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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Musical Mayhem

Sweet Apple Elementary is known for its musicals. And by "known," I mean by the parents and students. Each grade does a musical review of some sort of theme. Leo has done one about Thanksgiving, one about the weather and one about school. For this, his FOURTH musical at Sweet Apple, he participated in Bee-bop with Aesop--all about Aesop's Fables. Leo did great. And by "great," I mean he didn't do anything weird during the musical. #winning

You will pleased to know that I just recorded the first thirty seconds or so of each song :)



































Monday, October 16, 2017

Plan B(each)

One thing we like about living in the Atlanta area (besides the trees, hills and access to sweet tea), is how easy it is to drive to fun vacation places--beach, mountains, Disney World. Frank and I also get a kick out of the fact that you can just be in another state within a matter of a few hours. Well, I guess we could have been in Oklahoma that quickly when we lived in Frisco. So let me clarify: I mean you could be in another state that you would care to visit in a matter of a few hours. (Still never been to Oklahoma!)

For the Columbus Day weekend, we had plans to go to "the beach." That's what people say here. "I'm going to the beach." Let me just give you a small sampling of the beaches that are within driving distance that they could possibly be talking about: Destin, Gulf Shores, Panama City, 30A, Amelia Island, Hilton Head, Tybee Island, St. Simon's Island, Folley Beach, Myrtle Beach, Fort Walton...

To me, since there are SO MANY beaches you could be going to, I would expect that people would specify the location. But no, they always just say "the beach" as if we live in New Jersey and they are going to "the shore." I always have to ask, "Which beach?"

So back to our beach plans: I'll go ahead and take the mystery out of it. We were going to the Fort Walton area--Okaloosa Island, specifically. We had never been there and we were excited to try a new place.

But then a few days before we were scheduled to leave, a tropical storm threatened our beach vacation. I didn't worry about it until the day before, when it really looked like it would hit. Then I went into vacation scrambling mode--moved the Fort Walton vacation to another date and switched to Myrtle Beach, which was the only beach within driving distance that didn't have storm threats. Bonus: we had never been there!

A friend of mine told me about a place there that had an indoor water park, and sat right on the beach. She warned me that the condo/hotel is "an older, beach motel" so not to expect anything fancy. I told her that would be right up our alley, having been to a "fancy" beach over spring break and being unimpressed. (If there's not a restaurant in sight where you can go in wearing just your bathing suit cover up, we don't call that a beach vacation.)

This place delivered. It was beachfront, had tons of kids activities and it was CHEAP!! Frank marveled at the deal we got all weekend. It had just the right mix of fun and tacky--exactly what we like in a beach vacation.

A quick summary of our trip: beach, lazy river, water slides, shell collecting, eating at cheesy restaurants, riding on rides, jumping on the bungee swings, watching a magic show (free at our hotel!), doing a duck race, watching movies, drinking Starbucks (also in our hotel!!), sitting in the hot tub and playing A LOT of foosball.   (Yep, that's FOOSball. It's kind of our family's favorite sport.)


And here is a summary in pictures. Overall, we think it was an excellent back-up plan!

















































Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Laundry Room Revitalization

We have lived in this house for nearly three years. And for THREE YEARS I have suffered. Suffered from a dysfunctional laundry room.

I realize this sounds like a #firstworldproblem and perhaps it is, but I think if I explain my backstory, you will understand.

You see, my house prior to this, in Frisco, had a dream laundry room--the mother load, if you will. It was probably as big as a child's nursery. It had pretty tile, cabinets, hooks, a place for my beloved Dyson, A SINK and a window!! It was bright, airy and it just made doing laundry so pleasant. Maybe that's why I stuck with cloth diapering so long. I would never have been able to deal with that in my current laundry room. But then again, I still look back at those cloth diaper days and think, "What was I thinking?"

But anyway, the laundry room in this house is basically a closet. And that would be okay except the door to the closet opens INWARD. But wait. It gets worse.

For some reason the hook-ups were BACKWARDS. (Please excuse my need to use all caps; it just seems really fitting here.) So my washer was on the LEFT and my dryer--the RIGHT! Who does that??

And even that would be okay except the doors on my machines aren't set up to be backwards. So this is how I did laundry:

1. Open the door inward and squeeze in there with my laundry basket.
2. Close door cause I can't have the door open AND the washer door open at the same time.
3. Start to feel claustrophobic in tiny laundry room with NO WINDOW.
4. Open washer door, start laundry.
5. One hour later, squeeze into laundry room again, start to sweat.
6. Try to transfer clothes from washer to dryer (going from right to left which is just so unnatural) and have to maneuver around washer door to put clothes in dryer!

As you can see, it was quite an ordeal. But I can't totally bash my laundry room because it does have one thing going for it--location. It's upstairs which is actually really convenient. My old one was downstairs so I guess the score is old laundry room--8, current laundry room-1.

So after three years of this, I came up with a solution. Now my first solution was a barn door or a pocket door but those proved to be too costly so I went with just changing the door so it would swing outward, into the hallway. I enlisted the help of a handyman and he also helped me figure out how we could get the washer dryer back to their rightful places! This whole project just cost me a little bit of money and it only took him a few hours.

I wish I had a before video but then again, it would just be so depressing. Instead, I will leave you with this "after" video.






Now I LOVE doing laundry! I mean, sure, there's no window but I can live with that. Come on, I'm not a diva!

Monday, August 21, 2017

NO, I don't want to help orphan children with rare diseases!

When I used to go to the grocery store it went like this:

"That'll be $135.62." Swipe my card, sign the thing, get a receipt, done. 

Now there's this extra step: 

"That'll be $135.62." Insert card in chip reader (well that's different, but I'm getting used to it), and then, instead of handing me a receipt, the cashier starts judging me:

"Are you a nice, charitable person who likes to help others or are you a selfless, greedy bi#c$? I mean, I see you can afford five bottles of wine that aren't even from the lowest shelf, they're from the SECOND to lowest which is where the fancy people shop! Oh, and this mac and cheese? You just HAD to get Kraft that's $.80 more? We have a Kroger brand that is just as good, that is, if you're not a mac and cheese SNOB."

I know. It catches me off guard too. Oh, the shame!

What they really say is something like, "Would you like to donate a dollar to the Salvation Army to help people have blankets this winter?" Or "Would you like to make a donation to breast cancer research?"

I did say yes for awhile. Cause it IS just a dollar. But I've grown tired of it. And now that I am saying "no" it sounds really mean.

Cashier: "Would you like to donate a dollar to help find a cure for juvenile diabetes?"

Me: "No, thank you."

So now he thinks I don't care about the kids with diabetes, or the breast cancer victims or the cold people on the streets! And that's not fair. Because I DO care. He doesn't know how much I give to organizations. He doesn't know how much food I donate to the community pantry. He doesn't know we have not one, but TWO, of those Save the Children kids! He doesn't know that I have donated my children's bodies to diabetes research! For all he knows, I could be out there every morning serving food to the homeless.  (I mean, I'm not, but that's not the point!)

Since I started saying no, most cashiers don't say anything; I can just feel the tension of judgement in the air after I say it.

But then, someone did say something. At Jiffy Lube. Yes, even at Jiffy Lube they hit you up! Nowhere is safe.


"Would you like to give a donation so that kids with muscular dystrophy can go to camp?"

"No, thank you."

"Really? You're the first person today to say no."


Oh. No. She. Didn't.

"You know, I'm just getting a little tired of always being asked to make a donation every time I buy something. I actually already give a lot to charity."

She said, "Well the other people probably gave because of this coupon book you get if you give $3."

Um, she didn't tell ME about the coupon book! (Just for the record, the coupon book would not have swayed me but STILL, she doesn't know that!)

I am DONE with these grocery store/drug store/oil change place donation requests. But still the issue remains: How can I say no without looking like a total b*t#h?

A friend gave me a great response: "Not today."

I love it. It doesn't cut as hard as "no" or even "no, thank you." So from now on, that is what I will say--well, maybe not to the homeless pets. Who can say no (or "not today") to them?


Monday, August 07, 2017

The BEST FDOS ever!

All First Days of School are fun and exciting but this one, this one we have been looking forward to for six years! Or maybe just I have been looking forward to it for six years :) 

Because today BOTH kids went to real, big kid school. Gus started kindergarten! And since we waited an extra year to send him, he was more than ready to go. 

Here are some pics from this epic FDOS! 



Gus, the night before Kindergarten, putting his "ready confetti" from his teacher under his pillow. He commented that "Donald Trump doesn't need this because he has already been through all the grades." 

Both boys ready for school--Smitty wishes he could go to dog school.



 I'm gonna be honest. Gus was just adjusting his backpack here but I blasted it on social media like he was all, "I've got this! Woo hoo!"


Gus LOVES going to the same school as Leo! 



Gus cooperated for the pictures...until he didn't. 



All smiles after school!


With his kindergarten buddies at the bus stop

And a little Twitter update from Gus' Kindergarten teacher!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Summer Fun, Mom Style

It is my favorite week of summer! I have been looking forward to this week since school got out 54 days ago (not that I'm counting).

Here is my sweet life this week: Leo is on an adventure with Granny Jo and Popsy in Pigeon Forge, TN. So I know he is having fun, well taken care of AND out of my hair for six days!

Gus is in an outdoor day camp from 9-4 everyday. So I know he is...well, out of my hair for most of the day for five days!

During this week I have lots of plans to be productive, including, but not limited to, re-organizing the kids' sock drawers. I know; it sounds like a lame excuse to get out of a blind date but it is a real thing and it needs to be done! Those socks aren't going to organize themselves, ya know?

I have already accomplished 95% of a big task which is buying the kids' school supplies.  I have a few random items to pick up still (who knew hand sanitizer would prove to be so challenging?) hence the 95%.

I actually look forward to school supply shopping thanks to a little game I call "The School Supply Drinking Game." It is a brilliant and fun game except for the tiny problem that it doesn't involve alcohol. Because it takes concentration. And that would be frowned upon at Target.








MY drinking game involves Starbucks. Any beverage you choose. You purchase it at the SB Target as follows:

--A tall if you have one kid to shop for
--A grande if you have two
--A venti if you have three

If you have more than three, then it's Venti + a cake pop. And God bless you.

Here's how it works: You get your list(s) and leave your cart and drink at the end of an aisle close by, but with lame stuff like garden hoses. You pick up three items from the list and go put it in your cart, cross them off with the pen you brought and then you have a sip of your drink!

I flew threw my list today and still had enough of my drink left to play the game in kids' clothes, grocery and later (even though I KNEW I shouldn't be there), in women's clothes. (They had rompers!!)

Btw, after trying on said rompers (and realizing the armpits were too long, is that a thing?) I accidentally put my shorts on backwards and took this amusing picture.



The ONLY thing that wasn't perfection about my solo Target trip was that I forgot my I.D. and couldn't buy wine :(  But on the other hand, the cashier's refusal to sell me wine without my I.D. was quite flattering.

Even after nearly seven hours to myself today, I STILL didn't manage to get around to organizing the socks. But that's okay. Gives me something to look forward to tomorrow!




Monday, May 22, 2017

The End of an Era

In two days we will be done with preschool forever! Leo started preschool when he was three in 2011 so we have been in preschool for six years. In total, we have participated in seven preschool classes. They have pretty much all been fantastic. And I have a special place in my heart for Leo's "Doves" class he did in Frisco cause I just loved those teachers.

But this class--the Young 5's--that Gus is in this year, is my FAVORITE preschool class ever. If you can be in love with a class, then that is what I am.

There is one amazing teacher, Ms. Morgan, nine awesome kids and eight fabulous moms. (One mom has twins so that is why there are only eight. I'm not saying there is one non-fabulous mom.) Oh, and the dads are pretty cool too!

All of the kids are such sweet friends; they even say "I love you" to each other on a regular basis. And the hugging. Oh, the hugging! They embrace at the end of every school day. They were actually kissing each other too (with Gus being the kissing ring leader), but we had to squash that.

A small class has been SO beneficial for Gus. He isn't overwhelmed; he is able to focus; he has learned a ton. And even better, they rarely just have one teacher. There are two volunteer retired teachers who come in to help. One comes in on Mondays and one comes in Tues-Thursday. They are angels! So the kids get lots of one-on-one attention.

I am excited for the kids to be in elementary school together. I am excited for Gus to go to kindergarten. I am excited to not have to pay for preschool anymore. He is excited to for all of this too, especially "seeing Leo on the bus." But oh, how we are both going to miss THIS class. It has just been one of those rare times where everything comes together perfectly. And to think, I almost kept Gus home with me this year!!

Not one of these kids will be at Gus' elementary school next year which is such a bummer. Not only for Gus but for me, cause I adore their moms!

Here, I leave you with a few pics of these cute, sweet, silly "Young Fives."