Monday, June 23, 2008

Darn photogenic kids! They're expensive!

The three muskateers

Bailey, 12

Lauren, 2

Grant, 8 months

Don't tell Grandpa W.....but Grant's a Cubs fan!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

After a good nap, I took Lauren up the street for what I believe to be her first snow cone. She was so excited! She announced to the cashier at "Tropical Sno" that she wanted a Bwuuuu one! Regretably I didn't get a before picture - but here is what was left of the GIGANTIC snow cone after Bailey AND Lauren ate it.

And here are some shots of 'Lil Miss Blue Lips. I'm not sure if she had more fun eating the snow cone or looking at herself in the mirror afterwards. Sticking her tongue in and out, admiring its blueness in the mirror.

It wasn't long afterwards that I noticed that her THUMB was blue too. ha! I better check her ponytail too. (sucking her thumb and twirlin' that pony).

High fructose summer fun!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Operation curb appeal is 99% complete. All that is left is the outdoor lighting sitch and possibly a new screen door...still trying to decide about that. I am pretty sure I'm going to go sans awning. Here ya go.



Hey, Good Lookin'.....What 'Cha Got Cookin'

So cute to see them "playing" together.

Helping Flood Victims

An Iowa Mom is one good-hearted woman. She's set up a new site to help Iowans in need following the Floods of '08. If you want to help or if your family needs help, go here. Lots of families have MINOR inconveniences like a little water in the basement - but nothing like the muddy, filthy river water or sewage backups that have absolutely devastated many Iowans. Thanks to Iowa Mom for taking the initiative to DO something. Let's all visit her site and see what we can do to help.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So sweet. So innocent. So LITERAL!

The other day we were shopping here. I had Lauren AND Grant in the front of the cart (they should make all carts like this everywhere!). Anyway, as we were shopping, Lauren spotted a few kids in a cart down the aisle from us. For those of you who don't know Lauren, she is a FREAK about other kids. She LOVES THEM! She calls all of them her "best friend." Love and excitement just rush from her pours when she sees them. Unfortunately she doesn't quite have all of the social rules down yet, so she tends to invade their personal space and freak them out in-general. They wonder who this crazy girl is that is approaching them at warp speed with a crazed look in her eye. Yup - that's my girl.

Anyway - she started pointing and bouncing up and down in the cart - so excited to see the kids! "Look! Kids! My Friends!" she shouted. Bailey was mortified. She quickly told Lauren "Don't point, Lauren - that's rude." Lauren didn't say anything, but when we approached the cart with kids in it she said:

"Hi, Rude!" "Mommy! I talkin' to Rude!"

Bailey and I about peed our pants. So funny.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Hopefully by tonight I'll be able to show you the before, during AND the after! They are hoping to finish up by tonight. YAHOO! Right now it just looks like a big dock shooting out from the house, but by nightfall it should have nice railings, steps, lattice....everything but the flowers and 4th of July bunting on the front. (sorry, Mark - must be done). And....buh-bye gross awning!

ALMOST AFTER: Darn....not done yet! But so close. They will be back in the morning and finish it up. (they need to finish the rails, put up the side rails on the stairs and finish the lattice underneath.
Now - please picture white shutters on top and bottom.....and three deck planters that hang over the deck rail filled with more purple/white/pink petunias. Now picture a new white screen door and a new light fixture. Ok - so now that you have that pictured I have a few questions.

1. Should the new light fixture be directly above the door or on the side like it is now?

2. Can we do without an awning? I am kind of thinking it opens up the front door without one.....but if you think we should have one....what color?

3. The mailbox. We can get the flat kind that flush-mounts to the deck - the kind without the flag to put up when you have mail...or we can keep a traditional box and just post-mount it by the stairs. What do you think?

What do you think, improved? Kinda make you wanna buy it???? =-)

Setting: Ten minutes after I put her down for nap time. The house is quiet...Mom is thinking about maybe finally making herself some lunch and enjoying a few minutes of peace and quiet.

Plot: 2-yr-old thinks sneaking out of bed to play with mascara and a toilet brush would be way more fun - oh - and stripping off her naptime pull-up and exchanging it for a swim diaper.

Conclusion: Mother YANKING that toilet brush out of her hand, scrubbing her hands with soap three times, washing her face and throwing that naughty child back in bed with a severe warning about what would happen if she dared to get out of bed again.
Today they are starting the work on the outside of our house and I'm SO EXCITED!!! I needed something positive going on to even out the basement disaster we have. No more water down there, but a big mess to clean up. We have to scrape up ancient plastic tiles, then mop w/bleach water. We've already cut out the wet dry wall and will probably be replacing it with wainscoting (great idea, Stacy!). Then we have to (hopefully) find more of the tiles we put down in the basement recently - they are peel & stick but absolutely look just like ceramic! I think we might do the entire basement (minus the laundry area) in these if it works out cost-wise. Then we need to tear down a wall of paneling so we can dry out the studs and then either re-panel or drywall. Ugh - tired just typing it.

Anyway - the good stuff! They will be starting our front steps/porch/deck thingy this afternoon. YEAH! Perfect timing too - no rain, beautiful day and the concrete that is there now has started to crumble away - so perfect timing for something new and fresh. I'm not sure when they'll get to the new shutters, removing the awning and replacing a piece of siding on the garage....but it'll be soon I"m sure. The back deck has to dry after the power wash and then they'll be sealing it with a color-tinted seal - should look GREAT!

Sorry I skipped the Father's Day post...I'll get to it later...promise. Hopefully Mark felt special - because he really is a fantastic husband and Dad.

Before pics of front steps (yuck):

Back deck pics after the power wash but before the sealant:

Oh - and I have a lily blooming! LOVE IT!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More rain yesterday.....and last night.....more water in the basement. If I never see a wet/dry vac again in my life I'll be happy. Great invention - just absolutely and totally SICK OF USING IT!!!

I'm so tired from working hard since Sunday on clearing out the basement. I'm so depressed that we have been set back so far now on the selling the house goal. I'm so impatient with the kids because of the previous two things, and I'm so frustrated by this never-ending rain!

I'm still thankful that it is clean water and not sewage. There was rumor that the city's sewer system wouldn't be able to handle the additional rain and that back-ups into people's homes were anticipated. Thankfully that didn't happen, although I spent yesterday afternoon clearing off all remaining items that may come in danger if that happened.

I think we might have to re -drywall one room down there - not sure. I know for sure we are already looking at paint and new flooring. The thought of this additional time/work/cost makes me just want to bawl.

We were spared tornadoes last night though. So tragic what happened a couple hours West of here though - especially because it happened to children.

Speaking of children - I need to spend some time with them. I'm ashamed at how much TV Lauren has watched since Sunday. And I have GOT to find time to work-work today!

Hope all of you out there (you know - the one person reading) have been spared from the flood waters and saturated grounds. I wish you working sump pumps, dry basements and high ground.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Zimmers ROCK!

Here's to The Zimmers, a British rock band with over 50 members....all elderly. (Lead singer is 91). The oldest member is 100! Read more about them here. I'm so excited to share this video with you! There is a middle finger at the very end - but other than that - safe to show the kids. Oh - I sincerely hope I'm like this when I'm older (with perhaps better dance moves). Thanks to Ron for pointing me to it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I found the phone list...and called not only the next person up on the list - but the next one after that. I waited til 5:15 a.m. to call - lucky I did because they were unaware. (not a real organized process). I arrived at the airport at 6 be told they wouldn't arrive til around 7. I had fun talking with other "punchy" parents who had also been up the majority of the night. She's home now - EXHAUSTED...and sleeping. She had a wonderful time - but said the 100+ temps out there really put a damper on the experience. More later.

I would post the update here - but then you wouldn't know what I was talking about because you haven't read the next post go read that...all the way to the'll entertain ya....or at least make you glad you aren't us. I promise.
After a LOOOOONG day filled with more of the shop-vac, more moving furniture, cutting carpet and boxing up basement crap, I headed to the airport to pick up Bailey. She was due in at Midnight. I checked flight status before I left the house - cuz I'm smart like that - and she was in-flight from O'Hare and scheduled to arrive just 5 minutes later than planned.

I found myself there about 15 minutes before she was due to land, so I busied myself with chit-chatting with all of the other parents. Midnight came.....and went.....12:15 a.m., 12:30 a.m......12:45 a.m. - but still the arrivals board said on-time. Of course there is NO ONE to be found working at our big "International" airport at that we waited....and waited....and waited. Finally around 1 a.m. the board announced that their flight had been diverted to Kansas City due to weather initially (yeah - super super mega jumbo giant doppler told me no more rain til Thurs. - LIES! ALL LIES!) So where was I...oh - yeah....the storms....well they cleared...but then the crew had reached their maximum number of hours or something and so off to Kansas City they flew.

Next announcement confirmed this and then said we were to talk to a United ticket agent for more information. And do you know what that sounded like? (crickets chirping). The ticket desks are DARK....and EMPTY at our "INTERNATIONAL" airport. So there we are....100+ sets of parents....wandering in circles with blank looks on our faces because we are old and not used to being awake past Midnight. ( sad).

Parents are frantically trying to call their children (hey wait a minute - it said no cell phones allowed on the trip!). Someone gets ahold of a chaperone...confirmed that they'd landed in other info. More waiting.

FINALLY it is determined that they'd be spending the night in Kansas City (I better not be paying for that)....and that they'd be flying back to Des Moines in the morning (it already IS morning you creeps). I didn't catch the flight number....actually I did - from another parent. She said it was flight XYZ and would be arriving at Noon. Well when I got home I wanted to look it up - and you know what? flight "XYZ" isn't valid. So here I is pushing 2 a.m.....and I have absolutely no idea what flight number she'll be on tomorrow. I guess I'll just show up around Noon.

Whatever. I'm tired - and frustrated. Totally ticked off at Mother Nature....HATING my basement situation.....and mad that I wasted $3 on parking and made a totally unnecessary trip to the airport tonight. Oh well - gas is ONLY $3.87/gallon for the cheap stuff. Grrrr.

UPDATE!!!! It is now 2:20 a.m.....and I just got a PHONE CALL from the guy in charge of this whole trip. He was calling to inform me that they were NOT flying back to Des Moines in the morning to arrive at Noon....apparently the airlines gave out wrong info. (nice). Instead they are getting ready to head out on buses so they could "get back earlier" that REALLY doing anyone a favor? The kids have GOT to be exhausted....I JUST went to bed and now you are telling me I have to get up and be at the airport again by around 6 a.m.? YOU SUCK! This whole cock-a-mamey plan sucks! And then - get this.....he asks me if I have the phone tree....the phone tree that he handed out at mean something you gave Mark on Thursday? I have no friggin' idea where that is! And it is 2:30 in the morning! I"m supposed to call someone in the middle of the night? Awkward....and worse yet - I can't find I guess the phone tree is broken here. Sorry kids that are going to be stuck at the airport! Not MY idea to drive you back in the middle of the night on buses (not likin' it I tell ya). And hey - if you are going to stick them on buses in the middle of the night - how's about dropping them off at the SCHOOL!!!!! You know - the one that is - oh - 1.7 miles from my house? The one that doesn't charge for short-term parking?

Ok - someone's cranky and needs to go to bed....or should I say take a nap? cuz I think 3 hours is a nap - not hardly a good night's sleep.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I'm shaking my fists at you, Mother Nature!

For weeks now I've been overhearing conversations about water in basements. Boy was I feeling lucky that we have NEVER had water in our basement - not the entire time we've lived here (6 years). I was feeling so relieved that we are on high ground and not prone to such disaster. Now, let me tell you, it has been a WET spring here in Iowa...and yesterday was no exception. It POURED...and I mean POURED for over 2 hours. I was completely drenched after church and couldn't wait to get home for a relaxing rest of my Sunday. WRONG!

Here's what we found:

Please know our basement is not always this messy - you are looking at the result of throwing everything off of the floor on to whatever surface we could find. Mark made a plastic bin run yesterday - first Target was OUT! (tell ya that we aren't alone, here?) We bought 20....$$$$$...hate that!

And Bailey comes home tonight....and she now has no bedroom. I'm just sick about this most of all. I think we are going to move her mattress into Grant's room and then have him in a pack 'n play in our room.....for now. I'm just sick. What must people PRONE to water in their basements be facing? They must be knee-deep! Go away, rain!

It seems I always make 2 steps forward toward getting the house ready to list....and then 5 steps back. For any potential buyers out assured that this is a FLUKE! Everyone on our street - heck - our whole neighborhood has water in their basements....and we usually...almost ALWAYS do not. We have just had SOOOO much rain that the ground can't take it...and it has to go somewhere I guess.

We're back at it today - shop-vac, cleaning, washing towels, packing stuff up to move to storage....makes me turn my thoughts to this:

Friday, June 06, 2008

Bailey left this morning for Washington D.C. She had to be at the airport at 3:20 a.m. for a 5:00 a.m. flight to D.C. (via Minneapolis). Guess who took her? Not me! (duh - no pictures to post).

Honestly I was too afraid of crying - didn't want to ruin it for her (....embarrass her). I'm so excited for her, but am constantly thinking about her. I'm wondering if she made it there ok....if she's lost her money or iPod yet...if she's too tired to enjoy anything this afternoon....if she changed out of her flip-flops into more comfortable shoes (doubt it....especially since I nagged and nagged on that one). I'm wondering if she's taking pictures - and if she'll take pictures of the landmarks and museums she'll be visiting or if she'll come back with 2GBs full of goofy teen-posed pics.

Anyway - I miss her. It is undescribable - that feeling of putting your first-born on a plane without you. I know she's old enough for things like this - but I'm just not very ready for it. I'm pretty sure I'll need therapy when it comes time for dating and college.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

With the caucuses and primaries behind us (unless Hillary has invented a new one that must be counted or no-fair because I'm a woman and you're just sexist....), I'm turning my sights to November again. If you remember my caucus post, you'll know who I'm hoping gets on the ticket with Obama. I haven't read or heard if this is even being speculated, but I can't think of a better person for the job. Experience, wit, Latino support, guts (YOU try to tell Hillary that you're not backing her even though you worked for Clinton #1 - kahunas, I tell ya!) Yep - my boy would be a good 'un. So here it is - my top choice (so far) for the November ticket:

**note....I do not hate Hillary. Not in the least. I do disapprove of the sore-loser type behaviors I've seen though. And don't even get me started on the Michigan/Florida debacle. Ok - just one thing....they broke the rules....there were consequences - PERIOD! You don't get to go back and try to change the rules just because it didn't work out the way you wanted it too! Feels a little like playing Candyland with a 3-yr-old. Alright - done.
I'm thinking about extending that paint color from yesterday - up the stairs and into the upstairs hallway. I'm thinking of leaving the stair ceiling white and the closet doors in the hallway upstairs white. thoughts?

So today I"m going to touch up the painting from yesterday. Now that it is dry I see a few spots that need another coat. And then I guess I'll start taping off the stairs.

Also planned for today is a quick...QUICK trip to Target to get Bailey a waterproof watch for her trip. Since cell phones aren't allowed, I thought it would be nice if she knew what time it was....and since they'll be going to Busch Gardens one afternoon, I thought waterproof would be good. We're going to keep it cheap though...lost? ruined? not a problem.

I also need pillows. ALL of the pillows on our bed are crap. I hate pillow shopping. Paying more for a pillow does not equate to a more comfortable, better pillow. But the trouble is - you don't know if you'll like a pillow until you try it out, am I right? can't exactly return a pillow after you've used it. So - I'll probaby just buy 4 or 5 inexpensive ones from Target and figure on replacing them in a few months. Miserable sleeping when your pillows suck though - I've been feeling like I'm at a hotel and need to call Housekeeping for a few more of those flimsy suckers.

Alright - back to laundry and then off to Target.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Today I busied myself by buying paint and conquering the front entry hall. It was previously a yellow color (never liked it). I like yellow - but the room you walk into after entering our home is called "fig" - basically a brownish color that takes on a greenish hue in certain lights.....yellow next to that just looked off. So I headed out to Sherwin-Williams and purchased two shades lighter for that front hall (very small area). Again I forgot to take before pics - but here are the semi-after shots:

Our contractor/handyman dude filed for the permit with the city yesterday for our front deck/porch/entry thingy. It is supposed to rain all week here - so I'm thinking by next week they'll probably start on that project. We are also having them take down our yucky awning, install four pair of white shutters (currently we have only 2 pair on the upper level and they are an off-white), and power wash and seal the back deck. I'm very excited about the home improvements (and hopefully so will a potential buyer down the road....when we're ready to begin THAT chaos). I'm even more excited that I earned over $500 at our recent garage sale - so that paid for the shutters and then some!

Our neighbor is having a garage sale THIS weekend - and she advertised (I was too cheap to do that) I'm going to throw open the garage door again and see what else I can sell! (let the kids think they're next....Dave Ramsey). I'd like to earn enough to pay for a new screen door on the front of the house and who knows - depending on the earnings - maybe a new awning, too!

On another note - here's Lauren's plate from last night's dinner. I realize it was a lame dinner to begin with - a hot dog and watermelon....but just look at the fun she had with that watermelon! "I diggin' for seeds!" she said. What a mess. Only one bite of that darn hot dog....and I don't think she took more than two bites of the watermelon. Toddlers! I tell ya!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Bailey leaves this Friday for her Washington D.C. trip. She's so excited! We are off this morning to look for travel-size sunscreen, travel-size Tylenol, etc. Then we begin the packing process. I'm so excited for her - what an awesome opportunity at her age! I am also worried. To put someone so important to me on a the age of 12 (yes, almost 13)...without her tromp around Washington, go to Busch Gardens (not thinking about freak accidents involving limb amputation...not thinking about it...not gonna do it....).....where cell phones aren't allowed.....I can't help but worry!

Ok - off to Kmart....because it is closer and I hate Wal-Mart.