Saturday, May 31, 2008

Brain Fry

We spent the entire day in Hendersonville yesterday and now my brain is completely fried--which is why I'm blogging at 4:00 in the morning. We started at The Mortgage Dude's office (his other nickname is "The Money Guy") who told us that we'll actually be able to afford the houses we've been looking at. Good to know.

Then we went to my new school to get some paperwork, see my classroom, and give the boys a tour. My classroom is RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from one of the houses we looked at. How cool would that be? We could walk to school! Think what I'd save on gas! But, alas, the house is tiny. Adorable, but tiny. Tiny rooms, tiny closets, no dining room, no basement, no family room (just the living room), no foyer, BUT it's all updated and has hardwood floors throughout. We'd have to add a master suite and family room right away. But the good news is, it sits on a huge lot so we'd have the space to add on.

We looked at so many houses that Dan was losing track of what we'd seen. One house was absolutely perfect...except for the SWAMP in the backyard! They're getting the drain-off from the new subdivision built behind them, resulting in the Okefenokee going on behind their house. Not cool.

There's another house close to school which I like, but Dan and our realtor don't love. Every single room would have to be redecorated, but that's just cosmetic. It's a big house in a quiet neighborhood near school. But, boy, is it ugly right now. A diamond in the rough, you might say. At least that's how I see it. Dan? Not so much.

Our favorite house is in a newer subdivison with a pool and clubhouse. The house is completely perfect--in our price range, very large, only two years old, four bedrooms, all the colors match our decor, extras like upgraded light fixtures and crown molding and granite countertops, walk-in closets in every bedroom, everything beautiful, master bedroom downstairs (with Dan's favorite--the garden tub), amazing kids' rooms with a HUGE family room upstairs, a hardwood-floored office/music room, and it has outlets for phone/cable/computer (with Smart Connection--whatever that is) all over the place.

The catch (because you KNEW there would be one): the yard is very small. The houses are built very close together with short driveways on the front of the house. No parking. No trees. No shade. You better hope you get along with the neighbors because they will be CLOSE. The itty bitty back yard has a vinyl picket fence (one that Dan won't have to paint--YAY!!) BUT, there's a gate at the back which leads to a HUMONGOUS common area in the center of the community. All the houses on the circle back up to it and there's a big playground in the middle. We could walk to the pool--we can see it from our yard. And the area is zoned for my school so even if the unthinkable happens and my contract is not renewed after this upcoming school year, the boys wouldn't have to change schools again. But, ugh, the yard is small.

We really appreciated our yard when we got back home. I love the house we're in now. I wish we could pick it up and move it with us. And we'd scoop up Grace's family and make them come too.

I hate making decisions.

My house has officially been on the market (and on the computer) for two days and we haven't had any calls yet. What's wrong with these people? Don't they know how rare it is to have some actual LAND in a nice neighborhood. Somebody needs to snatch this place up fast. Sigh. I love this house. But I want it to sell and I want it to sell NOW.

Because that drive to H'Vegas? Killer.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Recovering Vegetarian Cooks Meat

Let's backtrack a few years, shall we?

When Dan and I were newlyweds (read: when dinosaurs roamed the earth) I was a vegetarian for about three years. You'd think that would strain the relationship a bit because he's a meat and potatoes kind of guy, but the thing is...I don't cook. It was never really a problem because we ate a lot of take-out or he'd grill a steak. We were rarely together for meals anyway because I was substitute teaching, waiting tables, and going to graduate school and he works retail hours. I relied on cheese pizzas and Taco Bell bean burritos on campus and he made peanut butter sandwiches or chicken noodle soup. And all was right with the world, as God intended.

Then I got pregnant. I craved Happy Meals like Lindsay Lohan craving coke at a Hollywood party. One might argue that I was still a vegetarian because Mickey D's Happy Meal hamburgers don't contain meat (sorry, Holli) but I fell off the veggie wagon and hit hard. After the pregnancy was over I ate meat occasionally but never really liked it much.

Then, three years later, I came home from Kroger with smoked cheddar and summer sausage and, before I could even unload the rest of the groceries, started scarfing slices of both on Triscuits while standing at the kitchen counter. Dan walked in, took one look at the processed food orgy and said something along the lines of, "Dude, you are SO knocked up."

Other than the eleventy-zillion months I was pregnant (at least that's how long it felt) I've never really liked eating flesh very much. I can't stand to touch raw meat, but since the rest of my family are carnivores, I am occasionally required to prepare meals consisting of dead animals. Today was no exception.

I'd bought some kind of pork at Publix and it was approaching the Instant Death if Consumed After date, so I decided to whip up some kind of crock pot pork thing. Only, as I tore off the plastic wrap, I realized that I'd accidentally purchased pork with the rib bones still attached.


Rather than throw it away and run shrieking from my kitchen, I put my big girl pants on and started cutting the usable meat sections off. There were very few pieces left by the time I removed all bones, fat, veiny-looking things, and anything else that creeped me out because I didn't want it touching the lovely carrots and potatoes I was planning to throw in with it. I dumped in some onion soup mix, various and sundry spices (whatever I could reach without breaking out the step stool which wasn't much considering I'm only 5'2"), and a bay leaf (because, even though I don't know what they do, adding a bay leaf always makes me feel like a real cook).

Now here's where it gets ugly.

The pot was looking kind of sad and empty so I decided to throw in some noodles--No Yolks brand, to be exact--because Dan's mom used to make some kind of noodles, potatoes, and meat thing for him. Apparently she was worried that his starch and triglycerides levels were too low. Anyway, as soon as I dumped the noodles into the pot I thought, "Hmm, maybe that wasn't such a good idea since this is going to be cooking for about five hours. Oh well, what's the worst that could happen?"

Um, yeah. Did I mention that I hate to cook? This isn't just your run-of-the-mill hatred of cooking, either. More like an all-consuming fire of a thousand suns-type hatred of cooking. And this is why. I ALWAYS screw something up. Whether I wing it or carefully follow a recipe I ALWAYS screw it up.

So after a while I lifted the lid to inhale the onion-brothy goodness and... lo and behold, when you put noodles in a crock pot they turn to complete mush very, very quickly. Ugh.

So, determined to save dinner since I'd, you know, touched raw meat and bones and things and wasn't about to let that effort go unnoticed, I poured everything out into a colander with a pot underneath to catch all the brothy-goodness and dumped the pot contents back into the crock pot. Then I rinsed off every single little piece of carrot, potato, and meat--doubling the number of times I had to handle uncooked meat today and thereby guaranteeing my Mother of the Year nomination for another year. Stay tuned for the awards ceremony which should happen right after Satan starts selling Push Pops in hell.

I dumped all the now noodle-goop-free food back into the crock pot and said a little culinary prayer that this will turn out to be edible.

But, if not, I think I have a few coupons for free kid's meals at Fazoli's--which is where the kids would rather eat anyway. Honestly, so would I.

Because no one makes me cut fat from animal carcasses at Fazoli's--just as God intended.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ice Cream for Breakfast

Today was VERY emotional for young Seven. It was the last day of school and, for my kids, it is truly their very last day at that school. Ever. The minute we walked into Seven's teacher's room the waterworks started.

And Seven cried too.

His teacher, the educational assistant for first grade, another child's mom, me...we were all boo-hooing. Seven loves school and is really going to miss it. Of our whole family, he's the most reluctant to move because he doesn't want to leave the house, his school, his friends, his GIRLFRIEND, his church, or anything. We had to go say good-bye to all his related arts teachers and his kindergarten teacher too. Gah, it was so painful. It'll be a miracle if he doesn't come out of this with a sinus infection because, DANG, there was a lot of
ugly cry going on. Yes, it's still called "ugly cry" even if it's a little boy doing it instead of a woman because his face was all red and splotchy and just awful.

The good news is he made all Es again. He only made one S the entire school year. His STARS report says that he's reading on a 4.2 grade level (second month of fourth grade) so we're suitably impressed. His teachers at that school were amazing and we will miss them.

Ten also said good-bye to his teacher. No drama there--he was so relieved to be done with that class. I promised I would never say anything negative on this blog about his teacher and I will uphold that vow even though school is over. I will just say that he survived fourth grade and leave it at that. Well, he more than survived it: he finished with all As for the second half of the year and all of his year-end averages. It was a challenging year but he made it through and I'm very proud of him.

After the two hour school day I decided to treat them to ice cream. Problem: Baskin Robbins wasn't open yet. We have one of those Baskin Robbins stores that's attached to a Dunkin Donuts store and it was totally jam packed today. Everyone had the same idea we did! I asked the manager when the ice cream side would open and he said, "Normally we open at 10:00 but if you want something we'll get it for you." I think he just noticed Seven's tear-stained face and thought, "I'm going to give this poor kid whatever he wants."

I know
I felt that way.

This was a FULL HOUR before they were scheduled to open, but the nice man came over to the other side and got my kids a couple of scoops of chocolate and a candy topping. Because nothing says summer vacation like ice cream and Reese's bits for breakfast!

That's good parenting, right there. Feel free to take notes.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Because I have a sick sense of humor

I actually laughed out loud at this one. Must be the boys' influence because nothing says funny like potty humor and animals together when you're a little boy...


Another busy day

So very tired.

I pulled weeds and spread 15 BAGS of mulch today. By myself. I need more but I'm too tired (and cheap) to go get more.

I met with the contractor who is going to replace the rotten wood around my garage door and hope to have that done before next Tuesday. Luckily it sounds like it's going to cost about what we expected.

Also took Lily to the vet for a shot, nail trim, and more heartworm medicine, talked on the phone a lot (to the realtor, the finance guy, my doctor's office, the termite inspection company, and the credit card company, and my realtor again), went to the library and the utility company, and picked up a couple of movies and a pizza for the kiddos.

Whew. I'm tired.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sassy AND Handy

In my continued quest to fix everything I've been meaning to fix in and around my house for YEARS so that the NEXT owner will enjoy it thoroughly, I got my handy on today and filled a gap where the side of our porch meets the foundation.

By the way, is anyone else horrified by the VAST length of that first sentence? Is it just me?

I mixed up some gray mortar mix in an old Publix watermelon container (because I was too cheap to buy the special buckets they sell at Home Depot for that purpos
e--hey, recycle, reduce, reuse, right?) and got to work. Do ya'll know that stuff sets up FAST? I mean, really fast! I only mixed a small amount at a time because I knew that it would get hard kind of fast, but dang! That got hard faster than a teenager with his first Victoria's Secret catalog.

Snicker, snicker. Sorry, totally inappropriate. Giggle, giggle.

I should mention how lovely I looked at the time I was doing all this work. I was sporting the same painting hairstyle I wore a few weeks ago (the bunched up ponytail with the shorter pieces pulled up in a tiny clip. I'm too sexy for my hair.). No makeup, allergy-red eyes, baggy lime-green shorts, my blue Arctic Edge vacation bible school T-shirt with paint splatters on it, and navy blue flip-flops. I was stylin'!

But, lest you think I'm letting my sassy slip now that school is out, I was also wearing these...

See? Veeerrrrry sassy. And available at a Linens N Things near you. Or online. Hey, I have to plug my husband's store whenever I can. I've got two kids to put through college someday, people!

I was impressed by how good it looked when I was finished because my technique left something to be desired. It can best be described as "hurry up and shove big globs of gray cookie-dough textured goop into the crack before it solidifies into concrete." That's not what the directions on the bag say, but you know, maybe they should.

Hey, that's it! I should write instruction manuals for women! Forget this whole teaching gig I just landed--I should totally write How-To guides for women. Grace and I could go into business together and become mega-millionaires. That's way better than our last get-rich-quick scheme: selling preschool lesson plans out of the trunk of my car at the Bell Road exit in Antioch. Somehow we never quite worked out the kinks on that plan.

Well, until I can write up that business proposal, I'm going to get back to my house-selling punchlist. Next up, figure out how to get the housing for my kitchen fluorescent light open so I can remove all the bug carcasses inside it. Because, somehow, I don't think potential buyers will find the insect cemetary appetizing in their new kitchen. Go figure.

But I will wear my pink Casabella gloves while doing it. Because I am both sassy AND handy. Yep, that's me.

*****Update to add:

I managed to debug the kitchen light AND fix the flusher on the boys' potty (even though that was on DAN'S list) so, yeah, I totally rock. I just hope the massive thunderstorm we're having doesn't wash away all the mortar mix I so carefully *snort* applied this morning.

Friday, May 23, 2008

For Sale

Ya'll! There is a for sale sign in my front yard. And I'm just a tad bit freaked out by that.

I said I wanted to get the house on the market before school let out for the summer. I know my ticker says that there are a few days left until the last day of the school year, but that's just me keeping it legal. Really, today was the last full day. Monday is a holiday, Tuesday is a teacher work day, and Wednesday is the two-hour pick up report cards and say goodbye day. So I just got it in under the wire.

The only reason I was able to accomplish this feat is because my husband is Da Man. He bought a mega-super-duper power painter yesterday and painted the whole fence AND stained the deck all on the same day. He rocks. Last time he painted the fence it took about two weeks to finish because our little crappy power painter kept getting clogged and the weather wouldn't cooperate. It was a big mess. This time Dan decided to fork over the money for a good sprayer and just get it over with all at once. He only had one day off before he has to work a long string of days in a row and the weather was nice so he went for it. It looks awesome!

He was embarrassed by how yucky the deck looked in the pictures of Lily and the boys so he told me I have to take new pictures since the deck looks nice. As soon as I hook up my new camera I'll get right on that. By that time my camera won't be new anymore. But my realtor should have some great pictures.

Our realtors came out and talked about list price, took lots of pictures, and plopped the sign in the yard. It's a sad and a happy all rolled together. Sad because I'm going to miss my friends and I have to pack all my stuff. I HATE packing. Happy because Dan will be closer to work and will get to spend more time with us instead of driving.

Now I have to go buy mulch, return the extra can of deck stain Dan didn't use, wash windows, measure the shed, vacuum (again), buy mulch, and fill a crack in the side of the porch. Ah, the joys of listing my house...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dig It!

As I mentioned before, Ten was in a play at school Tuesday night called Dig It! It's all about ancient civilizations (Mesopotamia, Rome, Greece, India, and China) and the impact they had on future generations. Ten played a Roman soldier who was teasing Romulus about his struggles with building Rome. Example:

Ten: "Hey Romulus, how's Rome going? Heard you were having some troubles with your aqueducts."

Romulus: "Hey, it wasn't built in a day, you know!"

Mom and I (mostly Mom) pieced his costume together out of bits and pieces of things we already had around our houses. We spray painted a dollar store shield, a Batman chest plate, and a construction hard hat. Mom duct taped some soccer shin guards and gave Ten some sandals to wear. She also made him a "man skirt" but he decided to wear shorts instead because he didn't want the other boys to tease him. Oh and he also wore a Superman cape inside out so that it was solid red.

But my favorite part of the whole thing was the fact that if we turned Ten upside down we could polish the floor with his head. Mom spray painted some Swiffer dusters red and I hot glued them to the top of the helmet. That part cracked me up!

We went out to eat at Logan's after the show and Ten was strutting through the restaurant in his costume, loving being the center of attention. Hey kept saying things like, "Don't worry citizens; Rome is safe!"

Wonder where he gets that from?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Forgot to Tell You...

When Dan and I went to Logan's for dinner last Friday...

I totally got carded!

hee hee! I ordered my Raspberry Roadhouse Tea and the server dude asked, "Can I see some I.D. please?" and I didn't even correct his grammar because I was so shocked. "Really? You're carding me? Cool!"

So I whipped out my driver's license, which clearly proves that I'm 39 now, and sat there grinning the whole time.

That made the very strong drink taste even better.

And by the way, I promise to post pictures from Ten's play sometime in the next century.

Monday, May 19, 2008

MVP Treatment

The boys were way overdue for haircuts and I had a free coupon for SportClips, so we decided to check it out. Since they were new customers they got upgraded to the MVP package. This service includes a "Precision Haircut," a shampoo massage with tea tree oil shampoo and fancy schmancy conditioner, and a steam towel massage afterwards.

Oh Holy Cow.

These children are never going to happily settle for an ordinary haircut ever again. I think Seven's favorite part was when the girl showed him how to use the remote to raise and lower his chair. Ten was WAAAY too into the steam towel treatment. I just hope he doesn't try to recreate that one at home.

When we got home I decided to take some pictures of their cute new 'do outside so I could use my old camera. I still haven't had time to break out the instructions or install the software for my new camera. Our dog, Lily, wanted to play with the boys, not pose for pictures, so of course hilarity ensued.

Have you ever tried to photograph a huge, playful dog and two wiggly, silly boys at the same time? Here are my results.

Your mileage may vary, but I doubt it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sanna Sews

My friend Sanna loves to sew. I admire people who can do this because I have no sewing skills whatsoever. None. I tried to make a jumpsuit thingy for home economics in junior high and it was an unmitigated disaster. I chose a really ambitious project with this difficult red fabric and black corded piping and stuff--there was no way I could finish it in time. I ended up cutting it off and making a crop top instead of a one-piece suit thingy. We had to wear our creations for a home ec fashion show and I think that was the only time I ever wore the thing. What a nightmare.

But Sanna--she can sew. Go check out her new online store right here. It's all in German so if you're dumb like me and only speak one language you won't understand much. But the pictures are so cute! She said that all the international shipping info is on the site so I'll take her word for it since I only understand English.

Go check it out and tell her Teble sent you.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Recap

So here's how I spent the last couple of days...

  • went to bed at one o'clock in the morning after sorting through yard sale stuff
  • woke up at 5:30 am to set up the yard sale
  • took the kids to school
  • called to accept the 4th grade teaching job at Nannie Berry
  • sold junk all day in the COLD weather. At one point Grace came over and said, "I don't mean to alarm you, but your lips are blue."
  • watched Dan struggle to fix two different powerwashers. He got one of them working on Saturday; the other is from the devil.
  • picked the kids up from school
  • closed down the yard sale
  • sent the kids to mom's for the night
  • went out to Logan's with Dan (FREE gift card!!) to celebrate my new job
  • drank a very, very strong raspberry Roadhouse tea
  • giggled all the way through Home Depot where we went to buy parts for the power washer
  • met up with Grace and Brian to collect some of their junk for the yard sale (and giggled most of the time)
  • crashed on the couch at 8:30 in my flannel PJs (first time I was warm all day)
  • woke up at 6:00 for the yard sale
  • sold junk at a much slower pace than Friday
  • swore about a dozen times that I'd never do another yard sale
  • picked up the kids and took Ten to dress rehearsal
  • sold more junk
  • shut down the sale for good
  • picked Ten up and dropped the first load of "leftovers" at Goodwill
  • took another load to Goodwill
  • counted our profits...$350!
  • helped Dan powerwash one side of the house
  • powerwashed the porch
  • cleaned out the gutters while Dan fretted and held the ladder so I wouldn't fall
  • fed the kids
  • walked the dog
  • gave the cat a bath and cleaned out her kennel area
  • sprayed for fleas
  • did eighty-seven gazillion loads of laundry
  • wrote this blog....
Tomorrow should be more of the same. Yay, me.

So very tired.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

When It Rains...

Turn your umbrella upside down and catch everything you can!

If you think that typing in all caps implies yelling then you'd be absolutely right because...


Yay, me! I was actually kinda sorta offered two jobs today. The first principal I talked to said I'd be a great fit at the school and introduced me to teachers that he called, "the team you'd be working with." He wanted me to call him Monday after my interview with the county, after everything checks out and they make sure I'm hire-able. Yes, that IS a word.

The second principal called the county HR person while I sat right in front of her in her office and said, "I want to hire Teble. Is there any reason you can see that I can't hire her?" and then offered me the job right then and there.

I really liked both schools and both principals, so I have to make a tough decision. One is a newer school--built in 1998--where I got to tour the school and meet other teachers. It's fifth grade and it's close to Dan's store. Great teachers, lots of parental involvement, sweet principal who seems really laid back. It's about twenty minutes away from mom and I don't know much about the middle and high schools that my kids would attend if we lived in that school zone.

The other school is the one I attended from 2nd to 6th grade. It was built in 1963 so it's an old school, but it's been well-maintained and that area of town is still great. It's five minutes from mom's house and we've been looking at homes in the area. The school has a great reputation in the community, as do the middle and high schools. It's right in the heart of town, close to the parks, and still pretty convenient to Dan's store. I didn't get to tour the school or meet anybody since she offered me the job on the spot. So I'm kind of torn.

Isn't this an awesome problem to have? I went from two rejections here to two offers in one day up there. YAY! They like me, they really like me.

Oh, and Mom? Thanks for lunch. I don't think I remembered to say that earlier in all my nervousness.

Now I have to think about this and pray a lot while I try to set up the Yard Sale of the Century here at Casa de Princess. Will you pray for me too so that I will make the right decision?

And pray for my buddy, Angie, because I just know she's going to be offered a great teaching job very, very soon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More Chicken Little Pix

Wish me luck. I have TWO job interviews tomorrow up Mom's way and anther one on Monday. I'm SO nervous!

Mom just emailed me the pictures from Sunday (when we did the family party for Mother's Day, my birthday, and my brother's birthday) and from last night's show. I love the cannibal chicken picture!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Sky is Falling

Tonight we went to the first grade play, Lemonade, at the boys' school. Seven played Chicken Little and did an amazing job! He said his lines loud and clear and didn't miss a single cue. Such a professional! Big brother Ten was a wonderful greeter, standing at the door and handing out programs to the parents. He was very proud of his Chicken Little brother.

Seven's first line of the show cracked me up:

The sky is falling.
The sky is falling.
Oh what are we to do?
I felt it on top of my Chicken Little head,
so I know it's true.

He was so stinking cute in his costume. See for yourself...

I designed it; Mom sewed it. Don't we make a great team?

I had to take the picture outside because of my stupid dead camera, but Mom got me a new camera for my birthday. As soon as I figure out how to use it, install the software that goes with it, and upload the pictures I'll add more here. Don't hold your breath. I'm also working on the house, getting ready for a yard sale, and have two job interviews this week. So I'm a wee bit busy. Mom is going to email some pictures that she took, so I'll add a slide show when I get them.

We went out to eat after the show and Seven kept his costume on. The other diners thought he was so cute--especially when he ordered
chicken crispers!

I'm so proud of the little poultry!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Why I Hate Cathedral Ceilings

happy mothers day

A Mother's Day Rant and a Public Service Announcement all rolled into one.

Okay, you guys know that we're getting the house ready to put it on the market. For the last month almost every single second of my spare time (not that I had much of it to begin with) has been devoted to household work. This weekend was no exception.

Since Friday I've been working on the master bathroom. There was a little bit of water damage around the tub faucet and the walls were in rough shape so I needed to paint it. As anyone who's ever painted can tell you, you can't ever JUST paint. Once you get started you run into all sorts of problems that need to be addressed. First I had to strip off the wallpaper. From the ceiling-high border. I believe I mentioned that this is a cathedral ceiling. And did I also mention that I'm only 5'2"? Yeah. That sucks.

Then I realized that I couldn't just paint the walls--I'd have to paint the ceiling too. Naturally this required some aerial acrobatics on my behalf. Not just for the wallpaper removal, but for the patching, s
anding, cutting in the primer, priming with the roller, and cutting again with the paint and rolling the paint (two coats, natch). Have you ever noticed that it's nearly impossible to use an extension pole on a roller in a tight space? Well I sure did. And perhaps you've noticed that it's really difficult to get an A-frame ladder into all the many corners of a bathroom? Yep, I noticed that too. Which resulted in yours truly balanced precariously on a step ladder which straddled the counter. On tip-toes.

And now it's time for the public service portion of the blog...If you ever find yourself balanced precariously on tip-toes on a step ladder which is balanced precariously on the bathroom counter, please note whether you have one sink or two. Because it might make a difference when you move the ladder over. I'm just sayin.' Also, when you move the big A-frame ladder, check to make sure you aren't putting the leg down right into the paint tray. Good advice, by the way. That's free of charge.

I told Ten he could take pictures of Mommy working hard on the bathroom so that I could use them on my blog. The photo on the right shows me standing on the ladder on top of the counter, not that you can tell because Ten didn't turn the camera sideways to get a vertical shot. That would've been impressive. Now, Ten isn't the best of photographers under normal circumstances but, in his defense, there were a lot of weird angles and obstacles in his way. Still, I don't think he can honestly claim those factors are what caused him to zoom in and take a close-up picture of MY BUTT in oversized, white, paint-splattered shorts. You can thank me in advance for NOT including that picture here. I am so grounding that kid! He is a smartass, kinda like his mother.

Okay, who am I kidding? He's exactly like his mother.

Check out the picture on the left. You know you want that hairstyle. You're so jealous of my beauty right now, aren't you?

What makes all of this worse is that I really hate the paint color. We chose a very neutral color since we're trying to sell the house, but I just don't do neutral. I like color. It was supposed to be a boring beige but it varies, depending on how the light hits it and the degree of drying, from beige to cream to yellow to off-white. Boring, very boring.

In addition to all the prepping and painting I did laundry, bought groceries, took Seven to his dress rehearsal, brushed the dog, fed everyone, and did dishes. I'm exhausted and I still have to paint one more coat. ARGH!

Anyway, lest you wonder where Dan is and why I'm doing all this work on Mother's Day by myself, Dan is at work today. He usually schedules himself to work on Mother's Day so that the mommies in the store can have the day off. But he was off Saturday and let me tell you what my man did yesterday...

He fixed all five of our bifold closet doors, fixed the leak in the icemaker (which required him to buy parts at the place where professionals go because Home Depot, Ace, and Lowe's don't carry them because your average weekend warrior doesn't fix stuff like that himself, he calls a repairman, but MY MAN can fix it!!), did all the weedeating and mowing, ran a flea fogger in the garage (which required him to turn off the gas pilot light thingy--I have no clue how this works but it sounds scary) because our cat wintered over there and brought a few thousand of her friends to stay, and he did the roller on the ceiling last night because my girly arms were weary from all the wall painting I'd done. And continue doing today.

Speaking of which, I think I've played around on the computer long enough for the first coat to dry so I'd better get back to work. Ugh.

Can't wait to get this finished so I can go to Mom's for dinner!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Choir Cuties

I'm in a mad, crazy rush to get stuff done on my house, but here's a quick update:

I was NOT able to get my camera fixed. Grrr. It's only two years old! I can send it off for repairs for $97 or buy an upgrade, a refurbished camera for $85 and it comes with a six month warranty. So here I am without a camera at the most picture-takingest time of year and I'm not super pleased about that.

I managed to snap a few shots before the choir concert but I couldn't take any during the show because my camera won't flash. Here are my adorable singers in their matching choir shirts:
Here's a picture of them in the audience while we were watching the band concert.

Don't they look pleased to be there? The bands were all quite good, but the concert was very long. We sat through about 15-18 songs and by this point they were ready to get back on stage and sing their last two songs.

Okay, Dan is reading over my shoulder, so it's time to get back to work on the house...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Birthday Recap

For those of you who asked, my birthday was wonderful...thank you!

Little did I know when I posted my cake obsession picture, that Grace already had a surprise in the works. She had Tammy, our resident foodie, bake some AWESOME cupcakes for me (chocolate with cream cheese frosting...YUM!!!) and brought them to work. When I got to work Monday morning Grace had the room decorated with a banner, a "Happy Birthday, Princess" card, my very own tiara and magic wand--which I wore/carried all day, kid's cupcakes, and birthday plates and napkins. She's so sneaky...she sent a piece of cardstock home with all the kids on Thursday along with a note telling them to decorate a card for me. EVERY CHILD remembered to make me a card. So sweet!

It's Teacher Appreciation week, so several of the kids brought cards and little gifts for that also. One mom brought a VERY LARGE gift, so that rocked!

Dan took the kids and I out to the local Japanese Hibachi grill last night and pigged out on yummy food. The boys had never been there before, so they had a blast watching the man cook everything. Seven loved the steak and soup, but didn't eat much else. Ten ate salad (no dressing, of course), soup, rice, a few veggies, steak, and ONE shrimp. He's not a fan, but at least he tried it.

Then, Grace's husband, Brian, came over and FIXED MY KITCHEN SINK!!! Yay! It took a 40-foot motorized snake to do it, but it's working now. He said he'd never run the snake all the way out to the end of the line before. Notice how I'm NOT saying anything about Brian's big tool? Because I AM that mature, thankyouverymuch.

And I got to watch Jason Taylor on Dancing with the Stars, so all in all it was a great night!

Now I'm off to the camera store to see if I can fix the darn thing before the boys' choir concert tonight. Wish me luck...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake

This morning I was cleaning out my closet and I found a box of old pictures. I started digging through them and found this picture from my very first birthday...
Which just proves that, even at one year old, I had this whole birthday thing figured out

It's all about the cake, people!

Look how determined I am! I look like I'm about to leap out of that high chair. Thirty-eight years later I still have that single-minded pursuit of cake. I believe you'll see me with that same look on my face at work when Tammy brings in the cake for all the May birthdays. Just don't stand between me and the icing and nobody will get hurt.

What sticks out the most about this picture, besides the 1970 decorations, is the fact that my mom was only eighteen when this picture was taken. As a teenager, my mom went out of her way to make my first birthday special. She colored the stripes on that paper plate and arranged the straws and animal crackers to make my circus birthday cake. I think she told me once that she saw a picture of a similar cake in a magazine and knew she could copy it. Wow.

I've always said that Moms should be celebrated as much as the birthday kid because they're the ones who work so hard to get us here. If it was easy they wouldn't call it LABOR! So thanks, Mom, for being the kind of mom who would make a circus cake for a one-year-old. And the kind of grandma who will keep my kids overnight two weekends in a row. The kind of Grama who makes awesome Chicken Little and Roman soldier costumes.

The kind of Mom who tolerates a Princess like me.

I love you. Thanks for having me.

But since I'm turning 39 tomorrow, you're officially OLDER THAN DIRT.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

More Missed Photo Ops

So I missed another photo opportunity yesterday due to my broken camera. I went with Seven's class to the Discovery Center and wandered through the wetlands. You'll be happy to know that my snake streak is still alive. Every single time I go there I find a snake swimming along in the water and show it to the kids. It's freaky. Every field trip. Every time.

We had so much fun putting on our water boots and exploring the creek. We got to pet a corn snake and a box turtle. Seven's favorite part was inside the museum when he got to play with the water exhibit.

Then last night I was very happy my camera didn't work. Because I broke the kitchen sink.

We have a double sink (disposal on one side) and it was clogged on both sides. Both sides were full of water that would not drain. Usually I just get the plunger and clear it right up, but this time the water just kept going back and forth from one side to the other. So I got the pipe wrench, put a big mixing bowl underneath, and unscrewed the little U-shaped piece. I kept switching the bowl with another one and emptied them several times into the bathroom sink, climbing over the dog gate balancing a bowl full of water each time, until all the water drained out.

No problem. No clog. I got the snake (I have kind of a snake theme running today, don't I?) and ran it through the pipe to try to find a clog. Nothing. So I decided to put it all back together and hope for the best.

But when I tried to reattach the U-shaped pipe, the big long pipe beyond the U broke off into my hand and water gushed out all over the place. Meanwhile Dan's upstairs on the couch watching the weather forecast because we were under a tornado watch. I ran around grabbing towels and trying to quietly get his attention without yelling because the kids were in bed. But I couldn't leave the sink area because I had to keep switching the buckets/bowls and emptying them into the bathroom sink. After a few minutes I got tired of running the Bucket Brigade by myself. Finally I went upstairs and said, loudly, "I would GREATLY appreciate your help downstairs!!!!"

Dan walked into the kitchen and said, "What did you do?" and I said, "I broke the kitchen sink. What does it look like I did?"

Ten wandered in, awakened by all the commotion, and said, "Wow, Mom. What did you do to the sink?"

I glared at him. He said, "Oh, oooo-kay. Well, since I'm here can I have some bread? I'm starving."

I'm just glad my camera is broken so Dan couldn't take a picture of my lower half sticking out of the area under the sink.

I'm not sure if we have a wide angle lens.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Poetry Night

Tonight was Fine Arts Night at the boys' school. All the kids' framed art was on display and available for purchase throughout the school. Their art teacher is fabulous!

First grade does a Poetry Slam every year, which is really a highlight of the year. Seven's class was transformed into The Steaming Cup. They hung black paper all over the walls, spread white Christmas lights everywhere, served coffee, hot cocoa and baked goodies, and built a stage for the kids to read selections from their favorite poets and an original poem they wrote. Oh, they also decorated the room with little beatnik cartoons they drew. Seven's has a speech bubble which says,
"I just wrote a new song. I think you'll probley dig it."
So cute.

Here's the poem by Jack Prelutsky that Seven chose to recite:

Something big has been here,
what it was, I do not know,
for I did not see it coming,
and I did not see it go,
but I hope I never meet it,
if I do, I'm in a fix,
for it left behind its footprints,
they are size nine-fifty-six.

His original poem was about a kind of bird, the Hammerkop. He had to research it in Science class and then write this poem about it.


Trees are home for this dome-shaped nest.
Better and stronger than all the rest.
Strong enough to hold a man.
Try to break it if you can.
And I don't think that's a very good plan.

Wading in water to find his treat.
He rarely goes deeper than his feet.
Catching fish with his hook-shaped bill.
Watching him is a thrill.
Hammerkop is the kind of bird you want to meet.

The kids (and many parents) dressed in all black tonight and wore berets. Since my camera is totally messed up, my friend Shelly took these pictures for me.