Friday, September 30, 2016

More Random Things

Did you know that Inauguration Day is a federal holiday in the D.C. area? I'm guessing it's largely due to the traffic. In 2009 when Obama was first inaugurated, Metro set a record for ridership (more than 1.1 million trips were taken, smashing the previous record of 867,000). It just makes it hard for employees to get to work when the metro is that packed (not sure why schools are closed, however). So we don't work. Sorry (but not really). Before you get too mad, the next one that actually affects me (you know, an inauguration on a Tuesday or a Thursday) isn't until 2033, so I'm not benefiting from it anytime soon. ANYWAY, there's no way we'll be going downtown for the Inauguration. But if Hillary Clinton wins, I imagine the mall will be similarly packed and hotels will be filled (you know, first woman president and all). Sooo, do we rent out our house on Airbnb and get out of town for the weekend?

We're in the middle of another huge (yuge?) rainstorm. The rain started Wednesday night and isn't supposed to stop until today, maybe tomorrow. And rain totals for us should be around 4"-6". LAME. The last time we got this much rain, a tree fell on my Dad's car. Although, this storm also delivered some flooding two years ago, but maybe that's because the ground was already saturated. It'll be interesting to see what happens to our creek's water level with this storm.

The other day I was talking with a friend who lives in Japan. Where she is, sunrise is at 5:30 a.m. I was flabbergasted! Our sunrise doesn't come for another 1.5 hours. It made me do some investigating into these time zones and what would produce such varying sunrise/sunset times. It's crazy how varying sunrise times can be, given your location within a time zone and the shape of the time zone itself.

Oh, on Wednesday did I say I can swim 200 meters? Hahaha. Nope. 100 meters. But I do a couple of those (among other things), so that counts for something, right?

EEK! Tomorrow is October! Hooray!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Random Things

This post is less "random thoughts" and more just things that are happening to me. It's all very boring; I promise.

For the fourth time since June, I found adult shoes that fit my feet. This is definitely some kind of miracle. These I found at DSW for only $18, so I'm pretty pleased with myself. Except that it finally decided to become fall here, so sandal season is going to be over pretty soon. Like in December. (Or never, if you're my sister.)

The boys used to eat only cereal for breakfast on the days that I'm home. But because it's only cereal, they were hungry about an hour later. This was terribly inconvenient. So at the beginning of the school year, I instituted a new rule that says they have to eat something else before the cereal. The something else is either some sausage, yogurt with granola, oatmeal, or eggs. THEN they can have that bowl of cereal. I think it's been working. Related: because my boys eat breakfast around 6:30 and don't eat lunch until after 1, they're hungry at school. So right as we're leaving for the bus, I give them one of these energy bites. They LOVE them. Ollie asks me every day if it's a bus day. Thanks Emily! Oh, our most-recent batch was made with butterscotch chips instead of chocolate. Delicious.

Speaking of food, I made this salsa Saturday. Well, mostly the boys made it. But man, this stuff is so just good. I had to buy more chips so it wouldn't go to waste. I prefer this kind of salsa over the chunky, corn-y one preferred by others (cough, cough, my MOM). My boys also love it so score.

Speaking of my mom, my parents got their release date! They'll be home at the end of November. They're excited.

Finally, I'm swimming! Every Friday morning after I watch the boys go to school on the bus, I hope in the car and go to the pool. I had a little routine that I like doing and can feel myself getting better at it already. I still can't swim longer than 200 meters at a time (swimming is freakin' hard!), but it's coming. I'm happy with it. And so happy the boys are in school all day, making this possible.

Oh, and I got another calling, but we'll discuss that after I'm sustained.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My Life is Hard

About a month ago, something weird happened in our shower: we had more water pressure than we'd ever had before coming from the shower head. Chuck and I separately noticed and later confirmed each other's findings. What's weird about it is that nothing in the house changed. We didn't get a new hot water heater. We didn't do anything to our pipes. So we're just not sure what caused this, other than a poltergeist (my theory).

Sure, increased pressure is rarely a bad thing in a shower, right? Most of the time, yes! The new pressure isn't crazy hard and is, in fact, pleasurable. However, apparently increased pressure seems to cause increased shower curtain billowing. Surely you know what I'm talking about: the tendency of the shower curtain to billow inward during a shower?

This wouldn't be so terrible if our bathroom was a full, 1.0-sized bathroom (you know, one with a tub). But it's not; it's a 0.75-sized bathroom. We have a shower (no tub). It's teeny. So when the shower curtain takes away 20% of the square feet (which it does; I calculated it), well, it causes problems. Mostly in the form of me yelling at it to "STOP TOUCHING ME!" I promise you that you'd be just as yell-y if you were living this right now.

P.S. Also causing me woe is the new lateness of my newspaper delivery. We're talking WAY past the time it's guaranteed to be delivered to my house. This could be a deal breaker, Washington Post.

P.P.S. Also, Maryland's Mother Nature still thinks it's August here. Monday morning I felt like I was running in a sauna. Was it tears or just condensed humidity on my face? I'll let you decide.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Martinak State Park

After our crazy summer, we're back to camping again. I think we have three trips planned in October! Then I think we'll be done for the season (unless we one in early November). Anyway, the boys had a Monday off and so we headed out Sunday after church. (When you have 8:30 church, you can do this.) I was a bit nervous as this park is really close to Tuckahoe, you know, the one with the spiders and ticks. But apparently we were late enough in the season to avoid them. And even though it's ridiculously hot here still, we managed to get a nice-ish couple of days with cloud cover. Not too bad!

We fished, walked (very limited hiking here), had a campfire, and found dead crabs and shells. There was also a 1-mile paved fitness trail that circled one of the camping loops. We brought the boys' bikes and they joined me on my Monday morning run. It was a perfect ride for them. (Actually, I enticed them to do it twice with me.)

Overall, we liked this park a lot! Next up camping-wise: Delaware Seashore State Park!

Cheetos lips!

Didn't catch anything but that's okay.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Philadelphia Temple Open House

Right before Chuck went back to work last month, we went to Philly to see the new temple. And as we've never taken the kids to Philadelphia, we thought we should take them to see some of the sights. Thankfully the drive was just over two hours, so I'm sure we'll be back. ( know, because we've made such an effort before now.)

Anyway, got to the temple bright and early and quickly went through the open house.

Our first stop was the mint, but no pictures allowed. We all liked it a lot, however. Then we headed to the Liberty Bell. Not sure what the boys thought, honestly.

We didn't get tickets ahead of time for Independence Hall, so we had to spend a couple of hours. But with our packed lunches (like my kids would eat a cheesesteak) and junior ranger activities, the time was easy to fill.

Back for the tour.

Then the long walk back to the car. It was kinda painful and I may have had flashbacks to walking in Europe. But they made it. And we got home. AND the day turned out actually okay! Hooray for us!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Ollie Turned 5!

Okay, yeah yeah, so what if his birthday was over a month ago. We've been busy. But now that I'm at home without them all day, I just have all this time! (Catch the sarcasm there?)

Anyway, Ollie turned 5 last month. And let's just say I'm pretty sure he'd stay this age forever if he could. Lately he's been telling me how he never wants to be an adult. Hahaha. Sorry dude! It happens.

He was pretty excited for this day. Now that's a good Ollie face!

Oh these dolls. He HAD to have one of these little springy guys we saw in Europe. Had to. So he spent some money my parents gave him for one and then picked out another to be given to him on his birthday. The first one's spring was in knots before the day was over. That kid. He can be so incredibly difficult to please. He did like the skateboard, however, so that's something.

C'mon. He's adorable. It saves his life sometimes.

I worked from home, but Chuck and Emily/Ben went to the Dulles Air and Space museum to see, among other things, my dad's helicopter. It was more fun to see it flying. :)

Then after swimming and pizza at the pool, cake!

He seriously is the cutest. I love this little man! Happy birthday to Ollie!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Someone Came to Visit Us!

Although we live in a real destination, no one ever comes to visit us. My parents have been out a couple of times, but that's it. No friends (except for when Rach and Andy lived in NC), one. Until last month. Guess what?! My sister came! And she brought her family! They spent almost two weeks here and it was so much fun to host them. Because I had just spent three weeks' worth of vacation time from work, I couldn't take off nearly the amount of time I'd like, but thankfully they're adults (well, at least Ben and Emily are) and can manage on their own, or with Chuck.

One trip I did get to join them on was when we went to Terrapin Beach Park. Dead crabs and jellies were the specials of the day, unfortunately.

We did find this little spot where a freshwater creek was spilling into the bay and keeping the jellies out, so the kids were able to play there plenty.

Cousins are the best.

And then I got to join them at Fort McHenry.

Seriously, Ollie? That face.

Again, Ollie.

And again. It's so him. Oh how I hope he grows out of it, but oh how I hope I never forget it. What a unique little guy.

Being silly on the steps!

The cousins mostly enjoyed each other. Ollie had it in for Lucy, for no reason at all. Pretty much the second they got out of the car, he was done with her. Sigh. And Rhett would settle for nobody but Jonas, another sigh. But hey, I did great! I planned, shopped, and cooked for 10, surprising me the most! We spent a lot of time at the pool, which was good because it was August and August is the WORST. Except when August weather spills into September, then that's the WORST.

Anyway, come back again soon, Maxwells!

Friday, September 2, 2016

How We Spend Our Days Now

Today is my third kid-free day and the boys' fifth day of school. How are they doing? Great! Ollie actually de-bussed on Monday with both fists in the air and a big smile on his face. It was a big relief to this mom and dad. Of course by bedtime he was telling us that "actually it was the worst day of my life." Ah, there's my Ollie! Too bad I don't believe him. Rhett is also doing well. He's so good at this school thing that I wasn't worried. I'm sure he'll have a great year. The surprising thing is our afternoons. On Monday and Tuesday the boys came home from school and just played so well together! It was almost as if they hadn't spent all day fighting. Oh wait, it was just like it. We almost didn't have books-on-couch-time because they were so wrapped up in what they were doing. It was lovely.

But I'm sure you're wondering how I'm doing. Pretty well! I think I need to slow down and learn how to sit, but that has to wait for now. This week I've been doing tons of cooking. Breakfast prep (two batches of taquitos), lunch prep (pizza buns), dinner prep (hot dog pretzels, enchiladas), and even some snack prep (energy balls). So it's been a lot of kitchen time (which means a lot of dishes time--ugh), but once I get stuff in the freezer I should be good for awhile. We had to overhaul our breakfast routine and menu, but I think we got it.

I've also done laundry, started my lesson outline for Sunday, worked on our "scrapbook" for Germany (I have a 50% off coupon from Shutterfly but I have to use it by September 6th so I'm really trying to get it done), and vacuumed. But all of that has happened during "me" time. I'm really trying to push all my chores to when the boys are gone so that in the morning and evenings I can really be present, you know? Instead of always thinking about everything else I should/could be doing. And hey, for the first two days--I did it! We'll see how I'm doing come June.

I guess the main idea is, so far so good! Of course we have the next two Mondays off, reducing my "me time" by one-third. Sigh.

P.S. Holy crap. On Wednesday, Maryland's governor decreed that next year, school will start after Labor Day. I'm livid. Fuming. I hate this so, so very much. If it's declared legal (that's debatable, apparently), what will I do? This is terrible. Worst news of the entire month and it's only the 2nd.

P.P.S. While working on my Germany book, I watched the movie "Room." Another holy crap. I read the book, but man, seeing it? A totally different experience. I cried. A lot.