the class craft project for school on Thursday which was totally new for me. Everything went well and the kids all did a great job-I was exhausted though by the end of it and there are only 5 kids in their class!
Did a bunch of Geocaching this weekend as well. Although there are a lot of home projects to work on, with November here, the cold and snow with be arriving in short order and the nice weekends will be few and far between. We just had to take advantage of the sunshine and warmer weather-I will also be posting some pictures from this weekend throughout the week.
I am setting a goal for myself to BLOG every day this week. I have fallen behind recently and I don't like that. It's important for me to get my thoughts out there, even if I'm the only one re-reading them! Ha ha ha ha ha.......
Monday, October 27, 2008
All was going well until I went to try on my Halloween costume. No, no...it fit just fine, it's just that after about 60 seconds of wearing it, I started to feel very itchy. Then the sneezing and coughing and hives started! I was having an allergic reaction to the costume and it was coming on fast!
Mike came downstairs at that point, saw what was happening and helped me strip out of it asap! My neck was beet red, hives were starting to form on my neck and face, my throat started to swell and I lost my voice. Yes, it was bad. I was really starting to get scared when I started having difficulty breathing. Mike grabbed the Benadryl and I drank it down quickly-it started to work right away. Needless to say, we didn't go to the party *bummer* and although the itching and hives and sneezing went away, I was still having a rough time breathing and talking hours later. It was a rough night but we got through it. Now it's Monday and the breathing is getting much easier (I found my emergency inhaler which really helped!). We still have no idea what caused the problem other than a suspected case of lingering pet hair/dander (which I am allergic to) from another party years ago. I guess it's time to talk to the Doctor about my options-I can't have that happening too many more times before the Benadryl just isn't fast enough...
On a positive note, we celebrated my parents 30th Wedding Anniversary on Sunday with a nice brunch with the whole family. With Mike home, everyone was there and it made for a great start to our day. We then went Geocaching around town for a few hours and had dinner with our friend Khan and his family. It was a great day! Thanks to everyone who was a part of it!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Oh, what a relief! He is still slated to continue working on the project but from Grand Rapids instead. Eventually, he will transition off and into a new role and project, probably around the beginning of the year. He has done a tremendous job in Burbank and is proud of all the progress they were able to make. He has made some lasting friendships and is looking forward to continuing them once he's back home in GR...
I'm so excited...and I just can't hide it...I'm about to lose control and I think I like it! Oh yeah!
On a side note: I went to my first "Teacher Conference" tonight! Now that's scary! They're only 3, right? I am pleased to report that both girls are doing great, know all their colors, shapes, letters and can count to 13 reliably. What more can I ask for? :)
Waitress: "How does everything look?"
Tara: "Not good. Mine doesn't have enough sprinkles!"
It's raining on the way home...
Lauren: "Mom, why is it raining now?"
Me: "Well, the sky must have been full."
Lauren: "But didn't the sky know that I wanted to play?!"
We get home...
Tara: "My tummy hurts..."
Me: "Why do you think it's feeling bad?"
Tara: "Because it wants a cookie!"
Friday, October 17, 2008
And ya know, it's Friday. Which used to mean something good, but for me these days, it just means another day down and X more to go until Mike comes home. I sometimes feel stuck in that rut of waiting for the better days, when we're all together as a family again, like we're supposed to be. Oh, I try to be strong and all and put on a happy face for the kids, but seriously...I'm tired. I don't want to do this anymore. I want my old life back. Am I being selfish? Yes, of course I am. I want the very best for my kids, I want a nice home to raise them in, but what I really NEED is some stability.
This year has been crazy and until things are put right again, I guess that I'm just gonna "keep on keeping on", and as those popular words of wisdom say, "We are not given more than we can handle." But can I ask for just a little break from the "more" for the time being? Probably not, huh.... :)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
We had such a great time vacationing last week with Mike home from California. We quickly settled into our "family" routine and trip mode. I'm in charge of packing all the clothes and snacks and Mike handles all the electronic and car needs. This is a process that we have used since we first got together and it goes so smoothly. We also have the uncanny ability to pack tight and light, which equates to (1) suitcase for Mike and I, (1) carry-on size case for all the girls clothing, (1) water bag with all of our swimming gear and (1) overnight carry-on size case that we use for the Hotel night only <----this was one of those tips that I read about somewhere a long time ago and took to heart! Super great idea! We pre-pack our Hotel suitcase with one change of clothing for each of us, our pj's and toiletries. This way, we only have 1 item to take with us into the Hotel after a long day of driving! It works, trust me!
We had beautiful weather, traveled through/to Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware, and did lots of Geocaching along the way. We were very sad to see it end and taking Mike back to the airport on Monday was the toughest departure yet.
This week has been insanely busy for me, which is good since it keeps my mind off other worrisome things. I hope to post some pictures from our trip in the next day or two. Stay tuned!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Preschool is going well for the girls but they are so exhausted afterward that they end up taking a really long nap. Isn't that awesome! I get 2 1/2 hours to myself and then another 2+ hours when they are napping! Wow!
In regards to my new eBay"Selling-stuff-to-buy-more-stuff" strategy, it worked a lot better than even I had hoped it would! I put 6 items up for auction and 1 week later, I have another $250 in my Paypal account! Seriously! That's more money than I have made by myself in the past 3 years! Well, I take that back. I have had 2 garage sales and did pretty well there but they are SOOOOO much work! Selling on eBay is easy and I actually think it's a lot of fun too! I am really considering opening up an eBay store and doing this as a business to earn some extra dough. I'll let you know what I decide!
Mike is back on Friday, which is a serious BONUS, and we are headed out of town for a whole week....yes...a whole week with my family and I am so excited about that! We are going to be visiting several States that I have never been to i.e. New Jersey and Delaware, maybe even Rhode Island. We are also planning a day trip into NYC which I have never seen and am dying to experience.
Hope that you are having a great day today! I'm looking forward to a wonderful weekend!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
I hope not because it means that I'm spending my money getting quality items for way less than retail and I'm selling my stuff to make the money back! It's really a wonderful little world marketplace.
I just listed my first couple of items for sale and it's been fun watching them get bid on (or not) and how many people are out there watching my listings! Very interesting and addicting all at the same time!
I usually use it for clothes for the girls. It's so nice to have other parents of Twins out there who are selling their last seasons wardrobes. I've never had a bad experience and I think that it has changed a lot in the past couple of years. It's amazing how many buyers and sellers alike have a 100% Rating with hundreds or thousands of transactions. It didn't used to be that way. I trust more people now and that's a good thing!
It's also one of the best places to find that rare or missing item from your collection. An autograph, artwork, bedding, electronics galore! You name it! And it also helps you to value some of those things in your own home that you were always wondering about. It's a wonderful resource.
Do any of you use eBay? What has your experience been? I'd love to hear from you!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
And as I am looking at this picture, it brings me back to yesterday when we stopped by the Dr.'s office to pick up their medical forms. They let me weigh and measure the girls. It hadn't been done since January and by golly, I was curious! At the 3 1/2 mark, they have finally begun to separate away from being so similar in stature. Lauren is 40 in. tall and 35 pounds and Tara is 38 in. tall and 31 pounds. You can really see Lauren's height in the photo! Oh how I wish they wouldn't grow up so fast!
They were greeted warmly by their teacher and they had a great time, I think. Tara was crying when I got there to pick them up. I could hear her asking for me from inside the classroom and I just wanted to go in there and comfort her. However, class was still in session and I had to remain calm and trust that she was getting the best care, maybe she just wasn't getting her way. And sure enough, she was upset because her teacher asked her to help pick up and she wanted to keep playing instead! Go figure...
They are already talking about all the fun things that they are going to be doing on Thursday and I'm already thinking about all that I can get accomplished while they're gone! Is that bad?
Saturday, September 13, 2008
So I walk to the administration office and ask where the class is. I am then politely told that the class time was moved to an hour later. I literally just stared at the lady. What was I supposed to tell the girls now! I asked for a refund and walked dejectedly back to my car.
I was not happy, not happy at all. So, as soon as I got home I jumped on the trusty web and started looking for Preschool classes for 3 year olds. I knew that I was already way behind the eight ball on this one but I was determined. My persistant calls lead me down the road of: No Openings, 1 Opening, Way Too Expensive,You're located WHERE? and so on and so forth. But finally, a light began to shine and after 4 phone calls trying to track down the right person, I enrolled the girls at Messiah Lutheran Preschool in the afternoon session, 12:30-3pm, every Tuesday and Thursday. Class was not beginning until NEXT week and they offered a "Twins" discount! Bonus!
I took the girls to meet their teacher, Mrs. Anderson, and see their classroom that very night. They were so excited and so am I. I should have just done this in the first place but a little part of me worried that I would be forcing them to grow up too fast and that my "babies" weren't ready. I'm sure every parent struggles with this from time to time. I know that they are going to have fun, be in a safe and loving environment, make new friends, and learn quite a bit as well. And hey, I will have 2 1/2 hours all to myself 2 days per week! How am I going to handle that???!!!! :)
Today we found backpacks, some new school clothes and supplies. I also found out that shopping for school stuff after school starts is a very good way to save a ton of dough! So here's to Preschool and all that it entails...I'm sure that this new expierence will give me lots to think about and write about as well. Stay tuned for Lauren and Tara's First Day of School!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I snapped some pictures in our yard today. With September here, it's wonderful to see so much life still in bloom and all the colors blending together to form the pallet of Fall.
Be sure to check out:
- Our new bird-condo
- The very last rose
- A honey bee on our Pink Japanese Anemone's
- The green of newly planted Sweet William seeds (proudly planted by the twins!)
Monday, September 8, 2008
It is wet, and cold, and dreary today, which matches my mood exactly. The girls are feeling it too and have been ornery. They refused to take their naps today, ignored lunch and at dinner tonight with my sister and her family, Lauren had a downright meltdown. Which in turn caused her 15 month old cousin to have one, which in turn almost caused me to have one! We all literally ran out of the restaurant...it was terrible...in the end, all we could do was laugh. It was bad!
The one bright spot this week was that the girls and I were going to start taking a Mommy & Me class, Tues./Thurs., which runs in two week sessions. Each session focuses on a different theme, such as cooking, crafts, singing, world culture, etc. and it is being offered through our school district. Then I get the call this afternoon that the first session did not have enough participants so we would not be starting school after all. I didn't know what to tell the girls. They were so looking forward to going. I quickly enrolled us in a different class that's all about science and starts on Thursday-I hope that class isn't canceled too!
I just have to focus on the next three weeks and getting everything ready to go, since as soon as Mike gets back, we are going on vacation for a week to the Poconos in Pennsylvania. 1 whole week together as a family sounds so nice! No work, no worries, no household chores...just time. Time with each other. Time to relax. Time to have fun. Time, what a wonderful gift it is...
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I wanted to take the girls to see the Shedd Aquarium, and since Mike and I had never been there, it seemed like a good idea. We figured out how to get there without too much trouble and there wasn't any lines to get into the Aquarium either. The building was majestic, intricate and overwhelming. There was a dolphin show coming up so we headed there first. I was excited to see it but my initial thrill was quickly snuffed when the show was over 10min. later. After, we were all getting hungry but the food was so pricey that we could have eaten just about anywhere in Downtown GR for less. Oh well...
After a bit of grub, we started heading to the different exhibits. I was quickly saddened to see that many of the "tanks" were located at eye level for adults but for kids, they were completely useless. We kept having to pick them up or carry them on our shoulders. And the people...oh, the people. The crowd was becoming so dense that you couldn't even get to the exhibits without being pushed or shoved out of the way. It was terrible. So, we called it good and headed back to the car for our 3 hour ride home. We were very fortunate that we had ZERO traffic problems the whole weekend and we had a pleasant trip back.
I'm glad that we went but it's not something that we'll be doing again any time soon. And to make matters worse, I now find out that they jacked the prices up for the Labor Day weekend which cost us an additional $35 more than it would have normally. Gosh I hate that.
I am including some photos that I snapped while we were there and I thought that I would share them with you. Enjoy!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
We took the girls to the pool the first night we were there and went swimming for an hour or so. Tara has really shown us this Summer that she wanted to start swimming without us so I picked up some arm floaties at the dollar store and let her give it a whirl. Low and behold, I present to you, the "Independant Swimmer"! Within minutes she was swimming all over the pool by herself and jumping in from the steps, which she loves to do, going under water and everything! Lauren was still a bit more cautious and clung to Daddy or myself while having her own fun time.
Sunday afternoon we were lucky enough to catch our friends, the Wentworth Family, at home and so we headed up to Wisconsin to have a very nice grill-out and let the kids go swimming in their pool. We were joined by their two grandsons, T.J. (4) and Derek (3), who were just adorable and played so nicely with the twins. They are both excellent swimmers (they certainly don't need floaties) and encouraged the girls to be a bit more brave. And what do ya know? Lauren finally let go and just swam. Cute as can be! And Tara started jumping off the deck! As a parent, just like the girls, sometimes it's hard to let go.
Later, we gathered the kids up and drove the 1/2 hour or so over to North Milwaukee to bring T.J. and Derek home and check out all the work that their parents, Amy and Dave, have been doing on their home. The place looked great and I was jealous of the size of their backyard. Someday, Ren, someday....
Monday it was time to head back towards Michigan and a stop in Chicago to see the Shedd Aquarium. More on that tomorrow...stay tuned!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I made a family decision to book a weekend away. I wanted to go on a road trip but not go too far-just enough that it was a break from the day to day routine of life. I starting looking up Hotels that would fit all four of us comfortably within 4 hours of Grand Rapids, and Chicago seemed like a good choice. We have not been across the lake in over 3 years and I thought that it was about time.
On our way around the bottom, we stopped at a Rest Area in Indiana and quickly grabbed a Geocache there that we had not found yet. While we were signing it, we noticed that some friends ours from the Kalamazoo area had just signed it hours before us. We wondered, "Are they going to Chicago for the Labor Day weekend, too?". Having their cell phone # handy, we gave them a ring and found out that they were literally traveling to the same area that we were to visit family. So, we met up the next day and went caching in the morning together. It was great! "Phishbonz" aka Dave and Laura (and Laura's sister Debbie) hit several geocaches with us before we went our sperate ways but the ones we did together added such a nice little touch to our trip.
We were able to cross off another State (IL) that we can say we have Geocached in and we picked up an EarthCache in Wisconsin as well. Bonus!
We packed a lot into these short 3 days so I'll write more tomorrow about visiting our friends, The Wentworth's, in Wisconsin, the girls swimming alone for the first time, visiting the Shedd Aquarium in downtown Chicago, and staying in a Brand NEW hotel. So much to do, so much to see!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
How about when they say a new phrase that makes you stop and think, "Wow, where did she learn that?". As in Lauren telling me, "No problem, Mom. It's a piece-of-cake!" and me asking her if she knew what that meant. Her response? "Mom, it means "It's easy!" What?! How do they know these things? Why do they have to grow up so fast? What else are they learning?!!!!!
Some of it is just great...walking into our favorite Chinese restaurant and having Tara say to our waitress, "ni-hao". Or, at another favorite eating establishment, having the waiter ask Lauren what she would like to have, and hearing her say politely, "I'd like a chicken and cheese Quesadilla, please!". Just warms my heart!
On the flip side, not everything they are learning is for the better and it really tests your parenting skills when a toddler faux pas is said in a very public place or in listening range of unsuspecting victims. For example, our daughter Tara asking me, "Why doesn't that girl brush her teeth?" while walking past a woman with obvious dental hygiene concerns. Or, Lauren asking, "Is that Grandma having a baby?" when a older woman was carrying a little extra weight around the ol' midsection. Uhhhhhh.... What do you do? How do you handle an episode like that?
I usually just try to steer them away from the situation, explain to them that it isn't polite to talk about other people, and pray that it never happens again!
Ahhhh, kids. What can you do? Just love 'em I guess!
Friday, August 22, 2008
On the intro page to the GEOCACHING website, they give a good little description of what this sport is all about.
"Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment."
Here is a list of things that you will need to get you started:
- Hand-held GPS Unit.
The Waypoint or GC# is located in the upper Right hand corner of the page and will be your reference number for each individual cache. You'll also see on the center/top of the page the Geocache Title, the owner, the size of the hidden container, the difficulty of the hide and the difficulty of the terrain. These items help you determine if this is a cache that you are interested in searching out. For example, a 1-Star Terrain usually means that it is Handicap Accessible and a 5-Star Terrain usually means that a boat or other special equipment is required to find it.
Just below this information is the key to the location of the Geocache, your longitude and latitude. This is the waypoint that you will need to enter into your GPS unit to get you to the hidden container.
In the middle of the page is a description of the cache or location and should give you some clues as to what you are looking for or the type of area you are going to be searching in. You'll also see a Google Map of the area and some cache attributes that will also help your team be more prepared, such as letting you know the cache is "Winter Friendly" (meaning most likely not on the ground) or that it's a "Lunchtime Cache" (meaning it can be completed in less than 1 hour).
At the bottom of the page you can read all the logs from other Geocaching Teams that have already found this cache and what they had to say about it. You can log your find by clicking on the link on the upper Right hand corner of the page, under "Navigation", called "Log Your Visit".
- If you take something from the geocache, leave something of equal or greater value.
- Write about your experience in the geocache logbook.
- Place your geocaching stories and photos online when you log your find!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Here's our Team just after the find! (Tara's got the GPS!)
Wednesday was super busy as well, watching my adorable niece Hailey for the day and then off to hang out with the Hower's for dinner and playground time. Picked the park strategically so we could also plan some activities for the big AGE OF DISCOVERY Geocaching Event on Saturday. As Todd would say, "Woo Hoo!"
Today is a day of rest and catching up on home stuff before the weekend comes and with it, more good times with friends and family. I feel blessed to be so busy!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
One of the life lessons that I have learned this year is that it's hard to ask for help. AND, it's equally as hard to know how to give it. I'm sure many of you can relate and have found a way to do these things without dreading the thought of making someone feel uncomfortable, putting undue burden upon them or worrying that it's not enough. I just haven't gotten to that point yet.
However, I am going to do it, no matter how uneasy I feel doing it. I'm asking for your help.
With my husband (Mike) in California most of the month, I'm on my own with the girls. I didn't think it would be easy, the Lord knows others have it much worse than me, but I still find myself looking for an excuse to go out because it's lonely when you have no one in the house during the day or at night to talk to.
-Add: Another phobia that I forgot in the last post-I have a very real fear of making phone calls. No, I'm not joking and it has nothing to do with being lazy. I just can't do it, at least not easily. So, when you say, "Just call me!", I think to myself, "Oh no!". Thank goodness for e-mail!
I'm also still recovering from Guillain-Barré Syndrome. I just can't do all the things that I once could only 6 months ago. Sure, most of them are trivial, but when your backup isn't around, you feel lost. I just can't water the plants that are above eye level, my arms won't support the weight of the watering can. I can't just get down on the ground and play with the girls. It's almost impossible to stand back up. And I'm so fatigued by the end of the day....
Don't get me wrong! It's getting better, so much better. But, it's not easy.
Anyway, I just want to ask anyone who's reading, who's willing to lend a hand, to help me by doing one or more of the following things:
- Send me a note or drop me a line every once-in-awhile. It helps. And if I don't respond right away, just know that I appreciate it and I will get back with you!!!
- If you wouldn't mind having 3 extra girls join you for lunch or dinner some night, we would love to come along and see you and help in any way that we can.
- If you just want to hang out or want someone to talk to, think of me. I'll be a good listener.
- If you're in our neck of the woods and want to take a break, stop in and see us. Our home may be littered with toys but I can find a clean seat for you to relax in!
I wanted to end with another life lesson that I learned this year. Friends and family are a blessing unlike any other and without them, I would not be me, and I like being me! So, to all my "blessings", YOU ROCK!!!!!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
She tagged me with this meme/award which is now known as The Super Awesome Hot Mama Blogger or some shit (SAHMBOSS) meme/award. So you can blame her for the introduction of naughty language to this blog (which doesn't bother me any) and the ensuing waste of your time.
Below are my answers to some fascinating (or not) questions.
Let the SAHMBOSSing around begin!
A. Attached or single? Attached via wedding ring.
B. Best friend? My husband..followed very closely by my sister.
C. Cake or pie? Pie. My favorite is Blueberry!
D. Day of choice? Saturday
E. Essential item? My digital camera and baby wipes.
F. Favorite color? Green.
G. Gummy bears or worms? Hmmm...I really like both. I think that I prefer gummy bears though...they're easier to grab a handful of!
H. Hometown? Grand Rapids, MI.
I. Indulgence? Buying things for the twins-I love shopping for them!
J. January or July? Well, I would say July for the weather of course but January holds a special place in my heart as well. It's a tie!
K. Kids? Twin girls.
L. Life isn’t complete without? Fun, laughter, sharing, and bad jokes.
M. Marriage date? May 8th, 1999 (can you believe it's gonna be 10 years next May!!!)
N. Number of brothers & sisters? My sister Anna is 3 years younger and my brother Kevin is 5 years my junior.
O. Oranges or apples? Apples for sure, especially my Mom's homemade applesauce.
P. Phobias? Not being able to pay the bills, drowning, being outside in the dark.
Q. Quotes? “Anybody want a peanut?" - The Princess Bride
R. Reasons to smile? Geocaching, my girls, family, the love of my husband.
S. Season of choice? Fall-the world just smells good in the Fall.
T. Tag seven peeps! Not gonna do it!
U. Unknown fact about me? I never studied in school. I went to class, I read the chapters and did the homework. That's it. No more. No less. Please don't hate me!
V. Vegetable? Zucchini, sautéed with onions and butter. Yum!
W. Worst habits? Totally wasting time on the Internet, procrastination, not making the bed and neglecting my chores for one more chapter in my book.
X. X-ray or ultrasound? Ultrasound. It showed me one of the most beautiful sights of my life, my babies.
Y. Your favorite food? Chocolate.
Z. Zodiac sign? Pisces. The Fishes.
Imaginative and sensitive
Compassionate and kind
Selfless and unworldly
Intuitive and sympathetic
Now that you have been enlightened, please feel free to comment or post answers of your own! Hope that everyone is having a great day!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
This song in particular is one that caught me off guard. It is soft, meaningful and heartfelt. Mike likes to sing it to me and I happily let him, usually joining in when I can't stand to keep my vocal cords silent any longer.
Did you know that Mike can sing? He's pretty darn good! I know that I love to sing and we when we get a chance to do it together, like on long road trips, I find the meaning of perfect contentment. It's good...
She tells me that she needs me,she tells me that she's glad,
And if she goes away, I'm like someone who's left out in the rain,
I need, I need her, I need her love.
She came in from the west, a summer breeze I couldn't rest,
I had to take a fast train, to be there by her side,
She made me feel so good, she made it like it should be all the time
I need, I need her, I need her love.
Just when I was thinkin' of her, she came along and made me
want her. I need her love, I need her love, I need her love.
If she goes away, I'm like someone who's left out in the rain,
I need, I need her, I need her love.
The boats that sail, the planes that fly,she is with me.
I wonder if she wonders, if this is all for real,
I couldn't stand to see her cry because of me, that would be sad.
I need, I need her, I need her love.
She tells me everything, she makes me smile, she tries to sing,
But never shares her suffering, if things are going wrong,
She makes it like a dream, if things are as they seem the
world is good. I need her love, I need her love, I need her love.