Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer Break: Week 4

It's been a crazy week of appointments and trip prep.  On Monday the nanny took the girls to the pool at the golf club where she has a membership.  That was a special treat because we are not nor is anyone we know (except, now, her) members and have never been.  Then today I had to get the girls up super early, 6:50, for a 7:30 orthodontist appointment (Kayley got her expander off (yay!) and Olivia just for an initial exam).  I was dreading it because they normally sleep until at least 9:00 now that they are on summer vacation and getting them up early can be difficult, plus I got a late start to work so I had to stay later so I can be sure to get done what I need to get done before we leave on vacation FRIDAY!  And since the housekeeper was coming at 9:00, right after we got back from the orthodontist, and they had to get out of the house anyway, the nanny took them to Starbucks for breakfast.  Lucky them.

Today I had to drop my car off at the dealers and take their shuttle to work and back again.  Then I had to get a rental car (from the dealer and they didn't charge me--for some reason they don't do loaner cars at this place.  Bummer.) and show proof of insurance and noticed that my insurance ID card expired TODAY, so I had to call Paul and have him snap a photo of the new one and text it to me to give the rental agent.  It's just been a weird week, but now I have tomorrow off to finish packing, get pedicures and buy any last minute items like a sim card for my waterproof camera and magazines to read on the plane, oh, and return the rental car/pick up my car.

And as an added bonus, the girls went to a friend's for a sleepover, so I get some precious, rare alone time tonight (Paul still has to work tomorrow so he's gone to bed already) and tomorrow morning.  So, I'm already super excited for our trip, and now I'm excited to sleep in and relax with a cup of coffee in the morning with no one to bug me.  Yes!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer Break: Week 3

Week 3 started out at Crescent Bar where we spent the weekend before the 4th.  We were just cleaning the condo and washing all the towels and linens before heading home, however, so not really enjoying the pool or river and whatnot.  We stopped at an old-fashioned drive-in for burgers and shakes on our way home.  I have fond memories of making such stops on camping trips with my family growing up, so once in awhile I try to recreate some of that for the girls, but turns out no one (except me) really cared for the food there so I guess we'll come up with some other tradition.

The next day was the 4th, and we went to a friend’s for a barbeque and fireworks and then to the big community fireworks show after that.

The girls were having a blast (literally, ha ha) shooting them off themselves this year, with plenty of adult supervision

playing with kinetic sand before doing fireworks


their poor dog hid out in the bathroom :(

Our view while waiting for the fireworks to start

Wednesday it was back to work for Paul and I.

Thursday Olivia had a doctor's appointment in the next town over from us just late enough for Paul to get there in time after work but not to be able to come home first, so the babysitter had to drive them there and meet him.  But first they went out to lunch at a nearby Thai restaurant and then to Cold Stone for dessert.  It's so nice having a sitter with her own car that can take them places.  I don't have to feel quite as bad for having to leave them with one all day, every day,

This evening (Friday) the girls went to a birthday party.  They were supposed to be gone until 9:00 but came home early because they have already seen the movie (Moana) that the host is showing.  Whatever, and darn.  I was enjoying a nice, quiet evening.  Oh well.  I'm going to start packing for our cruise tonight!  We don't leave for another week but I don't want to leave it until the last minute so I'm going to start now with things I know I won't need in the meantime, like swimsuits and certain clothing items.  Yay!  I'm so excited!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summer Break: Week 2

Trying to play catch-up here.  Things got really busy once school got out.

The girls had Camp Invention last week.  I was right back to making lunches every night and getting all 3 of us up and ready in the mornings after a short break last week.  Back to not being "done" every night until 10:00.  Ugh.  Glad it's over.  I didn't take any pictures of any of it, either.

Camp Invention is really cool.  Every kid brings some sort of old electronic device that they can take apart.  I just went to Value Village and bought a couple cheap clock radios.  During the camp the take it apart and use the various parts to make other things, I guess.  They also bring a bunch of "upcycle items" to make stuff with, which can be anything like string, craft paper, buttons, straws, etc.  They also learn about famous inventors.

On the last day of camp, they had a "showcase" for the parents the last hour, where the parents get to walk around and see what all they did.  I left work early so I could go to that, and then we came home and finished packing for our first Crescent Bar trip of the summer.

We left Friday afternoon for Crescent Bar and came home yesterday.  Paul's parents were supposed to be there but his mom suffered a minor break in her leg so they didn't make the trip, so we last minute invited some friends to come.  They came on Saturday and stayed just one night, leaving Sunday.  It was a really fun trip.  They have done a lot of improvements at Crescent Bar, like adding some paved walking trails and more parks and picnic areas and a new playground, so it was great to explore all that.  Crescent Bar did their big fireworks last night and normally we would have stayed for that and came home today but our neighborhood has started doing their own big fireworks show every year (this will be the 2nd year), plus some friends of ours always have people over and our neighborhood always has a thing earlier in the day with bouncy houses, face painting and pony rides so we'll probably go to that.

The girls' friend Lindsay in the middle

A healthy breakfast of doughnuts (and cherries)

Kayley and Lindsay playing "chicken"

Monday, July 3, 2017

Music Monday

Well, I missed last week but I'm back today with songs chosen in honor of the 4th of July.  One of my all time favorites songs ever is "America" by my birthday twin, Neil Diamond.  And I couldn't resist Katy Perry's "Firework" which I've always loved and then I included Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" which I had heard of but didn't really know.  Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Break: Week 1


What just happened?!!?  We just started a new year and I was making resolutions and goals and plans for the year and now all of a sudden school ended and the year is half over.  And our first week of summer break is almost in the books.

Monday was the girls' last day of 3rd grade.  I think I mentioned before, but I had planned to take that day and the next off, but because our new babysitter won't be available later in the summer and wanted to work as much as possible until then, I switched my days off until late August.  Except for today but I'll get to that in a minute.

So they went to school for just under 3 hours, then the babysitter met them here at home.  She was with them until 1:00 and then they went to a friend's annual Last Day of School party.  Paul picked Kayley up from there after work to take her to the dentist while Olivia stayed there for awhile longer.

Here's our official "last day of school" photos--no chalkboard or cute outfits, just me turning around in the car at a stop light and then snapping a quick one from the drop off lane because Kayley refused to let me take one of her.

Excuse the cracked windshield--I had just replaced it when I got another rock chip like less than a month later that spread right away before I could do anything.

Here's the pile of stuff they came home with.  This picture doesn't do it justice (plus some had already been recycled).  It will take me all summer to sort through it all (not that I'm going to keep any of it, or not much anyway, but I just want to look at it all).

Anyway, Tuesday was the babysitter's first official full day with them and they painted their nails and made slime and played with a friend.  At 4:00, Paul took them to a going away party for a family of 6 that are friends of ours.  They are moving to Austin, TX (isn't everybody?).  The party was at the same friend's house that the last day of school party was at the day before.  I went later once I got off work and we stayed there until about 8:00.

On Wednesday, the babysitter took them to Michael's and then out for Sushi, but they didn't really like it so they went next door and got Thai instead.

The babysitter wanted today and Friday off to go to some music festival (not in Austin, but I'm sure there is one going on there, too, ha ha) so I ended up taking today off, which was great.  We slept in, went to Starbucks, the library, Justice and Michael's again.  They played outside making slime again, and then later we all went to an outdoor concert at a park in our town center.  They do outdoor concerts every Thursday all summer.

Tomorrow Paul is off and I don't know what they'll end up doing but they'll probably try to be outside a lot, and for dinner we are going to grill steaks.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Music Monday

When I was in elementary school in the 70s, I discovered through my older brother's record collection a band called War and their song "Summer".  One day on the first day of summer I thought I should play it (on a record player!) and decided to start a tradition of playing it every year on the first day of summer.  That tradition only lasted 3 or 4 years but I still think about it most years.  So, in honor of the first day of summer this week, here is "Summer" by War.

And in honor of the last day of school TODAY, I couldn't help but include this:

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Random Thoughts on the Eve of the Last Day of School

Paul and I were talking last night about how Father's Day will finally be the end of all the holidays/birthdays/anniversaries for awhile.  It starts with mine in late January, then Valentine's Day, the girls' birthday, Paul's birthday, Easter, Mother's Day, our Anniversary and finally, Father's Day.  We're glad this is it for awhile, except for the 4th of July in few weeks.  Then we don't really have anything until Halloween.  But the first half of the year is crazy.  It's no wonder I can never lose any weight.  Next year, I'll know that from the get-go and will try to come up with a strategy (and I'll be working on it in the meantime, of course).

So, tomorrow is the last day of school.  The girls' last day of 3rd grade!  I was going to take that day and the next off, but our new summer nanny is only available through the first week of August and wants to work as much as possible between now and then, so I decided to save my PTO until late August when we will be without a sitter anyway (Paul has the 2nd and 3rd weeks of August off).  So I will work tomorrow as normal, and the girls will get out of school at 11:25.  The sitter will meet them at the house and be here until 1 when she will then take them to our friend's down the street to their annual Last Day of School party.

Then, even though she originally said she wanted to work as much as possible until she goes back to school, some trip or something came up and she asked for Thursday the 22nd and Friday the 23rd off, so I'm taking Thursday off and Paul is taking Friday.  I really wanted to take a day or two at the beginning of summer break anyway, so I'm kind of glad it worked out that way after all.  I don't know what we're doing yet but hopefully something fun outside.

Lastly, I snapped the cutest picture of a sleeping Maisy today.

Father's Day 2017

For Father's Day we had a repeat of last year, having both sets of parents over for a barbeque.  My Dad and stepmom have a new doggie, a half Chihuahua, half teacup poodle, that we all got to meet and the girls of course had a blast playing with him.  I should have taken more pictures but I didn't.

My Dad (left with dog) and Paul's dad

Paul and both dads

Olivia photobombing

Olivia being goofy with slime

Me and my dad, circa 1969

My brother and I with Dad, circa 1973

Me and dad at my wedding, 2006

I gave Paul an inflatable island thingie with built in coolers and cup holders for floating on the river at Cresent Bar, or in a lake somewhere.  Can't wait to try it!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bridging to Juniors

Super short post today just to say that last week the girls bridged from Brownie Girl Scouts to Juniors.  I swear they just bridged from Daisies to Brownies.


Waiting to "bridge"

Olivia and a friend

Monday, June 12, 2017

Music Monday

This past Thursday, June 8th, was the 30th anniversary of my high school graduation.  30 years!  How is that possible?  Our reunion is in July but we'll be on our cruise so I can't go.  So anyway, in honor of  our 30th, I have chosen some random songs from around that time that always remind me of my senior year of high school.

One of the first songs that comes to my mind when I think of the spring of 1987, is U2's "With or Without You".  It's not necessarily one of my absolute favorite songs from that time--I was much more into Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and the recently ruined Van Halen--but it still is like the one song that pops into my head when I think back to that time.

Here's a few more.

Ah...memories...I could go on and on but I have other things to do.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

6 More Days

Around this time of year I am always so excited for school to be done for the summer.  I'm ridiculously sick of making lunches every night and the mad rush every morning.

In summer, I only have to get myself ready in the mornings and don’t have to fix breakfast for anyone but me (because the girls are usually still in bed when the sitter arrives/I leave for work, so she gets to take care of it).  There are way fewer activities to rush off to or pick up from.

But then by the time late August rolls around, I’m super excited for school to start again, even though it’s back to making lunches every night and running around to various activities.  Maybe I'm just excited for them, starting a new grade, all the new clothes and supplies, etc. and I don't have to feel guilty about them being with a babysitter all day.  Summer and the school year both have their pros and cons.

School Pros:
·         No need for childcare, except for a few hours on Friday afternoons
·         Predictable routine
·         Girls go to bed earlier

School Cons:
·         Having to make lunches most nights (or at least help)
·         Having to get all 3 of us up, ready and out the door on time in the mornings
·         Busy schedule with various activities

Summer Pros:
·         I only have to get myself up and ready every day
·         Less busy schedule/fewer activities
·         No homework
·         No need to make lunches at night
·         I can go to work/get home earlier

Summer Cons:
·         The girls having to be with a babysitter all day, every day
·         The girls stay up later, so less “me” time in the evenings

It’s a toss-up.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Dance and Violin Rectial photo and video

Here's Olivia's dance recital photo (I scanned it).  I thought it turned out really cute!

Then, today was her violin recital.  Paul's parents came up and we all went to Red Robin for dinner after.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Music Monday

I heard this song yesterday by the Chainsmokers (hate that name).  I had heard it before, but only a few times, compared to the gazillion times I've heard "Closer" and "Don't Let me Down" and I really love it.

At Olivia's dance recital a few weeks ago one of the classes danced to Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence".  That is one of those songs that I kind of forget about but when I hear it I'm like, "OMG, I LOVE this song!"  It seriously is probably one of my top 20 favorite songs of all time.  So ever since the recital that song has been stuck in my head.  Then when I searched YouTube for it, I found a version from the movie Trolls, sung by Anna Kendrick.  I haven't seen that movie yet and didn't know it had been it that movie, but that might explain why the dance instructors chose such and old song, although I think it's totally possible they would have anyway.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Beer and Nachos

Several months ago I discovered that a new brewery had opened just down the street and I never knew about it.  I'm not much of a beer drinker--I much prefer wine or cocktails--but I do enjoy sampling new micro beers now and then and had been dying to try it out so we tried to go on St. Patrick's Day while the girls were at a sleepover, but of course, the place was wall-to-wall packed so we went elsewhere instead.  Since then I also found out that the place is kid-friendly, so tonight we took the girls and finally went.  It's a really cool place.  Very industrial looking, with long wooden tables and a few couches for seating, as well as some normal tables and the bar.  They also have an outdoor area with a section for kids with giant Jenga and some corn hole games.  Very fun.  But they don't serve their own food.  Instead, they have rotating food trucks every night.  One of the most popular is Nacho Mama's, which was the one there tonight.  The girls love nachos and don't get them that often, so I figured it would be a good night to go.  They had just plain but Paul and I got Caribbean Jerk Chicken.  So yummy!

I think this photo is the Hawaiian Pork, but our looked similar.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

I've been meaning to participate in the monthly What's Up Wednesday post, hosted by Shay, Mel and Sheaffer, every month so far this year but have yet to actually get around to it, so I decided this is the month.

What we’re eating – Well, I would love to do weekly menu plans and cook most nights but the reality is that I don't get home from work most nights until 6:30 and between after school activities and hunger Paul and the girls have usually already eaten, and if they haven't I don't want what they're eating anyway.  But I usually cook something on Sunday that will provide leftovers for later in the week or I'll make something ahead for later in the week in addition to what we're having that night, and we rely on a lot of pre-made things from Costco, like stuffed bell peppers or rotisserie chicken.

What I’m reminiscing about – We just had our anniversary, so I would say our wedding and early years of our marriage.  Oh, and how much skinnier I was then (see yesterday's post)!

What I’m loving – that things are winding down.  13 days of school left, dance is over, 2 more gymnastics classes, 2 more violin and  piano lessons, 1 more Girl Scout meeting.  Glad for it all to be done for awhile!

What we’ve been up to - Well, so far in May we celebrated our anniversary, had Olivia's dance recital and had the first sunny and hot Memorial Day since I can't remember when.  Other than that, just the usual activities--dance, gymnastics, violin and piano lessons--and planning for our upcoming cruise!

What I’m dreading – shopping for swimsuits for said cruise (ha ha), having to listen to the loud air conditioner on hot summer nights (we don't have central A/C, it's a window unit, but not the kind that sticks out) and the girls having to be with a babysitter all day, all summer (with a few exceptions).

What I’m working on – fitting in fitness.  I've blogged before about how hard it is now that I'm working to find time to exercise.  It should be easier in the summer because I don't have to spend my evenings making lunches and helping with homework.

What I’m excited about – Our Caribbean cruise this summer!  I've been on 3 cruises and the last one was in 1998.  WAY too long ago.  We are going to Nassau (Bahamas), St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands) and Tortola (British Virgin Islands).

What I’m watching/reading – the Bachelorette, of course, and I've started watching the original Twin Peaks.  I never watching it back in the day and I live where it was filmed, so between that and it being remade I figured I better check it out.

As for reading, I've really been into memoirs/autobiographies lately.  I've recently read two of Carrie Fisher's books, Wishful Drinking and the Princess Diarest and listened to Tina Fey's Bossypants on CD.  I am actually not currently reading any books, but I did just start another attempt to read through the entire Bible.  I've started several times but always peter out somewhere between Leviticus and Joshua.  I have read the entire New Testament, and most of the Old, but I still always just start in Genesis.

What I’m Listening to – just the radio to and from work, same songs over and over.  I used to be such a music buff but I don't really have time anymore to explore and seek out new music.  But I've really been wanting to get back into it so I've started a weekly Music Monday post where I showcase a song or two that I've either just discovered or just really like.  It's a work in progress so we'll see how it goes.

What I’m wearing - I have two recent purchases that I really love.  One is a cute cold shoulder top from Macy's.  I didn't think I would dig the cold shoulder look on me but I actually really like this top.  And then I've been wanting a military/cargo vest or jacket forever and finally got one that I really like in my last Stitch Fix.  This isn't it necessarily but it's very similar.

What I’m doing this weekend – We're going to try the new-ish neighborhood brewery on Friday.  It's kid-friendly, so we'll take the girls and the don't have food, they just have different food trucks outside every night and Friday is supposed to be one called Nacho Mama that all the neighbors have been raving about.  Supposed to be really good.  Then on Saturday I have a girls' night out.  Sunday will be church (maybe) and prep for the week.

What I’m looking forward to next month – The end of school!

What else is new - We are seriously considering getting a dog.  I've been really wanting one but it's just so not practical with all of us gone all day.  But the girls are relentless in their begging and starting to wear us down, plus there is a chance that my work group might relocate to just down the street!  OMG, I really hope so.  Then I could come home everyday on my lunch break to let the dog out to go potty.  And if not, there are lots of dog-walkers in the neighborhood that we could hire, or maybe just neighbors that are stay-at-home moms or work from home.  We'll see.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

One Last Try

About a year ago, give or take, we decided to book a cruise for July of this year.  I was supposed to lose 30 pounds by now, ha ha.  Hasn’t happened.  I haven’t blogged about it in a long time but I’m still doing Weight Watchers at work.  I’ve been seriously considering giving it up, however, because I just can’t seem to find the motivation to actually follow the program.  Like with any other weight loss attempt, I go through phases were I do really well but eventually I fall off the wagon.  So, as I approach the 2-year anniversary of joining, I’ve decided that if things don’t turn around and I don’t start making some progress by the time we go on this cruise, I’m going to pull the plug.  There is no sense paying the money when all I’m doing is losing and regaining the same 3-5 pounds over and over.  I already do that on my own for free!

So, I’m making a last ditch effort starting today, and I’m going to try and blog about it regularly and hope that will give me some accountability and motivation.  I've come so close to getting my 5% a few different times, but it's always been on a Thursday or Friday, and my WW meetings/weigh-ins are on Mondays, and by then I've gained a little over the weekend so I never quite made it.  But I really want that stupid 5% award!

On the plus side, while I haven't succeeding in losing weight, I have managed to stop gaining.  Between 2010 and 2015 I was gaining about 6-10 pounds per year.  Since joining WW, I have managed to at least hold steady, other than going up or down 3-5 pounds, sometimes 8 or 9, here and there.  So that alone has made it worth it, sort of :)

So my goals for June are to:
  • attend all 4 WW meetings
  • lose 6 pounds (I have a few extra days to accomplish this, today and tomorrow being the last few days of May)
  • blog here regularly
  • track my points consistently
  • stay within my points range most days (although I have discovered that I can consistently go over and still lose.  More on that in a future post).

Monday, May 29, 2017

Fabulous Weekend

I've mentioned before that it doesn't rain as much in Seattle as most people think, but there are 3 days every year that you can pretty much count on rain.  They are:  Labor Day, July 4th and Memorial Day!  But for once we had an absolutely beautiful Memorial Day weekend!  Which is even more of a big deal than it otherwise would be because of the colder and wetter than normal winter and spring we have had.  I seriously can't remember the last time we had a Memorial Day weekend where it wasn't cloudy and/or rainy at least one of the three days.  We practically lived outside all weekend.  It was so nice!

Saturday we took a trip up to Arlington to a place called the Outback Kangaroo Farm.  I never knew this place existed until sometime over a year ago my niece and sister-in-law went and posted about it on FB.  I've been wanting to go ever since and we finally made it.  It's like a small zoo just on someone's property with kangaroos, wallabies, alpacas, ring-tailed lemurs and peacocks.  You do a guided tour and get to walk among, pet and feed the kangaroos and alpacas but not the lemurs, unfortunately.  It's really interactive and fun!

It's a little over an hour away so we stopped for breakfast on the way, then on the way home we took a different route and stopped at a park/campground with a cool suspension bridge and just walked around and played in the river for a bit.  When we got home we barbequed some chicken and later had some neighbors over for s'mores on our fire pit.

On Sunday we worked in the yard most of the morning and then went up to Rattlesnake Lake.  It was SO crowded, of course, but we had fun playing in the water which was super cold but it felt good to cool off.  Then we barbequed again, steak this time, and once again had (different) neighbors over for s'mores.

It's a thing to jump off this tree.  That's Paul and Kayley.  Olivia did it too.

Today we spent most of the day at home, except the girls went on a hike with the neighbors so while they were gone I got to spend a few hours working on one of my many projects that I never have time for.  Then when went to a friend's for a barbeque and that sums up our glorious, sunny weekend!

It feels like summer has officially started.  We are down to 15 days of school, one final Girl Scout meeting and just a handful of activities left.  Can't wait.

Music Monday

Welcome to Music Monday, episode 2.  Today's song was chosen in honor of Memorial Day and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  But first a little back story about this song.

I first heard this song back in 1984-ish at a high school dance.  Yes, not only was I alive in 1984 but I was old enough to be in high school (barely, but still).  There was a live band and they played it.  I had never heard it before and just assumed it was an original because every thing else they played was the usual top 40 and hard rock songs that I knew and loved.  I loved the song and was sad that I was probably never going to hear it again.

Sometime within the next year or two, I was going to some 4-H function and riding in the car of another 4-H member.  Her mom had the radio on a country station and out of the blue that song came on.  I was so happy to hear it again, and now I knew that it was "out there" and I would probably be able to track it down someday, even though I still didn't know who sang it.

Then, a few years later I was driving in my car flipping channels on the radio and lo and behold, there it was.  And this time I heard the DJ say it was Lee Greenwood.  I soon went out and bought the cassette tape of it and could finally hear it whenever I wanted, and started a tradition of listening to it every 4th of July.

I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I wont forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me...

God Bless the USA

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Anniversary, Mother's Day, Slime and Lemonade

May 13th was our 11th anniversary.  After Olivia's dance recital photo shoot, we got a babysitter and went out to dinner at Daniel's Broiler and got a table by the window with an awesome view (it's on the 21st floor), except for it was kind of cloudy that day.  We had a delicious steak dinner and then went into the lounge to listen to the piano player and have a drink.

The next day was Mother's Day.  We went to church and then Paul's parents came over later and we went to an early dinner.  The girls gave me cute cards and pictures they made at school as well as some plants.

Last weekend we had the dance recital that I already posted about on Saturday and then Olivia went to a birthday party/sleepover, so while she was there I took Kayley to Michael's to get stuff to make slime (their absolute favorite hobby right now, other than electronics).  Then we went out to dinner and then Kayley and I were going to go across the street to the pottery painting place while Paul walked home but it had closed early, probably because business was slow due to the gorgeous weather.  So we went home and Kayley made a huge vat of slime instead.

Sunday the girls and their friends all had a lemonade stand.  Like I mentioned earlier, we finally had some great weather after having a positively awful winter and spring.

Now I'm just looking forward to the upcoming 3-day holiday weekend!  I need that extra day SO bad.  I am so behind on everything.  We never go camping or anything Memorial Day weekend because traffic sucks, so we are just sticking around home but we are thinking about a trip to the Outback Kangaroo Farm.  We'll see.