Friday, October 30, 2009

It snowed!!

In Colorado.  And a little in Alaska.

But here?  It snowed leaves.  As I was shopping for my Christmas present Hubs was busting the rake getting the yard looking nice.  Two days later?  This:

See my feet?  They are there.  And just to prove I didn't stand in a pile, here's a pic of the yard....

Yeah.  We've got leaves.  Hubs casually mentioned how nice it would be if we could rake on Thursday because it was supposed to rain today (which it did) and he wanted to get them all up before they were soaked again.  Ha!  I went out, with the kids after Nugget's nap and couldn't find the rake, so I started to sweep off the deck.  Hubs came home on the ninth pass of the broom and said, "I got it."  

I ASSUMED he went to the garage to get the rake (which I SWEAR I couldn't find anywhere).

However, a couple of minutes later, I hear a motor roaring and the kids squealing with delight. 


When you have a leaf blower, who need a rake?

Merry Christmas to me!

(excuse the coupons, but hey, It was Sunday.  That's what I do)

One reason for the lack of blogging is we've either been traveling or had a revolving door of company.  Last week, our old neighbors from Florida greatest friends ever (better, Steph?) came up for their fall break.  And boy am I glad they did!  It was great catching up and letting the kids play, but because we had to show them all that God's country had to offer, we took them to the apple orchard.  And because we took them to the apple orchard, we had to pick apples.  And because we picked apples, we HAD to get some apple cider.  And because it's October, we had to get a pumpkin to carve.  And because we were getting one big pumpkin to carve, all the kids had to get little pumpkins to take home.  And popcorn.  And some apple butter.

And because we had 4 kids hopped up on cider with us, we were going to let Hubs finish paying before Nugget knocked down the entire display of caramels.  And because I had on my skinny jeans and can't fit anything other than my booty in my pockets, I handed him our camera.  And because Hubs was juggling all of the above, he dropped my camera.


Bless the little Coolpix's shutter, the only thing I really liked about it was that I could slip it in my back pocket (depending on the pants).  So this raised the question.  Spend $200 on the same camera I don't love, or take this as an opportunity to upgrade?  I consulted my financial advisor and camera guru in Alaska, and the answer was simple.  UPGRADE.  

I stopped by the camera shop to confirm my hopes/fears that it would cost more to fix than replace, then I was taking the kids back to the orchard to pick apples.  I called C to get her thoughts and she said she'd start googling.  45 minutes later, she called me all excited about what I HAD to get.

I dropped the kids back at the house, consulted with Hubs, and he said to go back up to the store, sans kids, and figure out what I wanted.

Less than an hour later, I called Hubs to tell him the "deal" I selected and he said, "Ok, Merry Christmas!"

Woo to the hoo!  Later, while I was putting the kids to bed, he wrapped it all up and we opened it together.  I.LOVE.THIS.CAMERA.  Apologies to friends on Facebook.  If you thought I posted a bunch of picture before, you ain't seen nothin' yet!

Here's a sample from the album I like to call, "I have no idea what I'm doing!"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Insurance, how I love thee. Let me count the ways.

Oh, I don't.  That was easy.

I'm not sure what is more work, having health insurance or having home owners insurance.  With both, you pay a nominal fee to INSURE that you are taken care of IF you needed it.  Then, when you do need it, something is coded wrong, some paper didn't get filed correctly, or a date is mistyped (none of which you, the insured, had anything to do with). 

For example, when I was pregnant with Strip, I was doing a 24 hour.  This was the 87th time I'd done one while under our insurance provider's care.  I was pretty surprised when I got a EOB stating that my testing was not covered, and I owed around $300.  Maybe they only go up to 86 jugs of pee?  Not sure, so I called.  I gave all my numbers, SS, Hub's SS, maiden name, dob, dos, etc. and the customer service agent replies, "Oh yes, I see it right here.  I'm sorry Mrs. Mommychick, we don't cover that type of psychiatric testing."  Hmmmm.  I peed in a jug for 24 hours.  I didn't know that was psychiatric testing.  If so, my nephrologist has been lying to me for a while....if she really IS my nephrologist!  CS's response?  "Oopsie! Something must have been coded wrong!  Sorry about that!  Don't pay anything!"  


Anyway, our just-turned-a-year-old front-loader washing machine morphs into a rocket ship every time it hits the spin cycle, and because it's a day and a half over warranty, we had to call in for a home owner's claim.  The nice man came out and looked at it, declared it needed a complete overhaul and showed me what the bill would be.  I fell over.  Then I got up.  Then I told him I could probably pay for a new washer AND dryer for what it was going to cost to repair.  He agreed, but said we had to go through and submit the claim (which they denied) and see what the insurance company wanted to do with it.

Here is our washer:

With pedestal and just imagine the dryer which looks exactly like it, sitting to the right.

I was IN THE ROOM when the repair man listed the make/model/serial number of our washer.  So imagine my surprise when Scott, from claims, called me to say, "Great news!  We're offering to purchase you a new washing machine.  Here's the number for it.  Just go to the website and type in this number, make sure the dimensions work in the space you have, and give me a call back.  We'll order if for you!"

Great!  Scott, however, had beeped in while I was on the phone with Ma who was telling me about the Hobby Lobby they were getting, so when I clicked back over, we started talking about the next subject.  Meanwhile, the multi-tasker that I am, went ahead and looked up the washer so I could get the ball rolling and the rocket in the laundry room could blast off.

Ma:  Oh!  Ok, next thing.  I am officially finished shopping for your kids for Christmas!

Me:  Ha!  Can I get that in writing? (Papa and Ma can make Santa look like scrooge at Christmas).

Ma:  Ha, ha.  No really, but I want to tell you a couple of things, so the first is this...


Ma: kinda confused  ummm what....?!

Me:  Sorry, not you.  I've got to call you back.

Just as she was about to rail off her Christmas findings, I click to find my NEW washer:

Ummm.  It's white, and it's a front loader...but that's about all the two have in common.  I'm going to let Hubs handle this one.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The problem with a helpful child...

Is that she sometimes find your surcee's.

I didn't get the good out of my kid-free time today, so I had to race to the grocery store after I picked both of them up.  Nugget wore big boy underwear to school for the first time, and to celebrate him still being in his original pants, I told them we'd go get a cookie (which they have for free at the grocery store).  Normally, I don't take the kids with me, but I had my list and was determined to get in and out.

While cruising down the Manager's Special section, I noticed a basket of dvd's and with a quick glance, noticed there were some Word World dvds (which both kids love).  I grabbed 2 packs (that's 4 dvd's for $9.78!!) and stuffed them in with the bread figuring I could put them with Christmas stuff, or have them in the closet for when we needed something new and fun.  

When we got home, the washing machine man was waiting for us (somehow in the YEAR that we've owned this washer, it's turned into a rocket ship, or at least that's what it SOUNDS like), so the groceries got piled on the counter.  Strip was begging me to let her paint, but I had just said no because we didn't have much time and I needed to get all of the groceries put away.

"I'll help!" 

She grabbed a bag of groceries, looked in it and said, "All this stuff goes in the pantry.  I'll put it away."  A few minutes later, I hear,  "OOOOOOooooooHHHHHhhhhh." but just think that she's found the build-a-bear fruit snacks.  She then walks around the corner holding the 2 sets of dvd's.  Whoops.

"Are these for me?!?"

Yes, you and your brother, but I bought them for when you two have been super good or when you sleep in your bed all night, every night for a week.

"Ok.  I'll act surprised when you give them to me later.  But can I watch one now?!"

Ugh.  Trying to be sneaky and needing coffee do not mix.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Are you there blog? It's me, the author.

Can I get my money back for October?  I didn't realize October had started, much less was almost OVER!  Needless to say, we've been crazy busy.  And I'd love to take this opportunity to recap, but Strip has changed her mind, again, on what she wants to be for Halloween, so it's off to the fabric store.  I am attempting to make both of their costumes today/tonight.  Hubs has a work thing tonight, so the kids are going to bed, and I'm having a hot date with Bernie.

Whew!  Updates soon, I hope!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Reunited and it feels so good!

What happens when you mix 8 adults, 5 kids and a backwoods mountain home together? Hub's Sibling Family Reunion (or HSFR for short!). Hub's older sister had the idea to get all the "kids" together for a fun weekend in the mountains. Unfortunately, the weekend the other siblings could go was the weekend AFTER my high school reunion. Because of travel and the cost of the reunion, we didn't think we'd be able to go, but the ball was dropped on the reunion and so was the cost, so we grabbed our moonshine and headed to Tennessee!

I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive. I'm a control freak, and like to do the planning, but Hub's older sister handled everything. No one had actually SEEN the house we rented and after comparing virtual tours to actual houses while house hunting, I was a wee bit worried. Also, the thought of all those people (and kids!) in one place for an extended weekend scared me more than a wee bit.

We met up with two of the siblings "downtown" and made our way toward the house. It should come as no shock that Madge had no idea where we were (and even if she did, I refused to listen. I'm still convinced she wanted us to drive off a mountain. She's out to get me!), so we were following the rental company's directions which included, "Turn left at the blue house on the corner," and "take the dirt road all the way back."

The first part of the drive was lovely. The mountains were gorgeous, the leaves were changing, the kids were pretty happy. However, after turning left at the blue house, I could hear the Dueling Banjos from Deliverance playing in my head. I locked the doors and told Hubs I was glad that we were driving in during the daylight hours.

And then, the house! It was....not like the pictures. At. All. And there was a creepy stone slab that I was convinced was some sort of burial ground. BIL's wife and I got out to look around and discovered that there was another dirt road that extended beyond the dirt road we were on. We told the boys to drive on and we'd walk. Down a hill and around a curve, and there it was! Like a beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert! I still felt like it would be a great setting for a scary movie and was convinced some mad man was going to cross the stream and cut off all our heads while we slept, but kept it to myself and tried to enjoy the weekend.

And can I just say that we had a GREAT time. All the kids got along, there was this giant outdoor pavillion where the boys could go drink beer and build a fire, the girls could stay in the main house with the wii and the kids. The weather was gross enough that we didn't want to go anywhere, but not so gross that we didn't go out and enjoy walking in the stream. The house was very newly refurbished, and even though there was quite a few of us, we weren't on top of each other all the time.

And the best part? All the girls there. SIL (mother of three), me (mother of two), SIL (elementary school teacher) and other SIL (nurse). So basically 4 women who are completely in sync with taking care of other people. One would be entertaining the kids while another would be cooking while another was sweeping the floor and another washing towels. It was like a ballet. At one point, I said, "You know. I'm thinking I could get really into the idea of sister-wives." BIL asked what I was talking about. "You know. Like on Big Love. All the sister-wives working together. This is really nice. EVERYTHING gets done and there's no nagging, reminding, begging or complaining. We all just know what needs to be done and we do it!" Then BIL reminded me of one tiny little complication. "Yeah but who ELSE would want to be married to Hubs?!" Touche, bro. Touche.

Monday, October 5, 2009

To infinity, and beyond!

I am walking out of the door to take Strip to movie #2, Toy Story double feature in 3D!  Woo hoo!!  She has no idea, and wants to be surprised as to where we are going, so she'll figure it out when we get there.

However, now I'm thinking I should have told her, because I'm betting that when I tell her what we're going to see, she'll say, "But we just watched that at Ma's!"  And I'm worried she'll hate the 3d part.....

Oh well.  I'm sure the glasses won't fit her anyway, and who doesn't love seeing a favorite movie in the theatre?! This should be interesting!

Ballet Drama, Part II

Because I'm now chillin at the dance studio, I tried chatting it up with one of the moms (who does speak English).  She asked which one was mine, and I pointed Strip out.  She pointed  out a tiny blond as hers and my first thought was, "I wonder how old she is."  Strip is a jolly blond giant, so I forget what "normal" kids her age look like.  Mom asked me how old she was and I told her her birthdate.  She said her kiddo was GOING TO BE 4 the end of October.  Wow.  The majority of the kids in this class are already 4/turning 5, so I braced myself for the inevitable phrase, "She's just really advanced," which came out about 7 seconds later. 

Well this last week, something went down during the bean bag dance and the advanced kid CHUNKED her beanbag into the mirror and lost it.  The teacher handled it really well, but I was kind of curious what happened.  When we got in the car, I asked Strip if anything happened in class and she said no.  I told her I heard someone crying and asked what that was about.  

Strip:  Oh yeah.  They yellow haired kid?
Me:   Yeah, what was up with that?
Strip:  She threw her bean bag across the room really hard and hit the mirror.  Then she started yelling at the teacher and she had to sit in time out, but she got to do tap with us so it was fine.
Me:  Oh.  Hmm.  Why did she throw her bean bag across the room?
Strip:  I don't know.  I'm not her, how am I supposed to know why she does something?


My little thinker is also really annoyed with the song "Tomorrow" from Annie.  

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, Tomorrow!  Strip's thought:  That doesn't make any sense.  How can she love tomorrow, today?  She doesn't even know what is going to happen yet!

I was right.

It did get messy.

Our first stop ended up being Costco, because I needed a couple of things, and you can get lunch there for $1.49.  After our hot dog, Costco samples and getting our necessities,  I asked Nugget if he needed to go to the bathroom.  Yes!  And he was still dry!  Hooray!  After a sucessful trip to the public bathroom, the toilet wouldn't flush.  Awesome.  There happened to be a Costco employee in there who heard us attempting to flush and started screaming, "You have to hold it up for 5 seconds, then push in and down!"  After trying to flush for the 18th time, I pushed the kids and giant cart out of the bathroom and tried one more time.

Success!  Followed by a wooshing sound.  Followed by water pouring out of the toilet.  Awesome.  The employee was standing right there, and all I could think to say was, "I promise he just peed!"  So the first time out in big boy underwear and we flood the Costco ladies room.  Great!

We ran the rest of our errands, and I needed to stop by the library but didn't think to make him go before we left the mall.  Two minutes before we got to the library, I hear, "Oh!  I pee pee!"  Oh no.  "Did you pee pee, or do you need to pee pee?"  "I need to pee pee.  Mater's dry."  Awesome!  We'll be there before you can sing Wheels on the Bus.  Unfortunately, it takes very little to excited a 2 year-old, so when we rounded the corner and Nugget caught sight of the  library, I hear, "SUE!!!  LOOK!!  Lie-berry!  Look Sue!! Flag!!  SUE....uh ohhhhhh.  Mater wet.  Oh no Mater, oh no."

Sure enough, Mater was wet, so we just cranked the car and headed home to hose off.  Oh well!  It was a good try!