Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Harry

Through the years.... You have been my pride and joy. Your compassionate, kind heart is a beautiful thing to see in action and to think that I had anything to do with your wonderful spirit is one of my life's greatest joys. I wanted you so desperately and from the moment you were born I have been living my life's dream...to be a mom. As much as I dreamed about it and imagined what being a mom would be like...my imagination didn't come close to how amazing it has been to live this dream every day. When I first laid eyes on you I thought my heart would burst with love. As impossible as it may seem, that love has done nothing, but grow and grow and grow and grow. It seems impossible to love you more...and then I do.

I am so proud of you. You are so kind. So polite. Generous. And cute!! Don't even get me started. You work hard at school. You are such a rule follower. In fact, I hope in some small ways you find a way to break the rules a little. Just a little. Nothing to get you hurt or make me worry too much, but just enough to know you can live outside the box sometimes. You are funny. Such a quirky little fellow with your weird voices and crazy antics. I love to hear your laugh when something really cracks you up. I love the way you call me "Mama" and throw yourself in my office floor every day after school to tell me about your day. I even love how you stall at night when you don't want to go to bed. I love how proud you are of your little brother sometimes. I love that you want to be a good big brother (even though that doesn't always work out!).

It seems impossible to believe that you are 15. I know it has been the absolute greatest 15 years of my life. I can't wait to see what the next 15 years bring!

Happy birthday my sweet, sweet boy!

I crazy love you.

Mom

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring is in the air....

It is also all over the hood of my car, the ground, the mailbox, the light fixtures, the sidewalk...in fact it is all over every surface outside!

Actually, it is in my house too! The oak pollen is back in a big way!

I fully expect the drifts of yellow stuff to cover my driveway for the next few weeks. YUCK!

But spring really is in the air in my dining room! Here is a poster I painted yesterday with samples of the cool crafts we are going to make at Lakeside tomorrow.


It has been a ton of work to get these crafts ready. I think I need to think smaller and much more simple for next time. That...or my mother is going to have to move closer so she can help me.

All of my boys have helped in one way or another. Hubby cut 18 cross shapes out of cardboard and also cut the center out of most of the milk jugs. Such a huge help. Chip was in charge of cutting pipe cleaners in half. He looks confused in this picture, but he really picked it right up. Eyeball the middle of the pipe cleaner and cut! You got it! He did a great job.

Harold and his buddy Blake (not pictured, cause I totally forgot!) helped stuff 240 eggs with candy. Then they separated big bags of Easter grass into 40 smaller sandwich bags. Messy, but so appreciated. Then they moved on to cutting out bunny ears and feet. They were great workers.

A small army of milk jug bunnies! Aren't they cute?


Cute or not, please get out of my house.


And take these huge tubs of supplies with you!!!

Although I have been working hard to get ready for the Lakeside visit, the most important event of the day tomorrow is that is it Harry's 15th birthday! WAHHHH!! It is a school night so that limits us a little as to how much celebrating we are going to do tomorrow, but for sure we are going to Tokyo Steakhouse for dinner! That should be yummy! I hope to take lots of pictures to share tomorrow of the Lakeside event and the birthday boy!!

Until then, I hope there is a little SPRING in your step these days!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

She's a Maniac

This morning at 5:45 a.m. I went for a run/walk. Me and Martha ran farther than we have in a good long while. She is a good motivator. And even better, she does most of the talking when we are running so I can concentrate on breathing and moving. Still super slow, but it felt really good.

Then at 8:30 this morning I did a BodyStep class at the YMCA. It is a high impact calorie burning aerobic workout with a step. I didn't put any risers under my bench and I was still gasping, breathing hard, and struggling a bit to master the steps. Peggy was in there with me and she is a BodyStep master. There are some moves that are just ridiculous hard. Traveling at a diagonal across the bench, doing a "T" step, two knees a glut squeeze with three "Ponies". WHAT???? Last week two people I didn't know came up to me after the class and told me to stick with it. Said it would get easier. That means I was a hot damn confused mess during the class so it was obvious that I was relatively new to BodyStep. Today, I got no unsolicited advice so I am also going to call that progress. Sweaty, sweaty progress. Can't even imagine how much I am going to sweat when I figure out what I am doing and can actually do all the moves without stopping to figure them out!

Directly following BodyStep there was a BodyPump class. It is a weight lifting class that I have done many times now. Beth and Beverly were coming to that class so I thought I would stick around and do it. I wasn't going to try to lift much weight and I didn't. It was still hard.

Squats - Hard!
Triceps - Painful. My arms are on fire!
Chest - This one I like! Probably means I am doing it wrong!
Back - I like this one too! The "clean and press" makes me feel like an athlete.
Lunges - HATE THEM. Doing something so wrong I just know it. Calves on FIRE!
Push ups - YUCK
Shoulders - OUCH!
Ab work - Someone kill me!

My BodyBugg armband said I burned 2,040 calories between 5:30 and 11:00 a.m.

I'm a Maniac!

I took some preventative Aleve and Motrin in anticipation of being super sore!

Now I am cranking out some work and I am starving.

I hope your Friday is cruising you in to a beautiful weekend!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Almost There!

I need just two more milk jugs to reach my total of 48! That is a ton of milk jugs!

Here are 40 of the washed, cleaned, sticker free, cut out milk jugs on my kitchen table! All excitedly waiting to be turned into Bunny Baskets! Don't they look like little soldiers? (To see a picture of the finished milk jug bunny baskets click here.)


Maybe not.


Everyone went back to school and work today! Yeah! I have done four loads of laundry and not even touched the actual clothes we wear. Blankets, throws, pillowcases, sheets, towels....lots of that stuff got run through the wash/dry cycle to hopefully blast off any remnants of the stomach bug. Good riddance.


Chip has a baseball game tonight starting at 7:30. That seems so late for eight year olds, but I bet they will be thrilled to play under the lights like they are in the big leagues! I hope it is a good game or I will be nodding off!


I have not been sleeping well and add to that a 4:50 a.m. wake up time and I am in sleep deprivation mode. I think tonight is going to be a great night for sleep! Fingers crossed!


On the workout front I am going to try to do two back to back gym classes tomorrow. Body Step at 8:30 and Body Pump at 9:30. I probably won't be able to move on Saturday!


I am off to the baseball field!


Have a good night's sleep everyone! Especially me!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Get Well NOW!

Harry is staying home again today. He is still puny. Not throwing up anymore, but not eating much either.

Look at my sad little fella. He occupied the couch all day long yesterday.


It is a massive pile of pillows, blankets and germs. I cannot wait to wash these linens!


Mom: Harry is there anything that sounds appetizing that I can make for you?

Harry: Could you make me some soup?

Mom: Do you mean that MSG loaded, sodium rich Ramen Noodle crap that you mistakenly just referred to as soup?

Harry: Yes, its my favorite.

Just looking at the picture I realized it has 0% Trans Fats. Thank you Maruchan for at least that!

I think he ate four noodles.

On the other side of the house I ran into this cast of characters.


They are wrestling friends of this fellow.

When not laying around with his friends, Chip worked on this beauty.


Seems a little impatient, but sweet.

Hope your day is germ free!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coping with Carbs

I am going to be completely honest here. My house is full of sick people.

I am not one of them. Feel very fortunate after witnessing the aftermath of the violent stomach virus sweeping the family! Ewww....

Here comes the being completely honest part....on my desk is a giant loaf of fresh french bread I picked up at the store yesterday. I am working, nursing people, arguing with Chip about why he cannot play video games and randomly and occasionally ripping a big hunk of bread off the loaf and shoving it in my mouth.

Why?

Can you recharge yourself with carbs? No.

Can carbs make you more patient? No.

Do carbs have caffeine to keep you awake after a sleepless night? No.

Can carbs disinfect a house? No.

Can carbs jump start your brain to help you finish a work project for a looming deadline? No.

So why am I reaching for big, fat, white bread carbs?

I WANT TO....THAT IS WHY!!! Carbs soothe me, I think. They also fill out my damn pants.

Bread is the devil. I am going to go throw the rest in the trash.

Maybe.

I wonder if chocolate can do any of those things?

Hmmmm.....potential experiment in the making. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 21, 2011

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide



Hubby walked through the door at 4:00 this afternoon.
Sick.
Stomach trouble.
Throwing up and other things.

Harry walked through the door at 4:30 this afternoon.
Sick.
Stomach trouble.
Throwing up and other things.

After Harry's first round in the bathroom he looks up at me with bloodshot eyes and says "Chip did this 16 times? OMG" Sounds pretty similar to the very symptoms that the little Chipster had in Phoenix. Hmmm, could it be a virus? Seven days since exposure? Seems kinda odd that it would take that long to strike, but too similar to think it is not related.

Will I be spared?

Let's hope so! I mean, who is going to go to the store for toilet paper and Gatorade if I go down with this mess? Who's going to rub backs and bring Sprite to sick people if I am sick too? Poor Chip would have to raise himself for a few days. That could be so dangerous!!!

If you don't hear from me tomorrow morning send out the National Guard! Call your Congressman! Alert the news media!! Do a drive by drop off of toilet paper and Gatorade! Then save yourself....get the heck out of here.

I am sure the V family will be thrilled that Harry spent the night at their house Saturday night. Let's hope they are spared.

I'm also guessing that the tacos I had planned for dinner are not going to go over very well around here. Better hit the store for some soup and saltines!

Good Times!

Kicking off the Week

Hello blog world! Hello Monday! Spring break is over and it is the start of a brand new week.

I'm not even hating it that bad! We had a nice vacation and three days to recover after, so I am ready to face the week ahead.

We had a great weekend - did some yard work, worked on some crafts, exercised, tackled that mountain of laundry, learned how to play dominoes, all in all pretty dang good.

Some special points of interest:

* Hubby went to the doctor on Friday afternoon. He has recovered 82% of his hearing in his left ear. He still has tons of static in his ear so he hasn't quite enjoyed the full recovery of his hearing. The ENT did a steroid shot directly in his ear drum on Friday and he goes back this week for another one. Fingers crossed that it gets rid of the static for him. Prayers appreciated!

* We played dominoes with the V family on Friday and Saturday night. Is that an old person game? I hope not, cause I really liked it. Spinners, doubles, closing, scoring in multiples of fives and don't even get me started on the scoring with big Xs and little Xs. It was a bit more complicated than I thought, but addicting.

* Harry had an ice coffee from Starbucks during our return travels from Phoenix. He loved it. Wanted more. He is his mother's son.

* Chip was handed a t-shirt to put on yesterday afternoon and he looked at his Dad like he had lost his mind. He said "Dad, I'm not going to a wedding!" Dad looks puzzled. "It has a pocket!" Crazy kid. A t-shirt with a pocket is practically a tux. Who knew? He put all kinds of stuff in that pocket! Pulling old Yu-Gi-Oh cards out of his pocket, gum, and a bunch of other weird stuff. Old Gap t-shirt gave him lots of material.

* I am going to try to get back into a daily blogging routine. May not have anything profound or funny to say, but I am going to say something.

* Shooting for at least 10 hours of exercise this week. I feel sore already. Please start changing body. Please. Thank you.

* Nine days until Harry turns 15. Gulp.

* I had that Thai Crunch Salad at California Pizza Kitchen again and man is it good. YUMMY! I am certain I could eat that daily and not get tired of it.

Okie dookie - that is all for now folks. My "to-do" list for the week is growing and I have much real work to do as well!

Hope you are enjoying these first few days of Spring!

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Break 2011

I had so many funny stories in my head that I was going to share about our great trip to Phoenix, AZ for spring break. But, now I am back in the real world with a growing list of things to do, a mountain of laundry mocking me and I have a feeling I am not going to do justice to just how awesome our trip really was. I have uploaded tons of pictures and I hope they can help trigger the memories when we are scratching our heads about where to go next year for spring break.

For the record, it was a unanimous vote by all family members as we pulled out of Squaw Peak that we definitely want to go back to Phoenix next year, but stay a little longer.

Here goes the recap for all that is sacred about scrap booking and memory keeping!


We loaded up four suitcases (thank you Southwest for letting luggage still be FREE!) and an army of backpacks for our five night stay in Phoenix. One bag was nothing but gloves, baseballs, towels and swim gear. We actually used just about every single thing we brought which is pretty unusual.

We checked in with plenty of time to get through Security and grab something to eat.

I started getting sweaty and clammy as soon as the airport came into view. This picturesque view of the tarmac and tunnel means I was reaching into my purse for my little white pills of fortitude and bravery.

Oh goodness, I should wear a blindfold until I board.

In all honesty, because we are flying more frequently my anxiety about flying has lessened quite a bit. I think once you do it without incident ten or twenty times, you start to believe maybe the old big metal birds are built for flying and not for crashing.

No fear here. Just hunger. The classic Manja Pizza as a pre-board snack.

The one story I have to share about the flight to Phoenix was that on the first leg we all had to sit separately. One Southwest there is no seating assignment. You get to board the plane in the group you are assigned and then it is a free for all for seats.

On the first leg we were in the second group which we didn't think was going to be a problem, but it was. Plane was full to the max. Chip and Harry both got aisle seats across from each other so they could have held hands across the aisle if they wanted to, but Hubby was two rows ahead of them and I was two more rows ahead of Hubby. Harry is pretty savvy about flying and just locks into his PSP once electronics are okayed. Chip just sat there in complete silence for the hour and twenty minute flight to El Paso. Didn't get a drink or a snack, just sat there frozen.

Chip did not like this and I didn't either. Chip said "Mom, please don't make me fly alone ever again. When they made the announcement about putting on your oxygen first before helping children I didn't know who was going to help me." I had no idea he was worried about it, thought it was just me. I would have made someone switch seats if he had made a whimper in my direction, but he braved it out.

Broke my heart and for every other flight we boarded with families of young children. Chip was a little older than the minimum age, but I didn't care. We clung to each other after that. It was better.


We arrive in Phoenix in the early evening, relieved that we didn't drive and got there so quickly. (Maybe that was just me!)

Then Budget Rental car slowed our speedy arrival down to a complete standstill. Their computers were down which meant there were 75 people standing in line for a rental car. It was one hour and forty minutes in line for the rental car. UGH!!! Dang you, Budget Rental Car!

We were all starving so we jetted through McDonald's drive thru, scarfed down some food and hit the bed.
The next morning dawned an absolutely beautiful day. I wish there was a way to describe the weather. It was spectacular. Amazing. Glorious. So very, very lovely.

We walked up to the little restaurant at our hotel. Look at all the cactus.


It's called "Hole in the Wall". So cute.


The flowers were gorgeous.



The view of the main pool at the resort water park from our table. Pure bliss for kids.

Harry is ready for some baseball.

Coffee tastes so good on vacation. Especially served in a little white cup with a cute little creamer. I don't even use creamer, but it is just so dang cute.

More flowers on the property. I could have taken 1,000 pictures of the flowers alone.

The boys broke out into a overhead clapping dance after breakfast. Everyone was in great spirits. Let's head to the ballpark.

On the way to the ballpark, Chip is looking out the window. He says to himself. Hmmm, does that sign mean no peeing on the pole?

We arrived at the Reds/Indians complex. The grass is so green and lush against all the dry brown of the desert surroundings. It shines like an oasis.

Goodyear Complex.

The boys start tossing a baseball of their own. I make them take off their shoes and feel this lovely grass with their feet. It is the most lush carpet of grass you can imagine.


There are four practice fields in the Reds complex. On this one, the shortstops were doing some drills with Barry Larkin. They were using these flat gloves and working on tossing the ball quickly out of their glove. It was neat to be so close and hear the coaches instruction and the players encouraging one another.

On this one there was a scrimmage game going on. I sat and watched this one and got so many chuckles. The coaches were jabbering back and forth with the kind of camaraderie you imagine baseball clubs having. The players were loose and really seemed relaxed and having fun. There were maybe only fifty or so fans in and around the complex. Very low key. No crowds. Folks just milling around, baseball players walking all over the place. I didn't know any of them, and the majority were certainly minor leaguers. And young....don't even get me started on how young these boys looked. Babies.


We strolled around here for an hour or so and then headed across the parking lot to the baseball game. We were going to see the Reds versus the Angels.

Look at this cute picture. Then look at Chip's face. All he wanted was to swim. When can we swim? Are we going to swim after the game? What time will that be? How long can we swim?
How long do we have to stay here? Do we have to watch the whole game?

The funny thing is that Harry just can't even understand why Chip doesn't want to stay at the ballpark for six hours. How can you not love this?

He doesn't remember back just five or six years ago when we counted ourselves lucky to watch 3 innings of baseball with him. He was always bored out of his mind until he hit about 10 years old. Then he became obsessed and there has been no looking back for him. Or any sympathy for his brother who is sometimes tortured by these events. Now Chip would play baseball for six hours, but sitting and watching. No thank you.

On the way out of the complex we passed these massage tables they had set up. They were doing various exercises on pitchers arms, rubbing players down that apparently had injuries or something. I could have totally crawled up on one of those tables for a massage in this awesome setting.

The Reds/Indians stadium - it is called Goodyear Park.

Cool sculpture out front.

Harry got George Foster's autograph.

The scoreboard.

We were there early in hopes of getting autographs. I took these pictures of stadium seats. I like them.


Our seats were under this lovely shade awning. Could not have been more wonderful.

The boys waiting for players.

Here they come.

They are in a great spot and get lots of autographs.

Not sure who these guys are...but it doesn't matter. At least not to Chip. Harry was a little bit discriminating and he was left high and dry on day one.

Chip was getting any and every body who walked by.

Eleven autographs on one ball. Nice job Chip.

After the game we went over to a great shopping area close to the stadium. We ate at a restaurant called Yard House. Best meal of the trip. YUMMY!

Big time slugger, Chip! Now, put away the camera Dad and point me toward the POOL!


Finally....heaven!!

Get in, get in, it's not that cold. You know that is worrisome.

Hary says "Yikes, it is cold."

Easing in....getting used to it.

You are right Chip, its not that bad.

Definitely Chip's favorite part of the day.
Catch!


Good one.

Chip jumped through the waterfall 739 times during our stay. He flipped, jumped, twisted, cartwheeled, feet first, head first, butt first, jumped, jumped, jumped. Watch this...watch this...now watch this....did you see that? Had the time of his life.

Then he didn't.

Sick. Sick. Sick.

Supreme stomach issues that I already wrote about so I won't bore you with them again.

Let's just all recognize that it was a sorry, sorry day.

Harry and Hubby got out to see the White Sox and Dodgers. Me and Chip stayed in.


Harry got some awesome autographs. I don't know who of, but he was thrilled.

Jackpot.

Random picture of Harry's beat up knees. What a hot mess.

The next morning, Chip was a couple of pounds lighter and we were ready to escape our contaminated room and get back to some fun.

We hit the River Ranch Water Park first thing in the morning. This is at the Sport Pool.

Then we all hit the lazy river. Love the lazy river.

Floating, talking, laughing, good time.

We hit one of our all time favorite Fox Sports Grill for a late lunch.

Favorite part is desert. Our all time favorite is the skillet cookie. They didn't have it at this Fox restaurant, but they did have a skillet brownie.

We killed it.

An orange tree on the side of the road. How awesome is that?

We visited this cute little candy/toy store I had read about online.

Harry knew he was going to hate it.

Doesn't he have a stellar attitude?

He did like it. Much to his dismay. I made him wear these wax lips as punishment.

Off to an Arizona Sun Devil baseball game.

Great little field.

This is better than a stupid candy store.

Even Chip is smiling. Happy to be out of the bathroom and holding out for a night swim.


I love little traditions at each college. These boys lined up like they were going to exercise in a big circle. Started clapping and stepping in.

Closer.

Even closer. Much louder.

Closer and louder still.

Then jumping up and down. Love that. Not sure why they do that but it was cool.

Great picture of my boys. Funny that ASU's foam finger does a three just like Chip. We had to have it.

No night swimming cause Chip barfed as soon as we got back to the hotel. Poor kid.
The next morning Harry and Hubby headed out to hike Squaw Peak. It was a 1.2 mile climb up to the top.

Me and Chip stayed back at the hotel. I was worried for Chip to try it with his weaken and unhydrated state. It was the right choice. It was not an easy climb.

A real chipmunk on the trail. They took a picture for Chip.

They made it.

On top of the world, or at least on top of Phoenix.

That evening we went to a Mariners game. They were playing the Brewers.

Another gorgeous complex and ballpark. We has awesome seats again. All cushioned and comfy.

Harry at autograph alley.

He got lucky again. Got three or four guys that he really wanted. Again, no idea who they were.

It was a wonderful wrap up to a terrific spring break Spring Training adventure.

Our flights home were uneventful and we are happy to have a full weekend to recouperate and relax at home. Although it wouldn't have been too bad to be hanging out at the Rocking River for a few more days.

We will definitely go back!