April 28, 2008

A Small Hiccup

Sorry I didn't post much last week. I was busy. Midweek I checked craigslist and found an adorable house for rent nearby. I checked it out and I couldn't believe it was so affordable, in the exact school district I wanted for the kids, AND it had FOUR bedrooms. And a backyard. And a dining room. I told the kids and started dreaming of decorating their rooms. I met with the landlord and we made a deal. I set an appointment to pay the security deposit on Saturday.

But on Friday, I lost my job.

There. I said it.

This was something I was expecting in January - not now! My severance isn't that great, but I've decided to look at this as an opportunity. Clearly God wants me working somewhere else. And you know what? Another mom in Moo's Christian daycare is the head of HR for a large, local company. She already called me. I am saying SO many prayers that God will lead me to this opportunity. If it happens quick enough, I can still get the house. The landlord has agreed to hold it for a couple of weeks.

So, if you're inclined to and you enjoy my blogging :) - please PRAY. Please pray I find a great job. And soon.

I'll be back later this week to share some pics of the kiddos and a few scrapbook pages as well.

April 21, 2008

Flannel Follies

Remember those 25+ yards of patterned flannel that I got while in Da Plains while visiting Mindy? Well, I woke on Saturday with a bee in my bonnet to do something about them. I should tell you that years ago I made each of the boys little play quilts. (Well, they are more appropriately "blankets" but, I digress.) Just big enough to cover the tops of their twin sized beds and perfect for couch cuddling and fort building. They are super quick to whip up and keep clean. Once I had my hands on all of that yummy flannel, I knew I had to make the boys some new quilts.


First, for each quilt I cut 24, 18" squares (you can use any size but all of the quilt squares need to be the same) out of a few matching fabrics, sewed them up in rows of 3 to make a front and a back with 12 squares in each and then sewed them together front to front. Once it was flipped right side out, I sewed up the selvedge and tied the corners of each square with floss to prevent shifting and add a little old-fashioned charm. I added natural cotton rolled-batting to the first quilts I made for them (calico fabrics that time) but considering these were flannel, that would have made them far too warm.



Here is my stack of cut squares - 24 for each quilt (I make the back and front w/the same fabrics - so there really isn't a "back" to these quilts). There are four stacks here - two for Moo and one each for the boys.









Here is Andy's quilt laid out on the floor. One the squares are cut, I lay them out to arrange them - dividing up my fabrics evenly between front and back sides. Trevor helped me this time. Andy's theme is road maps. I love the camping pattern and the numbers!



Then I sew square to square and row to row until one side is done. I repeat on the other and then sew the two sides together, front to front, leaving a small space (about 20" wide) open at the bottom to flip it right side out. This is where I would put the rolled batting in if I were going to use it.

Shifting during the wash is an issue with this type of quilt. I made one years ago for my niece before she was born and luckily, I prewashed it before gifting. It got ALL sorts of cadywompus when laundered. That's when the "tack in the corners with yarn" idea dawned on me. Not sure why I hadn't thought of it - trial and error, I guess. But I wasn't sure I wanted to do that with these new quilts so instead, I tacked the first one. I went around each square and made 1" long tack marks to hold the layers together. Because of the pattern, this made my quilt look very sloppy.



So, I ripped that out and tied the corners with floss.
Here is Andy's road map quilt, all finished.



Trevor's shark quilt.





And Moo's two. I couldn't get enough of all the girly fabrics, so of course I had to make two.





A close up of the tie.




Moo already loves hers.



Whew. I'm exhausted! Thanks, Lulu for inspiring me to sew something up!!!

Digital Scrapbooking / Hybrid Scrapbooking

I have gotten a few emails asking about how to get started digital or hybrid scrapping. Since most blog comments don't allow you the option to just reply back, I thought a post on the subject was in order. Here, here!

First, if you're thinking about digital scrapbooking, good for you! Get thy self over to www.digishoptalk.com and participate in their free online community. You can find freebies and more there. You can also ask questions and find out about new digital kit releases.

You want to make sure that your computer is capable of running a digital program like Photoshop Elements, Creative Suite, or Paint Shop Pro. I can't tell you the minimal required, but I can tell you that when I was doing it without a graphics card and only 1GB of memory, that baby was S L O W. My new laptop has 2GB of memory and a dedicated graphics card. It has made a world of difference in how quickly I can bang out pages. You should also strongly consider buying an external hardrive on which to store your digital pictures and kits. I can't stress BACK UP enough! You also want to look at more than a dial up connection - that will drive you batty on downloads, lol.

Next, you need software. It's mainly personal preference. I use and love Paint Shop Pro 8. I have 9, but I haven't installed it yet. Because I'm lazy, lol. Anyway, I really like PSP - but the majority of digital scrapbookers use Photoshop / Photoshop Elements. PSP is cheaper, but if you want a plethera of Actions and tools ready-made and at your fingertips, then Photoshop Elements is the way to go.

Finally, once your computer is equipped to handle the memory required by your new software, you need to upload your photos. You can leave them SOOC (Straight out of the camera) or edit them in your program for red eye, cropping, etc. Once your photos are uploaded and ready to scrap, you need some digital kits. In my opinion, the best places to find digital freebies are:

http://www.shabbyprincess.com/downloads.asp

http://www.scrapartist.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=538

http://twopeasinabucket.kaboose.com/shopping.asp?f=c_336&c=24


Don't be worried about signing up or becoming a registered user for most of these places. In most cases you will need to sign in to download freebies.

Other favorite shops:

www.thedigichick.com

www.scrapartist.com

www.scrapbookgraphics.com

http://www.sweetshoppedesigns.com/shoppe/

http://www.designerdigitals.com/ecom/products_new.php

http://www.the-lilypad.com/store/home.php

http://www.digitaldesignessentials.com/Shop.html

http://www.shabbymissjenndesigns.com/

http://www.jenwilsondesigns.com/

http://twopeasinabucket.kaboose.com/shopping.asp?c=24&f=c

http://heatheranndesigns.com/catalog/hadtemplate.php?tname=products


Just by hunting around you will easily find papers and elements to suit your taste. Shabby, grungy, simple, alternative, whatever your little scrappin' heart desires! You might also want to consider something called "quick pages" or "quick fills"- or partially designed pages. They work like a template that you just fill in with your pictures and a few elements and you're done - great for getting your feet wet. You might also think of reading some designer blogs (check out those sites above and you'll see links to 'blog' on most of them) for ideas.

I guess all that's left would be to PLAY. Have fun. Break stuff. Bend the rules. Ask questions when you need to (can't stress www.digishoptalk.com enough!). Scraplift if you need to (I do it all the time!). When you're ready to print you will find a variety of resources, but my favorite is www.scrapbookpictures.com.

One last note for those ladies who are hybrid-curious. Try it out. See if you like it. I enjoyed being able to combine the quick satisfaction I got from working a digital page with the creative outlet I got from messing with paint and embellishments. So, I would finish a page digitally and leave off the title/alpha and most embellishments. I wrote down what I wanted to do to complete each page and then once it was printed, I sat down with my traditional supplies and went to town!

I'd love to hear some comments from those who are trying it out. Have fun!

April 18, 2008

I'm Still Giving

Or shopping. Or whatever. This time, my gift came from Uncle Sam. Well, really, I bought it for myself but did so over the course of the past year. Gotta love taxes.


Anyhow, to further complete my future kitchen, I picked these up today from Pampered Chef online. Mindy has some. Well, tons of people I know have Pampered Chef, but I was able to see Mindy's pieces up close and personal during my last visit. She didn't even try to convince me because the pans look all dirty and stained once they're seasoned. BOTH of us thought I wouldn't like them. I do tend to like that fresh and clean look to things, lol. But her stoneware sat there and stared at me during my visit. Looking all healthy and earth-friendly and full of quality.

And I started to think about Pampered Chef the way I was thinking about Le Creuset. In that obsessive way I mentioned. Don't judge me now; you all know you have it, too about something you love. Afterall, I didn't bring any baking pans/sheets or utensils with me when we moved. So. Thereyouare.

And here I am.









All I can say is I can't WAIT to start making macaroni and cheese and chicken fingers. In style!

April 17, 2008

The Gift

Today, I did something hard to do. I bought something big for myself. Yes, something expensive. An investment. Not shoes, not a hair cut, not clothing. I bought something that I truly need in order to take care of my kids.

When we decided to move into Nana's house, I packed very quickly. One of the things I did not pack was my cookware set. As the months have passed by and I began to plan out what I needed for our new place, this cookware set kept bugging me. Because you can't feed people without something to put the food in - and pretty soon after moving in, too. And because I am completely OCD about certain things (including teflon, BPA in plastic (this is the reason Moo's bottles are glass), and cooking with aluminum), I knew there were certain types of cookware that I wasn't going to use (which I kept proving to myself every time I'd look at a cheap $200 set at Walmart, Target, Meijer's, etc). That left me realizing that the set I'd end up with would be expensive. And that made me feel icky.


I knew I wanted something to cover all needs - stovetop and oven together. I wanted something that wouldn't start peeling or break in 5 years. (I can't tell you how many KMart pans I've thrown away over the last few years, cursed Teflon!) And I ended up somewhere I totally wanted to be but didn't feel I could afford. I ended up wanting - with every fiber of my mommy-I-can-take-care-of-you-being Le Creuset enamel covered cast iron. And I'm sure my head played tricks with me and told me how much that was the only kind of cookware I could use without harming my children, the earth, or causing Alzheimer's. But whatever, I became obsessed with this lovely French cookware to the point that I could not look at anything else.


Today I spent THREE HOURS finding the best deals online. I looked everywhere. I sought out coupon codes, checked Amazon, ebay, craigslist, and my local newspaper. I looked at popular stores and no-name online retailers for the best deal, free shipping (those suckers are HEAVY), etc. I found the best deal at CutleryandMore.com. I'd never heard of it before today, but I really liked their website and loved their product descriptions - with quick and free (because I spent a boatload) shipping. And they clearly had the lowest price because I wouldn't be blabbing about them if I hadn't bought anything.


So. Before I placed the "confirm order" button, I selected the box that indicated that this purchase was a gift. Because it was. It was a gift for me. I wrote myself an uplifting message and told myself, "you rock!". In 3-5 days, these beauties will show up at my door.

(Round Oven, Skillet, and Saucier in Dune)




(Braiser/Casserole Pot in Caribbean)

*drools* Isn't is preeeettttyyyyyy?


I'm not crazy. I didn't buy everything at once. Just enough to get by. You'd be surprised how many things you can do with just one of those pots. I can make a frickin' cake in that round oven! In a few months or a year, I would love to buy a few others (in Dijon Yellow and Pink) to complete my collection.
So, that was my big gift to myself and to my family. Feels good to take care of me.

April 16, 2008

The Plecostomus

So on Friday while I headed to my meeting from the hotel, Aunt Mindy kept the babies occupied.

Here they are, bright and bushy (Jonas) early in the morning. Hi, Babies!


They are all ready for their daily activities of playing, cooing, kissing, binky-swapping, and pooing. This is a really great shot of Mabel's elf ears, in case you care.
Mabel starts the day out right with a nice BM and then moves on to picking Jonie's nose. Hold Still, Jonly! I'll get it!

Jonly is gentlemanly and appreciative, so he kisses Moo's hand. So precious. Note the nappy she's holding? Aunt Mindy made that and Moo has to have one at all times.

And here, in slow motion, is Jonly, laying the biggest kiss on Mabel ever. Imagine as you are scrolling down, a large Cookie-Monstery sloberring noise.
Open wide! Look, Mabel knows what's coming.


Gotcha!




mrnpfhmrnmrnpfhmrnmrnpfhmrn mrnpfhmrnmrnpfhmrn *slurp* mrnpfhmrn *suck*



Jonas is part plecostomus, I think. (A pleco is a cute aquarium sucker fish.)

After this, Aunt Mindy had to break them up. Just too much making out going on for Miss Moo. She wasn't tolerating all of the face time well. Well, she's just a bit fussy that way.

So, after the big make out session, the babies were plum tuckered out. So they each fell asleep with a nappy on their head. Awwwww!

The Best of Friends, Really

One of the things I love most about going to visit Mindy and her family is... her family. I love each of those kiddos. No exception is the newest member of their family - little Jonas. Jonas is extra special and extra cute. I marvel at him every single time I see him. He truly has a purer beauty than other babies. I really can't explain it well, but there you have it. So to me, he is yummalicious and I want to eat him up with a spoon. Jonas loves to eat everybody, so this works out well.


Mabel also loves Jonas. They're the best of friends. Jonly Bonly. JB. Jonie B. It's funny because she sees other babies her age at daycare every day, but to my knowledge only interacts likes she does with Jonas. They intently watch one another. They copy rolling. They copy fussing, too. They're both trying to sit up. They grin at one another like they're sharing inside jokes. It's like they have a secret, quiet baby languange that only they can hear and they very much enjoy floor matches where they can carry on their conversations in secret.



The day we arrived in Da Plains, Jonas wasted no time whatsoever telling Mabel how much he'd missed her. Then again, maybe he justed wanted to suck something. Either way, he rolled right over to where she was laying (recovering from 3 flights) on the floor and kissed her.






She wasn't sure she liked it when he grabbed her ears. Yes, that is an earring you see there. And yes, I have noticed the discrepancy between Jonas' LONG hair and Mabel's complete lack of it. It bothers me. Hence, the earrings.




And as is typical, neither Mindy nor I thought to break up the baby carnage, we just sat cooing at them, snapping pictures like dedicated scrapbooker mommies.


Now as you have read, we had an unexpected and blizzardy overnight in a hotel while in SD. Along with Mindy's Titus, the babies went along. Here they are on Thursday evening at the hotel. They are sharing.







Smile, Babies! Or just lay there and look at us. That's okay, too. You're still cute.





It only took about 26 seconds for the babies to realize they were beside each other and not occupied by watching older siblings, taking a bottle, or trying to poo. So, they began to investigate each other some more.











Mabel: Look at your cute ears, Jonas!











Jonas: Why yes, they are cute, aren't they? PS - SO AM I.










Jonas: Here, let me kiss you. Thank you.



Mabel: Ewwwwww! Boy kisses! Jonas, you are very open-mouthed.







Mabel (looking very coy): Okay, I'll let you kiss my cheek just this once.







Mabel: Since I let you kiss me, I think you should let me touch your beautiful, silky hair. 'Kay? Don't get mad when I yank it.










Jonas: Look at that cool binky thing on your shirt. I wannit.



Mabel: What? Who me? I'm not doing nothing.





Jonas: That was hi-larious, Moo! Also hilarious is that you are too busy posing for the camera to see me steal your binky. Alas, it is mine!







Jonas: I need to kiss you again. You're soooo purty. *lick and slurp*



Mabel: I don't care about the binky. I wanna feel your hair again. Hold still.








Mabel (in a moment of quiet realization): Hmmmm. My head does not feel like your head. I don't have hair like you, Jonie. This makes me sad. I want barrettes!




And that is how the rest of the afternoon went. They shared kissing and binkies over and over again. Sometimes Moo objected to sharing her binky.








Sometimes JB would kiss her to make it all better.








And sometimes he would kiss her whether she liked it or not!








Ummmm. Not.







Liking it.





So handsome, little man! Love you, Jonly B!




Look at this stinker. She's the stinkery-est stinker I know.


But they're the best of friends, really.

April 14, 2008

Patience, Perserverance, and Plain Pissed Off

*Settle in, Folks, this is a long one.*


Sorry for the lack of updating but the better part of last week was choc full of packing, planning, and traveling to South Dakota with Moo. We had a lovely time and were very sad to go. More on our lovely time in later posts.


First, as this is my blog and my kingdom and my platform for complaining, here I go. If I had to perservere the last time I went to South Dakota via plane, I don't know what in the hell this was. The travel part was BAD. Well, most of it left a bad taste in my mouth, not unlike vile and vomit. Oh yes, I said VOMIT. It was THAT BAD.



It went like this.



On The Way Travel

Tuesday, I worked a full day and came home to a snack and sent the kids on their way with Daddy so that I could pack. That's right, I - the organizer extraordinaire that I claim to be - waited until the night before leaving to pack. Not saying it's smart, just saying it happened. I can report that I didn't run off and forget anything though. Must have been because of my handy-dandy itinerary and list. It was 5 pages long and very detailed. Not kidding. Got to bed late (like, very late) after jabbering with Lulu for hours and singing Duran Duran. Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand...



Wednesday, I woke at 4:30 to put everything in the car, feed Mabel, get dressed, and drive the short drive to the airport. No weather was expected either here or in Da Plains, so that wasn't a worry this time. One very specific worry when I fly with Mabel is her poop schedule. Because poop leads to rash in an instant for her. And on Wednesday morning, she didn't poop before we left for the airport. I was on poop watch from then on out.



So, Mabe and I got to the airport, checked in, declared her as a "babe-in-arms" and waited for the plane. Airport personnel and patrons alike thought I was very weird for continuing to pick Mabe up, sniff her butt, and put her back down. *Shrugs.* The things you do as a Mom, I tell ya. Anyway, this was connection #1 of 3. Yes, 3. (I didn't make the plane reservations this time and very much regret it because 3 flights to get anyplace is TOO many.) The plane was small but the ride was less than an hour. Goodbye, Hometown!






The weather was choppy so they kept the seatbelt sign on. Mabel played. She cooed. Then she cried. And then, she pooped. A big, green, Nutramigen-stinky, nasty, runny, poop. My eyes got as big as saucers as I worked out in my head how I would change her while remaining seated. I mean, I didn't want to risk dropping her (or her by-now exploding diaper) while racing down the aisle for the 2 sq ft airplane potty. I decided to use the empty seat next to me. I changed her diaper quickly (oh, she had quite the satisfied smile on her face, too) and wrapped the nasty one up and stuck it in her diaper bag. I heard the passenger behind me "sniff, sniff" and sunk down in my seat a little. Once Moo's butt was freshly covered she stood and bounced on my lap and started making raspberries. Juicy fart-noise raspberries. The passenger behind me sniffed again. Oy.



When the first plane landed I had my first deboard-on-the-tarmac experience. Had it not been 35 degrees, dark, raining, and windy I might have enjoyed it. I might have enjoyed it even more if I also hadn't had my hands full with my purse, the 20 lb diaper bag, an 18 lb baby hippopotamus, a blanket over said hippopotamus' head, a descent on VERY steep and wet metal stairs (with a wet metal handrail), or a stroller and carseat to reassembly planeside with one hand. Do you think the baggage handler offered to help? No. But I did it! I used my feet. They always said I had monkey toes.


My connection to plane #2 went rather smoothly. Still a small plane and Mabel was still wanting to stand and bounce instead of sleep. I cursed myself for not giving her Benadryl before we left. She'll sleep on her own, I thought to myself. Yeah. Right. She smiled and grinned and wet-raspberried everyone next to us. All the strangers started touching her. They patted her head. They touched her hands. I then cursed myself for not bringing extra sanitizing wipes or Purell and readied myself for her next diagnosis of ebola streptococcus airplanius. *Sigh*


So, we deboarded plane 2 in Minnesota. The time change had me all screwy, but I was certain I had just enough time to use the potty myself, change Mabel, and feed her. I was also ready to start chewing on Moo's fatness, I was so hungry. So, we hauled arse through the concourses (had to go from A to E. E!), winding our way through the Minneapolis octopus airport. We pottied (both of us) and I bought a slice of pizza. Two bites in I hear, "last call for flight XXX from Minneapolis to Da Plains..." WTF?!?! *Shriek and scream* The gate was right around the corner so I chucked my pizza, loaded my arms, and RAN full stop. The gate agent with NWA was a BITCH. She was very unfriendly, very unhelpful, and told me that I should make a better effort to be on time and know what I'm doing if I'm going to travel with an infant and a stroller. EXCUSE ME??! I told her she was being rude. Yeah, that's all I came up with on account of me not wanting to get arrested and all. I'm pretty sure she would have called security if I'd have ripped her hair out. Turns out that the plane was nearly empty and I was allowed to bring Moo's carseat onboard. That was SO much easier. Oh, happy day! NOW I know to ask for that before boarding! Jeesh! She did finally fall asleep about 15 minutes before we landed in Da Plains. Nice of her, huh?


The adventures of Wednesday through Friday will be in the next post. Try to wait!



Coming Home

On Saturday, things ran a little tight (not by planning, mind you) and I had 59 minutes to FIND MY CAR, get gas, park, drop off the rental car, Moo had to poop, I had to pee, and I had to check in at the counter. We arrived and went through the process. Babe in arms, check. One HEAVY checked bag, check. Aisle seat with neighboring empty (for the carseat), CHECK (YAHOO!). Security, check. Off we went. Except, wait.



The plane is delayed for mechanical problems. I spoke to the counter agent (she was very nice) - she said if the plane left Da Plains in the next 15 minutes, I would still make my connection in Minneapolis. Any later and I'd be spending the night again in Da Plains. Nice, but all too familiar. I wanted to get home!!! Thank GOD Himself that the plane was safe and we departed about 14 minutes later (a total of 50 minutes late).



Flight 1 went smoothy until about halfway through when Moo's ears started hurting and she started wailing like someone was pinching her. I was really wishing I'd given her Benadryl. She was in her carseat for this flight and I was afraid to take her out if the flight was only 39 minutes long. I tried to communicate to her to blow her nose or suck on her binky, but she didn't understand my crazy eyes and hand gestures. Poor thing. She finally fell asleep just as the captain told the flight attendants to prepare for landing. Hmpf.

[As an aside, I like the NWA planes - they are much cleaner and newer looking that those little regionals, but then again, I know virtually nothing about flying. Gimme some time and I'll be all kinds of opinionated about it. So, the NWA planes are nice but the agents are NASTY. ]

Remember that wench in Minnesota on the way to South Dakota? Her bitchy twin was working on Saturday and VERY unhelpful and mean when we landed in Minneapolis on the way back. If you'll remember I had about 15 minutes to again navigate the Minneapolis airport octopus mess and go from gate E to gate A. Nevermind peeing. Nevermind changing Moo's diaper. Nevermind even putting water into a bottle for her to eat. I ran. I ran with the stroller and carseat in front of me and my purse, Moo's blanket, and the 20 lb diaper bag hanging off of one arm. I am extrememly lucky I didn't fall on one of those conveyor people- mover things and eat shit on my way through the terminal. That would have been a good blog story, but alas, I did not fall.



I made it to my gate in time to catch flight #2, only to take Mabel out of her carseat and have the gate agent (maybe a cousin to the bitch twins at NWA) tell me, "you're going to have to go down stairs to get on this plane, Ma'am. And there's no elevator. So, you'll have to carry the stroller and carseat down yourself."

"Excuse me?" I said. "I'm not going to lay my daughter on the floor so that I can carry this down the steps. Isn't there a baggage handler that can get it like at all the other gates?"

She replied, "Not today, Ma'am. And I'm too busy. I can't do it for you. You moms should really think about these things before you fly with an infant. If you can't carry it, you'll have to board last or give up your seat."

Thankfully - and just as I was about to risk going to jail to pull her red nappy hair out - the dad in the family behind me in line scoffed at the agent and grabbed my stroller. His wife grabbed my carseat. Angels, I tell you. Thank you, Jesus for sending me those helpers that day. Whew.


SO. We boarded the plane - in the last seat and Mabel was VERY MUCH AWAKE. Like, open your eyelids as far as they will stretch. That's how awake she was. Lady next to me was rubbing her eyebrows to make her go to sleep. Other lady on the other side was touching her nose and singing and playing with each of her fingers. Great. More ebola streptococcus airplanius. This flight included hair pulling, neck skin pinching, screaming, refusing the bottle, lots of jumping on my lap. She even whacked the one lady in the face a few times with her rattle. After all of that, her eyes were allllllll droooooopy but she was way too nosey to sleep. Screamed her fool head off every time I tried to bounce or rock her to sleep. Oh - and I forgot to mention that the cabin ventilation was broken on that flight, so it was about 207 degrees in there. Cute as she is, I was ready to sell Mabel to a gypsy by the time we got off that plane.



We again deboarded outside. At night. In the wind and rain. Gotta love Ohio in the Spring. Then again, it was much better than South Dakota in the Spring so I'll digress. This time I wasn't surprised when the baggage handlers brought the cart out and just stood there watching as I opened the stroller with my left arm and left foot, while balancing my blanket-covered daughter on my other hip and the two bags on my shoulder. I put the carseat on the stroller and shoved it down eleventy-six times before it clicked. Then I threw my purse and diaper bag inside and headed off for the door. Before turning away I yelled to the asshat baggage handler dude watching me, "Thanks for all of your help!"


Now the third stop might have been my most favorite of all. I approached the desk SO very happy to finally have a full hour between my flights. I was busy planning what I'd have for dinner. Sbarro? Quizno's? It's amazing how being famished makes almost any nasty take out sound delectible. I hadn't eaten in almost 6 hours. I could feed Moo, change her diaper (hope she'd poop before take off), maybe even get her to sleep for 15 minutes (the kid usually sleeps about 4 hours throughout the day and as of that time - 7:30pm, she'd had a total of 45 minutes). I went up to the desk, declared my infant and asked for an aisle seat with an empty beside, in hopes I might take the carseat on this one last leg of my incredible journey. Then the agent broke my heart.


Apparently, the person who made my reservations did not select a seat for me on the last flight, so I was not confirmed. And because of the American Airlines crap going on, our flight was overbooked. So, I was probably not going to get a seat on the flight. She began talking to me about making plans to spend the night, and blah blah blah small hotel allowance, blah blah blah (Mabel started crying in my arms) small allowance for food, blah blah blah or I could sleep in the airport (I started tearing up), or they might run out of vouchers - but don't worry! I could sleep right here in the airport. Not joking folks, I cried right there in front of the agent. Mabel and I both went to town. I told her that I was a single mom with two little boys at home and how my very livelihood, evening, and LIFE ITSELF depended on me being able to get home that night to tuck my little boys into bed. She told me to have a seat and she'd take my situation into consideration.



I made the mistake of calling Judy to tell her before I knew for sure, but dammit, I needed some consolation from my mommy. I just didn't get it. I felt worse after she almost started crying. "Oh, HONEY!" she kept wailing. The boys were screaming and beating on each other in the background. Ohhhh, I felt bad, People. Real, real bad.


*Sigh* Mabel did eat. (I did not.) She burped. She even played on her tummy on the new blanket from Aunt Lulu (thanks, Aunt Lulu!) for a while. Jesus worked his magic and again, some angels came forth to give up their seats (I think they knew what Delta dollars actually were and could find a way to use them) so that Mabel and I could ride. We boarded (no carseat) and sat on the tarmac for AN HOUR while they dealt with some baggage problem. I am happy to report that my baggage was at the airport in the end, waiting for me to take it home. Lost luggage seems to be something I have thankfully avoided thus far. Moo didn't sleep on this ride either.



I deboarded, took the elevator up to Baggage Claim and then down to Baggage Claim (not a typo), pushing Mabel's stroller one-handed the whole time and found my bag. Which weighed about 25 lbs more than when I checked it in on Wednesday. Which was also a bitch and a half to push through the airport, outside, and through the dark, cold, rain to my car while one-handed pushing Moo's stroller. But, I sang joy to Jesus the whole way that I actually made it home on the day I was supposed to.



So. Once again I had to perservere to see my friend and do something for myself. I had to be patient while traveling with Mabel. And I was really just plain pissed off with several airline agents and my overall travel schedule. I'd write a strongly-worded letter, but I'm not going to waste my time.



Now I must rest, for writing that story was almost as tiring as living it.

The Middle Part

So, my faithful readers will remember that I posted earlier about my travels to and from South Dakota last week. What I didn't post (frankly, because the post would have been WAY too long for even the most dedicated reader to get through without peeing their pants) was the middle part of my visit. It was fantastifabulous and lovely, through and through. Even the messy and icy parts were a blast. I miss you already, Lulu!



Grab a snack, put that baby to breast, and kick your feet up. Herewego.

The Middle Part


Mabel and I arrived in Da Plains on Wednesday and the rest of the day was great. Mindy and I caught up over cleaning. I was so happy to help Lulu declutter. She's a busy gal and asked me to help her (I'm one of those sick people who love to clean and organize) . Together we cleaned through half of her kitchen and made beautiful garbage and donate piles.

(before)


(after)








Hard work and success! We had high hopes of doing the hall closet, master closet, and bedroom - but due to our schedule change (see below) that will sadly have to wait until next visit.


Thursday was full of flannel gluttony. A lot of flannel was purchased at the local Jo-Ann's. I myself bought 25 yards of the stuff. I now have plans for new 18" square bed quilts for the kids. I'm SOOO excited!!! (I'll share once they are WIPs). This was nothing compared to the 100+ ... well, let's just say Mindy put a hurtin' on the flannel stock at Jo-Ann's that day. A BIG hurtin'. She's up to something big with that flannel, too, Folks. Stay tuned.


It is here that I should mention that I had a few things to take care of while in Sioux Falls. I had a meeting an hour north of Mindy's house on Friday and we had plans to go out on Friday night. Those were the two main things I had to accomplish while out there.


So while we were at lunch following our flannel fling, we received word that they had issued a blizzard warning. They predicted 50 mph winds and 12" of snow over the next 24 hours. Greeeaaaat. Since we're great supermoms and can think on the run, we changed our rest-of-day plans to include driving up for my meeting a day early and getting a hotel to wait out the storm. We headed home to pack in a frenzy and then got into the van. We took our fabric with us so that we could get started cutting while at the hotel. We had big dreams of getting the kids to sleep and laying all of that glorious fabric out.







The Blizzard Trip




As you can imagine with the way my stories always go, the drive was not as easy as we'd hoped. The wind was so strong that Mindy had some difficulty driving her full-size van in a straight line. It might have been all the laughing. I dunno. Anyway, the overpasses were particularly unkind. She did a great job keeping the van on the road, mind you, all I'm saying is that it was difficult to do so. Then it started to rain/snow/sleet/ice. A lot. In fact, there was so much coming down that it piled up underneath the windshield wipers and made it hard to see. Here is Mindy when that happened.






Notice the white knuckles? Wonky wipers aren't wise. So, we stopped a couple of times to get out - Dorothy! Dorothy! - and flip the wipers off. We were almost blown away! 50 mph winds are not a bowl of cherries, Folks. Seriously.


After the second blow-by flip off, Mindy decides to get smart and stick her hand out of the window - while she's driving - and flip the wiper. Smaaaaart. She grabbed hold of the wiper and flipped, all right. She flipped so hard that the snow and sleet went flying past, along with a piece of black plastic. The rubber part was now just flopping. Whoops!


Suddenly, Mindy was concerned.





(See the wonky flopping wiper?) I thought it was hilarious. And no, I hadn't been drinking.






Windblown, yes - but not drinking. You can do it, Lulu! Go, Lulu, go! Lulu is concentrating. On THIS. Sorry, Roger!





I would be concentrating, too if I'd broken the damn windshield wiper in the middle of a blizzard with three kids, a bottle of booze, and 150 yards of flannel in the car. Dude. That's a lot of.....


Hey, look! Fargo! I LOVE that movie!





Sorry, I wasn't concentrating nearly so hard as Mindy. You'd think I could have done a better job co-chairing the van when the elements were this bad. But what more could I have done? I was trying to cool her off by rolling down the window and taking pictures of signs for Fargo. I also farted a few times and sang more Duran Duran. I was trying to keep her spirits up. And we talked about $ex toys. Do you know how hard it is to concentrate on a flopping flipping wiper while talking about $ex toys? Wait... what was I talking about?



Oh. We saw this on the road.





Look past the ice on the window. Yep, that's a copper helping out a semi truck that was ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE 4 LANE HIGHWAY, facing the wrong direction. That's real niiiiiice. Yeah, you betcha.


We laughed so hard we nearly dropped our contents (that means messed our pants, for you non-Pioneer Woman-reading Folk) the whole way there. All the laughing made the treachery less... treacherous. It took us almost 3 hours to go 100 miles. We finally collapsed in the hotel room after a host of issues trying to get the children and fabric bags and luggage out of the car in the wind - Dorothy! Dorothy! - and onto the bell cart - don't let the maragaritas fall! - and don't forget the babies!!! - and into the room all the way at the end of the hall. The kids didn't fall asleep as we'd planned, but boy we were sure tuckered. The poor bottle of maragaritas wasn't paid any attention to and let's just say the flannel stayed nicely folded alllll night. We had big plans. In the end, it was still fun to collapse on the bed and read the Chronicles of Narnia together.




The Night Out


Friday brought some more drama getting home through the 12" of snow, though not nearly as much drama as on the way up. Once home we left the children with a sitter and went out for the evening. Like girlfriends do. Alone. For the first time EVER. Just Lulu and me. Aren't we cute all gussied up? Look how pretty Lulu is!






We started at Braco's with delicious drinks and an appetizer up at the bar while we waited for our seats. And since we're goofy dumbasses, it looked like this. Mindy with her Youcan Toucan








and me with my Braco Iced Tea. Lord love me any version of a Long Island Iced Tea.


Dinner was beautiful and delicious and tingly, thanks to the Youcan Toucan and Braco Iced Tea we'd had at the bar. We both ordered the Coconut Shrimp with Coconut Lime and Wasabiyaki sauce. VERY yummy. Lots of giggling. Sex talk. Kids. Men. It was fabulous.



When we left we realized it was rather early to head to the bar so we detoured past the bunny farm we went to during my last visit. (I say, some of those bunnies are the most curious things. Big ones, small ones, fast ones and slow ones. One was standing on it's head. Another was all black with pointy ears and enjoyed the top shelf, and one was shaped like a pyramid.)



After a quick ring to Roger



it was on to Buck's - the only bar in Sioux Falls with a DJ and dance floor. It was a culmination. It was the first time Lulu and I had ever been into a bar/nightclub together. Lulu made me proud when she danced and shook her booty to Pour Some Sugar On Me and Livin' On A Prayer. I was BESIDE myself with glee. GLEE! We really did have a ton of good, clean fun. We behaved ourselves and just reveled in each others' company, giggling and toasting. We always knew we were more than just pregnant friends and scrapbooking friends and mommy friends. That evening just proved it to both of us.


Toward the end of the night, we called Lulu's sister, T and she joined us (as the DD) and later gave us a ride home. Best to be safe! I left my rental car at the bar and was a responsible person (this is the part where you're proud and not upset, Mrs. Thomas).




After Taco John's, it was 2 am. And don't you know that Moo wouldn't eat for the sitter, so she was sitting in the bouncy seat with a very angry frown on her face when I walked in the front door? Oh yes. The sitter spent the night (since we'd been bad girls and stayed out too late for her to drive home), so to accomodate her, I slept in the bed with Mindy, with Moo in between us. We gabbed until we passed out from exhaustion. It felt SO great to gab like that!

Next morning was Saturday and time to get ready to go. Mindy's sister T gave me a ride to go pick up my rental car at Buck's (just the nicest girl, that T). There was a car show sitting in what had been an empty parking lot. We pulled in and... my car was not here. My car was not there. My car was not ANYWHERE. My car had been TOWED, my friends. Oh yes. Try to do the responsible thing and get towed!!! On my way to the airport all right, with a towed frickin' rental car. Hmpf.
#^*%#^%&$ #$#*^!! (matriarch and fornication!!!!!)
*Breathe deeply, breathe deeply! Serenity NOW (remember that show?)*
After almost 30 minutes T and I found the car in a neighboring lot THANK GOD, and Moo and I were off to the airport.
I am so thankful for my visit. I love Lulu and Rog, all the little kidlets, T and the Thomases (or is that Thomas'?). I am so glad that Mindy and I were able to go out, let loose and relax for a while. Turn off the 'mommy' for a couple of hours. It was a blast. Thanks, Lulu! I love you!

More pictures to come later this week including a floor match between Moo and Jonly B, as well as JCPenney portaits!