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11 posts from July 2012

July 29, 2012

In just about 58 hours,

a certain someone is going to waltz stumble through our front door.  Someone who may even not have a set of keys, as he certainly hasn't needed them for the past 9 weeks, 6 days and 3 hours, though I'm not counting, really, I'm not.

Peter arrives on Wednesday morning at some God-awful early time and I promised him a stretch limo with a bar money for a taxi in his bank account.  Nice of me, eh?  I figure since I've been holding down the fort all this time, it's the least I can do.


Swim team is over :-(, but it rocked while it lasted!

I'd say we'd have a welcoming crew up and ready, but they are pretty keen on sleeping in these days when/if they can. After all, swim team only just ended, IFTA is still going on for another week and one of us has summer fun camp TWICE this week!  So, we will see what happens, though I'll hopefully be up with at least enough energy to brew a cup of coffee so I can stay awake to watch Peter fall asleep on the couch five minutes after he gets home.  At least I will know things haven't changed?


Oh, and that's such a good thing.  Might I say now, barring anything that happens over the next two days (lest I jinx myself), that thus far things have gone rather smoothly?  Whether it's the kids or just having so much to do, this tour has been so fast.  It seems like he just left and already we are looking at the commencement of his first R&R.  Next thing I know, the movers will be pulling up, so if time could slow down a wee bit, that's a-okay with me.  And, yes, even on an unaccompanied tour.  

Yes, there have been nightmarish, crazy days.  However, days when Peter are here can be just as insane. In fact, I remarked the other day that this tour has been easier, yes, EASIER than his 3 years on Secretary's Detail.  If you want insanity in a schedule, that's the tour for you.  This, thus far, has been a cake walk compared to that.  Having pre-set R&Rs that no one can interrupt?  Amazing!  In fact, this may well trump any DC-related tour since we manage to have more time to talk when we are both awake even being 8.5 hours apart time-wise. Who'd a thunk that?

Sad to say it's taken a UT to give us quality time, but at least thus far it hasn't appeared to hurt the kids. Nicholas keeps talking about how Peter is "coming home to visit and then go back to his hotel" (I think the word "hooch" is just beneath him) and is happy to have conversations lasting a whopping 32.5 seconds before he runs off to post yet another Lego Police chase video to my twitter feed (and thus Facebook) with the important message of "EXXXMODOIOSIJHS!"

I'd worry about Cait except that she is busy finding herself in her drawing (or has found herself, I don't know, conversations are short at best) and thus is totally occupied and far from miserable.  Kelsey went so far as to ask me the other day to be sure that Peter does NOT wake her up when he gets home, as she needs her sleep.  So, guess, uh, the kids are okay?

And with that, I'd best hurry off, as I only have 48 hours or so to make the house look remotely decent. Better start with that pile of bonbon wrappers by the couch....

(As if, everyone knows I'm a Ghirardelli dark chocolate square kinda girl!)



July 27, 2012

{this moment}: Big Shoes to Fill

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. One photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 


Idea courtesy of Soulemama.  


July 22, 2012

Could time fly

any faster?  Peter arrives home next week and there is still so much to do before he steps off that plane.  My project list is a mile long and between the cars being in and out of the shop every other day, the a/c going and just the busy-ness of life, I'm just not getting that much checked off.

The upside to that is forgetting, at times, that he is gone.  I remember quite clearly when it's ladies night out and I can't get a sitter (IFTA has Cait zonked during the week) or there is an event that he should be at and his absence is, well, noticeable.  However, now we are so used to it just being the 4 of us that I have a feeling we are going to have a bit of adjusting to do when he arrives home for his *visit* next week, as Nicholas has aptly termed it.


When we aren't going nuts trying to complete projects or just being busy, we do manage to carve out time for fun days.  Last week, we joined other members of a playgroup at the Be With Me Playseum in DC.  



Working the pizza oven
Pizza anyone?

Wow!  What a place!  Seriously, this is a great little (but seems spacious) play museum for kids.  Located in a bustling area of Southeast, it is easily accessible by Metro (4 blocks from the Eastern Market metro) and covered parking is just around the corner (75 cents for two hours).  



Kelsey & Abe.


I really didn't know what to expect when we arrived, but was very impressed.  The middle area is a welcoming landing where they sell entrance bracelets, snacks and one can also purchase play dollars for bakery treats.  To the left is a separate room with a sand play area, which also has a stairway to the upstairs.  One can head up and visit a mini grocery store, Grandma's attic (complete with a typewriter EONS older than me), a mini wax museum with a lifelike Abe Lincoln, a dollhouse/dress-up room (well, dress up is in nearly every room), a cowboy room and I am probably forgetting something...


He passed every item over the cash register and made a "beeping" noise to simulate the scanner.

Downstairs houses among other things: a pizza parlor, an open play area (with a real Kayak, water not included), a toddler play area, and a bakery where children can decorate fake (or real!) cupcakes and/or blend a smoothie.  The kids had a great time and while we did not stay as long as we might have due to rumbling bellies (they do have a small "cafe" where kids can nosh on treats brought from home) and an early closure, we will definitely go back.



Lots of "Ride-em, cowboys!"

Did I mention the owner helped the kids with the cupcake decorating?  Nothing makes kids feel that much more special than watching the *boss* really enjoy her job and meet with her constituents, if you will.  I can't say it was a downide for us, but it is in DC in a converted house, so be prepared for lots of steps inside.  There is a stroller room, so no worries if you happen to walk or metro and need a place to park the pram.  ` 

This week? No idea what is on tap other than meetings (yep, several weekly it seems) , a doctor's appointment (hopefully it's nothing, but there's just a little something I need to get checked out) and trying to plan some sort of vacation before you-know-who arrives next week...wish me luck!


July 20, 2012

{this moment}: Ride 'em, Cowboy!

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. One photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 


Idea courtesy of Soulemama.  


July 13, 2012

{these moments}: One happy camper

is home!

{these moments} - A Friday ritual. Two photos - no words - capturing moments from the week. Simple, special, extraordinary moments. Moments I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment(s)' in the comments for all to find and see. 


and her camp creations...


Idea courtesy of Soulemama.  (If you are wondering, she had fun...tons and tons of fun.  I'm just so happy for her!)


Fight the bite!

Angry about the new Oakwood policy regarding pets?  Worried this will be financially draining or cause you even more angst about a long-term training stay in the DC area?  Please send your concerns via email to AFSA.  The more people that write, the louder our voice will be!

AFSA's email address:  member@afsa.org.  

From one concerned pet lover to many more...thank you!


Please note that Oakwood's pet policy on the Falls Church page simply says:  pets allowed with a 2 pet maximum. No indication of the costs involved or that anything has changed.

July 12, 2012

Taking a bite out of pet owners...

Yep, as if the whole kerfluffle with United wasn't enough, we have this lovely bit of breaking news:


There is an update to the pet policy for all Oakwood and ExecuStay apartments, effective 08.01.2012 :  any new reservations will have a new pet fee; for guests already booked, the current fee will apply as booked initially.

  • There will be a non-refundable pet fee of $ 400.00 / per pet (2 pets max) along with a $ 4.00 /day pet rent charge per pet for all long term stays. (30 days +)
  • For any short term stays (less then 30 days) there is a $ 10.00 / day pet fee
  • Please note, the policy of weight and breed restrictions still remains


This was posted on the Oakwood page today (for the direct bill/overseas lodging program) and already has pet owners up in arms and even more frustrated.  With little notice, the fee (non-refundable) has been upped by at least $100 (I heard it was last set at $300) and now there is the added bonus of a $4/day pet rent for long-term stays!  Mind you, there are already breed and size restrictions, so you are not likely to run into Cujo in the hallway anyway.

Truly ironic, as just today I was visiting a friend at Oakwood and thinking what a nice set-up it is.  Pool, tennis, grills, lots of stuff for kids, families, singles and, yes, they accomodate pets!  

Well, if you can afford the ransom.  I am not against fees for pets, but think anything over $150 needs to be at least partially refundable. Why should you have to pay a fortune if your pet did not cause any damage?  I understand a modest amount for cleaning, but almost $1500 in pet rent for one pet for a year-long stay?  Quite honestly, sounds like a huge scam to me and I would not be surprised if this caused a number of people to rethink their stays at Oakwood and stay at other more family-friendly locales (since our pets are our family members).  I know I would....

Oh, and you needn't worry, this issue is being tackled by FS pet advocates!



July 11, 2012

Three weeks from today

a certain someone will be home from his *work* (as Nicholas calls it) and honestly, I don't know if I am ready!  I have a laundry list of items I still need to tackle and feel like time is passing so quickly.  One minute it was late May and now it's nearly mid-July.  The days are running away from me, if not sprinting.

Granted, it's only been 7 weeks, but somehow it seems longer.  We are midway through Kelsey's sleepaway camp, Cait deems IFTA "okay-ish" (it exhausts her and she goes to bed early and gets rest: I LOVE it!) and Nick is attending 'Summer Fun Care Camp' at his Montessori at least twice a week.  I have weekly meetings (if not more) for AAFSW, trying to catch up on house issues (plumbing, a/c, finally got door trim painted today), getting car repairs handled (how is that easier with only one person managing?), remembering to make dinner (whether or not kids remember to eat or stay awake for said meal), laundry, work on donations & decluttering, trying to plan some semblance of a vacation and remember that Peter's visit, while nice, will turn us upside-down yet again.

Oh, and two weeks after he leaves, school starts already!  Insanity.  It seems like school just ended and soon things will be starting up all over again...including, if things go well, school for me at FSI.  Yes, I have *decent* Spanish, but I would like to be truly fluent, not just able to get by (translation:  Be able to speak in more than one tense).  Barring any issues with me getting a spot,  I will hopefully start classes in the fall or early spring (worst case scenario).  My volunteer work with AAFSW is growing and getting more intense as we have the following coming up:

  • Happy Hour at the end of July!  
  • Another UT Happy Hour in September!
  • Art & Book Fair (yes, October will be here before we know it!)
  • The very popular TCK panel? Look for another one soon...and so much more.

I am glad we have so many initiatives going on right now and must say, it definitely keeps me far more involved than I expected.  Who has time to be lonely when one is crazy busy?  Then there is the PTA, the Girl Scouts, me trying to fit in any exercise and, oh, trying to think a wee bit about next year's move while fitting in a modicum of social events.

Yes, I'm exhausted.  It's a good exhausted, though, as I feel like not only am I accomplishing things while Peter is gone, but the kids are fine.  They miss him, but just keep going, having fun and enjoying their summer.  I don't stress about some of the normal UT issues, as they are just going with the flow (as intense as it may be) with me.  I can't ask for much more than that, can I?


July 08, 2012

A quieter house

we will have this week, thankfully only as Kelsey has gone to camp.  Yes, that sentence might sound a bit strange, but not long after we dropped Kelsey off at her Girl Scout camp, I had one of the scariest times of my parenting *career* (if you will).  I'm debating whether I will blog about it or not, lest my parenting license be pulled despite everything being just fine.  Mysterious enough for you?

There is no mystery, however, regarding Kelsey's excitement about camp.  She helped plan, sort and pack every item for her trip.  She let me label (might I say how I LOVE Mabel's Labels...so easy to use!), while she folded and sorted things into Ziploc bags.   Now, I'm not a fan of things plastic, but I must admit the Ziploc idea turned out to be fantastic, especially when it began to pour the minute we arrived at Camp!

She sorted outfits into days of the week, picked out special accessories, chose special recipients for pre-addressed cards, and carefully packed her toiletries.  We labeled all of the Ziplocs, piled them into the camping backpack and small rolling bag, loaded up the pillow and sleeping bag and off we went!  Oh, and if that seems like a lot, it is only as it is what was requested.  There was a full page with at least 6 lists of items in very small fonts of what they were to take to camp.


I swear the pack weighs more than she does, but she hefted it with no complaints.

Now, Kelsey has done her share of campouts, sleepovers and long visits to relatives, but this is her first true full week at sleepaway camp.  I'd say I was worried (I was a sniveling mess for the first 13 of 14 days of my first sleepaway camp experience at age 10), but on the ride out there, she requested to ride the bus home rather than have me pick her up.  If that's not a good sign, I don't know what is.


Oh, and when she walked off to her cabin with her counselor, she did not look back once.  Nick and I watched until she was well in the woods, but not so much as one more wave.  It made me a teeny-tiny bit sad and extraordinarily excited for her at the same time.  It will be strange not to talk to her for 6 whole days, but I so can't wait to hear about the week...and so glad she has the confidence to go!


July 06, 2012

{this moment}: Gotcha!

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. One photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 



Idea courtesy of Soulemama.  


July 05, 2012

So, apparently in our neighborhood

leaving a child's toy out (accidentally, mind you) in the front yard will get you in trouble.  However, your new neighbors gutting their house, giving no apologies or explanations, having workers at their house making noise from 7 a.m. until 8, 9, or 10 o'clock at night (every night, including Sundays & holidays)?  It's been almost 4 weeks now and no end in sight.

The worst part?  It's all perfectly legit, even if it screws with your kid's sleep schedule and the dirt, dust, noise and smoke (because all of the workers smoke...lovely) drifts into your front yard.  

What a world we live in....