Monday, October 31, 2011


No, we didn't carve pumpkins this year. But I did carve a turkey and cheese sandwich! So needless to say, Halloween this year was just insane.

Hubs was out of town on the actual day, so we'd done a family trunk-or-treat at a local church. Halloween was on a Monday (boooo) but not just any Monday!

I went to work, left Nugget in afterschool, raced across town for Strip's parent-teacher conference (she's fantastic! Only concern is that she's "too nice" and might get walked all over), scooted over to a friend's house to pick Strip up (who went home with the friend, thank goodness because there was a miscommunication and my poor baby was waiting at carline thinking I was never coming), raced back across town to pick up Nugget, then BACK across town to our house.

Did I mention Hubs was out of town?

Since it's our first Halloween and it was a school night, I invited some friends of ours over for dinner and T-o-T-ing in our 'hood. They homeschool their kids, so no worries if they're driving home at 9pm!

But they were coming for dinner!

Toss the kids in the house, start boiling some Halloween noodles, and pulling costumes together.

Strip was Dorothy (thank you, ebay seller, for allowing my child to not look like a stripper) and Nugget was Capt. Jack "Spiro" (thank you, other ebay seller, for letting my child be Capt Jack in the old school original Disney costume, not the polyester, flammable, see-through one!). Two years ago, Strip was Fancy Nancy and June Bug was her posh puppy. Last year, Nugget was Batman and Zoe was Joker. So this year, we decided to let Zoe go with Strip's costume. I found a bat costume, be we tied on her wings and declared her a flying monkey!

And for me? I was Elphaba. Yup. The wicked, green witch. Thank you, Strip, for suggesting I would make a "Great Elphaba!"

I found a gothic, black dress, on sale, in the jr's department of Party City and bought some green make-up/paint at Target for $.90. LESS THAN A DOLLAR! Who wouldn't let their kids slather green all over her for less than a dollar? I topped it off with a long black wig.

Then I looked at the three of us. All in wigs. Me painted green. Nugget with a beard and mustache. And our dog wearing wings. Great way to meet the neighbors!

We had a fun night going around the 'hood, came home to count our loot, said good-bye to our friends and I hosed off the kids and put them to bed.

Then I attempted to de-green myself.

Here's a little tip. If you don't normally wear a lot of make-up, meaning you don't need make-up remover, and you buy green face/body paint for under a dollar, go the extra mile and purchase a little make-up remover. Or something. Otherwise, you will take three showers with dish soap.

And still find green paint in your hairline the next morning. You've been warned!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


As I mentioned, sometimes our power just goes out. For fun.

The kids and I came home today, and when I pressed the button on the garage door opener, nothing happened.

I got closer, and nadda.

I assume the battery's dead in my remote, so hop out and hit the keypad. Zilch.

Yay, the power's out again.

No big deal! I had "clean out my car" on my t0-do list, so we broke into the house, let Zoe out and the kids hit the yard. I gathered some trash and headed over to the toss it in the can. The trash JUST came, so there's not much in the can, but as lift the lid to toss in some carbage (get it? car+garbage!) I notice something odd.

So I open the lid a little wider.

That's odd... We just took the trash out, and there's so much loose trash in the can...hmmm..

At this point, I open the lid, shove my head in a little more

Ew! Is that poop?! Who just THROWS poop in a garbage can?! I mean, when we pick up Zoe's poop, we toss it in here, but "just poop" would mean that someone picked up poop with their bare hands! Who does that?!

Now I have my head and shoulders peering into the garbage can.

And that's when my eyes met the beady little eyes of this fellow:

Yes. We like Chick-fil-a, but that's not the point! Oh my raccoon!!!! In the trash can! One centimeter closer and that thing's clawing my eyes out and giving me rabies!

So I did what any rational person would do.

I slammed the door and screamed, "OH MY BATHTUBS!! THERE'S A FREAKING RACCOON IN THE TRASH CAN!!!"

Which of course means that as I go to get my phone to take a picture, the kids are stacking up the recycling bins to peer in and get a peek, causing me to scream, "Get down! That thing will claw your face off!"

I'm guessing the jerk raccoon was making his weekly stop in our can. Unfortunately for him, trash was delayed a day for the holiday and he didn't get the memo. So where there should have been some trash to eat, enjoy and get a boost back out, there was one measly bag in the bottom and he couldn't get out.

Hubs, of course, was out of town, but told me to leave that jerk in the can until he got home (we have some issues with raccoons. And armadillos. And burrowing animals). But I felt bad for the stupid thing. But not bad enough to do anything besides tossing a little bit more trash in there. Not to squish him! Just to give him a little umph to get out of the can.

And the next morning, I stood on the kids' stacked green bins, peeked in and nothing there! He escaped!

And I will be forever afraid to open our outdoor garbage. As will many others in my life, including my mother.

Monday, October 24, 2011


The kids had Monday off from school, so instead of having a lazy day in our PJ's we decided to go geocaching. I honestly can't remember where I came across geocaching, it seemed like a fun thing to do that was like a treasure hunt and would get the kids and dog outside for a nice long time, so off to the park we went!

I explained how geocaching worked, pulled up the app on my phone, leashed up the pup and we were off! 25 minutes later, we'd found nothing, so I figured someone moved the cache and we were off to the next one. Thorns, stepping in holes, tripping over logs, and kids letting go of the squirrel-chasing dog, we failed to find #2.

And the kids were getting cranky.

And honestly? So was I.


I told the kids we'd walk to the park (about a mile away from where we were!), and as we got closer, up popped another one.

I convinced the kids to look for this one as the description lead me to believe it was pretty big and the location stated that it was easy to find. How could we fail!

We tromped along many paths and came to a clearing where we all felt it HAD to be.

And then, we saw it!

The kids found it!! And Nugget, while leaning on the log to get a closer look, squished his hand in bird poop.

They looked at me and asked what was in it. Only one way to find out (insert silent prayer that there was nothing scary, dead, alive or inappropriate hiding in the ammo box...)


The rules state that you have to leave something if you take something, and all we had was a poop bag, so we signed the book and found a new hiding place. And the kids were hooked! As we set off down the trail, I refreshed my list and up popped another one that was "for kids only." I told the kids they had to find it, traded my phone for Zoe's leash and let them lead the way.

Once we got close enough that we were close, but every step we took got us farther away, we took a left and headed into the woods (getting many strange looks from people jogging/biking/walking on the trail).

Nugget spotted this one, but they worked together to dig it out of the stick pile.

And when they opened it up, Strip's reaction was, "They weren't kidding! This one IS for kids!!"

TONS of toys that both kids were going nuts over! But, since we didn't have anything to trade, I let them both sign the book and start looking for a new (close) place to hide it.

So after our first 'caching experience, everyone had fun, I got fussed at for not bringing toys to trade out and no one got ticks. Or poison ivy. Or bitten by a snake.

So all in all, a successful afternoon! Can't wait to look for caches all over town!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lights out

In the great state of Florida, we sometimes have storms. And sometimes, those storms cause power outages. And sometimes, the power just goes out even if there is no storm.

And that's what happened today.

The kids and I were at home, enjoying our Saturday, and I told them we'd head to the Halloween store to get some costume accessories. No sooner had we gone out to load up in the car, out went the power.


What's the problem?

The problem is that my car is in the garage. And our garage door needs power to go up, allowing my car to back out. Now, I know what your saying. Giant eye roll and, "Pull the red cord and lift the door yourself, lazy!" Well, that's exactly what I did.

Unfortunately, the garage door element that holds the door up when said power is out was not on/in/around/a part of our garage door.

So, I'd lift it up. It would fall back down. I'd THROW it up. It would come back down. It would remain above the ground about 2 feet, but my car is a little larger than that. So there's the problem.

I could hold the door up, arms extended over my head, and standing on my tippy toes, but that would leave the kids in charge of backing the car out of the garage. Not a good idea.

If Nugget were to stand on Strip's shoulders, they could probably hold it up high enough, but that probably falls in the "Not a good idea" category, too.

I was left with one choice; get creative.

And the results? Well, they speak for themselves:

Yup. Let's see... trash can! Hmm that's not tall enough... Trash can AND a hard cooler! Nope, still not tall enough... Oh! Rolling trash can + cooler + empty trash can= Open garage door!

After I stabilized my tower, I locked the kids and dog in the house, cranked the car and prayed nothing slipped. A few seconds later, the car was out of the garage, the kids were safely buckled, our trash cans were back in their spots, and we were pulling out of the driveway!

And so what if the power came back on as we pulled away....

Friday, October 7, 2011

Reader, reader, what do you see...

I see trouble looking at me.

Side note: Did you know you can buy public bathroom signs on ebay? Because you can.

Anyhoo, fall is here and that means it's time for the (almost) annual Hubs Sibling Reunion weekend in the beautiful mountains of Tennessee! We found a cabin two years ago in Pigeon Forge and it was PERFECT for our clan! We decided to rent it last year, but it was already booked, so we booked WAY in advance for 2011. Which meant we were traveling during the school year for a trip that we planned when the kids were in a different school system and one SIL was SUPER pregnant! Yay!

We got the kids at school pick-up and started making our trip north. If I were driving, we would make as few stops as possible, but Hubs was behind the wheel which meant we stopped for dinner 2 hours in and gas/bathrooms 1.5 hours later (because it would make too much sense to get gas and pee in the same zip code where you had dinner).

Hubs starts pumping gas, and I take the kids into the "store" to use the bathroom. We walked by a row of chain-smoking gamblers who were smoking (well, does it count as "smoking" if the cigarette is just dangling on your lower lip while smoke is swirling around you?) IN the gas station while playing the slots! Hello, middle Georgia. So nice to see you!

I corralled everyone into the Ladies room and found a stall to stuff everyone into. As I was helping Nugget to levitate around the grossness, Strip is looking at all of the writing on every wall of the stall.

Strip: Why would someone write all over the walls? 'Don't marry a man for his looks or riches, marry him for what's..'

Me: AHHH!! TURN AROUND! Turn around! Just stop reading and don't touch anything!!

Mind you, this was after the dinner stop bathroom discussion where she said, "Why would they have a trash can IN the bathroom stall with a sticker on it that specifically says, 'No Trash?' That seems silly! What do they want you to put in there?!"

If my sister-in-law could give birth at the cabin this weekend, we may win the prize for awkward moments.

Monday, October 3, 2011

13.1? DONE!

Disney wine and dine weekend!! WAAAHHHOOOOOO!!!

The moment we'd been waiting for since I stupidly given my credit card to Disney in April and booked our hotel room! Ma was in town to hang with the kiddos and pups, UP was finally finished with class, a work dinner and was at the house and we were on the road!

I'd booked us a hotel on property at one of the value resorts. I knew we'd only be spending a few hours in the hotel and I wanted something we could take the bus to and from the start/finish line, so All Star it was.

The drive seemed to take FOREVER! Even though it was 3 adults and we passed the time listening to/watching stand-up, I wanted to just wiggle my nose and be there. We opted to not stop and eat so we could just get there, only to discover that the food court closes at a certain time (aka about 15 minutes before we checked in). We ordered a pizza and headed up to the room. A couple of slices later and we were all tucked in, ready for a good night's sleep.

The next day, half-marathon day!!, we headed over to the expo. I had no idea what to expect. We parked, and started walking. We stood in a not-s0-bad line and were ready to check in, get our bibs and be official!

Except for one little problem.

I'd filled out all the paperwork, and I SWEAR I would have caught this, but I had all of our "what we're called" names put on our bibs. That's great for me (who goes by my real name) and UP (who goes by his middle name), but not so great for Hubs (who goes by a nickname of his real name no way incorporated on his FL drivers license).

And the blood pressure rises...

We all flash our ids and the problem started. It's not the name on the list! This name doesn't match! I'm not sure.....

OH NO. You can NOT tell me that we (well, the boys) have been training so hard for this, and now, because of a southern nickname, Hubs isn't going to get to run!??!

Luckily, the "cast member" sitting to the left of check-in gal, had a name tag with her city clearly visible; Charlotte, NC. Come on, southern lady! Help us out!

She sat nodding in agreement the entire time we were checking in, and eventually, the official check-in girl deemed us "legal" to accept our bibs. We crossed the tag check, verified our names and ages and off to pick up our swag bags!

I must say, our bag was quite nice! A clear bag for our checked stuff, some gu, some samples and a sweet little wine and dine running shirt. We decided to walk around the expo and that might have been the biggest mistake we made all day. I just wanted to get a Wine and Dine something to remember the weekend by. What we ended up getting? 2 wine and dine wine glasses, 3 bags of apples, a pair of chiquita banana sunglasses and 2 tattoos, a new pair of headphones for me, a new powerband for Hubs and a set of Cutco knives. Yes, we went to run a half-marathon and bought a new set of knives.

After impulse buying our way around, we headed to downtown disney for a late lunch/early dinner/last meal. Then, it was back to the hotel to rest.

And since I was with 2 of the girliest guys, we also had to pick out and try on our outfits. After our ensembles were assigned, we pinned on our bibs, drank some water, packed our after-race bags, drank some water, filled out our emergency contact information, drank some water, charged our ipods, drank some water, packed our gu and gatorade, drank some water and got dressed. And then we hopped on the bus! At 7:45! Yay for early arrivers!

One of my biggest stressors was knowing there were going to be about 200 port-a-potties and knowing there was about a 200% chance I was going to have to use one at some point during the evening. If you were paying attention in the above paragraph, you might have noticed we were drinking a LOT of water. So it should come as no surprise that after we checked our bags into the u-haul, grabbed another bottle of water and found a spot on the lawn to enjoy the preparty, I had to pee. NOOOOOOO!

Off to the line of port-a-potties we went. Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew.


I must say there is a really big difference in using a port-a-potty at a Dave Matthews Band concert, lawn seats, and using one just before a half-marathon. People might as well have been walking in, flipping the lock and pouring bottled water into the hole filled with blue water. Not too bad at all!

But we still had two hours before the race started.

So we danced, watched some crazies jumping around, met up with UP's friends, and I finally faced my other fear and ate a cliff shot block. Ew. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn't because it's like the shot block adheres to your stomach lining and there's nothing to puke. We then shuffled into our corral.

Somehow, we managed to get assigned to corral C. Right in the middle! The national anthem was performed, we all waited excitedly and BAM!




And about a minute later, we shuffled forward and repeated the process.

Finally about 12 minutes after 10, we were off. I mean, really off. The boys wanted to run together, and I was feeling a little wheezy so told them to go ahead and I'd see them at the finish line. They took off, and I started to try to pace myself. And then, something amazing happened.

I passed someone. Then another person! Then another group of three! And a few more people!!! I'm running in a half-marathon AND I'm running faster than someone (well 9 someones!)! If I can manage to not get picked up by the bus, I'll officially check my half goals off my list!

I clopped along down what felt like the longest road ever and finally came to the first mile marker. By the second mile marker, I could tell I was not running my best and was SO going to have to do one of these stinkin' things again. I kept trying to push myself a little harder, but kept getting caught up in the same group of slowpokes and could not get around.

The race was awesome though, and there were parts of the electrical parade all along the way, music blaring, character spots, it was great! And just when I thought I was never going to get there, I ran under the Animal Kingdom sign! YES!! Finally the first park!

And if I hated that park with a double stroller in 100*+ heat, it was 15 times worse at night with thousands of runners. I'd finally gotten up to a good pace and was feeling in the groove. I ran under a bridge, up a hill and knew the tree of life would be in sight at any momen---AHHH!

Well, the park is the same running. Just when I thought I was home free, the chick running in front of me (at a part where we were in a straight line) comes to a full stop, pulls out her camera and takes a picture of the tree.

I almost slam into her, manage to hop around her and the 12 others doing the same, and keep going. I kept telling myself, "You hate this park! If you stop now, it's going to take you that much longer to get out if it!" and somehow, I kept running! I made it past the point where the relay swap was happening, through a back lot and out into the parking lot, around the parking booth and I was on to the next park!

And somewhere around mile 8, I was running over a bridge and people were honking and I had to wave and smile. I was doing it! I was actually doing it! I was RUNNING a half-marathon! Oh if coach Sherman could see me now! The girl who could give everything for that one stupid mile it took to make the soccer team, complaining the whole way, was running a half marathon!

And at that point, it became a blur.

There was a green army man screaming at us as we climbed a hill to Hollywood Studios, my mind tried desperately to figure out where I was and suddenly I was at the Tower of Terror, I thought back to the race map, trying to think how much longer I had to go, and I was at mile 10. I was pushing, but had to stop and laugh at/with a cute couple next to me. I'd pulled my earpiece out of one ear for the water stop and I hear her say, "This. was. the. dumb. est. idea. I. ever. had." to which he replied, "Come on, baby! You can do it! We're at 10! Just a 5K left to go!"

Just a 5k! Shoot me now!

But suddenly, I was on the boardwalk then I could see parts of Epcot and before I knew it, I could see the finish line! THE FINISH LINE!! I knew the boys had finished way before me, so I slowed down a little to look around, hoping to see their smiling faces somewhere in the crowd. Not seeing anyone familiar, I pushed it on across the finish line, threw my arms up in the air and slowed it to a jog, then a walk. I went over to some awesome volunteers who put the (heavy!) medal around my neck. I did it.

I. did. it.

And because I needed to know, I looked back and saw a gaggle of people behind me. I did it. I wasn't last, the bus didn't pick me up, I finished. At that moment I wanted to cry. And throw up a little. And get some water. And pee. And sit down. And lie down. And find the boys. But my jelly legs just kept going where I picked up a bottle of water, grabbed a bag and some gatorade, a banana, a cliff bar, and some other stuff. Before I knew it, I was standing in line to get my official post-race picture taken. I did it! I'm holding my medal and I finished and I look great! (nope! No mirrors! I saw the picture, I looked like a sweaty mess.). I started to make my way over to the bag claim area and I saw them! The boys had finished, beating the 2 hour mark (amazing!), Hubs was 3 steps away from losing a toenail (which he nicely texted a picture of to me) and they were ready to party! We grabbed my stuff, changed (large open tent where I was pretty sure when I took off my shorts, I WOULD fall over) and headed into the wine and dine party.

This was the one disappointing part of the night.

It's the WINE and dine. And what do they hand me? A skunky beer. Boooo. But they did give us all a $10 gift card, so we wobbly made our way around the world to Italy where I was able to get myself a glass of wine and the three of us could pose for a picture with the epcot ball in the background.

We did it! We actually did it!

And I must say, the bling at Disney is so fantastic, I think we're hooked. Counting down the days until the next wine and dine! I think it's an annual thing now.