Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valentine's Day

I almost forgot about Valentine's Day, but was reading Denise's blog and she reminded me! Alex had a performance that day. It had been scheduled for earlier in the month, but due to snow, it was changed to the 14th. He was performing at a beautiful theater in Colonial Williamsburg. We got there early for rehearsal, dropped Alex off, and Mike and I went off to find a parking space. As we walked to the theater, Mike steered me towards a candy shop. I told him that wasn't the theater and he told me to just go in. It is no secret that I'm addicted to chocolate, so I normally stay away from candy stores. I had never been in this one, even though we have lived here for ten years. It was delightful! I was told I could pick anything I wanted. I sent straight for the sale racks, as all Valentine's stuff was on sale for 30% off. It looked good, but not great. Then I saw the fresh candy counters and found my favorite of all favorites, creams!!!! I asked the girl if the orange creams had any hard pieces in them, which I don't usually like, and she offered me one to taste. It was absolutely delicious! Almost as good as Fannie May. I ended up getting a pound of orange, vanilla, chocolate and raspberry creams. They are so yummy! Mikey got some chocolate covered cashews that were on a bogo sale and we headed over to the theater.

Alex's performance was great and he got a lot of compliments from his instructor and the audience. I am hoping to post a video of it, but I'm waiting for Jack to get it off the video camera for me. Hint, hint!

My wonderful gifts! (Sorry Nick!)

(Sorry Nick, but you aren't going to like this "bar raising" post at all!!!)

When I got home on Friday, Mikey was already home from work. He had washed the dishes, which was a wonderful gift in itself! He also had a gift and card waiting for me. The card congratulated me on my first week at work. The gift is the cutest statue of a mom/angel cuddling with a baby. I was so impressed that he not only thought about getting me something, but that the gift was so well thought out and perfect!

Another gift I got this week was from the kids. On Wednesday, which just happens to be the hardest day of the week at work, I came home and was shocked to see a completely clean family room and kitchen. When I left for work that morning, there were piles of clean, but not folded clothes covering both couches, plus other miscellaneous stuff on the counters and floors. The kids each do their own laundry, but they put it on the couch and I fold it. I guess they figured out when there wasn't anywhere left to sit, that I was at work and the laundry wasn't going to fold itself! Anyway, apparently Steven took charge and gave each kid their assignments. Shauna said, "Mom, Steven was you, but in a good way." I'm wasn't quite sure how to take that, but she assured me that she just meant that he told coordinated the "family clean-up" the way I usually do. It was SO nice to walk into a clean house!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I didn't quit yet!

This will be a very quick update, just to let everyone know how things are going with my new job. Thanks to all of you who commented with such encouraging messages! I really appreciated them. Yesterday was my first day and it was a slow day, kid-wise, because it was President's Day and a lot of the parents were off. That worked out perfectly for me because I was able to really ease into things. I felt a little awkward at first, not knowing the routine, but by the end of the day, I was doing pretty well. By the end of today, I had really fallen into the rhythm of things! The two ladies in the infant room with me are very nice and we all mesh really well. I was a little worried about fitting in with them, since they've known each other for a while, but it has been great.

So, the ladies and babies were great, but I was EXHAUSTED when I got home the first day. I take that back, I was EXHAUSTED for the last hour and a half of work. I'm not talking about regular exhaustion here (hence the capital letters!). I am talking absolute bone-aching exhaustion! My feet were killing me, I was getting cramps throughout my feet, toes, and legs. My back was sore and my hamstrings were hurting. I was barely able to lift myself into my van!

The rest of the week was a bit better. I was still sore on Friday, but a lot less. Who thought working full time would be a good idea for me??? I love the job, but it is much, much, much harder than I thought it would be. The job is harder than I thought it would be, but manageable. The part I'm having the hardest time with is being away from the house for 10 hours a day. When I get home, I am so tired that I can't even think straight. I fall asleep an hour or two after I get home, so I really don't get to spend much time with the kids at all. I keep telling myself that things will get better, once I'm used to everything and have been doing it for a while. I hope I am right! I just never expected to have such a hard time with this, emotionally.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A new chapter

Tomorrow is a huge day for me. I am nervous and excited. This will be the first time I have worked full time, out of the home, since August of 1983! I still don't know how I am going to handle this, but I am excited about meeting my babies tomorrow. I'm going to really miss being home with the kids. Several of them still need hands on parenting, but I cannot afford to stay home any longer, so I just need to suck it up, I guess.

I am praying that Hannah's great behavior continues and she doesn't revert to tantruming. I don't know if I will be able to continue working if she does. I won't be able to leave her home with the other kids, without me to intervene. If you've noticed, there haven't been any rage posts because there haven't been any rages! Well, a minor one here and there, but she hasn't hit or kicked me or damaged anything in about 5 or 6 months. That is a HUGE accomplishment for her.

I have tomorrow's dinner all ready to go into the crock pot in the morning. I also prepared several dinner items for the week. I got everything that could be made ahead done, so I can just put things together and cook when I get home from work. Tomorrow we are having Ravioli and Red Lobster Copycat Garlic Cheddar Biscuits. Yum! I wonder how long I will be able to stay this organized? Now I'm off to get to bed early, I will need all the strength and energy I can get tomorrow!

Friday, February 12, 2010

More Blizzard Pictures

The neighbors digging out

Mikey digging my van out of the driveway

Alex, Shauna, and Hannah playing and helping

Hannah's turn to shovel. She is a great shoveler!

Part of the kitchen of the new townhome

Alex and Shauna, braving the huge snow pile at the end of the street

The top of my van in front and the buried cars in the background. We could only see the side-view mirrors and the windshield wipers that had been pulled out so they wouldn't freeze.
Alex and I made Denise's mashed potatoes with spinach and corn. We were being silly and pretending we were plating it for Iron Chef! Too bad I'm the only one who thought it was really delicious.

The neighbors helping Mike get the van unstuck from the middle of the street

Shauna, pretending to be me. I did not appreciate the extra padding in the stomach area!


I am so excited, I just found out that I got a job that I had applied for and wanted to get so badly!!! I can't wait to start on Monday. I'm going to be an infant teacher at a small daycare center. I love the people I have met there, so far, and I love the way they run the center. It is very family oriented and doesn't have the cold atmosphere that so many daycare centers have.

Of course, starting next week is the worst possible time, since Jack is leaving for Philly on Monday and Drew is leaving for Chicago on the same day. The kids are also off that day, so they will be home alone for the entire day, unless Mike can stay home that day.

Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to swing working and being a single-during-the-week mom at the same time. Getting everyone where they need to be is going to be the hardest thing, next to meal preparation. The hours I will be working are a lot later than I was hoping for, but I will just have to find a way to make that work.

Snow adventure

That poor little thing on the right is a (formerly) tall evergreen. In the middle of the night before this picture was taken, I looked out my bedroom window and that evergreen and several others were just starting to hunch over and they were slowly swaying side to side in the wind. They looked like they had monk's robes on and their heads were bent forward. It was weird and creepy.

Last weekend, we got tickets for a Capitals game in DC. We decided that Mike would just stay there for the weekend and I would drive up on Friday with Alex, Hannah and Shauna, to go to the game. We heard about the big snow they were expecting and rather than cancel the trip and just have Mike come home before the snow started, we did the smart thing and headed up a day earlier than planned! We left after school on Thursday and got there in the late evening. The snow started in the morning on Friday and didn't stop for a long time! We ended up deciding that driving to the game wasn't worth the risk, so we stayed at the townhouse and watched it on television. Too bad we couldn't have gone, since the game was great. We had fun watching it on tv, while checking the snowfall totals frequently. We ended up with at least 25 inches.

Alex, Hannah, and Shauna had never experienced that much snow, so they had a blast! Mike was shoveling every few hours and they did some helping with that. Alex and Hannah did the most shoveling. Shauna tends to take after me and she doesn't really get into the physical stuff! The really enjoyed climbing the big snow hills and sliding down. It was a little rough on them since we don't own snow pants or boots anymore. Poor Alex had on a pair of thin canvas shoes and would have probably gotten frost bite, were it not for the plastic Walmart bags we made him put on his feet. The girls had boots, but they are more fashion boots than snow boots. They still had a wonderful time and I got some good video of the event. I will try to post pictures, but right now Mike is figuring out how to get them off his Blackberry. I had my digital camera with me, but a certain son, who shall remain nameless, but did go on the trip with us, had taken my card out and not returned it.

Being snowed in was fun. We brought plenty of food and the kids even pitched in with the preparation. They got bored several times, but I think it was good for them. We played some board games and I was reminded about why we don't do that much at home. They are freaking annoying to play with!! They can't count spaces on Monopoly or Sorry. They get mad if I try to tell them a better strategy for winning. They take forever to remember that it is their turn. They quit in the middle of a game because they are bored. There was more to annoy me, but I can't remember everything now. I was wishing Denise was there, she is a good game companion!
We also played dominoes and Mike joined in. That was semi-annoying but still fun. Mike wasn't annoying, just the kids!

Mike just came in and handed me 5 mini Reese's peanut butter cups and said, "Happy Valentine's Day". Wow, I'm sure he only did it to throw me off, since he really plans to give me a dozen roses, a box of Fannie May, and a diamond ring! Who says there is no romance after 27 years of marriage????

Back to the snow weekend. I had planned to leave DC (actually Northern VA, but DC is easier) on Sunday afternoon, so the kids would only miss one day of school. However, the roads were still really bad and when Mike pulled the van out of the driveway to shovel around it, it got stuck in the middle of the street and three neighbors had to help get it back in, so I decided going home was out of the question. We ended up leaving at 1:00 pm on Monday, which was a bit iffy. If I wasn't so concerned about school, I would have stayed one more day because the highways weren't all that great. In the left and right lanes, it was fairly clear, wet, but clear, until suddenly a huge pile of snow would pop up right in front of the car! The middle lane was clear in a few spots, but in most areas, it had several inches of thick ice. I had a small panic when my windows got dirty from the salty snow spray from trucks and it turned out my blue stuff wasn't coming out. I'm sure there is a proper name for the blue stuff, like windshield cleaner, but we always call it blue stuff! I stopped as soon as I could to go to a gas station. The roads off the highway were even worse and I was terrified that I would get stuck. Alex got a squeegee and cleaned the windshield, while the girls and I tried to figure out how to open the hood. Shauna finally figured it out, just when I was going to look for the manual. After breaking all the thick ice under the wipers, thinking that might be covering the exit hole for the blue stuff, realized that that wasn't the problem. We headed into the gas station to buy some blue stuff and got there just in time, as they had just figured out that they couldn't sell anymore gas and were getting ready to close. I don't know why they couldn't' sell gas, they still had power, but the owner came in all in a panic to say they had to put signs on the pumps. Maybe they were out of gas, I'm not sure, as most of the conversation was in Chinese. When we finally got the hood open (turns out you still have to maneuver another latch under the hood, as well as inside the van) and located the blue stuff container, I realized that it already had blue stuff in it! I suppressed my panic and put my fingers in, pulling out chunks of ice that had formed inside. I topped it off with the new stuff and was thrilled when it actually worked!!!! The kids were sweet, too, as they worried about my fingers getting frost bite and even offered to do it for me!

After getting back on the road and getting a bit further south, the roads got much better and it was smooth sailing from Fredericksburg all the way home. The kids were excellent in the car, even though the converter isn't working, so they couldn't watch television. I was happy because I got to listen to some great music! We arrived home in one piece and Wrigley was very happy to see us! All in all, it was a great trip and I look forward to the next one!

The front window. It got really windy and the wet snow just froze as it hit the screen

Street view before the cars across the street were completely covered with snow
The table on the back deck, as the snow kept piling up

Out to lunch

I've guess I've been "out to lunch" on blogging lately and I went out to lunch today. Jack took me to a yummy Chinese buffet and Drew joined us. It was a delicious lunch, which I really enjoyed because I haven't been to this restaurant in a couple of years. They had changed the layout of the buffet a bit, but the food was better than ever. They even had brown rice. That made me happy because, after many years of not being willing to even try brown rice, I now love it. I always thought it was a health food and must taste awful. Other than some of the conversation being a little inappropriate for a public place, I enjoyed having lunch with my two oldest babies!