Thursday, July 31, 2008

Too many tasks...

If I could duplicate myself, I would. Tonight is normally band practice, but I also am supposed to go to a friend's house and help her unpack her stuff she is going to be selling (CAbi if you have heard of it) and I am also supposed to go to a training for Girl Scouts since I am co-leading a Daisy troop this fall. Gah! And Ray has a client meeing at 5:00pm, so most likely there will be a kid swap mixed in this somehow.

Oh, and this blogger is in town and meeting up with this blogger who lives in my freaking town and I have yet to meet her. Yes, she lives in my town. How pathetic is it that we haven't met?

So I am supposed to be in four places at once. So not going to happen.

Anyone willing to stand in for me?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Portrait Innovations

Saturday I took the girls to Portrait Innovations for Ashley's 5 year pictures. Audrey cooperated, but Ashley was a little hard to get to do what the photographer wanted. I think I still got some good shots though. And the dress she is wearing in the first pictures? It's the one I won off of the Slick Sugar their stuff!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Don't Like Traffic Lights...

I used to think that the preschool Ashley went to (and Audrey still attends) was strict. There were multiple sinks in the room for specific purposes for starters. (One for washing hands after eating, one for after bathroom, and I have no clue what the other one was for...). But that was like camp compared to kindergarten.

Ashley is still struggling with her behavior. And it is really nothing for us to be really mad at, it is just going to take some adjustment on Ashley's part. Her teacher does a traffic light system; do well and you stay on green. Get a warning and you move to yellow. Do something really bad and you go to red and a lovely red note gets sent home. Ashley has been in school all of 9 days total, and she has been on red 3 of those days. Not a good percentage. Yesterday, supposedly a boy in her class got put on blue which means the parents get called (everyone RIGHT NOW knock on wood that Ashley won't get on blue...). Ashley and kids at her table for math were somehow making fun of this boy and they all got put on red. It was actually a good lesson because we asked Ashley why she made fun of him, and she said because the other kids were doing it. This of course lead into a discussion of not following others and so on. Did it work? I have no idea, I am assuming this lesson will take a couple of times to sink in.

We now have a reward system in place at home if she remains on green all week long. Do I think this is the best solution? Probably not. But any other ideas would sure be appreciated....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Favorites

Here are some of my favorites from last week's trip...enjoy!
Ashley doesn't like going up and down on things...but she rode Space Mountain, a roller coaster. I just don't get 5 year olds sometimes...
Considering how hot it was, I wish I could have run through this. Unfortunately, I don't look quite right walking around in wet clothes.
Parade watching. My kids love it.
Deep in thought on a ride.
Ashley's birthday breakfast.
Introducing - Hannah Montana!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday Ashley

I realized that on Monday I didn't write my annual post for Ashley, so it's a little late. I don't think she will mind though. I am just going to pretend I actually wrote this on her birthday...

There are times when I look at you and you seem so old - you are tall for your age and just sometimes I think you are older than five. That and you are constantly telling us you can't wait to be a teenager and be able to drive and live somewhere else. Yes, you say that to us. You are going to move away from us when you are a teenager. I have a few words for that - over my dead body. You will be lucky if I let you move away for college.

And then there are times when I look at you and you seem so little. Like when you were getting your hair put up when you were getting done up like Hannah Montana on your birthday. You seemed so small and fragile.

Last night, you had a nightmare, and I barely heard you crying from our room. I rushed to your room and scooped you in my arms. You didn't want to tell me your nightmare, you just grabbed my arm and rolled over and went back to sleep. I stayed there, falling asleep myself, hoping to protect you from whatever you were dreaming about.

You started kindergarten, you love riding your two-wheeled scooter, you can make your sister cry by just looking at her. You have temper tantrums to end all temper tantrums, and when you are tired, you stop listening to anyone. You fall asleep at night by the time your head hits your pillow. You love playing in your room and often beg and plead for a few more minutes at night to play.

Your birthday this year was spent in Disney, and while you wanted some attention for your birthday, I am not sure you liked it. You seem so outgoing sometimes, and then you get really shy and clam up.

You love to sing and dance, and for right now, you want to be a superstar when you grow up. I want you to be whatever you want to be, and I will be right there beside you.

Happy 5th Birthday Ashley.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rest of the trip and why we need a new van...

I am a psycho planner when it comes to our Disney vacations. I have spreadsheets, I troll the Disney website message boards about crowds, best places to go, neat things to do and see.

And then we have a day like Tuesday where nothing was planned and it turned out great. As I said in the other post, we did Epcot Tuesday morning which was nice in the heat because Epcot has so many indoor activities. Ashley rode Test Track and Soarin. She loves Soarin, a ride where you feel like you are flying. The whole time she just kept talking and saying that we really weren't flying, but it sure did seem like it. We left Epcot at lunch and headed to Disney's Boardwalk and had lunch at a brewery there. After that, we went back to our room where Audrey napped and Ashley rested. A huge storm blew through, and I thought our chances for a water park were done. Ray the weatherman checked radar and decided we had a few hours before the next storms would hit, so we ate an early dinner in the room and were at Typhoon Lagoon at 5:00pm.

The air was much cooler (only 74 degrees) and the water temp was 84, so it was perfect. We splashed and played and had a great time. We stayed until the park closed at 8:00pm. There were no lines and the girls had a blast.

Ray and I decided to get up at the crack of dawn and drive back yesterday. We were in the van at 4:15am and got home at 1:45pm. The girls slept a little in the beginning, and then fell back asleep from 10:00am until we stopped for lunch around noon.

And our poor van. The poor beat up, missing side mirror, cracked windshield, cracked bumper, scratched side van. And now it has more problems. We had purchased some gummy bears for the trip as bribery for Audrey to go on the potty. On Saturday, Ray drove the van to his conference, were it was parked in the heat all day. And the gummy bears were in the driver's side door. And they melt. Seriously melt. They melted so well in fact that they seeped all the way down the door and onto the ground. Needless to say, opening the door was a challenge after that. We have cleaned up as much as we can, but it took the rubber liner off the door so now there is substantial wind noise when you drive.

It's always something, but at least Ray is now considering trying to trade it in...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Disney Trip Updates

Saturday: The plan was for me and the girls to go to Chef Mickey's for breakfast, then Magic Kingdom, then meet Ray for dinner. Ray was in a conference all day, and he dropped me and the girls off at Chef Mickey's. We had a great breakfast and Audrey really loved seeing all the characters. Because the girls wanted to, we rode the Monorail around to Magic Kingdom instead of walking there. Once we got into the Magic Kingdom, we headed to a few rides where shockingly, there were hardly any rides. We walked right onto the carousel, the Winnie the Pooh ride, Dumbo, Mickey's Philharmagic, Goofy's roller coaster. It wasn't until around 1:00pm that the park started to get packed. We took water breaks and the girls were really, really good for me. We watched the parade at 3:00pm and as soon as it ended, Audrey fell asleep. I let her sleep for about 45 minutes, and then we woke her up to go on a few more rides before we left. We headed back to the room around 5:00pm and the girls and I had some tortellini in the room for dinner. Ray called and was headed back, so the girls and I walked to Downtown Disney (we were staying at Saratoga Springs and we were in the closest building to the walking path to Downtown Disney). We shopped some, and then we went back to the room and crashed.

The Good: The lighter crowds that morning, seeing the girls' faces when they saw Mickey for the first time on the trip.

The Bad: Bedtime. The girls were sleeping together in the living room, and getting them to leave each other alone was not fun. Tour Groups. Huge masses of people who all moved together in a big group and annoyed the crap out of me.

Sunday: The plan was for me and the girls to go to Hollywood Studios and meet Ray for dinner there. Ray headed off early to the conference, and the girls and I headed off to Hollywood Studios. They both wanted to see the High School Musical show, and I wanted to see the new Playhouse Disney show and ride the new Toy Story Ride. And I haven't mentioned it before, but yes, it was hot. It wasn't necessarily hotter than it is in North Carolina, but stick a couple thousand people together in one park, it was a little unbearable at times. We stuck it out at the park until around 1:00pm, but the girls wanted to go to the pool. We had lunch with the Little Einsteins and JoJo and Goliath from JoJo's Circus, and rode Toy Story with our Fast Passes, and headed back to the room. Audrey took a nap, then we suited up for the pool. Ray meet us there, and we played some and then once again crashed that night.

The Good: Ashley dancing at the High School Musical Show, the really cool Toy Story ride, Audrey going down the water slide at the pool, June writing Happy Birthday to Ashley in her autograph book.

The Bad: Tour groups (have I said that before?), being first in line for the Playhouse Disney show only to have them tell us it was having technical difficulties.

Monday: Ray was actually going to get to join us today, and today was Ashley's birthday. We started off her birthday with breakfast at the Polynesian Resort at Ohana. It was a character breakfast with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey and Pluto. They brought Ashley a cupcake and everyone sang Happy Birthday to her. Then we headed to Downtown Disney where we had an appointment to have Ashley get dressed up as Hannah Montana. She enjoyed that (and she should, it was $130 freaking dollars..), but she was supposed to get her picture taken, and she refused to do. No amount of bribing would convince her otherwise. We headed to Magic Kingdom where Ashley took off her wig and the hundreds of bobby pins that were holding her hair up. So it lasted less than an hour. At least she is still wearing the outfit. Ray was having a hard time in the heat that day at the park, and we stayed until around 5:00pm.

Once back at the room, the heat and the lack of sleep had caught up to Ashley and she was not being good. Ray and Audrey ended up walking to get some dinner while I stayed with Ashley who was in no shape to leave the room. I finally got her and myself calmed down, and we ate dinner and went to the store at our resort for some dessert.

The Good: Having the whole family together at the parks, Ashley receiving pins from cast members for her birthday.

The Bad: Ashley's temper tantrum, the heat

Tuesday (today, I am sorry it took me so long to update): We really didn't have a plan for today. We wanted to do a water park, but we decided to head to Epcot this morning and do a few things and then head to a water park this afternoon. Right now, we are making dinner and hoping it doesn't storm so we can go to a water park still. Ashley is walking around the room in her Hannah Montana costume, and Audrey just got up from her nap. We are thinking about getting up really early to drive back tomorrow. We shall see how that goes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I have a few observations...

1. I think I missed the memo where bras are optional. On most women, they should not be optional.

2. Huge tour groups from other countries have no concept of other individuals around them.

3. Double strollers can be used as weapons of mass destruction. I may or may not have run over some tour groups.

4. White spandex shorts are never attractive.

Friday, July 18, 2008

On the road again...

The plan: Drive to Disney, check into hotel, crash
What actually happened: Ray and the kids picked me up at work at little before 11:00am, and then we were off. We had packed a lunch, so we only stopped for gas and a potty break before dinner. And dinner was drive through at a McDonalds (which Ray and I think gave us diarrhea..). We pulled into the parking lot at Magic Kingdom at 8:30pm. I convinced Ray to head straight there so we could see the parade and fireworks at 9:00pm and 10:00pm. We found a spot for both and settled in with the girls on our shoulders to watch the parade. Audrey did fine, but at the end of the parade Ashley's feet must have fallen asleep while on Ray's shoulders, and she was crying. So we left and checked into the hotel, set up the kids on their beds (Ashley in her sleeping bag and Audrey on the blow-up toddler bed), and promptly fell asleep.


When Ashley got home from school yesterday, she went to her room and promptly fell asleep. She has never done that in her almost 5 years of life. To say this new schedule and stuff is making her tired is an understatement. I think me and her and the other little one who did not go to sleep until after 10:00pm last night really need a few days to reconnect as a family and just have fun.

So today at 11:00am we are driving to Disney. We hadn't originally planned to go this weekend. I was fearful of the crowds, and I didn't want Ashley to miss school. But then I said what the heck with it, she only turns five once in her life, and missing 3 days of kindergarten isn't going to be the end of the world. Ray has a conference on Saturday and Sunday, so it will be just me and the girls hanging out and visiting Mickey Mouse. And then Monday is Ashley's birthday. We plan to go to breakfast and then she is getting made over to look like Hannah Montana. That part she does not know about.

I plan on blogging about this daily just for me so that I remember what happened, because I am old and tend to forget. Just like I forgot to pack Ashley a drink in her lunchbox yesterday. Any takers on what we will forget to pack for this trip??

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Third Day of Kindergarten, Not So Good....

In Ashley's backpack, in the special folder for communication from home to school and vice versa, an excerpt from her first letter home:

"Ashley has had a difficult time following directions today....when asked not to do something, she did it anyway. Please speak to her concerning following directions."

I am not sure if I should save it for the scrapbook. For some reason, I was hoping for a good first letter home to put in her scrapbook, not a letter on THE THIRD FREAKING DAY OF SCHOOL that she has been bad.

I'm frustrated and mad and sad and angry and disappointed, all rolled into one. I so want Ashley to be that good student that sits quietly and listens to the teachers. I'm disappointed in her that she acted that way and didn't listen to her teachers. I have no idea why she acted that way...maybe she was tired, maybe she was having a bad day? I don't know. I also want to know what is expected of her before I get another note home. We think there is some sort of smiley face/frownie face thing they have to be on - smiley when they are good, frownie when they are bad.

We discussed the situation with her, and talked to her about her behavior, which I am pretty sure just made her worse as she decided that when we had to go in from playing outside, she ran away from me. If you have never had your child run away from you and want to know how it feels, it sucks. Big time. Bedtime was even worse...and then she dropped her huge Princess book on her foot and cried and cried like her foot was broken.

It's been a great day, can you tell?


A few weeks ago, we were given a $30 giftcard to Gamestop via Mom Central to spend as we wished and to let everyone know about our experience. And since we have a Wii, we thought it would be great to go get a new game.
So off we went. There are actually a few Gamestop stores in our area, including one even in our town, but we were venturing off to a mall since we had a few other places to hit as well. The games were organized well in the store and we quickly found the Wii wall of games. Ray gravitated towards Tiger Woods golf and Ashley found her idol, a Hannah Montana game.

Yes, there is a Hannah Montana game for the Wii. Ray quietly gave up his golf game and off we went. At home, Ashley was excited to play it, even though it was a little too old for her. It is basically a game where you do dance moves using the controllers and arm movements. And I won't tell you how Ray and I stayed up late that night playing it, and the next night, and the next. And then Ashley's friend from across the street was over the other day, and her Dad played it as well.

It's addictive, that's all I got to say.

So yes, our experience with Gamestop went well, and I would visit again to get another game for our Wii.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A few things...

- Yes, we are leaving Friday for Disney. Yes, we are taking Ashley out of school for three days. And yes, that means we are horrible parents.

- No, this week has not been good. Ashley has decided her new time to wake up is 5:00am. Yesterday wasn't too bad, but today was a different story. I can only fight so many battles. I know this kindergarten thing is a huge adjustment, I realize that. I just don't know how to make her sleep past 5:00am.

- No, I am not going to Blogher. Would I like to go? I don't know. I have heard so many conflicting things about it. My goal with this blog isn't to have 100 comments, or even 3. My goal is to connect with others in the same predicaments as me, and to document my life with my kids. Everything else that comes out of blogging is a huge bonus. So to go to Blogher to promote my blog would not be a goal. To go to Blogher to meet people would, but it also seems that Blogher is always the weekend of Ashley's birthday, so I am pretty sure I will never go. Good God, I am good at rambling.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A few tips needed...

These may seem completely unrelated and random. And they are, but I need some tips/advice/suggestions:

1. By the time I roll around to crawling into bed each night, I am so thirsty I normally pop open a can of diet coke. Probably not the best choice for drinks right before bed. Anyone have any good flavored water they like that is low in sugar and calories that might quench my nightime thirst?

2. Ashley has been putting her hair in her mouth lately and it is driving me NUTS. Besides shaving her head, any suggestion would be welcome.

3. Ashley seems to be getting on my very last nerve, but she has taken up growling at us. Punishments have been passed out repeatedly, and the growling is still happening. Maybe I should record it for you guys. And maybe growling isn't a good term, more like a grunt that she is totally and utterly pissed at us for making her doing something so mundane as to brush her teeth. Or possibly take a shower.

4. I need a few good keep the kids entertained in the car tricks. We are traveling to the happiest place on earth on Friday.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Pictures - Random Style

I never really got into any sort of schedule this past week. Two days I was out of the office on travel and the other days were just a mix of kindergarten madness and trying to clean my house for Ashley's birthday party this weekend. To say my stress level has been high is an understatement, but I think I am finally come down from it. I am thinking I am feeling more like Audrey in this picture:
And on Wednesday, Ray was instructed to take a picture of Ashley getting off the bus. He did well considering he was holding a dog and dog poop and trying to use my camera. I plan on pretending that Monday is the real first day and taking more pictures. But damn, she looks so big in this picture.

The following pictures are my children performing as they do almost nightly now. Their songs of choice at this time? Camp Rock, the new hit made for Disney movie with the Jonas Brothers. My stepmom sent Ashley the CD and since then, the girls listen to it non-stop. Audrey knows ALL THE WORDS TO ALL THE SONGS. And she will prove it to you, complete with a hand on her hip and a pretend microphone up to her lips. I am in real trouble with this little girl...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's been one of those weeks...

First off, Ashley loves kindergarten. She really didn't get the full effect yesterday since we have staggered entry for kindergarten here, and only 5 other students were with her yesterday. That and now she doesn't go back until Monday, but she still loved it.

I, on the other hand, was a wreck. I got the girls ready for school with a few minor hiccups (Ashley thinks tunics are dresses and I battled with her to wear shorts under her tunic that she thought was a dress...note to self, do not buy any more tunics). We got to her elementary school just as they were letting everyone in the school. I signed in and walked the girls down to Ashley's class. I made sure Ashley knew where she was going and she did. I did a quick goodbye and that was it.

Audrey and I made it back to the van and had to stop and look at all the school buses. Audrey kept saying she wanted to go on one, and I told her she would eventually (like she understood). I had held it together for the most part.

And then I tried to take Audrey to her school, and she screamed and cried and threw a fit. So there I was, in the parking spot closest to the school so that everyone could hear Audrey screaming that she didn't want to go. A neighbor saw my predicament, and came over to try and help and I started crying. I blubbered about dropping Ashley off and now Audrey was throwing a fit. We somehow got Audrey calmed down enough to walk to her classroom, and then her teachers did a great job of prying her off of me.

So there it was, the first day of school for Ashley. She rode the bus home and last night, she was wiped out. Everything ended in a crying fit when we were trying to get her to bed. We are going to start putting both kids to bed on time as we have let it slip the past few weeks to almost 9:00pm, and it's wearing on them and me.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

You have heard me whine about it enough...

And tomorrow is the day.

Ashley's first day of kindergarten.

And she doesn't want me to take me to her class in the morning.

Since when do I listen to an almost five year old?

Monday, July 07, 2008


At my new job, my healthcare costs are 100% paid for by my employer. Unfortunately, the cost to cover the rest of the family was astronomical, so we contacted our insurance guy and for less than what I was paying out of my paycheck at my last job, Ray and the girls are covered for better coverage through the same health insurance company.

The only problem is that coverage doesn't start until August 1st, and Murphy's Law is that someone was bound to get sick. And that someone was Audrey. Last minute, we headed to Pinehurst, NC on July 4th to visit with our friends and hang out at their parent's house. They are on a golf course, there was a pool, multiple lakes (both kids swam in a lake for the first time...) and fireworks. Plus, with seven grandkids, their house was stocked with toys and things to do. Audrey started complaining that it hurt when she peed. We thought she had a diaper rash as she kept peeing in her pull-up. Then she woke up on Saturday morning and was pretty much inconsolable and crying and trying to go to the bathroom. Any of you ladies out there who have had urinary tract infections know just how painful it is.

A quick call to our pediatrician, and we rushed out of there and back to Raleigh to see the doctor. Of course they wanted a sample and when the nurse told me they would have to catheter her if she wouldn't pee in a cup, I started to cry. I gave Audrey a few minutes, and then bribed her with a lollipop and the prospect of peeing in a cup and she did it, just enough to confirm a urinary tract infection.

Office visit: $85 (not bad considering there was a culture for her urine in that cost)
Drugs: $95 (but we have a $20 rebate we can mail in for)

We have to go back in a week to have her checked, and then as a precaution, they want to do an ultrasound of her kidneys as standard procedure for any child under the age of four who gets a UTI. We can wait and do that after we have insurance. I am betting she is fine...I am guessing she is like me. I had many UTI's as a kid, and was even hospitalized at one point. So all in all, it wasn't as expensive as we thought it would be. And the main thing is that she is feeling better, although I am pretty sure she has eaten her weight in gummy bears in the last three days...(which she only weighs 25 pounds...)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

How things have changed...

The meeting with the new teacher went great. I think Ashley is going to have a great first year in elementary school. There are two other kids from the neighborhood and her preschool class that are in her kindergarten class. I told her new teacher this, and she recommended that the three of them be seperated as far as seating arrangements at the beginning of the school year, which is probably a good idea. Ashley and her two friends can be pretty chatty sometimes, and this will hopefully help them make new friends in the class.

I am happy too that the teacher was completely fine with Ashley missing a few days in July for our mini-vacation to Disney. I just have to fill out a form that states it is for educational purposes...

And for school lunches now, we can prepay online and the kids get a credit card (I think...). I remember bringing money to school with me and having to keep track of that, and now we can just go online and load up money for her to buy lunch.

And I am already causing problems. There are two bus stops on our street...I want Ashley to go to a particular one (we are kind of in the middle of the two) and of course she was signed up for the other stop. I filled out a form to have her switched, so hopefully that will go through.

I got a little choked up at one point while talking to her teacher this morning. I am really going to be a mess next week.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Not a Normal Week

Tomorrow morning, we meet Ashley's kindergarten teacher. Next week, she goes for her sort of first day on Wednesday. They do staggered entry here for kindergarteners, and only a few from each class go each day of the first week. And then she will be going every day starting the 14th.

We think we have a schedule for when she is officially in school. I will take her to the bus stop in the morning as her bus comes at 7:45am. Then I will take Audrey to school. Ray is planning on being there when she gets off the bus at 3:15pm, even though that may mean he works some in the evenings as well. I should still be home by 5:30pm.

I am sure there will be days where this will have to be juggled, but we are going to try and stick to this. And hopefully tomorrow, Ashley falls in love with her new teacher.

I Heart Strawberries

Strawberries are my sweet addiction when it comes to fruit. And thankfully, Ashley shares in my love of them (the other child who shall not be named won't touch fruit, the stinker). I am constantly looking for new recipes to use strawberries. Fortunately for us, we have a local farmer's market as well as plenty of farms around us to get the freshest strawberries.

And while we may not live even remotely close to California, the California Strawberry Commission website offer tons of information.

If you are looking for recipes, check out this site.

If you are looking for a fun site with cool activities for kids, check out Strawberryville.

Some fun facts to stump your 5 year old (or heck, stump yourself):
- There are about 200 seeds on the outside of each strawberry
- If you lined up all of the strawberries grown in California in one straight line, they would wrap around the entire Earth 15 times
- One acre of land (about the size of one football field) grows about 50,000 pounds of strawberries - that's the same weight as 4 elephants