I was exhausted last night and put off going through my camera until this morning, meaning I had 100+ pictures to sift through and edit this morning. Someday I will get this process more streamlined. Hopefully, that day comes soon.
We had a great day at the zoo. There was not a cloud in the sky, the weather was cool but too cool, there were very few other people there. Of course, we had moments of frustration with Gwendolyn asking 4000 times to see the polar bears, panda bears, "lions like on The Lion King" (the male lion with a mane was not out) or Maggie wanting out of the stroller but didn't want to walk or be carried. But really it was a good day.
There was a new attraction called the Teton Trek that had wolves, grizzlies, and elk. It was feeding time for the grizzlies and they would sit and look at the trainer, then he'd throw the food.
This was the first time I had ever seen the pandas outside. Normally they are inside asleep.
I think the monkey coming down to the window right in front of Gwendolyn made her nervous.
I was hoping I'd gotten a decent shot of the giraffe with something other than my phone. I think this is good.
We made it to the zoo today! I honestly didn't think we would because of cool temps, a late start, and cranky pants (not me of course, I'm never cranky but everyone else was definitely wearing their cranky pants). But we made it and had a pretty good day. And we got to have a late lunch at pf chang's. Yum!
I swear this giraffe walked over and posed for me. I'm hoping I got a good picture with my big camera too.
I Heart Faces photo challenge this week is "Slice of Life." Here is Keary, Gwendolyn, and Maggie flying a kite during Gwendolyn's spring break last week. This was actually the first time I had ever flown a kite, if running out and throwing the kite into the wind occasionally is even considered flying a kite. I helped at least.
Keary saw this picture and was surprised to see his balding spot. Apparently he thought I had just been being mean when I said his hair was thinning. Oops.
Wednesday served us our first definitely not cool spring break point when we went to the library like we do every Wednesday for story time, only to find there was no story time. No instead of story time, there was real life circus clowns. I've had a life-long distrust of clowns. I'm not afraid of them really but am definitely creeped out by them. And Gwendolyn seems to have inherited my feelings for clowns; she wouldn't even go in the doorway of the room they were performing. So much a fun spring break activity. Maggie, on the other hand, thought the clowns were great. She hooted and hollered and laughed and clapped for them.
I tried to make up for the morning with a trip to Chic-Fil-A and succeeded when Gwendolyn saw the cow was there. Apparently, clowns are creepy, but cows walking on their hind legs and dressed in clothes dancing around an eating establishment is super cool. Good to know.
Then when Keary got home Wednesday evening, he brought out a kite for the girls to fly. I thought it was pretty neat since I had never before flown a kite. The girls were only briefly impressed by it. Still I'm thinking the kites, cows, and chic-fil-a made up for the clowns and saved the day.
We spent Thursday at Grandy's sitting with her. Unfortunately, she was having a rough day and was extra anxious. It was a trying day for all of us. My Auntie came over in the late afternoon though and gave Gwendolyn a manicure/ pedicure, then took her and Grandy to see my cousin play tennis. Gwendolyn came home around ten last night (Keary says, honestly I was long asleep) saying she had fun.
Today Keary worked a half day, then took Gwendolyn to lunch and the movies. She had been wanting to go to McDonald's for a couple months and we just don't eat there. So Keary thought he would treat her to that before going to see Gnomeo and Juliet. She said the movie was good, but she "really wanted to go to the zoo." Oh well, we were planning on going there Monday anyways.
So there was our week and my efforts at making the best of a spring break when we had no real plans. I think we did okay and her spring break turned out pretty well.
Gwendolyn is off on spring break this week and she is none too happy about it. She wants to be in school with her friends. And if she cannot be in school, she wants us to do FUN! SPECIAL! things we don't regularly get to do. I, of course, want to oblige but am having issues coming up with things to do.
Sure we could go to the zoo or the children's museum, but that is about an hour and a half drive and Keary has to work. And there will be a kajillion people at both of those places so the girls will have to stay right with me and may not get as good a look at the [insert favorite animal, dinosaur, whatever]. That doesn't sound fun.
So we are going to try to make the best of it at home. Maybe go check out the nature center, pick flowers, eat ice cream (I can't because I gave up ice cream for Lent and that is all I have wanted to eat since Ash Wednesday), have picnics in the backyard. Then maybe we can hit up the zoo next week on her day off school when schools are back in session.
Of course, before we can make the best of the week, I had to stock up on basic foods which required taking the girls grocery shopping. I've mentioned how difficult shopping with the girls can be. As soon as we walked in the store, Gwendolyn started asking for this and that. Stuff we never get. "Can we get this pleeease?" "Mom, oooh I've always wanted some of these." I growled and kicked myself for coming to the at lunch time. Again.
And then I caved. We are going to be eating lunch at home all week, you want cheetos? Fine, as long as you don't get that day-glow orange powder on me or make me smell them. You want to make some brownies, fine. Then we came to the produce. Strawberries? No. The last two times we got strawberries, I've had to throw dried rotten strawberries away because everyone is so excited when I buy strawberries, then eat three and are done. No, NO, no strawberries. And then I looked at the strawberries. And I smelled the yummy strawberry goodness.
And we bought strawberries.
And Gwendolyn washed the strawberries for us.
And I made fruit dip so hopefully the strawberries all get eaten this time. And the girls danced and ate strawberries.
We spent yesterday in Memphis and today outside so I haven't had time to come up with a post of substance. We walked around downtown Memphis waiting on our reservations at Texas de brazil and we saw the flying fish restaurant. We didn't eat there but it looked fun.
Happy belated St. Patrick's Day! I spent the day offline to tend to things at home and celebrate my husband's and my anniversary. I still need to get him a gift, I had planned on getting him new ergonomic car seat cushions since he is traveling so much. But, even though I put thought into it, it doesn't really stack up to the gift he got me. So I am still trying to come up with something.
We had another busy week. Gwendolyn had her school program on Tuesday. We almost missed it because I thought it was supposed to be Wednesday. They had been practicing songs for weeks and the teacher told them they should bring all their family. That led to her asking if she could bring our dog, Waylon. I told her no, but she kept asking so I told her she needed to take it up with her teacher.
Gwendolyn came home from school the next day "Mrs Rhonda said it was up to us if Waylon came to the program or not. He is family and family needs to come."
"Did you tell her that Waylon is a dog?"
It seemed strange that she would say to bring the dog to a school program, but the program was being held at the church and we have the blessing of the pets every year so maybe pets were welcome. So I emailed the teacher.
Either Gwendolyn masked the fact that Waylon is a dog or the teacher didn't catch on that he wasn't Gwendolyn's brother.
She is slick and I am sure it will only get worse the closer to being a teenager she gets.
I'm definitely not a hand model and could probably benefit from a manicure, but still wanted to show off my anniversary from my husband. We will have been married 5 years on St. Patrick's day. He picked it out himself too.
This weekend it was nice and warm so we spent the majority of the daylight hours outside playing. We each have our own rainboots so we can play in the mud and stomp in as many puddles as we want without worrying about ruining our good shoes. Was your mom as concerned about your ruining your good shoes as mine as when I was young?
Both girls stomped in mud, then crawled up the slide backwards and slid back down getting their backside muddy. They don't care: they are just happy it is warm enough to be playing outside without coats and jackets and even happier their mom and dad are out playing with them.
We recently moved the barricades we had in front of the stairs and at the top of the stairs. Maggie was spending more and more time trying to get through the barricade to get up the stairs and it was becoming a game for her. The last thing we wanted was her to think playing on the stairs was a game so she now has free reign to go up and down the stairs. She has definitely taken advantage of it too.
Up and down and up and down and up and down. I have held my breath a lot, worrying she will lose her footing and fall. So far she has not fallen, but it doesn't make me any less nervous. Maggie also figured out how to climb up the ladder to the top of the slide. She likes to stand there for just a minute to see what my reaction is before she slides down.
The theme this week at I Heart Faces is sun flare. I had some difficulties capturing the flare and the girls, but I think this turned out okay.
What a week! I don't think I have ever been quite so happy to see the end of the week. Especially considering we have no big plans for the weekend.
I developed a persistent cough Sunday night. No big deal, just a cough. Then Monday I took the girls and went to sit with Grandy for a few hours. By the time I got home, I was exhausted, but attributed it to the fact that keeping a constant eye and direction on the girls and Grandy can be exhausting. Then the fever and chills set in.
Tuesday Keary had to stay overnight out of town for work and I was still sick. I felt horrible and finally turned a movie on for Gwendolyn and told her she could watch tv, but I needed to go lay down. Wednesday I didn't feel any better so we stayed home and missed storytime. The girls acted wonderfully while I was sick and Keary was out of town though. They entertained themselves and played so well together.
My fever finally broke Wednesday afternoon. Keary came home Wednesday evening and I don't think I have ever seen the girls be so happy to see anyone. They ran and embraced him then clung to him and wouldn't let him go.
I know Keary felt bad about being out of town while I was sick, but we did okay. Chances are, with Keary's new job, he will be staying overnight out of town at least once every other week, and sometimes the girls or I are going to be sick while he is gone so we need to be able to deal. And all things considering, I think we did fine.
I'm hoping I haven't passed my germs on the Keary or the girls and we can relax and play this weekend. Today we are sitting with Grandy again and I imagine I will be watching to see the news from the earthquake in Japan and the aftermath of the tsunamis. And when I am watching the news, my fever and cough doesn't seem so big and bad at all.
We go to the library at least twice a week and the girls generally check out 20 books a week. There is rarely any rhyme or reason to how we pick out books: Gwendolyn and Maggie both pull a few books off the bookshelves and put them in the bag, then Keary and I wonder around and pick out additional books that look interesting or have a catchy title.
Sometime we wind up with books we like to read, sometimes we wind up with books the girls like and are interested in. Other times we pick up books that we can't even get through because there are too many words. (Don't shake your head, you know what I am talking about: the books with multiple entire pages of blocks of text and lack of illustrations. The girls are 4 and 1, we have to keep their attention.) Or sometimes the books don't have any words, Keary isn't keen on those. Then there were the couple weeks in a row where we repeatedly picked up multiple books on dealing with divorce because either Gwendolyn or Keary didn't read the titles and put the books in the bag based on cover picture.
So I thought since I already have Fruitcake Reads here, I would also include a Kids' Fruitcake Reads section and update it when I find a book we particularly like. And maybe if there is a book you have found, you can recommend it to me. Please?
Maggie picked out My Big Dog by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel based solely on the fact there was a dog on the cover. We put in the bag and I didn't think she would remember a thing about it, but when we got home, she pulled it out and insisted I read it. And read it again. And again.
The story is told by a cat named Merl who has had the run of the house always, but then one day his family brings a puppy home. He is none too happy about it and decided to run away.
The story is cute and I liked the attitude of Merl. The illustrations are vivid and detailed so that even if the page is long, there is enough going on the picture that the girls don't lose focus and start trying to turn pages early.
We like this story enough that we have kept it for an extra two weeks and I haven't grown tired of reading it yet. Which is good, because Maggie requests it read at least twice a day.
Last week the library had a special story time and birthday party for Dr. Seuss. Gwendolyn had to go to school so it was just Maggie and me. One of her favorite library staff members even dressed up like the Cat in the Hat, but she wasn't too sure about that. I tried multiple times to get her picture with her, but Maggie wouldn't get any closer than 3 feet away or so. Oh well.
She did let me get her picture later when she was eating the birthday cupcake.
I love how she appears to be trying to be dainty. In the second picture you can see she isn't even letting all her fingers touch the cupcake. But the blue icing on her face doesn't bother her in the least.
The challenge this week over at I heart faces is "People's Choice". I know I posted a picture of Maggie on the swings a couple weeks ago, but she and Gwendolyn spend a lot of time out there playing so here is another. Gwendolyn pushes Maggie on her swing and they both laugh.
Keary's 30th birthday was Saturday. I had originally thought about throwing him a big party, I had even decided on a Dr.Who theme with a TARDIS cake. But then a couple days after my Grandy had a stroke, we found out that Keary would very likely be layed off from his job in February. Not exactly the time you need to spend extra money. We ended up deciding to get a babysitter and go to dinner with friends, still a big deal (for us) and not something we do pretty much ever.
We went to dinner with Keary's best friend since third grade and his wife. The same friends whose wedding I missed because I woke up in labor with Gwendolyn the morning of but sent Keary on since he was the best man. Much to everyone's awe, I later showed up at their reception, still in labor, but they weren't close enough or in the window my doctor had told me to go to the hospital for. This is all a whole other story to tell someday though.
We went to dinner and laughed until we had tears streaming down our faces, listening to Cliff and Keary tell stories from their childhood, teenage, and early adulthood years. Stories involving them growing and maturing, and others with them being young and stupid. We laughed and laughed until I mentioned that soon, our kids likely will be doing the same. "That has been my silent fear for the past 5 years, " Keary said.
Anyway, we had a great night out. I'm lightly kicking myself for not taking any pictures, but I experienced the night instead of sitting behind the lens.
This week Keary started a new job too so we have been trying to get accustomed to the new schedule. He is working a Monday through Friday day job for the first time ever. It is taking a bit to get used to, but I think once we find our groove we will like it.
I'm linking up with Company Girls for the second week. Rachel Anne has challenged us to make a baked good from scratch sometime this week. I'm thinking about making my Grandy's Oatmeal Macaroons.
7 c. oats (Old fashioned) 2 c. flour (all purpose) 2 c. sugar 2 c. brown sugar 4 eggs 2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 2 c. coconut ( I always leave oatmeal out and they turn out fine.) 1 tbsp vanilla 2 c. margarine (melted)Optional: Chocolate chips, raisins, nuts.
Mix together in a large bowl. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers
Knowing I am a fan of the pioneer woman, Keary surprised me with this book for valentine's day. Honestly, I had planned on waiting until I was able to check it out from the library to read it, particularly since she already posted about she and the Marlboro Man met, their courtship, and wedding, but I was still tickled to get it.
Ree's writing and storytelling makes the reader feel and experience the story as she tells it. She comes across as very genuine and personable so much so that when she writes about sweating buckets and having to strip naked to cool off in the bathroom at the marlboro man's cousin's wedding, you both feel for her and feel like it is happening to you. I'll venture to guess that she isn't just coming across that way either, and she truly is that way.
Black Heels to Tractor Wheels is a lovely story, and I can only guess how special it will be to their children and grandchildren later on to be able to read their parents' love story. I'd like to be able to tell a story like that later on, but I don't think Keary and my story is nearly as interesting or swoon-worthy.
The one thing I missed in the book was Ree's pictures and photography. I know pictures aren't generally included in novels, but I think an insert in the middle would have been fantastic.
Overall, a great story I would recommend to others.
Keary's 30th birthday was Saturday so we made arrangements for my friend to come over and sit with the girls while we went out. And since someone was coming to my house, I went crazy for a little bit worrying about my house not being clean enough. My focus was mainly on the floors because they had needed to be done anyway since I had not gotten to them earlier in the week. While I was sweeping and mopping, I thought:
That is it, no more shoes in the house! Surely if we stopped wearing shoes in the house, we would track in less dirt, grass, dust.
Nah, even if I outlawed shoes in the house, we'd still have Waylon tracking it in. And we can't get rid of our dog, can we? No, of course not. Man he tracks in a lot though.
Gwyneth Paltrow grates on my nerves. Not sure why. Why does she think she is a singer now? And more importantly, why does Glee insist on having her on again? She sounds okay, but I think it is her demeanor that bothers me. Remember when she sang with Huey Lewis.
Good-ness, Look at all this hair. Between Waylon and me, we could just about make tiny little wigs.
They'd be kinda gross though. And do they make little dog wigs? Hmm, I ought to google that.
No breaks. If I stop sweeping or mopping, then I won't finish it. I only have a limited window of time that Maggie will nap and let me mop without her "helping".
I wonder how much it'd cost to get a home vacuum system installed around the baseboards so it could just suck all the dirt, dust and hair up without my sweeping.
It doesn't matter how much it costs, we aren't doing that to this house. Probably can't do that to any house in the foreseeable future because it'd suck up all the girls' toys.
I wonder if NeNe and Kim have reconciled and are friends again. Did I remember to watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta finale? Yeah, yeah I think I did. I think.
Whoa, look at that pile I have swept up. I don't know whether to be completely disgusted that there was enough in the floor to be swept up into a pile that size or proud that I got all that swept up. Get the camera? No, no.
You know, if your mind is kept busy and allowed to wander without interruptions, it is amazing just how fast sweeping and mopping 1000 square feet can go by.