Sunday, September 7, 2014

New Kicks

WHM's super-fast Spiderman sneakers had a blowout this week.


To be precise, that happened on Tuesday, exactly one day after the BOGO sale ended at Stride Rite.  This photo is when he showed me the issue while he and I had dinner and waited for CAM's ballet class to end. (Side note -- I am so excited that he and I get to have "dates" every Tuesday while CAM dances!)

Our nearest Stride Rite is precisely 60 minutes away, at the Stride Rite Outlet in Kittery, Maine.  That's okay, because I prefer to shop the outlet and it's a nice excuse for a drive to Southern Maine. Sometimes we wander the outlets in Kittery, sometimes we go to Portsmouth, NH, and sometimes we meander our way back to Central Maine and stop at the mall in Portland or at Stonewall Kitchen in York, or any of a million other beloved detours.

In any case, WHM can't go to school -- especially since this past week was full-on July weather -- without sneakers.  He can't exactly wear dress shoes and shorts, or snow shoes and shorts.  And sandals are not allowed.  So, we promised him we'd buy new sneakers on Saturday, when we could most easily head down to Kittery.

He went straight to the superhero shoes again.

Mick and I were really trying to get him to go with lace-up sneakers, so he could learn and practice tying his shoes.  In fact, before he had Spiderman shoes, he had lace-up sneakers.  (Also, for some reason we don't quite even know ourselves, we'd been steadfastly opposed to superheroes, cartoon characters, anything like that on shoes.  CAM never had a pair, and WHM only had Spiderman because the last time we went shoe shopping, I was without Mick and was, apparently, a softie that day.)

In any case, Mick and I tried everything yesterday.

"Mommy, I wealllly want theeese."

"But, WHM, these are so stylin'."

"No, but these hurt."

"No, they don't."

"But I weally wike this style."

"Daddy would like you to try some big-kid shoes, like his ... and CAM's, and mine ... see this super-cool color?"

"I don't wike that color."

"What about these?"

"I don't like those bottoms."

"What about these?!  Super awesome with red and black! And check out the bottoms!  Spikey! Come on, WHM, we really want you to get a pair that has laces.   You need to learn how to tie your shoes since you're in kindergarten!"

"Mommy, I want these.  With velcro."

"Let's just try these on, okay? Let's see how they look. You USED to have a pair with laces, you know!  A pair just like these!"

"Those hurt."

"They only hurt when they got too small.  We'll get your right size and they will feel great!"

We tried on the black-and-red sneakers, but they were a half size too big and even Mick regretfully admitted that they were not a good choice.  Too big is almost as bad as too small, especially with our little fall-prone man.

At this point, the Ironman shoes were not coming off his feet.

"Come on, WHM, those sneakers are just like the Spiderman shoes you already have. Let's try a new style."

We found an adjacent pair in a style we could live with and Mick chimed in: "Look!  These have laces AND velcro! Look how the velcro goes across!"

But WHM sat on the floor and pointed to the shoes he wanted, and said "Wook. These have velcro and it doesn't just go across. The velcro on this one goes here and here.  These are just like my Spiderman shoes and I already know I wuv this style."

Suffice it to say, the day's negotiation went to WHM.

Before:

These were well-loved and were on my "replace next" list, anyway.  The blowout forced the issue.


After:  (Note the similarities in velcro and style!)



We have also been informed that these shoes are EVEN FASTER than the Spiderman ones, and that it was a very good decision to buy these.

Thank goodness.

--Jen

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Some Afternoon Photo Fun

I love that we have essentially this same pose in countless photos in the past seven years.  This is CAM at play, deep in concentration in her chalk art. 













WHM only wanted to make silly faces to start. He's been hamming it up all day!












Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Day of School 2014

WHM is in kindergarten.  I think because he did full-day Pre-K last year at the same school, and because I am working full-time, I don't feel the "empty house" blues as much as some of my friends have. My little man is giddy, and so I am, too.

CAM is in second grade!  She is beside herself with excitement about school, and I love that.

We moved here with a toddler and a kindergartener!  Oh, my!

--Jen





I am so upset that this is blurry. I didn't want to mess with the camera and don't trust myself well enough to shoot manual, so I let it ride on "auto," and am punished with a focal point on a basket.  Oh well.  Do-over later!


p.s. I am back to teaching again, still at the same place I started when we moved to Maine. My first day is also today, but I have made a "tradition" (three-years running) of taking my own kids' first day off so I can do drop-off and pick-up. The rest of the week will be "early care," but today? Today's special.  (Besides, today is only freshman for me, and I only have an advisory group. Tomorrow is the day all the rest of the students arrive. Tomorrow is "go time" for me. Today is "frantically-clean-the-house-because-you-won't-get-this-chance-again-for-ten-months" day.)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

DVR Makes Us Better Parents

When we moved to Maine, we re-organized our lives in a lot of ways. One of them was to take a much stricter approach with our finances, and that meant (among other things) that we scaled our cable bill way back.  Got rid of the premium channels, got rid of DVR... we cut it all out.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, Mick swung into* our local cable place to ensure that we would have the SEC Network the second it comes live on the air.  While he was there, he worked some Mick magic and we now also have a DVR again.  Best of all, our bill went DOWN!

Man, this week keeps getting better and better!

(You want to know what else awesome happened?  I just sat down to eat some Chinese food leftovers and bit into a bonus water chestnut!  WHAT?!)  

My week is made.

In any case, last night Mick and I were watching Suits last night when, about ten minutes into it, CAM came out from her bedroom.  Her head hurt, her tummy hurt, she felt sick and wasn't sure quite what was causing it.  She kept talking and we kept ssssshhhhing her ... until we realized we could PAUSE to listen to her woes and then REWIND to catch anything we missed.  We then became more attentive and interested in her various problems**.  See?!  DVR makes us better parents!

--Jen

* are you a college football fan? We are. Our kids were born in Tuscaloosa, for goodness' sake.  The idea that an entire network dedicated to our beloved conference could exist and we might not be able to watch it was terrifying.  As it is, not too many folks in Maine care about college football and we are our own little island of Alabama here on Saturdays. We weren't going to be left out of the television element, too.  This was not a mere "oh, let's check."  This was a well-planned-out, let's-give-them-a-couple-of-days-in-case-something-is-wonky visit to ENSURE that we would have the SEC Network when it goes live today.

** for the record, she had all sorts of "ailments" because we had told her to go to bed and that she could watch Suits On Demand tomorrow (now today).  Once we said she could stay awake with us, she was healed! Her problems were solved!  It was a USANetwork Miracle!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Update to the 101 Things Update

My mom, who reads this blog faithfully but prefers to call or email me her comments, has informed me that my last post was lacking in two places.

First, I didn't link to the 101 Things list, and since I only named the items by number and not description, it was a bit tricky to navigate.

I've updated the post in that it now includes the link to the list, but I haven't gone back to give the descriptions (yet).

Second, there was at least one place where we arguably have accomplished the goal.  I went back through the list, and wherever that was true (there turned out to be a few places), I've updated the list to reflect that.

In doing so, I discovered one item that we can legitimately cross off:

#86: Swim in the ocean with the kids

DONE!  Not only did I take the kids to the beach a few times this summer, but we also went as a family last summer. Since the objective for most of the items on the list is that we do these things as a family, this summer's Mick-less outings might not count.  But last summer's outings definitely DO count, so that one is DONE!

--Jen

Monday, August 11, 2014

101 Things: #9, #27, #44

You're tired of hearing me use "the move" as an excuse, so I won't. I'll just say that while it made some things easier (for example, #9), it has also made some things more challenging.  (I have no idea, for example, where my cake pans are. That's two years' of baking that didn't happen!)

It's pretty clear to me that we won't cross of anywhere close to all of our things on this list, but we've done a lot, and there are still a fair number we can finish by October...

... and then we can make a new list!

101 Things in slightly more than 1001 Days!

--Jen

Oh, what are the things, you ask?  Here you go:

9.    Get CAM and WHM on skates! Done! Fall/Winter 2013-14 WHM started, and CAM followed with figure skating lessons Winter 2014 and they both did a hockey clinic at the start of summer 2014. They love it, and hockey will likely be in our lives for some time to come!

27.  Unpack/sort/file every box – no piles, no boxes to go through later Done! August 8, 2014. 

44.  Take the kids to the movies – six separate times  #1:  The Lorax, April 20, 2012; #2: Pirates Band of Misfits May 1, 2012; #3: Brave, June 25, 2012; #4: Monsters University, June 20-something, 2013; #5 and #6 -- drive-in movies here in Maine Summer 2013. (Planes, Despicable Me 2, Smurfs 3, and Monsters University (again, part of a double feature!))



Abundantly Blessed

I was going to write this on Facebook, but I decided that this blog is a better place for it.

I think the best way to describe the way I fell asleep last night is to say that I felt abundantly blessed.

I don't usually go for the mushy-emotional-sappy-religious-whatever-you-want-to-call it publicly. That's not to say I don't feel or act all those ways, but I tend to keep it to myself.  (And Mick.) 

But this weekend I really just felt like I was on top of the world.  And it wasn't any one thing, and it really wasn't even any specific little things. It was just a darn good weekend. A productive weekend. And when I finally got to bed last night (our bed! from Georgia! We finally have it set up!), it was an amazing feeling.

Let's see if I can recap here all that played a role in that feeling.

I didn't go in to the office Friday, but took the day to run errands and clean.  I have a four-drawer filing cabinet that pretty much holds our lives, and over the week I had sorted everything that has needed filing for the past TWO years. Yes, ladies and gentleman, I have not filed anything since we moved.  It was in piles, relatively unsorted, in boxes both under my desk and in the basement.  It is now 100% sorted and filed.  It took me days, but the feeling of being done is somewhat euphoric.  Maybe that's the Monica Gellar in me!

Also as a result of that project, we generated three giant boxes of stuff to shred.  In an effort to keep the momentum of cleaning and organizing, those boxes were promptly taken to the incinerator at the dump.

At the same time, all of our accumulated cardboard recycling was taken to the dump to be recycled.

The kids and I returned our library books, they picked out the ones they'd earned from their summer reading club at the library, we went to the school department offices and I dropped off paperwork that was again (at least in my head) long overdue.  I picked up books I need for a program I'm starting in the Fall.  We went to the post office and submitted my teaching certificate renewal -- another thing that's been hanging over my head, written on lists, and generally giving me agida -- done! We stopped by the kids' school and picked up their supply lists and reading lists and summer math homework.  (For the record, the kids did their summer work the week school ended.  I put it in a safe place.  So we'll just take that as a sign we should review and do it over again.)

An electrician came to finish some projects at the house in the afternoon, so we cleaned and tidied and organized, including scrubbing down the stove and oven.  And I did all the laundry in the entire house -- washed, dried, folded, hung, and put away. (For the record, I now have just as much laundry to do today, but I am in denial. Eh ... maybe I'll go throw in some sheets and towels. They are easy to fold and will make the pile feel remarkably smaller!)

Our old, dead dryer that was sitting in the basement, we brought up, clearing basement space to work on our next project-in-the-works, expanding the kids' play area and organizing some of our boxes from the move.

We went to the storage unit, thanks to my in-laws who were able to give us kid-free time, and Mick and I managed to purge a bunch of stuff, consolidate a bunch of stuff, and combine the smaller unit into the bigger unit, thus freeing us of one bill per month.  We donated a fair amount of stuff to Goodwill. (Opinions about Goodwill notwithstanding, they really do make it very easy to donate. And more than that, they are our only viable local option -- I'd typically prefer St. Vincent dePaul, or the Salvation Army, but those aren't local to us.)

We mowed the lawn. We have peppers growing on our serrano and anaheim plants.  We took WHM to swimming, did a kids' craft at Lowe's, and -- thanks again to our in-laws -- cooked a fabulous lobster dinner at home Saturday.

Sunday we went to a family cookout a few towns over and ate like royalty. I made a cole slaw to bring, and it was a pleasantly surprising hit among everyone -- who knew a vinegar-based slaw would be so well received?!

Mick and I finally got our king size bed from the storage unit and we were able to set it up (again with help from my in-laws) in our room yesterday.  Because of the layout of doors, closets, windows, etc., we have to re-arrange the bedroom to make it work, so that's a project to finish today and tonight. But, we got it.  We had to go to Target to get bedding because when we moved our comforter was destroyed, and we already purged our sheets, saying we'd buy new ones ... Target was running a Cartwheel sale and had a coupon for $15 off $75 of bed linens.  When you need King, everything is at least that much. Of all the weeks to have such a nice coupon, the timing was absolutely perfect.  We were able to wash and dry the sheets and make the bed last night. On our way home from Target, we stopped at Mick's aunt's house and she gave us garden veggies ... buckets and buckets of garden veggies that we can't wait to dig into!

The list goes on and on. Nothing is earth-shattering. But all of it together made for a weekend of feeling on top of the world (even when my back hurt, which it did, and I wanted to cry, which I did).

Life is good. We have our health, we have each other, things are going well with both of our jobs, we still have two weeks left of summer... and my friend Becca just brought me into a wonderful little lead where she and I will get to lead some professional workshops for another school system, which is incredibly exciting and a fantastic opportunity.

So, when I woke up in my amazing bed this morning, I thought if I could vent and whine here to complain, I sure as anything should tell you all when I am contently feeling just amazingly blessed.

--Jen