Playing Catch-up, Evil Sickness and Randomness...

So playing catch-up is one of my all-time least favorite things to do. Back when I was in school, I would study crazy hard for the first test... because who likes to do poorly on the first one and then have to bring your grade up all semester? (Okay this is sort of a lie, I would study crazy hard for every test, be totally positive I failed, then would get an A. Yes, I was that annoying person. I'm sorry). So playing catch-up just sucks, which is what I am currently going through. I have been full-on sick (I may have said I was on death's door several times) for two and a half weeks. I actually just processed last night that I have most likely had the flu (really awesome nurse I am). You can imagine that literally nothing occurred in my house that was related to cleaning in ANY way. See example below: 

I'm not entirely sure what happened here. Or if a human is under there.
I had been super on top of things a few weeks back. I was legit prepping for Christmas already, due to the fact that I really, really, really wanted to have a nice, fun, activity-filled December with the girls and Matt. Last December I had just taken my increased hour position so things were nuts, and the December before that I had Olivia and was graduating from nursing school. Not the most relaxed of holiday seasons as you can imagine. This year I am for real determined to do things... like make ornaments, decorate awesomely, actually enjoy going to get a tree, craft time, etc. I wanted to get all of the gift-buying stresses out of the way so we could exist in a less-insane way. I also have two children with December birthdays which adds a whole new level of cray cray to the month. Enter the most miserable epic exhaustion/body aches/congestion/horrendousness with my hubs out of town for a chunk of it... and now I am back to square one AND I am trying to clean the pig sty known as my home. 

I won't regale you with the loveliness that was the four days Matt was out of town. I know I normally do, but last time it was pee ... this time it was poop. I'll end there. It was bad. That is all I will say. Praying it isn't vomit the next time he is gone. 

I feel like most things over the last two weeks are a total blur. I was fully determined that I was getting over my "cold" so I somehow powered through and still did a lot despite wanting to curl up in a ball and sleep/hide for nearly all of it. The following is a random assortment of things that occurred/pics I found in my phone and I am happy I took because I felt so bad and don't really remember anything. 

-Summer had her visitor's day for her ballet class. Totally adorable and so happy. 

-Some random pics that prove that they did survive with mommy just floating around or on the couch:  

She dressed like me (messy bun, pink sweats, white tank) and then acted like me (fell asleep). Love her.
That just does not look comfortable.
I love when they actually share things nicely.  
Lipstick anyone?
Who needs a charged battery when you have a little sister? 

Ahhh sisters. Fight hard, love harder.
-When Matt finally returned, our anniversary the next day. Seven whole years of marriage. No itch here! I was officially determined to enjoy the day and have fun, despite feeling awful. We ended up going out to watch the Redskins game, then to dinner that night. It was a great, adult, wonderful day with my wonderful hubby. I really don't know how I got so lucky to marry my favorite guy in the world. Like I said on facebook, I love him more today than I did on our amazing wedding day. :o) I have started and re-started a post dedicated to him but nothing really encompasses how I feel. I'll get it right sometime, I promise. 

We returned home to an adorable drawing from Summer. 

The bottom part is my necklace I wear that has each girl's initial. Love them. And Matt. Life is good. 

-I pulled it together to go with some neighbors to the last ever ACC home game at UMD. Being alumni and having been a diver there, I am especially sad that the Terps will no longer be in that conference. It was a great time tailgating despite the chilly weather. 

-I also pulled it together to go to the P!NK concert at the Verizon Center last Sunday with my sister and a few girlfriends. This had been planned for a very long time, and there was no way I was missing it. Now I definitely liked her before, but now I LOVE her... and feel a major need to go to the gym because that woman's abs were out of this world. Now I have been to many concerts in my life, but this was by far the most amazeballs one ever. Not only does she have an out-of-control voice and she did not lip-sync one single second the entire two hours she was on, but she did cirque du soleil-meets-phenomenalness the entire show. It was entertainment. She is a serious performer and I would pay a lot more money to go to see her again whenever she comes back. 

Love my sis.
-Bright and early the day after the concert (hooray), Layla had her Thanksgiving party at school. (I was so excited I signed up for cups and didn't have to actually make anything). She was thrilled that Matt, Livi and I came and we watched her sing a bunch of songs in her little pilgrim hat. 

Livi wanted to eat but Layla was trying to force her into the pic. 

My adorable little pilgrim.
-We got the girls' school pictures in. So stinkin' cute (I am biased, I know):

-So now the catch-up continues. And I am feeling better. I am so done with waiting for Thanksgiving to be over to decorate for Christmas, so I began yesterday: 

I called it, "Multiple Holiday Decor Disorder." When I posted this picture yesterday, I did get some fabulous ideas to just leave him up... including the grinch and Jacob Marley. 

So. There is the randomness that is this post. Maybe my brain will be a little more sorted out next week. Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Turkey Day!

Happy Wednesday! 


Laminating-Mania, Busy Bags and Customer Service...

A few observations and experiences from this week: 

-It really sucks being sick when you are a mom
You all are very fortunate to be getting this post today. I finally succumbed to the 34897 different sicknesses that all my children have been passing around amongst themselves. Layla had a 24 hour stomach virus in the beginning of the week, Olivia still had a cough from her last cold and then decided to go for round two. I then got a legit call from the school nurse on Friday... Summer had apparently thrown up in the hall. (I felt so utterly bad for her and was slightly worried because those kinds of things can follow you around for years. Fortunately a friend was walking her to the health room so there was only one witness. Phew. Kids can be cruel). I have to say I do enjoy the  "she hit herself in the eye with her zipper" call much better than the puking one. So on Sunday, it got me. Everything at once. I felt like death and barely moved from bed all day. I couldn't have been happier that this happened on a weekend so Matt could take care of the girls. There are few things worse than feeling that miserable and having to be mommy through it all. 

-I have found a passion for laminating
My sister saw this shirt and made a very specific phone call just to tell me about it: 

Story.Of.My.Life. I become obsessed with organization, labels, etc... but then I never keep it that way. I like to, I'm just too scattered... but then that drives me insane. It can be tough living inside my brain. So on my continued quest to provide some independence for the girls around the house, my next mission was to eliminate all excuses for not putting their clean clothes away. Enter: clothing labels. So before I began this project, I had an irresistible urge to buy a laminating machine. I don't know why, I just really really wanted it. Amazon (obvi) brought me to the perfect, amazingly reviewed, budget-friendly beauty that I would receive in two days with my fab prime membership. I mean I don't know about you, but there have been what seems like upteen times that I have thought to myself, "I really need to laminate this." So after the excitement of the laminator delivery, I then scoured the internet in search for the perfect clothing images... far harder than I had anticipated. After saving a trillion to my computer, adjusting them, printing them out, re-outlining them myself, and pasting them onto adorable paper (Layla- green, Summer- purple. I had to switch them after depression ensued)... my laminator went into action. Here are the results: 

Shirt Types

Leggings/Sweatpants or Jeans

Pajamas, Underwear and Socks

I attached them to their drawers with an adhesive velcro coin so I can change location of things when I want or with changing seasons. Good news: Layla and Summer put every last piece of clothing in the proper drawer, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. HOORAY!! My stupid work paid off, but now if I can just get them to put their DIRTY laundry where it belongs...

-My kids need to learn to PLAY BY THEMSELVES!!!! 
With this recent colder weather, I have come to the unfortunate realization that outside is just not going to be an option for much longer. I know they would be fine, but let's be serious... I don't want to freeze my butt off. We spend A LOT of time outside during the other seasons, so to have them cooped up inside all winter is sort of a nightmare... unless I want them to watch TV all day. My sister had told me about "busy bags" years ago, but the girls usually just played with each other. Now with Livi totally alone three days a week (totes not what she is used to), she epically sucks at playing by herself. Layla isn't great without their fearless leader Summer either. My work commenced. So I started off with a semi-ghetto puff ball situation from a yogurt container with a hole in the top. 

I don't know why pushing those puffs through the hole and dumping them out is entertaining, but it is and that is ALL that matters. 

Next up was a matching picture game. My printer is basically out of ink so I will be redoing these, but I just printed a few animals pics, cut them in half, laminated them (obvi), and voila. 

I then decided to order a few items to make things more interesting. 

Velcro Craft Sticks. Literally just stuck the velcro coins on them.  

Clip the clothes pin with the number that corresponds to the dots (More laminating! And educational!! Bonus!!): 

Match the upper case top part of the egg to the lower case bottom part: 

And a felt board situation: 

Okay I bought the last one... do you know how annoying it is to cut out all of those shapes?!?! And judging from the dog hair visible in the picture, they have already played with it. 

I have a few more in the works (stringing beads, dry-erase shape/letter tracing, etc), and I have been figuring out different age-appropriate ones for Layla vs Olivia, but the point of these is to bring them out, have them play with them for a period of time, and then put them away. Don't let them get sick of it. Since I have been working on these I feel like they have been watching more TV than normal, but you have to reach your goals somehow... I am just searching for more things to laminate. 

-I use curbside grocery pick-up because I DON'T want to put myself through the hell that is known as shopping with my children
I have previously discussed this fantastical service that Harris Teeter provides. I shop online at home (my specialty in general. Lucky Matt), select a time to pick it up, they load it into my car, and perfection. No tantrums, screaming, sweating, forgetting things, buying extra things, 57 cookies, mania that is shopping with small children. There are few things I hate more. So the night before I pulled up all of my items, chose the pickup time for before I drive carpool for Layla's school, and went to sleep at peace knowing that the next day we would actually have food in this house. Now the customer service at Harris Teeter is beyond exceptional. I actually regret each time I go to Safeway because despite the convenience of beer and wine, someone always does something that is just so irritating that I internally re-avow my allegiance to the Teeter. So prior to this time, I have never had a single issue with an order. My produce is always phenom, meat fresh, and all items accounted for. Now there is one employee at HT who is just a little... shall we say, odd. Very nice, just different. First bad sign: I received four phone calls the morning I was supposed to pickup my order, asking about substituting the things they were out of, giving me bigger cans of this, that, etc. She was rambling on but I did hear her say something about a bigger can of tuna and a bigger can of pumpkin puree. No prob, whatever, I can deal. When I opened my trunk for my groceries to be loaded, I see her and immediately become concerned. I become more concerned when she makes a side comment about how heavy my meat is (pork tenderloin... should be 2 1/2-3lbs). I am increasingly concerned when she has me sign two different receipts, with the main one significantly more  (like over $20) than I had been anticipating (the second one was for items she had added later. I know, I was confused too). Unfortunately I had kids to pick up from school, so dissecting my receipt was not a possibility at that moment. When I got home and started to unload the bags, I am met with the meat... and yes, she had every reason to make a comment about how heavy it was. Instead of giving me the small, normal package of pork tenderloin as I had ordered, she gave me a ginormica of a pork loin that had to have been three feet long. I mean it was as tall as Layla!!! It also weighed in at nearly TEN pounds. Hereeee is the extra $20 on my bill. I still got it half-price, but paid $27 instead of the $8 I was supposed to. So oh well. We have the mammoth meat. Matt looked up how to cut it up and we essentially will get like 10 meals from that one behemoth. The next morning I get up and go to make the girls breakfast and that is when I discovered: no bananas. I requested six bananas and they are nowhere. I checked the car too. Okay so mammoth meat and no bananas. I fish out my receipt to check everything else. I find that I also paid for an extra can of tuna and I was given a large can of pumpkin pie filling instead of 100% puree. Not okay considering I was making a dessert that day with the pumpkin puree that needed to be chilled overnight. 

Due to these fatal errors (and the fact that I was nearly out of deodorant and didn't want to use Matt's for three days again), I did the last thing in the world that I wanted to do (which is why I use this service), and packed up Layla and Livi to go to the store. I kindly explained all of the issues to the home shopping manager person (who was off the day before, natch), and she proceeded to make corrections. She gave me money back for the can of tuna AND another $20 for the difference in meat. I got my pumpkin puree (they were NOT out of it... look with your eyes and not with your mouth, as my mother would say) and my bananas. All the while my kids are snotty, whining, crying, and miserable.... and I am sweating, trying to explain the problems, and chucking cookies at them in hopes of silence. Meltdowns started happening and I was spastically trying to get out of there, so as I was turning to go the woman yelled after me that she would add another $5 credit to my account. While it doesn't erase me having to come into the store, they did try to compensate (and I got my deodorant). I don't blame the odd woman (total lie), but I hope they make sure she stays in a position that she can succeed in (aka not picking out my groceries). Maybe other people have the luxury of not caring, but I am not one of them... I have too much laminating to do. 

-This is my blog so I get to have a proud mommy moment
I had my parent-teacher conference yesterday for Summer and she started out, "Before I get into the specifics can I just tell you that you have the sweetest, cutest little girl." :o) I knew that, but hooray. Nothing but advanced and proficient in absolutely everything. AND she has slept in her OWN bed ALL night for FOUR nights in a row. YESSSSSSSSS!!!! I had Layla's parent-teacher conference a few weeks ago and I will say, it was the first one I have ever been nervous for. Not that Layla is bad, she is just so completely different and one of the youngest in her class. I wasn't sure how she really was in school. My worry was silly because she got 100% raves as well, and it was from the same teacher Summer had last year. So basically, my kids are great for everyone else and total hellions for me. At least it isn't the other way around.

The madness continues... Wish me well. 

Happy Wednesday! 


NashVegas and an Epic Halloween...

Per usual, my apologies for being MIA. Went to Nashville and had a party. Cleaning took priority. Can I just first take a moment to discuss that while I loved "gaining" an hour of my life this past weekend, Olivia is now up and on the go at around 6:30... this means I get zero alone time to settle, have a cup of coffee, and breathe before the chaos of the day starts. It is 6:30am right now while I am editing this, and she is sitting on my lap attempting to type. Don't expect me to fix grammatical errors and typos in this one... She is barely letting me see the screen. 

First up: Nashville.

So the president of Matt's company (Remmie) and his wife (Carin) are super fun, amazeballs people. We had gone out to sushi one night several months ago and somehow the subject of Nashville came up. The boys had been (for work only) but us ladies hadn't. I am a massive country music fan and love boots... What could be wrong with Nashville?!?! We fleetingly discussed planning a trip for the fall (sidenote... I never really thought it was going to come to fruition). Well it did. I had absolutely ZERO to do with any and all planning and I did NO research. Lucky for us a dear friend of ours went to Vanderbilt for grad school and sent detailed recommendations. So I felt guilty for a nanosecond that we were going away for a second time within one year without the kids...then I got over it. We have been married for nearly seven years and have essentially been away for two nights total until we went to the Derby. We deserve it. 

So another awesome couple from work decided to come as well. Like I said in the last post, I didn't really process it was even happening until pretty much the day before we were leaving (in part due to the fact that part of the planning was when I was still working, aka when I had no clue what was going on in most parts of my life). We had somehow finagled childcare (due to people offering)... Liz and Conor (newlyweds from this post) wanted to take Olivia for the weekend (I was actually really happy about that because she deserves some one-on-one attention sometimes). Summer and Layla were going to be between my mother-in-law and brother-in-law(Ben)/his girlfriend Sofi (aka previous nanny). I frantically ran around like a psychotic person the day before, but somehow got everyone packed with what they need (blankies, noise machine, Mickey/Minnie, etc). We got off to a good start in the morning and actually left before we were planning (miracles do happen). Checked in at the airport, got through security, and settled down at the airport bar for breakfast and Bloody Mary's.... perfection, right? The pit in my stomach from the worry of forgetting things started to slowly melt away with each sip and the excitement for the weekend started creeping in. We finished our food and drinks and mosied on over to our gate... where we were met with this: 

Of course no one was at our gate to let us know what the heck was going on. We were supposed to be boarding at this point, and now we had no flight and no idea how or when we were getting there. Finally we got a woman to pay attention to us (her sluggish demeanor and lack of initiative was slightly troublesome). She informed us that we were rebooked on the next flight, which was at 1:45pm. Okay perfect, we can handle that. Back to the bar we go. After that debacle we arrive in Nashville and shockingly our luggage arrive with us. 

Cab to the hotel was simple. We stayed at The Hermitage Hotel which is an absolutely amazing/five-star everything/I am not classy enough to be here type of place. I mean, I love a place that turns down your bed at night, leaving you chocolate and robes. It had our very own espresso machine!! Heaven!!! 

We only had enough time to unpack and freshen up before we met down at the bar with everyone for drinks and then headed over to the Grand Ole Opry. As I said before, zero research for this trip.... but we found out the day before that Lady Antebellum was going to be there!!! In addition to that, Love and Theft (you would recognize their songs if you like country), Brandy Clark (totally amazing up-and-coming artist), and a lot of honky-tonk people that are apparently very famous but I was clueless about. Connie Smith sang (she is in the Country Music Hall of Fame and she is married to some guy singer who was wearing really strange leather pants). The show was awesome!!! I had no idea it was an actual live radio broadcast!! They even had the actor Eric Close stop in for some guest announcing (he is currently on the show Nashville, has a recurring role in Suits on USA, and was on Without a Trace for forever). 

Seriously an awesome show. 

The next day was Remmie's birthday so his goal in life was to sit at an awesome bar with live music and watch college football games. He succeeded. My favorite quote of the weekend was from Remmie, who stated, "I wouldn't go to an art museum unless there was nuclear warfare, and it was the only place I could go to breathe, AND there is beer there." The ladies walked around and shopped, where we found our boots... buy one, get two free!!! So essentially I got a pair of totally perfect, normally $350 boots for $127. You don't need to talk me into that.

Loveee them. In addition to my boots, I would have loved to purchase this item but just couldn't bring myself to do it: 

They had a beer belly too. So Nashville is just gorg: 

And we hung out at Honky Tonk Central for most of the day: 

Seriously such amazing live music. And these are the people who aren't making it!!! Craziness. We went to The Southern that evening for a super delicious dinner where Matt actually got to select his specific meat. Vegetarians, turn away now: 

He chose a mere 27.5oz slab. Our waiter snuck in the back of this pic so it pretty much looks like they are BFFs. 

We bar-hopped the rest of the night and the majorly interesting thing was some girl was hitting on Matt and was trying to get him to buy her a drink... you have no idea how close I was to spider-monkeying her up. Those would have been awesome pics. 

On Sunday we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Kenny Rogers was being inducted so they were setting up the red carpet which I obvi snuck onto: 

The flight home was uneventful and I missed my babies SO much. We had such a great weekend... then back to reality on Monday!!! 

Next up: Halloween

Pumpkins were carved (and one was eaten by a deer much to Matt's devastation): 

Orange pancakes were (frantically) made and devoured: 

School parades and parties were attended, costumes were donned and trick or treating occurred: 

Next time I am at my mom's I am determined to find the (many) pics of me wearing that very same pumpkin costume. 

Now. If you are aware of my neighborhood, you will know that we moved onto the "party street." Neighbors select holidays and have ginormous parties to celebrate... complete with catering, a DJ and full bar. One night when we were all just hanging out, we somehow got talked into having a low-key, everyone brings stuff Halloween party. It started out small and then turned into something much bigger. So Sofi (brother-in-law's girlfriend/previous nanny) has a mother (Robyn) who had a previous career/current passion of interior decorating, in addition to a love of halloween and all related decor. Score one for us. Robyn came over and went to TOWN for our party decor. Unfortunately the pictures don't do it justice because what she created was a work of art. The lighting and ambiance was utterly perfect, and everyone seriously couldn't believe what she had turned our house into. 

I really wish these pictures could in any way show the amazeballness that it really was. My house was utterly transformed. Costumes were required and somehow every single person dressed up. So my costume choice was based on the constant, incessant teasing I get from my neighbors for my age. The fact that I was born in the 80's is such a foreign/troubling concept to them. To give them a little nod, I decided to dress up as an 80's workout girl... complete with thong leotard over neon tights, leg warmers. cut-off shirt, Reebok classics, and blue eye shadow. I ordered my costume piece-by-piece to attain the right look. To achieve a proper look for my partner, I didn't have to look far... what exemplifies 80's and exercise more than our namesake, Richard Simmons himself?!? The costume was ordered immediately, which Matt refused to try on until just moments before the party because he "didn't want to dread it any more" than he already was. What occurred, my friends, was epic: 

Now we are just scheming ways to get him in this costume again... perhaps Summer's first date? I don't want to wait that long... 

Happy Wednesday!!