Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And she needs me no longer...

Some things, I have finally figured out, need not be pushed. They need to be figured out when they are ready. Not when Mommy and Daddy think you are ready, but when you are really, really ready.

A few Sundays ago, she just hopped on and rode off. We had been pushing her to try for a few months and were met with a wall. She could ride her scooter with the best of them, why did she need to ride her bike. And then all the other little girls on our street were riding bikes, and that was the push she needed.

Hopefully we will remember this when it comes time for Audrey to learn.

Being proud is an understatement. And there she goes, no longer needing me to run beside her. I will always be right beside her though.

This growing up thing is much, much harder on me than on her.

Accent Furniture

Sometimes I get to try out some really cool stuff.

Furniture is a sore subject in our house. Ray and I don't often agree on styles and whatnot. We most recently got a new bed - and by new I mean a hand-me-down from my Dad and Stepmom.

But there are still some void areas in our house, and we have been here 3+ years. The other thing right now? Not wanting to spend money on furniture when I feel like I should spend money on other things.

But then I got sent a link to a really cool site that features accent furniture at really reasonable prices. Combine that with hassle free returns and free shipping? I'm sold.

As soon as I get my soon-to-be disclosed new accent furniture, I will give you the full review!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I promise

I promise to post pictures of Ashley's new thing, the "ghost" I took a picture of in Savannah. I promise to sometime this week. First, I have to get back in some sort of routine. Heck, I haven't even unpacked my bag. I fished out my toiletries and that was about it. I didn't even have dinner planned last night (we got $5 pizzas from Dominos) and we have no milk in our house. I had all intentions of going to Walmart last night, but there were storms (yes, a really good excuse to not leave the house) and Ray went to watch a football game with friends. I don't have dinner planned tonight either (GAH! I am slacking on the planning skills this week) and I am thinking we do like we did one week in August. Live out of the pantry and only pick up milk at the store. That will save $75.

Another thing we will be saving money on here shortly is Ray's car payment. He is selling his blue Honda Civic (seriously, did that car come in any other color?) and his business is purchasing a Jeep Wrangler for him. Funny that I write it like that since Ray is the business owner so really Ray is buying a Jeep for himself, but it just isn't coming out of our checkbook. See how that works? Goodbye $400/month car payment, hello a Jeep that Ray has wanted since I made him get rid of his when Ashley was born.

And the Jeep color? Hokie Maroon. Okay, really it's just Maroon, but we are saying it is Hokie colors. Hopefully we will have it by Saturday when we take the girls to their very first college football game. Virginia Tech is playing a high school team, I mean Duke, here in Raleigh, and we get to go. The girls are very excited.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Every Girl Needs a Weekend Away....

Savannah was great - great food, great company, great shopping. I can't tell you how relaxed I felt the whole time. I am lacking in sleep though as I was up past 1:00am every night and up around 7:30am every day.

Yes, pathetic that I can't sleep in.

I got to do everything I wanted to do in Savannah - eat, chat, spa, and shop. We did a ghost tour on Thursday night (a whole post about that later....), ate a Paula Deen's restaurant on Friday night. The only thing about that dinner was that I am not used to eating such rich foods. It tore up my stomach. I got to run, took a walk in the rain on Saturday morning (not intentionally), and I even got to sit an watch the Hokies beat Miami on Saturday. I never get to just sit and watch the game.

It was tough getting up this morning, but I survived. Ashley is back in school after being off for three weeks, so this morning it was back to our schedule, and it was fine.

What has not survived is the second toe on my left foot. I realized my toe was hurting on Friday in Savannah. I assumed it was an ingrown toenail, and pretty much ignored it. When I got home last night, I took a closer look at it, and the nail seemed raised and it was sore to the touch. I realized it had a blister underneath the toenail, and Dr. Google says it is "black toenail" and I could possibly lose my toenail. Lovely. I did run my 8 miles last Thursday (and about died), so I am guessing the increase in mileage did it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I wrote a post awhile ago about health insurance and such. And I discussed how Ray and I purchase insurance for him and the girls. I read online about people complaining about the cost of insurance, and with a little bit of research we were able to find affordable insurance with great coverage.

And I just found out about another insurance UnitedHealthcare is offering for unisured students I thought I would pass along - UnitedHealthcare StudentResources.

Some key points:
- The health plan offers protection/coverage for injury AND sickness, 24/7/365.
- Many (Over 2000), but not all public school systems/districts throughout the US participate with UHCSR to offer this plan.
- The Health Plan is available to K12 students from ages 5 – 18 (ages 4-18 in Texas)
- While the K12 Health Plan can provide a level of protection for uninsured children, it is also being purchased by many families who have high deductible employer coverage. If parents have to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to meet their employer plan deductible, the K12 Health Plan can reimburse them for their children’s eligible medical expenses while they are working toward meeting their employer plan’s deductible.
- Designed to be affordable at $588 per policy year or $98 every two months. Parents can enroll their student at any point in the school year.
- Full plan details and easy online enrollment are at this site.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Saga Continues....

The Twilight Series Saga that is. I just purchased my ticket to the midnight showing of New Moon on November 19th. A first for me, seeing a movie at midnight. But Robert Pattinson without a shirt? TOTALLY worth it.

On a completely separate topic, I am leaving tomorrow for 4 days with friends in Savannah, Georgia. Ray did the same with the husband of these friends a couple of weekends ago, and now it's the girls' turn.

The difference? Ray just packed and left. Me? I need to make meals, lay out clothes, leave directions to cheerleading, schedule carpools, plan for my Stepdad to come and help out.

I am not saying Ray isn't helpful at home, because he is. Our schedule during the week is a little crazy between Girl Scouts, both girls in dance, cheerleading, and piano lessons. Ray takes Audrey to dance and Ashley to piano every week.

But I can't just pack a bag and leave. I planned for my Stepdad to come since Ashley is still tracked out of school. They will have dinner in the crockpot Thursday night with instructions to order pizza Friday night. I honestly don't care what they eat Saturday night. All their clothes are laid out, cheerleading uniform is clean. Ray is carpooling to the game Ashley cheers at with another neighbor and that neighbor is also driving Ashley to cheer practice on Thursday night. Ashley has a makeup piano lesson on Saturday morning which is on my calendar in google which Ray sees when he sees his calendar, so hopefully he will remember. Ray and I cleaned the house from top to bottom last night (I tackled upstairs since it contains 3 bathrooms and Ray "doesn't do bathrooms") while he swept and mopped the hardwoods downstairs. I refuse to come home on Sunday to a house that needs floors cleaned. I have baked some goodies for the trip, made a trip to Target today for toilet paper and paper towels, and will make a treat for my Stepdad tonight.

I am packed; I actually have been packed since doing laundry on Sunday night. All that's left now is running 8 miles in the morning before I leave for Savannah at 9:00am. I plan on getting up at 6:30am and running a route in our town. Should be interesting. Am I stressed out about running in the morning? Absolutely. I get stressed out every week before I run my long runs and this one is no different. Send positive running vibes my way.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Sunday afternoon, Ashley and her friend where writing lyrics to songs in her friend's backyard. Ashley needed help spelling some words, and asked when she needed help.

"Mommy, how do you spell jest?"

"Jest? Do you mean Just?"

"No, JEST. How do you spell JEST?"

"Can you use it in a sentence?"

"Yes, like 'We jest got home?'."

"Honey, it's JUST, not JEST. J-U-S-T."

In her most I'm six years old and know everything there is to know about everything voice: "No MOMMY, not JUST, JJJJJJJJJJEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSTTTTTTT."

And there you have it. The North Carolina girl who know thinks Jest is a word.

Monday, September 21, 2009

7 miles

I don't have fancy running clothes, cool shoes, expensive socks. My shorts, shirt, and sports bra were all on sale at Target at one point in time. The socks are from Walmart. The shoes were on sale at Kohls. I don't have a cool Garmin watch to tell me how far I have run; I have to map out my runs beforehand.

I didn't play a sport like soccer in school that would have led me to running. I was a softball girl, and the furthest I ran the most was the distance to first base. I even played catcher, so I didn't really even have that far to run out on the field.

But I run. I squeeze in a run when I can. I get up early on Saturday mornings to get my "long" runs in. I go to the gym after the kids are in bed at night. I run while Ashley is at cheer practice.

I am pretty sure I am not built like a runner. I pretty much have non-existent calf muscles. I run slow, plugging along.

And this past Saturday, I ran my furthest distance yet - 7 miles. It took me one hour and 13 minutes, but I did it. Through all the hills in my town, I did it. Through the park where I ran right into a rail I didn't see, I did it.

I did a Clif Shot gel thing before starting out, and I had great energy the entire time. My knee started to hurt (remember I played catcher? I think this is coming back to haunt me) around mile 5, but not bad enough to walk. If I had one of those watches, I am sure it would have told me my last mile was probably my fastest as I was trying to catch up to my friend I saw running and I ended on a downhill.

So I ran. 7 miles. Longest distance yet. Next up - 8 miles on Thursday. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tidbits of my day

I got to work this morning after spending 10 minutes looking for my car keys that were in my purse the whole time and was talking to my coworker when the conversation got side-tracked for a second and I totally forgot was I was talking about.

Yesterday on the way to dance for Ashley, I forgot the dance bag that holds her ballet shoes and tap shoes. This after forgetting her cheer shoes last Saturday.

What is wrong with me?

On the way to school with Audrey, she was singing:

"Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat; if you don't, I don't care, I'll pull down your underwear".

Which was followed up with:
"But first I would have to pull down your pants, right Mommy?"

The conversation with my coworker was about Patrick Swayze and pancreatic cancer. See, her Mom died 4 years ago from pancreatic cancer. It was quick, only a few months after being diagnosed, but a very painful death for her Mom. And 3 weeks ago? Her Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Life sometimes hits you hard, really hard.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Running Blog

A few months ago, I could barely maintain a 12 minute mile on the "dreadmill". It would take me 36 minutes to run 3 miles, and I was struggling.

Last night? I ran 3 miles in 27:45. And I probably could have done a little faster if a stitch hadn't taken over me between mile one and two.

So the verdict? I am still slow (and could never keep that pace up for an entire 13.1 miles), but I am definitely getting faster. The "dreadmill" is okay for the short distances and me blaring my iPod with my favorite tunes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

You need to get you a neighborhood like mine

Thursday morning, Ray left for a weekend in Myrtle Beach to golf, eat wings, watch football, and play more golf. Considering that Ray never plays golf anymore except for these weekends away, I almost shove him out the door.

Unfortunately for me, this weekend had a schedule that was a little bit nuts. Friday night, Ashley had a pep rally for cheerleading. Not a problem, even got her there on time.

Saturday was a different story. Saturday involved cheerleading pictures, a Girl Scout meeting for the girls and their Moms at my house, a cheerleading game for Ashley, and a birthday party to round out the day. If there was any day I could possibly duplicate myself, it would have been Saturday.

Lucky for me, I have great neighbors and friends who stepped in and saved me. One friend took Ashley to cheer pictures, another friend (who is going to have a baby next month - I think the 19th of October would be a great date....) took Audrey while I had the Girl Scout meeting.

I really only had one mishap the entire weekend - I was right on time to be at the football field for Ashley's game on Saturday when I realized she was wearing Crocs - not really the type of shoe she was supposed to be wearing. So we ran back to the house for her really expensive cheer shoes. We still made it back in time, but I hate running back and forth. Not fun.

And no worries, I will be getting Ray back for leaving me this weekend. The same great neighbors and friends are going on a girls weekend in two weeks to Savannah, Georgia for some much needed time away. The countdown is on...

Friday, September 11, 2009

6 miles

So this morning I got up, dropped off the kids at school/YMCA camp, and picked up my running buddy Wendy. Her and I run the same pace, so it's great to run together. We decided to do our 6 miles at the American Tobacco Trail which is a trail that runs for 22 miles from our county into the neighboring county. It is nice and wide and accommodates both runners and bikers as well as horses.

We when got out of the van, it was a cool 64 degrees out. I kept a long sleeved shirt on, and had my brand new water bottle thingy my good friend got me as an early birthday present. It is just like this one:

It was really nice. I can't carry a water bottle in my hand as I run because I do this crazy grip thing that makes my hand hurt. This straps onto my hand and I barely knew it was there.

The run was great, as was the trail. All the miles and half miles are marked (although we never saw the 2.5 mile marker). The first half mile came at us so fast, we were shocked. The first three miles actually went pretty fast. We turned around to run back at the end of mile three, and my stomach growled. I think it's time to invest in those GU energy things. At around mile 4, my knees started to hurt, but not bad enough to warrant walking. Just annoying.

We kept our pace pretty much the same for the entire 6 miles. We slowed down three times - once for me to take my long sleeved shirt off, once when we did the turn to turn and get water, and once for me to check my phone. So really, we probably kept closer to a 10 minute mile for some of the miles.

And yes, I stopped at Starbucks on the way home and got some coffee and some coffee cake before my stomach started to eat itself.

I was nervous to run 6 miles - a distance I had never done before. Now I get to get nervous about 7 miles for next weekend. And that 6 miles means I have run 12 miles this week. Of course, putting in perspective and realizing the run I did today wasn't even half the distance of a half marathon scares the shit out of me, but maybe by the end of this training, it won't be so scary.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New side bar

I have added over on my side bar the races I am registered for or am considering. I am definitely doing the Hollyfest 5k for a couple of reasons. One, it is in my town and two, it is the weekend before the half marathon. Per my training schedule, I am supposed to do 5 miles that day, but I figure running a 5k will be okay. I could even just add a few miles at the end of the race.

And then there's the half at the beginning of November, and then our tradition for Thanksgiving is the Myrtle Beach Turkey Trot. It is a great race, and this year Ashley wants to do the 1 mile fun run. I haven't registered yet as I am toying with the idea of doing the 8k race, but something about just doing the 5k would be okay with me.

The others on the list are races I want to do, but not signed up for. I am thinking that once I run this half marathon in November I will want to do more, and the next best one is the one in February in Myrtle. I have read great things about the race (good course, etc.) that makes me want to do it. I just really don't want to train in the cold.

Tomorrow I am going to tackle my long run for the week per my training - 6 miles. Last week's 5 miles was relatively easy (but not fast), so hopefully I can pick up the pace (keep it at a 10 minute mile the entire time) and not die.

And this is where my computer times ends for the evening as a certain 3 year old keeps calling my name and the dog is snoring. So much for researching races.

Disney Moms Panel

I have tried every freaking year for the Disney Moms Panel. I don't know what the magic equation is to get selected for one of 20 spots out of 20,000 applicants. I just hope I have that magic this year.

The application opens up at 9:00am EST today (which is of course the time when my all day meeting starts, GAH!) and you can get it here.

Just keep your fingers crossed for me. Pretty please.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Look what started...

So last weekend started cheerleading for Ashley. She did it last year, but last year, it wasn't this intense. Meaning we only cheered at the fifth quarter last year (at the start of the 6-8 year old game, the Mini-Mites, they let the boys who never played before do 10 plays on offense and 10 plays on defense) which was about 20 minutes.

This year? She cheered for almost 2 hours. 4 quarters of 8 minutes each seem to take a really long time. In which Audrey did a lot of this:
But despite being out there so long, she still loves it.

Healthcare Reform

Okay, I have kept my mouth shut about health care knowing that this is a hot topic and you are either on one side of the fence or the other. And I don't want to alienate anyone or piss anyone off (remember, true traits of a Libra at work here), but I have my opinions. And my facts.

First off, I had someone tell me today that it sucks that the uninsured can't get health care, which kills me because they can. I worked for a non-profit health system in both Virginia and North Carolina for over 8 years. And guess what? Due to their non-profit status, they did not and could not turn away the uninsured. Millions, billions of dollars were spent treating those patients right along side those patients with great health insurance, even the Cadillac of insurance coverage.

My company pays 100% of my health care insurance, but the coverage for my family more money than we thought we could get, so we shopped around. And we went with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (which is by the way, non-profit) and pay about $500 a month for great coverage, even with Audrey's pre-existing asthma and allergy issues. Outrageous? Nope. Have we ever had issues getting into the doctor's offices that are in or out of network? Nope.

I don't like how the insurance companies are made out to be the bad guys, because to me, they aren't. Obama even said in his address in Raleigh a few months ago that companies like Blue Cross and Blue Shield don't even cover mammograms, when they have been covering them for years.

My question in all this, will a federally run system really be more efficient and more effective than the private insurance companies? Will 5 years down the road the bar get lowered so that more and more private insurance policies are taxed, because that's how this will get paid for, right?

My thing with politics has always been be educated. Don't just take a Democrat's or Republic's word, know your source, listen and learn. Don't be the guy on the sideline who just says "Hell Ya!" to everything in a speech. Digest it, do your research. Find out the profit margins on private insurance companies and tell me they are or are not "rolling in dough". Find out if the states who are already suffering will have to chip in some money into this federal plan. Research your own health coverage, shop around if you can.

Off my soapbox, I promise pictures and something a little less controversial tomorrow!


My sister-in-law wrote a few weeks ago about procrastination that included a link to a site for some brain games (which is my way of procrastinating when I should be working).

I love brain games - sudoku, tents, spider solitaire, word games, you name it. I have quite a few downloaded to my iPhone for instant access as well. Hopefully in 30 years my brain will still be as active as it is today.

So enter in Brainfuel4Kids. It's a great site to sit down with your kids and explore. You can learn brain facts such as "your brain contains a vast network of connections capable of performing 20 million-billion calculations per second." You can check out sections like brain food and brain health. And then there's the section on brain games. I was also given a 30 day trial to, a great site for even more brain games. And not your normal brain games either, much more advanced than the basic ones that normally come up in a search. Go ahead, check out the sites, and it's not procrastinating if you are actually exercising your brain!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of BrainFuel and received an insulated lunch bag from California Innovations to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


I know 99.9% here are females, so if you want to win a year's supply of Always Infinity products, check out my review site. And yes, I wish I could win it.

Bullets, Monday-Style (which it really feels like Monday even though it's Tuesday)

- I don't have to worry about deciding if Ashley was going to hear Obama's speech or not as she is tracked out of school for three weeks - thank goodness for year round schools! (and honestly, I would have not had an issue with her watching it, I would have just read the text myself and discussed with her the speech as well)

- I may or may not have overbooked myself for this coming Saturday

- I am finally wearing my engagement ring again after going without it for months. The diamond was loose, and the place Ray bought it at is no longer in business. I finally took it to a Jared's yesterday where they fixed it in 2 hours and informed me my diamond is chipped.

- After not being in school for a week due to strep, a teacher workday and a holiday, Audrey was not thrilled about going back today. She even tried to tell me she had a fever.

- Ashley was excited about camp this week which made the morning a little easier. It was also easier as we didn't have to meet the bus stop by 7:45am deadline.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Running away

Let's see how many running titles I can come up with before November.

Today was my schedule 5 miler, and I did it. Nothing exciting as I had completed 5 miles a few weeks ago, so I knew what it felt like.

Next week, six miles? A new distance for me. I am planning on doing one of my 3 mile loops twice since I don't want to figure out a 6 mile loop to and from my house.

And really? I am only blogging right now because I am trying to avoid watching the last few minutes of the VT football game because yes, I am that person who can't watch their team when they are losing. Pathetic really.

On a much happier note, I get to call tomorrow morning at 6:00am to book all my dining reservations for Disney because we will be 90 days out. I only want three reservations, but dammit, if I don't get them, I will be pissed.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I have spent way too much time in a doctor's office this week

Tuesday afternoon, while pulling into the parking lot at Ashley's school for our parent/teacher conference, Audrey's school calls. She has a fever of 101 and her stomach hurts. I see Ray pulling in, and I motion to him to stop, tell him the news, and off he goes to get Audrey while I go to the conference.

sidenote: conference was fine, Ashley is above average in math/reading/writing/whatever, she still needs to learn to be quiet and follow rules in class, a common theme with her

I do the conference, pick up Ashley from a neighbor's house, call the pediatrician, and get an appointment for 6:00pm for Audrey. Seriously, my pediatrician's office kicks ass. The last appointment was taken as the lady was trying to schedule me, and she talked to the doctor and got me in.

I suspected strep as I knew kids in her class had it, and she had a fever, stomach upset, and a headache. Nope, she never said her throat hurt, but it was red. The doctor did the quick test, which came back negative, but put it in for the overnight. Which, as you can probably guess, came back positive the next morning.

Which was Wednesday. The day I had a haircut appointment at lunch (I was working from home that day) and had Ashley's 6 year appointment that afternoon. Oh, and I was volunteering in Ashley's class that morning. Ray was able to stick around for me to volunteer, then had to go in to work for some meetings (And really? He's the big help today and tomorrow staying with Audrey today since she is still contagious and tomorrow when her school is closed for a teacher workday). I refused to reschedule Ashley's appointment and I figured I could take Audrey since, well heck, it is a freaking doctor's office. There are other sick kids there.

So back to the pediatrician where Ashley got a glowing report (48 inches tall, 48 pounds). I did discuss her behavior issues from school in depth with her doctor who rattled off several other things to see if Ashley was doing them, and the answer was no to all of them, and she reported that Ashley seemed like a very normal 6 year old. Whew. My normal worry-wart brain can stop worrying all the time.

We will be back to the doctor's office in October for flu shots. And yes, I plan on vaccinating my children for both the seasonal and H1N1. Audrey is actually in the high risk category being under 5 and asthmatic. Our doctor's office told me that they are pretty sure they will have enough for all of their patients. I was also told both the seasonal and the H1N1 can be administered at the same time. And yes, I have seen the reports about the outbreak from the vaccine in the 70s. Let me reiterate - in the 1970s. I talked to my doctor (as should every parent when making decisions like vaccinations), and there is no concern here with either of my kids getting the vaccine.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


The Scene: Walking out of Walmart (how appropriate)

Who: Me and Audrey

Audrey: "Mommy, I tooted."
Me: "You did?"
Audrey: "Did you not heard it, Mommy?"
Me: "Nope, didn't hear it."
Audrey: "Mommy, it stinks, you can smell it. Smell my butt."


Then last night while I was combing Ashley's hair after her shower, she wanted to wear her bathrobe her Grandma Fuzzy got her for Christmas last year. Then she proceeded to inform me that "when she is a teenager, she will have to wear her bathrobe in the mornings because teenagers don't sleep with bras on".

I have NO IDEA where she got that from.


Audrey asked us in the van at some point this past weekend about how do babies get in your belly. Both Ray and I completely avoided the question AS SHE IS THREE.