Saturday, September 27, 2008

and so it begins

The first cold of the season. Miss E woke up with a snotty nose yesterday and a smidgen of a fever. Ugh! You know what that means....O will get it next, then me, then Tim. Who knows where she caught it from. We haven't been around anyone sick, it's just the simple fact that she is always putting her fingers in her mouth. She's almost 3 1/2 years old and I really wish she'd stop doing that. I am thankful that she isn't a big whiner when she's sick. She just seems to sniff a lot and tough it out.
Oh, I just realized that I didn't do my Thankful Thursday post last week. How awful! I can't believe that it slipped my mind. I haven't really had much time to do any blog posts this week. I knew I missed it when we were at the beach but last week I have no excuse...I simply forgot. It's been a little busy here. I've been doing some work from home that has taken up much of my down time. I've also been doing more scheduled school time with the girls, Miss O has art class on Tuesday and they both have story time at the library on Wednesday. Lots going on. I guess it's just that time of year.
I need to get organized...make my lists...set my priorities and stick to it...get things accomplished.
Also, I haven't gone walk/running with my friends since last weekend. I miss the fun of doing it together. It gets dark so early and it's been a little cooler and raining. Excuses, excuses, I know. I have been using my treadmill and my friends have been doing their own we are keeping it up. We will be going out later today and tomorrow morning before church, so we'll have some fun together. Okay, sorry for the rambling, but my thoughts are building up and overflowing. Surely they'll become more cohesive on the next post.
And for your viewing pleasure here are a few more pictures from Carolina Beach. The condo we stay in is right in front of the best surfing spot on the island.

The bottom left picture is a girl. Well, she was probably in her late 20's. Cool right? Well, take a look at this next girl. Now, that's a surfer! Okay, so I wouldn't wear a bikini, or be super tan, or have sun bleached hair, but she made it look fun!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

sssssurpise on the trail

Okay, here's another sssstory about our trip to Carolina Beach.
The state park there is absolutely wonderful. There are many trails to hike through the woods...short trails, long trails, flat trails, hilly trails. We opted for a short, flat trail that is call the Flytrap Trail. Yep, named after the Venus Flytrap. A fascinating plant, really, and endemic to the area. We did not find any on the trail...they bloom earlier in the summer. We did see some yellow pitcher plants, also, very cool. Here's a picture. Anyway, we walked our little trail and saw huge pine cones, little red flowers, and ...a snake! A jogger passed us and said "Be careful there's an S-N-A-K-E sunning itself on the path." So what do we do? Do we go the other way? No! We go look for it...and by we, I mean Tim, with us following him from a distance. Oh he found it alright. He couldn't really tell what kind of snake it was so, as always, he wanted to pick it up. Don't get me wrong, he knows how to tell the difference between venomous and non but it was a snake he didn't know. When he reached for the tail to pick it up it quickly turned around to strike at him!!! Holy snakebite, Batman! It missed him because he's got good reflexes, but scary none-the-less. Thank goodness I had my camera handy. I mean, what's a scary experience without pictures to prove it?! He did end up picking it up with a long stick so we could get a better look at it. That darn thing hissed, and tried to strike, and acted all crazy like a venomous snake. Well, later, after looking it up, we found out that it was an Eastern Hognose Snake. Feisty little guys that act like their venomous counterparts as part of their defense...had Tim kept messing with it, it would have eventually played dead as a last resort. So what an eventful little walk in the woods we had. We'll be more aware of our surroundings and all of it's potential creatures from now on!

Curled up ready to strike again!

Checking it out from a safe distance.

Monday, September 22, 2008

tearin' up the road!

Because it is getting dark earlier now it seems that going for a walk/run after the kids go to bed isn't as safe as it was when we started. So, my friends and I (the wanna be runners) decided to try going early in the morning on Saturday and Sunday. We aimed for 8:15 on Saturday and 7:15 on Sunday...yes, we stared on time, and no, it wasn't so bad. Really! A little too early for the teenager in the group (what? I didn't mention any names!) but a great time of day. It was a little chilly but once we got going it felt perfect. Kim, the mastermind behind the whole thing, decided to push us a little farther this time and we did a lot more running. We were all amazed at how far we could go without a walk break. Seriously, it was crazy good! Now, I know you real runners out there probably wouldn't be impressed by our times but considering we only started in July/August...we've come a long way, baby!

Friday, September 19, 2008

another sewing project unvneiled

I have been wanting to show you the pictures of the gift that I made for Sarah, but I had to wait until she had it in her possession so that I wouldn't ruin the surprise. It's nothing fancy, but it was the first one that I made and I was pleased with how it came out.

I also made a matching tissue holder like these, but with the pink flowers on the outside, lined with black, and trimmed with the black/white polka dots. The pens that I got came in a set of 8 that is why this pen roll is small. However, a certain 13 year old friend of mine made several rolls like this for her art class that had room for a whole set of colored pencils, plus a couple of larger spaces on the end for her fancy erasers. Clever, huh? So anyway, I love these pencil/pen/crayon rolls. I think I'll make some for my own girls as Christmas gifts. What? Christmas is only 3 months away people!!! Time.To.Start.Sewing.

in her own words

As I was getting E's clothes out today she reminded me that she wanted to wear a certain outfit today. Yes, she is very opinionated about her clothes. She was asking for the shirt with noodle stripes. Noodle stripes? Oh....she means spaghetti straps! Don't you love how 3 year olds get their point across?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

a big, giant....

loser! That's what I am...when it comes to winning a swimming race. Oh yes. It's the end of an era. The crumbling of a life-long swimming record.

Let me explain. For years growing up my sister and I would race from one side of the pool to the other. I always won! Yeah, me, the little sister. Even when we were college age and happened to be at a pool together for the family vacation, I still won. Then I got married, lived in Hawaii for a while in a place that had a pool. (yes, some people that live in Hawaii still have pools...crazy, I know) Tim and I would race....I always won. Always! Being better at something than Tim, just one thing, was so nice. Sadly, because I always won, he stopped racing me. For years we haven't raced. I've convinced a few people over the years to race me in the pool only to watch them stop mid-race because I was winning (you know who you are!). So, my warped sense of victory remained. Then it happened.

I finally lost.

On our vacation at Carolina Beach there was pool. The girls had a fabulous time with their new water wings and sense of safety and freedom in the water. It was so nice to see them really enjoying the water. Here's a picture of them.
Tim's not really much of a pool person but the last day was super hot so he got in the pool with me and the girls. I convinced him to race me. It never even crossed my mind that I could lose. I've never lost a pool race. But there he was touching the wall first. The horror! I'm not super competitive and am usually a gracious loser...I lose at just about everything else when in competition with Tim, but I couldn't accept it. We raced three times, and I lost all three times. I don't really harbor bitter feelings, but you better believe that every time we're near a pool there will be a rematch until I win again. I know I'm older now, and obviously not as fast as I used to be, but a girl can try, right?
Well, that's not the end of it. I lost again yesterday. My friend Kim and I signed up for a community class...water aerobics. Let me just say that I felt like a spring chicken in that group. We weren't sure if we'd enjoy the class, but we did. Not so much for the exercise factor, but for the entertainment factor. I have never laughed so much in my life. There were several "older" women that looked like they just came from the salon with their fresh hairdo that should last for a week or so...and they had on a full face of make-up. They were really fixed up...for the pool? Hilarious! And one of the things we had to do was walk around in the pool in a big circle. A little warm-up exercise. Not so funny, right? WRONG! On the turn away from the wall to go across to the other side the current was quite strong and kept carry some of the women out towards the deeper end. I've never seen anything so funny in my whole life. Okay, so big, southern salon hair, full make-up in a pool trying to stay dry is funnier. I guess you had to be there. Well, we finished our class a few minutes early and had some free time to swim, dive, float....race! Oh yes, that's right. Kim raced me. I.lost.again. Seriously, what is up with that? Oh well, such is life. We did have some extra fun jumping in near the hairdo ladies as they straddled their pool noodles and floated around chatting in the deep end. That alone is a sight to see. They didn't like getting splashed...but hey, it's a pool...splash happens! Good times, I tell ya, good times.
So there you have it. I have been dethroned, not only by Tim, but by my friend...oh, what's her name?....Kim, that's right. (I couldn't resist was just too easy :o)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

without fail

Alas, the vacation is over. Tim had to go back to work today. If work is what you call it when you have to go somewhere 5 days a week to earn money to provide for your family but it's not a place you want to be, then what do you call it when you spend your life providing for your family doing something that you love? Is there a name for that? Surely it wouldn't be called work, right? ...I digress.... Anyway, I know the first day back at work is difficult, draining, disgusting, and downright depressing, but a good night's sleep is certainly helpful. However, it seems that whenever a good night of uninterrupted sleep is needed, wanted, expected, and longed for, that is when one of the girls (usually E) will wake up whimpering, crying, screaming, and whaling (yes, in that order!) She's 3 years old for crying out loud!(no pun intended) Our house is small so there is no escaping the noise. Everyone was awakened at 12:47 a.m. and kept awake by the continual noise until almost 1:30 a.m. Yes, I got out of bed 4 times to calm, comfort, console, and eventually chastise my little one. So, no, Tim didn't get a good night's sleep, but off to work he went. I hope and pray that he has a good, low-stress day. As for me and the girls....I am struggling to find a good routine. We thrive, blossom, and flourish when we have a good routine. Therein lies my goal - create, establish, and implement a routine that will be beneficial for my family but also have the flexibility, spontaneity, and creativity to enjoy every moment along the way.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

okay, okay....

I've kept you waiting long enough!

While we were at the beach we visited the aquarium...the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. It's a wonderful place. We've enjoyed it every time that we've gone. It's also really cheap and both kids were free! There's a big touch tank with starfish, horseshoe crabs, sea urchins, and whelks. There's a big giant tank that a diver goes into to do a show. We always love that part. This time though the girls decided they wanted to be scuba divers so they could go in the tank, sans sharks, of course. There were also a few education stations this time where an aquarium worker (a well-informed one) comes out to a certain tank and shares all about their animal. This time it was about the octopus, fascinating creatures without having any extra knowledge, but all the more intriguing with new bits of information. In conjunction with the octopus education station they also had a "movie" to share in the auditorium. Not a high quality movie, but fascinating footage of the octopus and all the cool stuff they do. Oh, also upon entering the aquarium there was a whole reptile section with alligators, turtles, frogs, and snakes. There were a few ducks loose swimming around in the ponds (inside) as well as some quails running around. I had to say, more than once, "Don't chase the quails!" In addition to all of that fabulous stuff, the snack area was outside on a big deck which led to a boardwalk trail through the grounds...ponds, flowers, turtles, birds, snakes, butterflies... you name it, it was out there. Did I say we love this aquarium? Yea, I thought so! Now that you really want to go there for yourself, please enjoy some of our pictures from the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

Collage 1: a quail, miss E learning about quails, a sign that I love, and lastly a Venus flytrap plant (the main reason for the sign)

Collage 2: a cute little frog, a slick looking snake, a big ol' gator, and a green tree frog.

Collage 3: a baby sea turtle, E in a crab shell, O in a crab shell, and cool fish (can't remember what kind)

Collage 4: a huge moray eel, the cool octopus, jellyfish, a spiny lobster, Nemo (I mean clown fish), a lion fish, a shark, some sting rays, and the diver.

Collage 5: water snake in pond outside, girls in the birding section, girls on the boardwalk over pond, and a nice big turtle.

Collage 6: beautiful flowers along the path

Okay, seriously, do I take too many pictures? Is there such a thing as too many? I can't help myself, I've tried. Maybe I should join the PTA....picture takers anonymous!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

home again, home again...

jiggety jig!

Aaahhhh! What a wonderful time we had at the beach. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. We went to Carolina Beach on Pleasure Island in North Carolina. We love it there. It's not a shopping place, it's a family, enjoy the beach and the parks, kind of place. Nice and laid back...very relaxing.

I must confess, I would live there in a heart beat. Seriously. However, the thought of sleeping in my own comfy bed with my own perfect pillow is very appealing to me. Anyway, I have tons of pictures and details to share with you about our week, but for now I'll share just a few pictures to pique your interest.

Shrimp boat early in the morning...I'm loving the sparkly water.

Oh, the girls were caked with sand...and loving every second of it!

This is the sunrise on Tuesday. Yep! I was up just before the sun everyday. I didn't want to miss one minute of our vacation. Plus, my confounded body clock was still set for 6:30 a.m.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I'm still out here. We're still at the beach...lots of sun, sandcastles, and swimming pool. Not a lot of wifi though. Will blog lots of pics and updates upon our return. Thanks to everyone for the encouraging comments about the 5K. It was a blast!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

ready, set,....

So all of that walking/running I have been doing lately is really great exercise. And even though it's only been a month since I began there is a noticeable breathing, jogging endurance, and quicker time. However, to see how much we've progressed we (we meaning Kim,Heather, and Me)decided to enter a 5K. Yes, a 5K. Seriously! It's only 3.1 miles and we wanted to see how good a time we could make. We certainly weren't in it to win, but instead to mark our progress and set higher goals for the next 5K. Oh, by the way, Kim won 2nd place in our age group!! She rocks!!! Just in case you didn't know, Hurricane Hanna was passing through this morning while we walk/ran our very first race. The initial wetness was cold but after a thorough soaking it wasn't an issue at all. In fact, we were grateful that it wasn't blazing hot. Of course now the rain has gone and the sun is shining brightly. Here we are after the race, highly encouraged, still smiling, and soaking wet!

Friday, September 5, 2008

monkeys, mushrooms, and moths, oh my!

As promised, here are some pictures of the monkey pajamas that were such a bargain.

Big sister with her June doll and a big smile!

Little sister, not so happy (still cute though), but better detail of pajamas.

Big sister putting a hand full of rubber snakes in Little sister's shirt could explain the expression in the previous picture! But seriously, those pjs are so cute I'd wear them if they came in my size. Hmmm...maybe I should attempt sewing knit material and make some!

A few days ago when we went outside there were a few really big mushrooms growing in the side yard. I had every intention of taking some pictures of them because they looked so neat. The girls really enjoyed looking at them. But when we went out later that day they were gone....shredded by the neighbors lawn mower. I'm not complaining, I just missed the photo opportunity. Well, yesterday morning we found two small mushrooms in the back yard. They got some close up looks at them...and NO we can't put those on our pizza! I got my camera and got one good shot before they were accidentally stepped on by Miss E. It was still morning and there was dew on the grass but it was hot and the sun was shining brightly so when I stooped down to get a close up my lens fogged up a little. The effect, I think, is quite nice.

The marigolds that I planted around the edge of our little garden have gotten huge. They really thrive in drought conditions. Until this summer I never really thought marigolds were pretty, I just knew they were useful in and around gardens for bug and animal control. Well, to our suprise and delight butterflies and moths love them. I have seen a few butterflies fluttering around, but the moths are all over the place. They seem to be a little more brave and can withstand the constant observations and squeals of delight from my girls. They are quite fascinating. I captured some great shots of them, with their bizarre, long tongues, sipping at the nectar in each little flower. Okay, okay, I know, that's enough talk. Here are some pictures.

Oh yeah, one more thing. We'll be leaving for the beach on Sunday. It looks as though we may be between hurricanes. Ike may put a damper on the end of the week, but hey, a vacation is still a vacation...rain or shine.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

thankful thursday - mini

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

1. Friends coming for dinner....looking forward to great fun and fellowship....a great motivator to get my house nice and orderly.

2. Preparing to leave for the beach....also a great motivator to get my house nice and orderly because I enjoy coming home to a nice clean house....oh yeah, hurricane or no hurricane this is a much needed vacation and we are thankful for the chance to get away for a while.

3. I'm up to 44 miles of walking/jogging in the evening....very thankful for friends that hold me accountable....we're making great progress and there's more to come!

Just a cute picture of the girls at the beach last September....we're excited and ready to go!

it's birthday time...

Happy 14th Birthday


We hope you have a wonderful day...even though you have to go to school!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

it's good...and good for you

So, have you ever had a hankerin' for something sweet but didn't want something totally unhealthy that's loaded with fat and calories? Yeah, I thought so. Although, don't get me wrong, fat and calories are mighty tasty sometimes. Anyway I made some quick and easy smoothies the other day (and today as well) that really hit the spot.

Triple Berry Yogurt Smoothie
1 1/2 C. low fat vanilla yogurt
1 C. frozen berries (I didn't really measure the berries)
1/4 to 1/2 C. milk

All I did was blend it until it was smooth. I adjusted the amount of milk added in so that it was easier for the girls to drink it with a straw, because heaven knows that purple smoothies will certainly stain the clothes if spilled. The whole batch had maybe 6g of fat. And it made enough for all of us to have some. It made a great snack one day...and one night after dinner it was dessert. It is also tasty (and a little more unhealthy) with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream

added to the mix...Mmmmm! All in all, everyone enjoyed it...and it's gluten free!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

a bit of sickness, a lot of sewing, and a smidge of sand

Aaahhhh...everyone seems to be feeling better today. What a relief! We'll be leaving for the beach in a few days and I'd rather get all of the sickness done and over with now so we can enjoy our vacation without the need for buckets and bleach. Hurricanes? Well, that's another story. We're hoping it's gone by the time we get there. I did, however, manage to get some sewing done this weekend while I was trapped in the house home taking care of my sick children. The easiest and most effective way to get my girls to sit still and rest (instead of whine and get wound up) while they are sick is to let them watch cartoons educational animated stories on the television...hehe! While they enjoyed their TV time I enjoyed some sewing time.

The first project I finished was a carrying case for our Tim's GPS. The poor little GPS came in the box with no covers. We looked at some carrying cases at the store, but they were a bit too pricey for such simple construction. "I can make that!" I said to myself...and out loud evidently, because Tim started giving me his preferences as to how I should construct this thing. We had similar ideas, but he added more details so that it would be just right. No problem! I already had all of the materials I just needed some time. Here's what I started with...
I used striped upholstery fabric for the outside and for the lining I used 2 layers of black cotton with 2 layers of batting in between so as to make it a little cushion-y...just in case the thing were ever dropped. In the picture it shows the beginning of the quilt-y sewing. My machine did such a great job...I really should get her a treat for working so hard without stopping. I didn't take any more pictures of the work-in-progress, but here is the finished product.

Tim wanted a snug cover so I measured twice and cut once. It came out just right. Oh, you can see the quilt-y lining here. Also, that black strap at the top is elastic so that once it's closed you can stretch that over to the other keeps it all closed up.For extra security to keep the GPS safely tucked into it's cover I added a black ribbon that velcros over the top so that it can't slide out accidentally. Oh, and there's a better shot of the quilted lining. And lastly....Here it is all closed up, strapped in, and cushioned for the safety, security, and longevity of the GPS. Now, all we need to do is go on a trip! Oh, that's right, we're heading for the beach in a few days. Yippee! The second project I finished is a birthday gift. I'll have to save those pictures until after the birthday girl receives the gift. Now, you wouldn't want me to ruin the surprise, would you?

For your viewing pleasure here is a new picture of the girls. They wanted to play in the sandbox today...mentally preparing for the beach-y fun coming soon, I suppose. And yes, before playing in the sandbox they were superheroes...hence the mask on E's head.Oh, one more thing! I must confess that the idea for the new header was stolen from Adrienne over at Some of a Kind. She had the cutest header written in chalk, which she has since changed, but I thought I'd give it a whirl. I kinda like it...don't you? Thanks Adrienne for such a great idea! :o)

Monday, September 1, 2008


I wanted to share more of my crazy life today, but when I was trying to think of a title for this post all I could come up with was 'When it rains, it pours.' I didn't want to use a phrase that dealt with anything'll understand later. So as I mindlessly searched for an alternate phrase for the title I came across a site... It's a site for ESL but, Oh, the teacher in me loves this place. I perused the many lists of idioms only to discover that I may be able to tell my story by using a lot of idioms. I know,! It's been a challenging morning...humor me:o)

Sometimes motherhood is a tough row to hoe. You know, it throws you a curve ball. I discovered that it's never a good sign when a kid that is sharp as a tack and can talk a blue streak is subdued and feeling under the weather. Now, I'm not out in left field when it comes to sick kids because I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, but when a monkey wrench is thrown into the works it's a horse of a different color. We have our regular Monday routine around here, but this morning started off with a bunch of whining. It's so hard to tell if it's legitimate sometimes because you can only pull my chain by crying wolf so many times. Kids are smart ya know...they figure out that the squeaky wheel get the grease very quickly. So, we went to Target because the big kid was feeling better. When we arrived the whining resumed. Whining happens at the drop of a dime sometimes and I'd had enough so I took little sister with me to blow off some steam. I left the big kid with Daddy. Oh man...he earned his keep today. When the rubber meets the road there really is no one better for my babies. So as I was off with the little one, the big kid decides to hurl. Yes, that's right. Thankfully not in the car. Daddy got her out just in time. So then it was time to circle the wagons. We made sure she was feeling better and drove for what seemed like a country mile until we got home. I reminded myself... don't sweat the small stuff, because when I'm the one left holding the (barf) bag at the end of the day I realize that I am very blessed to have beautiful, healthy, growing children...and even when they're sick for a brief moment I need to cherish this time because they'll be all grown up in a New York minute.

So? How do you like them apples?