Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Date Night

Brad returns later this evening from his month in New Zealand. That may lead one to believe that my date night would be with him...but actually I'm referring to my 10:00pm date tomorrow night with LOST!

Yesterday I spent 1.5hrs watching 43 minutes of LOST on the computer. It was extremely annoying to get 30 second increments of my favorite show and then wait 45 seconds for it to continue to download. I let it completely download earlier in the day thinking I could later watch it uninterrupted...but apparently not. The only good thing about the "extended format" was that I worked simultaneously at the computer on the April menu for our store and took care of some bills and other exciting things!

I kept thinking this problem would be eliminated if we only had Tivo...but then I know I would also start recording all the other shows I enjoy and this would probably increase my television viewing time which is already probably above what it needs to be.

I think there are still 13 new episodes remaining...unless another trip of a lifetime occurs I will be watching every episode at 10:00 on Wednesdays. So I guess if Brad wants to join me then we can make it a double date.

11 Months Old?

I'm behind a few weeks...it won't be long before I'm posting Brooke's 1 year old photos! I can't believe how quickly the time has flown! At 11 months she is officially walking. She has 3 lower teeth and is cutting her top two. Since she is walking, she has been promoted to the 12-24 month old class at church and graduated from the nursery side at the YMCA. She is becoming more vocal about her opinions and frequently objects to her sisters treatment of her with loud outcries! She already says "Bayee" when her oldest sister is around. She also manages a "hi" when prompted and knows "no". She is a huge flirt with big dimples and a great belly laugh. She loves to shake her head back and forth as fast as she can while she is in her high chair to illicit laughter from her sisters. Her eyes are still in the midst of transitioning from blue to green? We'll see. Her hair continues to lighten and I think after a summer outside in NJ (where we'll actually see sunlight!) she'll be a dirty blond.

She loves to suck her thumb and hold her taggie when she is sleepy. She is fascinated by shoes and will play with the Velcro on her sneakers for hours if allowed. She loves pancakes and strawberries and cheese.

I get more and more glimpses into the future when I see the three of them dancing or laughing together. I'm sure we'll have a lot of frustrations, a lot of hormones, but a lot of fun!

Sunday, February 25, 2007


This morning, while most of you were still snuggled up enjoying the comforts of your warm bed, I donned a sexy latex swim cap and goggles and began my first indoor triathlon.

A 8 day hiatus from training to eat my way through New Zealand did not help my results this morning. But I persevered and completed the 250 meter swim, 6 mile bike, and 2 mile run. Not big distances, but a good chance to practice all three events in a row and transitions.

This action shot is blurry...I like to think it is because I am running so fast!

Showing our guns! This is my former college roommate, Jaylynn, who lives in the Seattle area and inspired me to try a triathlon. She attempted her first one last summer and is planning on completing a few more this summer. And no, we didn't coordinate our outfits...I guess we both just have good taste!
This morning confirmed a lot of things...such as I'm weak on the bike, forgetting to stretch is regretful, I need new running shoes, I need padded biking shorts, sports bras are extremely difficult to put on over wet skin, I'm a slow runner...I'm a Fat, Slow, Triathlete. But did you catch that...I am a triathlete.
WOW...we look HOT!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Flickr Photos

I have put all my New Zealand photos on my flickr account. If you click on this highlighted link it will take you directly to the correct page on my account. I have added descriptions to the majority of the photos and they are downloaded in the order that I took them throughout my trip. If you view them as a slide show it omits the descriptions I added for some reason...so if you have 30 minutes and want to see too many scenery photos you can go to my link above, read the descriptions and look at the smaller photos and then view it as a slide show if you desire.

I give New Zealand two thumbs up and would highly recommend it!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Brooke's 1st Haircut

Brooke's hair has been annoying me. Perhaps annoying isn't really the right word, but I was tired of the side-mullets as I like to call them. I didn't really want to cut bangs at this point, and I didn't want to even the long sides with the shorter back so I wasn't really sure what a haircut would achieve. After a lengthy discussion with the stylist over everything I don't want done to her hair, the cut began. Brooke wasn't fond of the spray bottle but only seemed annoyed and was still focused on her airplane seat at the time. The cut began smoothly. I was watching (like a hawk) and was pleased with the amount she was cutting. Brooke got a little concerned, probably since both her sisters were trying to watch and both myself and Nana were taking pictures. I pulled out the emergency reserve of goldfish and that was a successful distraction.

Everything was going smoothly until Brooke decided she was done and tried to stand up. When I restrained her she voiced her discontent, rather cried her discontent. So, like a good Mommy, I took pictures and encouraged the stylist to continue. Brooke recovered and the hair cut was a success. It's not a huge change...bangs would have made a big difference but I don't want to make that commitment, yet. But she looks a little less disheveled...it almost looks like a little bob right now and doesn't look as dramatically short in the back anymore compared to the sides.

I sure just wrote a lot when I could have simply said, "Here are pictures of Brooke's first haircut."

Here are the before pictures...the reason we needed a haircut!

Off to a smooth start. Brooke was pretty interested in the airplane (w/ a stearing wheel?).
She survived the spray bottle and was distracted with goldfish.
Not pleased that Mommy wouldn't let her get up from her seat.
Whew...it's over. Brooke was anxious to get down and play with her sisters.

I'm Back

I returned to the states yesterday. I've been pondering how to describe my trip. Indescribable? If that was true I guess I could end this blog and any future ones pertaining to New Zealand. I hesitate to begin telling my tales though because I feel my stories and my photos can not do it justice.

You may notice over on my flickr link to the right that I have already downloaded my photos. I've also stated adding comments to them to explain them but I haven't had time to go through all of them. I can seriously bore you for at least 30 minutes with my endless shots of landscapes and dolphins...it is hard to stop taking scenery photos...it's even harder to do any of the scenery justice! My mom is in town for another 48 hours so I thought it would be polite of me to visit some with her since she was just gracious enough to watch the girls, our dogs, and show our house to realtor's while we were away relaxing!

So this will be my brief return to blogging for now. I will elaborate on my journey in the next week to come...I'm sure you're all waiting with anticipation!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I'm In Sydney!

 I'm blogging in the Sydney Airport...yes, in Australia!   14 Hours on a plane got old...even w/out kids.  The dread locks of the guy from London next to me began to have an unusual odor about 8 hours into the flight.  I pittied the parents a few rows ahead of me with a baby that looked about 8 months old.  Whenever I was frustrated at my inability to sleep or my numb butt...I was just thankful I wasn't trying to keep a baby asleep.

I'm waiting for my flight to Christchurch.  I've been browsing the duty free shops and people watching.  It is really unusual to be in a foreign country alone.  I've had a lot of time alone with my thougths...I think my brain hurts.

It is Feb. 15, around 9:15am here...a day ahead of most of the people reading this.  The weather is 70 degrees and sunny and I enjoyed watching a beautiful sunrise out the window of the 747 around 5:30 over the Tasmin Sea.  

I'm excited to see Brad...if he is at the airport.  Last we talked his mission to Antartica was delayed 4 hours and if it slipped again he wouldn't be able to make it to the airport in time to pick me up...so I may be looking someone with a sign...whoever he bribed into picking me up.

I feel like I'm in the US in many ways...but then I hear all the different languages and the beautiful accents, English sounds so ugly in comparison.  And then there are the media differences.  I thought some of the SuperBowl comercials were a little riske...there is complete nudity on some of the commercials here in the airport.  And they were handing out "samples" in teh duty free shop of liquor and wine.

I don't know when I'll blog again.  They are boarding my flight.   3 more hours and I'm 7,000 miles from home.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane...

The day has arrived. In about 8 hours I'll kiss the girls good-bye and begin my adventure. I'll log about 20,000 miles on this trip...enough for a free ticket! I believe my trip from San Fransisco to Sydney is 14 hours! The novelty of being able to fly alone and enjoy myself may start to wear off by hour 13! I have the complete season 1 of Scrubs to watch, a few good books, a couple magazines, my MP3 to relax to...and perhaps I'll steal some of the girl's chocolate Valentine candy for a little sugar buzz!

Brad has had a week in New Zealand to explore and I'm really excited after hearing about everything! We've made plans to rent a car and drive south to Queenstown so we can explore more of the south island. I was contemplating sky diving but have ruled it out after I have coincidentally heard 5 news stories this week of skydiving accidents...including one to a Michael Hall (M. Hall...same as me) in New Zealand! I took that as a sign.

The girls seem to be all over the place emotionally about my leaving, as am I. I'm excited about the trip, the time with Brad, the time alone, the time away...but I will miss holding sticky little hands as we walk across a parking lot. My mom is a trooper for not only keeping the kids, taking care of our dogs, but also keeping up our house and showing it. We got a call yesterday from a realtor saying he was putting together an offer. It's lower then our asking price, but encouraging none the less. It has only been three weeks since we listed...but I would like to wrap this up!

I may or may not blog from our hotel...I think Brad would appreciate me taking a blogging vacation, too. Can't wait to bore you all with my stories and pictures when I return.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Exhibitionist

Meet the future leader of the Exhibitionist Day Parade.

"This way, follow me!"
"Left. Right. Left. Right."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

LOST Returns

I'm counting down the hours until the return of my favorite drama, LOST! It's now at 10:00pm instead of 9:00...which personally I prefer since I'm usually up late and it gives some extra time to guarantee that all the girls are asleep by that hour.

I'm not fortunate enough to have Tivo...so I'm going to have to watch the episodes I miss on the computer when I return from my trip. I'm a little spooked to take the same route that Oceanic Flight 815 was making when it crashed. I know it's just a show...but it seems like bad luck...the whole reality imitating art.

So with the exception of a trip to New Zealand, I will be watching LOST every Wednesday night for the next 16 weeks!

A Week From Today...

The reality of the fact that a week from now I will be on my way to the airport to catch my flight to LAX then on to Christchurch, New Zealand via Sydney continues to escape me. I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around the opportunity. The daily distractions of three kids (one who is sick) a house to sell, a new house to find, two dogs to keep clean in the rainy weather, a husband who is gone, a business to help with, commitments to keep etc. don't allow me to comprehend my upcoming escape.

Watching Brad pack made me start thinking about the upcoming adventure. I commented to him that I was excited but a little anxious about making the trip to New Zealand alone. I think I said something along the lines about how it has been a really long time since I've traveled alone, and never that far. He laughed and reminded me that I traveled alone with the three girls to MI while missing a connecting flight and getting stuck in the airport for 8 hours with 1 diaper and no cell phone...which probably felt as long as a trip to New Zealand. I think back to that experience and feel less vulnerable then being alone. I guess I'm too busy thinking about the kids and their well being to stop and ponder my own. Besides, who would want to mess with a woman traveling alone with three young kids, isn't she being abused enough?!

As I type Brad is in the air after a rough 24 hours in Hawaii (ahem) and now on his way to Christchurch. He'll have a week to fly/work and get oriented and then I'll arrive for our "vacation". It is the end of summer in New Zealand, which means tempertures around 70...it is a very moderate climate. I'm pretty sure I'll have the ability to blog on occassion from the hotel, pictures may have to wait. The first highlight of this trip will be the ability to read when and what I want on the plane, pee if I need to, say yes to the beverage cart (frequently I have to pass w/ a kid on my lap), watch a non animated DVD, and well...just take care of me!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sick Baby

If you recall my previous post, I took the girls swimming on Friday. Well Saturday night Brooke woke up with a fever and I suspected an ear infection. She would become hysterical when I tried to lay her horizontal...so I spent four hours holding her while she slept and whimpered in her sleep. She was so pathetic I could hardly resent the fact that I was exhausted.

Sunday morning she perked back up a little and ate some breakfast but when I tried to lay her down for a morning nap it started again. That confirmed my suspicion of an ear infection and I decided to take her to a convenience care center. I spent two hours waiting with a large group of ill people hoping to watch the Super Bowl slightly medicated. I determined that if we weren't sick when we arrived, we surely would be by the time we left! I felt like I needed to go home and take another shower...I think I literally saw a germ in the air! Brad went to church with the girls and their day turned into a lunch date and shopping trip. It was nice to just have Brooke to focus on since she was being so needy and I was too tired to be patient with two more kids.

I was told by the Dr. that of the 4 ear infections she had seen that morning, Brooke's was the worse! We're winners! Do we get a break on our insurance claim because of that news? In all seriousness though...I was thrilled when she confirmed an ear infection. If only I could write prescriptions, I could have eliminated this wait and had some Amoxicillin last night! My Mommy guilt skyrocketed though when I asked about our swimming excursion on Friday and the Dr. said that although it wasn't the sole cause of the infection it probably irritated her and encouraged the virus to escalate. Nice going, Mom!

Brooke spent most of the day snuggling and snoozing on my lap and watching the Colts defeat the Bears. We watched Daddy pack for his month trip to New Zealand. Baileigh and Mckenna were busy in their bedroom playing Cinderella with their Polly Pocket dolls. I was assuming no one would come to look at the house today since it was Super Bowl Sunday so the girls enjoyed trashing their room. It actually turned into a relaxing day despite the previous sleep deprived night full of screaming.

Brooke slept okay last night. The ear drops seem to help calm her down before she sleeps. Unfortunately her fever is back up to 102 this morning and she threw up after I gave her medication. Of course...Daddy just left for a month. Actually I'm lucky, these things usually begin the day he leaves...I've already been to the Dr. and have 24 hours under my belt. Hopefully this means she'll be extremely healthy next week when I'm out of town and Nana keeps the girls...hopefully!

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Magic Number?

When I am out with two of my girls no one really looks twice. But when I have the three girls with me I seem to get a lot of comments. "Oh wow, three girls...your in trouble someday!" "Two blonde's and a brunette, their beautiful." One older gentlemen said to me the other day, "You look just like my wife did 40 years ago with our three girls!" Thankfully people don't usually verbalize their thoughts such as "oh my gosh, you're kids are being obnoxiously loud, can you shut them up!" Maybe I'm the only one thinking that...but i doubt it.

I began thinking about "3" since I took the girls swimming at the YMCA today. Usually I put Brooke in the childcare, but today I decided she may like to try out the toddler pool, too. This is something I would usually save for a rainy day (literally) or while Brad is gone on a trip...but I was feeling like being a popular mom so I announced our adventure. Baileigh's exact quote, "YAHOO! SWEET! Thanks Mom." Is she 5 or 15?

I got a few looks from the parents who were in the pool with kids at a 1 to 1 ratio. I noticed on the pool rules sign that it is no more then 3 kids per one adult. I began to think about the "strike 3 you're out" saying. And yet there is the "third times a charm" saying. Three. Apparently since this means you can no longer play man to man defense as parents it is looked at as a greater risk. Honestly...three hasn't presented too many more challenges then two...or then just children in general. It is funny though when I just have Brooke to have people make comments to me assuming she is my firstborn...when they find out I have two other little girls I get an "oh!" I would like to assume it's because I look so young. Ahem.

I can only imagine the looks I would get if we ever have four!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Blogging 101

I know a lot of people who have recently entered the world of blogging. I remember when I first began how long I would spend trying to figure out how to download photos or graphics, or change colors, etc. When blogger switched to beta, the formatting for those type of add on's was simplified. However, the newness alone of having a blog can sometimes be overwhelming and the temptation to want to keep up with some of the elaborate blogs out there is a struggle.

So when I discovered blogging basics 101 I thought it might be helpful to someone just developing their addiction. If you're interested, just click on the graphic to the right to learn more. Good luck!