Monday, July 28, 2014

Trip Bookends

Our trip to Vancouver Island was bookended with 1.5 days with my parents in Utah. Although we didn't have that much time, we still tried to do some fun stuff.

For the first days, my sister and her four kids were in town. I always love to see my kids play with cousins. The surprise partnership of this trip was Jonas and Ollie! Jonas was so sweet with him. Thursday morning we headed to this crazy Fairy Forest in the Uintas. It was nuts! Everywhere you looked there were painted rocks and embellishments. We're still thinking up a theme because we feel that we need to represent. Next year we'll paint rocks and go back.

After the forest, we drove to a little waterfall just up Mirror Lake Highway. It was decided that next year we'll spend much more time in the Uintas because they are too lovely. It was also decided that next year I'll just whine and cry about walking, in the hopes that Jonas will carry me.

Later that afternoon we swam and then went to Heber's fun outdoor market. After a meltdown by Rhett (and me), we enjoyed the time until we got rained out.

Then when we got back after our trip, we spent the morning talking about our trip and handing out gifts and even went to Cascade Springs. In the afternoon we headed to Park City for some alpine sliding and dinner. Ollie loved the alpine slide, and we nearly got to give a marmot a high five.

Friday, July 25, 2014

To State the Not Obvious

How does one recap an entire week of ease and loveliveness? Of course we had fun. Of course it was easy (except for when we had to scramble to get out of SLC so we could make our connecting flight). Of course Vancouver Island is gorgeous. Of course I didn't miss my boys. Worry, maybe. Miss, nope. Of course I liked flying in a plane and being able to read my book without interruption. Need I even state those things? No. Here are the things that must be stated:

1. We saw Raffi at a market. He was signing albums that hadn't even been released yet. Not buying one was my only regret from the trip. Not because I like his music, but only because. I mean, there he was, two feet from me. And yet I did nothing. Nothing.

2. Canada has TONS of hippies, backpackers, and hitchhikers. It's the weirdest thing.

3. Sand dollars are black when alive. Huh. And stink when they're dying. And are probably illegal to bring home. Shhhh....

4. Tides are amazing. It's also equally amazing when tides go out and leave miles of beaches that are otherwise completely covered by water.

5. On our first honeymoon, I beat Chuck at mini golf. On this, our second honeymoon (well, that's how we explained this trip to the boys, thanks Berenstain Bears), I did it again. Apparently this feat occurs only once a decade.

6. If I moved to Canada, I'd have to visit all of the provincial parks, instead of state parks, obviously. I don't know why this sounds so **cute** to me, but it does. Ah, this park is just so, so...provincial!

7. Just because trees are really, really big, does not make them necessarily good looking. They can just be really, really big ugly trees.

8. Surfing was my favorite thing we did. It was exhausting and hard and my arms were so sore the next day, but it was so much fun. And yes, I even got up a couple of times, thankyouverymuch. Who knew Canada had good waves?

9. Wet suits keep you surprisingly warm, even in the waters off Canada's surfing capital. Not once did we experience cold while wearing them.

10. Sometimes the journey (when it consists of boat-height ocean swells, grey and orca whale sightings, super cool fog, eagles, a black bear, and sea otters) is even cooler than the destination, especially when the destination is wicked HOT hot springs, over 50 degrees (that's 122°F for us yanks).

11. In one bed and breakfast, our daily breakfast consisted of a beautiful fruit and yogurt parfait topped with coconut, a fluffy omelet (either spinach and feta or cheese, mushroom, and ham), pancakes, toast, and juice. This is what our Friday night breakfast-for-dinner should look like every week.

12. Our kayak guide wants to kayak from Alaska to the bottom of South America. Uh, I think I'll just wait for the Banff Mountain Film Festival movie about his trek to come out.

13. If anyone can recreate the French toast I had here, I will seriously pay you $15 (that's better than the exchange rate, by the way). Check it out: it's called the Peasant Toast and it was the best breakfast I've ever had. Ever. I chose to have it on French bread instead, and I'm pretty sure the slices were 2" thick.

14. Walking and walking for seven days in flip flops, even if they're Vibram-soled flip flops, is not the wisest of choices. (Note: Running shoes were donned on day 8 after knees were killing me.)

15. The tan line that one gets from wearing flip flops for seven days straight is, however, pretty cool. (Ack! Don't judge my scraggly toes! I know I need a pedicure STAT.)

P.S. Aren't you so happy that I posted a picture of my feet? You're welcome.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Our bags are packed! Be back (too) soon.

P.S. Rhett's bag pattern came from a tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew. Ollie's bag pattern came from a book. Oh, I love that Ed Emberley fabric.

P.P.S. I don't know why the boys look like they were put in the corner for naughtiness. But that's what they look like!

Monday, July 7, 2014

How to Have a Perfect 4th of July Weekend in 20 Easy Steps

0. Most importantly, order yourself a batch of amazing weather. This weather should include blue skies, a good breeze, low humidity, and low(er) temps. This is the one make-it-or-break-it as bad weather will ruin even the best plans. Also, secure yourself some excellent company. Once you complete those tasks, carry on with the rest of these instructions.

1. When possible, schedule the 4th for a Friday. It means that you can party on Friday, sleep in and get chores done on Saturday, and then enjoy the Sabbath.

2. Because you hope and pray that your kids (and you) will sleep in on Saturday, get your long run done on Friday morning.

3. Enjoy a church 4th of July parade and breakfast with a lot of your favorite people. (The rest of your favorite people all live far away. Sadly.)

4. Go home and take a nap. This nap should be taken by all members of the household, but especially those less than three years of age and greater than 35.

5. Wake up and immediately head downtown D.C. to get dinner of burgers or pizza (or both). Finish that dinner with an amazing strawberry shake. Let your kids only have the minimum amount so the adults can enjoy the greater part. And by "adults," I mean the female adult.

6. Walk to your kind-of-work building to secure great seats six floors up. Enjoy the *AMAZING* weather relaxing with friends.

7. When the fireworks begin, watch them.

8. When the fireworks end, proceed straight to the metro, wait less than one minute, and get on the train from your uncrowded platform.

9. Upon arriving home, place children directly into bed.

10. SLEEP IN until 7:30 a.m. Do not let this miracle go unnoticed. It will not happen again until children are teenagers.

11. Go for another run because it turns out you ordered your weather using a 2-for-1 deal and Saturday was simply stunning, so you couldn't not run.

12. Enjoy being outside with your children.

13. Go get a great haircut while your menfolk go to lunch.

14. Pick out fabric for nighttime sewing project.

15. While the males are all (yes--ALL) sleeping, go get your own lunch of frozen yogurt and do some grocery shopping. (Some things cannot be helped.)

16. Play in the creek.

17. BBQ some ribs for dinner and eat outside because, yes, the weather is that good.

18. Put the kids down for a regular bedtime.

19. Sew a new travel bag for your older son to replace the one you made last week that was too small.

20. Go to bed.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Week in Numbers

39: The number of acorn "lids" I found in the washing machine after doing one load of Rhett's laundry.

4: The number of airplanes we saw fly right over our heads before both boys were in complete hysterics (the bad kind, not the good kind) and we have to leave Gravelly Point.

23: The number of UPS trucks we saw on one block of road one morning.

77: The temperature (and humidity) of my Wednesday morning run (and I'm talking pre-6:00 a.m.). It was terrible.

48: The temperature at my parents' house at the same time. Do you think I'm jealous?

1,000,000: The number of times I've daydreamed about going on my upcoming vacation.

Googolplex: The number of times I've nightmared about returning from my upcoming vacation. Googolplex is in honor of Rhett, who is currently obsessed with that number.

1: Number of minutes it took for the 4th of July t-shirt-making art project to turn crazy.

204 204 255: RGB color of the water after Chuck cleaned up two paint-stained boys. Note: All paint on boys was self-imposed.

Posting early because of the holiday. Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Talents and Un-Talents

Weird Talents
  • Picking the right number of pins needed for a sewing project.
  • Seeing someone in a movie or TV show and identifying where I've seen them before.
  • Knowing when I'm going to win a raffle.

Weird Un-Talents

  • Picking the right-sized container for my leftovers.
  • Leaving frozen cookie dough alone.
  • Sneezing when I need to.

Monday, June 30, 2014

One Crappy Week Done

After the first week of summer went well, I had high hopes. But then last week happened. You'd think Rhett in Vacation Bible School for three hours daily would make it a breeze, right? Me too! But I was wrong. It was hard. The boys fought constantly. It was hot and humid. Ollie was grumpy. I was grumpy. Other than attend a funny dog trick show on Wednesday night and playgroup Friday morning, we didn't do much. And I'm finding that my boys are infinitely better-behaved when we are out doing things when compared to being lazy in the house, but I need them to have lazy days in the house so I can have lazy days in the house. So it was hard. It made me miss my full-time work days of summer.

But I have hopes for this week. Playdates with friends, a holiday, AND guess who gets to watch the D.C. fireworks on the mall from the roof of her work building? This girl (and her three boys)! This week will be better. It must be better. I still have 19 days to go.

P.S. Not only do I kind-of miss my full-time work days, but Chuck definitely misses his summer off! He's finding it awfully hard to work during the summer. Poor guy.

P.P.S. Oh, this is great. Ollie got sick on Saturday. He had a fever and was reduced to much less than his usually-crazy self. Poor buddy. Please cross your fingers it doesn't turn into hand-foot-mouth disease.

P.P.P.S. Summer is, once again, killing my desire to cook. I will not admit to what we've been eating for dinner.

P.P.P.P.S. Summer hasn't killed my desire to sew, however. It might have increased it because the basement is so nice and cool! I made another bunk bed book bag for a friend's daughter and two purses for my nieces for Christmas. I'm awesome.

Friday, June 27, 2014

My New Nemeses

In the spring, our front yard is inundated with "helicopters." You know, the seeds that fall from maple trees? The things that look like little whirly things as they're falling? Sure, the kids love them. But me? I HATE them. They land on my porch and then descend on the bush bed. THEN. Then they sprout. For months, 30 new little sprouts grow every day, and I have to weed them out of there. (And yes, I have counted.) Oh how I hate them. Next year I'm going to cover my entire front porch area with netting so they can't get in.

P.S. My old (but ongoing) nemesis remains my newspaper delivery man. We have a double-wide driveway, something rare in my neighborhood. And yet he insists on throwing the paper on the grass. Why is this a problem? Because east coast grass is soaked with dew! I HATE walking in it. And then the newspaper bag is soaking wet. I just don't understand why it can't be thrown on my driveway. WHY?! My life is so hard...still.

P.P.S. Not enough whinging for ya? Just wait! Monday there will be more! Yippee!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Things Ollie Says (and Does)

Ollie: Time for a adult quiz!
Us: Oooookay.
Ollie: How do you eat a mickey pancake?
Chuck: Uh, ears first and then the face?
Ollie: No! With your MOUTH!

As I'm getting him ready for a nap...
Ollie: When you are the size of me, you are going to take naps.

Ollie is whining for me to carry him home from Rhett's school.
Me: Fine. You want me to carry you? That means you're a baby, and I'm going to call you a baby.
Ollie: Fine. But I won't say "goo goo."

And yes, that is an inside-out shirt on his legs in the picture above and in the video below. I'm pretty sure the underwear needs no explanation. Which is good, because I have none.

Monday, June 23, 2014

One Fun Week Done, Nine to Go!

So far, so good. Two Saturdays ago we woke up to a gorgeous day, so I knew we must immediately head to the zoo. If we didn't go then, it would be September until we got another chance. And the day did not disappoint. Plus, after having four kids for three days, we knew we could do anything!

Then on Sunday we had a nice Father's Day.

Monday we went to pick strawberries. In years past, I always felt left out when my friends got to go do this during their summers. Because I worked full-time, I couldn't. So I knew this was one of the things I wanted to do first. However, I'm not sure I'll go again. I didn't really like it and Ollie just sat there. So we quickly returned home and started preparing the food for "Strawberry Day!" (See how I knocked "berry picking" and "silly holiday" off the summer list in one shot? Sweet.) We had strawberry salsa on chicken, a strawberry drink, and strawberry poundcake. But I'm definitely happy with store-bought produce from here on out.

Months ago, I got tickets for Wednesday to go to the top of the Washington Monument. Who knew I'd pick the day when D.C. is the hottest spot in the country (at noon, at least)?! But we survived. It was actually quite fun! The twinner outfits on the boys was only half intentional--I promise. I wanted them in their whitest shirts (hot day, remember?) and they happened to be the same. So, what can I do except put the same colored shorts on?! For you locals: Don't be dumb like me and go during the summer. Go in the fall when (1) there are no tourists and (2) it's not sweltering.

They were definitely tired at the end, however.

And quite silly.

Friday was spent at the park, with some nice and lazy parenting...just how I prefer it.

And finally, Saturday morning we woke up to another un-hot day, so after my long run, we headed out to Fort McHenry (which is near Baltimore). It was surprisingly fun! We had perfect weather and really enjoyed ourselves. On the way home we listened to my "patriotic" playlist. Ha.

P.S. This week is Vacation Bible School for Rhett, so thankfully we won't be so busy.

P.P.S. These outings on Saturdays after my long runs are really wearing me out!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Things My Boys Fight Over

Who gets...
1. The orange bowl
2. The orange plate
3. The orange anything
4. The green towel
5. The long spoon
6. The new chair

1. Where Ollie is going to sleep
2. Who has more of anything
3. Why Ollie puts his hand in Rhett's cup
4. Who gets to hold Bruno's leash
5. What shows to watch

Kids are awesome.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mom of Four

I did it. I successfully parented four kids for three days, with Chuck helping two of those afternoons/evenings. I got two children off to school (and back) each day. I made lunches. I drove a mini-van. Chuck and I put them to bed (and they stayed in bed!). We fed them. We told them to get dressed. We even did fun things. And then we were tired. Very, very tired.

The Easy Parts:
1. Breakfast. All kids were happy eating Cheerios.
2. Nap time. Ollie went down way easier than he normally does. And little S, well, she was quiet and stayed in her room. Whether or not she napped was immaterial to me.
3. Filling the early mornings and afternoons and evenings. Even though we had warm days that threatened rain, we still got out and did things. And when it actually did rain, we stayed in and watched a movie. And in the mornings, the kids just played.
4. Dinner. This is easy when you feed them spaghetti and meatballs, hot dogs, and pizza. (Please don't think this is our normal menu. We just wanted to make this easy.)
5. Putting them to bed. Surprise! All kids went to bed, and stayed in bed. I'm sure wearing them out daily helped.

The Hard Parts:
1. Filling the days. For some reason, having just two around during the day was hard.
2. Knowing whether the girls were taking advantage of the situation. Does S's mom really cut off the crusts, or did I get hoodwinked? Just a lot of little things like this. It was constant and mentally draining.
3. Getting enough sleep. I just never felt like I had enough downtime and so when it was over, I was exhausted. I went to bed early the three nights after they left.
4. Little girl hair! I totally forgot about it the first day, and M went to school with the same braid she wore the day before. But man, this is just something I know nothing about.
5. The noise. This is not to say that the girls are loud, but man, my boys definitely upped it while they were here.
6. Chuck's "surgery" Friday morning made him less-than-helpful on Friday. Solo parenting to four is NOT fun.
7. I should have known better. My "adult snacks" supply was desperately low. Some Skinny Cows could have gone a loooooong way.

But now it's done. We still like the girls and their parents, and I hope no permanent damage to the girls was done. Maybe the worst thing that happened to them was being introduced to McDonald's ice cream cones. Whoops.

P.S. My running friends are too smart. When I posed my problem to them, they had a genius solution: run the last five or so miles with my sis. Isn't that just masterful? I don't have to pay. I don't have to lose tons of sleep. I still might get some Creamies and one (or two) Maverick cones. On the downside, I don't get to run a lot of miles with my sister nor will I get a fancy medal. But it's still the perfect solution.

Monday, June 16, 2014


And in the weird term I've heard only out here, I now have a rising first grader! Last Tuesday, Rhett had his kindergarten celebration. The little ones sang a bunch of songs (and were surprisingly loud and intelligible), and then were given awards. Rhett's was for "Lively Leadership." And then on Friday, he had his last half-day of kindergarten. It seems kind of anti-climactic, but here we are, facing 25 days of summer. Oh help me.