29 May 2009

Private Benjamin

When I left work yesterday, it was so humid. The air was so thick you could feel the moisture as you breathed it in.

Virginia in the summer (okay, almost summer). Hot and humid. The only place I've spent time in that was worse was South Carolina. And I apologize to anybody who lives in SC and loves it, but dang, that place gets freaking hot and humid in the summer. And don't get me started on the d@mn fire ants!

Of course, I could be a little bit biased against SC. I mean I am from Seattle, and up until the point when I was shipped off to Basic Training at Fort Jackson I had never left the West Coast, with the exception of a trip to Alberta, Canada when I was 13.

I know, Cookie in the Army, pretty funny. I imagine that was a pretty amusing thing to watch. I mean I wore BDUs. And I marched. And I shot a rifle. Just picture Private Benjamin and you might be close.

Any way a Seattlite in South Carolina in the summer is not a good combination. Especially when it did not involve anything resembling a beach, unless you count the sand pits, which I definately do not.


I have another shameless Amazon plug, I mean children's book recommendation. Last night one of the stories I read the boys was I Love You So... by Marianne Richmond, which is a delightful story explaining to a child how much is so much love, and that a parent's love is unconditional.

"I love you"

"How much?"

"So much."

"How much is 'so'?"

"WAY, WAY MORE than you know..."

The artwork is lovely and the prose is beautiful. Gabe loves to ask questions about all the pictures and what it means for Mommies and Daddies to love their children no matter what.


Today, I actually feel almost well-rested. Nick slept through the night. Of course, that means he slept from 7:30 to 5:00, but hey that works for me. I'm ecstatic! I guess this means his cold is completely gone. So yay! Antibiotics rock!


Last night I did my No More Trouble Zones video again. I love how much stronger I feel when I'm finished with it, even though I hate it while I'm doing it. I always feel so much better after I've completed a workout.

I really want to be consistent with exercising even though it's difficult sometimes with work, school, the boys, and Pigpen. This is something that's important to me and good for my health. There is always something else I could be doing instead of exercising, but I have to make the time. I have to believe that I'm worth it.

Sometimes I have a hard time believing that.

27 May 2009


So Nick's new favorite word is "nack" followed by pointing at himself - indicating that he wants a snack. Of course, he means he wants a specific snack, and actually means that he wants fruit loops. He did that this morning when I was downstairs making my coffee, and of course I complied. I was rewarded with a giant grin when the requested "nack" appeared on the little red chair (there's no point in putting it in a bowl, he would just proceed to dump it everywhere).


Last night was a very unsuccessful food night. Nick, who normally is an excellent eater, wasn't interested in eating anything that wasn't a a Fruit Loop. And Gabe, despite requesting a Voila! Meal (we like the Garlic Chicken) refused to eat most of it. He doesn't eat vegetables, although we keep trying. Tonight we asked him to eat one little sliced carrot.

You would have thought we were trying to poison him the way he reacted! He spent almost 15 minutes in a meltdown over eating one lousy carrot. Then he refused to eat some of the curly noodles because they had little bits of broccoli on them. Finally the chicken, which he had claimed he would eat, resulted in another tantrum. He spent so long having tantrums that he lost out on the chance to watch a DVR'd TV show before it was time to get ready for bed.


As I've mentioned before, I love story time with the boys. Last night I read a Bob the Builder story, Someday and Good Night, Grover. If you have never ready Someday before, I highly recommend it. It's guaranteed to make me tear up every time I read it, despite being about a little girl. The story is basically a mother talking to her little girl, and some of the things she will experience as she grows up. Here are a couple of the lines from the story:

"One day I counted your fingers and kissed each one".

"Someday your eyes will be filled with a joy so deep that they shine".

The book is written by Alison McGhee, who also writes the charming Little Boy.


After the boys went to bed last night, I worked out for the second night in a row. Go me! Last night I did Jillian Michaels' No More Trouble Zones and I was sweating like crazy by the end of it. My legs are quite sore this morning. I love Jillian's videos. I think she's a great trainer, and I would jump at the opportunity to have a personal training session with her.

I am determined to finish losing weight by this summer so I actually look decent in a swimsuit. We're planning a beach trip at the end of June and I hope to make good progress by then. My goal is to work out every night, even if it is just a long walk or a yoga video. I'm not sure how successful I will be, especially since I do have school to worry about.

Wish me luck!

26 May 2009

Monday, Monday

We decided to return from the country yesterday afternoon, rather than today like originally planned. Mainly because of homework. I was having trouble concentrating and Pigpen's computer decided to stop working. So was came back early, although Gabe stayed up there with my MIL. She dropped him off a couple hours ago.


We had a nice time. Shortly after we got up there on Saturday, Pigpen put the little charcoal grill together and grilled burgers and hot dogs for lunch. We also had baked beans (canned) and roasted veggies (potatoes, onions, and carrots). It was very good. I had a little difficulty eating the hot dog, due to my mouth still not being 100%, but enjoyed it none the less. Afterwards, I helped Gabe roast marshmallows.

Saturday evening we went out to dinner at Pizza Hut. Gabe is fascinated with ea ting in at a pizza place, so whenever we go to the country house we always take him out to dinner there. This time, in addition to ordering a Pepperoni pizza (a favorite with the men in the Cookie family), we also tried on of their new pastas - the Chicken Alfredo. It wasn't bad. Certainly not as good as the commercials make it out to be, but not bad.

After dinner we went back the country house and got the boys ready for bed. Nick was resistant to sleep, since his routine was messed with, so we took him for a car ride into the town of Strasburg. There's a little ice cream shack in the main part of town that is absolutely fabulous. I had a blueberry delight sundae, which consisted of freshly made soft serve vanilla ice cream, cheese cake, and lots of blueberry topping. Mmmmm. So go. Pigpen went with a blueberry shake.

I worked on a little homework after we got back, which is hard when you don't have an internet connection and realize that you don't have all the information you need. Luckily my paper wasn't due until Sunday. Poor, Pigpen, he had tried to download AOL so he could use a dial-up connection if necessary and it totally hosed his computer. He spent all evening trying to get it to work with no success. In fact, it's still not working.


On Sunday we went for a hike in the woods after breakfast. My in-laws have about eight acres with a creek that ends in a lake, although the lake was built by their neighbors and for the most part, isn't on their property. Pigpen and I talked about the possibility of moving from the suburbs and building up here, but it's probably not feasible. More than likely we will just expand and upgrade the house my in-laws have to make it more pleasant for weekend trips.

After we returned from our walk, we went for a drive so the Nick could take a nap and Gabe could chill and watch an episode or two of Go, Diego, Go in the car. We went and found all the local schools and stopped at the elementary school so Gabe could play on the playground, which he enjoyed. After our drive, we all ate lunch and then Pigpen and I got ready to drive back home. Nick stayed awake for most of the drive, and was still awake when we reached Gainesville. We needed to go grocery shopping, and decided to stop at the Super Target there.

After Target Nick fell asleep for the rest of the ride. When we got home Pigpen and I unpacked the car and tried to tidy up around the house. Pigpen also tried to get his computer to work with little success.

Sunday evening we decided to go to Outback for dinner, which was delicious. I even had a drink - a blueberry martini, which was excellent. We ordered Nick macaroni and cheese, which did not use elbow noodles, so Nick wasn't too sure about. However, he loved the bread and everything that Pigpen and I were eating. The weather was beautiful, so we also went for a short walk around the block when we got home from dinner.


This morning we went to Panera Bread for breakfast, stopped to get me Starbucks, and then went for a drive so that Nick could take a nap. I love going for drives, it's one of the few opportunities for Pigpen and I to talk. We came to the conclusion, like we usually do, that we are never leaving our current neighborhood, and will eventually buy a house here.

Nick woke up as soon as we got home and decided that he could not get out of the car without a pair of my sunglasses. He looked very cute, and silly.

Any way, I need to finish my homework, so I better end this post so I'm not up too late.

22 May 2009

Out of Town

I am actually doing something for Memorial Day Weekend. Go me! We're going out of town this weekend. Unfortunately it is no where exciting. We're heading up to my in-laws house in the Shenandoah Valley. They have about eight acres up there with a house. Gabe loves it. He actually headed up there today with my MIL. 

Pigpen and I will go up tomorrow with Nick. We both had a bunch of homework to work on, and we haven't had time this week to get anything ready for us since we'll be gone the whole weekend. If we get lucky we might even get a bonus date on Sunday. And of course, we will take Gabe to Pizza Hut, where we, the novelty, actually sit down in the restaurant!


Nick was really cute this evening, even though it was obvious he missed Gabe. His new favorite treat has become Fruit Loops. And he know where we keep them. So any time we go to the pantry he comes running up hoping he'll be given some. He's also learned how to say snacks, or as he says it "nack", which is super cute. So if you ask him if he wants a snack his face will light up in expectation of receiving Fruit Loops. 

He also is fully aware of his name, and the names of many other objects, even if he can't say them. If you ask him where's Nick, he will point to himself. He can also identify most of his body parts when asked. You ask him and he'll point the right part, and then giggle, which means I end up giggling too. It's very cute. 


We called Gabe tonight at his bedtime and we're told that he had ROASTED MARSHMALLOWS! And do we want to roast marshmallows too when we come up tomorrow? It was very cute. I miss him when he's not around. He's growing up so quickly. I mean in another year we have to register him for kindergarten. Kindergarten! How did he get to be so big? 


In other news, I am still in pain from the darn wisdom teeth removal. Eating anything solid is still difficult, although certainly better than it was. It gets worse if I don't medicate regularly. WTF? I didn't think it was supposed to hurt this much for this long. If I'm not feeling significantly better by Monday, I better call the oral surgeon and get them rechecked. 

Once they heal I can finally go in for my dental check up. It will only be three months past due. I had an appointment scheduled for the end of March and when they called me up to remind me I canceled because I wasn't going to show up still in possession of my wisdom teeth. I didn't want to have to explain to my dentist why I still had them when she had given me the referral six months ago. 


Now I think it is time to go to bed. Like I meant to do half an hour ago. Nick will be up multiple times and then get up for good too early. And then we have to pack and then drive up to the country house. I will be fortified with caffeine... ah caffeine, what would I do without you?

18 May 2009

A Real Pain in the Mouth

So, I had my last two wisdom teeth removed on Friday. My mouth is still sore from it, especially the right side. Pigpen went to work for a few hours and then took the rest of the day off to take care of me. I decided to be sedated for the procedure, since I was fully aware for my upper two when they were removed in high school and found it excruciating.

I had the first appointment of the day, and then went home to take a nap. Pigpen went out and picked me up some lunch - Taco Bell's pintos 'n cheese, yummy... and then we caught up on some of the season finales from the week. It was nice to just chill at home with him minus the boys. We're really trying to make an effort to spend more time alone together, without cutting in too much to our limited time with Gabe and Nick.


This weekend wasn't the best weekend for me to be out of commission; although I did my best to muddle through. Gabe had soccer on Saturday, followed by a picnic for whole league. Plus, one of his friends had her birthday party on Sunday.

My MIL went with Pigpen to soccer practice to help out with Gabe and watch Nick while I took a nap. I did go with them to the picnic, but it started to rain, so I stayed in the car with Nick, while Pigpen quickly took Gabe out there to see what that had set up for food and activities.

The food was from Moes, which is not one of our favorite Mexican places, and we had to pay for it, so Pigpen didn't get any. They did have some of the players from D.C. United there to sign autographs, so Gabe did get at least one player's autograph on a poster.


The party on Sunday was nice. It was located at one of those moon bounce places, and most of Gabe's friends were there, so he had a great time. Nick really enjoyed it too. Especially the slides, which he kept asking Pigpen to take him on. Unfortunately, you had to crawl through some really small opening's and climb up this makeshift ladder to get to the top. It got to be very tiring for Pigpen to do that while carrying a 23 lb baby. Nick wanted to go down by himself, so I was always at the bottom waiting for him.

Gabe had the most fun playing with one of his friend's older brother, This is the nine-year-old we went to the movies with a couple weeks ago. The especially enjoyed playing on the pirate ship; at least that's what I think it was supposed to be. I didn't pay much attention to what it was.

I tried to bounce with Nick a bit, but due to the pain in my mouth, it started to make me nauseous. Luckily Nick enjoyed playing with the balls they had out as much as going on the moon bounces.

Unfortunately for the kids, we only got an hour on the equipment before it was time for pizza, cake, and goodie bags. Poor Gabe, he really wanted to go back down and bounce some more. I wish we had room for one of those little moon bounces at our townhouse. Nick wasn't feeling well, so he didn't eat much pizza or cake. Gabe was more than happy to eat the frosting off of the slice of cake that Nick didn't want.


The one thing that does not happen at parties here is the opening of gifts. I remember that being one of the big things at birthday parties when I was little. But nobody does around here. Is this now common every where? Or just here in Northern Virginia? We opened gifts once at Gabe's first birthday party, which was at my MIL's, but by the time his next party rolled around we had been to enough parties to know that it just wasn't something people did.

12 May 2009

Mother's Day

I had a really nice Mother's Day. After we got up (way too early, as usual), Pigpen brought the boys downstairs while I finished getting dressed for the morning. He had the boys both sign their car to me, which was really cute. Both of their scribbles, and then Pigpen signed their names, it was sweet. Gabe has almost mastered his G, so Pigpen just added the rest of his name to Gabe's almost G.

Pigpen then went out to get me Starbucks, and returned with roses as well. I love roses! So that was really sweet. Nick was fascinated by them, and wanted one to play with. While I wouldn't let him play with one by himself, I did take one out and let him smell and touch it, which really made him smile. Have I mentioned how incredibly cute Nick's smile is, with his five little teeth?

I also had breakfast made for me - scrambled eggs with cheese, sausage, and waffles. The waffles were originally bought for Gabe (they're organic Sesame Street themed mini waffles), but he decided he didn't like them. I think they're pretty good, and so does Nick. My little Nick will eat just about anything. Sometimes I worry that's why he gets so many stomach aches - he eats too much.

Then again, I worry that Gabe doesn't eat enough. I often think that's one of the main things mothers do. Worry, that is.

Normally Gabe goes to church with my MIL on Sundays, but she was out of town for her brother's 50th wedding anniversary, so he just chilled at home with us. He did, however, go over to spend the night with her. Pigpen and I figured that would be a good Mother's Day present for her, since she really isn't getting anything tangible for Mother's Day.

We already chipped in for her plane ticket to Alaska to visit my SIL (my BIL's wife) when she has the baby. It also covered her recent birthday and her Christmas present.

On the way to drop off Gabe, we stopped to pick up Outback for dinner, which is always a favorite. They recently redid their menu, so instead of crab cakes, they now have these humongous crab stuffed shrimp, which were fabulous. Although I will miss the crab cakes - they were one of my favorite items. I also had prime rib and mashed potatoes, both of which were very good. To be expected, they were also well-liked by Nick.

All in all it was a really nice day.

03 May 2009

Movie Weekend

Every month Pigpen and I have been making an effort to go on a date. We've been alternating between a nice restaurant and a movie. Last month we went to the Melting Pot, which was awesome. This month, as in Friday, we went to the see the opening of Wolverine. It was really good. I've been a fan of the X-Men since I was a child, so I've enjoyed all the movies in the franchise, just not all the casting choices (I'm still bitter about Rogue).

The movie theater we went to is part of a nice town center for one of the local communities and has a lot of little restaurants attached. We had a quick dinner at the Asian restaurant there, which we have never tried before. It wasn't bad, but it was no Hunan's, which is our favorite little Chinese restaurant. We caught the last matinee show, so the theater wasn't that full. There is a high school up the street, and we were early enough that most of the high school crowd was just getting to the theater as we were leaving.

I won't spoil the movie for those that haven't seen it, but it was definitely more about the action than the story. A lot of holes, for those who have only seen the previous movies and have never read the comics, were filled in. The dialogue seemed like nothing more than a way to get from one action scene to the next, but at least the action was good. The Easter egg after the credits hinted at what the next movie will be about.

I got to see another movie this weekend, as well. Two movies in one weekend is a rare occurrence, especially with kids. We met up with some friends to finally see Monsters vs. Aliens, which Gabe has been asking to see since he got his first toy tie-in from McDonalds (darn you, successful marketing ploy). I missed the last half hour because Nick started to get fussy. Also, the theater was really full. The movie has been out for a while, but we saw it on the 3D screen, and the weather was bad, so a lot of people had the same idea.

After the movie we went to Cold Stone for ice cream. Gabe had more fun playing with his friends than eating his strawberry ice cream with sprinkles. Our friends have two little boys, one is almost five, and the other is nine. Gabe really likes them both. I'm glad he had a good time. I do worry about him not socializing enough.