Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pool Time!

This morning, we went over to Doc and VJ's to swim again. This time, Katie Anne was equipped with floaties and a swim ring, and she was eager to jump right back in and swim! She loves being able to swim "independently" with the floats. After we swam for about two hours, we ate the delicious lunch VJ made us - salmon, hamburgers, grilled veggies, and a big hit with KA - Sunchips. Then, Doc and VJ gave us some surprises they'd picked up on their trip... hats for everyone (sparkly ones for me and KA and a Hard Rock Venice for Saunders... in the picture, I'm accidentally wearing KA's hat), Murano glass necklace and earrings for me, and an "evil eye" from Turkey for the house. (Although I might wear it as a pendant! I like it, and I could always use the extra evil protection.) We had a fun morning together!

Yard Sale Deal-o-Rama!

On Saturday, my mom, Katie Anne, and I went yard sale shopping. It is something my mom and I have never gotten to do because she's worked almost every Saturday, but now she's getting a lot more Saturdays off from work, so we thought we'd give it a try! (Saunders was all too happy to oblige us, and he quickly planned a bargain hunting trip himself - to search for an on-sale golf club.)

I have, however, been yard selling before... my grandparents would take Greg and I to yard sales, armed with a few $1 bills for each of us, in the summertime, and they liked to have yard sales, too. Greg and I would comb through our parents' donate pile and pull out anything we thought we could sell - men's blue jeans are hot selling items! I usually ran the money box, and Greg combed the crowd, searching for potential "sticky fingers"! We looked forward to the yard sale - and the little bit of spending money we got when we sold old toys and Dad's jeans - each summer.

So, we headed out on Saturday morning with no real goal in mind - just looking for any sweet deals. I found TONS! Guess my childhood training in deal hunting has paid off! My mom got two great buys, too. Here's what we got...

My mom got a Fisher Price picnic table...
Retail: $45 - Her cost: $20!

She also got a tricycle for Katie Anne...Retail: $50 - Her cost: $0! That's right - free! Someone just gave it to her!

My big find was two base cabinets for the playroom...Retail: $420 for both - My cost: $20 for both!

I also bought Katie Anne a Fisher Price Smart Cycle...
Retail: $100 - My cost: $8!

I got an antique baby bed - needs a new base, and I'll make some bedding for it...(Hard to find a retail on this, but I think this one is comparable)
Retail: $34 - My cost: $5!

I got a big box of cookie cutters (which I'll use in kindergarten for Play-Doh), plus a few random maracas and bouncy balls...
Retail: $13 - My cost: $3!

I got two flower wall hooks for the playroom, which I'll repaint...Retail: $20 for both - My cost: $1 for both!

I got two pair of practically brand-new high heels:
Chinese Laundry ones...
Retail: $60 - My cost: $2!

and a black pair of Mossimo slides (can't find a picture)...
Estimating retail: $20 - My cost: $1!

So, if you add all of the retail costs together of things we got, you'd get a grand total of: $762. If you add up what we paid for them, you'd get: $60.

That's a savings of $702!!!

Yes, most of those things are used, and some of them need a little painting or work, so let's knock off a hundred bucks or even two or three!!! That's still big time deals, peoples!!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Does anyone else feel like this?

Yesterday, my summer officially began. My plan was to use part of my Mother's Day present and get a massage since I'd already paid for Katie Anne's daycare for the full week, and she's totally happy to be there. Unfortunately, due to technical errors on the spa's website, they did not get my online appointment request (even though I got a confirmation email -grrr), so I couldn't get in yesterday.

So, I spent the day cleaning. Even though that's not my ideal way to spend a free day, it is nice to start the summer with a clean house. I cleaned like a maniac - picked up and put away (which took forever... the house goes rapidly downhill during the last two weeks of school, and clutter takes over all flat surfaces), and then swept, mopped, vacuumed, did lots of laundry, and cleaned all the bathrooms. The only thing I didn't get to was dusting, and I'll do that this weekend. I also got to eat lunch with my hubby at a great new restaurant, and I got my car washed and detailed... so it was a productive day, even if it wasn't the relaxing day that I'd planned.

Which brings me to the title of my post... is anyone else astonished, happy, and yet horribly disgusted when you see how much crap a new vacuum cleaner pulls out of your carpets? Yesterday, I used our new vacuum for the first time. Good grief... I had no idea our floors were this nasty! What was the old vacuum cleaner doing? Obviously, nothing. I just went back and forth between "Thank goodness we got a new vacuum! So fresh and so clean-clean!" to "I wish I had never seen that filth rolling out of my didn't-look-so-dirty-before floors! Someone call DFACS - my kid's been playing in this!" I was so amazed and horrified by the amount of dust, dog hair, and general filth sucked out of just our three bedrooms and area rugs that I had to take a picture of it. Click here to see the nasty ball of dust that rolled out of that new vacuum cleaner when I was done cleaning ... gross! I'm so glad the carpets are now so clean, but I hate to know that, as of this time yesterday morning, we were walking around on and breathing in all that junk! I'm surprised Katie Anne didn't have a little cloud of dust around her feet like Pig Pen.

All my boxes are packed...

Time for summer to begin!

Post planning is over for me, and I got my classroom all packed up this week. (Don't ask me why we have to pack everything up - I'm not moving rooms, and they're not painting, replacing flooring, or anything. We just have to pack everything up. Boo.)

Jillian came and helped me pack boxes and label things on Tuesday, and Dad came and helped me move stuff on Thursday. We brought home a truckload of stuff I don't want to leave (like my super-duper back massaging desk chair... I can see that walking off over the summer) as well as boxes and boxes of summer work for me to do (files to reorganize, folders to make... sigh). Thanks, Jill and Dad ... I greatly appreciate all the help!!!

I don't look forward to unpacking all these boxes during pre-planning, but I am so happy that my summer has officially begun!

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Fish named Shark

On Wednesday, I brought home all the school animals - Chloe, Cosmo, and my beta fish (which the students had named "Jack the Pirate Fish"). I thought it might be fun for Katie Anne to keep the fish tank in her room, and I set it up before she came home from visiting Gigi and Granddad on Wednesday evening.

She was so excited to see it! I let her rechristen the fish (since Greg and Jillian have a dog named Jackson, or Jack for short, I thought a fish named Jack might confuse her). She wanted to name it Shark, even though she knows it is a fish.

She loves Shark! She helps feed him, turns his light off and on, and greets him every morning with, "Time to get up, Shark! Good boy!" She kisses the side of his tank good night before she goes to bed.

I think we've got another animal lover on our hands... poor Saunders... who knows how many animals we'll have when she is old enough to start asking for them?

New and Improved ABC Song

Yesterday, while we were waiting out the brief rainstorm in the library parking lot, Katie Anne read her Animal Alphabet to me. (I'll try to get a video of her reading that for posterity, because it is so funny... she gets "A is for alligator" and "B is for Bear", but then every other animal starts either with an S or a P.) Then, she sang the ABC song at the end while she pointed at the letters on the last page. One of her favorite things to do now is singing. Her ABC song has improved dramatically in the last ten days since she sang it this time on May 18.

It is crazy how much she's learning and growing every single day!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Walk a Mile on Her Treadmill

I've been doing a major diet and exercise push for the last eight weeks or so, and Saunders has always done a great job of staying in shape by lifting weights in the basement and doing calisthenics almost every day. I guess fitness has rubbed off on the little woman. Katie Anne wanted to get on the treadmill the other night (in just a shirt and diaper, no less), and walked 0.15 miles! Here's a short video, right at the end of her workout (I didn't think to get my camera until she was almost done walking). Ignore the boxes of toys and books in the basement... the playroom organizing has paused until I've got some summertime to work on it.

She also loves to do "sit ups" and "push ups" (her versions) with us... I'll have to try to get a video of that because it is so cute!

My First Birthday Present!

I won't turn 28 until June 25th, but I got my first birthday present a few days ago! Yeah - a new coffee mug, courtesy of my school! They gave out all summer birthday presents before school got out. The gift giving starts early- it's like a birthday season instead of a day!

Anyone else who wants to get me something - early or late - go right ahead. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Katie Anne's Ideas about Rain

This morning on the way to her new school, Katie Anne and I discussed the rain ...

Me: "Well, Katie Anne, it looks like rain. Do you see those dark clouds?"

KA: "My see those clouds, Mommy. They black. They gray."

Me: "Maybe it will rain today."

KA: "Maybe it rain. Maybe it be pink."

Me: "Maybe the rain will be pink?"

KA: "Maybe the rain be pink. It not be purple - rain not purple, but rain maybe pink."

Me: "Maybe it will be pink. We'll have to see."

KA: "We see. We see rain later."


The Renaissance Festival

On Saturday morning, we went to the Renaissance Festival. Our friend Martin was coming up for the weekend from Florida with his girlfriend Alana, and he wanted some friends to meet at the Renaissance Festival. So, we headed down to meet everyone when the fair opened.

When we arrived, it was pouring down rain! Absolutely a downpour... so we sat in our car to wait it out for about thirty minutes. Even though the rain stopped about 11 am, it was still soppy wet to walk around in the festival with a two-year old and a stroller. We got very muddy, but that was okay - we still had a lot of fun! I didn't want to bring my camera inside in case it started pouring again, but our friend James had his camera, so these pictures are from him.

Katie Anne loved the jousting, the bird show and walking through the bird habitat, and looking at the little dragon puppets. She did not like it at all when the kissing wenches came by and smacked kisses on the cheeks of all the guys. Katie Anne was not a fan of those "two princesses" (as she called them) kissing her daddy! After a lunch of giant turkey leg, fish and chips, we headed home for much needed naps for everyone! (The Sleepy Eating video was made on the way home on Saturday afternoon, and Saunders and I were just as tired as Katie Anne was.)

We had a fun time and were glad to see Martin and Alana, James, and all the Gomisch clan. We wish the weather had been a little nicer, but it was still a great time. Can't wait to go again next year!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

Today, we had a great Memorial Day! We spent the morning relaxing, playing, and just hanging out. After Katie Anne went down for her nap, Saunders cut the grass and did yard work, and I moved Chloe and Cosmo's stuff downstairs and got it set up in the basement. Then, I made two dump cakes - apple and cherry - and homemade ice cream. Once KA woke up, we got all our things together and went to my parents' house for dinner.

We had a great time! My parents cooked tons of delicious things - nachos, veggies, brats, hot dogs, ribs, and lots of other goodies. We all ate and ate, and then topped things off with dump cake and ice cream. My parents surprised us with a small, cash-only egg hunt ... I spotted an egg while we were eating dinner, and Greg, Jillian, and I took off to snag them! (Poor Saunders... he was too busy with his chili dog, and he didn't get one egg. I gave him some of my cash money!) Now, the standing rule is there may be an egg hunt at any time - be ready! Greg's wearing running shoes to all future family events. Katie Anne got a surprise, too - a Mr. Potato Head that she loved.

What a super day! Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

First Swim of the Summer

Today, we went for our first swim of the summer at Doc and VJ's house. We were wondering how Katie Anne would respond. Last year, she really liked the water, but you never know what a toddler will do!

She loved the water and had a great time! She desperately wanted us to just let her go and let her swim by herself, but she'd sink like a little stone the few times we let her try. But, we were just glad she enjoyed the water and wants to try swimming. We swam for about an hour before it started sprinkling. Here are some pictures of the fun!
The dogs came along, too! Here's happy Ginger.

Swimming with Daddy
A little coaching from Dad, and then...
Whoa! Into the drink!
Mommy stops taking pictures and gets in the pool.
Fun day at the pool!

And here's a video of her crazy jumping and swimming!

Shorts Rant

Why does it seem like there are no good shorts out there? I've been looking for shorts for about two weeks, and it seems like every pair is either

super short shorts ...

or complete mom shorts...
I mean, I don't want to completely show my butt in a pair of booty shorts, but I also don't want to look like I just left the senior citizen's home in my knee length pleated shorts. Are there no shorts out there that are a nice medium length for the late twenties crowd?

And, if you want to possibly go blind after seeing an absolutely horrible picture of shorts that I found while searching for images for this rant, click here!

Sleepy Eating

Have you ever been so tired, and yet so hungry at the same time?

(Katie Anne on the way home from the Renaissance Festival yesterday... trying to decide whether napping or snacking was more important.)

Taking Care of VJ's Plants

Saunders's parents, Doc and VJ, are on a ten day European cruise, along with Saunders's brother Carlton, his wife Trisha, Saunders' grandmother, and his aunt, as well as Trisha's family. While they're all on vacation, we're getting their mail and watering their plants. On Friday evening, Katie Anne and I, plus the dogs, went over and watered VJ's container plants. Katie Anne worked very hard, giving them all a good drink!

Helping Mommy fill up her watering can
On the hunt for thirsty plants
Giving the little lamb planter a drink
Here you go, little plant!
Taking a break after all that hard work - we watered for an hour!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Alice Cooper said it Best...

Out for summer, out till fall ... we might not go back at all ...

Still got 3 days of post-planning next week, but for all real intents and purposes, SCHOOL'S OUT!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ginger Lovin

Hence the reason why the Free Dogs to a Good Home post was tongue-in-cheek. Even though they're naughty, she's crazy about them.

PS- You can tell that these pictures are over a week old... both of these girls have had haircuts since then. But, they were so cute I had to use them!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Katie Anne's Favorite Yoga Pose

Downward Facing Dog!

The Bee Master

The scene ...The bee killer lies in wait, his watchful eyes trained on his prey ...
He attacks!
The evil villian lives to fight another day ...
The epic battle between man and carpenter bee continues!

Daycare Drama

We've had some major daycare drama these last few days. Of course, there was the Easter Party fiasco... but even before that, we've been very dissatisfied with Katie Anne's school.

The school changed ownership over a year ago, and the new owner (the previous owner's daughter) assured parents that there would be many new and exciting changes. Many of the things they talked about, including new toys for many classrooms, upgraded equipment on the toddler playground, webcam views into the classrooms, upgraded security measures including a computer for sign in/sign out, and the ability to pay with credit or debit card ... none of these happened. Instead, the director is around less and less, and the not-so-friendly front desk staff are also frequently MIA. The toddler playground is so run down and nasty, the toys in Katie Anne's room are almost nonexistent - and what are there are broken, dirty, and old - and the class size is steadily increasing.

However, Ms. Amanda was still a great teacher, so we decided to leave Katie Anne at the school until this year ended (she wouldn't be in Ms. Amanda's class next year). Then, when school started in August, we'd send her somewhere else. We'd started looking and touring preschools, church schools, and other daycares about three weeks ago, and luckily we'd found a great place for her last week.

Well, lots has transpired in the last week and a half. First, Ms. Amanda hasn't been back since the Friday before Mother's Day. Then, Katie Anne had three major accidents last week while under the sub's care. When I signed the third accident report last week, I mentioned to the sub that it sure was a lot of accidents in one week. She assured me that she was watching the kids, and she felt bad that Katie Anne had so many ... Katie Anne's was just one upon a stack of them waiting for parents to sign last Thursday. However, Katie Anne got great reports from the sub on Friday and Monday.

Then, I hear yesterday from another parent that Katie Anne and another kid exchanged blows on Monday - something the sub failed to mention to me, but the other kid's mom had to sign an accident report. Guess the sub didn't want to give me another report after I'd said three in one week was quite a lot, even though I clearly should've been told when I picked her up. Plus, the sub told the other parent straight out that Katie Anne was the other kid in the fight (a complete violation of state regulated privacy policies). Then, when I confronted the sub on the whole fight incident, she denied it and denied it... until I told her that the other parent had told me. Then, she downplayed it, said it really wasn't that big of a deal, and swore that she hadn't told the other parent Katie Anne's name ... hmmm. Makes me worry about how many other incidents have occurred that weren't "that big of a deal" since I complained last Thursday.

The cherry on top of this particularly not-so-nice sundae is that we heard yesterday that one of the two buildings owned by KA's school was foreclosed on last week, as well as the director's personal residence.

Needless to say, we were not taking Katie Anne back to that school, even for the week and a half left until summer. Luckily, Saunders called the school we'd wanted to take her to in the fall, and they were able to take her today!

So, yesterday afternoon, Katie Anne and I ran some paperwork out to her new school, and she got another chance to play on the playground, meet her teachers, and get used to the idea. She cried desperately to stay when we had to leave! This morning, she woke up at 5:45 am, ready to go to her new school. She was so upset when we told her it wasn't open that early! When, finally at 6:45, I told her it was time to leave, she spun around in a circle, stomping, waving her arms, and yelling, "I go my new schoo! I go my new schoo!" She was beyond thrilled, talking all the way there about playing with the baby dolls, playing on the playground, and playing with "Chuckie" (who I figured out was really a girl named Chauncey). When I dropped her off, not a tear was shed... she went right to her new teacher, and they were checking out the baby dolls when I left! She had a great day, took a great nap, had a blast... what a smooth transition! We're so glad it all worked out the way it did. And, check out this beautiful playground... the horrible playground KA left behind doesn't even compare.