Sunday, December 20, 2009

Boy have I been a slacker (and other holiday ramblings)

I had no idea that it has been almost 2 months since I last posted. Time really seems to be slipping away from me these days. I would love to say that I have been busy doing all sorts of fun things, but alas, I think I have just been working and doing laundry. Oh and dishes. Lots and lots of dishes.

Enough of my whining! I can't believe Christmas is approaching so quickly (see time warp rambling). I'm looking forward to the end of this week when I can enjoy my family and be done with work for a bit. All three girls have really embraced the Christmas spirit this year so it has been extra fun to have them around. Some high points of our holiday season:

1. We have been to see Santa. Twice. First time was our annual trip to the Worthington Square Mall to see the lonely Santa who sits there by himself with no line. He is an awesome Santa too. Then we decided to go to the Christmas in the Park celebration to see Santa. In the pouring rain and 35 degree temperatures. Such a pleasant evening. LOL. Anyway, I was pleased that with both Santa visitations the girls asked for the same stuff that they have been asking for the last few months. Santa should be able to handle the load which is only 2 Leapsters and an iPod. The tree won't have much under it, but I am very thankful that my girls aren't asking for everything under the sun.

Here is the Santa from the mall:

The cool thing is that the same guy has been Santa at this mall for a long time, so our annual Santa pictures always feature the same person.

Here is the crowd after getting soaking wet waiting for their audience with Santa:

2. Sarah came home from school one day last week announcing that we "needed" an elf. So she emailed Santa (nice that he is wired these days) and very politely asked if he could send an elf our way. We now have Bernie the Elf hanging out in our house. They leave him notes and he answers them. Every night he finds a new hiding spot and they hunt for him in the morning. It gives them something to do while they anxiously wait for Santa's arrival. Here he is hiding in the laundry room:

I'm hoping he will do a few loads while he is in there today.

3. Sarah also got a bee in her bonnet about making some gifts for her friends, so we found some links on no-sew fleece scarves. It is a very nice project that only takes about 15 min per scarf. Of course, we ended up making 18 of them because each girl wanted their own yard of fabric and you can get 6 scarves per yard. All of their friends will be getting them as gifts and the extras will be put on the PIN (People in Need) tree at church.

4. The girls actually had enough snow yesterday to build a snowman. There wasn't much snow left in the yard by the time they were done, but she turned out awfully cute! They named her Snowflakes. What can I say, my girls are very imaginative. ;-) Snowflakes is not just any kind of snowwoman. She is a gourmet snowwoman. Not many of her species have dried cherries as eyes and a parsnip for a nose. Actually, I think the birds have already pecked her eyes out for the yummy treat.

Mary was especially pleased at their handiwork.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to do more fun crafting and to blog more. Both are things I enjoy doing and both are things that fall by the wayside when times get busy. So for all 3 of my readers, hopefully you can look forward to more posting in the new year! Happy Holidays!

PS - in case you are interested, I have lost 15 lbs so far. Only 60 more to go! Sigh.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Better Know a Playground, Part 2

Here it is folks, the post you all have been waiting for! Another installment of Better Know a Playground! This evening, Mary, Leah and I along with the Jessica's headed out to do some field research. Tonight's playground is located at:


Yep, this little-known playground next to the tiniest library ever features the climbing tunnel of death, the nearly vertical rock wall, and the dangling thingamabobs that Leah has had a hard time mastering.

Actually, the girls really love this playground because it is slightly more challenging than most. When the sign says "Ages 5 - 12" for the main play area, they truly mean it.
The toddler playground is fairly expansive. There is plenty to do for the just-started-walking crowd.

Not only is there a toddler play structure, but there are some rocking structures and some swings for the wee-ones.
Since we brought along not-wee ones, we spent most of the evening at the big kids playground.
I actually hauled my arse up to the top of the play structure so I could take this picture:
Mary, Lilah and Leah climbing up the curly slide:
Mary and Evie striking a pose:
Lilah taking one for the team and climbing up the tunnel of death:
Leah and the required rock wall shot:
Mary and Evie on the rocking fire engine:
Mary trying out the dangling thingamabobs (I wonder if they have a real name?):
Mary practicing to be a future fire fighter by sliding down the pole:

All-in-all, my girls rank this playground pretty high on their list. It is nice that Sarah feels a little challenged by it as most playgrounds don't do much for her anymore.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Newest crafting obsession!

Yes folks, I have been two-timing my inks and stamps with another crafting obsession. Shhhh...don't tell them, but I have started down the path of no-sew fleece blankies! Actually, I have been looking for a craft that Sarah and I could do together to make useful Christmas gifts for Nana, Grandma & Grandpa and Aunt Lori.

I think we have zeroed in on a choice!

These blankets are so easy a caveman could do it. Well, perhaps that takes it too far. Anyway, we did three test blankets (can't do just one when you have three kids!). I really like how they turned out and the girls all love that they have snuggly blankets for the couch. Just in time for our house to be set at a balmy 67 degrees for the winter.

Here are the three test subjects:

Mary's is on the left, Sarah's in the middle and Leah's on the right. I intended for these blankets to be used for couch dwelling during the winter months, but Mary & Leah have kidnapped their blankets and are holding them captive in their room.

As for the details, I made each one 2 yards (supposedly the size of an adult blanket). Each cut for the tied fringe is 5 inches long and 1.5 inches wide (because I'm lazy and wanted to get away with the least amount of labor possible). All in all, it only took me about 1.5 hrs per blanket. Not too shabby! I just hope that everyone on my Christmas list this year is prepared to receive one!

PS - First weigh-in today and lost 7.8 lbs! Yeah for water weight!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Adios Ben and Jerry!

It is time. Time to finally break down and join Weight Watchers yet again. I have done it before, with great success. Each time I got down to a manageable weight, I would get pregnant and gain 70 lbs (no seriously, I gained 70 lbs when I was pregnant).

Ever since Leah's birth, I just haven't felt the urge to take the plunge yet again. It is just so much work and that third kid just pulled all the last vestiges of energy right out of my bones.

I will be starting on Tuesday, so for the last week I have been having the farewell tour of all my favorite bad-for-you foods. I think I'm at the point where I welcome the idea of only eating fruits and veggies for a while. I think I have done some serious artery clogging this week!

So I'm saying ADIOS to Ben and Jerry. I wish it was Au Revoir, but I think I need to just come to the realization that my life will be better without you. LOL!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Better Know a Playground, Part 1

It has been requested that I share some of my playground knowledge that I have gained in my multi-part series entitled "Better Know a Playground". I can't tell you how many parts this series will have because I really don't know how many playgrounds we have tested out. It seems like a zillion, but probably more like twenty. For all you Steven Colbert fans out there, this series was indeed inspired by his 435 part series "Better Know a District".

The playground of choice for today: Northwest Park. I don't name 'em folks, I just drag my children to 'em. BTW, this is about as busy as I have ever seen it on a non-soccer day. During soccer games, the place is packed. It is located just south of Henderson Road, West of Coach Road.

This is a playground we haven't been to for a while. In fact, I don't think we have been here at all this summer. The play structure is actually very tall as far as playgrounds go. I took the girls there a couple times last summer but decided it was WAY too tall for a then 2 1/2 yr old to be using. It was definitely heart-attack inducing watching Leah play on it.

Fast forward to this summer, and Leah is perfectly capable at 3 1/2 to climb over the entire structure and go down the slides without fear she will fall off the side.

Here she is demonstrating her new favorite playground equipment, the rock wall.

The slides on the main play structure are quite tall. Mary thought they were the greatest thing ever, for today.

Yes, I am one of those parents that let my kids walk up the slides.

One of the major drawbacks to this playground is the toddler area. It is seriously lacking. We have better stuff in our basement.

That is the entire toddler playground. I didn't even have to step back to take the picture.

My girls absolute favorite part of the park is what I call the Little House on the Prairie hill. They run up and down over and over and over to the point of exhaustion. It is great!

Can't you just hear that theme song in your head?

While we were perched up at the top of the hill, the girls decided to pick a few flowers. I have to say that I always appreciate photo ops that involve my kids and nature!

All in all, it is a nice playground to spend an hour, but it isn't going to keep them entertained for a long period of time. If you hit it when there aren't soccer practices or games, it is nearly empty, which is a major bonus. The walking path around the park is very long and actually connects to Burbank, so you can give it some bonus points for that feature too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mirror Lake

One of the things that has been on our summer to-do list for years is to have a picnic at Mirror Lake. For anyone who has never suffered of Buckeye Fever, Mirror Lake is a lovely little spot on campus at OSU. To make it extra fun, The Jessica's also have been meaning to show their girls the joy that is Mirror Lake, so we made it a picnic party.

Over Labor Day weekend we finally took the plunge and picnicked (is that a word) our brains out.
Supposedly, the water is so clear that you can see your reflection (thus the name "Mirror Lake"). I think perhaps it should be renamed to "Murky Lake". Or even better "Murky Pond". Don't think I didn't find the area beautiful. It was quite lovely. I just couldn't see my countenance in the water.

Now, you can't live here without eventually either falling in love with OSU or totally hating it. There is no in-between. I don't get the haters because OSU gives our city so much rich culture. That must be why those haters root for Michigan. They have no culture.

The OSU brainwashing starts early around these parts.

No trip to the campus is complete without dragging five kids to the newly renovated library. You know, the place where college kids are trying to do research and study and stuff? In quiet? The new library is gorgeous!
There is a fantastic look out spot on the 11th floor that has great views of the campus and the surrounding area. I had to include the west view that has what some would say is the most important part of campus. Mary says this is where they have the soccer games with Dippin' Dots. I think Woody might have turned over in his grave.
On that note, here's hoping for a very successful day on Saturday for our beloved Buckeyes! GO BUCKS!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Day of School

Today is one of the three most highly anticipated days of my life - Mary's first day of Kindergarten (Sarah and Leah's being the other two). Actually, I don't know if you could technically call today the first day of K. She was only there for an hour and fifteen minutes. They do this lovely staggered-start thing to drive the parents insane. Her first day with the entire class for the entire time (a whopping 2 hrs, 45 min) is actually on Friday.

Either way, she was really excited to officially meet her teacher, Mrs. M. She is the same teacher that Sarah had for K and she is fabulous. Mary also told me she met a new friend, but didn't know his name. That's par for the course for her. It took her a few weeks to find out the names of the kids she was regularly playing with when she switched preschool. I can just picture her calling everyone "Hey You!".

Sarah also had her first day of school today. She was very nervous and hardly slept last night. I think after finding out that she knew most of the fourth graders and a good chunk of the third graders in her class that she felt a lot better (it is a 3rd/4th combo class). One major disappointment to her is that she didn't get her best bud in class with her. Of course, her older brother is in her class (he's in 4th).
Here they are...all spit-shined and ready to go!

Mary in her backpack that weighs almost as much as she does:

Here is Sarah with the Wickliffe Wolf. Every school needs a old statue of a wolf with sharp, rusty faux-fur.
Here are both girls. Mary isn't as enamored with the tradition of the wolf-photo on the first day as Sarah is.
Of course, the best part about school starting is that I am *THIS CLOSE* to being part time again. Can't wait until September 1! Woo-hoo!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I just LOVE the Columbus Zoo. We are so fortunate to have such a nice facility so close to our home. On a nice crisp day like today (yes, I realize it is only Aug 22...but it was still cool this morning), the zoo is an ideal place for a nice stroll. The nice thing about having a membership is that we can just go for an hour or two, see a few animals and go home for lunch. The girls usually end up taking a nice nap in the afternoon, too. Can't beat that!

Because three kids aren't nearly enough, we brought along a couple extra. Actually, we haven't had Rachel and Becca for a long time so it was really nice to have all the girls together.

When we arrived, Leah kept talking about all the cowboys around. We finally figured out that she meant the huge contingent of Amish folks because of the hats the men wear. I can totally see how she would mistake an Amish guy for a cowboy. HA!

Here the girls are with Baldy the Eagle. We actually didn't see him until our way out of the zoo, but right before we walked up to him, he was completely mobbed by Amish kids. Thankfully by then, Leah was over the "cowboy" thing.

Here is a picture of three apes. You might recognize the ape in pink as one of my crew.
I just liked this picture. It was shocking that all five girls managed to get on there at one time. I didn't even have to pose them! Bonus that there aren't any extraneous kids on it too.

Speaking of posed...Sarah really wanted me to take this picture. It does make you wonder why there is a giant ladybug on the food though. Kinda makes you lose your appetite.
Here are Mary and Becca hanging out on the Hammerhead Shark. For some reason, I can never get both of them to look at the camera at the same time. I wonder if that is bad mojo for them or something.
Sarah and Rachel have no issues with posing and looking at the camera.

We trekked through the zoo for a few hours and I STILL haven't seen the baby elephant. Beco will be full-grown by the time I finally get around to his part of the zoo!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pool vs. Pond

Last weekend we went to Joe's cousin's house for a birthday party. The 80th birthday of his Aunt to be exact. At their house, they have a picnic shelter, large pond, play set, outdoor potty facilities, and on and on and on. Actually, their "house" is really more like a "compound".

As the girls were getting into the pond for an afternoon swim, I was struck by how little they cared about swimming in a pond. Well, once they got over the mucky bottom that is.

I personally think that any place I'm submerging myself into should be highly chlorinated and only contain human life forms. Ponds in general have a high "ICK" factor for me. I don't mind skirting around the edges and wading a bit. As long as I can see the bottom and know that no giant monster fish is going to attack me, I'm OK. Much farther into the water than that and it takes a cattle prod or something.

When we went to Lake Cumberland for vacation this summer, I did jump off the boat and swim a bit, but that was only after substantial peer pressure. I could have been quite happy sitting on the boat and taking pictures of everyone else. Being in lake water that was 100+ feet deep wasn't all that appealing. Who knows what kind of horrid creature was lurking in the depths? I shudder to think about it.

Here are some pictures of the girls at the pond last weekend. You can see that there was a killer crocodile there. Or was it an alligator? I never remember how to tell the difference.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

T-shirt Obsession

Like any good mom, I resort to bribes when I'm really desperate. Over time, I have discovered that the most effective bribe is dangling out a new t-shirt purchase. My girls LOVE "cool" t-shirts. I'm not sure what the criteria is to be deemed "cool", but each of them seem to have their own t-shirt rules.

Sarah has been really trying to get out of the girly pink/purple mode. Actually, the girl has a really nice sense of style. I will never fear that she will be one of those shlumpy teenagers. Of course, I can see her as the one who has to have all the latest trends.

Mary is really into anything Super Hero. The really nice thing is that Old Navy has come out with a line of girly super hero t-shirts. Right now Mary has two of them but I suppose that over time she will end up with the entire line.

Leah just likes anything that the other two tell her to like. She's pretty easy (for now).

Here are the girls modeling their latest t-shirt acquisitions (Aunt Lori purchased them yesterday):

I thought this shot looked like a pose you might see in the Old Navy weekly flyer. Look at those girls having a great time in their t-shirts! Don't you wish you were them? LOL!

Sarah wanted to get some pictures of them while on the swing set. Here is one shot that I particularly liked of her:

and here is Mary hanging out on the swings:

Leah decided she wanted no part of the swingset photo op. She's that way, ya' know!
Now they just need to start acquiring some bottoms to go along with all these tops!