Monday, June 30, 2014

Yes, this is happening!

I've landed!  I am actually in Israel RIGHT NOW!!!  I still can't believe I am here.  It all feels like a dream.  We are currently in the airport waiting for the EL AL flight (with our other fellow JWRP passengers) to land and then we will be on our way to Tiberias.  Holy Moly!  This is happening.

My blog is taking a vacation too!  I will resume writing and posting when I get back to town, after July 10th.  Until then, Shalom.  :)

Yes, this is happening!

I've landed!  I am actually in Israel RIGHT NOW!!!  I still can't believe I am here.  It all feels like a dream.  We are currently in the airport waiting for the EL AL flight (with our other fellow JWRP passengers) to land and then we will be on our way to Tiberias.  Holy Moly!  This is happening.

My blog is taking a vacation too!  I will resume writing and posting when I get back to town, after July 10th.  Until then, Shalom.  :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

And he's off!

It was a crazy scene and there were 75 kids on Ian's flight going to camp.  He didn't know anyone!!

I can't believe I was okay putting Ian on a plane by himself.  What was I thinking!?!?!   When the big day came, I started questioning my judgement.    Maybe I should quickly purchase a last minute ticket and join him.  I could go there and back all in the same day.  As long as I was available to get Sam from school at 3:45pm, it could've been our little secret.

However, Ian was great.  He didn't cry or look like he was even close to wanting to cry.  At one point he did look a little nervous and I asked him if he wanted to be able to sit next to Lori, the one adult chaperone assigned to his flight.  Ian nodded yes and I went to work.  I liked being a mom with a mission.  Anything to help me (and him) feel better about this experience. 

Lori was amazing and immediately said "Yes".  In fact she went one step further and immediately told Ian she would LOVE to sit next to him.  Lori instructed Ian that once Ian gets on the plane, save a seat for her next to him.  She would take the aisle and he would have the window.  She said she needed to board last, but he should get their seats closer to the front of the plane and she'll find him.

It was only after Ian got on the plane that I allowed the tears to flow.  All the parents who were doing drop-off waited around until the plane backed away from the gate and started down the runway.  A big cheer could be heard at Gate 7 as the plane took off.  Aw, there goes my baby.

Lori (completely on her own, I didn't even give her my cell phone #), texted me a few hours later and told me that Ian did great on the flight and she was very happy to have him as her seatmate.  She then said she made sure he connected with his counselor once the bus pulled into camp. And Ian instantly went to him and took off.  Lori is now my new BFF.  Love her!!

Ian is now at camp.  I am now a mess.  I am stalking the website looking for him posted in the photos section.  I've doubled my efforts in communicating with him and send him emails daily (sometimes 2 a day) and also put cards in the mail.  It has become a full-time job letting Ian know we are thinking about him.  I am doing my best to not write "I miss you".  I want him to have fun and not worry about me missing him.  But PUHLEEAZE!!!!  How can I not miss him!?!?! 

I can only hope that he writes me a letter (that I get) before I leave for Israel on Sunday. Ian can only do snail mail.  So this not-so-patient mom is doing her best to occupy herself with other things than waiting for the mailman to deliver the mail. 

I don't know which was more momentous -- Ian getting on a plane not knowing anyone or me being ok with it.  It's hard to be a helicopter parent in these conditions. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Swinging from the tree tops

The chain of events that brought Susanne and I together at Sandy Springs Adventure Park is pretty funny.  So easily our day of extreme adventure might not have been. 

Memorial Day weekend Susanne was going out of town with her family.  They ended up deciding to stay local and go to Luray Caverns instead.  We had the day free too and I invited my family (along with Mom/Jim) to go to Luray Caverns with them.  While on the Luray Cavern's website I saw that they had a ropes course we could do with the kids after touring the caverns. 

 The ropes course was fun.  Susanne and I could've spent many hours going back and forth over the various bridges.  However, the dads (who weren't participating) were getting antsy and were ready to call it a day and start the drive back home.  Susanne and I climbed down and said we'd love to do this again.

It doesn't take much before I was on the Internet looking up ropes course we could do closer to home. I found a place about an hour drive from where we live, Sandy Springs Adventure Park.  Starting June 13th, they open to the public during the week.  Susanne and I picked a Tuesday to go while the kids were still in school. 

I can not think of a more worthwhile way to spend the day with the kids in school.  We had just enough time to drive out there, listen to the safety briefing, and climb for the 3 hours you get with the paid admission.  I made it back home with exactly 20 minutes to take a shower and get the kids from school. 

Even though you are safely harnessed in, it takes amazing core strength, balance, upper body, and leg muscles to navigate from platform to platform.  There are 13 trails to chose from.  Each one is categorized in various difficulty and challenges.  It is strongly recommended that you start out with an "easy" one before building up to the more challenging levels.  As you progress through the trails, your elevation in the trees goes higher up in altitude.  You don't even realize just how high up you are until you look down.  Each trail ends with a zip line.  The "bridges" going from one platform to another ranged from down right scary to silly to fun & easy. 

There was this one skateboard platform that you stand on and take to the other side.  I misjudged how unstable it was and stepped right up on it, thinking I would enjoy a smooth movement on wheels to my destination.  Ha!  The minute I stepped onto the platform, I instantly slipped and ended up straddling the shoe-box-sized piece of wood.  Rather than try to get up, I decided to stay seated and transport myself that way to the other side.  My resulting fall caused my upper arms to get banged up and bruised.  It looks like I've been abused.  Both upper arms have HUGE black and blue spots, broken blood vessels and big yellow areas from the black/blue marks.  It's not very pretty!  Especially in short-sleeve shirt weather.  However, I wouldn't have changed a thing.  The experience is not going to be worth it unless you give it all you got!

Another highlight was when we decided we had enough time to do one more trail before heading back home.  We figured let's take it up a notch and really challenge ourselves.  Go big or go home!  Ha!!  This trail involved us needing to get rescued.  Susanne and I got to a point where we had to climb a ladder made of tree planks, that was not anchored to anything.  The planks were almost as wide apart as I was tall.  One of the staff members down below (Rachel) tried to advise us on how best to get from plank to plank.  I managed to do it one time, but I knew it was going to be near impossible to repeat that 3 more times.  Rachel shimmied up the tree next to us with a big pack on her back.  She got to our platform and assembled a pully type device.  Then Rachel lowered Susanne and I one at a time until we reached the ground.  It was pretty impressive.  This added to our adventure and was one of the highlights of my day.

There was this moment while we were out there that had me reflecting on my situation.  Here I was a 42 (very soon to be 43) year old woman doing something that is traditionally left for the younger set. (In fact I think Susanne and I were the oldest people out there on the day we went.)  I could've spent the day with the kids in school meeting a friend for lunch or going shopping...something very typical of a mom from the suburbs.  However, my friend and I chose to do something new and different.  Challenge ourselves and push our comfort zone.  When I realized this while balancing on a very thin "tight rope" making my way to the next platform, I was full of pride that this is how we chose to spend our day.  It was a proud moment indeed.  These 40-something year old moms still got it!  In fact after our rescue, this other staff member George told us that a lot of people need to get rescued at the same exact spot we did.  He then went on to say that his mom was in her 40's and she wouldn't be caught dead out there doing what we were doing.  :)

It was an amazing workout and I was sore in so many places for the next 2 days after our adventure.  It even hurt to sneeze!  What a great way to spend the day.  What can be more healthy than challenging your body for 3 straight hours, being outdoors and doing something that is so much fun?? 

Susanne and I had a marvelous time.  We can't wait to go back.  They will open one day during the week (when they are normally closed in the Fall) if you get a group of 20 to come.  I am pretty certain I have enough friends interested to get 20 without a problem.  I can't wait to climb among the trees with the changing of the leaves and the cooler weather.  Oh what fun that will be!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The 11th hour

Less than 10 hours before Jeff was scheduled to be on a plane for Trinidad, his boss called him at home and said there had been a change of plans.  Jeff was not to go! 

No way!!  Way!!

The company is changing some of Jeff's job focus and the trip to Trinidad was no longer necessary.  This came as very good news, not just for Jeff, but for me and the kids too.  It was like we got our husband/father back.  At least for the weekend anyway.  We will see what happens come Monday when Jeff finds out more information on the new stuff he will be working on.  But his boss made it clear he wants Jeff to spend time with his family.

When I realized that Jeff was no longer traveling, I was able to cancel the babysitters I had lined up for this coming week. And, Jeff will now be able to get Sam to school on Tuesday morning, when I am dropping Ian off at BWI for camp.   Yay! 

Additionally, Jeff was able to join us for all our activities on Saturday and Sunday.  Bonus!  It's been several weeks since Jeff has had large amounts of time to hang out with us.  Work has taken over his life. 

Our lives have just gotten a little less complicated.  At least this coming week anyway.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Heard and Observed #48

After dropping Ian off at gymnastics the other night, Sam and I made a quick trip to Target to pick up a few things.  One item I wanted to get was another package of underwear.  I want to make sure I have plenty of clean underwear available for my trip to Israel.  It is going to be VERY HOT and I will be sweating big-time!!   If I am at all able to change my clothes during the day, I will happily put on a fresh pair underwear.  Ok, this is probably TMI (too much information), but I wanted to give background on why I was in Target getting more underwear.  :)

Sam:   Ooooh, these look nice.  Get these.

Me:  Yes, they are very nice, but I like underwear with a little bit more coverage than that.

Sam, going to the opposite end of the spectrum and finding the biggest underwear anyone has ever seen.  (If I got these, they would be up to my neck).

Sam:  What about these?  They look like they will cover you.

Me:  Thanks Sam, but I'm not quite ready yet for those kind.  I think I found some I like.

Sam comes back to where I am standing looks at the package I have in my hands, sees the size I am getting (a 7) and finds a package of the same style in a size 8.

Sam:  Here mom, get the bigger size and then you can grow into them.

Me:  Um, thanks Sam.  But growing into larger underwear at my age is not really a good thing.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Window seat, please.

The next two to three weeks has us taking our normally hectic schedules to a whole new level of crazy.  Jeff, Ian and I are all coming and going in vastly different directions.  If we manage to pull this off and be where we need to be without any delays or cancellations, it will be a miracle. 

Saturday (6/21) to Saturday (6/28):  Jeff is in Trinidad for work.  Like his plane leaves at 6:00am on Saturday and he doesn't land until 7:35pm one full week later.

Tuesday (6/24):  Ian goes to Massachusetts for Camp Ramah. He flies out of BWI in the morning.  Ian doesn't come back until July 6th.

Sunday (6/29, a few hours after Jeff lands):  I depart for Israel and come back late in the day on July 9th.

Sam is the only one who won't be boarding a plane.  She is going to get a lot of one-on-one time with me, than a lot of one-on-one time with Jeff and then a few days with Grandma and Grandpa with Ian when he gets back from camp until I return from Israel.  It is a complicated schedule, but if everything goes as planned, it should work out just fine.  Thank G-d for friends and family who are able to help out.

We are kicking Summer off with a bang!  Before we know it, I'll be counting down to when school starts again.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ian's day off

Selfie at lunch
I became the fun parent on Friday, June 13th. I granted Ian a day off from school.  I cleared my schedule and kept the day open for whatever Ian wanted to do.

Ian is a good kid.  He has worked hard this year.  I feel like sometimes (most times) he gets the short end of the stick.  His sister sucks all the energy from us and there is not much left to give him.  And to top it off, Ian is excellent with his little sister.  He really looks out for her and tries to do what he can to make her happy.  He is a fantastic big brother.

Once Ian's SOLs (Standards of learning tests) were over, I knew the remaining days at school weren't really going to matter.  I asked Ian which day he'd like to skip school and this past Friday was his answer.  As we got closer to the big day, I was really looking forward to spending the day with him.  Just us.  8 hours to do whatever he wanted.  We didn't have to worry about pleasing Sam too.  And because most of the world was either in school or working, we'd be able to hop from place to place easily.  In a most serendipitous turn of events, Sam got invited for an after-school playdate with her one of her classmates.  She was going home from school with her friend and would not need to be picked-up until 7:00pm.  This meant that Ian and I didn't have to rush back or worry about the time.

We started Ian's day at the movies and saw "Million Dollar Arm".  A most excellent choice and Ian and I loved it.  We were the only ones in the theatre!  A private showing just for us.  How fun!  Then we had lunch at PF Changs.  This was Ian's choice.  We followed lunch with a stop at Ben & Jerry's for ice cream.  And we ended the afternoon with a visit to the batting cages.  Ian hit 90 balls.

I love Ian's faces he makes as he hits the ball. 

It should be noted that I did manage to squeeze in a quick trip to Macy's and REI in between our other stops.  Despite it being Ian's day off, it was mine too!

Ian and I had an awesome day.  Even with the downpour and lack of raincoats/umbrellas made for a fun moment running from building to building getting soaked.  I was so glad I could give Ian this day.  I hope it was as special for him as it was for me.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I heart NYC.

A Times Square selfie
It's been 8 years since I've been to New York City.  That's 8 years too many in my opinion.  I love the big city.  There is something about the fast pace, the people, the buildings, the noise, and the smells that really appeals to me.  The energy is contagious. 

The musical "If/Then" (starring Idina Menzel) had previewed at The National Theatre in Washington, D.C. this past November 2013.  Jeff and I went and really enjoyed it.  Idina is amazing!  The storyline was a bit confusing and we knew changes were going to be made before it opened on Broadway.  In March, an article came out in The Washington Post reviewing the musical and explaining how the two characters (both played by Idina) were going to be less confusing.  I sent out an email with a link of the review to the people I knew who had also seen it while in previews.  Before I knew it, an idea was born.  Let's go check out the musical on Broadway!

Jeff and I went to NYC for the weekend with another couple.  We had never done a trip before with another couple, sans kids.  Let me tell you, it was fun!  We took the Megabus from White Marsh to NYC and arrived on Saturday morning by 10:00am.  We picked our hotel right in the heart of Times Square.  Other than the cab ride to the hotel, we walked everywhere we needed to go.  We managed to get great seats for the 2:00pm matinee show of "If/Then."  I had inquired with a FB friend on a restaurant recommendation for dinner after the show.  My friend's husband said it was one of the best Thai dishes he ever had. 

The whole weekend flowed.  I love this couple we traveled with!  It was easy being around them.  My friend and I waited for 25 minutes after the show to see if Idina would come out the side exit door.  We managed to see almost everyone else in the cast (including the 2 lead male characters), but no Idina.  Meanwhile, the guys decided to go get a drink while we were acting like little school girls with a crush.  It was fun and silly and something I would totally do.  To find a friend who thinks like you do (on a whim to stand outside with the rest of the crowd) is awesome.  And at one point during our "breakfast" at Carnegie Deli on Sunday, our friends and Jeff each started thanking the others for being up for going there.  The funniest thing was when everyone thought it was their idea and no one elses.  Ha!

We took advantage of the gorgeous weather and spent a lot of time outside.  After dinner we walked to The Empire State Building.  We had cheesecake from Juniors at an outside table on Saturday night and hung out talking.  We walked around Central Park for close to 2 hours on Sunday morning.  It was a very relaxed weekend. 

The highlight (besides the play) was going to Carnegie Deli.  We went there for breakfast on Sunday morning and walked right in.  There was no wait for a table. Talk about getting lucky!  By 9:30am, Jeff had a pastrami sandwich that he is still dreaming about.  One hour later, Jeff was still talking about his sandwich.  He was a VERY happy camper. He has since said that every trip to NY will now require a stop at Carnegie Deli.

Jeff enjoying his sandwich
Given Jeff's insane work schedule these past 6 weeks, this weekend away could not have come at a better time.  He did 3 hours of work on the bus (it had wifi!) on the way to NYC and another 3 hours on the drive back, but then he successfully managed to turn the computer off and enjoy the moment.

My inlaws graciously agreed to watch Ian and Sam for the weekend.  It worked out very well and everyone had a great time.

In Central Park
A big shout out to Marcia and Harold for making our weekend away a reality.  Without them, it wouldn't have happened.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Amazing Amazon

I am continually impressed with  I ordered something the other day for Sam.  She loves arts and crafts and I thought I was ordering this kit with all these rolls of tape to create fun designs.  When it arrived, I realized it wasn't appropriate for a 6 year old and was actually intended for an adult.  I must've misread the description because only a book arrived and no fun rolls of colorful tape. 

I went onto Amazon's website and filled out the form to return the book.  Within 10 seconds I got a reply letting me know that since I was a valued customer to keep the book and do not send it back.  I was being credited the $14 for the return, but to not send the book back.

Wow!  It took me a minute or so for what I was reading to sink in.  So incredibly cool.  What a great company! Wouldn't it be wonderful if every retail store operated like this?

As my schedule gets more hectic these days, I rely on Amazon for pretty much everything.  It has almost replaced my trips to Target.  I love knowing that I can order and return things easily.  Love, love, love, Amazon!

I know there was an uproar a few months ago when Amazon announced it was increasing the cost of the Prime membership.  In my opinion, the cost for Prime could double and I'd still be convinced its one of the best deals around.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I'm back in the kitchen creating another new dish.  This one takes my newfound healthy food craze to a whole new level.  Look out kids, I've transformed spaghetti into something amazing.

It has now been about 2 months of me making Zucchini noodles with my zoodle maker.  The kids and I can't get enough of them!  Funny enough, but the two times I've made them for the family, Jeff had a late night at the office and hasn't yet tasted this tasty concoction.  I would've given him a plate when he walked through the door, but the three of us devoured the HUGE amount I made for dinner.  I can't really be upset when the kids are eating tons and tons of zucchini.  This is some good stuff!

I basically have replaced regular pasta for zucchini.  The kids even know what I am doing and doesn't mind.  They are getting a kick out of it too. I take about 5 big sized zucchini's and shred them into spaghetti looking pieces.  I saute it in a pan with very little olive oil.  I add in some fresh, chopped onion and a can of Oregano, Basil, & Garlic Diced Tomatoes. I finish it with some extra spaghetti sauce to add a bit more sauce coverage.  The ingredients are all natural and doesn't have any added sugar.  When I make this for dinner and see my kids absolutely love eating it, I pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming.  I feel like I got it right; being a mom, finding healthy dishes to feed to my kids.  It clicks on nights like this and I my smile is a mile wide.  Plus, I have to admit, it's pretty darn tasty. 
Up close view of my zoodle maker -- Amazon Prime is the best!!

Check out all that zucchini goodness.

Ian's plate of zucchini noodles!  He ate all this and had seconds.

I can't wait to see what I come up with next.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

My Calzone

I've gotten creative in the kitchen!  I am sure I mentioned this previously, but when I got married, my biggest concern was what I was going to feed my future family for dinner each night.  I had no idea how to cook (even the basics like a grilled cheese sandwich).  I was very happy with a big bowl of popcorn and calling that my dinner.  I had enough sense to know that any husband or kids I'd be lucky enough to call my own would need more sustenance than that.  I started collecting many simple, easy to make dishes that my family enjoys eating.  I can follow a recipe with the best of them!  Well, most of the time.  :)  I now have a great rotation and most dishes get made once every 4 weeks.  Not too bad!
A few months ago I tried something new.  I had no recipe to follow.  I experimented with tastes that I felt went together and that I knew Jeff and the kids liked.  I created a CHICKEN PESTO CALZONE!  Yes, me!!!!   I make my own pizza dough for our Sunday pizza night and had made a double batch one week. 
Using this extra ball of dough, I put in the following filling:
  • Grilled or Rotisserie Chicken
  • Scallions (sliced)
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Pesto Sauce - made from a marinade
  • Oregano, Basil, Garlic Powder
I roll out the dough pretty thin.  Put all the filling on one half and fold the other half of the dough over the filling.  I press the edges together and brush the top of the calzone with a little olive oil.  I bake in the oven and voila! dinner is ready.  Jeff and the kids love this dish!!  I also put some of the pesto sauce on the side for dipping.  Ian dips, but no one else does.  This is one yummy dish!!!
Fresh from the oven, with a golden brown crust.

Cut and ready to eat!
Makes me hungry just looking at these pictures.

Friday, June 6, 2014

More crazy tales from the crypt

Two days before The Crazy Man and his girlfriend are set to take a trip to Atlantic City for a few days, he tells me he has lost his EZ Pass transponder.  Just so you know what I am dealing with, this is the 3rd one in a year's time.  I called EZ Pass and ask for a replacement transponder to be sent to his house.  I tell the Crazy Man I am also going to report the one he can't find as lost.  My fear is that someone will find it and be able to use it.  The Crazy Man agrees.

As a side note, The Crazy Man and the girlfriend stay at the Showboat Casino.  He even reports back to me the room is better than he expected.  However, upon initially stepping foot into his hotel room, he notices the television is an old style tube tv.  He calls down to the front desk and for the next 15 minutes discusses with them how he doesn't like the older style televisions and wants a flat screen.  Somehow Showboat complies and switches out his tv.  The Crazy Man is super excited about getting his way and can't wait to tell me this story upon my first day back working for him.  (WHO DOES THAT!?!?!??  Seriously!!  This is the most absurd thing I've ever heard.  If the tv didn't work, I get it.  But the tv worked.  And are you really staying in a hotel to watch the tv anyway?!?!  He was only going to be there for 2 nights, which by the way turned into staying for a 3rd night).

Anyway, The Crazy Man comes back to town and asks me to find out how much the tolls are up and back to Atlantic City.  Here is our conversation:

Me:  Ok, I can look at the Ez Pass website and add up the transactions from when you went through the toll booths.  Oh wait, you didn't have the Ez Pass to use for your trip.  The replacement one wouldn't have made it to you in time.

The Crazy Man:  No, I did use an Ez Pass.  I found the one I thought was lost.  I used that one.

Me:  WHAT?  Crazy Man, that was reported as lost/stolen.  IT WAS TURNED OFF!!!  You basically went through each toll and never paid.

The Crazy Man:  Oh no!  You need to call Ez Pass and let them know.  I need to pay for those tolls.  I don't want to get fined.

Me:  Fine. I will call.  (UGH!!!).

I come to find out that each state handles toll violations separately.  Meaning, I need to call VA, MD, DE, and NJ and speak to each state about what happens when you don't pay the toll.   And get this, because The Crazy Man was driving his girlfriend's car, he has no idea what the license plate is.  So I am asking for information about a car I can't even describe for them to look up.  Lovely!  

A few days later once I get the license plate info, I start making the calls.  I speak to each state and am given the same advice.  Wait until the violation notice comes in the mail and then appeal it.  It could take up to 6 weeks before all the footage is viewed and the toll violators are sent notices.  And because it was in the girlfriend's car, all the toll violation notices are going to go to her house.  Have I mentioned she is not a very pleasant person?  I am sure when The Crazy Man explained to her what happened and to be on the lookout for 4 states to fine her (up and back!), she was ready to kick him to the curb.  Each appeal I am supposed to say that The Crazy Man is a retired gentleman on a fixed income who just had cataract surgery.  He used the wrong transponder by accident and didn't realize it wasn't activated.  He would like to pay the toll, but not the additional fine.

We've already gotten in a notice from Delaware.  Another one came from New Jersey, but I haven't seen it yet. You see I have to rely on The Crazy Man to bring it back from the girlfriend's house and hand it to me.  This could take awhile.  In fact, this whole toll violation process could very well take all Summer long.

For those who are wondering, The Crazy Man is now working two transponders.  I got the one that was reported lost and found again reactivated.  And he has the new replacement transponder activated too.  I should not have to call EZ Pass for another transponder for at least 6 months now.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's all about the teeth.

It was a really BIG couple of days for Sam.  Hours before turning 6 years old, her first tooth fell out.  It was more than ready to come out for several months.  In fact, the two bottom adult teeth had already fully grown in.  The two baby teeth should've fallen out, but instead just kept pushing forward until they were practically horizontal.  It was really crazy to look at.

How freaky, right?

A few months ago when Sam's tooth started getting loose, I went into action and got ready for the Tooth Fairy's big moment.  I went into Sam's room, in the middle of the night, when she was asleep and took a photo to upload to  I had done this with Ian and wanted to do the same thing with Sam.  I even had the foresight when taking the picture to pull the covers all the way up, so that no matter which pajamas Sam wore the night of the Tooth Fairy's visit wouldn't matter.  I superimposed the tooth fairy and printed out the picture.  I ordered Sam a special gift from Amazon Prime for her first tooth.  I was ready!  Bring it on! Whenever that first tooth fell out, I was good to go.

Gorgeous picture, right?

It was the perfect plan, right?  Not so much.  The day Sam lost her first tooth was the same exact day my mom and stepfather came for a visit.  We have the bedroom situation such that Mom/Jim sleeps in Sam's room (she has a queen size bed), and Sam then moves to Ian's room to sleep (he has a full size bed).  Ian takes the sofa downstairs.  Given Sam's sleep issues, she desperately needs a room with a door.  Meanwhile, Ian can sleep pretty much anywhere and doesn't mind the sofa. 

My big plans to have the picture ready was not going to work. Nope!  Sam is way too smart and would quickly realize she wasn't in that bed when the tooth fairy came for a visit.  This meant I was going to have to go back into her room and take another picture.  Upload it to the website, impose another fairy onto the picture and print it out all over again.  The pressure was on!  And to make matters worse, Sam didn't fall asleep until midnight!  Crazy, but every now and then it happens.  She was determined to catch the Tooth Fairy making her visit.

And because Sam was in Ian's bed, the picture isn't as pretty.  It's a boy's room!  Additionally, in our efforts to get Sam to fall asleep, much was being done in all forms of absurdity, including Jeff giving her his pillow because Sam thinks it is more comfy.   So the pillow doesn't even match the rest of the bedding.  :)  What a nightmare that evening was.  Every time Jeff stuck his head in the room to see if she was asleep, Sam would ask what he was doing.   Here's the picture.

Somehow Jeff and I miraculously pulled it off and I got the picture made.  Sam was so delighted that I was able to get a picture for her.  She loved showing it to all her friends at the slumber party and even brought the picture to school. 
Two days later, we were out with our friends and once they got a look at Sam's remaining loose tooth, the dad pulled it out.  It was a very quick process and needed to be done. 
Getting the 2nd tooth pulled out.

Sam with both teeth out!

What an eventful couple of days!  Turning 6 and losing her first two teeth, all within 3 days of each other.  The cool thing is, when Sam looses her 3rd tooth, I can tell her I managed to take another picture of the tooth fairy visiting.  She still hasn't seen the one of her in her own bed. I already have the picture ready to go!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Surviving Sam's Slumber Party

Sam only wanted a slumber party to celebrate her 6th birthday.  No matter how many other suggestions I threw her way, she would only consider having a sleepover with her closest girlfriends.  Personally, I thought at age 5 turning 6, she was too young to have this kind of party.  And, let's not forget I am still traumatized from Ian's birthday slumber party last year.  In fact, I am pretty sure I vowed there would be no more slumber parties ever.  How quickly I cave when it comes to my kids and wanting to make them happy.
We invited four girls to spend the night.  Two were from her preschool days and two were from her kindergarten class.  The slumber party started after school on the Friday of her actual birthday (May 23rd).  It was not that bad!!  One of the biggest reasons this party was a success is because of my mother-in-law.  She was invaluable and a huge help.  Looking back, I don't think it would've gone as well as it did without her.  Marcia jumped in and assisted the girls with every aspect of the party; the craft (decorating picture frames), making their own pizzas, cleaning up, etc.

All the girls were very well behaved.  We only had one small glitch when one of the girls started melting down around 7:30pm. She burst into tears and said she missed her mom greatly.  This girl had never spent the night at anyone's house before.  Her mom told me this might happen and to give her a call.  To wind down the evening, I put on the movie "Frozen".  There is nothing cuter than listening to 4 girls sing the soundtrack to "Frozen". 

By 10:10pm, everyone was asleep and didn't wake-up until nearly 7:00am the next morning.  Yay!! 

The next morning I made chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs, watermelon and orange juice for breakfast.  The girls didn't do such a good job eating breakfast and I quickly turned into a restaurant trying to offer breakfast foods they would eat.  I have to say, this was the only part that became a pain in my rear.  But I didn't want the girls to not eat. 

With it being a 3 day weekend, it was nice having the party on a Friday night and still having the majority of Saturday, all of Sunday and all of Monday to recover.  I am not saying I would quickly offer to do a slumber party again, but I would consider it.  Sam loved it and I think all her friends had a great time too.

Sam and her BFFs
The girls making their own pizzas

The girls decorating their picture frames. I took a picture of each
girl with Samantha and printed it out to put in their frame. 
For Samantha's frame, I took a group photo of all the girls.
The girls watching the movie and singing along.