Friday, May 29, 2009

Catching Up

Last week was miserable and lonely. Nick was out of town for work and not only did I not have the Internet all week (mind you all my mom's club info in online), one day the carbon monoxide detector wouldn’t stop beeping. I blew on it, unplugged it and it kept beeping. Then, when I put it in another location it stopped. So, I freaked out. I put it back, it beeped again. With Nick out of town, I called my neighbors and they weren’t home. So, I ended up putting the kids in playpens on our back porch to keep them safe while I waited for the Fire Department to come and make sure we weren't in the middle of a toxic death trap. As it turns out, all was well, and they were happy to come out and check it. I guess we have a faulty detector. But these situations are very stressful, especially when you are on your own.

Nick got home late Thursday evening well after the kids went to bed. When he did get home on Friday we had a nice long weekend (though it felt really short). On Saturday we had a lazy day. No long run for us. We went to Yoder's Country market and let the kids feed some goats as well as check out the turkeys and such. The place is pretty neat, it's a Mennonite run store and they have a lot of homemade goods and delights. My favorite find of the day was crisp fried green beans.

Find video of the goat feedin' below:


Above: Photo of goat walk at Yoder's

On Sunday, our friends Hilary and Mike came to visit. We have been reluctant to turn on the air condition just yet and temps were in the 80’s. I hope they had a comfortable time in lieu of the warmer weather. I love those kind of temps. They are perfect. I love trotting around in skirts and t-shirts.

Above: Photo of Mike and Hilary at Barboursville Ruins (a house designed by Thomas Jefferson)

Sunday afternoon we visited Barboursville Wineries and tasted 15 out of 18 wines available for tasting. We hired the expensive babysitter and made her really work for her $14/hr money as she watched not only our children but Hilary and Mike’s twins (also two and half) as well. We did make it easy on her and left when they went down for naps. The babysitter did well. When we got home she looked a little worn out. We spent the remainder of the evening grilling out and talking. I just love summer.

Above: Photo of Nick and Green Eyes

Hopefully, next week while Nick travels, I won’t have such a hard time. In an effort to try to be a little less resentful (yes, of late, I admit I have felt this way), I’m planning on spending it away from home, i.e. in northern Virginia. Thank goodness this will be the last trip for a couple of months! I'd seriously need hired help or something if it wasn't.

Anyway, on a completely separate note, I made some cool deals today. Total OOP for the bounty below: $0.37!!

I bought four things of Kashi waffles at Target for 29 cents a piece too, and some pull-ups from Kroger for 2.75ea. (mind you these were 8.99 on sale, so I had to do some major deal combos to get them down to that!) Love it! I hope I really don’t need the pull-ups. Lately, ladybug has been 100% perfect when we go out of the house… Let’s hope the trend continues and I can feel confident in leaving her in underwear when we leave the house!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Garden Progress Pics

The garden is coming along well. Nick installed the electric fence a few weekends ago. The cauliflower, some of the yellow summer squash and all beans have sprouted. The beans have REALLY taken off. We also have a few grape tomatoes hanging!

The Garden and Electric Fence

The bad news, however, is that we have had extremely wet weather. Just yesterday it was sunny during the day but it poured last night. We think the wet weather is what has killed the pumpkins. One of the pumpkin seeds sprouted and then quickly rotted away. The others didn't even sprout.

Our zucchini and broccoli have not sprouted either. It's been about two weeks since we planted them. But, I think the broccoli can take up to 21 days so I'm not giving up on them just yet. I think the zucchini is dead and we will have to replant or try something else.

Also, I think the extreme wet has hurt the strawberries. We planted them in mounds to ensure good drainage. But with all the crazy rain they've turned into wet stumps. Even though we've had sunny days, it will just pour and pour at night. It pours so much that the ground doesn't even had an opportunity to dry out. Our poor plants are rotting!

I noticed not all of the cauliflower came in so I came back in to reseed the bare areas. Nick feels I didn't need to do that and I need to be more zen. But I hate the inconsistency!! This garden must be productive!!

The Row of Beans

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Walking for Kids

We (the kids and I) are walking for UVA Children's Hospital. Check it out!

Mother's Day 2009

I realized when I woke up this morning that poor little Olive could barely open her eyes. She was so swollen. I was a nervous wreck. I rushed Olive to the vet along with the kids. Our new vet took care of Olive with some cortisone shots to her face. Poor thing. I don't know what's worse, being bitten by a spider or shots to the face?

Anyway, our weekend was delightful. Mother's Day is always a good day for me. Nick took care of breakfast and dinner and we went out for lunch on the downtown pedestrian mall. A day off from feeding the family is a good thing every once in a while.

When you don't eat out that often eating out becomes a real treat. We had a delightful time walking up and down the mall. Charlottesville is loaded with lots of great people watching. There were several street musicians so Ladybug had a ball dancing around.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Our exciting Friday Night and Design School

I made dinner and picked the greens from our garden. Were they ever tasty. (Jenn visited us from Richmond on Thursday and she got to taste them first hand. Is there ever a better reason to come visit?)

Anyway, after dinner, Nick and I took turns mowing the lawn. Now, we are watching Fashion Show on Bravo. Will it be as good as Project Runway? My guess is, no. Unfortunately, Project Runway was bought by Oxygen and we don't get the channel.

What I liked most about Project Runway was Tim Gunn. Every Project Runway episode allowed me to relive the first year of design class. Back then, I was averaging 3 hours of sleep a night (much like the designers) and I spent every spare second I had creating crazy projects in our design studio, whether it was an object that felt good in our hands, a stamped relief inspired by a piece of art, or a sculpture inspired by the proportions/patterns/rhythms of the Rotunda, etc.

Tim Gunn reminds me of my first design professor, Paul, and the projects aren't that different from those given first year designers. Tim and Paul are total dopple gangers; gay, open-minded, and absolutely exceptional at helping designers develop their ideas. I think this show won't be as good without Tim Gunn's gentle critiques and design jargon. My first design professor, Paul, had his own set of catch phrases. He'd run around telling us to let the material speak to us. Many of the struggling students considered him nuts, "How in the heck is this piece of wood going to speak to me?." His response, "If it's not speaking to you, you aren't getting it."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Babysitter Woes

We just interviewed a new babysitter. I'm not into the idea of letting a high schooler watch my children especially considering the really young age of our children. But, this young girl is a daughter of one of Nick's colleagues and I thought I'd give it a go at his request.

After a thorough interview, it came time to bargain for pay. She told us she charged another couple (with special needs children) $15 an hour. (Holy cow. I'm thinking in my head, how many trained professionals in this economy would be happy to make that much?!) Then, she says, she will only charge us $12. Am I crazy, or is that crazy high? I'm mean, when I had just finished an in demand college degree, I made just a little over that doing skilled work in an entry level position for an architecture firm. Are you kidding me?!?!

I'm not into the whole letting a highschooler watch my children anyway (unless they have proven themselves), but at that rate couldn't I get an adult? Clearly, this kid doesn't know the value of a dollar. When I babysat, I was lucky to be paid minimum wage. Given, minimum wage hasn't adjusted much in proportion to the cost of living in recent years, but even considering that I'm thinking $8-10 for a high schooler makes sense.

I'm missing our Albuquerque babysitter. She knew the value of a dollar, was responsible and is now going to an ivy league school. She had jobs outside of babysitting so she knew the value of a dollar and charged a reasonable $8 an hour. We loved her so we usually gave her something like $10-11 after tip.

Maybe I'm crazy? My kids aren't that hard to babysit, especially the hours after 8. You get to lay around and watch TV while they sleep. It's not difficult work. Still, it's a lot of responsibility and I'm not handing my kids over to a highschooler to be ripped off at the same time?!! I felt uneasy in the first place... now I REALLY feel uneasy.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Weekend in Review

This weekend was beyond awesome. Though it was rainy and dismal pretty much the entire weekend we had the best time because I got a little bit of a break. Since I had to go to DC anyway for a cousin's shower, we decided to make an entire weekend out of it. My sister and I ventured over to Dupont Circle on Saturday for a little female bonding time.

When I got back to Nick's mom's Saturday afternoon, Nick and I left for dinner out with friends (without the kids). Then Nick and I ventured off on our own to have a mini date night. We went to Cosi for Smores and coffee like we did on our second date. We are celebrating 3 married years together on May 6th. :)

As the night ended, Nick and I decided we wanted to wake up to whole wheat pancakes so I stopped at Shoppers to pick up the ingredients (we were staying at Nick's moms.) Well, while we were there I couldn't help but spot the BEST deals. I keep my coupon book in my car at all times. Though we didn't have the room for much due to luggage and strollers, I couldn't help myself. The place we happened to stop at was tripling coupons up to .50 and doubling up to and including $1.00 (NO limits). These sorts of amazing coupon blitzes do not exist here. So, I bought 21 things of FREE Healthy Harvest Ronzoni Pasta and $.40 Kashi Rice Pilaf, more free dawn, and more free stuff I can't really remember.

Below is a picture of my phat (in both senses) coupon book. I'm very proud I made the little rubber banding system to keep it shut. It's much more functional now. Sad? Pathetic? Maybe. But this baby is worth hundreds.

When, we got back we noticed things are really beginning to grow in our garden. The rainy weather has done wonders for the roquette and mesclun.

Our strawberry plants are also starting to sprout. I'm looking forward to next year already!

Not to be overshadowed, Nick even found time to fix the riding lawnmower. My husband is so handy.