Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The final countdown

Eight days of school
Eight softball games (three of them this week alone)
Seven days until hubby leaves for a golf trip
One soccer practice
One final soccer game
One kindergarten program

May has just flown by. Part of it is that we have had something going on every single weekend, and with the exception of the very first weekend we have had guests of one sort or another every weekend. Usually school would be done this week, but because of snow days this winter Emma has school until June 4th. Yeah, the kids thought it was so much fun to have a week off in December because of the cold temps and bad weather, but they're not laughing now.

Soccer is winding down and we are in the midst of softball. Emma loved doing soccer--we were with a great team and an awesome coach. Sign-ups for fall soccer started last week, so I'm sure we'll sign up again. Emma also does great at softball. When they bat they get 5 pitches from the machine, then if they don't hit any of those they get to hit off the tee. Emma usually gets a decent hit by the second pitch. Most of the girls on team do very well.

There had been talks of a men-only family golf trip for many years now and the timing finally worked this year for hubby and his brothers and dad to meet up in Nevada to do a week-long trip of golfing and Vegas. I know they are all very excited and I can't wait to hear about the smack talk and excuses that go on during the week. I just have to figure out how to get hubby to the airport at an ungodly hour and have someone here to get Emma on the bus. Darn snow days.

Summer will be busy as well. I volunteered to be in charge of crafts at our vacation bible school which is in three weeks. I have not much of a clue of what I am doing! :P I need to get my act together and get some things ordered. We also have our annual trip to Omaha for the 4th of July, the 150th celebration of the Franklin County Fair, swimming lessons, summer reading program and whatever else comes up.

How come this morning I was already getting excited about buying school supplies for next year?! Sick, I tell you!

Friday, May 22, 2009

'Cause it's a good cause

I just sent off my order form for this t-shirt from The Parker Reese Foundation (PRF):

Jes and Ashley lost their precious Parker to CDH and started a foundation in her honor. In three short years they have done amazing things, one of which is having a whole house/property for CDH families to live while they have a baby in the NICU at Duke or UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina. Parker's House is free of charge for families needing to use the facility and provides families a real home to stay in during a very stressful time. For $16 these t-shirts pay for one night--what a deal. I got one for me and one for Leah; her picture hangs at Parker's House. We were grateful to have the Rainbow House to stay at during our stay at Children's in Omaha, but it was not a "real" house like Parker's House. How awesome would it be to have a facility like Parker's House near every hospital serving CDH babies. My hope is to wear it in some 5K races I want to run so the people behind me can read about CDH. (Hopefully there will be people behind me--ha! I run pretty slow) The deadline for ordering is May 31st and for more info contact Jes at info@theparkerreesefoundation.com. Now if I can get my act together, Leah will be featured at the website listed on the t-shirts. Jes asked me a long time ago--time to get crackin'!

Another great CDH cause is Connor's Books. Connor McLuckie was born 9 years ago on May 15th and lived only 14 hours. His family collects and donates books to a local hospital in his honor every year. Soon after Leah was born I sent in a small donation of books and have every year after. If you remember, Emma's birthday is also May 15th so I always think of Connor as well on that day. Connor has two living sisters (one named Emma) and now has twin baby brothers born earlier this year. We once again sent in books this year, but the real hope for Connor's Books next year is to become a non profit organization. This takes a lot of paperwork and money, so they are trying to reach that goal for Connor's 10th birthday in 2010. His sisters' Girl Scout groups also helped in collecting books this year and they got over 3000 books--WOW!

One more activity I hope to do this summer is Letters for CDH. It is a mass mail campaign to spread awareness of CDH. Maybe you will see some of these CDH kids show up on Oprah or Ellen someday! The person behind the idea is adorable Carter's mom, who happened to be one of the first families who stayed at Parker's House.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Not yet

Okay, so I don't have any pictures from the party up yet, although if you are lucky enough to have me as a facebook friend, you have seen them. And even though about 99% of my readers are also my facebook friends, but I am still going to post some pictures here. Sometime. I've been too busy today getting stopped in the middle of my workout by the electricity cutting out and I've also been busy trying to figure out how to fax something and not have it cost me more than the price of admission to a movie. Copyworks wanted $2 a page for a long-distance fax--I had 7 pages. But it was 25% off! Um, no. I figured out how to get what I needed in a PDF file and just e-mailed the darn thing. Isn't technology wonderful? Okay, so it was hubby's suggestion to try and get the info as a PDF file, but he forgot to take the information to work with him today in the first place which was why I was trying to fax it with no access to a free fax machine.

Anyway I've also been busy wasting my time reading really important things online. I'm sure most of you already visit this site regularly but I thought I'd post it again since it had me laughing this afternoon. I just hope one of my cakes doesn't show up on there someday. Gotta love your Cake Wrecks! I see she is coming out with a book, that may be one I need to get. Got your copy pre-ordered, G?

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Done!

The weekend is over and the two parties are behind us. They both went well and pictures will be coming soon. I promise. Right after I pick up the plethora of presents from the living room floor and go buy snacks for 19 children for the next 5 days. And get back to Shredding and my C to 5K workouts. I'm not eating another dessert for three months. ;)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Party Planning--The Final Countdown

Now I know why my only childhood birthday party memory is a giant strawberry made out of newspaper where we played "pin the stem on the strawberry" for my Strawberry Shortcake birthday. Parties are a lot of work. After that I remember having my birthday parties at the local community college swimming pool where the only planning is making sure everyone brought their suit and towel and knows how to swim. Good thinking, Mom.

I'm not going to shell out big bucks to have a over-the-top theme party, so my kids will get a "Mom tries really hard" theme party. As I've mentioned, Emma picked Webkinz as her theme so we're running with it. I scoured the internet for party ideas and found quite a few. For those of you who are well versed in Webkinz, you will know what I'm talking about. If you don't, just pretend like you care.

We will have a sign greeting the kids that says "Today in Webkinz World" with activities listed. I haven't figured out what order to do the activities yet, but here is what I have:
  • Gem Hunt--they will search for gems. I have some "rocks" made out of brown wrapping/packing paper. There are 6 with gems and the rest are slag. They can find one rock with gems in it. After everyone has found gems, we will make crowns of wonder. The crowns are glittery visors I cut to look like crowns (or fire, if you ask the birthday girl) and the gems are all sicky back gems or glittery foam stickers.
  • Jellybean Challenge--guess the number of jellybeans in the jar.
  • Quizzy's Corner--ask them some trivia questions
  • Zingos Pop--unload a bunch of blown up ballons onto the floor. Assign each child a color, and see who can sit on and pop all their balloons first. Will work better once I buy balloons, which I remembered I forgot on my 5th trip to WalMart yesterday.
  • Kinz Pinz Bowling--let them bowl with the plastic bowling set.
  • Webkinz Mini Golf--let them golf with the mini golf set we have.
  • Pizza Palace--make their own pizzas for supper.
  • W Shop--they can buy and decorate their own pet carrier.
  • Wheel of Wow--spin and win a fabulous prize. I wasn't going to have a Wheel of Wow until I felt guilty enough to make one. I mean this is one of the things you do everytime you go to Webkinz World. I have the wheel made and the prizes, just need to figure out how to rig it to spin. All my engineer of a husband could suggest was a brass fastener--duh, I thought of that but somehow I missed the brass fastener aisle at WalMart. Believe me, I looked.

Do you think that is enough to keep 6 six year olds busy for two hours? We have lucked out for Emma's last two parites and when everyone is bored and all my planned activites are done or were flops, we went outside and blew bubbles and ran around. The forecast for Friday from 5-7 is rain, so that may not be an option.

Today's activities include baking a cake, picking up the house, finishing up the games, grocery shopping, mailing packages for hubby, soccer practice, decorating a cake, making cookies, making a brownie pizza and wrapping presents. Think I can get it all done?!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Betty mojo is MIA

Emma's birthday is in 4 days and I have no idea what I'm making for her cake. I know I posted those cakepops awhile back, but I'm not feeling them. I've searched online for Webkinz themed cakes and haven't found any I'd care to make. She'd be happy with anything that is chocolate cake with frosting, that was her request. I need inspiration and I need it fast.

Maybe it's because I'm on a dessert overload. Last weekend I made a peanut butter brownie pizza and a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake for guests we had over. It was my first attempt at a real, baked cheesecake in a springform pan and let me say the results were oh-so-good. I've had at least three pieces of the cheesecake, it is creamy sweet goodness on an oreo crust. Yum. And for the brownie pizza, chocolate and peanut butter are always a good combination. Emma saw me chopping up the mini peanut butter cups to put on top and she said, "I just can't look away--it looks so good!"

Since she was in love with that treat, I am making that to take to kindergarten on Friday. And I'm making soccer ball sugar cookies on a stick to take to her soccer game on Saturday. But I still need something to serve at two birthday parties. So that will be one brownie pizza, a cake or cupcake, cookies, and another dessert in three days. After that I'm swearing off sweets for a month or a week or a few days.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Last year hubby and I each spent Mother's Day with our own mother's in separate states. I got breakfast in bed, a yummy brunch, and my curling iron broke.

This year I got

Both have already been used by the entire family. Isn't that so nice of me to share?
I love the ipod. We haven't downloaded any music since Napster was free, so it has been a long time. In anticipation of getting the shuffle, I started a list of music to download--most of it is upbeat Top 40's type of music. I wanted some music to get my booty up and moving while I'm running jogging. We got some songs on and Emma went off to school singing, "Apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur . . . . she gave that big booty a slap"
Mario Kart also rocks. I'm sure its a little different playing it on a handheld rather than on the Wii with the wheel controler, but it is still fun. Let's just say I rock the 50cc circuit. I'm telling you, my hand-eye coordination may improve yet. I had such a late start in life to this whole gaming thing. Like a 33 year late start.
I love being a mom. ;)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Random

  • Hubby got back home about 1am this morning. Any bets on when he will see the light of day today? I am proud to say we made it through this trip without any major incidents. Woo hoo!
  • So far I have crossed off everything on my "to do" list. Today's items include a trip to Target and the grocery store, exercise, and planning a party. Tough stuff.
  • Not only did I cross everything off my list, I did it all while trying to potty train an almost 4 year old. Yesterday she stayed dry the whole day. These two girls have been very different in almost everything they do, surprise surprise. Emma took an interest to pooping on the potty around 18 months and she did that consistently on the potty before the peeing. Leah will probably be 25 years old before she poops in the potty. Emma is just now able to wake herself up at night to go to the bathroom and has stayed dry at night for about a month now. Leah has woken up dry the past two nights. To each her own I guess!
  • I think I found a winner with the last pair of shoes I got--the Sauconys I posted. I love www.shoebuy.com where I ordered all 4 pairs of shoes to try, but their shipping can be slow. I ordered two pair the same day and I got one yesterday and the other just shipped yesterday. Now I just need to try the Sauconys out on the treadmill to see if they are the real deal.
  • I had a friend ask me when my first race is. I guess I had better start signing up for some, since that was my ultimate goal. There is one a few friends are doing on June 13th, then one in July that my sister said she was going to do, and I'm even looking to one in October. I've only "ran" (I use that term loosely, it was more like a slow jog) a 5K once in my life and that was 7 years ago.
  • Tomorrow I am paying for signing up Emma for two spring sports. We have a soccer game at 9am, softball pictures at 9:05am (won't make that), softball game at 10am and softball game at 11:30am. I realize the softball association does this whole "Rally Day" event, but a double header for 6 year olds who have had 2 practices with a first-time volunteer coach is a bit over the top.
  • We also have two parties we've been invited to for tomorrow night and I offered to host dessert for one of the gatherings.
  • Sunday is Mother's Day. Have you told your Mom "I love you" lately?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Shoe Saga

Forgive me if I've talked about this here. It is hard to keep track of where I've said what since I do Facebook and also have a "blog" on SparkPeople. If you've heard this story, just nod your head and say "uh hun" while I talk.

So I started the whole Couch to 5K thing last year and quickly found out the only pair of shoes I could wear comfortably on the treadmill were a pair of used Sauconys that I bought at my friend's consignment shop fo $6. Who knows who wore them before me and for how long. I've been wearing them for a year and a half now and they are done. Beyond done.

So with my birthday riches I decided to buy a new pair of Sauconys. I thought I found a great looking pair for a great price and ordered them. Wore them a few times on the treadmill and they hurt my feet and gave me medial shin splints. Not good. Back they went.

I decided I needed to get fitted for running shoes at an actual running store. I had heard good things about a place in Des Moines, so I stopped there a few weeks ago. I was all excited because I knew I would find the perfect running shoes there.

Did I forget to mention I have a little bit of a bunion problem? Um yeah, genetics strikes again. I've had them for a long time and judging by the look of my dad's feet, they will only get much worse. I am able to get by in normal shoes wearing regular width so far--he wears a triple wide. But it turns out running shoes are a different story. Most shoes have some sort of design/stitching right over where my bunions are that constrict them.

I tried on at least 8 pair of shoes at the running store and found one pair of shoes that may work. One. I decided to go online and look for running shoes that come in wide, hoping that will help. Ordered two more pair to try out. Struck out two more times. Sent those back and ordered two more pair. I'm waiting for those to show up this week.

Who knew it would be this hard? Ugh. Not me. Yesterday I sat down with my friend google and found this:

Could it be that simple? Just skip the bottom hole when lacing? It seems to make sense, but I feel like I'm breaking some rule by not using the bottom hole. I'll have to try it when the next round of shoes comes.

These are what I have my hopes pinned on:

Aren't they pretty? Because we all know that look is more important than fit, right? Of course these were twice as much as the first pair I bought, but with my super bargain hunting skills they only cost about $35 more.
See on the bottom picture where there is mesh where my lovely bunions sit? That is the key for me. And I still love the feel of Sauconys. With the two pair of shoes I recently sent back, I had a Saucony on one foot and a New Balance on the other and the Saucony was so much more comfortable.
Hopefully I can figure out a pair of shoes and keep just one--I don't think hubby will like the fact that I have 4 pairs of shoes on the credit card right now.

Monday, May 4, 2009

To Do List

The hubby is gone for almost the whole week for a work conference. Without him around to take care of, I can maybe get some things done. I wrote myself a "to do" list that was color coded and covered every day from now until Friday. I have high hopes.

At the top of the "to do" list is a big unwritten that hubby left me with:
"Do not flood the house or make a trip to the ER or for any other reason call me crying and sobbing hysterically about some unforseen accident that happened while I am away." If you've been with me a year, then you know what I am talking about.

Okay, I'm off to put away laundry, pick up the kitchen, exercise, go buy annuals/planters, make an eye appointment, and plan a birthday party. And that is just for Monday.
ETA: Monday's list now includes clean up cat puke. Hubby's instructions did not say "do not kill or lose cat" so that may happen this week as well.