Saturday, January 31, 2009

MD Arrival!

Ok this post is actually very late....sorry!

We made it! After many hours of driving, many movies on the DVD player, a number of potty breaks, and a few naps (not for the driver) we finally made it to MD. As we enter my old stomping grounds I always get very quiet. I'm always flooded with memories. Places I used to work and people I used to know and friends I long to see again. As always that quiet moment doesn't last because as I look around I realize how much MD has changed. There are buildings I don't recognize and streets I've never seen before. As much as I miss it I know I can never go back.

Quick question: What do you get when you have three techno geeks together at a social gathering? Silence! Unless they are all able to go into the office armed with a few laptops and a desktop. As soon as the technological equipment came out they all perked up. I have no idea what they were talking about but they had fun.
My sister-in-law, sister and I joked that they were probably on Facebook talking to each other since they weren't doing too much of it before.

One of the things that we have always enjoyed doing as a family is playing games. We have stayed up all night before and have (sort-of) regretted it in the morning. We have already spent MANY hours playing Uno, Phase Ten and Apples to Apples Jr. It is a riot especially when we speak Spanish and English sometimes at the same time! For those that aren't bilingual I can only imagine how funny we sound.

We also went to my brother's house and played Wii. We even convinced my mom and dad! My goodness it was hilarious! They had never played it before and soon my mom and I were laughing so hard we were both crying. We played a game where two gals were each riding a cow and they had to knock over scarecrows and race to the finish line. If anyone has played that game before maybe you can teach me. I still don't have a clue what I was doing. Plus it was extremely difficult to maneuver while I was crying and laughing.

Supper was provided by my nephew, Gabriel. My niece, Caroline, made brownies for desert. Gabriel made home made pizza. Five different varieties! I was not really expecting them to be great but I was pleasantly surprised! He did a fantastic job. I wish I could have eaten more but I'm glad we had a few slices leftover. He even tossed the dough up in the air like a professional pizza chef. I had a lot of fun watching him and so did Cristina. He even gave her a quick lesson. Soon she wanted to try cooking too. So the last pizza Cristina made almost by herself. Unfortunately I haven't been able to try it yet. As the evening progressed Victoria wasn't feeling too well. Soon her condition was bad enough that Michael and I decided to take her to a 24 hour clinic. So we gave her some Motrin and were on our way. It was hard to see her so lethargic and quiet. Typically that is not Victoria's behavior at all! Thankfully she just has a virus and needs cough medicine, rest and plenty of liquids. She is much better but we will be staying in MD longer than we had originally planned. I'm not too disappointed to spend more time with my family but I'm obviously not happy to see Victoria under the weather. I'm sure she'll be better soon and in the meantime maybe we'll get to play Wii again.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Still Winter...Still Getting Away

After many many hours in the car we finally were able to relax in Zanesville, OH. It is an interesting little town and maybe someday we'll actually visit and do some sightseeing. All the girls really cared about was if the hotel had a pool. So, after a mandatory dinner break we rushed back to the hotel. As fast as they could they changed into their bathing suits. Unfortunately I forgot to pack flip flops so they had to wear their winter boots. It didn't matter they still looked adorable. They actually thought it was rather silly. After all, being silly is a great part of a vacation with children.

We can't wait to tell Amy Gilbaugh (their swim teacher) that Cristina actually got into the water by herself! Plus she swam a little bit and went under the water. Those are major accomplishments. Prior to swim lessons she would scream whenever I tried to wash her hair in the shower. Michael or I always had to hold her in the pool. So I know Michael was thrilled he didn't have to go swimming too. I think he was afraid he may have drowned in the pool. He was exhausted from all the driving. Victoria was so excited to have the pool all to herself! Our little mermaid swam, chased a ball she found on the side of the pool, did somersaults, and floated. We spent a lot of time listening to "Watch me! Watch me!" There is not enough pictures to show off her talent. I am really amazed at how much progress she has made. She has never had a fear of the water but it is great to know she is now safe in it.
Personally I was just too tired to change into my bathing suit. That would have required a lot more energy than I had at the time. Although I should have because the hotel had a really nice hot tub that the girls absolutely loved! They didn't last in it too long but it looked very relaxing. Plus it had a beautiful painted mural on the back wall. It really looked like a spring garden.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Getaway

Our travels began on Saturday, January 24th. We started driving to MD for my mom's 70th birthday. We had a few errands to run before we were actually on our way. We went to the library and gas station. As Michael was getting out of the car Victoria perked up and asked "Are we still in Iowa?". Oh dear! We both had a feeling it was going to be a LONG drive! Thankfully we brought the portable DVD player and a lot of movies. Michael and I were excited that it kept working. It gave us a few scares due to the cold weather.

Our first official stop was in Galesburg, IL. We visited the Welcome Center and the girls each received a coloring book and candy. They were quite happy we had stopped there! Outside the Center there was a huge Adirondack chair. We couldn't resist climbing into it. The chair was FREEZING and I'm glad I had gone to the bathroom first! Brrrrrr!!! I guess the snow on the ground should have been a hint.

We had the opportunity to stop in Normal, IL for the night. We visited the Stoneking family. We hadn't seen Troy and Sally in about 14 years so we were overdue. They made us feel so welcome and my girls wanted to know if we could stay there for our whole vacation. They had guitars, a keyboard, Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution plus a huge variety of chips, pop, snacks and cereal. My girls were thrilled!

Victoria and I had a great time singing. American Idol here we come! I also tried Dance Dance Revolution and although my score didn't reflect my awesome moves I had a blast. I was surprised because Michael knew most of the lyrics. While his knowledge of the lyrics left me impressed his dance moves provided great comic entertainment. Even though I was laughing apparently the computer judge liked him better than me. I demand a recount! Oh well I know full well I looked better than him and that should count for something.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cleaning Frenzy

I'm not sure how but today I had a BURST of energy. I spent it sorting, dusting, vacuuming and organizing the living room and dining room. I dusted the door frames, baseboards, fireplace and the china hutch. Somehow I even vacuumed under the love seat while holding it!

I always love it when people notice. I truly enjoy the verbal rewards. However, I wasn't quite prepared for the reaction the girls had when they came home from school. They came into the living room and yelled "aaaaaah!!!" Cristina said "It is like we got a whole new house!" Victoria - "Yeah, it has exploded with cleanness!!" It was so funny and definitely worth all the hard work!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nuggets 8 Other Team 20

Well, Victoria had her first basketball game today. I have no idea what the name of the other team is but they were really good. I think our team was just too nice and not nearly as aggressive in getting the ball. I'm sure the coaches will work on that with the players before the next game.

Prior to the game Victoria wanted to know what order she'd be introduced. At first I had no clue what she talking about. Then I realized she thought it would be just like when we go see the IA Hawkeye Women Basketball team. Each players is introduced to the crowd. She was a bit disappointed that it wouldn't be like that at all. Nobody would sing the Star Spangled Banner and Herky wouldn't be there. She was content at the end when she got Gatorade!

Despite the loss she really impressed me. She kept her eye on the ball most of the time. Plus the fierce look in her eyes when playing defense would scare anyone! She kept her arms up and listened to her coaches. She even got hit in the face when she tried to get the rebound. As a mom I gasped but didn't embarrass her. The lady next to me gasped too! The most memorable moment was the one basket she made. It was beautiful! A man next to me called it a rainbow shot. It had a perfect arch as it sunk into the net.

They had 2 referees, 4 coaches, and 5 players from each team on the half court. The coaches literally coached the whole time during the game. They played for 10 min before changing the line up. Everyone got a chance to play. The game lasted almost an hour. A few players were caught traveling (imagine that) but all in all it was a well played game. One boy ran with the ball as if it were a football. They had to call him back a few times. Everyone once in a while Victoria would blow a kiss in my direction. Too cute!

Next week we get to do it all again and Victoria can't wait! Go Nuggets!

(I hope to have pictures next week. Michael had to use our camera for work and he gave me permission to blame him.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Back to School

While Nani was visiting she bought Victoria a Hannah Montana backpack. Around here anything with the Hannah Montana logo on it is EXCELLENT! Victoria also received a pink messenger bag for Christmas. She loved it because our neighbor, Rachel, has one just like it. Rachel is in High School so I think that is why Victoria likes it so much.

Since Victoria had two new bags for school she decided to give the smaller one to Cristina. Cristina was so excited and thankful! I was really proud of Victoria for her willingness to give her little sister something that was special to her. I hadn't planned on forcing Victoria to share. When I asked her about it she responded "Mom, Jesus wants us to be kind!" She was so matter of fact about it and sharing wasn't a struggle for her. Definitely a "proud mama" moment!

So, as we got ready for school they kept asking for me to take their picture. They know I like to blog and they love reading about themselves. They are actually making it a bit easier for me to take pictures. Now, I just have to learn how to download them onto the computer! One step at a time, right?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dancing the Holiday away!

Christmas of course is a joyous time yet this year I found myself sad. I missed being with family! Yet I was quickly reminded that time spent with family can also lead to chaos. A lot of work can go into feeding so many people. Clean up, cooking, shopping, cleaning, celebrating and of course more cleaning. Obviously it is always worth it and a lot of fun but it is exhausting. This year we spent time with Great Nani. She came over for lunch on Christmas Day. The girls were mortified when they found out they couldn't open gifts until after we ate. It was the first meal that I didn't have to coax them to finish everything on their plate. Michael did a great job of making a fantastic lunch! Plus he cleaned up the kitchen too. It was very relaxing!

The girls had noticed that I was a bit sad so they put on a few different shows for me. One time they dressed up in their princess costumes. They walked around like royalty. Saying "yes madam" and "thank you" or "if you please". They even attempted to ball room dance to Christmas carols. Although, they couldn't quite figure out who was leading. I wasn't allowed to chuckle too loudly because that isn't princess manners. I could only smile and nod. I didn't realize they knew so much about manners. It was one of the quietest times we've shared.

On Christmas Eve we went to church. Prior to the service the girls decided they wanted to go fancy to church. So, at the last minute we rushed around getting ready. They know that I love it when I can dress them up. I think it was their gift to me. Although they didn't let me fuss with their hair too much I was still happy.

The final show came on Christmas Day! They each got a set of Hannah Montana pajamas from Great Nani. They couldn't wait to wear them! So, of course I had to put on the CD and they danced and sang for me. They don't know most of the words but they got the moves! I'm not sure they have rhythm but they definitely have enthusiasm. Thankfully they didn't want to change a lot during the show. I would have much more laundry to do. They were quite happy in their cozy PJs!

Thanks to my girls my mood wasn't nearly as bad as I had anticipated. Christmas turned out to be fun in small unexpected ways. Their joy was very contagious. Soon I found myself laughing at the silliest things. Especially when I found some Barbie shoes by baby Jesus. I'm not sure what they were doing there but that cracked me up! If I ever see Jesus driving the Barbie Camper I think I'm going to laugh until I cry!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


2009? ALREADY? I'm sure it was just last year that we were preparing for Y2K, right?

I was able to take a partial break from working at Lemstone over the holiday. During the Christmas rush the Mall partnered up with Discover and held a contest. Customers were able to collect their receipts and turn them in for a GC. The mall employees were entered into a drawing for a $10 city wide gift card. I WON! It was even printed in the Mall monthly newsletter. My co-workers were quite jealous especially since I didn't work as much during the last week before Christmas. I'm just thankful that the customers I did help turned in their receipts. This increased my chances to win and apparently it worked! Now I just have to figure out what I want to buy! Quite the dilemma but I'm sure I will figure it out.