Friday, October 2, 2015

Random Thoughts

When you get on an escalator, do you just step on the first step and stop, or take a couple steps and then stop (assuming you're not going to walk the whole thing)?

At what point do I ditch kid plates, cups, utensils? I'm so over the disaster that is the cabinet filled with colorful plastic.

How do you pronounce "syrup:" seer-up or sir-up?

A friend and I had an idea that would revolutionize missionary work for the Church. Find out what accents certain countries love (e.g., Americans love British accents). Then over-sample British hopeful missionaries to serve in the U.S. Brilliant, right?

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays when I walk Rhett to school, walk Ollie to school, walk to pick up Ollie, walk to pick up Rhett, I add an additional TWO miles to my exercise total for the day. TWO MILES.

UGH. After a month or so of our east coast drought (which is nothing compared to west coast drought), we are making up for lost time. Rain rain rain all weekend and into next week too. Now I not only have to worry about my basement flooding, but the Scamp flooding too (not that the latter is a rational fear, mind you).

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Scamp Decor

I bought a lot of that Rustique fabric, so any opportunity to use it, I will. A pillow that will rarely be used! Yes please!

And of course a banner. Because every Scamp needs a banner. Duh.

Oh, want to guess how lazy I have become in prepping for our Scamp trips? So lazy that I can no longer retrieve our four pillows from our beds and take them to the Scamp. It was just too much. Instead, I bought four new pillows and sewed four new pillowcases. These new pillows will stay in the Scamp because, you know, the lazy.

Monday, September 28, 2015

I Love Saturdays

Have I mentioned that next summer we're going to Germany to visit my parents? Well we are. And in order to best prepare my kids, I knew we had to visit an Oktoberfest because I'm sure it's 100% authentic and exactly like our German experience will be (end sarcasm font) We found one in rural Virginia and went Saturday morning.

The drive was lovely (yes, I am turning into my parents, or just old), and the little town was nice. The festival was good, as were the bratwurst, huge pretzel, German music, and dancing. Good times. But sadly I forgot my camera in the car and have no pictures of any of this. Bad times. Although the boys did get to sit in these little cars.

But when we finished being German around 1:30, I knew it was way too early to head home. As we were close to Harper's Ferry, we took a quick side trip and finished our day there. My only regret was that we are a couple of weeks early for fall colors, but that just means we have to go back. Oh and bonus for us! Saturday was Free Public Lands Day so we saved on the entry free to the park. I love when that happens.

Pretending to be park rangers. And first time ever banging on a typewriter. I love those WPA posters.


Fighting about which direction we should hike on the AT.

Church ruins.

Jefferson Rock. Can you find Ollie?

It turned out to be a great Saturday. One where you love where you live and love the people you're with.

P.S. We love this dinner. Seriously so good. Strong flavors, filling, comes together quickly. Added to our dinner regular rotation.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mother and Sons Campout: Take Two

Last year Chuck's job had a different schedule than his new one. Then: 12 months, no automatic school holidays, must take leave for time off. Now: 10 months, automatic school holidays, can take leave, but don't need as much because of school holidays. So last year for Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah, Chuck didn't have off while Rhett did. I had this great idea to take the boys camping, just me and them. But sadly it got rained out.

Even though this year Chuck did get the Jewish holidays off, I still wanted to take the boys and give Chuck a little break. So we did it. I invited some friends and only one was crazy enough to join me. The kids did great (no middle-of-the-night bathroom trips nor wake ups!), I did great, Chuck did better than great. Maybe it'll be a new family tradition!

Did Ollie eat this? What do you think?

Chuck couldn't have come if he wanted to. Ha.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

One Nighter

Since buying the Scamp, we've kind of committed ourselves to camping more often, even if it means quick one-nighters. But because we have the Scamp, the overnighters are just so easy! Except for food, most everything is ready to go. Love it.

Even though we've visited this state park before, Cunningham Falls is quick and easy and lovely. The boys particularly loved the hike as it was filled with huge boulders--the perfect medium for climbing kids. Chuck particularly loved doing it without a herniated disc in his back. I particularly loved doing it without an infant.

Yes, the banner is new. I'm sure someday we'll return to eating outside, but for now it's just still such a novelty to eat inside the camper.

Even big boys love climbing rocks.

We've got a two-nighter in the works for October. Sweet.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fastest Four Hours of My Life

I knew the hours while Ollie was in school would go by quickly, but not THAT quickly! Man. It was so fast that on Wednesday I ended up doing only two things from my list. I got the haircut, but by the time I got home, my four hours were half gone. Then, because Ollie's cookies required parchment paper and because I had only one cookie-sheet's-worth of parchment paper and because I didn't want to wash dishes, I had to bake those cookies using only one cookie sheet...which took forever! By the time I finished that, I had only 50 minutes remaining. QUICK--do something productive! So I organized our small linen closet. (Which strangely produced two changing pad covers and one crib sheet. Weird.) Then it was time to go get Ollie from school.


I didn't read the paper. I didn't vacuum the basement. I didn't do the dishes. I didn't go to lunch with Chuck. I didn't read (so I didn't nap). It was pathetic. I promise to do better next time.

P.S. Then again, maybe next time I'll have more than four hours. Silly politicians and their government shutdowns.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Ollie's First Day of Preschool

The boy was nothing but happy about preschool. Happy when doing his hand-print shirt...

happy when taking pictures the next morning...

happy when walking to school to drop off Rhett first and then go to his school...

and happy to get there.

And miracle of miracles, there was no problem when I left him in his classroom. And when I came to get him, again with the smiles! Who IS this boy?! I'm just hoping this happiness continues. Man, I like this boy!

P.S. And yes, that is the same shirt that Rhett wore on his first day of preschool. How amazing of you to notice.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ollie Grows Up Too

It's a big day folks. Later today, Ollie will be in preschool, and I will have four blessed, quiet hours. I think I was a bit over-ambitious with my goals for today. All that's going to happen is the haircut, lunch with Chuck, and maybe I'll make a special treat for Ollie. And while that treat is baking, I'll read. I hope I don't fall asleep while reading and burn the cookies, because HEY. I'm old. Falling asleep while reading is totally a thing. In fact, it's how I set myself up for a nap.

Anyway, OLLIE. Right. The kid is a nut. I was really nervous about preschool because he does not do well at drop-offs. How many years has he been going to our babysitter? How many years have we dropped him off at either nursery or Sunbeams? A lot. And the kid still fights them both. So I knew preschool could potentially be fraught with troubles. I contacted the school's director who was happy to let us in one day to play. We stayed for an hour and he had a great time playing with toys. Last week we went to an open house for his preschool, so although other kids were there, so I was. Another good experience. Finally, last Friday I had parent orientation. Ollie was left in the room (not happily, but not kicking and screaming either). The meeting was only 45 minutes, and when it was done, Ollie was just fine! I really think he'll be okay today for the real deal. And he's been a lot happier and nicer lately, so I don't think he'll be kicked out. Or, as Vacation Bible School put it, "asked not to return." That Ollie.

Cute pictures of the first day of school will come on Friday. Until then, you'll have to be happy with this video of him reading his self-published book. He's a charmer for sure.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Rhett Grows Up

So remember nearly TWO YEARS ago when I made a tooth pillow for Rhett, thinking he'd soon be losing teeth? Wow was I wrong! Only nine days shy of being 7 1/2 years old, my boy finally lost his first tooth. It had been loose for a couple weeks, but when he had some annoying instrument in his mouth (is there any other kind?) and Ollie yanked it hard, well, it got a LOT looser. Chuck started fiddling and POOF! My boy suddenly had one fewer tooth than he had before.

Update: Rhett decided he'd rather keep the tooth than have money, so we didn't even need that darn pillow.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Award Season

Welcome everyone to this installment of the Hubanity's Major Awards. This morning I'll be handing out awards in the "Laundry Division."

To the male (ahem, Chuck included) who makes me turn right-side-out the fewest number of clothing items (socks, shirts, underwear, etc.) goes the "Fewest Number of Inside-out Articles" Award.

To the boy submitting the highest number of matching socks goes the "Fewest Orphan Socks" Award.

To the boy who consistently gets his dirty laundry in his hamper while keeping his laundry out of his brother's goes the "Fewest Traitors" Award.

To the boy who changes his underwear at least as many days as there are days in the week goes the "Most Underwear" Award. (I will give out two awards if that encourages entrants to get the award.)

That concludes this Hubanity's Major Award announcement. Join us next time for awards in the "Kitchen Division."

Friday, September 4, 2015

Look What I Got

Last week while at a park, new signs were being installed on the nearby trail system. Of course I'm too embarrassed to ask for the old ones; that's why I have kids! I sent Rhett to ask what they do with the old ones and he returned with the answer of, "Take them back to the warehouse." Oh well. I tried. BUT later the guys came over and offered one to us! Of course we took it. What's a 3/4-mile walk home carrying an awkward, sorta-heavy, definitely large sign? Nothing!

And when Chuck took his math clock to work, he left a vacant spot on the wall in the playroom. Perfect.

P.S. Holy crap. Here's a math problem you've likely never seen: humidity + trail run + late dusk + light rain = ??? FROGS. For reals. My running partner and I screamed and peed like little girls. I'm pretty sure we left behind us some serious carnage. Grossest run ever.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

First Day of Second Grade

We start the back to school traditions on Sunday, with the stamping of the shirt (which, at age seven, he's already too cool for)...

...and the back to school dinner. Which has turned into anything for the entree and a side of tots on the trays. Because tots and trays just scream school lunch to me. Also, the boys got a box of milk, which was disgusting. (I chose pepperoni sandwiches because it's been a summer staple. And now that summer is over, I'm ready to serve real meals and have real fights over them. Sigh.)

We got the picture early in the morning (can't let anyone see us)...

...with the new hand print on the sleeve.

But right as we're about to leave, Rhett decides he needs to go to the bathroom and Ollie decides he needs a drink of water...both of which somehow require the bathroom. Which, of course, leads to a fight. Which, of course, leads to Ollie biting Rhett and Rhett punching Ollie. Hence this pic. Happy First Day of School everyone.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Another Summer is Over

We did it. We survived another summer where I worked full-time and Chuck stayed home full-time. It's not easy, but neither is regular life, right? Last week I reverted to part-time work while Chuck started his new job. And I think we're all happier for it. I think mostly we're happier for routines. Well, I'm definitely happier with routines.

That doesn't mean we're not having fun! (The fun just happens during our routinely-scheduled "Fun Time." Kidding.) Two Saturdays ago Chuck was with the scouts nearly all day, so I took the boys to this super awesome playground that's been on my to-do-with-the-boys list since last summer. The boys loved it, and I loved when we had to walk to the National Cathedral in search of a bathroom (the playground belongs to a private school on the cathedral's grounds). I was only saddened by the park's size (HUGE); I couldn't just sit there reading my book like I planned. Sigh. The rest of last week included errands, a bike ride to the park and then the pool, and then an open house at Rhett's school and mini golf.

But that all ends today as Ollie and I walk Rhett to school in a couple of hours. (Back to school pictures to come on Wednesday.) And then we get to do this again when Ollie starts in two weeks. Life is good!

P.S. And you know what else is good? This dinner! The first time we made it, everyone ate it. The second time, all but Ollie did, but still...I like them odds.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Characters I'm Older Than

Does this weird you out like it does me? Maybe I'm the only one, but sometimes I'll be watching TV and realize, holy moly, I'm older than that character/actor is.

Except for Coach, I'm now older than every actor in the first season of Cheers.

Except for Kramer, I'm now older than the other three main actors in Seinfeld from its first season.

On the final episode of Friends, I'm now older than Chandler, Rachel, and Joey.

When Full House premiered, I am now WAY older than all three adult men. And even when the show ended, I am still older than both uncles. But DJ has me by a year. Phew. Finally, someone that's older than I.

Also, I am ten years older than Tom Hanks when he made Splash and the same as as Eugene Levy in the same movie. Yep, this is the weird way in which I think about age.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Soap Operas and Bon Bons

Rhett starts school next Monday, and Ollie begins September 16th. That gives me three weeks to plan the perfect first day of FREEDOM. I will have four hours to do WHATEVER I WANT. Isn't this the dream since the day you had your first child? No? Well, it's been mine. And now it's coming true. Honestly, I think we'll all be happier because of it. (Now just pray that Ollie won't be kicked out of school because that won't end well for anyone.)

Of course not all of the days will be so luxurious. I hope to organize the house (the closets especially), make some freezer foods (quick lunches for the boys, and dinners for everyone), grocery shop ALONE, and accomplish other things. But all of those things can wait. I want my first kid-free day to be amazing. So what to do? Some ideas:

1. Run. Except that it's mid-September and waiting until 9:30 is just too late. So this probably won't happen.
2. Pedicure. Yep. This definitely will happen.
3. Lunch with Chuck. Dates where I don't need to get a babysitter? Yes please!
4. Haircut. It's been over a year since my last. It's probably about time.

What am I missing? Actually, that's probably enough, right? I mean, I don't want to overdo it on the very first day. Baby steps, self, baby steps.

P.S. While I'm handing out media recommendations (like the podcast I shared Friday), let me recommend a book: Kitchens of the Great Midwest. I really, really liked this book.

Friday, August 21, 2015

My Life is Hard, Episode IV

I think Chuck and I had it pretty good for awhile. However, that while is gone. Life has been pretty hard the past couple weeks. Sure, it could be that I'm exhausted from working full-time, Chuck is exhausted from full-time stay-at-home-fatherhood, and the the boys are exhausted from each day's activities (and waking up in the 5 o'clock hour--UGH). Sure, it could be that even with the pool, summer is still pretty miserable. All I know is that it's been non-stop fighting in our house, and sadly, it's coming from everyone.

I think one big culprit is that the boys, with a nearly 3.5-year age difference, have recently diverged in nearly everything. What Rhett wants to watch, Ollie doesn't. What Ollie wants to play, Rhett doesn't. What Rhett wants to read, Ollie doesn't. What Ollie wants to eat, Rhett doesn't. So everything ends up in arguments and/or fighting. (Except they both agree on the fact that they don't want to eat my sweet and sour chicken. That's been firmly established.)

Maybe they've just been around each other too much. In ten days, Rhett will be back at school so they'll be separated for a good chunk of the day. And then a couple weeks later, Ollie starts his half-day preschool, which means I'm separated from all of them for another couple of hours. I think it will do us all good to get back to routines and schedules and absences, because our hearts really do need to grow fonder.

P.S. Because I'm utterly failing at this hard parenting thing, I'd like to try something hard that I could maybe actually accomplish. But what?

P.P.S. In happier news, I found a new podcast: Mystery Show. Check it out. You won't regret it. Well, maybe you will, in which case sorry about that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Things Ollie Says

Ollie: I want that oreo.
Me: Well, your dad just ate the last one. It's in his stomach. How could you get it?
Ollie: I could turn myself into food and go get it!

Who knows what we were doing to deserve this...
Ollie: You parents stop acting like fools!

Upon waking up the day we left to get the Scamp...
Ollie: Yeah! Today is tomorrow!

Arriving at playgroup...
Ollie: Charlotte is here. Good grief.

During the dinner prayer...nearly a year before we hope to go to Germany...
Ollie: Please bless us to be good. Please bless us to have a safe car ride...WAIT. [Opens his eyes and asks in non-prayer voice] When we go to Germany, will we drive there or take a plane?
Chuck: Plane.
Ollie: [Back to prayer voice] Please bless us to have a safe plane ride to Germany.

And from the Sunbeams edition...
Teacher: What are some things you do at home with your family?
Ollie: POOP!

Teacher: What kinds of things do you pray for with your family?
Ollie: No more babies!
While this might be a prayer in my heart, it has NEVER been vocalized like this in front of the boys. I swear.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I Love Me When I Make These: The Best Dinner Rolls EVER

My friend Sharon introduced me to these bad boys last year. They now rank at the top of my "favorite foods that I make" list. I've tried other rolls but haven't been that successful. These, however, consistently are perfect for me. So I love them. Here's the recipe:

2 c. warm water
2/3 c. nonfat dry milk
2 T. yeast
1/4 c. sugar
2 t. salt
1/3 c. butter
1 egg
5 - 5.5 c. flour

In your mixer, combine water and dry milk. Stir until dissolved. Add yeast, sugar, salt, butter, egg, and two cups flour. Mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for two minutes on medium speed. Add two more cups of flour, and mix on low until ingredients are wet, and two minutes on medium speed. Add remaining flour, one-half cup at a time, until it pulls away from the bowl. Once combined, knead by hand or in your machine. Place dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Place dough on floured surface. Roll out dough into 18"x8" rectangle and brush with melted butter. Cut into eighteen 2"x4" portions and roll each up beginning with the short side (so that the butter is inside). Place rolls upon a greased baking sheet so they look like snails, not cinnamon rolls. Let rise in warm place until rolls are again doubled in size. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Brush with melted butter while still hot.

I do these on Sundays and do the first rise before church, shape them, put in fridge, pull out of fridge when I get home from church and finish rising until I go to bake them. They are heavenly.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Me and My Diet Bets

Have you seen DietBet? I hadn't until a recipe blog I follow hosted their own "game." When I told Chuck about it, we both decided to do it. How does it work? You pay money (ours was $25). You try to lose weight (ours was 4% of our body weight over four weeks). If you make the goal, then you and all the winners split the pot (minus DietBet's cut). Oh, and if everyone loses the 4%, then DietBet forgoes their winnings and everyone just gets their money back, so no chance that you'd lose money. Guess what? We both made our goals. Hooray! But that doesn't mean I'd recommend this for everyone.

Why it worked for me:
1. I needed motivation.
2. I didn't want to lose my $25.
3. I'm working full-time and therefore am not home to mindlessly snack.
4. It's summer so I'm getting in an extra couple of swim workouts each week.
5. It started right after our vacation and ended on my birthday (with a Fast Sunday the day before--score!).

Why it might not work for you:
1. You don't care about losing $25.
2. The winnings (all $9.14 of it) is not enough of a motivation.

Why I'm doing another:
1. I'm on a roll.
2. I would love to lose about five more pounds.
3. I'm still working full-time and still swimming, so it's easier now than it will be next month.

The thing about losing weight when you're short is that your caloric intake is seriously limited. So while I'm not anorexic, I had to eat far fewer calories than Chuck did, even if we were just doing nothing. Which is kind of a bummer. And because I can't keep a tally in my head (more of a memory problem than a math problem), I had to count those calories. Which is just lame, right? I mean, no one wants to have to do this. But if I don't, I forget about the string cheese I had after breakfast or the six Oreos I had after dinner. (Kidding! Although Golden Oreos are fantastic. If we are talking Golden Oreos, it'd be more like eight. Or twelve. Or some other embarrassingly high number.) So if you hear me talking about all the food I can't eat, or how many calories are in that, or whatever, please forgive me. This, too, shall pass.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Rehoboth Beach (a real one, not one of balls)

This past weekend we went to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. In the past we've picked Rehoboth because they have an awesome sandcastle contest the first weekend in August. Although we had initially reserved the first weekend in August for the beach, we had to reschedule because of my dad's helicopter event. But that's totally okay. We got there early Friday afternoon and immediately headed to the beach, even though it was sprinkling. Because there had been a storm the day before, the waves were CRAZY and so no swimming was even allowed. However, as anyone with kids knows, the beach is just one giant sandbox, so no one was disappointed. Neither was anyone disappointed when we left the beach for Funland.

Saturday we headed back to the beach. It was still overcast and windy, but at least we could swim and not worry about fierce sun rays. The waves were still huge, so we mostly just waded and jumped, but it was fun. And because we had tickets to burn, we went back to Funland.

Sunday we thought we'd stop by another beach nearby, Lewes Beach. It was beautiful! It's in a more-secluded bay so the waves were minuscule, but for my minuscule children, they were perfect. Also, fewer people here. Also, no boardwalk, fun/ridiculous shops, or Funland. So maybe next time we'll do a mix of both beaches.

And on the way home, we stopped for fresh, dairy-made ice cream. I'm pretty sure we could have all had one scoop and been fine, but we were seduced by the low prices (two scoops for only three dollars). Who are we kidding? I'm sure next time we'll make the same two-scoop choice. We turned it into our lunch.

Both mornings I got in beautiful runs on this awesome trail network. Saturday's eight miles were so amazing that I decided to do another six on Sunday, but probably should have scaled back Sunday's miles. I was tired. Ha. But this trail system made me super sad we didn't have bikes because it was a gorgeous, flat trail that Rhett would have had so much fun on. Another time!