Sunday, September 30, 2012

Peace, Lunch and Dominick's

So, today was spent getting the kiddos ready for their first day of school tomorrow and getting our garage ready for the multitude of boxes that are going to be living in it as of Tuesday.  I am talking about A LOT of boxes.  Ugh.  Downsizing sounded so wonderful there for a minute; now the work begins.

In my family, we honor birthdays.  We really honor them.  We don't just do a cake and a gift.  We do a weekend (or if we are lucky, a week or so) of the honoring.  Yesterday, Abs said to Dan, "This is Mommy's birthday weekend, Daddy, so she should choose what we do all weekend."  You should have seen the look on his face - priceless.  And scared s***less.  Safe to assume that this snuck up on him. Anyway, we went to Oktoberfest in Libertyville last night.  There was much dancing and eating and drinking and playing to be done by the whole family.  Fun!  We also went to the mall.  Hear the angels singing??  It was lovely.  I went to Loft (one of my all time favorite stores) and got two pairs of pants.  I will show you these later this week.

Today, we went to Red Robin for dinner (Mommy's choice) and had the best dinner.  I love that place.  There is nothing like their strawberry lemonade - Jules tried it for the first time today and liked it a ton.  Like mother, like daughter.  Although I have to admit, I was having a caffeine headache and drank diet Coke instead.  I still sipped her drink, though.

The girls and I went grocery shopping for lunch supplies today.  We went here.

 I believe that this store is part of the Safeway chain - is this right?  It is a nice enough grocery store, for sure.  It has nice, wide aisles, international foods, a great deli/sushi/salad bar/bakery area, and friendly cashiers.  I could not find the Laughing Cow cheese wedges or the cheese cubes, which I am sure is due to user error.  The cashier that we had (Brian) was very friendly.  One of the 8 packs of juice boxes that I bought fell apart in his hands (the shrink wrap had ripped along a seam) so he did not charge me for it!!  An 8 pack of organic juice boxes for free!  Yippee!!  I would recommend this store, so long as you do not have any specialty items.  Organics are alongside regular food (but in the same area as the food should be - organic mac and cheese right next to Kraft mac and cheese), which takes some getting used to.  Also, the aisles were mislabeled.  It could be that they are moving things around, but it was tricky for a newcomer like me.  Hopefully, they will fix this.  Next time, I will try Marianos to see what they are like.

As we walked to the car, Abs says, "Look Mom, a peace sign!"  Knowing that she currently has a thing for peace signs (do all 6-8 year old girls go through this phase?), I turned to look at it.

I sincerely hope that we may all have this kind of peace for ourselves.

I know you have been waiting for it, so here is tomorrow's lunch.

Colby/Jack cheese twist thingy

Rooty Blues Fruit & Veggie Shredz by Plum Organics - These are corn syrup free, organic snacks.  This particular one is apple, pumpkin, kale, carrot, blueberry and cherry.  Wow!  I hope she likes them.

Pumpkin candies

Sesame sticks

Honey baked ham

Very Berry applesauce

Granola bar

Sweet potato chips

Sugar free grape juice

and a love note.

I always try to put in fun utensils and just recently added fun napkins.  I feel like it might brighten her day.  She digs this kind of stuff.

Tomorrow, Jules starts at Goddard School (love them!) and she has to eat what they serve.  We will see how this works out.  I love that she will have Spanish and yoga.  Last week, when we visited her classroom, they were making guacamole and salsa.  The next day, when we visited again, they were making bread.  Seems like a fun place for her.  Maybe she will gain some weight.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Well, after driving for two days, 840 miles, sometimes in the pouring rain, and an exciting and fun lunch with Aunt Loren, Aunt Lou and Uncle Larry in Elyria, we finally made it to Illinois.  Yippee!

Dan, in good Daddy/husband form, had one of these waiting for each of us.

  Each bag had some goodies in it that were personalized to the recipient.  The girls got candy and Halloweenish rubber rat thingys.  I got a beer and dark chocolate - a man after my own heart, for sure!

Lots of stuff happening here.  We went to Jules' school yesterday - Goddard School - and enrolled her and met her new teachers.  She is in the pony room - that's all she needed to know.  She is excited about it and ready to roll.  She talked a lot about Mr. Matt (her teacher at her old school) and they know that he taught her to play Texas Hold 'Em during nap time - holla!  These two ladies, however, have informed me that there will be no gambling, but there will be yoga.  I think Jules is gonna have some culture shock.

We also went to Ab's school and got her registration packet.  We will go back and meet her teacher today.  I have to find those birth certificates.  Ugh.

Then we went to the new house.  I took a video.  It is shaky, as it is from my iPhone and I was walking around, but here is the link to the new digs.

Then we went to pick out paint colors.  Here is what we found from Benjamin Moore's Historical Collection.

Grant Beige

Garrison Red

Saybrook Sage

Woodlawn Blue

What do you think?

Lots to do today.  Off we go.


Monday, September 24, 2012

The Final Countdown

Abs had a wonderful last day at Ettrick.  In less than one week, she will start at her new school in Libertyville, IL.  Even though she was only there for three weeks, she loved it and was welcomed by the teachers and the students alike.  Despite warnings about this school (they get very low standardized test scores) she thrived there and I would not change this time at all.  She did so much writing!

Spent the better part of the afternoon packing the van (my girls call it "Tuxie" and insist that it is a girl).  Not quite done yet, but only a few suitcases and food left to go and then we are on our way.  We plan on taking the northern route, stopping somewhere in Ohio for the night - has to be a hotel with WiFi since I have a paper due tomorrow.  We need to be in Libertyville, IL by 5 p.m. on Wednesday for the home inspection, so I figure as long as we leave by 7 or 8 a.m. on Wednesday, we should be ok. 

Girls are turning into prunes in the bathtub.  Better go help them.  How old is too old to have a bath with your sister, do you think?  Abs and Jules still bathe together and they are 6 and 3 years old.  Sam, the oldest one, who is 9, opted out of this when she was 8.  I let them make this choice for themselves and most of the time, they are pretending to be mermaids in there together.



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Last Day...

We have been staying at my mom's house while we waited for our new house (new to us - not new new) went to closing.  Well, the big day is Thursday, so tomorrow is our last day in Virginia for awhile.  We came here on Labor Day hoping to only stay for a few weeks, but it turned into four months.  My mom has been more than gracious - allowing the three (ok, sometimes four or five) of us to live here and take over not only her home, but her life.  I am typically not a procrastinator, but I have yet to start packing the car - and four month's worth of gathering food, clothes, books, etc is a lot to pack.  We only came here with two week's worth of baggage.  We have started packing, just not loading.  Ugh.  I know I am procrastinating because it will be a bittersweet departure.  We have loved being here - it is nice to spend a summer with YaYa for sure - but we need to be a whole family again and live under one roof with Dan.  The girls are excited to see him, but I know that they will miss mom, too.

Ab's last day at EES is tomorrow.  She will be starting at RES on Monday, October 1st.  So, this will be the last lunch I will pack for a week or so.  Here it is:

 Diced pineapple
Mott's Berry Applesauce (the girls are loving their flavored applesauces)
LesserEvil crinkle sticks
Ham and Colby/Jack kabobs (Ab's favorite)
Organic orange drink
Whole wheat Ritz crackers
Sweet potato chips
and a love note.

I asked her tonight if she was going to want me to continue making her lunch at RES or if she was going to want to buy it there - I cringed when I asked it because I was not sure I wanted to hear the answer.  She said, "I want you to make it mom - I am just not sure that their lunches are going to be good and I always love yours."  Good answer, baby girl.  For the record, I would let her buy if she insisted upon it, but I am glad that she wants to continue to pack from home.  It may be more expensive, or at least it does not save us any money, but it is healthier, I would think.


Friday, September 21, 2012

A New Love

Ok.  Those who know me know that I luuuuuuurve shopping.  Almost as much as reading (and that says a lot!)  I was at Target last night.  Oh. My. Gravy.  Lookie what I got!

Really???  Does it get any cuter than this??  They have zebra ones too.  Might have to go back...

Also, I found a new website.  I love this website.  Everyday they have reeeeeally cute stuff on sale for some amazing savings.  It is called Very Jane.  Right now, Darlin' in First is having a giveaway from this site - check it out because it ends today (or maybe tomorrow)!

Aaaaand, you're welcome.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Scarier, The Better

I like movies.  I would be perfectly content to go to the movie theater twice a week, but as I am not a millionaire, we use Netflix most of the time (I can watch 12 movies on Netflix for the same cost as going to one movie in the theater - but nothing beats movie theater popcorn so sometimes ya just gotta bite the bullet and go.

Most recently, these have been the movies I have seen in the theater.

 Brave was really, really cute.  The bear totally steals the show.

Ice Age: Continental Drift - really, my favorite character in these films is the squirrel-like creature who just keeps a'chasin that acorn.
 Madagascar 3 was cute, but the best parts are on the trailers.
 Charlize Theron rocks in this movie.  That's about the only redeeming quality here.
Niiiiiice eye candy here, ladies.

And on Netflix, I just watched this.
Yep.  I love scary movies.  Unfortunately, this one is believable, so I had to go get the 3 year old out of her bed to sleep with me.  I am a wuss.

Abby's lunch for tomorrow is

Spaghetti and meatballs - in the thermos
Dried, diced plums
Chocolate yogurt covered raisins
Mandarin oranges
2 cherry winks (cookies that YaYa makes)
Babybel cheese
Sesame sticks
Sugar free grape juice
a love note

Off to watch another Netflix movie.


Running Out of Steam

I bet, when you saw this, that you thought I was running out of steam on Ab's lunches, didn't you?  Well, this is not the case - at least not yet.  I hope I can keep this up for her.  I think I will.  It will get a lot easier after December, that's for sure! 

I am in week three of the next-to-final class for my masters degree and, folks, I am running out of steam.  I am attending Walden University which, if you have never heard of it, is an online university that is based in Minneapolis, MN.  I am going for my Masters of Science in Education: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment.  The entire program is online, which was the big draw for me.  I had taken a few online courses in the past, and I like the fact that I can study wherever, whenever, and however I want to.  I will say, though, that this is not for everyone.  If you are not self-motivated, this is not the way to go.  My particular program is 20 months long and consists of 10 courses.  Each class is eight weeks long, as opposed to the traditional 12 weeks, so it is accelerated by about 33% when compared to traditional colleges and universities.

All of this being said, I love Walden University.  I came to know about it because a few teachers I knew back in Bloomington had achieved their masters through this institution and they loved it, too.  It is great for parents who have a hard time leaving the house to go to class, or for those who have odd hours at work, or even for those of you who are anti-social.  Just to clarify, I am not anti-social.  I can be a bit quiet when I first meet someone, but soon I am chattering away and the other person is desparately looking around the room while trying to find an escape route.

I would not have signed up for my masters program, which started in May of 2011, had I known that Dan was going to start a new job in Chicago, effectively leaving me as a single mother for most of the time, in October of that same year.  Doing this on my own with children - I can handle that.  Doing this on my own with children and a full-time job - I can kind of handle that.  Doing this on my own with children, a full-time job and a house on the market that has to stay in perfect condition - this is where it gets a bit dodgy.  Thank goodness Dan had the foresight to ask two lovely women to help me out whenever they could.  Lori came once every other week (sometimes every week if I called and sobbed) to clean the house and Kylie came once a week (or sometimes twice) to stay with the kids overnight so that I could go to the grocery store or study or ball up in a corner and tear my hair out.  I could not have done this without these ladies - seriously.  Then Dan would come home on most weekends to be Daddy again - until May of this year.  That's when the house sold and the girls and I moved to Virginia to stay with my mom until we could find a new house in Chicago.

This probably prompts you to ask why on earth we did not find a new house sooner.  This was the sixth house we wrote a contract on!  Good gravy, people!  Do you think we are that silly and unprepared??

Anyway, next week, a week when I have three papers due, mind you, I will pack the girls and all of our stuff into the minivan and begin the pilgrimage to Illinois.  It is a 15 hour drive, which I will divide into two days.  The reason for this is trifold - first, I have to let the children out of the car before I get arrested for inappropriate use of duct tape.  Second, I have to check into a hotel with wifi so I can do my homework.  Third, I don't want to drive 15 hours in one day.  I draw the line firmly at 12.  So there.

Here is Ab's lunch for tomorrow:

Mott's blueberry applesauce
Ham and colby/jack cheese kabobs
Honest Kids Goodness Grapeness sugar free grape juice
Whole wheat Ritz crackers and Laughing Cow garlic and herb cheese spread
Strawberries and green grapes
Chocolate pocky
Chocolate Teddy Grahams
Cinnamon apple rice cakes
and a love note.

By the way, I did try the sideways french twist today - did not work out.  I figured out why, though, and I am going to try again tomorrow.  If it works, I will take a picture. 


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lunch and Some Blogs I Love

So, I feel like I am getting my groove on with the school lunches that I pack for Abs.  She seems to really enjoy them...particularly the notes.  Again, I have It's Written on the Wall to thank for those little freebies.  Love her and her products!  Check her out by clicking on the above link or by finding it on my sidebar thingy over there on the right.

Anyway, I try to make sure that there are lots of fruits and veggies in her lunch, and some protein, too.  For those of you who know us personally (you know who you are), you have seen this child and you know that she is slender.  Her little sister is a pixie, as well.  Because of this, I try to incorporate some fat into each lunch, too.  I sprinkle a little sugar and love on the whole thing and into the pink lunch bag it goes.  Napkin and cute utensils are mandatory.  I get a lot of my lunch ideas from Pinterest and from other mommish types of blogs.  Have you read 100 Days of Real Food yet?  If not, you must.  While I don't follow Lisa's menu plans to the letter, I have some very utopic (do you hear the angels singing?) ideas of what the family will be eating when we all end up together in Chicago, which, for those of you keeping a countdown, is only eight days away.  Wow!

For tomorrow, we have:

Ritz cheese crackers (one of Ab's faves!)
Cinnamon Apple rice cakes
Fig Newtons (Daddy, are you watching??)
Yogurt covered raisins/dried diced plums/a piece of orange jelly fruit candy for a little surprise
Homemade carrot and raisin cookie sandwich, held together by cream cheese frosting
Raw broccoli/cauliflower/carrots
String cheese
Honey baked ham
Sugar free grape juice
Pluot/kiwi/craisin mixture
A love note

Have you ever tried a pluot?  They are amazing.  Seriously.  This fruit is a mixture of a plum and an apricot.  It tastes more like a plum than an apricot, though.  Juicy and sweet.  I find mine at Sam's Club.  Go there, folks, right now.  Buy them, eat them, and rejoice in their yummy loveliness.

Abby said to me yesterday, "Mom, you aren't ever going to stop putting love notes in my lunch are you?  Please don't ever stop."  My heart melted, and I replied, "I won't stop, sweetie."

You got it, kiddo.  Done.  Even when you are a teenager and it is embarrassing beyond measure, I will not stop telling you every single day that I love you.  Because, inside, you will love it. I know you will.



Monday, September 17, 2012

It's All About the Hair...and lunch

So, I found this amazing website that shows super cute hair styles for shoulder length and longer hair.  It is called The Small Things - it's a blog.  I stalk it.  For real.  She also shows us how to put on makeup and even throws together some affordable outfits for those of us who are fashioned challenged (ahem - that would be me).  I have tried a couple of the hairstyles...the Nice Half Up (found in the Knotty and Nice hairstyle tutorial), the Half French Twist, and the High Bun.  Love these - and none of them took me more than 10 minutes (with dry hair).  Yay!!  Tomorrow, I am going to try the Sideways French Twist.  This girl makes me want to cut six inches off my hair and dye it blonde - her hair is soooo cute!  I should start taking pics when I try her styles.  Maybe tomorrow, eh?

Lunch for tomorrow:

This is not the healthiest lunch I have made, by far, but it is fun and sometimes, girls just wanna have fun (anybody else hearing Cyndi Lauper in their head?)

Animal crackers
Homemade sugar-free carrot and raisin cookie sandwich with homemade (not sugar-free) cream cheese icing
Strawberry Splash Go-Gurt
pretzel sticks
Apple-cinnamon rice cakes
Fruit medley: strawberries, pineapple chunks, and red grapes
Oven roasted chicken breast
Babybel cheese wheel
Honest Kids Goodness Grapeness grape juice (sugar-free)
a love note

There you go!

Hey, let me know if you try any hairstyles from The Small Things, ok?


Sunday, September 16, 2012


Seriously, I have so many things I want to talk about.  Cute hairstyles, lunches, moving to Chicago, Walden (the university, not the pond), movies, shopping, Sonlight (yes, I spelled it right!)...the list goes on and on.  Where to start?

Ok, here is Abs's lunch for tomorrow.  I cannot wait until Jules is in preschool so I can send her with a lunch, too!  I cannot express how good it makes me feel to know that she is putting healthy food in her body when she is at school.  I just am not a fan of school lunches - maybe because their idea of breakfast (which she does NOT eat there) is sugary cereal or pancakes with maple syrup.  Now, both of these foods are good and fun in moderation, but not daily, people.  Why do you think obesity is so prevalent in children these days?  Because they eat too much junk.  All this being said, I am certainly not the poster child for healthy eating.  But I'm gonna get better...I am.

You may ask why the lunch tote is in the picture, and it is because Emily, my luuurvely Thirty One rep, asked me to send a picture to her of a lunch and the bag so she can show her peeps all that can fit in this puppy.  It's a lot, I tell you, and there is room to spare.  Anyway, here it is (I know, I said that already):

Keebler Cheddar and Cheese cracker sandwich thingys (there is a peanut butter allergy in Abs' class and I don't want her to take any chances with that little girl, who she sits by at lunch)
Ken's Buttermilk Ranch dressing (for the veggies)
Dried, diced plums
Honey baked ham
Babybel cheese
Rotini pasta tossed with Italian dressing
Honest Kids Goodness Grapeness grape juice
Raw veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
Fruit salad (strawberries, pineapple and red grapes)
Strawberry Pocky
a love note

This weekend was great - got a paper done, picked paint colors for the new abode (or at least narrowed them down), spent time with the kiddos and the mom, read books, aaaand that's about it.



Friday, September 14, 2012

Books I Am Reading

I am a bookworm, through and through.  I even get a perverse kind of pleasure reading textbooks.  I am also one of those people who tends to read several books at once: one in the bedroom, one in the bathroom, one that I listen to in the car and a textbook at the moment...

Here are the books I am currently reading.

This is my bedroom book:

A Grown Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson

This is my car book:
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
This is my textbook:
Including Students With Special Needs: A Practical Guide for Classroom Teachers by Marilyn Friend and William Bursuck

Oddly enough, I don't currently have a bathroom book that I am reading.  I will likely remedy this soon.

I read every day without fail.  I honestly cannot think of a day that has gone by wherein I have not read something, even if it is a magazine.  I read all of the time.  Abs seems to be following me down this path.  Not so much Jules or Dan, though.  They are two peas in a pod, just as Abs and I are.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 9...and first grade

This morning, I was sitting around in my pj's looking forward to an easy day spent with Mom and Jules.  Then I got a text message from Abs's teacher, asking if I could work this afternoon and tomorrow for another first grade teacher in the building.  After a moment's thought, and checking with YaYa to be sure it was ok, I took the opportunity.  I am glad I did.

I am currently enrolled at Walden University in a Masters of Education program that focuses on Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment.  Basically, it teaches us how to be better teachers.  I really like it, but it has been a lot of work.  I will talk more about this program later, but my point is that right now, I am enrolled in a class on students with special needs.  Today, I worked with a little girl who is severely ADHD.  She has an aide who checks in on her from time to time in the afternoons and she spends her whole morning in a self-contained classroom.  This was eye opening for me - not because I have not worked with special needs students before, but because I am starting to know what I am doing when it comes to these children.  I have a whole new appreciation for special education teachers.  This child tries soooo hard.  She gets soooo frustrated.  And she just needs to know that her teacher, whoever it may be, is going to stick with her.  I even got frustrated, but I took a deep breath, and while everyone else moved on to math, she and I worked on one social studies worksheet all afternoon.  I still taught the other children, but I kept her near me and I would work with her about every two minutes.  We got that thing done - it had six questions on it.  It took us over two hours.  Bless her heart.  She was so proud of herself when she finished.  It was not perfect, or anywhere near it, but her effort was phenomenal and the sticker I put on her paper was huge and sparkly, as is her heart.

The lunch for tomorrow is......

Sugar free Jello pudding (chocolate/vanilla swirl)
Swedish fish
Whole wheat goldfish
Pepperidge Farm Pirouette French Vanilla rolled wafers
Dried, diced plums and banana chips
Oven roasted turkey and provolone cheese on Arnold sandwich thins bread
Honest Kids Goodness Grapeness juice

A smaller lunch than normal, and a little on the sugary side, but what the heck - it's a Friday lunch.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Arrrrgh...oh, and lunches

While I am not a military spouse, I have great respect for them.  These women (and I guess some men, too) spend an inordinate amount of time without their spouse taking care of the children.  I am lucky - I am at my mom's house for the time being.  We are hoping that the house we have a contract on will settle without a hitch in two weeks and we will finally be on our way and out of Mom's hair.  Dan is missing us and we are missing him - we have been apart since October 3, 2011.  That is a looooong time.  We have seen him on occasion - weekends and holidays (although not all of them), but it is not the same as day to day life with two adults and the kiddos.  Again, thank goodness for Mom!  And, thank goodness for Kylie, who was my "wife" in Bloomington - I do not think I could have gotten through the last twelve months without those two women. 

Anyway, I am cranky because I have had little "regular" sleep as of late - Jules, Abs and I are all sick with some sort of head and chest crud, Jules is two weeks post-tonsillectomy and I am, for some silly reason, trying to work for the last two weeks that I am here.  Really?  Why?  I guess so I can have a little time where I am actually in charge and getting paid for it.  Yeah, we'll go with that.

Today's lunch was not a success for Abs (although I would have loved it).  Here it is.

Seriously, what's wrong with this??  Let me elaborate.

Mott's Healthy Harvest Sauce in Blueberry Delight - winner!

Dried, diced plums - winner!

Red grapes - winner!

Earth's Best Letter of the Day cookies in Very Vanilla - winner!

Whole wheat Ritz crackers - winner!

Laughing Cow Light garlic and herb cheese wedge - not gonna happen.  Really???  I luuuuuurve this stuff!  I mean, it is "lick the wrapper" good!

Oven roasted chicken breast and homemade garlic whipped cream cheese on a spinach tortilla - nope.  Wow!  I felt like I could have won Top Chef with this one!  She did not touch it. Maybe it is because, when we opened the lunch box, Mom and I had to take a step back in order to avoid the garlic cloud.

Grape tomatoes - she fervently wishes never to see one again.

Carrettes - winner!

Apple & Eve apple juice - she could take it or leave it.

Well, I guess 6 out of 10 isn't too bad, but that would be a "D" in school, folks.  This is not something I can live with.

So, tomorrow's lunch looks like this:

Gaaah - sideways!!

Strawberry Pocky (can I have this injected straight into a vein, please?)

Oatmeal and raisin cookie

Pretzel sticks

Mandarin oranges

Strawberry Splash Gogurt (I freeze this overnight and then add it to the lunchbox in the morning - it thaws by lunchtime into a smoothie consistency)

Oven roasted rotisserie chicken breast and colby/jack cheese kabobs

Raisins (wanted Craisins, but could not find them in the pantry)

Red grapes

Strawberries (must buy new ones - these are looking a bit dodgy)

Honest Kids Goodness Grapeness juice - hope she likes this - we have not bought it before, but I love the name

So, let's try again, shall we?



Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Today is September 11.  This is a day on which I will not crack jokes or post pics of scrumptious lunches.  Instead, I will thank the soldiers, firefighters, police officers, rescue dogs, and volunteers who fought for us on that fateful day, those brave souls who have lost their lives because of that tragic and cowardly act, and those who still continue to fight.  Thank you.  You are loved and honored.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Guest Teaching

Last night, I got a text message from Abs's (is that right??) first grade teacher asking me if I could substitute teach for the afternoon today.  I took her up on it, but I have mixed feelings about it.  First of all, it is hard on Abs because she is used to me, her mommy, not me, her teacher.  I also feel like I treat her more in a more strict manner than I do anyone else in an effort to prove that I am not playing favorites.  Who am I trying to prove anything to?  I don't know, but it is a tough situation.  The reason I did it is twofold - one, I want the money.  Two, I don't want anyone I don't know teaching my child.  So, I guess I would do it again if I were asked to.  

Jules is on the mend from her surgery, but now she has a whopper of a head/chest cold.  Ugh.  Poor thing just can't catch a break.  She spent well over an hour and a half today in this way...

That's my mom, better known as YaYa.  She sat there with Jules asleep on her shoulder for so long, she could not feel her right leg anymore.  This is what grandparents are for.  Jules slept better there than she does in her own bed.  Just look at the "loosey lips."

Here is Abs's lunch for tomorrow.

LesserEvil Krinkle Sticks
Grape Fruitabu
Apple & Eve apple juice (we will be switching to grape soon - she is getting appled out
Red grapes
Yogurt (vanilla and chocolate) covered raisins
Cream cheese and cinnamon raisin bread sandwich
Oven roasted turkey breast
Grape tomatoes
Babybel cheese
Cinnamon apple mini rice cakes

In case you are wondering why she never gets a PB&J, the reason is, again, twofold.  One, there is a child in her class with a severe peanut allergy and Abs sits at the "allergy" table in the cafeteria because my girl has food allergies to pancake syrup (of any kind - can someone explain this to me?) and to shellfish.  I am not going to put someone else's child into shock so my child can have PB&J.  Secondarily, Abs is not a fan of PB&J anyway.  So there you have it.

Until tomorrow. 


Sunday, September 09, 2012


Ok, I know that this is not maybe the most appetizing title, especially given that I will be posting a lunch pic in this post, but I have exciting news!! Jules finally pooped today!  I know, I know.  Big fat deal, lady (right?).  But seriously, she had not pooped for 11 days, people.  The surgeon and nurse mentioned something about the anesthesia slowing down the bowels, but they came to a complete halt!  I really thought we were going to have to go to the emergency room, or at least the fire department (surely one of those big hoses would clear her out).  Really, though, I went to the pharmacy and bought PediaLax suppositories and was fully prepared to use one on her.  I came home with it and gently told her that if she did not poop, she would die.  I then told her that I was going to "put some medicine on her bum" to help her poop. 

After dinner, we resolutely went upstairs (to her bathroom of choice) and as soon as we got in there, she pulled down her panties, climbed onto the potty and loaded that puppy up!  I mean, I had to use the plunger.  We did not even use the suppository (although I firmly believe it worked, as even the idea of it being utilized made her poop).  So, way to go PediaLax!!  WooHoo! 

On to more genteel subjects...

The lunch du jour for tomorrow (is that correct English (or French)?) is made.  Here it is.
 Gaah!  Why are these things sideways???  Anyway, it consists of

Apple & Eve apple juice (no sugar added)
Dark chocolate and yogurt covered raisins from Sunmaid
Strawberry Fruitabu (love these things - who wouldn't eat "smooshed fruit"?
Green grapes
Strawberries - I know, maybe too much strawberry stuff, but these need to be eaten soon, so in they go
Mandarin oranges
Honey baked ham
Cheese cubes (same as last week)
Grape tomatoes
Terra sweet potato chips
Whipped cream cheese on cinnamon raisin bread
and the ever-present love note.

I am seriously considering buying Bento box inserts - any thoughts?


This is What I Get For Helping...

First of all, let me say that I am always happy to help.  While it is not my preference, I will even venture outside in the summertime in Virginia in the gawd-awful heat n' humidity that only this state can provide, to help.  But, for the record, this is what it gets me.
Whadda ya think of dem apples??  In the battle of Mindi vs. the bush hog, the bush hog was definitely the winner.  I will not comment as to what body part I am showing you, but that is not a really cute sock that you see in the bottom left corner.

In other news, we are trying to buy this house.

It will be the sixth house we have tried to buy in the past year.  What a year it has been!  The first house failed the home inspection and the seller refused to put on a new roof until we had walked away.  The second house had mold, even though the seller insisted that there had never been mold.  There was evidence of mold remediation and new mold growth.  Liar, liar, pants on fire.  The third house, we lost to a cash offer.  The fourth house, we could not settle on a price with the seller.  The fifth house took too long - it was a "pre-approved" short sale and we gave the seller's bank 60 days to approve it.  We walked on day 63.  This little beauty is the sixth.  I hope we get this one.  It is smaller than what we are used to, but that is ok with me.  It is in a great town and an excellent school district.  We have already had the home inspection, but again, this one needs a new roof.  Along with a re-wiring of the electrical box, radon remediation, a new kitchen floor and counters, a new chimney, and there is moisture in the basement.  All we really want, though, is the roof and radon fixed.  Seriously, we could do the rest in our own time.  Keep your fingers crossed for us.  We would love to get the family back together in one place again.  It has been nearly a year since we all lived under the same roof.  We miss Dan and he misses his girls, too.



Thursday, September 06, 2012

She is not prejudiced...and I intend to keep it that way

Abs goes to a school that is a true mixing bowl.  Being a person who lived in three separate countries (and continents, for that matter) and five states while growing up, I can honestly say that I am not comfortable with the idea that some children do not experience people from all races on a normal basis.  Sending a child to a school that is predominantly one race or one religion is not a picture of how life really is, nor does it prepare them for life in the real world.  Of course, many people out there are going to disagree with me on this, but this is my blog...and my opinion is the one that counts here.  So there.

Anyway, Abs came home from her first day at school and the one comment that she made that sticks with me is, "Mom, there were girls in my class that had sooo many beads in their hair.  That was a nice surprise!"  Bless her heart.  I hope she never, ever loses this attitude.

I know you have been waiting for it, so here is her lunch for tomorrow:

Dark chocolate covered raisins
Puffins cereal
Whole wheat Ritz crackers and Laughing Cow light garlic and herb cheese
Apple & Eve apple juice, with no sugar added!
Quaker soft baked oatmeal and raisin cookie
Straberry Fruitabu
oven roasted turkey breast
string cheese
grape tomatoes
fresh sliced kiwi
aaaand, a love note from one of my favorite sites

 Still haven't figured out why these pics are sideways. Sorry for the photo quality today, too.

Well, there you have it.  Until next time.


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

A Day in the Life of Jules...

Jules had her tonsils and adenoids removed last week.  I must say, after some initial reservations about having it done here rather than with the surgeon who did her ear tubes, we really lucked out.  She has had tonsillitis eight times since November, so we were told that we more than met the requirements that insurance has for the removal to be covered.  At this point, even if it had not been covered I think we would have done it...

It has been seven days now and she is finally off the steroids.  She will be on the antibiotics for a few more days and also the pain meds.  Oooooohhh, the pain meds.  She is on hydrocodone mixed with acetaminophen.  I am pretty sure that I could sell this stuff on the street corner and make a fortune.  Wow!  Given its heavy narcotic load, I was tempted to stop giving it to her after a couple of days, but quickly found out that if we even skipped one dose (she has it every four hours) that she turns completely feverish and miserable.  No wonder we have two refills of the stuff, and I am pretty sure it comes in a gallon jug - seriously, it is a large bottle.

Today, she was pretty sprightly, so she went with us to take Abs down the driveway (this drive is about 4 acres long, by the way) to the bus stop.  Then she ran an errand with YaYa (to the tractor parts store, which I am pretty sure Mom would marry if she could) and then came back for lunch.  After eating a bit (she is understandably a bit peckish at this point and she is refusing to eat popsicles) of applesauce and mac & cheese, she decided it was time to play with Mommy.  I dragged out the nail polish and we did a mani/pedi on her.  Here are the results. 

That's right - purple with sparkles.  Was there ever any doubt?

Abby had music today - she loved it.  This consisted of singing a song about following directions and then playing with various musical instruments.  She says she loved the drum.  Great.

For her lunch tomorrow, she will have:

LesserEvil Potato Krinkle Sticks (light sea salt flavor) - gluten, cholesterol and preservative free
green grapes
dark chocolate covered raisins - seriously, is there any other flavor??
Apple & Eve sugar free apple juice
roasted turkey/grape tomato/colby & monterey jack cheese kabobs
strawberry Fruitabu - no sugar people!
Quaker chewy chocolate chunk bar (I know - sugar, but she is a child and she needs a little pick-me-up now and then, right?)

Oh the glory of it all...

And, as a side note, why in the heck are my pictures sideways today??


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Abs is in first grade...

This morning, my mom, Jules and I drove the minivan down Mom's loooong driveway so that we could wait for the school bus to pick up my baby.  I cannot believe Abs is going to first grade this year!  I remember clearly the day I found out I was expecting her.  What joyous news!  I had been told for a very long time that I would not be able to conceive children because of advanced (stage IV) endometriosis.  Yet, here she was.  I had lost so many before her - yes, doctors, I was able to conceive over and over again, but I could not manage to grow them so well.  She hung in there and is every bit the precious gift that I knew she would be.  She is me, in miniature.  She is a bookworm, she is chatty, she is girly to the "nth" degree.  She is generous and selfish.  She is sweet and moody.  She is smart and immature.  She is the perfect middle child and can juggle going from the oldest in the house to having an older sister in a heartbeat.  She does not judge (well, anyone but family - we are exempt from the judgelessness) and she is not prejudiced.  She believes in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter bunny and the Knot Fairy.  I intend to keep it that way for as long as I can.

I had reservations about putting her on the bus, as did my mom, but we did it anyway.  This afternoon, we walked out the to the end of the looooong driveway and waited for her for an hour.  She got off that bus exhausted, but happy.  Good girl, Abs!  Daddy, Mommy and YaYa are so proud of you.

And for lunch tomorrow...

Sliced oven roasted turkey breast (Oscar Meyer) and sliced muenster cheese rolled up in a corn tortilla
Ken's buttermilk ranch for dipping
dried banana chips
apple juice (Apple & Eve - no sugar added)
pineapple chunks (Dole)
green grapes
Colby and Monterey Jack cheese cubes
Annie's cheese bunnies
sesame sticks
a love note, found on It's Written On The Wall 
Aaaaannnd, here is the BEST lunch tote in the whole wide world (according to Abs) - it is from Thirty One.  I. Love. Thirty. One.

I get most of the food-stuff from Martin's (Mom's local grocer). Tomorrow, though, I am going with Heather to The Fresh Market.  We will see what goodies I can find there... 

Laters, baby. (yes I am reading it, too!)

Monday, September 03, 2012

Where Have You Been??

Wow.  It has been a long time since I have written.  I could come up with any number of excuses...I have been working on my Masters...I have moved - twice...I have been teaching...I have been lazy...  The list goes on, and really, it is all true.  I promise to catch you up on everything later.  The important thing here is that we are back.  Yippee!

I have been on a healthy kick recently - yes, I admit it has only been in my head, but hey it's a start, right??  I started by joining Curves and actually going there a few times each week.  This has been surprisingly pleasant and I find that I try to come up with excuses not to go much less frequently than I ever have tried to avoid exercise before.  I hope it becomes a habit for me, like napping and eating late at night.

Abs starts first grade tomorrow.  I. am. not. ready. for. this.  I have been driving my mother crazy with all of the preparations, but being the good sport that she is, she was steadfastly ironing a weeks' worth of pink, glittery, ruffly outfits today.  Good woman, that one - and she's mine, all mine!

I ordered Abs a thermal lunch tote from Thirty One - love them!  And I packed her first lunch of the school year tonight.  I am going to be honest here and say that this is inspired by Pinterest, but I have made a few alterations for my girl.

The lunch contains, clockwise from top left:
chocolate Teddy Grahams
diced, dried plums
turkey pepperoni curled around whipped Philadelphia cream cheese
grape tomatoes
Babybel cheese
green grapes
apple juice (sugar free)
oatmeal raisin cookie
Ritz cheese crackers
Snackwell yogurt covered pretzels
a love note (found at It's Written On the Wall)

Overboard?  Maybe.  And I know she won't eat it all.  But she will have choices, and for the most part, they are healthy ones.

I am going to try to post these lunches, but I make no promises, people.  I have naps to take!!

Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend.