Sunday, January 31, 2010

Life Lessons

On Thursday night, I had the opportunity to have dinner with a couple of good friends, one of whom was visiting from out of town. Jenn had recently completed a 10 day Darden business program with 50 other executives and was filling us in on some of the exercises she was asked to complete. One of these exercises was to write down 5 life lessons you learned growing up.

What a neat thing to contemplate. If you think about it, the lessons you learn from your parents (most likely who we use as models to learn the most from during our formative years) really shapes who you are today. I instantly started thinking about what I learned growing up and wanted to share these with you.

1. Where there is a will, there is a way.

2. Think outside the box.

3. It's okay to break the rules (within reason!).

4. Don't sweat the small stuff.

5. A sense of humor goes a long way.

I can think of thousands of examples that perfectly demonstrate each of the above items I saw firsthand growing up. I am pretty sure this is exactly how I live my life now and have my own set of examples that demonstrate these lessons.

It gets you thinking, doesn't it? What shapes who you are. Why some people approach a challenge as an obstacle and others see it as an opportunity. Why one person can decide to be positive and another will be negative during the same situation. And, why a person may put more value in reading a textbook than going out and experiencing real life.

I would be proud if my kids were able to absorb the same life lessons as I had growing up. However, Ian and Samantha's experiences will also be sprinkled in with "Save for a rainy day" and "Slow and steady wins the race." I'll be interested to ask them in 25 or so years what lessons they learned from their childhood.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A girl through and through

So we've officially entered a new stage with Samantha. One that I had been warned about and am now seeing first hand what it is like.

A good friend, who has 4 year old twin girls (okay, it is Heather) used to tell me in great detail how her girls would change their clothes 2, 3, or even 4 times a day - just because. Ha! I couldn't even get Ian (who is 6 months older) to put on one outfit, let alone willingly want to change his clothes throughout the day. This was definitely not an area I could relate to...until now.

Several times during the past couple of weeks Samantha had been taking off her pants and diaper at the end of her afternoon nap. I was used to this from when Ian was doing it around the same age. Hence the reason we now find the video monitor to be the single most important baby gear ever invented. Once you see the stripping starting you can rush in and save yourself a huge mess to clean up; and I mean HUGE!

But yesterday Sam realized she could take her clothes removal skills to the next level and surprised me and Ian with a new look. During the late afternoon she went upstairs to her room on her own. After a few minutes she emerged with her brown pants completely off and a denim skirt now on. The skirt was on backwards, but that was a small technicality given that it was hard to tell which side was what. The inside of the skirt has built in shorts and she managed to expertly get her legs in the correct holes. I was very impressed at this level of coordination at only 20 months of age.

The cutest thing about this was what happened directly after when I discovered what she had done. She made motions for me to follow her and lifted the lid to her clothes hamper to show me that she put her brown pants in the dirty clothes pile. How adorable is that!?!?!?

Maybe because she is just starting this behavior, or maybe because she put the clothes she took off in the hamper, or maybe because I love her independence, or maybe because she is so darn cute, but I am not annoyed by this new stage at all. I know, give it time, right? But I'd like to think all of this practice will come in handy one day when she is famous, at the Academy Awards, and needs to put the outfit changing skills in action. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A few final words

So I've come to find out that there is a downside to going away somewhere fun and then coming back home. First and foremost, I did not come back well-rested. In fact, I got less sleep than I usually get at home. In Mexico, I averaged 5.5 hours each night. There was a one hour time difference and my body never fully adjusted. Instead of being able to sleep in, I was up and at 'em like I usually am at 6:00am EST. And, of course, I did stay up much later at night than I usually do. There was no sleeping in and lingering in bed. Oh no, I made good use of the time I was awake and kept having fun. All this made for a tired girl coming back home.

The other BIG observation and I emphasize the word "big" is that I gained 5 pounds in 72 hours. Yes, you read right - 5 pounds. Yowzer!! But this is what happens when you carefully watch what you eat 24/7 and then throw caution to the wind and not give it another thought. Hopefully I'll be able to get those 5 pounds off almost as fast as it came on.

I did manage to keep it gluten-free for almost the whole time I was away, but I ended up caving when it came to the wedding cake. I am a sucker for cake and knew that it would be impossible to say no. The cake didn't disappoint and I give myself some kudos for doing as well as I did the rest of the time. But when all is said and done, I am sure I've done damage to my small intestine that will now take another 5 months to a year to repair.

A funny observation -- You know you've been drinking too much when;

Heather and I met for one last meal at the resort before going to the airport. The waiter asked Heather what she wanted to drink and Heather replied with "ice tea." The waiter then turned to me for my drink order and without hesitation said, "Would you like Tequila?"

And not to be outdone by an incident that happened earlier in the morning (and I am talking like 10:00am!): One of the staff members at the resort (my new BFF Johanna) crossed my path as I was walking to the bathroom and she said, "Would you like one last Mudslide before you leave today?"

Oh my! I don't like beer and I am not one to really indulge in drinking wine, but when the fru-fru drinks are being offered and they can make virtually anything under the sun (Sexy Banana - OMG!), it was easy to toss back the frozen drinks like they were water. Giving up soda during this weekend wasn't difficult at all. I just replaced it with alcohol. :)

I will eventually catch up on the sleep and I will eventually lose the 5 lbs, but the good times will stay with me forever.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Anything But Ordinary

Jennifer and Karim outdid themselves in making their wedding very special, uniquely them and a whole lot of fun. I desperately want to remember every detail in vivid color and be able to recall my time away whenever my real life is making me feel a little overwhelmed. Be transported back to the weekend when time stood still, the drinks poured freely, and the good times never stopped with a wonderful group of friends and loved ones.

You couldn’t help but fall in love with the location. Puerto Morelos, Mexico is where the festivities took place. Jennifer and Karim picked a resort called “Ceiba Del Mar” and it was a great mix of luxury and hospitality. The staff (mainly my new best friend, Johanna) was incredibly accommodating and really took interest in you; getting to know your preferences. They seemed to work around the clock with very little downtime, but it was nice for the guests to see the same friendly faces each day, always with a smile. The ocean was steps away from the pool and the view was pretty spectacular. The hotel only had 80 or so rooms, so having 60 of us be there for the wedding meant we really took over the place.

I think seeing friends and family wherever you ventured (whether it be the pool, beach, spa, gym, restaurants, pool bar, swim-up pool bar :)) was part of the charm. It was never-ending good times and like one big party the whole weekend. Everyone was in a great mood and ready to have fun.

The wedding was unbelievable. Spectacular is the word that comes to mind. The day started at 1:30pm when we were to gather at the lobby for shuttles to take us to the church, which was less than a 10 minute drive away. It was a Mexican, open-air church that was quaint and had local people watching from the windows and doors. The service was Coptic Orthodox, and while normally an hour long service would prove difficult to hold my attention, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Jennifer and Karim flew their Priest in from NoVa, and he was a young, hip and funny man – not what you would expect from such a strict, ancient branch of Christianity. He explained the traditional service we were witnessing and it was filled with a lot of action.

Once we got back to the resort, there was a little downtime to refresh and gather back in the lobby to officially start the reception. A Mariachi band led the walk for the wedding guests to this pier where the cocktail hour took place. During this hour, the sun is starting to set and the candles lining the pier were getting brighter and brighter. At this point I’ve lost all track of time and I am not sure how long until we were told it was time to go to the reception. Not wearing a watch for the majority of the weekend was an easy way for me to live in the moment and go with the flow.

The reception was outdoors just off the beach. The area with the tables and dance floor was breathtaking. Everything was done in a white with teal blue accent. The tables had this illumination, being lit from underneath and the dance floor lit up as well. The chairs were white with the blue and white ribbon tied on the back. It was truly one of the most beautiful settings I’ve ever seen.
The DJ started playing music and Karim and Jennifer made their entrance. Jennifer did her father/daughter dance first, then Karim did his mother/son dance next. Following directly after was the bride and groom’s first dance. It started with a traditional waltz (which was so not them!) and then a few minutes later, the music got interrupted and the couple broke into a fast dance, dancing to Chris Brown’s “Forever”. Jennifer surprised everyone and did a dress change; going from the beautiful more-appropriate wedding gown to wear to a formal church service to a sexy, low back, very slinky dress to move and dance in at the reception. Throughout the entire day she looked gorgeous. The men in the bridal party wore light beige suits with the same shade of teal blue for a button down shirt. The Maid of Honor had a dress on in the same exact shade.
The wedding went until 11:00pm and then an after-party followed.

It was a long day, but so incredibly awesome. I am rereading what I’ve written above and I am just not doing it justice. The whole day blew me away. Karim and Jennifer did an amazing job planning this event and from start to finish, no detail was left unturned. I can’t even begin to explain how much fun I had. Besides the paradise setting and being beyond excited to see one of my best friends get married, I believe the people who attended had a big part in making this wedding such a success. This crowd LOVED to dance. Karim’s parents and Jennifer’s parents got down on the dance floor with the rest of us. And Karim’s side of the wedding pulled out all their best dance moves. It is rare to see such a big group of men who really enjoyed dancing and could tear up the dance floor better than most of us.

This wedding will always be one to compare to anything I ever attend from this day forward. It was top-notch all the way. The day was incredibly special and I am grateful I was able to be a part of it. I wish them both all the happiness and love in the world. One of the guests commented that when the time comes, they should have a destination baptism. :) I personally think we should get together each year for their anniversary.

Oh yeah, a little shout-out to Heather who doesn’t think I mention her enough in my blogs. She was a great traveling buddy. :)

And a BIG shout-out to Jeff who was the main man in charge for 72 hours. You helped make this weekend possible for me.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Not a moment too soon

The plane takes off at 8:55am this morning. My bag has been packed for a few days now; I downloaded 3 movies on iTunes to watch at some point (either on the plane or hanging out at the airport); I got lucky and two books from my wait list at the library became available. I found 2 cans of sunscreen that was unopened from the summer, and fortunately I still fit in the dress I wore to my sister's rehearsal dinner back in October and will wear to Jennifer's wedding tomorrow. I am ready.

I am not sure if I need the break so badly because I know one is coming, or if the break is so needed because I haven't had one in a while. Samantha has become, for lack of kinder words, a handful. For the past few weeks she is super clingy and only wants me to hold her - constantly. And when I am holding her, she does her best to attempt communication on where we should be moving to and what I should help her get that is out of her reach, but she wants it, and wants it NOW! And, no matter how identical her breakfast or lunch looks to Ian's, it's Ian's she wants. Speaking of lunch, she'll eat hers and then start on mine and finish it. I've long forgotten the days when I could sit down in the morning and have a bowl of cereal alone. No more, now I have a 19 month old sitting on my lap with her mouth open like a fish waiting for a spoonful. Sam has discovered my favorite go-to gluten-free snack and now is completely addicted to rice cakes. We are going through packages of rice cakes like it is much more tastier than it really is. :)

Sam's favorite word is "no". She has no problem disagreeing with every idea or thought we tell her. "Sam, let's go change your diaper." "NO." or "Sam, time to take a nap." "NO." or even, "Sam, please don't give your cheezits to Bailey." "NO." And, we know she knows perfectly well what this word means.

Lately she has been really messing with us and not taking as long of a nap as she used to. It's not that she doesn't need the sleep, because she does. Cutting her nap short only makes for a very cranky, miserable little girl the rest of the day.

This week was extra rough for me. On Monday, I was at the end of my rope and ready to call in reinforcements. I wasn't sure how I was going to make it through the day, and it was only 8:30am. My saving grace was the gym and I knew that I would be able to walk away for one hour and regain my strength to be a mommy again. If I could just make it to the gym and get the kids checked into the kids club, all would be right with the world. I had a school holiday (MLK day) working against me and I knew I needed to get to the gym before the kids club filled up and started a wait list. Even though both kids were dressed, it still took us 30 minutes to get out the door. Fortunately getting a good run in did wonders for me and the rest of the day was more peaceful. It helped that Sam slept for 3 hours, caught up on some much needed sleep, and woke up very happy.

I've survived this week and made it to the golden day I've been waiting for. Heather and I are on the same flight going and coming. I've already told her that its okay if we don't talk on the plane. Not that I am being intentionally rude, but for at least the morning, I don't want to be asked to do anything, even listen.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mexico bound!

One of the best things about being a part of this wonderful group of friends I have and refer to as, "the girls", is that I've seen all of them meet, date and fall in love with The One. Kristin was the first to get married, Heather followed suit a few years later, then Dustee, I came next and in a couple of days, it will be Jennifer's turn. She always wanted a destination wedding and has picked Puerto Morelos, Mexico as the place to tie the knot.

I will be there. Yes, me! This mommy of two is leaving behind the kids, husband and dog and going to Mexico. I will be gone for 3 full days -- I leave before everyone wakes up on Friday, January 22nd and walk back thru the door after everyone is asleep on Sunday evening, January 24th. Yay! Yippee!!

No diapers to change, No whining to listen to or try to ignore, No diaper bag to lug around, No nap schedule to work around, No meals to cook. I am not sure if the break is so needed because I know one is coming, or if the break is needed because it's been awhile since I've had one. I will savor my time and make each hour count.

The resort the bride and groom picked has an all-inclusive plan and drinks are included. I don't plan to drink so much that I forget how I spent my time away from the family, but I do plan to help the good times along nicely.

I am also excited that my mom and stepfather got invited to the wedding too and will be meeting me there. My mom was my original best friend and you can't help but have a fabulous time when we get together. There are many reasons Jeff isn't coming with me, the foremost being finances. It would've added too much to the bottom line, plus childcare, time off from work, boarding the dog all would've added to the complexity of logistics.

I'm okay with Jeff staying behind and realize that I may even have a better time, as none of the girls who are going are bringing their significant others with them either.

The best part is, I've gotten to know who Jennifer is marrying and I like him, really like him. I think they are a great couple and good for each other. They are one of our favorite couples to hang out with. I am so excited that I will get to see the wedding.

Passport? Check. Plane ticket? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Bathing suit? Check. The idea of being on a plane without two kids related to me? Priceless.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Vroom, Vroom

My new favorite activity is vacuuming. I honestly wish I had thought of this sooner. It's not because we have a 95lb German Shepherd who sheds a Shitzu every 2 days or even because we have a fabulously powerful Dyson Animal DC-17 vacuum that we've named Rocko.

No, the main reason I've fallen in love with my new hobby is because I get to drown the family out. By the time we've eaten dinner, cleaned up from dinner and have a little bit of downtime before the kids go to bed, I've had it. It's been a long day and I am exhausted. Even more so if we are nearing the end of the work week and I've been 'on call' all week. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love being home with the rugrats, but it is exhausting none-the-less.

I've discovered an awesome way to tune them out. Turn on the vacuum! For approx. 30 minutes I can't hear a thing. The cool thing is, I haven't run away and abandoned the family. I am still at home, technically still doing my job as a mother, but all I can hear is the glorious sound of the vacuum cleaner. And the best part is, the house is getting clean at the same time. Not to mention that after a quick Google search, I've discovered I am burning about 70 calories in those 30 minutes of doing housework. Much better than eating those 70 calories because I am a little stressed-out.

Ah, this is brilliant! I wish I had discovered the benefits sooner. All I need is those 30 minutes to get refreshed and back in the game. It's like I am a new person and my patience level has been reset.

I used to vacuum early in the day, either when Sam was napping or before we'd leave for school in the morning. But no more! I now know the best time for me to break out Rocko is after dinner. It's my version of dessert. :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hurricane Sam

Yesterday afternoon found us indoors for longer than usual. We came home after picking Ian up from preschool and had no other playdates or activities planned. Now I know why I keep us so active. Hurricane Sam was on loose. She kept herself and me very busy destroying everything in sight. Once I got to where she was currently attacking, I'd work on cleaning up that mess and she would move on to the next area. This went on for a solid 3 hours.

I did my best to keep her in one spot and entertained. But she was one busy girl and had places to go, things to do, and messes to make. We started the afternoon with her sitting at the table having a snack. She was strapped in her chair and immobilized. After the snack was over, I thought she might enjoy drawing and brought out her container of crayons and paper to color on. It was delightful for about 10 minutes until she was done and started chanting "down, down, down, down". As I was unbuckling her, she took the container of crayons and tossed them upside down. Dozens of crayons went flying everywhere.

And so the chase began. Not entirely certain where Hurricane Sam hit next, but one could easily tell where she had been. There was a few minutes when she went to her bedroom, took a handful of books from her bookshelf and waddled to the top of the steps. As she threw each book down the stairs, she would say, "book, book, book, book". You could hear each book go ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk as they fell.

Then I found that she had been downstairs in the rec room and gotten into Ian's games and puzzles. Ah, now that was a nice menagerie of pieces that got all tangled together. When I started cleaning that up, Ian quickly let me know "it wasn't me".

At one point, I stopped following her and decided to unload the dishwasher. This is an area she really excels in and quickly comes to my side to help. Faster than you can blink an eye, she'll take everything out of the dishwasher and start putting things away. In theory it sounds good, but please let me explain to you exactly how she goes about this. She'll gather all her plastic plates, go to put them away, realize she can't reach the cabinet it goes in, come over to me and go "here, here, here, here" until I take it from her hands. You have to understand I am working hard to get the sharp knives and glassware out of the dishwasher quickly so she doesn't reach for that and get hurt. So it becomes a juggling act to get the stuff out of her hands so she can move on to the next thing to unload. Her favorite part is putting the silverware away. She'll grab handfuls at a time and put it in the appropriate drawer. However, she can barely reach this drawer and most definitely can't see in it, so the silverware just gets put in every which direction you can imagine.

Another favorite activity of hers is to take a reusable grocery shopping bag and walk around the house and put stuff in the bag; like she is shopping. Sometimes she'll put some swim diapers in there. Other times she'll include some boxes of tea, and more than likely her lovey is always included. Once she fills it up to her liking, she puts the straps on her shoulder and walks around the house looking for the next thing to destroy. I have to admit that this is quite funny, because the Wegman's reusable grocery bag she gravitates towards using the most is almost is as big as her. When it goes on her shoulder, she has to keep her arm raised in the air, so it gets a little bit of clearance from ground and doesn't fall off. But Sam is persistent and this will keep her busy for about 15 minutes.

At one point yesterday afternoon, it was really quiet and I knew exactly where I would find her. Yep, she was back in her room taking out all her pajamas and other items from her drawers and laying everything out on the floor. After she got done with her room, she swiftly moved into her brother's room to do the same.

Just as I got done cleaning up one mess, I'd go look for her and start on the next. She didn't stop moving all afternoon and neither did I. For a brief moment, I got a break when I skyped with Heather to test out the new webcam that I put on our main computer. I put her in her chair so she could be a part of the video call and she promptly made herself busy with the newspaper she was able to reach on the table. Ah, lovely. She took apart each section, every page and then tossed it aside.

By the time Jeff got home, I somehow miraculously had dinner made and everything picked up and put away. Except for the deck of crazy 8 cards that went in and out of every room like a trail of breadcrumbs going from one crime scene to another. Sam had one last trick up her sleeve before she could take no more and needed to fuel up before continuing her storm.

I was told that Ian was the same exact way, but I guess this is one of those memories I needed to suppress in order to want to have a 2nd child. I honestly don't remember him causing this much destruction.

All I can say is, it's a good thing she is cute.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Meet Bailey; Our cream puff of a German Shepherd

So our washer is finally fixed! It was touch and go there for about 24 hours, when Mike came back yesterday to put in the new part and left with the machine humming along nicely. I went to go pick up Ian from preschool and returned to find the same error message (LD) flashing at me. Ugh!

After rescheduling a return visit for earlier today, I got the call from Mike that he was on his way, just as I was heading out the door to go pick up Ian again from preschool. Not wanting to give up our space in line and jeopardize Mike going to someone else's house first, I told him to come to the house and I would leave the door unlocked.

The wash situation was getting out of control as Ian was down to his last pair of clean pajamas and he was starting to freak out. I thought for sure I would end up at the laundromat again tomorrow night. And I had plans to go purchase a new washing machine on Saturday at the first place that promised delivery and installation within 24 hours.

I was pretty confident that Bailey would be okay with Mike letting himself in. He had met him twice before and Mike expressed no fear at what I proposed to him on the phone. I got home 20 minutes later and found that the washer machine was finally fixed! In addition to the part needing to get replaced, there was also some kind of blockage in a tube in the way back of the machine. This was a first for Mike and the tech he consulted with when he reported that I was still getting the error message. Lucky us!

On one hand I am very happy that Bailey didn't eat Mike. I am also happy that we wasted no time in getting the machine fixed. But, it would've been nice to know (in some small way), that I do have a guard dog on my hands if I need it. Whenever a repair or service guy shows up at our house and Bailey greets them at the door, the first thing I get asked is, "Does he bite?". My standard answer is, "Not unless you give him a reason to." But who knows? Maybe even if there was cause, Bailey would still be more intent on bringing the new guy who arrived a toy to play with, rather than cause him any harm. I am thanking my lucky stars that we haven't had to find this out.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Quarters, anyone? Part II

I was definitely out of my element. The place was hopping and bustling with people getting their wash done. It was mostly filled with families and little kids in tow. Definitely not the scene you see in the movies when young, hip, single New Yorkers are at the laundromat, getting their wash done and flirting with one another. :)

I was the only Caucasian girl in the place and in the minority by not speaking Spanish. Since I only had HE detergent at home, I needed to purchase some regular tide and of course get enough quarters to do the job. Part of me thought that maybe the machines would be able to operate by credit/debit cards, but that was not the case. The machines still took only quarters and lots of them!

I wasn't sure exactly where to start. There were rows and rows of machines and they all looked a little different. I went to the front and introduced myself to the woman who was in charge. She was doing all the drop-0ff laundry. She was so incredibly nice and helped me get my bearings. She told me the differences in the size of washing machines and how much each cost. Yowzer! The washing machines ranged in cost from $2.75 up to $6.75 a load. The difference in price was determined by how big of a machine you are using. I had 4 loads of laundry with me and combined two loads in each machine. I went with a $4.75 washing machine and it seemed to fit the clothes nicely. 24 minutes later it was done! The dryers cost .25 for 6 minutes of drying time. Each of my two loads took 42 minutes to dry.

I kept myself busy with a People Magazine (Kate Gosselin now has extensions; It's a new Kate for the new year -- whatever!!! How can this woman still be making headlines and why do I still care to read it?!?!?).

Once the wash was done (I decided to do all the folding at home, although it seemed like the popular thing to do was to fold on-site), I packed up the clothes and headed home. I felt victorious!! Within 2 hours, I got 4 loads of wash done and went a little beyond my comfort zone by doing it in a laundromat. Go Robyn!

The new part should arrive by Tuesday and the technician is scheduled to come on Wednesday. Regular washing should be able to commence at home and my time at the laundromat very short lived. If the washing machine were to break again, Jeff and I agreed we will go out and replace the washer immediately and not even consider repairing this one. Obviously Consumer Reports was wrong about this one. Ha!

Looking back at the scene at the laundromat on Friday night, I feel for those who have this as their only means of getting their clothes clean. Obviously over the long term, spending $19.00 each week to do your wash is not cost effective. I figure these people could've bought a decent washer and dryer free and clear in about a year and a half and not have to drag the kids to hang out at a laundromat while it is getting it done.

In my effort to not take for granted all I have and am blessed with, I went to sleep on Friday night so incredibly grateful for having the means and opportunity to do my wash at home. It is something I have taken for granted and never realized what the alternative is. I appreciate knowing that if necessary we could go out and get a replacement washer in 5 minutes without worrying too much how we'd pay for it.

And, the next time I have stop everything to put the clothes from the washer into the dryer, I will not look at it as an inconvenience, but will happily do it with a smile on my face.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quarters, anyone?

We are still having problems with our washing machine. It all started right before the big blizzard of December '09. Since then I've had a repair man tell me that we need to replace the motor and it would cost $389 to do so (not including the $50 diagnostic service call). Ugh!! It was a fine line between deciding to get it repaired or just purchase a new one. Since the washing machine was not that old, I was having a hard time swallowing such an expensive repair and called Whirlpool yet again to talk to them about the situation. They agreed to send any necessary parts for free, as long as I took care of the labor costs in getting it replaced. Fair enough. So I received the new motor and called back the technician to replace it.

In the meantime, I was able to use the washing machine, not efficiently, but I could still get the job done. Sometimes it would work fine, just like the old days, and other times we'd get all the way through the cycles up until the Spin cycle and then get the LD (long drain) error message. When this happened, I would have to take the clean, soaking wet clothes and put them in dryer for about 5 hours to get dry. My days of doing all the laundry in one day was over and I would do a load a day in case the machine was acting up, which most days it was.

When the tech came to put in the new motor, I was told the wrong part came. Oh no! It was the blind leading the blind when requesting it. I didn't specify a certain part number and the customer service rep I spoke to just looked up the word "Motor" and ran with it.

While waiting for the new motor assembly part to come, I tried to continue to use the washing machine and ran into a huge roadblock. Now I was getting the LD error message at the very beginning of the cycle. I still have until Wednesday before the repair guy comes back and I desperately needed to get Ian's, mine and a load of towels done.

I ventured into uncharted waters for me and on Friday night, I went to the laundromat in Springfield to get the wash done. I've never been to a laundromat before and I wasn't sure what to expect. I think I picked a good place to go because part of the laundromat was a business that will allow you to drop-off your dirty clothes, someone will wash them for you, fold them and get them back to you the next day. While this had major appeal and seemed like an easy out, I just couldn't get past the idea of some stranger touching my underwear. I then thought about taking my underwear out and handing over the rest, but it seemed like such a prissy move to do. I'm a big girl, I can do my own wash!

Stay tuned for the conclusion of Robyn doing her wash at a laundromat. :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Heard and Observed VI

Driving in the car on the way to Grandma and Grandpa's house:

Ian: Daddy, can't you turn off the sun?


Getting ready to leave the house after having just played wii boxing:

Ian: Oh daddy, I need help putting on my socks. I am still in a lot of pain from losing my fight. I think his name was Bruno.


Ian: Daddy, I have some very bad news to tell you. The vikings are better than the Giants.


Listening to holiday music in the car, there was a line in a song about "old days long ago". Once the song was over, Ian made the comment;

"I won't look back on these days, even in the future."


Ian has been talking about starting a band with a few boys in his class. One boy wants to name it "The Jonas Brothers". Ian wants to the name the band, "Hello, Come On In Band."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My boy is wicked smart*

Ian is 4.5 years old. He doesn't turn 5 until the last day of May. It took him awhile to start talking. In fact, for a long time, Jeff was concerned he would only ever say the one word he knew "uh-oh". But once he turned 2, his speech took off and he has been a non-stop talking little boy ever since. His annunciation is crystal clear and he regularly uses big words (like conveyor belt, suspension bridge, actually, distracted, etc) and always in the right context.

You get used to hearing Ian talk like this and it is only when he is hanging out with his friends that you realize what the typical 4 year old sounds like. Ian's vocabulary is anything but typical.

Since I've been around Ian from the beginning, none of this surprises me - that is until the other day. I filled the car up with gas and was proceeding to leave the gas station and merge back into traffic. Ian was saying "Go! go! go!" I said to Ian, "Ian, I can't go now, I'd get hit by all these cars coming." Ian replied with, "When I said 'go', I didn't mean it literally."

It's a good thing I had my foot firmly on the brake, because I needed a moment to pick my mouth up off the floor. Yowzer!!! In a million years I didn't know he knew the word "literal" or how to use it properly in a sentence.

I was sort of expecting him to throw around the words "instinct" and "positive" because those were the words he asked me what they meant earlier in the day. Yes, folks, he is 4.5 years old.

Is it too young to apply to Harvard?

*movie quote: Good Will Hunting

Monday, January 4, 2010

The girl can only take so much fun

We are now nearing the end of Ian's Winter break from preschool. We were thrown a bit of a curve ball by being given 3 extra days by Fairfax County because of the blizzard. But, we rebounded nicely and survived. More than survived, we had fun. Lots of different activities were planned and playdates organized throughout the 12 school days we had now free.

One of the highlights of the break was our two day excursion to Baltimore. Jeff's parents live just outside of Baltimore in Pikesville, MD. We made plans to go to Port Discovery (the children's museum) on Sunday, spend the night at my in-laws house and then go to the B&O Railroad train museum on Monday. Jeff came with us the first day and then went back home after dinner so he could go to work the next day. My in-laws joined us for both outings, not to mention cooked a fantastic, tasty (gluten-free) dinner and got some wonderful quality time in with the grandkids. Family is so important to me and in my opinion, you can never spend enough time with them. I jump at the opportunity for Ian and Sam to spend time with the grandparents. Everyone had a great visit and fun was had by all.

But, apparently you can have too much fun. I now know exactly how far we can push Samantha without allowing her to take a nap before she has had enough. We can go one day. She was a rockstar at the children's museum and did a good job of keeping up with the crowd. But by day 2, when touring the train museum, we lasted about one hour before she started crying and couldn't stop. Holding her didn't help; pushing her in the stroller didn't help; offering her a drink did nothing. Sam wanted to leave and didn't care who was around to hear her displeasure. She worked herself up into a tizzy and couldn't calm down.

My mother-in-law and I decided to take Sam to the car and hang out while Ian finished looking at the trains with his grandpa. Once Sam was strapped into her carseat, a calmness came over her and you didn't hear one peep out of her. She was ready to leave and just knowing that she was headed in the right direction was all that mattered to her.

It is a well known fact that babies and kids crave a routine and consistency. Every day I am lucky enough to give Sam just that by putting her down for a nap from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Every now and then if something comes up, I can push the time she goes down and she easily adapts. But to ask her go two days (in a row, no less) without a nap was asking way too much of her.

I can't really say I blame my sweet, little girl. If I was given the opportunity to take a nap each day too, I'd take it. And if someone was trying to take that away from me, I'd probably throw a fit over it too.

And don't get me started on what happened when we went to Tyson's Mall and it was 3:00pm before I realized I hadn't given Sam a proper lunch. It wasn't a pretty scene in front of the Lego store. And, the family is fully aware of how much Sam enjoys her bedtime of 6:45pm/7:00pm and shouldn't have taken her to the National Zoo for Zoo Lights on the night of the 30th. We were doing great in the 25 degree weather, up until 6:30pm or so when Sam realized she was nowhere near her house or crib. Jeff and I got a great workout power walking up the hill at the zoo, walking back to the car.

Ah, good times! The girl knows what she wants, when she wants it and whatever you do, don't get in her way, no matter how much fun is going on around her.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My New Year's Resolution Experiment

I have come up with a great idea in my effort to keep one of my New Year's Resolutions: "...continue to do what I can to be a healthier, stronger woman and mother who has the energy to keep up with two of the most highly spirited kids she knows and loves."

Rather than get overwhelmed trying to make all the smart choices at once, I am going to pick a different one each month to focus on and incorporate it into my life. Over the course of the 12 months, these small changes (no matter how subtle they seem) will add up to a whole lot of goodness by the time we ring in 2011.

I am very excited by this idea and can't wait to see how much healthier, stronger I'll feel when the year is over.

At the beginning of each month, I'll announce my next change I am incorporating and give the good, the bad, the ugly details on what the previous month was like.

For January, my change is going to be giving up soda. While I only ever drank diet, it still did nothing to provide any health benefit whatsoever. My new liquids of choice will be water, crystal light (ice tea, lemonade, fruit punch, etc) and flavored waters.

This is going to be fun, and healthy, and easy to do, right? Anyone want to do it with me? :)