Monday, March 31, 2014

"Give a little time to me"

Because I've just started blogging again,  I completely took the week off when we went on vacation last week. Also, I didn't want to travel with my computer. It was good to have some time away and now I also have a week's worth of posts to write!! (with a few reviews thrown in - yeah!!) 

I have decided to start "tweaking" the blog a bit since I miss my old blog post titles being verses from songs - but I also like the idea of mixing it up a bit. The other tweak is that I'm going to email blast out to my family and friends to get the readership up (I'm such a pro, now - ha. ha.) 

Today, H-P had his first ophthalmology appointment. Looks like glasses for another brother!! 

H-P's iPhone shot of Mommy with a Mickey Mouse sticker. 

Eyes are blurry from drops but you can't tell with my crazy boy!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Why I hate United Airlines part 1

Our family is traveling. I am furiously trying to figure out how to blog well on an iPad .
Sorry that you are my guinea pigs.

we've come back to so cal for spring break and it's going well (if slowly) so far.

I must put out there that I HATE United Airlines.

Why? We'll, I bought our tickets 2 months ago on-lline and there was no option to choose seats together without paying hundreds of dollars extra for the econo plus seats. Friday, I checked in our family of 5 a full twenty-four hours early and STILL no option of seats anywhere near each other. RKZ was actually not even given a seat assignment. We figured that we would be able to get it settled when we spoke to an agent. But, when we arrived at the counter, we had to print out our boarding passes at a kiosk where the agent only handed us baggage claim stickers. (On a side note, I payed $75 dollars for our bags when I first checked in on-line. It turns put that I shouldn't have had to pay for the third bag -car seats- but the agent "wasn't able to refund the money at this counter". Are you kidding me?)

When we arrived at the gate, the agent said, "I took you all off of the over-sold list and got you 2 seats in one row, two seats in another and one seat by itself." What? I proceeded to get very angry. Who should sit alone? My eight year old? My three year old? Should we have our five and eight year old sit together alone on an 8 o'clock flight? And what about the fact that we checked in 24 hours ahead?? Over-sold? What in the hell?

Of course, there was no one to complain to. The 15 year old agent was innocently confused and waiting in the customer service line would have made us miss our flight. Rkz recommended waiting for the flight attendants to sort it all out.

Long story longer - HP and I stood in the aisle until very last person was on the plane. They had double booked my seat so I didn't even have a place to sit. Buck and Coo did have to sit alone at first. But, throughout the course of the flight, two strangers, RKZ and Buck all switched seats at least once. It was only a two hour flight. Buck was in tears because he didn't want to sit with strangers and RKZ was irate.

On a positive note, the flight attendants were genuinely nice. They really tried to help us but were stymied by the airline's different policies. I will GO OUT of my way never to fly United again. But most of us fall victim to there huge amount of carriers and numbers of flights. And when I am forced to fly them again, I'll just be grateful for the flight attendants.

Friday, March 21, 2014

What to wear to your child's classroom...

I've noticed when I google "What to wear" that this option never comes up. It sounds dumb, but I get a lot of anxiety over how I should dress (as a mom) to go to a casual kids' function or to volunteer. As a teacher, of course I'd dress professionally (…mostly) but now I think there is a fine line between being stylish and becoming the "mom who is trying too hard and/or wants to pick up your husband." So, today's fashion-ish day is what I wore to my oldest's second grade classroom for his "mini-society sale" This is where he sold his pet rocks I mentioned a few posts back. 
 I am constantly being "love-attacked" by little boys, so I always opt for jeans or leggings and flat shoes. It's a little chilly here today, so I figured a shlub sweater (not sure if that's a real word) from H&M and J skinny jeans would do the trick.
My shoes are from TJ Maxx - black patent leather pointy-toed flats (Ivanka Trump, I think). I definitely rock the name tag :)

But, regardless of what I wear, this is the reason I help or visit the school anyway. Buck was very proud of his rocks and made a lot of "school money" from his friends. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty

I rarely read a novel just because it's on the New York Times' list (Today this novel is #5).  But in the middle of my slog through The Goldfinch, I realized I needed something new to read. I needed a book that was lighter and maybe a little distracting. I decided to try The Husband's Secret because it was reviewed as a mystery - and I love a good mystery - and I was intrigued by the idea of a wife finding a letter which is labeled: 
My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died…
Awesome hook.

Now, what would I want to know if I'm thinking of reading this?
(A) It moved well. It had a nice pace and changed narrators to give different perspectives. I enjoyed this book, even if I didn't LOVE it.
(B) The secret isn't so out there that I was irritated or completely "skeeved"by what I read. I was having some anxiety about that as it went on.
Moriarty added some nice touches with her narrator's voice. There is a bit of a "what could have been" going on where the narrator quickly explores other choices the characters might have made. These "coulda, woulda', shoulda'" moments challenge the reality of the characters and also makes the reader think a bit more deeply. It's a bit of a thinking girls romantic chick lit. Lastly, the novel is set in Australia. I'm a sucker for contemporary fiction not set in England or the US.

I would recommend this book. It's definitely more of an adult fiction. Meaning, I don't think a teenager would enjoy the emotional nuances of the book. It obviously centers heavily on a marriage and the emotional realities of that type of commitment. I found the wife's reaction the entire situation very realistic. There were entire chapters where I spent time thinking "What the hell would I do if this happened to me?" I liked that.

Please let me know if you've read or are thinking of reading this. It might make a good Spring Break book - but I'd start with Gone Girl if you are still on the fence about that one.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Beginning Renovations…again (sigh)

We recently moved to Colorado. I've mentioned that. I think I also mentioned that we spent the previous three years in Southern California - and all three of them in nearly a constant state of "reno." "Reno" (pron: Reh-noe) is the shorthand Canadians use for the full word "Renovation." It's only funny because my parents live in Reno (Pron: "Ree-noe") and I always thought Canadians were talking about Reno, NV when they were discussing construction on their homes. Very confusing for literal old me.

Anyway, after six months of bliss living in our current home, we've decided to undergo a full reno beginning April 7. Yes, within the span of about three weeks, we need to fully pack and move our home (again), move our necessities into a two bedroom apartment and set up things like internet and cable. Just for fun, we are spending one of those three weeks visiting our friends and family in Southern Cal. It's Spring Break and all. We leave Friday.

So, my house currently looks like this:

Well, C is dressed now, but you get the picture. 

I have nearly finished packing the entire kitchen and one of the boys' bedrooms. 

Did I mention that my husband leaves for a work trip tomorrow at 5am? He gets back Thursday late. Just in time to leave for Cal. 

Self-inflicted torture, brought to you by Bridgette. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Paddy's Day Slump

Anyone else 100% done with St. Patrick's day already? I was sitting and watching the E! News people  take drinks whenever they said the word mystery word: "Awesome" (BTW - steal my Oscars drinking game much?) and I all I could think was, "Isn't St. Patrick's Day over?" Just a little tired from constant packing of our home (more Renovation news tomorrow) and over-tired toddlers. 

Very proud of our Irish car commercial, though :) 

Our St. P's party hostess, a new friend - KOK (and her husband, POK not pictured). 

"More corned beef?" 
"Stop taking my picture!" 

and, "No, that's not Sprite I'm drinking!" 

This is how we rock St. P's day: 
 Moms in the hood are always hard
Come talking that trash and we'll pull your card...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Irish Eyes are Smiling 2014

We literally never do anything on St. Patrick's Day. It has to have been around 8 years since RKZ and I stepped foot in a bar for this festive day. If I recall correctly, we downloaded Irish music onto my iPod last year and had a "family dance party" with our boys. Maybe they got haircuts from their dad. 


This year, we had not one but TWO "parties" to attend. One hosted by people who sent an actual invitation through the mail. I felt like a princess - a princess soaking in Guinness, but a princess none the less. 

Our first event was more of a dinner at the Knight's of Columbus hall in CO Springs. RKZ's parents (the Duke and Duchess) were in charge of the corned beef and cabbage. The rumor is that they cooked it in the KOC hall oven all night at 200 degrees. 

The Duchess always decks herself out beautifully. 

I'm not working very hard at becoming a food blogger, but I thought I'd give it a shot in honor of St. P. RKZ loved the traditional meal. I'm not a nitrated, fatty meat girl, so I always balk at the corned beef - but it did have a nice salty goodness that goes well with Bud Light and/or Guinness. 

The highlight of the night was getting the cousins together. My boys ADORE their teen (and preT) cousins. H-P is also obsessed with the "shocka" symbol at the moment. 

Oldest and Youngest on the Grady side 

Pahina after 4 hours of gymnastics. 
It was almost like old times - but kinda' better.
 St. Patrick's shenanigans continued tomorrow. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pet Rocks

My oldest, Buck, has a class project called "mini society" coming up next week.  Each student in the second grade has to make 50 items (from things around the house) to "sell" to each other using "classroom" money that they've earned for various jobs and good behavior in class. It's a giant lesson in economics for 8 year olds.

Buck decided to make pet rocks - a perennial favorite from the 70's.
We've spent our Saturday as his lackeys - but it has actually been very fun.

First: we collected a giant pile of rocks (a big thanks to our friends who offered some landscaping rocks to us)

 Second: The boys washed the rocks with soap and water and got very wet.

Third: We collected our supplies as the rocks dried completely

feathers and glue

pom poms and pipe cleaners

acrylic paint. 

Fourth: We created!! All of the boys got involved and RKZ and I were complete suckers for the project. It was very fun to make little faces on these silly rocks. 

C wanted to paint, so he's dressed in a trashbag. 

It took about 3 hours to finish all of the pets. Buck is very excited to start selling next week! He even added a "for charity" group of rocks where he's going to donate his earnings back to the teacher to give to a friend who was in the hospital and didn't have a chance to earn dollars. 

"Bob" our first pet rock. 

I'll be adding some bling to the pink rocks. We forgot to buy jewels at Hobby Lobby. 

the boys are hoping the Peyton Mannings go quickly. 

Can you find Mother Teresa? Part of our charity collection ;) 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fashion-ish with a new camera

I got a new camera!!

I'm pathetically excited - it's a Sony RX100 II and I'm mostly excited because it has a "silent" setting so I feel like a spy taking flash-less, sound-less pictures. It's also the size of a big bar of soap but it works just like my SLR (big one with giant lens). I will now be able to take pictures in restaurants, parties, bathrooms (ha. ha.) and gymnastic classes: 

But my biggest excitement is saved for the fact that maybe my kids (and mom :) will be able to use it, so I won't have to take ridiculous selfies all the time. 

This one really brings out the asymmetry of my eyes! I am obviously not getting enough sleep. 

So, although I've worn some really great fashions this week, we spent most of the time trying to figure out how to use the camera (by "we" I mean myself and my 5 year old). 

There was a lot of denim this week. It's comfy, neutral and hides puke and poop! ;)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pinewood Derby 2014

Before kids, I never wondered if people were still doing things like the Pinewood Derby. I didn't think about it too much or reflect on the 100,000s of people who were living lives very much outside of drinking and going to the beach (my two regular pastimes outside of work).  So, I am a bit of a dork about the simple family things now.

RKZ was out of town, so my mom (Ma Joad) was on hand to witness the competition! (This is our school parking lot)

Pack 263 Pinewood Derby sign. Buck competed as a Scout and C and H-P were in the sibling category. 

Taking it very seriously, obviously.

The pack had to rent the track and equipment from a local Boy Scout Troop. They also run all the high-tech (seriously) software for the race. 

Uncle (RKZ's brother) is a whiz with the wood saw, so he helped the boys make their cars (family-oriented). The blue car with the stripe down the middle is H-P's car. The golden "100" car with the Lego mini figure is C's. 

18 - for Peyton Manning - is Buck's car. Obviously, the Lego figures made another appearance. Sadly, they fly out of the cars if not glued down and the Boy Scouts took them out before the races. 

Their are 6 heats for each car because each track can be faster or slower and the average of all the races decides the winner. 

The race took about 1 1/2 hour total and it was fun to watch the boys cheer as they each won a race (or came in 2nd or 3rd). 

H-P was pretty tired toward the end (note the Sherman toy from the new Peabody movie). 

Participation Award 1!! 

Participation 2 and 3!! 
We didn't win anything officially, but the boys had a great time and they were excited for their first races in Colorado. We only missed RKZ (who was sadly in San Diego for "work"). 
Sometimes the most simple things are the most fun.