Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer of Rhett

The big one graduated from preschool on Wednesday. It was a cute little ceremony wherein Rhett actually participated in the musical numbers instead of just standing there staring. (It was quite a milestone for this boy. He sings frequently at home, just not in front of people.) What's up next for this kid? Unlike last summer filled with lots of little goals, this summer he has only two big ones:

1. Learn to ride a bike without training wheels.
2. Learn how to swim.

I think he can do it. I hope he can do it. I hope Chuck has the patience to teach him these things whilst I am at work. Wish us luck!

Rhett with his dear friend Sarah, who he might marry should Madeleine commit to Daniel.

With teachers Mrs. Cooke...

...and Mrs. Karchnak.

P.S. Maybe Rhett's summer will include reading a book (from beginning to end, in that order) and playing frolf. A boy can dream.

P.P.S. We bought a car Monday night. It's a 2010 black Honda CR-V. Am I excited? Yes of course. Do I second-guess the decision? All the time. But that's normal, right?

P.P.P.S. Chuck still has two more weeks of school. You people with kids already done...that's crazy to me.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Facebook Self-Consciousness

I've come to the conclusion that I don't have the self-esteem to post status updates on Facebook. Because I feel braver on the blog, here are a couple of the things I would post, should I ever grow out of my 14-year-old girl self-consciousness.

If the worst thing my husband makes me do is take a shower after running, I have it pretty easy.

After-church nachos are the awesome. We need to do this more often.

Any guesses on the number of times, in 45 minutes, that one adult can return one little boy to his bed when he's supposed to be sleeping, and NOT visiting his brother in the top bunk?

P.S. Yes, that's it. It's been one of those weeks months.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I Made Stuff

Although it may not seem like it, I have been working on stuff at nights. Here's the latest batch.

A bonnet for a good friend's new daughter. I love this simple pattern.

Clearly it's not meant for a 22-month old, however.

These bags are for the Christmas Eve t-shirts and/or pajamas.

Christmas gifts from this tutorial. Rhett's so mad he can't play with these now.

This mei tei carrier (from this tutorial) for Rhett's friend's birthday. I love it. Seriously, I think each new big brother/sister should have one. That hideous animal Rhett's carrying? The gift to go with the carrier. Sigh.

A t-shirt for Red, White, and Blue Day (as seen here).

A funny topsy-turvy doll. Did you have one growing up? I think I did. The pattern was a bit wonky, but I am pleased regardless. I hear that the birthday girl quite likes her too.

This is the flipped doll.

These are the reunion shirts for this summer. This is the back of Chuck's parents' shirts who happen to celebrate their 50th anniversary this year.

The fronts of the shirts look like this (the shaded part is our last name, which I'm sure I've kept totally anonymous the entire time). The number represents the place you joined the family. So the eldest son is number 1,..., on down to Ollie who is the youngest at number 40. Make sense?

One of my sisters-in-law told me about how she and her children give presents to Santa to take to kids who might not have as much stuff. I like the idea so much that I made this bag specifically for those toys. I think we'll do this early in the month of December so we have time to find a place for the toys before Christmas. Instruction from here, although I obviously pieced together the front face. I'd make changes to what I did, but overall, I like the way it came together.

P.S. I'm running a four-mile race today. Wish me luck! (Or if you're running against me, don't. I can take it.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mothers' Day (again)

On my other post for Mothers' Day, I totally forgot about the brunch Rhett's preschool class put on for the moms. The kids were responsible for everything (baking cookies and muffins, making lemonade, setting the tables) and made such sweet gifts (corsages, placemats, cards, and plates) for us. It was a very lovely brunch with my very lovely son. He graduates next Wednesday and then begins the countdown to kindergarten!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Car

There are some thing that you only need a couple times a year, but because their costs are prohibitive, you don't buy them. For me, these things include a smart phone (I cannot pay that much when I have the internet close to me most of the time, or because I can use my dumb phone to call someone else who is close to the internet), mini-DVD players for the car, GPS, or a bigger car.

We have only two little boys so our two cars (Subaru Impreza Outback and Toyota Corolla) should be sufficient, no? Of course. Except when we go camping. Because when we go camping, it's such a pain to get everything in the car. In fact, we can't get everything in the car; we have to get everything that doesn't fit in, on. You can't really tell, but the trunk is jammed as is the area at the boys' feet. Ugh.

So now we're thinking about getting a new car. But what to buy? I want something with more cargo space (for when we go camping, but maybe just for bikes or for the double jogger) but also something that has high fuel efficiency since most of our driving is city.

P.S. Had we won last week's Powerball of nearly half a billion dollars, this post would be moot. Not only would we buy ourselves two new cars, but a jet to fly us there. And a chauffeur to drive us around upon our arrival.

P.P.S. We went out shopping last night and drove a CRV. We looked at the RAV4, the Scion something (WAY too small), and a Kia Sportage (also too small). The surprise of the night? The Mazda CX-5. We got to the dealership too late to drive, but we'll go back. We still need to look at a Forester.

Monday, May 20, 2013

How Low Can We Go?

Our fifth Maryland state park: Susquehanna. I present this post in two parts. The first part is the I-Love-All-Things-About-Being-a-Mom-and-Parenting-is-Great! I'm pretty sure you can guess the second part.

Part 1
We left Friday right after Rhett's preschool, which gave us all morning to prep. It was really nice to take that leisurely. This has to be the most-weirdly situated campsite we've ever stayed in. Check it out. It's just right on the road! We're still kinda laughing about this. Good news is that it was very soft ground for hammering in the tent stakes.

After setting up, we headed out for a small hike. We found our friends and all eight of us (plus Bruno) went on this small hike. We started on the small, but lovely, Deer Creek, but ended up on the Susquehanna. This river is HUGE (largest one this side of the Mississippi).

After hiking, we went back to camp and cooked dinner. I cannot get a camp dessert to work to save my life. When the time comes that I do, I want a medal. Breakfast was much easier: bagels with cream cheese and eggs.

We took another hike that morning and then it was time to head out. Before leaving, we stopped at the historical site in the park: the mill. This place was pretty cool. It was a functioning mill until the 60s, but even last year they had it working just for tourists.

Check out the awesome stone work on the building. Love it.

The mill sits right on the river, so it provided another photo op of the four cute kids.

And because I love lists just a teensy bit more than the average person, imagine how excited I was to see Maryland's Ice Cream Trail! Of course I want to check off these. Number Five--check! I think Number Six will be next after our July camping trip.

Part 2
Remember my sister's excellent advice about lowering ones expectations because you have kids? I thought I did that. I mean, I didn't expect to get a good night's sleep; I just expected to sleep past six. I didn't expect to hike eight miles; I just expected to hike one or two. But apparently even these expectations are too high. Because even after an 8:30/9:00 bedtime, my boys still woke up at 6. And even though we took the flattest hike ever, my five-year-old still whined incessantly. Camping and hiking are two of my most favorite things, but the kids are ruining them for me. It's almost enough that I don't want to go. It's so much work and time and travel, and the kids are so exhausting. But of course I want to keep doing it in the hopes that they'll start to love it, start to sleep in past 6, start to be able to walk more without utterly collapsing. But what if they don't? What if kids take the joy out of camping, like they've done to so many other things I enjoy? Is this just where I suck it up?

Part 3: The Surprise Part
Consider it sucked up. We will continue to do things I like, but expectations will be lowered. Next time I'll be happy to sleep until 4 a.m.! Next time I will be happy if the kids do something they like without whining! Next time I'll be happy to hike anything! See, I can learn, I'm just a bit slower than most.

Friday, May 17, 2013

No Do Dat Mom

Last week Ollie learned a new phrase: "No do dat, Mom/Dad/Rhett/Bruno." Here is a list of all the times it's been used this past week:

1. Whenever I put down the visor in the car (see video below)
2. Whenever we put on a certain pair of pants, or maybe any pants for that matter
3. Whenever Rhett does anything to him (because it's all pretty much older brother annoying stuff)
4. Whenever Bruno eats Ollie's food (thrown to him by Ollie, I should add)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Google Autofill

I love how Google tries to finish your searches. Most of the time it's helpful. But sometimes, uh, it's not even close. I led Google on a couple of random searches to bring you the following:

How does...paypal/twitter/sensa work? What is sensa? Ah, I see: a weight-loss drug.

When is...St. Patrick's Day/Easter/Mardi Gras? I get the latter two, but St. Patrick's Day? It's the same day every year.

Should I...refinance/stay or should I go lyrics/get bangs? Ha. Like Google knows if you should get bangs.

Where is...Chuck Norris/my tax refund? Chuck Norris? Am I missing something?

Why can't...we be friends/I sleep/I lose weight? Oh, secret-stash-of-goodies knows exactly the answer to the third question.

Who is...Jody Arias/John Galt/Gossip Girl?

Let' a kiki. Uh, kiki? I must admit: it made me nervous to do this search. Turns out it's just some very strange song.

Maryland is...the what state/known for/for crabs/the best state/the worst state/boring. Turns out it's not the worst state, not even close. The best is New York. The worst is...Arizona! Utah is third worst. WHAT?! I must admit their reasons are pretty funny. Utah for a single woman is pretty bad. And, let's be honest, so is Baltimore.

P.S. Only because I think this is many of these toys do you remember? How many did you own? I remember all but the Pocket Rocker. For fifteen of these, I think I owned them or played regularly with friends'. I remember those exact scratch 'n' sniffs. Teddy Ruxpin. Snoopy Sno Cone. All awesome. (I have a koosh ball on my work desk this very second.)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mothers' Day Weekend

Awesome: Saturday morning I ran an unplanned 10.5 miles on the C&O Canal.

Really Awesome: After nap time, we got frozen yogurt.

Spectacularly Awesome: When it was our turn for babysitting, instead of watching six additional kids, we only had two.

Sunday Awesome: A beautiful chilly day spent at church, walking the neighborhood, playing/watching hockey, and eating something only I like for dinner. Can't ask for much more.

P.S. The underwear views got progressively worse in these shots. Boys.

Friday, May 10, 2013

It's a Chucklas Miracle

Some months ago the soap-bar-turned-soap-sliver in our shower was miraculously replaced by an actual bar. What's so miraculous about that? I didn't do it. It was a Chucklas Miracle. Since then, a small number of these miracles have occurred. Ten days ago, Chuck started the boys' laundry before I got home from work. It was awesome. But the best Chucklas Miracle was last week when the washing machine was leaking a lot. A lot a lot. My response: call the Maytag repairman and pay who-knows-how-much-more-than-$125. That was also Chuck's first response. His second response, however, was to look at the owner's manual and see if there was anything helpful. His third response was to look online in search of more helpful tips. After about 15 minutes, the leaky tube was found, patched, and a replacement purchased for $16. If I were a nicer, richer wife, I'd surprise him with the $109 we saved. But because I'm not that wife, he gets a post on my blog.

P.S. Because this post is supposed to make Chuck look good, I'll confess: Remember the I Spy, Chuck Doesn't series? We had a very bad "I Didn't Spy, Chuck Did" on Wednesday. Part of a sippy cup stopper-thingy was not spotted by me in the dishwasher. Alas, Chuck found it immediately. See, I can be nice!

P.P.S. Some of you may know that many years ago, I used to call Chuck "Chucklas." It came from a friend whose name is Doug, whom we sometimes called Douglas, which once came out toward Chuck as Chucklas. These days I don't use it so much. Usually now it's just "HEY YOU."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Things Rhett Says

After a bad day when I didn't want to cook anything...
Rhett: I want to go to McDonald's.
Me: I want to go somewhere nicer.
Rhett: Wendy's?!

Because he often hears me say, "Ollie, you couldn't be cuter," Rhett has started saying this gem:
Rhett [to Ollie]: Couldn't you be cuter?

Me: What do you think you'll like about being an adult? Do you think you'll eat ice cream for dinner?
Rhett: [Long pause] What if Madeleine won't let me?

P.S. Things Elder Chapman Says about Rhett: That kid is EVIL!

P.P.S. Things Ollie Says: "Change me," followed by him laying on the floor with legs splayed in the air.

P.P.P.S. Things Chuck Says: "I've never heard this song." UH, WHAT? You've never heard it? How is that even possible?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Friday Night Splits

Friday night Chuck took Rhett on their first Fathers-Sons Campout. I'm pretty sure I was more excited than either of them, and am jealous that there aren't any Mothers-Sons Campouts. (I know, I know: I'll do my own one day.) They went and had a great time. Here's Rhett with his cute friend Henry.

This is called Sugarloaf Mountain, and no, I don't think it's supposed to be ironic.

While they camped, Ollie and I got frozen yogurt with a friend, I fell asleep on the couch around 9, and in the morning I pushed Ollie six miles in the stroller. So happy I don't have to do that too often.

And luckily Chuck made it home in time to see the Caps playoff game. I'm sure that was quite by accident, just sure of it. Could there be more Caps gear?!

P.S. I see that Henry's dad posted the update about their trip. I'm kicking myself for not encouraging Chuck to do ours! Next year...

Friday, May 3, 2013

I Loves Me Some of that April

It's been said (by me) that our March was insane. I was tired nearly the entire month. I was excited for April because other than a couple of date nights, we had no real plans. And we kept it that way. Sure, things came up, and we couldn't actually do nothing because that would drive me crazy, but still, it was life in the slow lane. Let's look at the recap:

Took many walks on the trail near our house to (1) throw sticks from a bridge, (2) throw rocks from the shore, and (3) enjoy picnic lunches.
Visited the farm park for the Gas and Steam Engine Show.
Started sewing a little bit again.
Saw the cherry blossoms.
Hiked around the FDR monument, Gravelly Point, and Wheaton Regional Park.
Got some things done around the house.
Played outside a LOT.

What's in store for May? Our big plans include two camping trips: one just for Rhett and Chuck and the other for the entire family. A little more sewing for me. Preschool graduation. As much time outside as the weather allows. Life is good!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Random Thoughts

My mom gave birth to boy-boy-girl-girl. My sister gave birth to boy-boy-girl-girl. I wonder if I wasn't done birthing children, would I too give birth to boy-boy-girl-girl?

Let's say you were at the beach and saw someone famous, like uh, I dunno, Mitt Romney. Would you say something? If so, what?

With our recent brush of 90-degree weather, it got me thinking about what we eat for dinner in the summer. Every end of spring I start to dislike anything that needs to be cooked, but don't know where to turn, except to cold cereal. This would make my boys happy (and me happy) but not our bodies. So what do you eat in the summertime, when all the world is green and hot and humid?

Do you say "9x13" or "13x9" when referring to a certain pan?

How would you pronounce a certain store's soda named "Refreshe?"

What's the weirdest place you've ever found your kids' lost stuff? This morning I found Ollie's lost the dishwasher.