Monday, May 31, 2010

I Have Some Catching Up to Do....

Can anyway say "breakneck speed'?

That would be how fast May has flown by while we packed about three months worth of activities into 31 days!

We started May 1st with May Day at school and I was on my feet for about eight hours straight running from various station to station.  I didn't even have time to take any pictures.  This was the same weekend #1 was in a play at school:

Then, we headed up to Great Wolfe Lodge in the Poconos:

In between all the weekend activities we have had softball nearly every night and #1 reffed some soccer games.  Then, #2 and #3 had their first track meet:

After the track meet, we headed out to our very good friends' wedding:

#3 had her field trip to Lake Tobias...

The following week, we went to Philly for #2's field trip.....

The Husband got to drive a stock car in Pocono....

#1 made a "chariot" for their Latin Olympics....

#2 dressed as Tara Lipinski for the fourth grade wax museum:

Our annual Memorial Day picnic turned into a surprise birthday party for me (talk about being confused and surprised since my birthday was in March!).....and, I got a laptop!! I was totally shocked.

Somehow during the month my house got cleaned, my family clothed, and none of the pets starved to death!!  Now, just a few more days of school and things slow down for the summer! I might get a chance to put that laptop to use and finally do some writing!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Where the Wild Squirrels Are

Yesterday, I spent thirteen hours on a field trip to Philadelphia with #2 and her fourth grade class. It was a walking tour and extremely educational (to the point of being exhausted trying to explain to #2 the difference between a democracy and a democrat, she kept saying "I don't get it"). In addition, I might add, a little nerve racking to keep my eye on five little girls as we navigated the streets of the historical district. The highlights of the trip were the friendly/rabid squirrel that would not leave us alone while eating lunch and on the way home, we stopped at Shady Maple (which had so much food I was sad I couldn’t possibly try all of it).

The girls were looking for the squirrel after we shooed it away and it started to come back again....this is #2's "scary squirrel is stalking us" face.

You see, the squirrel was smart...the boys ate their lunch wayyyy across the field and would've thrown rocks or Skittles at the squirrel instead of just screaming at it like the girls did.

Okay, here are some actual Philadelphia-related pics:

We found out that after we left, they closed down the Liberty Bell section of Independence Mall due to a bomb threat when a package of unidentified white powder was found. I am grateful we didn't get to experience an evacuation, or worse.

Fireman's Hall...I was glued to the 911 exhibit, remembering that day in detail and the kids had some fun pretending to be firemen and firewomen.

Betsy Ross House

Christ Church...#2 is standing in front of a 600-year old baptismal brought over from England by Wlliam Penn's family.  The kids we fascinated that people's graves were right there in the church's floor.

I think this is on our way to Franklin Court...the older people you see behind them had yelled at them and pushed them out of their way at the Liberty Bell! Yay for grumpy old folks!

Statue Room at Constitution Center

Stuffed full leaving Shady Maple (I was lucky to be on the bus that no one threw up in, the other chaperones on bus #1 were not so lucky.)

It was exhausting, but I totally enjoy hanging out with my kiddos and their friends. It also happened to be a gorgeous day outside so that made the day even better!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Confessions of an (Almost) Retired PTO President

I'll try not to bore you with the flashbacks of attending my first PTO meeting at our elementary school worried I was about to be shunned by the desperate housewives that run PTOs (and, how very wrong I was about that). Or, I will not carry on with any of the accomplishments and drama that kept my heart racing and added to my gray hair collection. No, after presiding over tonight's final meeting and the election of the new officers for next year, I find myself in a place somewhere between relief and uncertainty. Did I do enough? Where do I go from here?

Tonight's meeting was a moment that will stay frozen in my memory. When you invest in something, you realize how much it costs when it is time to give it away. And, you don't want to give it away to just any person. I was relieved to hand off the baton to a couple of wonderful people who are extremely qualified as leaders and human beings for the task at hand. While I am excited for what my future holds (because God doesn't finish one chapter without writing another one, right?), there is a part of me that feels sad as this season comes to an end.

However, these deep, bittersweet thoughts pretty much end here. In the next few weeks, I will be ready to celebrate retirement, take my pats on the back, support the new leaders, and move on to the next leg of my journey (which for the summer translates to reading a good book by the pool!). 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sleepless in PA

Just ate a cupcake and now I'm too sugared up to go to sleep.

Just watching Lee & Crystal sing Falling Slowly for the eight billionth time on YouTube.

Everytime I watch Lee & Crystal I wonder why I can't sing like that and be on a stage with pretty pink and purple lights shining on me.

That thought leaves me wondering what exactly I am going to do when I grow up since I'm too old, and I have no musical ability for American Idol.

Listened to the space shuttle launch today and wondered if I would make a good astronaut.

Wondering when, if ever, I am going to hear back from the magazine editors I sent a few stories and ideas to.

Wondering what exactly is Spam.

Slightly worried I am going to lead a boring life.

Forgot how chubby my arms look in short-sleeved shirts.

Wanting to sign up for Zumba classes.

Maybe I'll eat another cupcake.

It has been at least three minutes since I listened to Lee & Crystal sing Falling Slowly.

Guinea pigs are nocturnal.

Guinea pigs poop a lot.

Every animal in our house would have starved to death by now if I didn't live here.

Can't wait to see the new Shrek movie.

It's probably too late to bake brownies.

There is way too much gray in my hair.

I'm close to abandoning my book project for a decade or two.

Whew. Now, I'm tired.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How To Tell if a Pregnant Goat is a Male or Female (and, Other Fun Stuff)

Is it the fact I turned forty the reason that nostalgia seems to hit me more often or at unusual times? Today, as I watched #3's second grade class do the pledge of allegiance before we left for our field trip I had such a lump in my throat. I remembered my elementary school days, my field trips, then #1's & #2's field trips and then landing at the sad reality that my field trip days are starting to end. The feeling rather reminded me of when I gave away my last pack of diapers and packed away the crib for #3. Yup, pretty much like a kick in the gut.

There was not much time to linger in those thoughts as we boarded the school bus to take us to Lake Tobias Wildlife Park. Upon sitting down, I realized I had the seat with the "hump" (what was it, the spare tires??). Then, #3 and a friend sat with me. Oh goodie. We were tightly packed into the bus, three to a seat. That's fine when you are under the age of twelve, but mommies should NEVER have to sit three to a seat. for an hour. on the hump seat.

So, with my knees almost touching my chin, I folded myself into a fetal position by the window. I figured I was safer being squashed in there rather than on the aisle seat where a bump in the road could leave me sprawled on the floor. Thankfully, after what seemed like we drove to Florida and back again, we arrived at Lake Tobias. Please allow me the indulgence of plugging this wonderful place. I have been here many times before and it does not grow old. It is family run and I learn something new every time I go (yes, I am starting to sound like a total dork now). They have Safari Tours, which are buses with the tops cut off, and the animals come right up to you if you wave a cracker at them. There are amazing animals to see like Zee-Donks (half zebra/half donkeys....sorry Hershey, but it makes your zoo look very bor-ing). We visited the Reptile House for the first time and #3 was surprised there were no dolphins there.  What in the world do they teach them at school?  Then again, #3 usually keeps us entertained with her complex thought processes....

Since it was May, pretty much every female was showing signs of being pregnant, including a goat in the petting zoo that had to be carrying a ton of babies...she looked like a Christmas ornament if you held her up by her neck. At first, her horns threw me off and I asked some other parents if it was a male...they laughed and said there was one sure way to tell. So, I looked under the goat and seeing only one udder (which I mistakenly thought was a male goat part) I concluded that it must be a male with a large tumor in its stomach. Thankfully, I think everyone thought I was kidding because as they were laughing I looked again and saw the other udders....ruling out my original conclusion. I just backed away and started petting some other goats. Subtle and smooth. Yeah, that's me.

While curled up on the ride back home with my right leg numb, I took a moment to thank God that I get to share these times with my kids. I always have a great time watching them enjoy these "mental health" days where we all escape reality for a few hours to just have some fun!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

What to do at a wedding when you don't want to eat your vegetables....

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Little Live American Idol Blogging

Lee - (Kiss from a Rose by Seal)......You rock. Randy and Simon are just being mean kitties. You sounded amazing, as usual, and that was a great song choice for you. You and Crystal will make it down to the final two and I must say you are starting to pull ahead as my favorite after weeks of being a close second behind Crystal. I cannot wait to see your duet with her tonight.

Big Mike - (Will You Be There by Michael Jackson).....I think they have a place for you on  Broadway....but, not American Idol. Sorry, my big, intimidating friend. I did like the song choice though and your voice sounded very good, but the judges feel you are becoming too predictable. I'm wondering who peed in Randy's cheerios tonight, however, I enjoyed Simon's confusion over the Free Willy connection.

Lee & Crystal (Falling Slowly) .....oH. mY wORD. Thank you American Idol for pairing up these two for a duet. You both need to go on the road together, get married, and have a bunch of musically talented children. I must agree with Kara....that was probably one of my favorite moments of the season. I am going to need to re-play that one. And, no worries, Crystal....we all have a musical crush on Lee. Even my husband.

Casey - (Mrs. Robinson by Simon & Garfunkel) .....You were okay. I feel so bad for this guy because the Cougar has just caused such awkwardness. Loved Ellen's comment about wishing they had given him a big boy guitar. I have to totally agree with Simon. He just didn't deliver tonight and except for that glorious golden hair that I personally would like to have, he just doesn't stand out anymore.

Crystal - (I'm Alright by Kenny Loggins) ....I thought that was an interesting song choice given Caddyshack is such a deep and dramatic film?? Then, you rocked my sox off! Hello Simon? She was never out of the game. It was nice to meet your boyfriend. I had pictured a pale, emotionless Bohemian in a black turtleneck, not a cute guy in American flag pants.

Big Mike & Casey - (Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman by Bryan Adams)....I prefer Casey's hair in a ponytail. I felt a little creeped out hearing Big Mike sing some of the lyrics with such a tight, close up camera shot. Ellen, I'm sorry, but we don't really need to hear that you've loved a woman. Ew. Stay funny, perky, and G-rated, please.

Who do you think is going home?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hoping to be Published Sometime Before My AARP Membership Arrives in the Mail

We interrupt the thought process of starting a writing project (haha, that's me trying not to say the words "writing a book") for some bloggy time.  Every time I sit down to work on the "writing project" I get so distracted!  At the rate I am progressing I will have my grandchildren's names included in the dedication section....but, anyways.....It's just been such a wonderful, yet jam packed last few weeks.  Our wonderful friend "Peter" (names have been changed to protect the innocent, haha!) married an amazing woman on Saturday and after celebrating their special day, I got to celebrate Mother's Day Sunday at Hersheypark with my mom, GAS, my brother, sister-in-law and of course, The Husband and girls. 

I have bunches more wedding pictures, but they are somewhere on #1's camera which is MIA at the moment.  Here are just a few from the weekend:

#2 caught the bouquet! 

Mother's Day:

At the end of this ride my mom just said quietly, " I think I just died."

I was driving the antique cars and we were all acting like I was driving across town late for soccer practice!


We joked that GAS looked like a Russian spy in her hoodie and glasses!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wolves and Waves and Bears...Oh My!

Our fam headed up to The Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos for a lovely overnight stay this past Sunday. The Husband was supposed to drive a stock car in the morning, but it was rescheduled due to the rain. We did not have to pay for our hotel because the Pocono Racing Experience people messed up The Husband's surprise and sent him a confirmation in his name even though I asked them 7.3 billion times not to do that. Because they goofed up, they picked up the tab for a family suite at this amazing resort with an indoor water park. I thought I would share the highlights:

• We arrived there at 1pm and although our room was not ready, we were given our wristbands for the water park. The wristbands also served as our room keys and we would receive a text when our room was ready. Despite it feeling so Big Brother-ish I liked the convenience of this set up. If you lose a wristband, though, plan to pay $40 for a replacement. I surgically attached them to the children.

• We got our text that the room was ready after an hour and a half in their fabulous water park. As I was waiting in line to check in, there was a couple ahead of me. The woman was squirting hand sanitizer all over her hands, then she put it on her husband, who licked his hand. Twice. Then, she squirted more into his hands until it was dripping on the floor. I couldn't keep my eyes off them and I really couldn't wait to tell the blogosphere about the germ-a-phobes at the front desk. It made the wait pass quicker to watch them. I think once they got to their room they probably bathed in it.

• We stayed in The Wolf Den. This was a “suite” with a queen size bed, a pull out couch and then off in the corner partitioned from everything else was the "den", which contained bunk beds and a TV. Need I say more? It was a huge hit for #2 and #3.

• For all the money we saved not paying for our room and entry in the water park, we dropped it on the dinner buffet that night. Ouch. It's a good thing I ate my weight in shrimp and tomato mozzarella salad.

• If you over the age of 18, plan to be sore the next day. It takes muscles you don't normally use to hoist yourself repeatedly into an inner tube. Especially when your husband and youngest daughter find it amusing to dump you out of the inner tube while you are trying to relax in the wave pool. The ropes and floating lily pads kicked my butt, too.

We can't wait to go back! #3 sobbed as we were leaving. She asked if we could move there! I, on the other hand, limped out sore and overly chlorinated, but with a relaxed smile on my face!