Saturday, December 22, 2007



I had plans to write a post about our fabulous trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg. (Here's the lowdown. The kids loved the waterslides. Claire went on one, that Brian went on after sending her down. When he got to the bottom he said, "if I had gone on first I would never have let her do that." But by the time he got to the bottom I had gotten her calm by telling her what a big girl she was, and how brave, etc. Having a room on the waterpark level is nice, but when you walk by the waterslides 297 times and the kids want to go in every.single.time. saying "not now" becomes a bit exhausting. I also rediscovered that my husband is an arcade junkie, and Claire looks to be not far behind, even though she is too young to really play any of the games they had. All in all, a great trip, and I look forward to going again.)

I planned to write about how thrilled Claire's teacher was that part of our Christmas gifts was a class gift of a new bird feeder since Claire constantly tells me how the bird feeder is broken, and she wishes they could feed the birds.

I planned to write about how the largest grocery store in town does not carry a single jar of plum preserves, but does have vidalia onion jelly. However, the smallest store? Had three different kinds of plum preserves, at different price points.

I planned to write about our upcoming trip to Texas, and how I am panicking a bit about taking an almost-two and a three-and-a-half year old on an airplane for 3+ hours and staying sane in the process.

But all of that is going to have to wait because oh the craziness of the last few days. Thursday, approximately three minutes before I needed to leave to pick up Claire from school, I discovered a giant wet spot on the basement carpet. It was wet enough that it went "squelch" every time I took a step. Ugh. Then I looked closely at the laminate flooring. Hmmm, the seams shouldn't peak up like that. I've never noticed that before. Then a quick look in the closet with the furnace, water heater, and plumbing for Brian's bar sink. Wet everywhere. Ack. Panic. Have to leave the house. After consulting my parents (helpful), and Brian (not) while I drove to and from school, I started calling around for plumbers when I got home. I had one recommendation, one whose van I'd seen around, and another who a neighbor had seen in another neighbor's driveway. Good enough. The first two weren't available to come out that day, but the third was. So I spent the rest of my afternoon learning how to turn off the water to and drain a water heater, find the master water shutoff for the house, and trying my best to sop up the wet with a variety of towels while I waited for the plumber. Not exactly how I'd planned my day. (Big thank you to my dad who drove up to help, and like me, couldn't find the leak, but certainly calmed me down a little.) The plumber arrived around 5:30, but unfortunately, he couldn't find any leak either. So we went to bed with no answers, and a very damp basement.

Friday I ran to the grocery store before the cleanup people were supposed to come between 9 and 11 to do a lot of the grocery shopping for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. They came around 12:45. Their estimate for cleaning up the damage was a little less than I anticipated, but they would only rip up the Pergo and clean underneath it, not replace it. I said I'd be in touch. They did not pull up any carpet (which I'd hoped for as our plumber had said it was possible we had a cracked foundation). So instead I foisted Claire off on a generous neighbor, left Ben fussing in his crib, ripped up carpet and set up a fan myself so that it was no longer sitting on the sodden pad, and could dry out. Then Ben and I headed over to the neighbors so that I could just pretend the problem didn't exist for a little while. When I came home Brian was home, and we went downstairs together. At this point nearly everything was dry except the base of the furnace which is attached to a humidifier, so we put in a call to the company that services our furnace. The guy came right over, and shortly he and Brian discovered the problem. The pipe from the humidifier wasn't sloped correctly, and had developed a small clog, causing it to back up when the humidifier was going strong. Not visible when the furnace/humidifier wasn't running. So the problem has been found, and fixed. Now we need to figure out how to clean the mess up. Fun. Or not.

Needless to say the goodies I usually make for friends and neighbors? Will be New Year's goodies, not Christmas ones. And our holiday cards and letter? Happy New Year everyone. That's when you'll get your card. I had to take some things off of my plate, or I would not survive the next three days. I decided how could I celebrate properly the true reason for the season if I didn't give myself a little peace on earth? I hope to, but may not, have the chance to post again before Christmas. So a very Merry Christmas to all, and to all a restful night.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Best Shot(s) Monday - Christmas photos

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A few weeks ago I took 280 photos trying to find the three that were just right for the Christmas card. I frankly wasn't thrilled with the lighting I had in any of the shots, and if I had had time, I would have redone them at a different time of day, or in a different room, but I didn't. Here are three that didn't make the card, but deserve to be spotlighted, anyway.

Trying to get two kids to look happy at the same time?
Ain't gonna happen. At least at this point they were having fun!

Even the weird lighting can't disguise that pretty smile!

Hello, GQ called. They're ready for the "toddler" edition.

To see more pictures from Best Shot Monday visit Tracey over at Picture This, and look for more adorable links in her comments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A bevy of contests

Wow! There are tons of opportunities right now to pick up some great prizes!

5 Minutes for Mom has quite a few contests up right now. Every woman knows that finding the right jeans is not an easy task. The ones that fit nicely, and feel comfortable, and make you feel good about how you look? Yeah, not easy to find. But True Jeans really tries to help. You enter your measurements, and they'll give you alist of what jeans to try. And right now by entering this contest, you could win a $200 gift certificate! Wow!

The lovely sisters also scored a great prize from Best Buy. You could win a shelf system from Insignia, that includes an iPod dock, a CD/DVD player, and much more. Wow again!

Over at A Readable Feast, Anne-Marie is giving away a great big basket of children's books. At our house new books are always a big hit.

Hmmm, I'm convinced there were more contests that I was going to mention here, but I can't think of them now. It is almost bedtime, so my brain cells are done for the day, I think.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


One of my favorite Christmas stories is Olive the other Reindeer. It's about a dog named Olive who hears people singing Rudolph, and thinks that instead of saying "all of the other reindeer" they are saying "Olive, the other reindeer" so she heads off to the North Pole to help Santa out.

Claire chose to have that story read to her 2 or 3 times on Sunday, and then later that evening I caught her singing to herself as she looked at the book, "all of the other reindeer...Olive the other reindeer...Lucky the other reindeer." It was so cute. And fitting given how we had tortured dressed Lucky up on Saturday when we went to pick out our tree.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Best Shot Monday - birthday pie

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Ben seems to be thoroughly enjoying the birthday pie on Saturday.

To see more pictures from Best Shot Monday visit Tracey over at Picture This, and look for the links in her comments.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Long time no type.

Well, I certainly hadn't intended to finish off a month of posting daily by not posting for an entire week. Sadly, we found out last Thursday that Brian's grandma had passed away, so the next few days were a blur of making plans, doing laundry, cleaning up, doing laundry, packing, doing laundry - you get the drift.

Our trip was too fast, and it was - of course - sad, but at the same time we got to spend some quality time with family that we don't see often enough. That, at least, was a blessing. I am grateful that Grandma got to meet and hold both of her great-grandchildren. She loved holding them in her lap, and they loved that she wore long dangly necklaces that they could tug on. Brian has lots of stories from when he used to fly out to Texas every summer to see his grandparents, and when the kids are older they will get to hear about Grandma Norma, and what a strong woman she was. Brian was excited to find an ice cream maker that he used to use with his grandparents when he was out there visiting, and he shipped it home so that he can make ice cream with Claire and Ben. (Hopefully that's one item that was on my Christmas list that I won't get this year!) I know they won't have their own memories of meeting her, but we have lots of pictures to show them, and hopefully that will be enough.

We came back to two little ones who have been physically on top of me for the last 48 hours. Or at least that's what it feels like. Just five minutes ago Claire asked me, "why are you under that blanket?" I told her I was cold, and she said, "I'm cold, too." So she went upstairs to get her blanket. On her way up the stairs she said, "do you want me to sit next to you?" with the most hopeful lilt in her voice. It obviously meant, "may I please sit next to you?" Of course this means she is currently laying on top of one of my forearms while I type, touching my lips and chin and giggling.