Thursday, September 25, 2008

Time Flies!

Whoa, I can't believe that I haven't blogged since Sunday! Where has the time gone?

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!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I just had to share a few pictures that I took of the girls while we were out Geocaching today. I had never seen them jump off something this high before but they acted like it was no big deal!

What do I know?

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Power of eBay

I love eBay. There, I said it. You gotta problem with that? :)

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

First Day of Preschool!

Here they are in all their glory! It's the first day of Preschool and they were so impatient with me for wanting to take their picture, while they just wanted to run down the stairs and start class! It was a perfect Fall day, 70 degrees, sun shining and a cool breeze. With all the rain we had last weekend, everything seems extra green and fresh and great way to start the school year!

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?

Lauren and Tara's Cubby and their backpacks!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

School Daze

Earlier in the week I posted about taking the girls to some classes being offered by our school district and how much we were looking forward to them. Since our original class was canceled, we were enrolled in another offering that started on Thursday. We got to the classroom and lo and behold, nobody's there! (I also want to point out that this class was taking place at the Aquatic Center, which just brought up a whole other set of problems, such as trying to explain to two budding swimmers why we were at the pool but not going in it!)

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!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bloomin' Fall

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!)
Can't you just smell the sweetness of it all?

Monday, September 8, 2008

It's Just Another Manic Monday

Mike flew out of Grand Rapids at 6am this morning and landed safely in Burbank, CA around 1pm Eastern time. He was not looking forward to leaving again and neither was I. We were just getting back to being a family unit again and then everything changes.

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 was 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

John G. Shedd Aquarium

It was a beautiful day as we drove into downtown Chicago. I think the last time we were here was when our friend, Jason, was attending the University of Chicago back in 1996 or '97. Has it seriously been that long? We've driven through, of course, but not actually gone into Chicago again until this week.

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

Swim Like a Fish!

I wanted to use those beautiful "Marriott Reward Points" (which Mike has been racking up in CA) to book our rooms and was able to find a brand-spanking-new SpringHill Suites in the Gurnee/Waukegan area. And when I say new, I mean that we stayed there the 2nd and 3rd night they were open! No one had ever slept in our room before, used our shower or laid on our sheets! It was all done in teals, browns and creams with a modern flare. Needless to say, it was a hit!

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!

(from left to right) Derek, Lauren, T.J. and Tara

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's a Small World After All (sing with me!)

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!

Mike and the girls just after a caching loop in Michigan City, IN.