Friday, March 30, 2007

Orlando, again

Since my sister Debbie was on spring break this week and, as a teacher gets into Sea World free, we decided to take a mini-break and head over to Orlando again for a day. It was picture perfect Florida spring weather and the park was a bit more crowded than when we went with my parents in February. But we got to see some of the exhibits that we missed on that first trip and, amazingly, a lot of the shows had different elements (the animals are too awesome and dignified to call what they do "tricks") than before. It keeps it interesting for repeat visitors -- and for the animals too, I imagine.

I love the Shamu show. It is just incredible to see these huge animals interacting with people. One of the orcas had a baby swimming right by it the whole time and it was so cute to see the baby trying to imitate it's mom. It was a bit like watching BabyA trying to imitate us waving or eating - or walking. Just like last time though, I spent the last half of the show standing a the back of the stadium whispering sweet nothings in BabyA's ear. It will be nice when he's a bit more mobile and independent and can enjoy little outings like this more. Not that I'm rushing things.

It's nice to have our year-long passes. It takes the pressure off having to rush around and try to see it all in just one day. Florida may have some drawbacks but we are lucky to be so close to these big theme parks that many people will only get to visit once in a lifetime. I can't even count how many times I've been to Disney World -- we used to drive down just for the day when I was in college.

Of course, even if you've been to the Parks 100 times, it's all different when you have kids.

We were in the Wild Arctic exhibit -- polar bears, beluga whales and walruses -- which we did not get to in February. The walruses were just amazing. They have these huge heads/faces all wrinkly and whiskery and wise-looking. And they make this incredible, whooping whistle-y noise. We were in the underwater viewing area, marveling over their immense size (MUCH bigger up close than I had imagined).

The small crowed was hushed as we watched the walrus float vertically in front of the viewing area, it's huge abdomen tapering to it's two flippered feet. Then...

"I think that must be a boy," observed D.

Unfortunately, she wasn't sure why everyone thought it was so funny.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hey Jenn!

I am wearing this skirt for Easter:

What shoe do you recommend? Remember, I don't wear heels over 3", t-straps, ankle wraps or mary janes. I'm thinking a woven (raffia, cotton, crochet-look, something like that) slide with a platform heel. Or maybe a peep-toe. What do you think?

Get moving

D spent hours yesterday on her new bike. She really got the hang of it quickly! We are amazed because she never really caught on to the tricycle and every attempt to ride it ended up with me pushing her back home after about 30 minutes. But last night after dinner she rode for about an hour with M.

Between the skiing last month and now this, I was inspired to sign her up for PeeWee tennis lessons at the local racquet club. She starts this afternoon and I'm really hopeful she'll do well. Tennis is the one and only sport that both M & I like to play and it would be great if the Kids played as well.

D also informed me that she'll start swimming when she turns five. This July.

In other news, M & I did NOT have dessert last night. (I did sneak in a couple of mini PB cups around 5, but that was just to get me through the kids' dinner/bath/bedtime routine.) The Sugar Monster was beating at the door, but we ignored him. It helped that I didn't have any goodies on hand (since I ate the PB cups already) and I'm not going to do any more baking until Easter weekend. Of course, like all good addicts, my brain tried to replace one craving with another, so I found myself wondering if a icy cold Gin & Tonic would taste good, or perhaps a big glass of red wine. Thankfully, since the babies, I have almost completely lost my taste and tolerance for alcohol so that's an easier "craving" to ignore. Plus kids & drinking don't mix AT ALL. Full disclosure: I do, however, have a bottle of Anchor Steam that I'm saving for the Final Four (GO GATORS!!) game next weekend.

Monday, March 26, 2007

What's your favorite veggie?

You'd never guess from looking at us now, but M & I used to be pretty fit, athletic people. Now, since Kids, our favorite veggie is Couch Potato and we have all the willpower of a herd of scavenging goats. Yesterday, we each had two (2!!) coconut cupcakes for dessert. They were yummy, though. M has managed to maintain a youthful figure by sheer genetics - he is naturally thin. I however have fallen sadly behind the curve and am horrified by my still-5-months-pregnant figure. Also? I can't stop eating. Now, I am still nursing BabyA, usually about 4 times a day, but still. I am always, always, always hungry. It seems weird.

So we have been trying to get more outdoor exercise, which also involves trying to get D to enjoy outdoor activities more - although she is very anti-hiking in Florida (likes it better in the cooler, mountain climate of NC), doesn't like swimming and can barely pedal a tricycle. So I'm predicting triathalons may not be her thing. The bike thing is of special concern because her class is having a bike-a-thon this Thursday. Last Friday M ran out to get her a 12" kids bike and we've been practicing with it over the weekend. She's getting the hang of it although we lost a practice day yesterday when her front tire blew and we (meaning M) spent all day trying to fix the little tube inside. He finally got it fixed was feeling all good about it, pumped up the tire and wham! it blew again. He ended up at Wal-Mart at 9:00 last night trying to buy a new tire. File under Frustrated Fitness!

The other small change I've made is insisting that D eat a veggie (other than carrots) with dinner every night. Which is OK, cause she likes broccoli, green beans, spinach. We tried asparagus last week and she loved it, although that might have been because of the hollandaise I made to go with it.

We are serious about trying to improve our fitness this year, so I'm going scouting for a decent health club this week. We don't like the local franchise gyms (too loud) and the local Y, while offering a great facility, is unfortunately poorly maintained and can get very dirty. There are some private clubs though, so I'm going to check into them. Hopefully one will have on-site kid care AND an outdoor pool. Which are my requirements. I think M just wants a clean locker room and a sauna.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My stuff

Here's the latest meme making the rounds:

Jeans - Levi's 501
Underwear - Hanes Her Way bikinis
Sneakers - Reebok brown & pink walking shoes
Watch - Cartier Tank
T-shirt - JCrew Favorite tee
Day bag - SkipHop diaper bag
Evening bag - I have a little black silk clutch that I've been using for about 15 years
Cell phone - Samsung basic flip-phone; no cameras; no music players; just a good phone
Blackberry or Treo - neither
Lipstick - MAC Del Rio or Bare Escentuals Fig pencil
Mascara - Clinique High Definition (but I rarely wear eye makeup)
Nail polish - none
Shampoo - Aveda Shampure
Moisturizer - MyChelle Pumpkin Creme
Hair product - Aveda Universal Styling Creme
Perfume or cologne - Hermes 24 Fauborg
Toothpaste - Colgate

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bad blogger

We have been super-duper more-than-usual busy lately and I've been so lackadasical about blogging. Between kids, housework and trying to catch up on my DVR'd shows I'm worn out at the end of the day.

Not to worn out to cook dinner though! Here's tonight's offering, Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas:

And for dessert, Lemon Meringue Pie bars. This is actually something I'm thinking of making for our big Easter Brunch, but wanted to give it a test try before foisting it off on the family.

M & D are out looking a bikes right now. D's class is having a Bike Rally next week to raise funds for needy parishoners. So it looks like we'll have to teach her to ride a real bike in the next week. She's very bike-resistant (must get it from me) and can barely muster her tricycle. Wish us luck.

Friday, March 16, 2007

One (wo)man band

M & I complain, separately and to each other, that we each feel like we're all alone in our current roles of mom, dad, breadwinner, breadeater, housecleaner, cook, planner, organizer, CFO and, most recently, homeowner insurance expert. I really do sympathize with his situation - nine months of all the attention being on me while I'm pregnant followed by seven months of all the attention being on Baby A. I have to work a bit harder at the Wife part of my job life. It's sometimes hard to do though, when it sometimes feels like the lowest priority of the many things I have to do, forget to do or put off until tomorrow.

For all my scurrying around, I am always strangely behind the eight-ball as far as keeping up with things. I feel like I clean and do laundry 24/7, yet the house always looks disheveled and just as I'm folding and putting away the "last" of the laundry and full basket or dirty clothes appears out of nowhere. It can be very disheartening.

Then, as if we weren't in enough turmoil with the whole renovate vs. sell thing, our crap-ass Homeowner's Insurance Co., had the gall to send us a renewal premium for next year for $4500!!!!!!! WTF?! Do they really think we'll pay that? When we know that they are cancelling everyone next year anyway?! We have a 1200 sq ft house!! Our agent was nice enough about it (although I'd hate to be a homeowner's insurance broker in Florida these days) and we now qualify to go into the state insurance fund at a reasonable premium of about $3300. Citizen's doesn't have the best reputation, but at least we know they can't cancel us so we don't have to go through that headache every year. Anyway, it looks like even if we found a house to buy -- and IF ours sold -- the higher taxes and insurance may not make it practical.

Sigh. TGIF.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

We love Apricot!

We had a blas at Epcot or, as D called it "Apricot," yesterday. It was wonderful to see M's brother and family and the kids got along really well. Baby A was in heaven -- all those kids to love on him. The park was great and they've added quite a few attractions so it seems more like the "community of tomorrow" that it's supposed to be. M & I went about three years ago and it was badly in need of an update then. They've revamped a lot of the rides though and added lots of updated, science/fun related attractions. (BTW, anyone else remember Captain Eo?)

Even with 10 people, including 6 kids, we got to see/do everything we wanted. Highlights include the Nemo ride, Soaring (a simulated hang-glider ride - very cool) and dinner in Germany, our favorite place to eat in Epcot. (Note to self: next time, be sure to get a snack at the Cantina in Mexico - it smelled fabulous.) D would say the highlight was playing with her cousins, I'm sure. She brought home a souvenir map and has spent the morning studying it trying to figure out what the symbols mean.

We got home around midnight, so I kept D home from school today to recover. We've been traveling so much, I can barely remember what day it is and I have to fight a nagging feeling that I've forgotten something important. Like doing our taxes.

For all of you looking for pictures, I recently switched to the new, "improved" Blogger Beta, and whaddayaknow, I can't use the image upload function anymore. I'll have to fiddle with it a bit.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Here and there

So we've had a fabulous, fantastic, BUSY last few weeks. First, M & I took the kids to NC to visit his momanddad and experience some real winter weather. It was great. D got to go skiing, M went fly-fishing with his dad and I got a much-needed break from housework. Then the day after we got back, my mom, sisters and SIL all went to see Wicked and have a real girls-only dinner. The play was really good and I was very skeptical because I didn't enjoy the book at all. Very pleasantly surprised at how funny they made some of the characters -- definitely worth seeing. Tomorrow we're hoping to head over to Orlando for dinner with M's brother & his family. My BIL is an LC in the Army and on his way to Iraq for three months, so they are taking a little R&R at Disney. It will be great to see them and I am already praying for his safe return from this deployment!

On more mundane matters:
I'd like to think that in the new, bigger version of our house that we are planning that I would NOT have to cook dinner with a herd of My Little Ponies cluttering up the counter, that we'd have an actual place to put the laundry piles that I have such a hard time putting away, and that if we want to have a conversation after Baby A goes to bed, we wouldn't have to whisper and tip-toe around. Our lack of space is really getting to us. The good news is we have references for a design firm, architect, and contractor so it should really just be a matter of deciding to actually DO it.