Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Breakfast PSA

It is my opinion that Eggo Cinnamon French Toast Sticks are better than Aunt Jemima Frozen Cinnamon French Toast. I had to put my Aunt Jemima ones through 2 toaster cycles to get them warm all the way through (they are thick!), and once they were done, the insides were sort of mushy, like the egg still wasn't totally cooked. Of course, nothing beats real French Toast, but the Eggo stuff is pretty tasty if you're in a hurry.

Kevin has found Trader Joe's instant oatmeal packets to be way better than anything we've tried from the regular grocery stores. I am going there today (hooray!), so if they have frozen French Toast, I will try it and report on my findings.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Leaves of Three, Let Them Be

While we have many lovely surprises popping up in the yard like these climatis vines (above) and these lilacs (below),
We also have a ton of this:


Poison ivy. Yuck. I have been doing some research today, and it seems like you pretty much need to get a Haz-Mat team out to your house to get rid of the stuff. OK, that's exaggerating a little. But it's quite an elaborate process, and I'm not sure I'm up to the task. I don't want Kev to have to deal with it either, after everything he went through with the ginko berries last fall. But this stuff is BAD. At least it isn't IN the yard...it is out front between our fence and the stone wall that was put up by the town. I wonder if the town would send someone out to get rid of it for us. For as much as we pay in taxes, they certainly should. But it seems unlikely.
Speaking of things that are pesky, yesterday Daphne accidentally let a wasp into the house. I had it trapped behind the blinds this morning, but it found a way out and escaped into the cabinet above the fridge where we keep all the snack foods. I guess that's one way to keep me out of the chips! But I don't know what to do. What is it doing in there, do you think? Probably helping itself to some of the boxes of truffles left over from Christmas. These are the dilemmas of the stay-at-home mom, I guess.
AHA! Victory is mine! As I was typing that last sentence, my tiny be-stingered nemesis emerged from the snack cabinet and got itself caught behind the sheers on the back door. After some mustering up of courage, which I'll admit took longer than it should have, I took a few good whacks at him with a rolled-up copy of the Leesburg Today and that is that. Try to take MY chocolate, will you?!
It sounds like Daphne is waking up from her nap. Time to stop fighting evil-doers and get upstairs.
Please advise about the poison ivy if you know any tricks...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dinner and a Movie

It was a pretty big weekend for a small weekend. Friday, Kev came home early from work, so we had dinner on the porch. I do not know exactly why food tastes better outside, but it does.

Saturday, we went to the farmer's market and the library. We got books, while Kev got tomato and cucumber plants, and then we all came home to do some planting. I worked on my herb container, while Daphne "helped" Kev with the vegetable garden. Actually, she was a pretty good little helper. It was HOT though. We had to turn on the AC for the first time yesterday. I think we have a couple more days of hot before we get back to the 70s again. At least there aren't mosquitos.

After nap time, the babysitter arrived, and Kev and I headed out to Angeethi for dinner. Angeethi is an Indian place a couple blocks from the house. I am telling you, as I told the waiter, this was the BEST restaurant meal I've had since moving to Virginia. I had Murg Makhini, which is chicken in a creamy buttery tomato-based curry, and it was DElicious. Very flavorful. And I was able to eat dinner slowly and enjoy my food without having to supervise anyone. A nice treat. Then, we drove the the next town to see the Soloist, which was very good, if a little disturbing. It was great to spend some time with Kev and get out for the evening. Daphne got a good report from the sitter, which meant I, um, I mean we got to go to Dairy Queen for lunch and ice cream today.

The guy next door came over while Kev was gardening and let him know they got our message about Snoopy and wanted me to know he is in a better place. YIKES! But it turns out that what he meant by that was that they DID in fact drive him out to the country and let him go. So, that's good news, although it still would have been nice for them to call us back so we didn't have to spend the whole two weeks thinking Snoopy was no more. I really hope Snoopy is happy in his better place and doesn't suffer the same fate as the poor flat groundhog we saw on Kinks Street the other day.

And in other neighbor news, our other next door neighbor, who is an amazing gardener, came over and gave me some advice today, as well as pointed out the poison ivy we hadn't noticed by the front gate. Then she told me that the developer who built all the houses in our cul de sac and did the addition on our house almost cut down the beautiful tree I've been going on and on about lately! Can you belive that!? She said that another neighbor from across the street came over and really let him have it, and thus saved the tree. Thank goodness for that! What a tragedy that would have been!

So, add to all that another Mavericks victory over the dreaded Spurs, and another good weekend is in the books. Pictures of various things are on flickr for those who want to see. I am tired, but in a good way. Next weekend, I am in charge of dessert at the neighborhood Cinco de Mayo party. Please feel free to make suggestions. I was thinking about trying to make a tres leches cake, but that may be too ambitious. Maybe I'll just go to the Mexican bakery up the street...

New Career Goal

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Daphne woke up in an unusually good mood today. Then she started singing this song. Kev could not have been prouder. I am just glad she isn't singing "I wish to be an astronaut."

I feel a new PPHPHB project is in the future...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Spring is Good

This morning, I went into my back yard and cut these lilacs off the tree. I wish you could smell them. I know they won't last long. There are all kinds of surprises popping up in the yard and the weather is delightful. Spring is taking a pretty good stab at overtaking fall as my favorite season.
This tree, which I think is a late blooming cherry of some kind, is hands down the most beautiful tree I have ever seen. I can't believe it's in my yard. It is peaking now, and the flowers will be gone soon. I have taken way too many pictures of it, but I just can't get enough. Every time I see it, I'm shocked.
So, Spring is good. It's making me really really congested, but it's good.
Today was Take Your Kids to Work Day, so Daphne and I went to Kev's office to see some model rockets and go to lunch. Daphne was very enthusiastic. Everything she saw was "COOL!" She keeps saying she wants to be an astronaut. I keep telling myself this will pass.
This weekend, Kev and I are going out to see an actual real movie at a movie theater. Since Star Trek isn't out yet, we are going to see The Soloist. I am looking forward to it very much. If Daphne is good for the babysitter, we may get to go to Dairy Queen.
I am hoping for another Mavs victory over the Spurs tomorrow. Last night's game wasn't on here, and I'm really sorry I missed it. I know they really don't have a snowball's chance, but I'm glad they're in the play-offs anyway. I miss the Mavericks.
OK, it's spaghetti and meatballs night, so I better get cooking.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Having a Conversation about Rain

Daphne: I want to be the rain so I can triple down from the sky.

Me: Triple?

Daphne: Yeah, triple down from the sky.

Me: I think you mean trickle.

Daphne: Triple.

Me: Or maybe you mean sprinkle.

Daphne: Sprinkle?! Sprinkles are what you put on ice cream. Silly Mommy.

Bubbles Are Fun

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Thanks, Kimmie and Marty!

Our weekend revolved around beautiful weather and the Leesburg Flower and Garden Festival. They closed off all the streets downtown and filled them with booths and food and music and flowers and things for kids to do. There are tons of pictures on Flickr if you're interested. Daphne had a great time. She got to ride in the wagon, paint, play with stickers, get a "tattoo," run around and play ball, and eat popcorn and a strawberry smoothie. Such a cool thing. I went back on Sunday with a neighbor to buy some herbs and get lunch. If they only had a fun slide...

Saturday night, we took Daphne to a Big Rock Show. Her favorite band, Rocknoceros, had a CD release party, and we decided to go and reward Daphne for GREAT success on the potty. It was crowded, but fun. Daphne got to go give Coach his post-show high five, and he remembered her name. She was pretty star struck.

Next weekend, we have no plans for the first time in a LONG time. I am kinda looking forward to doing nothing. Chances are, we'll end up doing something, though. It's too nice outside to sit around the house.

Hope you all had a good weekend.

Go Mavs!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Good Times, Bad Times

It was not your typical Easter weekend, that's for sure. It started off on a rather bad note, actually. Friday afternoon, Daphne and I were outside enjoying the sunny day and waiting for Kev to get home when our next door neighbor came outside and announced he saw the groundhog. I said, "Yeah, he stays under our shed (above)." And he said, "Yeah, I just bought this trap," pointing to a cage on his deck. WHAT?! So I said, "What will you do if you catch him?" And he informed me that it is illegal to remove trapped animals from your property, so you either have to put them down yourself, or call someone who will come and put them down. Then he went inside. I was in shock. He was talking about SNOOPY, for crying out loud. Now, I know groundhogs are pesky and eat everything in sight, but why not just drop him off in the woods? So after losing a lot of sleep, Kev and I decided that I should call and volunteer us to do just that. Early Saturday morning, I called and left a message letting our neighbor know we'd be happy to take full responsibility for the illegal removal of Snoopy from their property if they indeed caught him. But they have not returned our call, and we haven't seen them outside since. Nor have we seen Snoopy, so I fear we are too late. I even left him a carrot by his hole, and it's still there two days later. The whole situation kinda left a black cloud hanging over us all weekend. Poor Snoopy. He never hurt anybody.

Meanwhile, we tried to keep things normal for the sake of the Peanut, who has no idea that Snoopy might be gone. We colored eggs, which was fun but required a lot of patience. We made Easter milkshakes and watched the Muppets Take Manhattan. And we put out carrots and drew a picture for the Easter Bunny. And in the middle of all this, we took the diapers away. Forever. We spent the weekend dealing with big kid underpants and pull-ups and accidents and so forth. Easter morning, we got up and Daphne got all her cool Easter goodies and treats. At first, she was only interested in candy, but eventually, she started playing with her new toys and had a big time. At one point, she went into the playroom, did a quick survey, and said very matter-of-factly, "There's all my old stuff." But the majority of the morning was spent in our very small downstairs bathroom, waiting for the inevitable to happen:

It had been two days since, well, you know, and we knew she was scared and holding it in. I will spare you the details, but after a lot of jumping and crying with fear, there was finally jumping and crying with joy. Daphne ran around the house singing, "I did it, I did it, I really really did it!" We had the Official Big Kid Underpants Celebration with fried bananas and ice cream at the gas station Thai place down the street. Quite a treat for all of us.


So, overall it was a bittersweet, and definitely memorable Easter weekend. Kev and I were worn out last night. I think we went to bed at about 8:45. Hopefully, Snoopy got away somehow. I'd like to think so.
Next weekend is the Leesburg Flower and Garden Festival. The thing I am most looking forward to doing is going to the new Cajun restaurant that just opened up the street for beignets and chicory coffee. We stopped by on Friday and grabbed menues. It looks SO good. And the owner informed me that soon they will be serving cheese grits for breakfast there. Hallelujah!
And one more quick thing, speaking of grits. We were eating shrimp and grits for dinner on Saturday night, and Daphne out of nowhere said, "Hey guys. Little tiny baby grits are called 'Gritlets.' " She always makes us laugh just when we need it most.
Off to Trader Joe's!


Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Real World

When you are a Speech Pathologist, you have to get 10 hours of Continuing Education yearly to maintain your license. So, yesterday, I ventured forth into the Real World to attend a seminar worth 6 of those hours. These seminars are always exactly the same. First of all, they are always held in a too-small meeting room at a generic hotel. This one was at the Reston Sheraton, which was about 30 minutes or so from where I live. So, I got up early and joined the morning commute. I actually saw the sun come up, so that was kind of nice. Anyway, when you arrive, you sign in and get your handouts, and then find a place to sit at one of the long skinny tables with the hotel pens and notepads and ugly tablecloths. Then it's time for the "breakfast," which is always croissants and muffins and bad coffee. During the morning session, it is always too cold in the room, so bad coffee will do just fine. Once the seminar starts, there is always the awkward introduction of the speaker and lots of courtesy laughter by the audience, and then 10 to 15 minutes of difficulty with the AV equipment (mic feedback, frozen computer screen, etc) before the actual seminar begins. I always sit in the back row on the end by the door, because I have to get up and leave a lot due to the bad coffee. This seminar was no different. If I didn't know better, I could have been at the Dallas Marriot or the Baltimore Residence Inn or anywhere else. Inside those walls, it's all the same.

That being said, the morning part of the seminar was actually pretty interesting. But as the morning progressed, I became (literally) painfully aware that the tailbone injury I sustained when I fell down the steps has not healed completely. I was ecstatic when lunchtime came.

The best part about the seminars, for me, is lunch. It is one of the few opportunities I get to spend a whole hour completely alone. Sometimes, I bring a magazine and eat at the hotel, but yesterday, I decided to leave and find a Five Guys. I have been wanting to go there, but we don't have any out by us. I plugged it into my GPS just to see if there was one near the hotel. SWEET! 1.9 miles later, I was eating possibly the best cheeseburger I have ever had. And the fries were awesome too. All they are lacking are milkshakes. Why don't they have milkshakes?! I am planning my campaign to get a Five Guys (with milkshakes) in Leesburg as soon as possible. In fact, maybe I should just open one myself. Then I wouldn't have to go to any more seminars!

After lunch, I headed back to the hotel. The afternoons are always difficult. By the time lunch is done, enough people have complained about being cold that the hotel staff over-compensates and makes the room into a sauna. So, we're all in there, hot and stuffed full of food and bored out of our minds. And there are still three hours to go. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

But, I made it through and got my certificate, and enjoyed doing something different for a change. Kevin stayed home and worked while Daphne spent the morning at a neighbor's house having a great time. It all worked out well, and I just have to get four more hours before my birthday. Which is August 11th, by the way. I noticed they had gift cards by the register at Five Guys...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Come on Everybody, Get Your Rollerskates Today

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Today, my neighbor invited us to join them at the Toddler Time Tuesday at Purcellville Skate Rink. You can go there with your toddler and whatever bike/skate/scooter toys you want to bring. We took Daphne's Dora skates (Thanks, Kimmy!) and the Big Wheel, and had a very big time. Perfect for a cold cloudy day like today. There was actually SNOW falling when we left the rink. Good grief. Anyway, I wish I woulda known about this place during the winter. It's great.

Yesterday, Daphne did not take a nap. Not good. If she is going to start stopping taking naps, I am in big trouble. Today, she is all tired out from skating, so I am hopeful.

By the way, I wanted to skate SO bad, but none of the mommies were skating. There were disco lights and everything!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sometimes, you can imagine doing something and you get this idea in your head of just how it's supposed to be. For example, I had this image of spending my anniversary leisurely strolling around the tidal basin with Kev, enjoying the peaceful surroundings and the cherry trees gently blowing in the breeze. Aaaahhhh.

Yeah. Not quite.

Here's what really happened. Yesterday was our anniversary. It was also a Sunday and the prettiest day of the spring so far. The babysitter arrived at 11:00 and needed us back by about 5:00 because she had to work at the Old Navy at 6:00. No problem. So, we left for the train station and made good time. Then we saw the parking lot. Not a space to be had. We finally found a parking gargage and an empty space, but we blew about 20 minutes in the process. Then it was another 10 minutes or so on the platform before the train arrived. Vienna Metro is the end of the line, so when you get on there, you start with an empty train. This train filled up immediately and we were lucky to get a seat. But at least we were on our way. The plan was brunch at this Belgian Waffle place on Capitol Hill and then, the TREES! Then, I started doing the math. This was going to have to be a fast-paced outing, but we decided to stick to the plan.

Things were looking up when we arrived at Eastern Market and found the waffle place easily. Then we found out it was reservations only, and we could "maybe try back in a couple hours." OK. On to Plan B. So, we wandered around and found a Greek place that had a free table. Aaah. Still plenty of time. Unless of course you are at the world's slowest Greek place. The upside is that the food was good. But we really had to book it to the Tidal Basin. By the time we got there, about 2 million other people were there as well, and we only had about 10 minutes to take a couple of quick pictures and admire the trees before going back to the underground cattle-drive that was Smithsonian Station. Not the best place to be if you are claustrophobic, like me. But finally, we were back on the train and headed to Vienna Station with time to spare.

Unfortunately, it took every second of that spare time to find our car in the parking garage. We wandered around for at least 15 minutes, beeping the lock and trying to follow the sound. By this time, DC headache had set in and we were both exhausted. We made it home at 5:02. Daphne was napping and so was the sitter.

But, if I may quote the noted A.I. judge Kara DioGuardi, here's the thing. It was a crazy trip, and not what we planned exactly, but I got to see the trees, which were beautiful. There WAS a gentle breeze, which was blowing the blossoms and they were falling like snow. I got to spend the whole day with Kev. Daphne had a great time with the sitter and we didn't have to drag her and the stroller on the crowded train. The sitter seemed to like Daphne and is willing to come back. And it is probably the most memorable of our anniversarys so far. So it's all good.

Happy Anniversay, Kev. Thanks for a fun day. And now I can check "seeing the trees" off my list.

Saturday was the big Easter Egg Hunt at our local rec center. We signed up the Peanut and arrived for the hunt on probably the windiest day of the year. But we had a great time, and Daphne was happy with her haul, which included a few pieces of candy and some cheap plastic toys. Please visit flickr if you'd like to see, among other things, me wearing Daphne's new pirate eye-patch. A very Eastery toy, huh?



It was all fun, but I think Kev and I are getting too old for all this non-stop activity. We're tired. Next weekend is Easter, and the one after that is the Flower and Garden festival in our little town, plus the Rocknoceros CD release party at Jammin Java, which I think we are going to take Daphne to.

Maybe I need a clone.

Daphne is in the next room singing "Jimmy crack corn but I don't care, Jimmy crack corn but I don't care, Jimmy crack corn but I don't caaaaaaare, doo doo doo, the blue tail fly" over and over and over. It's time for her bath. I never know how this is gonna go...wish me luck! Off to the tubby...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Four

Thing that Makes Me Happy number four is the view from my kitchen window, especially when there are birds in it, which is usually.

Full Throttle Thursday


When you are two and a half, this is one of those days that could be ranked among Best Days Ever. We went to the mall because on the first Thursday of the month, Daphne's new favorite band, Rocknoceros, plays for free on the lower level by Macy's. Armed with a cup of coffee, apple juice, and a shaker, we parked the stroller by the escalators and took a seat on the floor to watch the band set up. We sat on the left, Coach's side. Daphne is afraid of Williebob (which by the way would have been a great name for the groundhog) because of his beard, so we can't sit on the right without creating some stress. Daphne is very serious about her rock. While the other kids pogo and dance around, Daphne stands to the side with a very serious look on her face, nodding her head to the beat. It's funny to see. At the end, she refused to go get a handstamp from Williebob, even though we practiced it yesterday (I was Williebob). But she did go get a high-five from Coach, who remembered her from last time and gave her a little flyer, which she clutched as if it was from a Beatle or something. Rocknomania.

As if that wasn't enough, the Easter Bunny was at the mall, and Daphne actually wanted to go sit on his lap. This was shocking, as she absolutely refused to have anything to do with Santa. And believe me, the bunny is much creepier. He doesn't talk, and you can see his human face through the mesh air hole which is his mouth. But she was willing, so I let her do it and we got the obligatory overpriced photo to remember it by (above). Then, she got a lollipop and a coloring book. Could the day get any better?

It was time for lunch, and the line at Chick Fil a was about a mile long with other Rocknoceros moms and strollers, so we went to Taco Bell. I know. Yuck. But Daphne loved it, and she got a toy in her kid's meal. And the adult lady sitting next to us, who was eating a kid's meal herself, gave Daphne her toy too.

So, a rock show, a high-five from Coach, the Easter Bunny, a lollipop, a coloring book, and two toys, all in the span of about 2 hours. It was such a great day already that she didn't even ask to ride the carousel. She always asks to ride the carousel.

Now we are home, and she is upstairs in bed, not taking a nap. She is talking to herself about something. I think she is too wound up to sleep. This is very very bad, because I need a nap desperately. I am too old for Full Throttle Thursday.

Update: Sure enough, no nap. As I was typing that last sentence, I heard, "MOMMMMMYYYYYYY. I can't sleeeeeeeeep!" I attempted to get her to sleep by resting with me in my bed, but she was too squirmy, so I put her on the couch and demanded some quiet time. Curse you and your sugary lollipops, Easter Bunny.