Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

 After a long, intense semester, I am absolutely thrilled to have almost a month off to recover and enjoy my lovely little family. Hanging in my pajamas and slippers with these two creatures is going to be awesome! 

I have three comments to make about this photo:
1. I am completely amused that the girls still love having matching pajamas. 
2. They opened their slippers on December 24, put them on, and have not taken them off since, except to go outside. I think I need to get myself some cozy Acorn slippers, too!
3. Nora's pajamas are size 10!!! Double digits! I knew size 8 would be too small, and 10 was the next size up. I thought they would be huge but they are a perfect fit. That kind of freaks me out.

In fourth grade, the students at our elementary school learn to knit. Nora is halfway done with a hat that will be felted by her teacher when she is finished. I taught Dana to knit, and she is working on a scarf. Over Thanksgiving break, we spent a couple of evenings in our pajamas knitting and it was incredible. I am looking forward to more of that, and also to a much calmer spring semester, with only 10 credits and my hardest classes behind me. 

I hope your holidays are cozy and relaxing! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011


This is probably the longest-lasting redecorating project in the entire history of redecorating, but it's FINALLY done! Well, an inch from done.

See, Kevin painted the girls' bedroom back in 2003, when Nora was one. The walls were periwinkle and the ceiling was a pale, buttery yellow. It was perfect. Keyword "was". After eight years of abuse from two lovely but energetic little girls and their friends, the walls were in desperate need of some TLC. And I made the fatal mistake of asking Nora and Dana what color they would like their room painted.

Nora could only live with a turquoise bedroom.

Dana couldn't bear the thought of anything other than purple.

After much negotiation, I finally got them to agree to two purple walls and two turquoise walls. Which was AWESOME, until I realized that this meant their bedroom would be turquoise and purple. Turquoise AND purple.

So I went and picked up a bunch of paint chips, and after deliberating for a while, I picked up a couple of sample-sized jars of the top contenders. You know what would have been helpful here? Some "before" photos. The samples were horrid. In fact, when Dana saw the squares painted on the walls, she actually got really upset and asked again and again why I didn't ask her before painting those colors on the walls.

So then a family friend suggested that I find fabric with both purple and turquoise in it and match the paint to it, since the colors would obviously go together already. So I went to the fabric store and got fabric to sew curtains, which I did immediately. And everyone was happy with them. Except I never really got a chance to paint.

This week, the girls have been at day camp, and I decided to just go for it. And the thing is, when I asked if they still wanted purple and turquoise, Nora said she wanted green and Dana agreed. And since green is my favorite color, I wasn't about to argue.

In the end, I took some of the fabric to the paint store and found a hue that was an exact match. It was a bit bright, so the paint store man lightened it half a shade and it was perfect. Still bright, but pretty. This would all be more impressive if I would have taken photos of the walls after Kevin patched all the boo boos but before I actually painted-it looked like a war zone.

I plan to sew a little throw pillow cover for each girl using leftover curtain fabrics. My mom bought them turquoise down comforters last summer, but it's oddly too warm for them in the summer, even this far north. At any rate, while the pillows will look weird with the ballerina quilts, they will be perfect with the turquoise down. Now I just have to pick a color for our bedroom...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Finally Healthy?

Oh, this has been a looooooong month.

Nora has been sick since the first day of summer vacation, which was 15 days ago.

Within a few days of her starting Amoxicillin, the strep and sinus infection were improving and she was starting to feel a little bit better. By day 8, however, she was getting worse. She would start the day feeling sort of OK, but by afternoon she would start spiraling downward again. All of her original symptoms came back, and the sinus pain was so bad she just laid on the couch and cried. I called the doctor on call at 9:00 one night because she had a temp of 102 and was inconsolable. She called in a prescription for Azythromycin and said that if she wasn't dramatically better in 48 hours, she had to come back in.

At 48 hours, she was laying on the couch crying, and she could feel her head throb with each heartbeat. Children's Advil and a hot pack eased her pain, and I intended to call the clinic in the morning.

And then we all woke up, and I looked at my watch and it was 10am. And Nora was all smiles, with her dimples popping out to say good morning. I don't know what happened overnight, but her fever finally broke and she started to actually get better.

And so we baked a cake! Because feeling better after being sick for 15 days is worth celebrating.

Chocolate on chocolate-that'll make anyone feel better!

And since she was feeling so good, she thought it was a good opportunity to spray all of her hair cobalt blue. I guess that's another way to celebrate.

Nora almost busted a gut laughing at the deep blue color of the bath water after she washed her hair twice.

I myself laughed until it all drained out and I had to get out the Soft Scrub. Then it wasn't quite as funny.

And we completed the celebration by putting on our Halloween pajamas and climbing into bed to snuggle.

Today is the first day in 2 weeks that Nora has felt good, hasn't asked for Advil, and hasn't had a fever. It was pretty phenomenal.

See ya, resistant strep! We won't miss you!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Hello! I am still trying to recover from my first semester back at school. School ended almost a month ago for me, and I have spent that month playing catch-up at home. You know-cleaning things that had been neglected, doing boatloads of laundry, etc. Nothing that interesting. Finals week was exhausting! I can't handle going on 5 hours of sleep anymore. Ugh! However, I got 100% on my bio final, I got 82 out of 80 on my physics final (2 extra credit points), and I set the curve with the highest grade in my communication disorders class, so I can't complain. First semester back and I got a 4.0! I guess this old lady's still got it. At least, I got it when it comes to freshman-level classes. Ha!

Then I chaperoned a handful of field trips the girls took for school:

Kindergarten tug-o'-war at the all-day picnic. Dana's class won! Woot!

Kindergarten trip to the zoo-another all-day event.

Nora brought her own camera to the nature center, so I have no photos of that trip. Oops.

Zak graduated on Wednesday (HOW did that teeny-tiny, under 4-pound preemie grow into a 19 year-old man?!) and I made his cake:

I was a little disappointed with my very rusty cake-decorating skills, particularly with royal icing, but I am my own worst critic-nobody else seemed to notice the flaws. For example, nobody but me could see that I accidentally broke off the Greyhound's tail and reattached it. Also-because I am rusty, it took twice as long to make the East logo as it would have 10 years ago. I also decorated about 65 cupcakes for the party. I used 2 pounds of butter and 6 pounds of powdered sugar to make all of the buttercream and royal icing. Yikes!

Now that all of that is over and the girls are also on summer vacation, Nora is sick.

This morning, after 3 days of strange symptoms and a temp of 101, we took her in and she tested positive for strep. Sore throat was nowhere in her assortment of symptoms. Leave it to Nora to get sick in her own way.

We are hoping that she feels better soon so we can enjoy the gorgeous sunshine and the joys of being on summer break!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Checking In

Well hello!

I have managed to survive the first eight weeks of school and am FINALLY on spring break! WOOHOO!

I am not going to lie-school is a lot. Kevin has been taking the girls out on the town every Saturday so I can have a quiet house to do homework in. And I still don't usually finish everything for the week, even if I work for 12 hours on Saturdays. It is maddening!

The girls fight over who gets to hold Elsa first every. single. morning.

Last week was extra fun, as I had 3 tests, 2 papers, and a project due. The project was a naked egg drop. As frightening as that sounds, it just means that we had to drop a naked egg from the roof of the planetarium onto a catching device that we created. The catching device could not be more than 5cm tall (which is about 2 inches), and the total drop distance was 7 meters.

I was in a group with Chelsea and Kelsy. I just like to tell people that because it really exemplifies what it's like to be 33 and in freshman level classes. Chelsea and Kelsy are both sweet girls, and oddly enough, they are both studying to be speech therapists and will be in my fall sequences. I am not sure how that happened in a physics class with 100 people in it. Anyhow, Chelsea and Kelsy and I decided to use a heavily-frosted cake as a landing pad.

Here's Chelsea holding the cake.

Just kidding. That's Dana. But Chelsea is 18 and I feel like 18 and 5 are a heck of a lot closer together than 18 and 33. Seriously-Chelsea has a sibling the same age as my baby. Meaning me and her mom are close in age.

Bet you can see where our egg hit!

It totally worked and our egg survived the fall without breaking. Which was a relief, considering the group before us used Jell-o as a landing device and their egg bounced off and split into two symmetrical egg pieces. They did not get their points.

We also got to write a paper about all of the physics at work during the egg drop project, things like acceleration and kinetic energy and momentum.

I have exciting plans to do our taxes over spring break. Also-studying for two tests I have to take the day I get back from break. You know what they say-girls just wanna have fun.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

School Girl

Dear Friends,

Today was my first day of school, and I want to tell you all about it.

Well, maybe not ALL about it, but a little about it.

First, you should be made aware of the intense stress I have been feeling about my return to College (yes, I am going to capitalize "College" because that is how it feels to me). I've had insomnia, I've had completely unrelated but still disturbing nightmares, I've had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have tormented myself worrying about everything from parking (it's a nightmare there) to having to write papers to not having time to hang with my family or enjoy one of my numerous nerd hobbies.

I had been slowly gearing up for The Big Day. Kevin took me to campus, helped me buy my books, then walked me to all of my classes so I would know how to find them. He even carried my books, which reminded me of the first time I went to college (yes, "college"-it wasn't as scary back then as it is now). He sneaked up to Best Buy with my amazing in-laws and they bought me a brand new laptop. And get this-it has every single one of its keys, there is no peanut butter anywhere on it, and when I put in my password it just fires right up with no 5-minute lag. I totally played it cool when they came over to surprise me with this gift, but later on, I went upstairs and cried because it was so incredible. They are just so good to me, those 3. Kevin talked me into getting myself a new backpack with a laptop compartment, which I did. But still I was fretting. A lot.

I mean, I had a decent handle on it until last weekend, when I logged into my university email and found messages from all four of my instructors, directing me to their Moodle sites where I was able to look at each syllabus and class schedule, and where I learned that I had to read four chapters and complete two assignments for my first day of class. For my FIRST DAY OF CLASS! Oh, has the internet ever changed things.

Anyhow, I somehow managed to fall asleep around 10:00 last night. I woke up when it was still pitch black outside and was at school by 7:20 for my 8am class. I know-but my friend teaches at UMD and told me some really terrifying stories about parking, and I wasn't about to be late to my first class. And you probably already figured out that I found a parking spot immediately and had about 10 hours to wander around before my class started. Actually, I read my biology book, but still.

So by 7:55, nobody had arrived for my 8am class and the lecture hall was dark. And so I called Kevin, and even though he was trying to get Nora and Dana ready for school while taking care of Elsa, he called the CSD department and found out that the class had been moved. He totally saved me. I had no idea what to do. He suggested I walk to the help desk but I had no idea where it was and I was pretty sure I was about to throw up. I am such a dork. Anyhoo, I got to my class 10 minutes late and within 5 minutes it totally clicked with me that this is not College, but college. Because you know what? I am 33 years old, I have a (superhero) husband, two gorgeous daughters, a mortgage, a past career, and LIFE EXPERIENCE. I am not 19 years old. I am here for different reasons than these kids. I have so much more at stake than they do. And so the rest of my day was fantastic. For real. I somehow lucked into being able to buy a parking permit, despite it being second semester and there only being a few available. I went to my biology class in the afternoon and I thought it was really interesting, and that my professor would be fun to hang out with (she's really funny). I came home and took the statistics quiz that I had been dreading (yes, a quiz on day 1), only to log in and find that it was a quiz about the syllabus, and I got 100%. Maybe the quiz I take tonight will be harder, but I am no longer living in a dark, scary place. I feel like I can do this. I just need to keep on top of my reading.

And on that note, I am going to go play Sorry and eat some ice cream before I get the girls to bed and log back in to watch a statistics lecture online.

Sorry if that was super boring. I am just so thrilled that today went so well. Tomorrow I have physics-cross your fingers that it goes well, too.