Sunday, December 28

30 looks the same as 29

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At least so far. :)

Friday night Mike gathered our neighbors for some delicious cookie cake, always my choice in cakes.

Saturday morning we got up and headed to Golden Corral for a birthday brunch buffet with the Maddexes. One of the things I love is a breakfast buffet. I hate having to decide what to eat for breakfast. Buffets allow me to have a taste of everything, which is what I love. It was Laurie's idea, so thanks for thinking of me and knowing me so well! :)

And here are the long-awaited pics of Mike & I on our date night.

What do you think of the dress and boots? I had a long jacket (but not a short enough skirt, if you know what I mean) in black to go over it and I was not at all cold uptown.

Dinner was awesome. If you have never been to a Brazilian steakhouse, you should go. There were 16 kinds of meat, and that is not an exaggeration. You sit down and can immediately eat from the salad bar stuff like fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, smoked salmon, creamy vegetable soup, and tabouleh. Then the meat starts coming around. The "gauchos" have the different kinds on long skewers and they just slice off small portions onto your plate. I ate Parmesan pork loin, garlic tenderloin, salmon, leg of lamb, prime rib, top sirloin, and the butteriest filet mignon I have ever had. They even served me a tiramisu-style cake because it was my birthday. Mike and I were in pain just a bit when we left because of the vast quantities of food we consumed.

Then we headed to the movie theater. They actually card at the theater because after 7pm it becomes over 21. Inside the theater is a restaurant and 2 bars. You can bring any of the food and your drinks into the theater. I had a pomegranite martini while watching the movie. The seats were in sets of two together with no armrest between and they were extra-wide and cushy. Each set of two seats had a little table on either side for your drinks and food. AND the seats were assigned, you chose them when bought the tickets.

After the show, we walked around the complex. There is a Howl at the Moon in there and a dance club called Whiskey River. We felt like we were in college again just being there. My boots, while pretty comfy, were not made for dancing so we didn't hit up the club. BUT we want to go back sometime. Anybody up for visiting and dancing?

On the train back, we each received a $50 ticket for not having a train ticket in our possession. Mike claims that he was under the impression his bus pass would also work for the train, but the officers were not under the same impression. Ahhh, well. Still all in all a fabulous birthday.

Friday, December 26

Day before the big day

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Mike decided to count today as part of my birthday weekend so we headed off to do some shopping at my request. I wanted to find a winter dress. All of the dresses I have are for warmer weather. It sucks when you have something specific in mind because it is really hard to find what you are looking for. Eventually I was about to find exactly what I wanted at Penney's for 40% off!

We are headed to Chima Brazilian Steakhouse tomorrow night for my birthday dinner and then to a movie at the Epicentre Theaters in Uptown. I am so psyched to wear my new dress for a night on the town. I will post a picture of me in my new dress after my big night out.

My dad and step-mom arrived today. I LOVE when my dad is here because we cook all kinds of stuff together and plan menus and go to the grocery together every day. It's like a little bit of heaven for me. About an hour after they arrived, my dad couldn't stand it anymore and made us all open our presents. The living room exploded yet again with paper and toys and clothes. My kids got a RIDICULOUS haul this year and I don't see it slowing down in future years. They are lucky enough to have 3 sets of grandparents and two holidays at the same time of year to celebrate. I don't think they will ever want for ANYTHING.

I was just thinking, yet again, about how it sucks to have your birthday so close to Christmas (hear me, Tiff and Christina?). Basically I get all the presents I am going to get all year in 3 days, then I have to wait an ENTIRE year for it to happen again. Mike and my girls have a much better deal, all of their birthdays are closer to the halfway point. It is nice to get presents at different times of year. Oh well, I have lived with it for 30 years now, I guess I will continue to deal. :)

Thursday, December 25

Last few days

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Here are some photos from the last few days here in the Gallers household:

Grammy & her birthday cupcakes

Check out this pose!

Erin reading her morning paper

Price check, aisle 12

All the girls in Uptown

Leah as Ariel and Erin as Mickey (from Aunt Stacy)

Leah & Grammy with their gingerbread house

Carly with her "big towel"

In the wagon they got from Grammy

Girls enjoying their new train table

Leah enjoying Christmas morning chocolate

We had an awesome time with Mom, Lauren, and Carly here. I hope they enjoyed themselves as much as we enjoyed having them. It was so nice to actually kinda "get to know" my sisters a bit. Now we have a small breather before PawPaw and Mimi get here tomorrow night.

Merry Christmas!

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Santa was very good to us this year. Leah and Erin got a train table (built by Daddy, shhhhh) AND a Jump-o-lene. What is that, you ask? Well, here it is in action:


Leah also got a kids' digital camera from Grammy, a Belle tea set from Aunt Carly, and the book Polar Express from Aunt Lauren (a family favorite).

We have eaten Berry French Toast and leftover brisket so far today. I am not cooking again until my dad gets here tomorrow night. He and I will decide the menu together for the next week (one of the things we always look forward to).

I gave Mike Wii Music and he got Raving Rabbids from Lauren. Wii Music is pretty fun, except I am apparently horrible at handbells. Who knew? :) And the Rabbids game is ridiculous. It consists of various activities like flipping burgers into the mouth of a monster and dancing to Austin Powers-type music. It is hilarious to watch.

We are having a relaxing day, just taking walks with our new wagon, playing Wii, and jumping. Hope you all got what you wanted from Santa!

Wednesday, December 24

Odds & Ends

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I took Erin to the doctor yesterday because I did not want to have to bring her to the emergency room on Christmas if something was wrong. I am SO glad I did, because she has a double ear infection, poor thing. Mike kept telling me he thought she had one, but I didn't think so because she has never really had one before. Anyway, she is on amoxicillin now and will be back to her usual self by Christmas.

Last night I went with Mike for the first time to play volleyball at this church where they have pick up games every Tues/Thurs. Now I have not played volleyball in YEARS except to bump back and forth with Mike so I was quite nervous about how I would perform in front a bunch of strangers. But I actually did pretty well. Obviously I am not a hitter (no height, duh) BUT I can put a pass in the right place to set up a hit probably 8 out of 10 times. And all my serves went over. AND someone asked Mike who the college girl was that he brought. COLLEGE GIRL!!! No one would believe we were married. I guess I have not aged a day since I graduated, which is starting to be a good thing in my old (30 in 3 days) age.

Today I am cooking a Christmas eve early afternoon dinner, then the kids are going to open their presents from Grammy and their aunts, THEN we are going to take a ride and look at Christmas lights. What a lovely Christmas eve! I hope all of you have a lovely day too.

Tuesday, December 23

Oh my God, PLEASE stop the coughing!

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My two girls are currently coughing fiends at night. They are in the middle of a raging cold and the drainage is awful. BOTH of them have coughing fits that last upwards of an hour at night. Thank goodness lately Leah's have been coming AFTER she wakes up in the morning, but Erin's came last night RIGHT after I had finally dropped off to sleep at 12:30. She cried and cried while coughing, so I went in and rocked her during which she promptly fell asleep. This happened 4 more times over a 2 hour period. Then when Leah wandered in at 7am, she laid in our bed and hacked up a lung for like 20 minutes. Over the monitor I could hear Erin start in too and all I could think was, Oh sweet Jesus, please save me from the coughing.

Sunday, December 21

One meal down, one to go

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Channukah dinner is complete and mostly a success. I tried to make it as vegan/vegetarian as possible so I used an egg replacement for the latkes and to make the matzo balls. The latkes came out well. The matzo balls not so much. While they were cooking they pretty much imploded. So the soup ended up being more like a stoup (a la Rachael Ray), but it still tasted good. I decided to make the green beans today instead because Lauren wants to make brussel sprouts. The brisket was a tad dry but if you poured the juices over it, it was yummy. So check, check, and check. :)

Friday, December 19

Bridesmatron?

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My sister Brittany just got engaged to a wonderful man named Jimmy. We are SO excited for him to be a part of our family. Check this out:

He fits right in. Anyway, Brittany just called me and asked me to be a bridesmaid in the wedding (which is set for January 16, 2010) AND asked the girls to be her flower girls! How cute is that?!?!? I am so excited to be part of planning another wedding and my girls get to be part of it too. What a great Christmas present for us.

Love you to the mountains, sis!

Leah revisited

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I think Erin has the same problem Leah had (and has). Whenever either of them get a cold, they have GIANT coughing fits in the middle of the night. The past 4 or so nights almost always at about 3:30am, Erin wakes herself up violently coughing. Good thing it does not make her throw up like it does Leah. Tonight I tried the steamy shower thing and it seemed to help. Last night I tried taking her out into the night air, which did NOT help. It just seems like the coughing runs its course with the cold.

I know we all thought Leah had cough-variant asthma, and I guess she may, but it only surfaces when she has a cold. So it didn't seem like it was necessary to keep her on daily medication just on the off chance she caught a cold. And anyway it didn't prevent the coughing completely, it just lessened the severity of the attack. I really feel Erin has the same issue.

Leah has been coughing some the last few nights too, but not nearly as bad as Erin. Maybe the cold isn't as bad or maybe she is outgrowing it a bit. Here's hoping...

Thursday, December 18

Cupcakes, cupcakes, and MORE cupcakes!

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I am FINALLY finished my cupcake platters and we delivered them this evening. I have one more kind to make, a vegan one, for my sister who arrives tomorrow. And I have to make rugelach on Saturday. But those are my last two baked goods this holiday season. Oh wait, I forgot about the butter balls we are going to make with my mom. Maybe I will just "let" her make them with Leah. :) Anyway, here are the promised cupcake pictures.

Left: Gingerbread cupcakes with ginger cream cheese frosting
Right: Eggnog cupcakes with cinnamon whipped cream

Peppermint cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream frosting

Spice cupcakes with coconut pecan frosting

Wednesday, December 17

I am the bomb

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Today I was super mom. Things I did:

washed, dried, folded and put away every piece of laundry in our house
mopped all the bathrooms and laundry room
scooped kitty litter and took all the trash to the curb
dropped Leah off at school, came home and made her lunch (that I forgot to make), & brought it back to her
made 3 batches of cupcakes (gingerbread, eggnog, and peppermint)
made ginger cream cheese frosting and frosted gingerbread cupcakes
decorated gingerbread cupcakes
washed mixing bowl, beater, and various cooking utensils 4 times
straightened up guest room and made the bed with clean sheets
fed everyone, dressed them, undressed them, changed them, etc.
played a good amount with my kids

Thank goodness today was Leah's lunch bunch at school. That extra hour (when I can get Erin to nap) is SO helpful. I really get things done during that time so I can interact more with Leah when she gets home.

I am gonna make white chocolate buttercream frosting for the peppermint cupcakes and frost them tonight. Tomorrow I will make the spice cupcakes with coconut pecan frosting and I have the cinnamon whipped cream for the eggnog cupcakes. Then I will take pictures of all the completed cupcakes.

Monday, December 15

Last minute swimming training

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Our pool is closing for refinishing from Dec 17-31. Mike was none too pleased about it and of course he made some calls and let them know it. Anyway, we only had two days left to swim so I had to bust it out today. For the first time since I started training, I swam the 500 yards straight without stopping to catch my breath. Then I did some backstroke and sidestroke for 200 yards. Then I swam 300 more yards freestyle to finish it up. I was so impressed that I was able to swim 1000 yards in 29 minutes! It feels so good to see improvement, that's what keeps you going.

I am running around like a headless chicken this week trying to get all of the items for my cupcake platter, Leah's gingerbread house building activity at school, her school party, Channukah dinner, a few vegan things for my sister to eat when they come on Friday, a few last minute presents, and still getting to the gym. While this week is not packed schedule-wise, I feel like I have a million places to go and things to get everyday. I know it will all work out but I am a wee bit stressed. When my mom and sisters finally get here in 4 days, I will be able to let it all go and just hang out.

Friday, December 12

I (heart) food

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I am addicted to meal planning and cooking elaborate dinners for special occasions. Today I have spent 1/2 the morning coming up with my menus for Channukah and Christmas Eve dinners. Here is what we are having:

Channukah dinner
matzo ball soup
20 clove brisket
latkes
vegan noodle kugel
baked cheese blintzes
homemade rugelach

Christmas Eve dinner
Christmas Cornish game hens
creamy spaghetti & beans
baked zucchini, potato, & rosemary pancake w/salmon cream cheese
garlic green beans w/ shallots & hazelnuts
fudge & butter balls

And for Christmas morning breakfast, I am premaking my Berry French Toast to pop into the oven when we get up.

I am also planning to make a cupcake platter next week for Mike to take to work. I will blog about those more with photos when I make them. Hi, my name is Angelle and I have a food obsession.

PS If you would like any of the recipes not linked, just let me know.

Sickie update

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Yesterday, for a combination of reasons I won't get into too much right now, we went house hunting in northwest Charlotte. I picked Mike up at noon and we headed over there. We looked at 7 houses. Leah was great, she loved seeing other people's houses. But my poor, poor Erin. At about the 4th house, she was DONE! She had not napped yet (she only slept 5 minutes in the car) and I think she was starting to get a fever. By the time we got home at 4pm, her fever was 103.5 and she went straight to sleep. She woke up at 12:30 and 2:30 crying but went right back to sleep, thank goodness. This morning, no fever. She seems happy and is eating a little bit.

Ahhh, house hunting. We are still unsure of where to look because Mike is debating on taking a new job. If he takes said job, we don't have to move right now because it is closer to home. We could then wait until we had enough money to actually get a boat before we move. But if he doesn't take that job, he feels really strongly about moving us closer to the city so that he has more time with the girls. We shall see, I guess...

Wednesday, December 10

Conjunctivitis

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Erin has pink eye. Don't know how she got it, probably from the gym day care. She was awake last night from 12-1:30 talking to herself. She never cried, just chatted away. So she is kinda cranky today. She is not pleased about the antibiotic drops for her eyes either. Erin has so rarely been sick that she doesn't even know how to act when the doctor checks her out. Leah had been to the doctor for sick visits so many times by this point in her life. Erin has only had one stomach bug, 2 or 3 colds, and that's it. She is one healthy little girl.

Tuesday, December 9

A weekend in pictures

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Here are our Gator girls getting ready for bed after our big win over Alabama. I love that the girls stand on the stool and brush their teeth together at night.

Mike and Stacy helped Leah and Landon make these menorahs out of letter blocks and washers. They said that they made ones like these as kids. Can't wait to use them!

These are their funny faces. I LOVE these sweaters I got them at Old Navy this weekend. Adorable!

This is Erin's dirty look. I am telling you, this child has a better evil eye than most. I guess Mike had told her is was time to go to bed.

Sunday, December 7

SEC Champs!

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Stacy & Landon came to visit us this weekend. On Saturday, we shopped at Old Navy (I got 6 shirts, including two sweaters for $95!), ate lunch at Five Guys, went to the gym, watched the Gators take the SEC title, and Stacy & I saw Twilight. Now that was a fun day. Erin did lots of cheering.

Friday, December 5

Meeting celebrities

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Last night we got a babysitter and I met Mike at Village Tavern for the 12 Wines of Christmas tasting event sponsored by a local radio station. As we sat in the bar waiting for the event to begin (we heard it started at 5, but it didn't really start until 6), we looked around at all of the people in their 20s having martinis after work (1/2 off on Thursdays!) and were so excited just to be there. I wanted to have a martini so bad, but I knew that I had to drive home and I still had 12 wines to taste. I only ended up tasting like 4 or 5 of them, they weren't my taste. I did like the pinot noir though which was surprising.

Anyway, I don't know how many of you have heard of Bob & Sheri from the radio. They have a morning show based out of Charlotte. I used to listen to them driving to my internship in Gainesville/Lake City in the fall of 1999. Then we moved to Tampa and didn't get their show anymore. When we moved to Charlotte and there they were again. So I have been listening a LONG time. When you listen that long, you kinda start to assume you know them. The wine tasting was their event, so they were there. Mike walked up to them halfway through the night and said, "I wonder when Bob & Sheri are gonna get here." :) They laughed and we talked to them for like 5 or so minutes. It's weird to talk to someone you know so much about, but they don't know you at all. It's kinda like stalking someone's blog, but they have never read yours.

That was our adventure for the night.

Tuesday, December 2

The aftermath

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Getting unpacked and back into your routine after a vacation is always tough. We currently have two suitcases that have exploded into out living room. I have no idea what I am making for dinner. I need to get to the gym sometime today. Right now my children are putting one thousand hairclips into their hair. The dishwasher is running AND the sink is still full of dishes. I did manage to go to Target this morning and buy Leah a lunch box to take to her "Lunch Bunch" at school tomorrow AND get toothbrushes for the girls since we threw out their old ones after that stomach bug last week.

I called my mom this morning and left a message asking her if she was interested in taking home a free 16 month old when she comes to visit us. I swear Erin has entered into the terrible twos already. She screams and whines about EVERYTHING. She spent almost 2 hours this morning fussing about EVERY little thing that happened to her, from diaper changes to eating to playing with toys. Ugh.

Saturday, November 29

The one with the yak

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! After the stomach bug fiasco a mere 12 hours before departure, we made it on the plane to Ft Lauderdale with plenty of time to spare. In fact it was the easiest time parking, checking bags, getting through security and getting to our gate we have ever had with both kids, in spite of Leah throwing up all over the ground right when we got off the shuttle at the terminal (Yeah, that was interesting. I have decided that most travelers are very nice.).

Wednesday night I shopped a bit at an insanely packed Publix. Thursday morning Mike & I went biking and running, then we took Leah swimming. She could not touch the ground in this pool except on the stairs. Poor thing, the first time she slipped off the stairs she freaked out. But she gradually got her confidence back. I went back to the house around 11:30 to start cooking for a 2pm meal.

For whatever reason, this was again the most relaxed and easy cooking experience I have ever had. I worked straight through from 11:30 until 2 but everything came out great and everything was still warm. Maybe it was that I didn't make the turkey myself. That certainly takes a lot of the stress off. We had: turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted garlic parmesan mashed potatoes, yam casserole, green bean casserole, corn pudding, stuffing with cranberries, and rolls. I did not make any of the desserts, but we had apple, pumpkin, and pecan pies, although I did make homemade whipped cream. Yummy and delicious day!

Friday, I woke up feeling not so hot. But it was just a few little stomach cramps, not big deal. We made plans and followed the Stewart family to the Metro Zoo in Miami. After being there about 20 minutes, I began to feel nauseated. When everyone ate lunch, I laid my head down on the table and did deep breathing exercises. I could not go any farther, so I told them to go on ahead and I would wait on a bench with my cell phone. The benches were all in the shade and I was freezing, so I had to sit on the ground in the sun. Several nice people stopped to ask me if I needed any help. I must have looked so pathetic. :) Finally my group returned and we began walking toward the front. I took about 10 steps, fell to my knees, and yakked into the bushes. Mike said he felt so bad because of course everyone was looking at me, but I was past caring. I was just glad after that I felt better enough to make it to the car. I spent the rest of the evening on my back because I felt sick if I even sat up. But I never threw up again, thank goodness, and this morning I feel MUCH better.

Mike is terrified that he is next and we are supposed to be driving to Nikki's birthday party in Orlando today. Everyone cross your fingers for him!

Tuesday, November 25

From one to the next

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Leah woke up at 10:15 throwing up. 3 rounds so far. Here's hoping it passes as quickly as Erin's did...

Packing

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I'm glad I checked the US Airways website before I packed our stuff. They now charge $15 for the first bag you check and $25 for the second. We are not paying $50 in addition to the already paid flights. So I am trying to figure out how to get all of us in one big suitcase, two carry-ons, and a carseat case (holds a surprising amount). I HATE carrying on with the kids because trying to wrangle them and luggage is not fun. But I will do it to save that $15. Thank goodness Ronni & Steve have one carseat already and a pack-n-play or we would have two additional checked items.

In other news, my poor baby Erin either had a 6 hour stomach bug or our Chinese last night did not agree with her. She woke up at 3:30am throwing up and threw up every half hour until 6:30. Then she and I were finally able to sleep until 8am. But she has eaten applesauce, saltines, juice, milk, and a few bites of grilled cheese already with no side effects. I truly hope that is all it is.

Monday, November 24

Leah's Thanksgiving feast

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I love being a mom. We got to go to Leah's preschool today and attend her Thanksgiving feast. Before the lunch (potluck), each class sang a song. Leah's class sang a funny song about the Pharoahs (for the lyrics, click here) and they dressed up as Indians. The four year old class were Pilgrims, the ones and twos were turkeys. I got a little teary watching her up on stage performing.

Both 3 year old classes


Leah rocking out


How adorable are these munchkins?

Friday, November 21

Mommied out

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I love my darling baby girls, but I am just tired of hearing Mommy today. Leah literally calls my name 3 or 4 times (while I am saying "Yes, Leah?" after each one) before saying what she has to say. I feel like screaming, "What? What do you want?" after about the 5th time. She also says, "Mama?" and I say what and she says "I love you." It is so sweet and kinda annoying that she does it every 5 minutes. And Erin sat in her bed this morning for an hour, not crying, saying "Mooooommmmmeeee" or "Mama" in various tones of voice. She did end up napping from 1:30-3:30, but she has been napping twice a day for this whole week. It threw things off a bit.

Tomorrow we are going to Sam's Club for their tasting event, then I have my hair appointment at 4pm. That will be such a a nice break.

Thursday, November 20

Grey's

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Seriously? When did I fall for Alex Karev? He is becoming a real person. And the Denny thing? I think I would lose it even worse than Izzy has.

And as always, I adore Dr. Bailey.

Heaven in my mouth

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Limited Edition Oreos with Old Fashioned Candy Cane Creme (think thick Thin Mints)

'nuf said.

Wednesday, November 19

Christmas family photos

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Place your orders now! :)

Tuesday, November 18

Ski trip!!!!

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Mike and I are so excited! I just booked 3 nights at the Pinnacle Inn Resort on Beech Mountain for Dec 29-31. We have a slopeside view from our 2 bedroom condo. My dad & Myrn will be with us from Dec 26-Jan 4 so they are going on this trip too. I cannot wait! I have all of Leah's snow stuff for Erin. I just have to look for stuff for Leah now. She has a jacket, I need pants or a snow bib thing.

I am so psyched! The only time I have ever been skiing is Dec 2000. Mike and I flew to Oregon to visit my friend Tracy and ski Mt Hood. I only skied for a half day and never got off the bunny slope. So I am determined to actually do a real slope. Maybe I will use those ski boards instead of real skis. They are like skis only way shorter. This is the first time in a long time that I am not pregnant and we have people to watch the kids. Ahhhhhhh! What an awesome trip!

Monday, November 17

Confession

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I have a confession to make. I thumped my daughter this morning. We were on our way in to school from the car. Ian was asking Leah a question and she wouldn't answer him. He kept saying, "Leah? Leeee-aaaaah?" over and over. I was behind Leah and I thumped her on the head. Not even hard, just to get her attention.

And she lost it.

She started crying so hard you would think I backhanded her. Screaming crying. In the parking lot of their preschool. With all the other parents watching. And some teachers.

Everyone was asking her what was wrong and did she fall down, was she okay, etc. It was such drama. The worst part was I knew it was my fault. Even though she was crying a disproportionate amount to what I did, I still knew I caused it. I felt awful.

When we got to her classroom, her teacher swooped her up and cuddled her. I tried to explain what had happened, but they kept saying things like, "Mommy didn't mean to thump you." That made me feel even worse. I did mean to thump her, just not enough to hurt (and I don't think it did hurt, I think it was all drama). It wasn't as though I lost my temper and spanked her. I wasn't even mad at her. I was just trying to get her attention.

I took her back and got her all calmed down, but then she didn't want to stay at school. I had to promise her McDonald's for lunch and to watch a movie when she got home.

I feel like crap about it. Some parent I am.

Wednesday, November 12

They must know what they are doing...

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On my triathlon training program, here is how the numbers go for a 4 week period:
Week 1 - previous month's week 3
Week 2 - add 10% more minutes to each exercise from week 1
Week 3 - add 10% more minutes to week 2
Week 4 - back down 25% less minutes for each exercise for recovery

Last week was a recovery week. I had been up to 24 minutes swimming and running and 48 minutes biking. So I thought 14 min S/R and 29 min B were going to be a breeze. I kinda felt guilty about "slacking" like that. But I followed the program. And you know what? Every day was a struggle to get through the minutes. AND I wanted to nap almost everyday/go to bed early every night. I was SO tired.

I began to realize toward the end of the week that those guys who make the program must know what they are doing. Obviously my body desperately needed that recovery week to get back on track. This week I have done fine with the 24 min swim and the 48 min bike so far. So I guess I will be listening to the program in the future.

Sunday, November 9

Thing one and thing two

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Today we went to the Warriors and Warbirds Veterans Day Celebration at the Monroe Airport. I am not kidding you when I say there is always something to do around here. I could find an activity for us every weekend. Anyway, it was an airshow with a whole bunch of planes from WWII. We arrived for the last performance, called Tora, Tora, Tora.

These planes were manufactured in 1967 for the movie Tora, Tora, Tora. They are modeled after the Japanese planes used to attack Pearl Harbor. The whole performance was a reenactment for the attack, with the planes actually dive bombing the airstrip. They used pyrotechnics to mimic the bombs too. I did not take pics because I was holding Leah. The pics here are from their website of past shows.


During the whole thing, the announcer was describing the scene for us. He explained exactly what happened to each ship that was hit, talked about the men who were able to get into planes to fight, and detailed the patterns of the attacking planes. I was teary practically the entire show, thinking about the battle and everything. It was pretty amazing. Erin, however, did not enjoy the noise. She squirmed and fussed the whole time, probably preventing Mike from truly enjoying it. Sorry, honey! Afterward, we were able to get into a helicopter and a CAT (communications-ammo transport AKA a big tank). There were so many old military vehicles there to see too. We had a great time.

Tonight we ate dinner at La Strada (the best pizza around these parts). While we were there, Erin said pee-pee again. I brought her into the bathroom. But you know how public toilets are. The opening in the front is as big as her bottom. So there was no comfortable way to sit her on the potty. She did go the tiniest bit, but just couldn't relax enough to go for real. I can't believe I will have to start carrying my potty seat cover in my diaper bag already!

Saturday, November 8

Mountain biking with children

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Today we went to Cane Creek Park to bike on their trails. I knew the trails were going to be unpaved, I thought like dirt paths. Not so much. It was actual mountain biking, going over tree roots and piles of leaves. Mike had Leah and I had Erin on the backs of our bikes too. I have to admit I was TERRIFIED at first. And poor Erin on the back. Her helmet hit the back of the bike seat with every bump. She just kept saying, "Mama, Mama," over and over. Then after a bit I heard her humming to herself. So I guess she got used to it. After I got over the fear of skidding on a root and losing control of my bike, I realized that biking through the woods this time of year is SO beautiful. I wish I had taken our "new" camera, but it's not like I could have stopped to take pictures.

Also, remember how I mentioned potty training a few posts ago? Well, today when Erin said pee-pee, I rushed her to the potty. She sat for a minute and Leah brought us a book. While I was reading to her, she strained, saying "Pee-pee?" and out it came! She pooped on the potty after telling me she had to go! It would be awesome if she could poop on the potty.

Friday, November 7

To all the moms...

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I truly cried tonight while rocking Erin. I began thinking how my mother must have rocked me when I was a baby. Then obviously I thought about how a grown daughter shows affection. We do normal grown up mother/daughter things, but nothing like the physical intimacy of mother and young child. And I got really sad thinking that one day I will no longer be able to hold my children and rock them. I know we all know this deep down, but it really hit me tonight. I don't ever want them to grow up! I guess I will have to keep having babies til I can't anymore, then I will have to adopt them. How do people deal with their children growing up?

Thursday, November 6

Various & sundry items

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Item 1 - After I dropped our camera in the lake in Michigan on the first day of our trip, we weren't sure what to do. The camera dried out and worked fine, but a water spot dried somewhere inside making not only the view through the camera blurry, but the image itself. We took it to a camera shop at the end of August. The man said that they would let us know, but if the spot was in a certain place, then they would not be able to get to it. About 6 weeks later, the repair shop called and said that they were able to improve the image, but not completely get rid of the spot. They were not charging us for the repair since they weren't able to fix it completely. I said thanks, then promptly forgot about the camera since I couldn't really use it. They have called us twice to remind us to come pick up the camera but it has never been convenient (it's about 30 min away). Finally yesterday I stopped by to pick the camera up. The battery was dead, so I took it home to charge just to see what the picture quality was. You be the judge:



Item 2 - I took the girls to Monkey Joe's today after their flu shots. Leah's preschool sponsored a session there. I had not been there with Erin since she was too little to let out of the stroller. Well, today she LOVED IT! She climbed around the toddler areas. Then I took her down some of the bigger slides and she screamed and clapped and grinned her little head off. In the big bouncy house, it was very slippery. Erin rolled around chasing the beach balls that were in there. I got sweaty chasing her around. It was such a good time. Too bad my new and improved camera was at home on my sofa.

Item 3 - I have decided that Erin is in the most physically exhausting stage (for a mother) and Leah is in the most mentally exhausting stage. I CONSTANTLY have to be chasing Erin around. If a gate or a door opens she is through it before you can even think about closing it. She is all the way to Chase's house before I even get out of the garage. She is always finding something on my floor to put in her mouth. If I open the fridge, she is immediately climbing the shelves calling for her "na" (milk). If a chair is not pushed in at the kitchen table, she is climbing on it and soon will be on the table too. Yesterday I was putting her to bed when the timer on the stove went off (I had cookies in the oven). I shut her in her bedroom and went down to get the cookies out. I did not lock the upstairs gate because I was coming right back and Erin was shut in her room. She can't open doors. But Leah can. When I came back upstairs 30 seconds later, Erin was on the second step from the top, just sitting there. Leah, of course, had no idea why I had shut Erin in her room. I almost had a heart attack. That kid!

As far as Leah being mentally exhausting, she is just constantly asking questions. I have to explain everything. The one we discussed today was, "Where was I before I was in your belly?" I tried to explain nowhere, but that was not making her happy. So I told her a little about the eggs in the Mommy which is where all her kids are before they grow in her belly. Then she wanted to know how the baby comes out. I just told her that you go to the hospital and the doctor helps the baby come out. She didn't question that any further (thank goodness) but did declare that she wanted a girl doctor when she was ready to have her own babies. How am I supposed to keep up with this little smartie?

Wednesday, November 5

Ready for potty training?

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Today Erin came over while we were getting ready for school and said, "Pee pee?" I immediately checked her diaper and it wasn't warm, so I assumed that she was just talking. Five minutes later when we were loading into the car, I smelled it. She had pooped. So do you think she really knew it was coming? If so, we are ready to start potty training. Just kidding, I am not about to go there. But I thought it was cool that she seemed to recognize that she had to go.

I feel guilty that today was the first day I did not stick to my training schedule. I have been so tired lately and my back has been hurting. I have this pain underneath my left shoulder blade. It only bothers me if I am doing something. It hurts the most when I put Erin into her high chair or a grocery cart. I probably pulled or strained something the other day when I was doing pull-ups. Anyway, I have been extraordinarily lazy and I am not happy about that. I guess I won't take a weekend day off.

Monday, November 3

Leah can swim

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Not only that, but she can swim underwater too! We went to the pool this weekend. Last time we were there, Leah decided to swim without her life jacket on and she did really well. She still doesn't like to jump in and she won't go where she can't touch. But either way that's great! SO this time I told her about closing her eyes and holding her breath. She took right to it! I have to get her some goggles before the next time we swim. If I can convince her to put them on (she doesn't like the way they feel), she will LOVE being able to see all over the pool. Without further ado, I give you Leah swimming!

Sunday, November 2

New triathlon goal

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All along it has been my goal just to complete the triathlon. I told myself if I could just finish it, well that would be accomplishment enough. Well, today I decided that was not enough. I want to finish in under 2 hours. I think they only allow you 2h15m anyway, but I am sure I can do it in less than 2 hours. Mike and I went road biking today and with our mountain bike tires completed 8.8 miles in 39 minutes. Then I jumped off and transitioned to running in maybe 4(?) minutes. I then ran 1.2 miles in 14 minutes. Now I was pretty tired after that and my stomach was just one giant cramp. But that was my first outdoor "brick" (event/transition/event) and I was able to complete about half of the last two events. So I think that the swim will take no more than 15 minutes, the bike hopefully about 60 min, then the run needs to be less than 45 minutes. Oh yeah, I forgot transitions. Well, I will just have to keep revising those numbers, because I will do it in under 2 hours!

Happy belated Halloween!

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Halloween night turned out to be pretty chilly. I didn't want to cover up the girls' costumes with jackets so I didn't wear a jacket either. That way I knew if I got too cold, they were probably really cold. In spite of the chill, both kids had a marvelous time. Erin would have kept going and going, but she was coughing and it did not sound good, so I took her home after about 40 minutes or so. Mike stayed out with Leah and the rest of the crew (Larsens and Maddexes) for a while longer. Apparently Halloween isn't so much a thing around here because hardly any houses had their lights on. In past years I thought that this being a newer neighborhood was the reason, but now there are plenty of houses here. So Leah did not get overmuch candy but still had the fun of trick-or-treating (which worked out better for us anyway). Here are our cutie girls.


And here is a sample of trick-or-treating.

Friday, October 31

Past pumpkin patch pics

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These are my favorite pumpkin patch pics.

2008
Leah at 3 1/2, Erin at 14 months


2007
Leah at 2 1/2, Erin at 2 months


2006
Leah at 17 months


2005
Leah at 5 months

Thursday, October 30

Cupcake-o-rama

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Yesterday afternoon, Leah and I de-gooped our pumpkin. She liked scooping the goo out and playing with it.

Then, we sorted out the seeds to roast. Erin wove herself in and out of the table legs like a cat.



Today Leah and I made Pumpkin Patch cupcakes for her school Halloween party tomorrow. I love the fact that her preschool is not concerned about the whole store-bought treats thing. Anyway, the cupcakes came out so good, I wanted to share them with you. The actual cupcake is pumpkin-flavored. The frosting is maple cream cheese. YUM!



In the best news of the day, barring any complications, Mike should be home tomorrow late afternoon, in time for trick-or-treating. We are super happy that he will be with us. Ronni is doing a little bit better so that is a bit more good news.

Wednesday, October 29

Home Alone

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Mike is in FL helping look after Ronni who has pneumonia. So I am here with the kids for the duration. The day stretches out long in front of me. I so look forward to Mike coming home from work for the change of pace it gives to our day. I think if I were a single mother, even if I could afford to stay home (life insurance or whatever) I would want to work just to keep the days from all being the same. It's pretty dull.

In other news, I did 48 minutes on the stationary bike this morning for a total of 13.7 miles. I think I will have to up the resistance on it though because I wasn't even tired when I was done (my butt sure was sore though). I usually do the random hills program and the tallest hills are pretty tough but most of the ride is not bad at all. Tomorrow it's swimming and biking. I really love training, I love the sense of progress it gives me. This weekend when I do my bike/run day, I plan to do it outdoors instead of in the gym to see how much more it tires me out. :)

Monday, October 27

Leah says the Pledge!

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Biltmore weekend

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I enjoyed touring the Biltmore with my mom SO MUCH! It was an AMAZING place, the house and the grounds. Here is a summary of my trip:

We left home at about 10:30 Saturday morning (after my tri training and shower). We got there at about 1pm, checked in to our hotel, then went on to the Biltmore grounds. We had read that the house is CRAZY busy on Saturdays, so we skipped it and headed to the winery. There was a restaurant next to the winery called the Bistro that serves local foods straight from the Biltmore farms. So we waited for a table there while shopping in the winery gift shop. I ate sage-infused chicken, goat cheese, and bacon pizza and a butternut squash soup. They were both delicious! Then we toured the winery and had our wine tasting. The tour wasn't as fun or informative as the tour we went on in Michigan. You got to look into rooms that weren't in use, while a video played about how things were done. Kinda dull. The coolest part was seeing the cellar where they store one bottle of each of their vintages from each year.


Then we walked over to Riverbend farm. There they have a kitchen garden, and the old barn with a bunch of old farm machinery. We took some cute pics there.


At dinner time, we decided to head over to downtown Asheville to see what it was like. It was so much more eclectic than I thought! Within a 3 block radius, there was every kind of food you can imagine. My mom said it reminded her of a tiny NYC. We ate dinner at a place called The Noodle Shop. Before heading home, we stopped at French Broad Chocolate Lounge. We got a box of 15 assorted truffles to bring back to the hotel for dessert. We were able to sample ones like pomegranate (yum), lemon pepper (double yum), and strawberry balsamic (yuck, too spicy, had curry in it). It was fun to sample so many.

The next day we got to the house at 10ish. It look us 2 1/2 hours to complete the tour! The house is ridiculous. If you are ever up here, I totally recommend seeing this place. It was amazing.


You aren't allowed to take pics inside so we don't have any. We got the audio guides which were cool because you could listen to a few facts about each room. Afterward, we headed outside to the gardens. Here we are being clowns.



The rose garden was on its way out, but there were still a few pretty blooms.


We got some lunch at Deerpark restaurant on campus that had a delicious Sunday brunch. We were home with sushi by 5pm.

Spooktacular

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The Halloween party at the gym was held this past Friday night. It was lots of fun, as always. Just before we were about to get ready, I had a brainstorm for Erin's ears. Her costume is a black cat but she won't wear the headband I bought with ears on it. So I attached pink craft foam to black felt to make ears, then I sewed them onto hair ties. When I put her hair in pigtails, it looked like she had cat ears! I was so proud!


Leah looked fantastic as Supergirl and LOVED the games. She was adorable trying to eat the doughnut off the string.


Leah fished, jumped, decorated, threw, putted, and hunted.


Erin danced, crawled, ran, and patted. She loved this giant Frankenstein.


We loved having my mom here. She had a great time helping get the girls ready and chasing after Erin all over the gym. :)