Monday, March 12, 2018

Happy (early) Birthday Rhett

For a couple of months Rhett has expressed interest in getting another pet. Like a snake. I'm pretty sure you can figure out how long I entertained that thought. So then he moved on to something like a lizard, or a bearded dragon. We went to an aquarium to do our research, only to find out that the animal + the habitat would be a few hundred dollars, which is far more than we thought reasonable to spend. As Chuck and I tried to figure out how to make it work for him (could he pay for part? etc.) we decided to also check out craigslist and Nextdoor. We "lucked" into a guy who had a dragon that he was willing to part with and he gave us everything for FREE! We did have to buy a couple of lights and stuff, but still. FREE.

Funny thing about this dragon. We're family #4 for him. Family #1 is in our ward, but gave him to Family #2 when the oldest boy went to college. Family #2 had him for awhile but due to changing conditions at their house, they couldn't keep him. They found him a home with Family #3, who in turn, gave him to us. Of course, I knew nothing about homes 1 and 2 until Chuck posted a picture on Instagram and Family #2 recognized him. It's really a hilarious story.

Anyway, this creature (named "Nugget") is now living in our house. I have yet to touch him, and can't say that I actually will. But both boys really like him and are excited to have him. A feeling I predict will last about, oh, four months.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Presidents Day Weekend, Part 3

And because we finished at Utz around noon, and I wasn't ready to be home yet, we went to Gettysburg. Like you do. We did the auto tour and the boys got the junior rangers. We pulled into the house just in time for a quick dinner and bedtime. Perfect.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Presidents Day Weekend, Part 2

We got some other tragic news late Friday night. By Sunday, I was ready to just get away from the house and our regular lives. After church, we hightailed it ALL THE WAY to York, Pennsylvania (about 1.5 hours). Our plan was to hit two different factories: Turkey Hill ice cream and Utz chips. The ice cream one turned out to be not at all a factory, but rather an "experience." Whatever. We ended up spending nearly two hours there and the boys loved it! We all designed ice cream and some of us (ahem, all of them) made commercials for ice cream. We ALL enjoyed four samples of ice cream because why wouldn't you?

Notice how alike Chuck and my containers are. Totally an accident.

After that, was dinner, swimming at the hotel pool, and a movie in bed. Nearly perfect. (Sharing a double room with two young children will never be perfect in my book.) Oh, at dinner, Ollie lost his first tooth! He even let Chuck pull it out.

Monday morning we started at the Utz factory. We couldn't take pictures inside, but it was so cool! We saw potatoes getting washed, sliced, go into the fryer, get sprinkled with flavoring, and get put into bags. So cool.

But almost as cool as the factory was the trip we took to the Utz outlet! What's i
n the box? Fourteen bags of the jalapeno cheese puffs. Guess how much all of this cost? If you said $12, you're correct. 

And on our way out, we saw this place with a GREAT name!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Presidents Day Weekend, Part 1

Rhett and I started the weekend by going shopping for glasses! We've thought his eyes might be less than perfect for a while, but finally got the energy (and knowledge of vision plans) to do something about it. We haven't quite picked out any, but hopefully that will happen this weekend. Baby steps.

Saturday morning I got to take Rhett to a hockey scrimmage. It was so much fun to see him just playing and not struggling with drills. Sure, I wish he was a bit more aggressive out there on the ice. But he enjoys himself. And it was just a different way for him to practice his skills, rather than just going around and around an oval.

Later that afternoon, if you can believe it, we got barely-measurable snow! I've been waiting to take out our new snow tube, so we did it, even if the snow was only 1" deep. I'm happy to report that they loved the tube and it performed beautifully.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Things Ollie Says

This child. As far as funny quips go, Rhett hit his peak around age three. Ollie, however, is just hitting his stride. The kid is hilarious!
  • After talking about swim team he said, "I hate my future."
  • After discussing doing things that we adults don't like but do anyway, he says, "Yeah, like having kids."
  • "You're not like other moms. You go running. If the other moms would go running then they wouldn't be so fat and the kids could fit in the doors in the morning."
  • "You shouldn't startle a young man like that!" (He was the young man.)
  • Ollie and Chuck were playing Candyland and Ollie was three spaces from winning. He drew the cupcake and had to go back to the beginning. He dramatically yelled out, "Oh the humanity!"
  • Ollie had a bag of loose Smarties. He ripped a small hole in one corner. When asked, "why?" he replied, "Because it's like a piping bag and now I can pipe them into my mouth."
  • Chuck and I were discussing, but not arguing. Ollie says, "GUYS. Don't let this turn into a divorce."
Oh yeah. And he does this dabbing thing. A lot.

Monday, February 12, 2018


If I have to be honest (which I don't have to be), 2018 has not been great. It hasn't been all the way terrible, but lots of hard and boring things.

First the boring. We really are not doing anything. Our Saturdays are as open as they were when we had babies. Campgrounds are closed and it's just too cold to be outside (I'm a wimp now). We've had no snow, but somehow have used up three snow days, extending the school year by one day (which actually makes me happy). So what have we been doing? Ollie goes to school. Rhett has school, scouts, and hockey. Chuck has work and YM. And I run track every Thursday, plan girls camp, and organize the fiction book room at Ollie's school. That's literally all we've been doing.

What are the hard things? Ollie has had some issues at school. Not vice-principal-issues, necessarily, but ones involving a counselor. Rhett, for the first time ever, has had some school issues and MAJOR hockey issues. It's all left me feeling like a terrible parent; I just want to ignore it all and hope it goes away. And one Sunday I sang in Relief Society and it was TERRIBLE. I'm still so mad about it because I knew the song. I practiced the song probably 100 times. But I got nervous and then that was it. Blah. Embarrassing.

And then. On February 1 our dear stake president died. I have never had an actual relationship with a stake president until now. This man and I served side-by-side as ward YM/YW presidents, after which he was called to be our bishop. From there he was called to be stake president. So yes, we knew him and he knew us. We could talk seriously or just joke. I could text him pictures of faces-made-of-food and he would respond, "You're invited to my birthday." He really was a tremendous man and our whole stake is mourning him. I am mourning him. So yeah.

Has there been anything fun? Yes. One night Chuck and I went to see a live recording of a podcast we both enjoy, "Ask Me Another." Rhett made a super cool Zamboni for the pinewood derby. We've had a lot of fires in the basement and those are always incredible. 
My triathlon was cancelled. We had a lot of rain and the window well didn't flood (I will always be grateful when this happens).

Anything to look forward to? Yes. Next Monday I think we're going to take a driving tour of two factories. Thrilling. We're camping in March. Rhett and I are going to NYC for his 10th birthday, also in March. We're all going to Utah in April which will be amazing. And soon enough it will stop being cold for nothing. The end.

Friday, January 12, 2018

We Made Some Stuff

Every December, I have the boys make ornaments as their gifts to teachers and grandparents. The boys chose these ugly sweaters this year. I didn't plan on making my own, but I did. And I'm not embarrassed to say how much I enjoyed making these funny little things.

And then I made these pencil cases for the boys' teachers and filled them with colored pens and a gift card (you know, the one thing they can actually use).

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Winter Getaway to New Germany State Park

Like I said, I can only take being inside my house...with my kids...and the cold...for so long. By day five, I was done and reservations were made. Normally, two-night minimums are in place in Maryland State Parks over holiday weekends, but I lucked out with a cabin that had only a Friday night available. So we took it.

We couldn't check in Friday until 3, so we left promptly at noon. For prep, I asked Chuck to take the boys to the library, but then to not let them look at their books until we were pulling out of the driveway. It was GENIUS. Other than a few podcasts, the boys read in the car on the way out and back. It was lovely.

We arrived to find the ground already under about six inches of snow. Gorgeous. The boys immediately geared up and went outside to play. This year we completed our family set of snowshoes, but six inches is a bit too little for them. So they just goofed around. It was cold (20s?), but like they care.

After a good romp in the snow, they came back in to enjoy the warmth. This place was definitely smaller than our house, and therefore easier to heat. The upstairs loft where Chuck and I slept was too hot, if you can believe that.

We woke up the next morning to about three new inches, and it kept coming! I mean, c'mon, look how amazing it is!

We opted for a hike, because what else are you going to do when it's 16 degrees?! Having spent a week here with Girls Camp, I hiked all but one loop in the park. But it was so fun to see it covered in snow. And after Ollie's usual 20-minute freak-out at the start of every hike, he did great. We were all plenty warm (although the littles could have used face masks), but we had a great time.

Getting out of the house was exactly what I needed and this place was perfect.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Rest of Christmas Break

How else did we spend break week? Mostly trying not to freeze to death. It's insanely unseasonably cold here. I'm dying. Literally.

One picture of them cooperating with me before turning back into the disgusting little dudes that they are.

Tuesday: I went to work in the morning while the boys stayed home and played and did some homework. That afternoon we went to Six Flags. It was FREEZING, but empty, so that's good. I can't remember being that cold in a LONG time (my feet were numb). But it's always fun to go at Christmas and see all the lights.

Wednesday: A slow morning at home playing with toys (the little boys), cleaning (me), and sleeping (Chuck) before going ice skating with friends. Like clockwork, this is the day I start feeling cabin fever and plan a night away. This year I chose a state park in western Maryland where they had one cabin for one night available. Sure it's long way to drive for one night, but I didn't care. I couldn't stay in the house and stay sane.

Thursday: I went to work again while the boys did pretty much nothing. It was another short-ish day so that afternoon we did more of nothing when I got home.

Friday: Around lunch we headed out to New Germany. This is one of the two state parks we hadn't camped at (even though I spent a week here for Girls Camp), so it was fun to check it off the list. That will be another post.

Saturday: Happy 13th anniversary to Chuck and me!

Monday: Time to take down Christmas decorations! The kids had a play date at our house, but another lazy, do-nothing day.

Overall, it was a good break. The bigger the kids get, the easier it gets. But still: I can only handle the noise and mess for so long. I'm sooooooo ready for the kids to go back to school. It's like summer break, but worse.

P.S. Ollie asked for a Santa hat for Christmas. It arrived late, but he's been wearing it non-stop since it arrived. It kills me (in the good way, not like what the cold is doing to me).

Friday, December 29, 2017

Keeping Me Busy

I find that I'm frequently asked, and that I frequently ask, the question, "So, what's new?" The problem is my answer is almost always, "Nothing." Because it's the truth. We still live in the same house, I still have two boys and the same husband, the adults still have the same jobs. But I think I found my new alternative to asking that question. Instead I'm going to ask, "So, what's keeping you busy?" It just feels different enough.

Here's how I would have answered that for December. For me, it was choir and Ollie's school. I joined the stake choir in addition to ward choir, which meant performing at Stake Conference, a local performance highlighting different denominations in our area, a stake Christmas performance, and then the regular ward Christmas program. It was a lot. And then there's the work I've been doing at Ollie's school. After the move to the new building, one of the book storage rooms is in dire need of some organization. I offered to help the Reading Specialist there with this task. And whoa. It's intense. First was doing a complete inventory, next was applying all appropriate labels (genre and reading level, mostly), then will be the sorting and actual organizing. I'm still working on the inventory, but also doing some of step 2 at the same time. But I'll be honest: I kind of LOVE this task. It's spreadsheets, organizing, and, oh yeah, helping the school. Wins all around!

Oh, here are some pictures I haven't already posted from the week. These are Christmas Eve morning in our fancy clothes.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas Day

Without sounding terrible, can I admit that I enjoyed Christmas Eve much more than Christmas Day? Not that we had a bad Christmas Day, but I just find the day boring. Sure, it's relaxing. And no, my boys didn't fight too much. I just get restless. The boys were awake by 5:30, I made it up the stairs at 5:45, we started opening presents at 6, and we finished slightly before 7 (a new record for us, I think). But then we had to kill 12 hours. INSIDE. It was fine, really. The boys put together Legos, Ollie read a TON, Chuck and I napped, and everyone ate their weight in sugar. Rhett and I made it outside for a run/bike (me on foot, he on wheels) where we saw ZERO animals (a bummer to a kid with new binoculars). We watched a movie and then it was the boys' bedtime. It was fine, just a bit boring.

I was reminded Tuesday why I also like Eve more than Day: the MESS. I came home from work and the house was a disaster. Christmas Eve is still beautiful and not messy. I feel like it takes until New Year's Day for the house to be clean again. Blah.

Oh, and here are some pictures. Rhett got a lot of Caps gear, although no real hockey gear.

Chuck working on his x-cube. He's already made tremendous progress.

Ollie reading.

Sitting in the mess.

Pretty much how Rhett spent his day.