Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Deconstruction Update

The husband finally reached his boiling point yesterday with the street deconstruction.

They provided him - at 4:57pm - with a metal plate on the day that they dug the 12 foot hole so that he could get out of the house. Just enough time to make it across the street to let the nanny go home.

Since that point, they've filled in the 12 foot hole with dirt, which is actually just mud since it's been raining over the last week here. So, it's still fairly difficult to get into his office.

During this whole process, the husband has been noticing that they're providing access for everyone else to their houses, but they really haven't been very worried about providing access to the husband. So, he finally got mad enough to call the construction management company yesterday afternoon.

He told them that he was annoyed that they dug a hole in front of his office and then filled it in with mud. Couldn't they at least provide some crushed rock like they have for everyone else's driveways? And speaking of driveways, it sure would be nice to have one! They've provided one for everyone else, but not a driveway to the alley, which provides access to the office's garage. We have some stuff over there that we'd like to get out of there, but can't.

And speaking of garages, he told the guy, "As I'm talking to you right now, there is a worker over there peeing on my garage door." *silence*

Apparently, the magnitude of his discontent was finally understood by the manager - the nanny reported that some of the men were being given a talking-to later in the afternoon.

You know how I said that I didn't really mind them doing this construction? It's only been three weeks, but I'm beginning to get tired of it already...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Last week, one of Fellan's spelling words was "of". The first time we asked him and Marxo to spell it, they both wrote down "uv".

The next day, the husband asked him again to spell "of". He was determined not to get it wrong this time. After much thought, he said, "F U!"

(By the end of the week, I think he finally got it right on his spelling test.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Slow, quick, quick, slow

This past weekend was kind of like a dance class, but instead of slow, slow, quick, quick, we were able to divert one of those "slows" to the end, which was quite nice.

Friday morning started off with a relaxing morning of taking the kids to school and then going for a bike ride with the husband. It was our anniversary (and also my mom's birthday - Happy Birthday, Mom!), so we decided to go for a nice lunch at one of the best restaurants around, Churrascos. We both got the lunch special of the day, lump crab meat in some kind of really great sauce, over a churrasco steak. We split a bottle of wine, too, and finished with some extremely good espresso.

By the time we got home, we had just enough time to get the bags packed for the evening's activities. We picked up Fellan from school, had him try on his soccer cleats from last year, they didn't fit, so we rushed to Academy and picked out new shoes for him in less than 15 minutes. We ran from there to Tae Kwon Do, and then to the craft store to get supplies for Marxo's birthday party, then on to Fellan's soccer practice.

Saturday morning, Fellan's soccer game was at 9am, and from there, we ran to Arne's Warehouse, where we found plates, napkins, and party blowers for Marxo's birthday party, as well as Halloween costumes for us all (we're going to be a vampire family!). Then on to Marxo's soccer game. Quick lunch at home, and we were off again to a birthday party for one of Marxo's friends and finally a birthday party for one of Fellan's friends!

Yesterday, we had nothing to do. We went for a family bike ride and then hung around the house for the whole afternoon and evening. We made meatloaf, mashed potatoes, carrots, and salad for supper and then told the kids stories about what they were like when they were babies. A nice finish to the weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Where the sidewalk ends

The street deconstruction has now become deconstruction of the sidewalk, landscaping, and access to the huband's office! He's currently trapped inside his office because they dug a 12 foot hole in front of it. He says the picture doesn't do it justice...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MY bread

Since we started trying to get rid of artificials in our food (following the Feingold diet), I have been making bread instead of buying it. I have had a bread maker for years, so I'm happy that I'm finally using it with regularity.

Lately, however, I have noticed a disturbing trend regarding my possessiveness about the bread. I get really annoyed when anyone else (really just the nanny) cuts the bread because they just can't do it as well as I can! I'll come home and the bread has clearly been hacked apart by someone with lesser bread-cutting skilz.

Last night when I got home, I took a look at the bread and was, once again, annoyed. For one thing, it was nearly gone, and for another thing, it was cut so that one slice was normal at the top, but thin at the bottom and the next slice was thick at the top and thicker at the bottom! Argh! Show a little respect for the bread, lady!!!

This morning, just to taunt me, the husband sent me a picture...
A picture of my poor, disfigured bread with its crazy angles juxtaposed against the clean lines of the toaster.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I love Vitamin C

I continue to avoid the crap that the rest of my family has. I'm going to give credit to the Vitamin C that I've been taking every night and every morning. 1000mg each time.

Quite awhile ago, I worked with this crazy guy who ate raw sprouts on everything. (I don't really like raw sprouts and I don't trust them because of this.) But, aside from grossing me out all the time, he told me that his brother takes 10,000mg a day of Vitamin C and hadn't been sick for something like 5 years. So, as cookie monster says, "What the heck. Me give it try!" (Except 10,000mg seems a little excessive... so I'm opting for only 2000mg.)

This morning Marxo had a pretty bad cough, but Fellan's was getting better. My husband is still sniffling a lot, so I'm going to be spending the evening covering my face to deflect the errant coughs and sneezes and washing my hands frequently.

If all else fails, I'll just get some of this.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Homework Failure

Ok, we forgot to copy the calendar with all the homework for the month, so this weekend we weren't able to get a head start on homework. So much for that!

Instead, we had my husband's 20-year high school reunion activities to attend and a birthday party on Saturday evening.

By Sunday, we were all really tired and I think we've all come down with some kind of illness. The kids are both coughing and my husband was moving pretty slowly yesterday. It caught up to me today - I have something that feels like it's going to turn into a runny nose. Not quite yet, but soon...

So! I made sure to go work out at lunchtime today! And I took some extra Vitamin C this morning. Maybe this year I won't end up with some kind of chest/head cold that sticks around for 2 months. I'm making a concerted effort this year and trying to stick to the plan.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

On the other hand...

Marxo is still in Pre-K. She loves reading and doing all of Fellan's homework with him. We've had to start separating them when we read or do homework together so that Fellan doesn't get so frustrated all the time with Marxo answering all the questions before him!

BUT, we think we've figured out a pretty good plan for getting Fellan's homework done without the bickering - while also inspiring him to learn it better.

The teacher this year is giving us a monthly homework sheet. So all of the nightly homework is spelled out for the entire month.

Our plan is to make a copy of this sheet before we have to turn in the folder this coming Friday and have Fellan do the homework on Saturday and Sunday so that he's a little more "fresh" for his homework time.

Then, on the weeknights, we'll have Marxo do the homework - with help, of course, from Fellan. He LOVES that. He really does enjoy helping her to learn something - and not in a mean way, he's just a helpful little boy.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Fellan is in first grade. He hates sitting still most of the time. He doesn't show much interest in reading.

We got our first list of spelling words this week. I've been dreading this because I expect that it will cause both my husband and I undue amounts of stress. How in the world is he going to pass a spelling quiz when he doesn't want to read?!

So, on Monday evening, we got out the list and started asking him to spell the words.
He got them all with no problem except for "the". "The" seems to be a really tricky word for some reason.

So he knows all the sounds that the letters make, he just hates being forced to read!

This is becoming a problem. The nannies seem to have started judging us. One of them came up to the husband the other day and started quizzing him:
"Does Fellan read yet? Do you read to him every day? When you read together, do you read to him, or do you make him read the book? Do you have books for Fellan to read?..."

Oh brother. We're of the opinion that he's doing fine. There are other children in his class who don't read yet either. And when we've talked to the teacher, she specifically has said that there are all different levels of knowledge in the class - and that's OK. It's OK. It will come - I have no doubt.

We learned this lesson the hard way with potty training. He cannot be forced into doing something that he doesn't want to do. So, we're waiting patiently, trying not to force it too much and make bad connotations for him with reading.

We're trying to creatively introduce reading into our daily lives in different ways. Last night, we broke out the sidewalk chalk for the spelling words. We point out his "sight words" on signs around town. My husband got him to write the letter to me on the computer the other day. Baby steps. On a tight rope.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Roof!

So, out of the blue, they showed up this morning to put the new roof on the husband's office! It's just across the street from our house and you know what that means, right? Right. No street.

The construction workers have been building dirt driveways to all the other people's houses on the other side of the street each night, but for some reason, they haven't bothered to put anything to the alleyway that serves as access to the office.

Apparently it's not really making much difference, though. The forklift with all the shingles has been baha-ing over the curbs and through the mud with no problems.

Now we just need to hope that the radar is correct and there won't be any rain until late this afternoon. Even though it's really, really cloudy today. Faith in technology, faith in technology...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rainy Weekend, Bad Curry

The rainy weekend sure did put a damper on outside activities this weekend. But, it did mean that we got to watch a few episodes of Star Trek: Next Generation, we washed all the laundry, and made it to Costco to stock up on laundry detergent, fruit, and wine. Exciting!!!

I attempted to make curry chicken in the crock pot again yesterday. I made this once before when my parents were here back in February, I think. It took me awhile to build up my nerve again because it was a very disappointing dish. It smelled really great, but then tasted like absolutely nothing.

I read that in order for curry spices to be flavorful, you have to cook them first in order to release the flavors. So, I put all the spices in a pan, put a little bit of grapeseed oil in there with them and semi-sauteed them for a little bit.

It still didn't work. Once again, it smelled fantastic and then tasted completely bland. I don't know what I'm doing wrong - if anyone can help me, I'd love your advice. The combination of other "stuff" in the dish is really very good (chicken thighs, garbanzo beans, sweet potato, and green beans) and I think it would be a really, really good meal - if only it tasted like curry, like it's supposed to! *sigh*

Friday, September 11, 2009

Three day week

Whew, after that three day week, I was bushed today! (kidding!)

The street deconstruction is coming along nicely - the kids have been enjoying "breakfast theater" for the past couple of mornings. The husband set them up yesterday morning and this morning with TV trays and chairs at the front window so they could sit and watch the big equipment while eating their breakfast. I think they're going to be disappointed tomorrow morning when/if they don't show up. I don't think I'll be very upset if they don't show up tomorrow, though. It's rather loud at 7am when they start and the whole house shakes when they pound the concrete to break it up.

I took the kids to school this morning and then went to the grocery store and when I tried to get back to the house, I couldn't! There was a backhoe and dump truck in the way. I ended up having to go around the block and park about halfway down the street. Still, it didn't bother me very much. We've talked to the construction guys a few times already and they're really pretty nice. And I'm soooo looking forward to having a nice, dry street as a Christmas present.

Not much else going on today. Fellan got in trouble at school today for not following directions, but he did really well at Tae Kwon Do. I think by the end of the week at school he just has a hard time keeping himself together. The teacher doesn't seem to be very bothered by it and she keeps saying he's doing well, so that's good.

We have no birthday parties or other events planned for the weekend. I'm really looking forward to just sitting around and watching Star Trek. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Next Generation!

This past Saturday afternoon, I forced Marxo to take a nap with me. She's getting old enough that she can skip them a lot of the time, but there are times it's just so obvious she needs to sleep!

When she and I got back downstairs after naptime, Fellan told me that I needed to check the
computer. I opened it up and found this letter he had written me:

dear mom

I am having a great time. I am watching the science channel.


Awesome!!! To celebrate my little geek, we broke out the Star Trek: Next Generation DVD's. Aside from Picard's general overuse of the phrase "What the hell is that?!" in the first few
episodes, they're great shows that teach cultural respect and problem solving. And the kids like them, too!

In other news, this is what our street looked like yesterday. It's begun.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


I found this picture again recently. My husband sent it to me right after we got back from vacation in early August. The nanny hadn't gotten back from her vacation yet and the kids were left to their own devices any time my husband had to take a work phone call.

On this particular day, the kids had apparently decided to play the game "Mouse Trap". The e-mail I got from my husband said, "Went to clean up mouse trap - couldn't find the mice. Then I found this! Where do you figure they're taking her?! :)"

(Click for larger image)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Street closure

I love four day weekends! But they still go by too quickly.

On Saturday and Sunday, we were able to get in a couple of family bike rides, but yesterday, we had to spend the day cleaning out my husband's office of all the cardboard boxes that have accumulated in the garage for the last year.

Turns out that they're going to start ripping up our street today (supposedly - although I talked to the husband a couple of hours ago and they were just putting up "wrong way" signs up all day) and we wanted to try to get the garage cleaned out before they do that because we're hoping to be able to park over there when our side of the street is torn up.

They put a sheet of paper in our mailbox on Friday saying that the east side of the street would be closed starting on Tuesday and that it would be closed for a month. I assume that after they're done with the east side, they'll move on to the west side. Which would mean that the street will be closed in one way or another for a minimum of two months, but I'm not holding much hope of that being the maximum amount of time - the street one block over has been closed for five months already. *sigh*

We've been looking forward to this street reconstruction for quite awhile, though. About 11 years, actually! Since we first moved into our house, water has collected in front of our driveway and the only way to get rid of it was to sweep the street down after every rainfall, yard watering, or car washing from anyone "upstream" of us.

In the last few years, we've given up completely and just come to enjoy the sound of toads outside our window in the springtime. But now, there is hope! - Although I do hate to get my hopes up too high because they usually get dashed pretty quickly. There's always the possibility that they'll screw this up and leave us with an even larger moat!

Well, that's OK, Marxo thinks she's a princess anyway. We'll just make it a proper moat, fill it with alligators, and install a drawbridge. I hope the alligators don't eat the toads. I kind of like the little buggers.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Day off

Today was my day off from work and I spent it as usual - going to Target and then Sam's, but today, I got all crazy and made a side trip to the Container Store. Woohoo!

Actually, my husband and I usually try to go for a bike ride on Friday mornings and then I do the shopping in the afternoon, but it was raining this morning and the husband had too much work to do. There goes my motivation, huh?! Actually, we're planning to go for family bike ride tomorrow morning and hopefully Sunday morning, too.

This afternoon I got to finally see Fellan in his Tae Kwon Do classes. We signed him up for Tae Kwon Do and Marxo for gymnastics this fall. We'll see how it goes. Marxo has already been invited to join the trampoline team and I know she would love it, we just don't seem to be able to work out the logistics of going to an additional practice with two working parents. Plus, SHE'S FOUR! Isn't it a little crazy to get her into "real" competitive sports at the age of four? (and no, YMCA Soccer doesn't count as a competitive sport.)

Tomorrow is the only day this Labor Day weekend that we have nothing planned. We're headed to a friends' house Sunday afternoon for a pool party and have a classmate's birthday party on Monday morning. We're going to make the most of tomorrow. :)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Motivated (for the moment, anyway)

My friend Courtney asked on her secret blog, "How do you keep yourself motivated?" regarding working out and getting healthy.

Well, I haven't been very good about keeping myself motivated lately. And by lately, I mean for the last 6 years, 4 months - which is, coincidentally, the exact age of our first child.

Before having kids, I was in the best shape and health of my life. I hadn't been to a doctor (aside from the yearly OB/Gyn check-up) in probably 8 years, I had tons of energy, and I never fell asleep during those boring meetings at work. I attribute all of this to the fact that my husband and I exercised every day and ate about half the amount of food that we ate before we got healthy.

It's really easy to backslide, though. We've both gained quite a bit of weight and definitely need to do something to regain our aerobic fitness level. Vacations aren't as fun anymore when you can't count on your body to respond to crazy physical challenges as if they were nothing. I've gotten sick the last two Fall seasons and I don't bounce right back. But, just wanting to have more fun on vacations and wanting to not get sick every Fall weren't enough to push me back into an obsession with physical fitness.

A friend of ours was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer at the end of last year. The prognosis for her was horrible and the thought of her children, who are the same age as our children, having to grow up without their mother is just absolutely unthinkable. She is thankfully doing everything she can possibly do to beat the disease, and from what I can tell, her prognosis has improved, but we don't know for sure yet.

This is actually what is motivating me now. I'm afraid that some life-altering illness could come along and try to get me while I'm unhealthy. And I don't want that to happen to me. I want to be so healthy that if it catches me, I'll be able to give it a better run for the money, or that it might bypass me altogether. We can hope, right?

I worked with a woman who told me one time, "I plan to live forever." That's kind of a silly thing to say, but once you think about it, it's a good idea. She wasn't saying that she would live forever, she was just saying she is planning to live forever - and she's planning to live forever by eating good foods, exercising and taking care of herself. I'm making that my plan, too.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Golden Locket

About a year or two ago, Chick-fil-A gave away condensed versions of some "classic" stories. I think we ended up with The Wizard of Oz, Great Expectations, The Prince and The Pauper, and one I had never heard of, A Little Princess.

We've read A Little Princess a couple of times and it's a nice story. The kids like to listen to it because it finally ends up in a happy ending, of course, but I think they're also intrigued by the fact that the little girl's name is Sara.

The other day, we were in Target at the $5 DVD endcap and found the movie A Little Princess, so we couldn't resist. We bought it and ended up watching it this past Sunday evening.

In the book, Sara's wealthy father dies from disease and the event is approximately one sentence long. I guess it's something that didn't leave a huge impression on the kids. Apparently parents die all the time - and the mothers seem to be always dead in children's stories to begin with - so no big whoop.

But in the movie, Sara's wealthy father has gone off to war and there is one scene that shows him dying as he tries to save another soldier. Well. That definitely made a stir. Why did he die? Well, it's a war and everyone tries to kill the other side in a war. But why would they do that?! Well, it's just what happens in a war. One side decides they hate the other side and then they kill each other. Mommy and Daddy, I'm sad. I love you. I don't want you to die.

By this point, Fellan's rosey little cheeks and tearful eyes were too much for either my husband or I to handle and we both got a little weepy as he was hugging us.

The British government seizes her father's assets and the only thing Sara has left of her father is a golden locket with his picture and her mother's picture (who had, of course, previously died). But, the evil headmistress at her boarding school takes that away from her, too, and makes her become a servant in the school.

In the movie, Sara and her not-dead-only-had-amnesia father are eventually reunited and all is well again. And once again, during the reunion scene Fellan had us in tears again because he "loves us so much and wants to have a golden locket to keep our pictures in." (dramatically clutching an imaginary necklace to his heart)

I spent quite a bit of time Monday trying to find a "boyish" (as Marxo would put it) locket, but they don't exist. I think we're going to try to talk him into a photo dog tag instead. We don't want our sweet boy to get beat up for showing his friends his golden locket.