Saturday, June 30, 2012

Photo A Day June Wrap-up

This will be a very photo heavy post.  I'm proud to say that I managed to take all but one of June's photo prompts.  That one was the one for "imperfect", so that seems appropriate to me.  Anyhow, I know I've posted most of these before, but here are as many of the 30 shots I have on my computer.  There are a few I took on my phone that I posted to G+ and I'm too lazy to download right now.

June 2: Empty.  Empty container from making cupcakes for Boo's birthday party(ies).

June 3: On my plate.  The calendar got a lot more full by the end of the month....

June 4: Close Up.  The Koosh ball on my desk at work.  Love them.

June 5: Sign.  A bad picture of the gas station sign.  It's dropped a good bit since then, thankfully.

June 6: Hat.  The most important hats Boo and I wear, our bicycle helmets.

June 7: Drink.  Action shot of my morning tea, raspberry black tea by Adagio on this morning.

June 8 6:00.  Boo and I were playing at the playground at 6:00 that evening.  Isn't he cute?

June 9: View.  Just one of the many views I saw at Rock the Mall.  What a day!

June 10: Best bit of my weekend.  All the SWAPs I traded for at Rock the Mall.  That was definitely the best pat of my weekend.

June 12: From a low angle.  Shooting up the stairwell in our building.  Not creative, but a blech kind of day anyhow.

June 13: Art.  Boo's recent art, maps... to "places" or "everywhere".

June 15: Yellow.  I was trying to take pictures of the yellow fire hydrant in the park... Boo wanted to investigate.

June 17: In my bag.  A bit of a stretch, but Boo in one of the gift bags from Billy's birthday.

June 18: Something you don't know about me.  I spent an entire summer (at least every other weekend that is...) watching grass grow.  Marsh grass, not dune grass, but we didn't go over to the marshes on this trip.

June 21: Where I slept.  Yep, my messy bed... with bears...

June 22: From a high angle.  Looking almost straight down from the balcony.

June 23: Movement.  Turned off the flash while capturing Boo dancing.  He's always dancing.

June 24: On my mind.  Appropriate since Mom and I were looking at the possibilities of grave sites... yeah...

June 25: Something Cute.  How could you not call my boy-o cute in this picture?

June 26: Where I shop.  Well, this is where I picked up parts for Randy to work on the truck... let's not go there right now, shall we?

June 27: Bathroom.  Yep, books in the bathroom.

June 28: On the shelf.  My ugly mustard yellow bookcase at work.  No, not just books...

June 29: Soft.  Soft focus (tricked the camera on this one) of a soft fuzzie on my desk at work.

June 30: Friend.  My boy-o, having a "picnic" with some of his friends.  Cute, no?

So, here are most of the 29 pictures I took for this project this week.  I had a good bit of fun with it.  I'm going to attempt July's list as well.  Hopefully, not only will I take all the pictures, but I should also be able to get most of them posted here within a day or two of taking them.  Wish me luck!

Anyhow, I hope everyone is having a great weekend.
Peace to all and may you find a positive challenge and something fun every day.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Soccer... Fail?

Well... I jave decided that Boo just wasn't ready for socver.  I wasn't 100% sure he was when I asked if he was interested, but he seemed enthusiastic at the time, so I figured we would give it a shot.
As the weeks go by and he wants less and less to do with going and there are more and more tears involved in tryong to convince him to try, we are cutting our losses.  I don't want to totally ruin any fun organized sports in general may have or soccer in particular has for him.  I want him to feel free to try other sports or organized events in the future and not see them as something his mother makes him do.  I want him to see them as fun and exciting if you find the right one.
Therefore I am not going to make him finish the season.  I may suggest another sport or class in the future but it won't be for another year or two.  He just isn't ready for whatever reason and in whatever way he needs to be.  I still think he would enjoy soccer, just not right now.  I think he might love a gymnastics or dance class, but probably not right now.
We will see what the future holds.  For now it will be unstructured play and hopefully learning to accept adult led activities (other than Momma... and that doesn't fly a lot of days either...) by nex September when he starts school.  We shall see.

Peace to all and may you listen to your child's heart and not squash their sense of fun by making fun mandatory.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Durango Update

Well, here's a little update after yesterday's rant.  (That really wasn't very pretty was it?  I'm not taking it down as I needed to get that out of my system, but WOW!)

Anyhow, I got the car-truck (as Zoe used to call it) back at about 4:00 yesterday afternoon.  I started her up and drove her home.  Let me tell you, she ran a lot more quietly than she had in about two weeks.  I picked up Boo, tried to give him the bad news without sending him into hysterics (anything even remotely bad seems to send him into a panic attack for some reason... I have no idea where this comes from or when exactly it started...) and then headed over to Kat's so that she and I could go look at cars.
After showing the paperwork to Andy when Boo and I got to Kat's, I'm beginning to wonder.  I mean, the car ran better than it had in weeks.  It was quiet.  (I didn't push it hard coming home, which was a challenge for my led right foot... but...)  Andy didn't like what he did and didn't see on the paperwork.  I thought it strange that she was so quiet.

Anyhow, after much thinking overnight, I had Gak call the garage around the corner where we took the truck back in March when we had problems with the gear interlock.  I trust them. They really could have taken me for a ride back in March, but they didn't.  We couldn't get an appointment until next Thursday, but that's OK.  It's not quite as much of an emergency as it could be.  Thankfully my mom has the little red Honda that she's not driving at the moment and can lend it to us for a while.  That took a lot of the pressure of having to find a replacement car right now off. If I can get it to pass inspection, that'll buy us up to a year to figure out what we want to do.

In a year from now a lot changes.  In a year from now, Boo starts Kindergarten.  And, with the budget the way it is, I have to resign myself to the fact that he will not be able to go to United Friends no matter how much I want him to.  Not unless he got something like half or 3/4 scholarship.  Not going to happen, it looks like I make too much on paper.  That's what I get for making bad decisions over the past 7 or 8 years.  In a year from now we'll go from paying $600 to $800 a month for daycare to hopefully only $200 or $300 for after school care.  (Last year we spent over $7600 in daycare... it'll probably be a bit more this year...)  In a year I should be able to sock away a little more cash and actually have something of a down payment.  (And I know I shouldn't think this way, but if we can make it to March, I should not only have a tax refund but if all goes well with the business a small bonus at work...)  If I can manage to have an inspected, fully working vehicle in the spring along with a bit of a down payment, we should be able to afford a much newer, and nicer vehicle than what we can afford if we have to replace the Durango right now.

As far as what we're looking at, my main requirements are, automatic transmission, enough leg/head room for Gak and under $10,000.  Yeah, not asking for much am I?
Vehicles that I've seen around that I like include the PT Cruiser, Subaru Outback or Forester, another Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chevy Trailblazer or maybe even a minivan of some stripe.  I'm actually leaning more towards a wagon as opposed to an SUV (which most of those in PA are classified as station wagons, but they're really trucks).  I figure, if I've got to have a car payment again, I should at least be getting better mileage than what I'm getting now to make it a little less painful.  What I don't want is something from a brand that's out of business now.  The parent companies shut them down for a reason... because they weren't selling.  They probably weren't selling because the quality wasn't there.  Therefore, I'm not going to push my luck.

If you can't tell, I'm in a better place today than I was yesterday.  I'm still not happy and lighthearted or anything like that, but the outlook isn't quite so bleak and I can at least be optimistic again for a few more days.  The world may come to a screeching halt next Thursday when the place on Juniper looks at the Durango, but until then, I've got a sliver of hope that I may just be able to put off buying a vehicle for 6-12 months.  (Oh, if somehow I miraculously end up with $5000 or so and think I can get a loan at a decent rate, I'm seriously thinking that a new Subaru might be the next vehicle we get... if Gak fits.  Looking at the current specs online, it looks like they tend to have some of the most leg and head room in the class though... which is an awesome thing in our house.)

So, I'm going to wrap this up and try and get a little more work done before heading out to pick up a boy, figure out dinner, pick up my wonderful hubby, have the boys drop me off at Kat's before they go home and then have someone from Kat's take me down to Mom's to get the little red Honda.  Wow!  Talk about a run-on sentence!

Peace to all and may there be lights in the tunnel that aren't trains.  (Unless you're waiting for the train at the station... that's a different story all together....)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I have to vent right now.  Really, well and truly vent.
(As soon as I take care of this quickie for work...)

I just can't win.  We just can't seem to get ahead.  Every time I think we as a family are beginning to get somewhere, to have a little breathing room, to get ahead of the game even slightly financially, someone decides to pull the rug right out from underneath us.

Today is no exception.
Let me get the real whining out of the way...
I was so totally hoping that the next time I went shopping for a new vehicle, it would be a new vehicle, not just new to me.  And definitely not one that's already as old as the Durango is.

OK.  Hopefully the whining part is out of the way and the rest will just be outright anger and pissyness at the universe.  Yes, there is a difference.

Anyhow, as you may guess, today's rant has to do with cars.  Not just any car, but my beloved Durango.  My truck that I paid off just over 18 months ago.  The truck that has seen much abuse in it's life time, including getting rear-ended twice due to no fault of her own.  I've never been the most stellar about changing the oil on time or regular maintenance and all kinds of other things, but she's been tough and dependable.

Until a week or two ago when she started making a racket when I started it.  And was kinda loud when driving.  I just thought the oil was low and since I was getting it inspected today, not a big deal.

Well, it is a big deal.  A HUGE deal actually.  A mind-numbing, spirit-crushing, honking big deal.  You see, she was self destructing.  Through no fault of my own that anyone can think of, she's tearing her engine to bits.  There's metal shards all through the oil system.  It tore up the oil pump completely.  It's tearing up the engine bad enough that it will fail and must be replaced in order to have a hope of passing inspection.

The labor alone would be at least $1200.

That doesn't include the cost of any and all parts required, including a "new" engine.

This means it would cost around $5000 or $6000 to fix a truck that is only worth $4225 in great condition.  That's just stupid.

Thank God for Kat though.  She's got dealer friends, including one of those bargain basement places that sells the cars that people like me trade in after many years and many miles have passed since they first left the factory.  That's still going to cost us $6000 to $8000.

I don't have $1200 cash to cover labor, where the hell am I going to find $6000 for a "new" car?  Even if this had happened back in March before I managed to piss through my yearly bonus by buying two new computers (to replace one failing one and one fairly ancient one) on top of other things, I wouldn't have had the cash to fix this.  I might have been able to put more down on a newer car than we're looking at, but damn.
For once in my life I wanted a new car.
Or at least one that was less than 4 years old when I got it.
I wanted something shiny and nice and that would (with regularly scheduled smacks to the head by Kat) be able to be maintained and run for many, many, many years.  Or at the very least I wanted to get another 5 years out of the Durango.

I wanted to pay off all the credit card debt (or at least all but maybe a couple hundred bucks) before even thinking about a new car.
I wanted Boo to be in first grade and only having to worry about after school care before thinking about a new car.
I wanted to be able to get a second, more fuel efficient, car, not just replace one beat-up car for another beat-up car.

Right now, I just want to curl up under my desk and cry.
Right now, I just want to figure out where the hell I went so wrong that the money universe seems to hate me.
Right now, I'm trying to figure out how my brother, my awesome brother, can seem to have it all together and has an awesome job, an awesome wife and just bought an awesome house while all I seem to do is struggle.  I have an awesome husband and an awesome son, but my job isn't awesome any more, and our apartment may be pretty great, it's not an awesome house with a great yard for our awesome son to play in.
Right now, I'm trying very hard not to feel jealous of all the people around me that, at least appear, to "have their shit together", but I'm not being very successful.

So, if anyone has any brilliant ideas, I'm open.

Peace to all and may you not have any nasty surprises.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Whoops!  Looks like I took a little vacation from posting here.
It's been a bit of an eventful week.  I've been doing fairly well continuing with my Photo a Day challenge.  There's only one day that I missed, and that was Tuesday, with the theme "imperfect".  Seems kinda appropriate to me.

Anyhow, there are two interesting parts to the last 10 days or so.  One great, one not-so-great.

We'll start with the ugh one first, since it happened first anyhow.  I finally lost my cool at soccer.  Last Saturday was picture day.  Now, we all know Boo doesn't like to cooperate for things like this for strangers.  He doesn't want to be told what to do by anyone, let alone someone he doesn't know.  So, to say photos were a disaster would be pretty accurate.  I managed to get him to pose for the individual one.  Of course, the death glare that he's giving me will be quite precious in several years, but right now I can't see it.  Getting him to actually pose with his team? Forget it.  Not happening.  Not in any way, shape or form.  And yes, there were tears to go along with this.

Did I mention he'd already been pushing buttons all morning about not eating his breakfast (which he chose, a cheese sandwich) and just being Mr. Grumpy-pants?  Yeah.  Oh, I should note, we rode the bike over.  I love doing this because I can get a nice little ride in on the way over and back (it's just the other side of the park) and I don't have to fight all the other cars for parking.

Well, another little boy was being bribed to play with a donut.  Boo thought this was an excellent idea.  He kept asking for a snack and whining about it.  I made a deal with him, that I would get him a treat if he promised he'd go play with his team.  Well, it started out as "take a bite, go play and you can get another bite in a little bit".  That quickly dissolved into "Fine!  You can have the donut, but after you're done, you have to go play. *growl*"  Well, he gladly finished his donut but after insisting on going and washing his hands, refused to play.... including tears.
This is where I lost my cool.
I told him if he didn't go play, we weren't going out to lunch with Aunt Kat.  Yep, more tears, and add screaming into the mix.  I told him fine, we weren't going to lunch,but to at least watch.  Nope, no dice, even more screaming.  So, I growled "fine" and marched him over to the bike, put our helmets on and went off on a long-ish ride.  (I texted Kat to let her know we weren't going to lunch...)  I didn't talk to him.  I didn't ask him which way we should go, I just pedaled.  Eventually we went home.

Now, I didn't yell, I didn't scream and I didn't shout.  I sorely wanted to, but that would only make the crying worse.  I tried to calmly explain that he didn't uphold his end of the deal, so he wasn't going to get the fun of going out to lunch with Aunt Kat, Zoe, Aunt Steph, Billy and Rachel.  At least, I'd like to think it was calmly. It probably wasn't.  And all I could think about was that I'd become that mom.  You know, the one that forces her kids to do things they don't want to do only because she wants them to and only ends up causing a scene and making everyone uncomfortable.  Sure, I may be more excited right now about Boo playing soccer than he is, but he was plenty excited about it when I asked him if he wanted to play.  I'm mostly over that feeling, but since I'm human, there's still lingering doubt and I wince when I think too hard about the day.

Once we got home, I then dropped off the bike and our helmets and we ran out to get Gak's Father's Day present, which was a bit more adventure.  (I got him a great cookbook.  No, he doesn't cook, I do.  But it was the official Game of Thrones cookbook he'd been drooling over...)  I told Boo we weren't staying long and that we were there to get presents for Daddy.  He wasn't happy when I made him leave the train table and go home.

Getting him to nap was even more fun since he'd fallen asleep for about 3 minutes in the car on the way home.  Yeah.
Thankfully the rest of the evening went much better.  We went to the AT&T store and Gak swapped out his Windows phone to go back to an iPhone.  We went to Target and Best Buy to look around.  I got a new basket for my bike so I don't have to put everything into a backpack when I want to carry anything with me on a ride.

Father's Day was a good day.  I tried out my new bike basket by going to the grocery store for a few odds and ends for breakfast.  We did laundry.  We went back to Best Buy.  Gak really loved his new book.  We also went to Kat's house for Billy's 11th birthday party.  It was a good, relaxing evening.  Overall a good day.

Monday was the most awesome day of the week.  Boo and I got to go to the beach for the day with Amma.  Unfortunately, Gak had to work all day.  So, we drop him off at work early and headed down the turnpike to pick up Mom.  The drive down was uneventful.  The skies started out cloudy but cleared up quite nicely by the time we got to Rehoboth.  We spent a very enjoyable two hours or so on the beach.
Boo had lots and lots of fun in the sand.  He has a whole pile of sand toys, including some new ones from Amma and PopPop for his birthday.

The fun, and funny, part was when we convinced him to splash in the waves.  (The waves were quite something on Monday, the lifeguards were keeping everyone in close.)
In the past, we'd convince him to walk down to the water, he'd take one look and turn around and run in as straight a line as possible to our blanket.  Last summer we finally convinced him to join me in the waves and he loved it our last time there.  Well, this time he wasn't sure he wanted to go down to the water.  So, I left him and Amma there to go down.  About a minute later they came down.  Boo took one look at the water and ran back to the blanket.  Mom and I were laughing.  He comes running back with one of his buckets, takes one look at the water and runs right back to the blanket again.  Mom and I are laughing even harder now.  He does this one more time, but this time Amma convinces Boo to give her the bucket and hold my hand.  As you can see from the pictures, he had a blast.  Eventually he decided he was cold and wanted to get out.  OK.  After a bit more sand play, he asks if we can go back to the water.  You don't have to twist my arm hard on that one!  The second trip to the waves didn't last long, he was getting cold.  But we still had a lot of fun.

 After a bit more sand time we decide we are hungry and head back to the car to drop off the toys, we found out that I had Mom's license plate wrong and didn't actually pay for parking for her car and we got a parking ticket.  Oops.  We had some lunch, wandered around a bit, went to Browseabout Books where the boy-o got a new car and a new book and played with the trains for quite some time.  We then had some ice cream and headed out of town.  Right as we were pulling into the parking lot at the outlet I wanted to stop at, Boo's eyes flutter closed.  Mom tells me to go shop, she'll stay with the boy-o.  So, I went to the store I wanted to go to, found a new shirt and a new pair of pants for a total of $13.  Yep, thirteen whole dollars.  Usually the shirt alone is $15 or so.  I was quite happy with my find.

The drive back was uneventful and Boo slept for about an hour total.  We were heading back a little earlier than usual, but I still knew that if we didn't stop and grab a bite to eat before getting to Amma's, I'd be ready to chew my arm off by the time we got home.  We ended up stopping at this awesome little place in Wilmington.  It was called Lucky's Coffee shop.  I'd missed the turn for a Panera Bread and I really didn't want fast food.  I'm so glad I decided to give Lucky's a shot.  I had some of the most amazing french toast, potatoes and bacon that I've had in quite some time.  Boo's grilled cheese was every bit as delicious as the one he had the week before at the Silver Diner in Maryland and Mom's eggs, bacon, biscuit and potatoes looked done just right.  I ended up eating that French toast two more days for breakfast.

So, those are the highlights of the last week.  The only other interesting part of the week included me battling with the Girl Scout finances (I'm still not happy with the way the numbers are working, they don't seem to match what I'm expecting, but they are what they are and I'm just turning in the paperwork and being done with it!)  Work's been a drag (today especially so it seems) and I just haven't been up for much outside the normal routine.  Ah well, such is life.

This weekend should be a "normal" Saturday with soccer tomorrow.  I'm not holding my breath, I just hope I can hold my temper.  Sunday is and isn't going to be fun.  I'll get to go hang out with Mom, but we're looking at burial plots.  (Dad's health is in decline, no denying that.  He's made it clear he doesn't want to be cremated, too many burned Jews already; so we've got to find a place to put him whenever the time comes.  No, none of us expect him to be leaving any time soon, but it just makes life easier for everyone involved if something this simple is taken care of way in advance and everyone knows what is going on.  Hopefully it'll be years before we need to even think any more seriously about it.)

So, on that cheery note, I will wrap this up.  I guess I really should try and get something real done in the last half hour or so of work.

Peace to all and may your weeks be full and productive, your temper steady and your adventures full of fun and sunshine.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Photo A Day Update

Well, here's the next installment of Photo a Day photos.  I'm going to keep this short and sweet and mostly let the photos talk for themselves.

Day 7 was drink.  This is how I start my day most days.  With some tea.  This is the teapot that my brother and Becca got me for my birthday, and Gak got me another one of for mother's day.  I love the way it works.  (I'm also impressed I caught this mid-pour with my point-n-shoot and the lovely steam on the mug.  For anyone who cares, this was the raspberry black tea.  Good by itself, better with some of the raspberry patch herbal tea mixed in and even better iced.

Day 8 was 6:00.  I missed 6:00 in the morning.  At 6:00 in the evening, Boo and I were playing at the playground.  We had a good time, as usual.  We really do love the playground at the park.

Day 9 was to be my view today.  This isn't the one I posted on G+, but it works just as well.  This is a view of part of the crowd at Rock the Mall.  I told you all about our adventures there the other day.

Day 10 was supposed to be the best bit of my weekend.  Well, Sunday we went down to visit Amma and PopPop and had some minor adventures.  So, I thought I'd share a picture of the SWAPS I got at Rock the mall, because without a doubt, my DC trip was the best part of my weekend.  I think the one I have from the furthest away is the little blue pocket looking one, it's from North Carolina.  The closest one is the pin with beads in the front, that troop is from the next town up the road from where I work.  Yep, went all the way to DC to meet people from down the road.

Day 11 was door.  I've shot this little shed in across the stream form the park before, but I had to again.  Most of the doors around me on a daily basis are pretty boring.  I have some other great door shots, but I decided I had to take a new photo.  Of course, I left the house without my camera, so I had to use my phone.  Admittedly, my phone has a half decent camera on it.

Yesterday, day 12, was shoot from down low.  I wanted to get an awesome picture of one of the trees out front, but it was raining and I wasn't feeling very inspired but I knew I had to get some shot.  I took this one lying on the floor of the foyer of our apartment building.  Yep, that's my bike, Lady, there in the stairwell.  I kinda like the effect, but not one of my best shots.  I have much better shots taken from down low looking up.

Today, day 13, was art.  Yeah, that's helpful.  So, today I took a picture of some of Boo's art.  The latest batch he told me to take into work.  They're maps if you're wondering.  Maps to where?  Well, according to him, they're to "places".  Thanks kid; you're a help.

Overall I'm having fun with this.  Part of me wishes I had the time and energy (and equipment) to really "do" this from a photographer point of view, create some "real" art.  Part of me thinks I should just do this totally as "snapshots" and let art go to and pound sand.  Both methods have merit.  If I'm just trying to record a glimpse of the day with a single image with a theme, than snapshots are almost implied.  But, if I approach it as a way to push myself and and work on my skills as a photographer, than I should be approaching these assignments with more thought and care.  But, since I like both approaches, I'll probably try and push myself when and where I can, but revel in the snapshot nature of shooting with either my phone or my point-n-shoot.  I miss my SLR, and have been drooling over DSLRs lately.  I think part of me really wants to get back to "being" a photographer. 
 I miss it. 
 I just don't have time.  I don't have the time or the energy to really focus on it.  I don't have the equipment to shoot digitally the way I want to.  I still have my film SLRs, but my FG has a wonky back I just can't trust and my auto-focus one, I just get lazy with and don't actually take the time to play with the f-stop and shutter speed like I do with the FG.  I want to have ultimate control.  I want to play with the settings.  But... as much as I love working in the darkroom and developing and printing my own B&W film and photos I have fallen in love with the instant gratification of seeing what I shoot digitally.  (I also really miss the sound of the shutter, the real sound that is, and the feel of the mechanics of advancing the film... the tactile part of photography.)

Anyhow, I'm just rambling at this point.  I will gladly live with my little Cannon and hope that some day soon I'll be able to afford a DSLR and have some time to enjoy it.

Peace to all and may you stretch your skills and enjoy your challenges.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Rock The Mall

Well, it's 9:00 already.  I was going to spend the evening writing up the detailed story of our trip to Washington, DC and Rock the Mall.  That's not going to happen. So, I'll leave with you a few pictures and a brief description.

We left the church around 7:40 in the morning.  The drive down was pretty uneventful, even if two of us totally forgot to stop at the planned rest stop.  We got on the Metro at the Greenbelt station.  Along with almost an entire train full of girls and leaders and other people.  I feel sorry for anyone who thought they'd just catch the Metro and head into DC on a whim or were going about their normal Saturday routines.  The Girl Scouts totally took over the Metro. There was singing and swapping and story sharing.  We rode with a troop from Dover, DE.

We arrived at Smithsonian station right about noon.  There was a nice shady tree right near the exit from the Metro station that no other troop had taken over, so we did in order to have lunch.  We also borrowed the facilities at the Freer Gallery for a potty break.

You should have seen the masses of girls that had taken over the Mall and were steadily heading towards the Washington Monument.  It was like a sea of girls and leaders.  It was impressive just in it's own rights.  We joined in the migration and headed off towards the Washington Monument and the main event.

We never did get close enough to either stage to actually sing along, but we had so much fun talking to other girls we met wandering around and heading in the general direction of the stage.  I think the person from the furthest away that I talked to was from Arizona.  I saw someone carrying an Alaska flag.

We got to the other side of the Washington Monument ellipse because Rachel saw the fire trucks and just had to go up closer.  So, we were on hand to watch the telesquirt rise into the air and get ready to shower the people with water to cool them off. It was a lot of fun.  Liz did get separated from us for a few minutes, but we found her pretty quickly.

Since we couldn't get near the stage and it was already just about 2:30, we wandered through the WWII memorial for a bit.  The best part was that there was a Hero Flight chapter there with about two dozen or so veterans.  We were able to talk to and thank every one of them.  That was just as moving, for very different reasons, than seeing so many gathered to celebrate the wonderful thing that is the 100th birthday of Girl Scouts.

We were smart and didn't want to fight our way up the Mall to the Smithsonian Station, we walked a dozen or so blocks to a different station that was on K street.  We easily got onto a train and even made it with little fuss onto a car heading back to Greenbelt.  Once we got there, we used one of the GPS units to find a place nearby to eat.  We end up at the Silver Diner.  I could probably write an entire blog post on how awesome a diner it is.  But I won't, because as you can see, I've rambled on way longer than I intended.  Needless to say after dinner we headed back up 95 and home.  Boo and I got dropped off at about 11:15 or so.

It was a full day, and a fun day.  I'm very glad we did it, but I really don't need to be around that many people any time again soon.

Oh, and I've been doing Photo A Day June, they've all been posted on G+.  I'll do a more in-depth photo update tomorrow.

So, until then, I"ll leave you with these pictures from Rock the Mall.
Peace to all and may your adventures be fun and your weekends wonderful.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Birthday Week Review

Lots to catch up on.  I'm not sure I really gave a good write-up on Boo's birthday.  Of course, we were celebrating it pretty much all weekend for all intents and purposes.  We're finally down to just one cupcake left and about one more dinner of leftovers, but the vast majority of presents have yet to be put away in his room.

It's been a great week all together.  Nana got here last Wednesday.  Somehow, I managed to totally neglect mentioning that last week.  I took a half day off of work to fetch her from the airport with Boo.  Boo was so very excited to see her when she finally made it down to baggage claim.  It was fairly uneventful to get back home (unlike getting stuck for almost 20 minutes in traffic on the way down to the airport...).

Wednesday evening we got Nana settled in and made up Boo's "nest" on the floor of his room.  I think he slept on every available square inch of his floor this week.  He's a nest builder just like I am and was quite content to use Lee as a pillow/bed and all his blankies, friends and pillows to make a comfy looking nest.  (Thanks Aunt Abi for Lee!  See, not only is he a fun dog to have around, he doubles as a guest bed for small children! *laugh*)
After getting everyone Nana and Boo settled in his room for the night, Gak and I snuck out to get Boo's bicycle and some other odds and ends.

Thursday Nana got the boy all to herself while we were at work.  (Daddy had to put in a full day, so he left with me...)  Boo was glad to see me when I got home, but had a great, lazy, day with his Nana.  Gak and I actually got to go out on a date that evening!  Originally we were going to grab dinner, see a movie and maybe pick up the last of Boo's birthday gifts.  Well, we got dinner.  We wandered the book store but didn't find anything that leapt out at us and I just couldn't handle the thought of spending a few more hours staring at a screen, even though I really, really, really wanted to see Avengers.  (Gak's already seen it and the fact he's willing to pay to see it again says something...)  So, we wandered over to Target to pick up a few last minute things and headed home so I could wrap gifts and crash so I could get to work early.

Friday was the day.  I actually managed to get Boo in and out of the car three or four times without him noticing the bike in the back of the car.  We even managed to get it all the way upstairs without him noticing.  When he did, well, you saw the grin on his face from the post on the 1st.  I think I wrote up the big day itself pretty well in that post.

Saturday was super busy.  I started the morning extra early by running to the store for food for the evening's dinner as well as making both the goodie bags and the icing for the cupcakes in the afternoon.
We had soccer in the morning.  Boo almost participated.  Maybe in a few more weeks he will.  Maybe not.  I kinda hope he does, but if he doesn't that's OK too.  His coaches are awesome about trying to get him to participate without being pushy or mean.  He almost did participate a few times, until they noticed him and called his name and asked if he wanted to play.  Then he hightailed it right back off the field.  Oh well.  Apparently he does this at school too.  Eventually he'll be willing to participate in group activities.

After soccer we ran a couple of errands and caught up with Kat to drop off a few things with here that were going to the house.  Lunch consisted of Sonic drive-through scarfed down before trying to get the boy to lay down for a few minutes and me to finish getting everything for the bowling party ready.  The boys and Zoe had a blast bowling.  The four younger boys all bowled one game, while Zoe, Billy and I managed to get two in.  After the boys finished their game, we all had cupcakes and sang "happy birthday" and opened presents. It was nice to see his friends outside of school.  We've got to get the boys together more often, especially Boo and Dom.  They really are best buds.  It's so cute to see them playing together with their little blonde and little dark-haired heads close together hatching who knows what kind of ideas.  I hope they can remain friends a long, long time.

Gak walked over to the bowling alley after he got done work and got there right as we were wrapping up.  After that it was home to grab the stuff for dinner and let Boo ride his brand new bike for about half an hour.  Let me tell you, he hopped on and had no troubles.  Well, he doesn't always remember he can't pedal backwards on the new bike (that's the breaks) and he likes to go a few feet and then stop and yell out "red light!".  He's having fun and riding up a storm, so who cares?

Dinner at Kat's was fun and a nice gathering.  I have no idea how many people were actually there, but it wasn't many more than the normal number we have any given weekend.  The really surprising part, my dad actually came up with Mom!  Yep, PopPop was feeling like he needed out of the house and wanted to come up for his grandson's birthday dinner.  I can't tell you how happy I was to see him.  And I know Boo was extra happy too.  He loves his PopPop!

Sunday was a bit of an adventure, mostly in the good way.  Boo, Gak and I joined the rest of the group to head out to the MAAM WWII weekend air show in Reading.  We'd gone last year and had a lot of fun.  Breakfast was a bit of an adventure, but we survived.  The air show was a lot of fun and the weather was beautiful, other than the 20-minute or so downpour (that was quite a gully-washer) that trapped us in the Officer's Club.  Boo, Gak and I ended up leaving around 3:00 or so because a boy was exhausted and refusing to nap in his stroller.  That was fine as it meant we got more time at home with Nana.  Nana really wanted to come, but she was just exhausted after the traveling and all the going on Saturday.  She was thankful for the chance to rest for a bit.  I do wish she'd been able to join us, she would have enjoyed looking at the planes, and I know Boo would have liked having her there.

(The only thing I regret from Nana's visit is that we didn't really get a chance to go anywhere.  But, Nana said she mostly just wanted to spend time with her boy (Boo) and that's what she got.  I know darn right well in the grand scheme of things Gak and I aren't the main reason she wanted to visit, it was all Boo.)

Monday was another low-key day for Boo and Nana while Gak and I worked.  Amma was going to come up, but instead she spent the day with Aunt Beverly and Uncle Richard who were in town very briefly.  As much fun as it would have been for Boo to have a day with both his grandmothers, it was more important for Aunt Beverly to get time with her brother.

Yesterday I had the afternoon off because I had a doctor's appointment at 2:15 to follow up on the Vitamin D situation.  (Everything's good and getting better if I remember to take it, the two days I didn't, a day later I was sorry...)  Boo, Nana and I got to have lunch together and we tried to find a boy's T-shirt with something local on it that she could take back to her other grandson.  We weren't successful, but we did get another new Wilson chugger for Boo...  We also got Dragon pictures finally.  I'm not sure how many more years Boo will let me do that...

This morning Boo had his 4-year appointment.  His vision and hearing are excellent.  He wasn't too thrilled about the idea of getting on the scale for some reason, but he's 41.5" tall and 36.5 lb, putting him in the 70-75% range for both height and weight.  (I'm pretty sure he was only 40" tall when we were at Knoebel's a month ago, and he floats between 36 and 38 lb depending on clothes and time of day...)  He did very well with his two shots.  Yes, he screamed bloody murder with his MMR shot, but that stings like crazy, so it's understandable.

We also went to the bank and emptied out his banks.  We need to do that more often... He got to put almost $20 into the bank and kept almost $20 for his pocket.  He says he wants to buy books.  Nope, apple didn't fall far from the tree there... his daddy and I are some pretty big bookworms.  (Now to encourage him to actually make the leap to reading the words.  He's all but there...)

Then it was time to have some lunch with Nana and take her to the airport.  Kinda sad since we don't know when we'll make it out there or she'll be able to make it back here.  It kinda stinks, but that's just the way it crumbles right now.  If I had an extra $1200 or so sitting around, we'd be heading out there in the fall or over the winter after the Christmas rush.  But, I don't.  So, we won't.

In other random news, Steve is in Kuwait right now just waiting for space on a transport stateside to open up.  He should be home within the week I'm thinking.  Michelle is still overseas and will be until July some time.  She may be home this week, but that'll all be work related.  I can't wait to see either one of them!

Jon and Becca got a house and are settling in.

And here are the next few pictures for Photo A Day June:
June 5th was "sign".  I wasn't feeling very inspired, but I did like the looks of the sign at the gas station... and I think it's dropped another penny or two..  (just a snapshot from my phone...)

June 6th, today, was "hat".  The two most important hats in my life right now are my son's and my bike helmets.  I finally got a ride in with the boy-o today.  It's been raining in the afternoon for two weeks straight I think and with Nana here our schedule was all kinds of crazy so no rides.  I made Trey stay with the bike when we got to the playground because it had only stopped raining about 20 minutes before and I didn't need a dino tracking mud all over the apartment....

So, on that note, I'm heading to bed.  Sorry for the long ramble.
Peace to all and may your weeks be full and fun.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Photo A Day, June

I have lots and lots to write about this weekend.  But... as if I wasn't busy enough already, I've decided to play along with FatMumSlim's Photo A Day challenge.  I kinda stumbled across it when blog hopping the other day.  Feeling the need for a little inspiration and maybe a little bit of a challenge to shoot different things, I decided I might as well play along.  So, here we are on day 4.

I've got to keep this a little short, since I'm at work, but hopefully I'll have at least a little fun post every day, or maybe just a summary once a week.  I'm not sure how it'll pan out.

Without further ado...

Friday, June 1st was Morning:
I didn't decide to do this until I saw something about it at work.  So, I didn't get the morning picture I really wanted, my birthday boy sleeping in his nest.  So, you get a morning picture of his bicycle (don't mind the mess in the back of the truck...).

Saturday, June 2nd was Empty:
I was so busy most of the day that I kept forgetting to take any pictures that might fill this.  I could have gotten empty cupcake wrappers from his party, or empty dishes or all kinds of other things.  This is party related though, as this is the empty container of chocolate sprinkles we used to decorate the cupcakes I made for Boo's bowling party with his friends.  Both the bowling and the cupcakes were a hit.

Sunday, June 3rd was On Your Plate:
I kept forgetting to take pictures of my food, or any food for that matter.  So, before bed I snapped this one of our calendar in the kitchen.  It's not fully up to date.  But, even with missing some things, it still looks pretty full at the moment.  So, yes, we've got a lot on our plate.

Monday, June 4th is Close-up:
I had fun with this.  I saw my koosh ball sitting on my desk this morning and I just knew I had to play with the macro setting on my camera.  I like it when I can play around with this setting and actually get it to do what I want.  I'm really quite happy with the very short depth of field on this one and the nice, tight, focus.  Of course, I was wishing both yesterday at the air show and today playing around that I had a good DSLR.... I love my point-n-shoot, but I miss my SLR (and many days my film) camera... so much more versatile than this cute little pocket camera.  (This picture looks really cool full screen...)

So, peace to all and may you find something fun to shoot and an interesting challenge or two along the way.

Friday, June 01, 2012

4th Birthday

I just finished editing about a month's worth of photos.  Hopefully, I'll be able to do a full photo post in the near future and catch everyone up on everything.
But, for now, I will leave you with some pictures from Boo's fourth birthday.  The festivities continue tomorrow with soccer, a party for some of his friends and a family dinner.  Yep, busy, busy!

Nana is visiting us right now and that's been good.  She got here Wednesday and will be heading back to OK this coming Wednesday.  Boo has really enjoyed staying at home with her the last few days.

(And yes, between you and me, I can't believe my baby boy is four years old.  He really is less and less of a baby with every passing day!)

This year's big present was a brand new big-boy bicycle.  I noticed back in April or early May that even though I had moved his seat all the way back on his tricycle, he was almost hitting his knees.  I suggested he might want a big-boy bike and after looking at a few, he's been wanting this bright-green Jeep bicycle more than almost anything I can think of.

Anyhow, here are the rest of the pictures from this evening.

And for reference, here's a picture from four years ago today.  *Cry* Where did my baby go?