Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thus Begins The Insanity!

Tomorrow is April 1, and in a week, my baby will turn 1.  It is something I simply cannot fathom.  She is a beautiful, smart, funny little darling, and while we’ve had moments of stress and anxiety in the past year, I would not have changed a thing about it at all.  I have a dream job—staying home and raising a little person.  What a joy!  Even though I just had some Easter portraits done at Sears, I scheduled an appointment to have some more portraits done on her actual birthday over at Picture People, since they sent me a coupon. 

Today, Leah and I went to the mall with my friend Lisa and her little guy, Daniel, who is about 5 months older than Leah.  We walked them around the mall, they both met the Easter bunny, we had a nice lunch, and let them play at the playpark in the mall.  Lisa and I met last summer when I decided to have a Pampered Chef show and put a notice in every mailbox on the street to try and meet my neighbors.  Unfortunately, Lisa couldn’t make it, but we started walking together around the neighborhood.  Leah was still too little to play much, so we didn’t really hang around, but now that Leah is a little bit bigger, we’ve been spending more time together.  Tomorrow, we are going to go up to DC to see the cherry blossoms, have a picnic, and let the kids play out on W. Potomac Park.  It should be a great day.  We are both going back to WW the Saturday after Easter (Leah’s birthday party), and we’ve been motivating each other to walk a couple miles each day when the weather is nice.  I have been enjoying having a friend right down the street and we have common interests and a similar parenting philosophy.  The other night, she, Daniel, and her husband were walking around our block and stopped over.  John and Michael hit it off like a house on fire, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of them!

Work started on the house today.  The main level and all the brick and the front porch were powerwashed and the old shutters were removed.  It looks kind of odd in that whoever lived here before didn’t bother to paint underneath the shutters when they painted the house, so we can actually see the color of the original brick.  It makes me wish even more that whoever did it had not painted the brick, but what’s done is done, so now we will finish the job.  We picked what I hope is a nice yellow color, although I suspect that it’s going to be more beige-ish.  I’m reserving judgment till I see it, but I hope I’m going to like it!

Then it’ll be time to get ready for the weekend!!!!  I plan to spend Friday shopping and defrosting a giant turkey, as well as starting to prepare the coconut cake I’m going to make for dessert (unless I wimp out at get the Wegman’s Ultimate White Cake, which, frankly, is AMAZING).  Saturday will be spent doing preparations for Easter, and then in the evening I’ll be going off to dinner and bingo with Wendy.  (Anyone else want to play?  We’ll be in the usual spot!)

I’m really excited for Easter.  I think we’ll have a nice crew and it’ll be fun having some kids around.  Most importantly, Mr. Gobble will be out of my freezer, freeing up valuable real estate for provisions for the party.  I hope the painters get the house painted by Easter is the only thing!  I plan to take Leah to church first thing and then we’ll get cookin’!  So far, Manda is bringing potato salad, Melissa is bringing devilled eggs, and Wendy is bringing a ham and mac n’ cheese to make her fussy eaters happy.  I think we’ll have a nice variety of food for sure.

Monday is book club.  We’ll be discussing Olive Kitteridge and then I will post a review here afterwards.  Friday, Michael is having some training on Leah stuff, and then we have to go to DMV, since we just discovered his ID expired a year ago!  Then we’ll start preparing for the big blow out.  My buddy Joe is coming down Friday to help out, and we’ll go and get the food.  I hope the weather is nice—we’re going to try having a cook out and I would love to be outside as much as possible.  If you’re coming and it’s nice, please bring a camp chair, lawn chair, etc. if you have them.  Saturday is the party and then Sunday I have choir practice.  Then Jennifer arrives that Thursday, and we’ll spend Friday apartment hunting.  Saturday we will take her back to Richmond to the airport, go to a birthday party in Richmond, and hopefully meet up with some new friends we’ve been corresponding with through our adoption attorney—they are hoping to adopt soon, and have turned to us for advice.  The following week is our wedding anniversary, and a pile of dress rehearsals for the chorus concert, which is the following weekend.  The 24th, I am getting together with my friend Kris, whose kids and husband will all be out of town.  The 25th is the big concert (tickets are still available at the low, low price of $85!), and by then, it’ll be the end of the month!  Sheesh, I’m tired just thinking about it.

I’ve been in contact with a friend from home since I sent out the email asking people to vote for Leah.  I said to her that if we won, we would come visit her while we are in NYC, since she lives in NYC, and she told us not to wait, to come anyway!  Turns out she lives right near where I went to college, so I’m thrilled that I can go visit my old stomping grounds, show Michael Manhattan College, and we can go around NYC.  We are hoping to get up there in June.  And of course, in May, we’ve got our trip to Myrtle Beach lined up.  I got Leah some clothes today and a bathing suit—this one a one piece to compliment the two piece her auntie sent her.  We are so excited to be going, although sad to hear the Wellses can’t join us after all!!!  I plan to do a lot of R&R that week.  And it’s nice the fee for the condo includes the maid service, so we can just walk on out of there Saturday morning with nary a thought.

We have become the smoothie king and queen.  We had a box of oranges to use up, so I juiced them all and then put the juice in the blender with the strawberries I had picked and frozen last summer.  YUM!  Since then, we’ve been trying different kinds.  We had strawberry lemonade slush tonight, and last night we had peach-berry.  Michael has loved them too, and we have similar taste in fruit, so it’s working out very well.

So that’s about it.  Less than a week till I get to go back on Facebook, but it doesn’t seem as important as it did nearly 40 days ago.  I have enjoyed blogging again, so I can see myself reading other people’s updates, and I’m sure I’ll post updates, but I just hope I keep up with my blog. 

Till next time!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Vote For Leah!

I entered Leah in the American Baby cover model contest.  Her photo was selected for voting.  If you’d like to vote for her, please visit  You can vote for her as many times as you have computers, once per computer per day.  We are currently in 9th place.  Please post to your blogs, email, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.  We could win a trip to NYC :-)


Monday, March 29, 2010


Winning never felt so good.  Tonight, we went out to trivia night at the Fredericksburg Pub.  We had a plan to bring in more brain power, but no one responded when I posted anything here, so I had a feeling we’d be on our own.  Still, I told Michael as we pulled out, “I think this is our night, I’m feeling lucky!”

We got to the Pub and Landry and Meredith were there with a recruit!  Landry’s friend Rob, who has won on Jeopardy before.  We changed our team name to “Revenge of the Nerds” and we were all set!  Between having an extra person, the general trivia questions (all of us knew answers, which really helped!), well, long story short, WE WON THE ENTIRE ENCHILADA.  We got 17 out of 20 on general trivia and 9 out of 10 on the music round for a total of 26.  It was AWESOME!

We won a T-shirt, hat, and towel for the general trivia round.  Rob took the towel, we decided to give the little T-shirt to Leah, and Landry got the hat.  For winning both rounds, we won a $25 gift certificate to the pub for our next visit. 

Man does it feel good to have won after all this time :-)  I think we fairly floated home.  What felt even better is that I handed the host our sheet and told him it was a winner, and he was like, “Yeah right.”  Eat crow, my man, WE DID IT!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tea Time!

This weekend was the kick off to the tea club I had decided to join after reading about it on Craig’s List.  I was nervous as I got closer and closer to the date and hadn’t heard anything, but this morning I got an email with the directions and information.  And then I still waffled.

I think Leah is teething.  The teeth on either side of her two front teeth are ready to break through, and they are making her extremely crabby.  She is back to waking up at 5AM, and I am back to not being able to go back to sleep.  This REALLY sucks.  I am so not a morning person.  So, I got home from running to the dump and the grocery store and we got home from our Sunday lunch outing, all I really wanted to do was put Leah to bed, take a hot shower, and crawl into bed.  But in talking with Michael, we agreed that I really did need to get out of the house and have some fun doing something I really wanted to do, so I decided to go have tea.

I arrived just after 2:00 and was a little nervous not to see any other cars around.  Typically I am not a sparkling conversationalist at first and it takes me a while to kind of warm up.  But I bravely rang the bell and immediately met Kim, whose brainchild the club was.  She was very welcoming and warm and brought me upstairs to meet her friend Donna.  We talked a little bit about what I know about tea (next to nothing) and Kim brewed tea and we sat down to a lovely spread—sandwiches, salad, scones, her homemade Devonshire cream, and of course, tea!  For the first time ever, I tried a green tea, this one toasted almond flavored, and I really, really liked it.  We spent tea time getting to know each other, and in the “It’s a Small World After All” category, I actually knew Donna’s husband from when I worked for the state and he worked for the state!  He used to work at the garage where I got my state car serviced!  Go figure, right?

Both ladies were very easy to talk to and I learned a lot about a variety of topics, not just tea.  I walked away with some of the tea, as well as a tea pot and filters and instructions on how to make tea.  I am really looking forward to our next get together!

I got home around 4:45, just in time to feed Leah and head to choir practice.  We started rehearsing choreography tonight—GOD HELP ME.  I am pathetic, absolutely pathetic, and of course, I will be dead center when we start, so I’ll look like even more of an idiot.  But who cares, I am really loving being in the choir.  I’m so glad I’ve joined!

I’ve also gotten re-motivated with doing some exercising.  My neighbor and fellow SAHM Lisa comes up every morning when the weather is nice and she and I take our respective kids and walk just about 2 miles each morning.  I have also started the couch to 5K running program Mike was doing, since Lesley completing that half marathon really inspired me to at least try running.  What I’ve discovered is that the leg I broke, my left leg, is not in great shape for this type of thing, so I actually run kind of lopsidedly.    It also sucks to jog in this neighborhood because it’s so hilly.  And I need some song recommendations for a play list—I guess I’m too mellow because I find myself fast forwarding through most of the stuff on my iPod while I run.  It’s too slow!  So let me know what you think I should run to!

The painters are due to start this week after the rain finishes—hopefully by Wednesday.  I had my color consultation last week and I am just so excited about the paint and shutters.  I’ve got to take a before picture before they get to work.  Our friend Doug is coming over this week to look at the basement room to make sure we can wire it up for Michael’s computer, and then I’ll be able to start painting and we can move furniture.  Then the ham guys will just have to come move the antenna to the back yard and our house will look great inside and out!

All in all, another busy weekend.  Michael and I just mapped out April, and I can’t even believe how busy it’s looking.  It should be a ton of fun, though, and will make the time fly till we hit the beach!  Till then, I’m taking my overdue shower, crawling into bed with Olive Kitteridge, and falling asleep!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Turkey Info

Ok, Turkey People!!  If you are coming to Casa Kosior for Easter to eat turkey, here’s the scoop!

Mike and I will provide a turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and rolls.  We are relying on everyone else to bring a side dish to share.  You can leave a comment here with what you plan to bring if you want to.

I need to know what time everyone would like to eat.  We will go to church on Sunday and probably be home by 10:30.  I have no idea how long a 23 pound turkey takes to cook, but my plan is to have it ready to go in the oven on Saturday night, shove it in the oven before we leave for church at 8:00, and it should be done by early-mid afternoon, right? 

Also, parents!!  Manda suggested an Easter Egg hunt, which I’m game for.  I can pick up some plastic eggs or you can bring some eggs, or whatever you want to do.  Let me know.  I don’t know what to put in the eggs—whose kids are eating what in terms of treats, chocolate, or are there other small things we could put in the eggs?  Leah is going to be egg hunt free, so I’ll need help with this—you can bring eggs over early so I can hide them in advance, we can meet and I can pick them up from you, whatever works!  Next year Leah will be a mighty huntress no doubt.  This year, she’s getting a basket with a book, bubbles, and a duck in it. :)

Looking forward to it!

Kick Off to Easter

Today was our annual trek to Springfield to visit our friends Paul and Kris and attend their church’s annual Easter pageant.  It is always one of my favorite parts of the year.  Their church does an amazing show at Christmas and Easter both.  I think we managed to miss both shows last year, so it was extra special to go to Easter this year.

Fortunately, the church has a wonderful nursery program, and so we checked Leah into the nursery for the duration of the show.  They give you a numbered wristband for your child and a matching one for you.  If at any time during the performance, your child needs you or is absolutely inconsolable, they flash your number up on a digital display right in the sanctuary.  No one without a bracelet can remove a child from the nursery.   It’s a wonderful feeling of security to know that your child is taken care of so you can relax and enjoy the show, but that you can go to him/her if you are needed.

Unfortunately, today was a 5am day.  I put Leah back to sleep at around 8AM to try and get some sleep, but was jolted back to reality around 9;30, only to discover she had ripped off her diaper in protest, and smeared “solid waste” all over her crib.  Yeah, that was fun to get up to. 

We left here around 10:45 and stopped to get our hosts some flowers and grab an early lunch at McD’s because we knew we wouldn’t eat till after the show.  By the time we got on the road for good, it was nearly 11:30 and of course there was traffic.  Still, we got to their house by 12:10, which is pretty stinkin’ good!  We piled into 2 cars and headed to church for the show, which was very moving, but I about fell asleep twice.  Not for lack of interest, just pure fatigue.  I always feel kind of conflicted at Easter time, trying to sort out what I believe and don’t believe.  This last week before Easter, I am going to devote some serious reading time to my Philip Gulley books and try to get a grip on how I feel about church, faith, Jesus, and the whole lot of it.  I have friends on all ends of the religious spectrum, and I think I fall in the wishy-washy category.  I believe but I don’t believe in all of it kind of a thing.  So I’m looking forward to digging into the first thing that seems it’s really been written for me.

Afterwards, we went back to Paul and Kris’s house for a nice lasagna supper.  We get along very well with them, and they had invited over the lady who took my place when I quit my job last year, her husband, and another family we only get to see during these get togethers but who we get along with very well.  As we arrived, Paul and Kris gathered all of us into the living room to announce that in the mail that day, they had gotten a letter that their son Andrew was accepted into the Shenandoah Conservatory!  Andrew is adopted from Korea and is blind, and it has been Kris’s most fervent desire that he be accepted there.  They agreed to accept him under two conditions, the first of which was that he get his SAT scores up, so he worked really hard and got them up, and they took him!!!  I honestly burst right into tears.  I was so happy for them and so proud of Andrew.  And then I made Leah promise not to grow up and go to college—she can only go to Mary Washington and she has to live at home.

By now, Leah was absolutely beside herself with exhaustion.  We stayed until 6:30, by which point, she didn’t know whether to put her head down on me and sleep or sit, smile at everyone, and scream.  I bundled her into the car and before we hit Franconia Road, she was snoring, so we took time to run over to Giant and pick up an apartment guide for Mike and Lesley’s niece, Jennifer.  Then we got stuck in a 6 mile back up to get home.  It’s been forever since I’ve been on the highway, it seems, so it really felt weird to be driving fast or not be driving at all! 

What a great day full of happy news, friendship, and happy times.  A great way to kick off Easter!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Life’s A Beach!

After much deliberation and negotiation, thought, consideration, and weighing our options, we decided to go to Myrtle Beach after all.  I’ve just put in for our reservation, we’ll be in the same building we were in for our honeymoon, just a different unit.  Hopefully the key won’t break off in the door on this one.  :-)

Landry and Meredith are going with us.  It should be a blast.  We’ll be there from May 15-22 if anyone wants to try and meet up (we’ll have a sleeper sofa if someone wants to crash for the night!  You can help us pay less :-D).  I cannot wait to take Leah to beach.  She’s going to look awesome in her little two piece.

I’m already trying to decide what to do while we’re there.  It’s been a couple years, last time we were there, we were with Mike and Lesley.  This I know for sure:  mini golf, a Pelicans game (the Sunday game when we get there is against the Red Sox farm team—awesome timing!), Barefoot Landing, and the Boardwalk and Gay Dolphin to get Leah’s license plate.  Tons of beach time, tons of reading time.  I am so excited.  Who knows, maybe we’ll even find bingo there!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Comment Moderation

I have turned it on officially for everyone--hate these smart spammers. Sorry about the inconvenience, but I promise to try and be on top of the comments so they show up pretty quickly!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Home Improvements, Singing, and More!

Well, after a grueling week and a half of meeting with a variety of contractors, sitting around waiting for some who never showed up, getting estimates way beyond our price range, looking at samples, choosing colors, negotiating, phone calls to my father-in-law for advice, and figuring, we called it a day and canceled the last two appointments we had set up.  I literally didn’t think I could take another pitch and estimate.  We have selected two contractors to work on the house, one to do the doors and one to do the paint and shutters.  We have signed a contract with the door people—the same company that did our windows and gutters—and I am getting in touch with the guy at the paint company to seal the deal.  He didn’t call back today although I tried to call him, but it is Sunday, so I won’t hold it against him.  I am hopeful that they can get it done before the big birthday bash (the doors will take 4-6 weeks).  It looks like everything in total is going to cost about $4500.  Our neighbor’s friend is going to give us an estimate on doing a railing around our front porch and down the front steps.  This is important with Leah becoming more and more mobile.  I don’t want her to go tumbling off and already she’s been dangling off the porch by her toes “just to see” what’s down there.  She is fearless to the point of stupidity.  Just one more thing I love about her.  Oh, and the electricians are coming back on Tuesday to install 2 new ceiling fans, one in the basement guest room and one in Leah’s room to replace the old one.

Speaking of the bash, the cake is finalized and I just ordered those personalized M&M’s you see on TV.  I can’t wait till they get here.  I put Leah’s face on one color, her name on another color, and “One is Fun!” on a third color.  I ordered all pinks and whites.  They should be cool.  I guess I’m going a little all out for this but I can’t believe my baby is turning one!!!  We are going to try and find a swing as a gift—something we can put in the tree out back for times I don’t feel like loading up and going to the park.  We have waffled about what to give her, and this seems like a great idea, since she loves swinging.

I entered her in a contest to be on the cover of American Baby magazine.  Hopefully she’ll be one of the 5 finalists and we’ll get a free trip to NYC out of the deal :-)  I’ll keep everyone posted so you can vote for her if need be.

Tonight at choir practice, I signed up to decorate one table and help decorate another.  As I mentioned, this is the benefit gala  for the year’s fundraising, and so they really do it up fancy.  Each table is going to have a movie theme for the centerpiece, and they wanted members to volunteer to “adopt a table” and make a display based on a favorite movie.  I volunteered to help and then immediately thought of the perfect movie and kicked myself.  So I went up to adopt a table and someone who wanted help asked me to please help her, so I said I would, and managed to adopt the 11th of the 12th table anyway! :-)  I’m going to help with a table based on the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” and I’m going to do my own table based on “Forrest Gump”.  What do you think of when you think of “Forrest Gump”?  Running? Chocolate?  Football?  Dr. Pepper?  I’ll take ideas!

P1040241 Only a couple weeks left till I can use Facebook again.  I am so looking forward to it!!!!  I caved in and played a couple of computer games, but have limited myself 150% to when Leah is asleep.  If she wakes up while I’m playing, I immediately get up and get her out of bed.  I needed something to do that was pretty mindless.  Leah’s lifebook is coming along really well, I am pretty happy with it.  Right here is the title page.  I love my Cricut cartridges.  Below is another page I made with a different cartridge:


I think they’ve come out just great.  I have a magazine of scrapbooking ideas, and I guess my pages are pretty basic compared to the pros, but I like them anyway.  I think Leah will love them someday.  Or at least, I hope she will!

We went back to bingo last night to use up Dustina’s free games and none of the 4 of us won anything.  BUMMER!  But we still had a really good time, and I learned the hard way never to buy 3 coverall cards again.  It was INSANITY.  My arm was killing me and there was no way to keep up with it.  This week we got Chinese food and I brought some cupcakes from Walmart.  The cookie pushers—I mean, Girl Scouts—were out front of the store, so I bought some cookies.  It’s been ages since I had GS Cookies.  They had some new flavors, but I got some old favorites too.  They have really gotten chintzy with the amount of cookies you get for $3.50—you get like 18 Thin Mints.  Not right!!!!  You used to get 2 big tubes of them.  I threw two boxes in the freezer and Michael and I tried the lemon cremes and the Dulce de Leche cookies, the remainder of which he is taking to work tomorrow.  I also got him some of his favorite Easter treats—Cadbury mini eggs and fruit and orange slices, so he is set up in his office for a while.

This week should be pretty quiet.  We are expecting rain for the next couple of days—BUMMER!  Tomorrow we’ll go over to Lowe’s to get the new fans, Tuesday is LOST, Wednesday is nothing, Thursday we’ll be chatting for the first time with a prospective adoptive couple in Richmond who we were introduced to through our attorney, and then next weekend we’ll be going to an Easter pageant.  I don’t think we’ll be doing anything other than that.  But of course, I never plan anything and always seem to be extremely busy, so who knows!?

Hard to believe Easter is rolling around again.  Last year it was right after Leah’s birthday and this year it is right before.  I am looking forward to making turkey and hiding eggs.  I think we’ll have a nice crew by the sounds of it.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print from here!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Streak Continues!

I thought I was living last week when I won at bingo…  Then Monday night, we went out to trivia with Landry and Meredith and Meredith’s ticket was called and she won a shot glass.  Now, being as we have never won trivia, this is the closest we have gotten to victory of any sort at the Pub, and man did it feel good, especially after Meredith swore she had the worst luck ever and never wins anything!  She won a St. Patrick’s Day shot glass!  How’s that for luck?

Tonight, I met Wendy over at Courthouse Elementary for basket bingo.  This is a charity event, usually to benefit a school.  You play regular bingo, but instead of cash, you win Longaberger baskets.  Basket bingo is what started my love affair with bingo, but I have never won a basket.

While I was waiting for Wendy, I was looking at the baskets and I spied a honey of a basket and thought, “If I win but one basket tonight, please God, let it be that one.”  It was big enough to be a picnic basket, zipped shut around the top, leather handles, a real beaut!

The night started off well.  My name was the first name called for a door prize.  I won a garden flag, which will probably go on sale at my yard sale, as I’m not a garden flag type of person. 

After that, it was kind of slow.  Wendy and I ate our dinner, bought a couple raffle tickets for the 50/50, and settled into a winless rhythm.  The women next to us were freaking out the minute the first number got called.  For the first time in my life, I texted the person I was with and said, “Hey, this woman next to us is intense, huh?”  Wendy was cracking up, but she texted me back.

And then it happened, I won bingo!  But agony!  Someone else won at the same time!! AUGH!  And since it’s not a cash prize you can split, you go to “sudden death overtime” and the caller keeps drawing balls until one of you doesn’t have the number he draws on your card.  And I LOST!  I lost sudden death overtime!  I was devastated!!!  But I got my name in the losers’ drawing (consolation drawing) for later, so I figured, “Oh well, I got to yell bingo again!”

Then about 6 rounds later, I saw my basket, the one I had coveted in the hallway and I said to Wendy, “This is the one I want.”  Playing got going hot and heavy, I was playing with the concentration and determination of a heart surgeon.  And then it happened.  The caller called my last number, and I yelled, “Bingo!” as 2 other people called it at the same time.  DAMN IT!

So back to sudden death overtime again.  The first number he pulled, not a one of us had the number on our card.  So he’d have to call another one.  He calls I-45.  The only person who had I45 on their card was…me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I won the basket!!!!!!!!!!!!  “I WON!  I WON!” read the text I sent to my husband.  And the basket was mine—all $200 worth of it.  Yeah, that basket is worth a cool $214!  YAHOO!  And it is a honey of a basket.

So we get back to playing, Wendy and I are giddy at this point, hopped up on Diet Pepsi and cookies and the sweet smell of victory.  We’re playing a round for a basket that comes with a porcelain baking dish, and Wendy is down to one number, I-17 and she’s got it.  We can taste it again.  She says, “If I win, Matt’s going to hear me yell bingo!”  We get a little giggly.  And then it happens…I-17!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Pandemonium!!!  She yells, “Bingo!” and they come over and guess what!?  No sudden death overtime!  WENDY IS VICTORIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The last round was for some sort of mail sorting newspaper holding basket set, and I am right on top of it, my numbers are being called, it’s looking good, all I need is I-74 and I’m a winner!!!  The caller is infuriatingly slow, and Wendy and I are silently willing I-74 to pop up so I can walk out with $400 worth of baskety product.  And then it happens.


And someone else calls it.  DANG!

Still, I can’t complain too much.  Michael and I are going to use this sucker for our picnics in the park nearby.  Ain’t it a beauty?


Thursday, March 18, 2010

We Shoulda Named Her Chatty Cathy

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Two Invitations

Ok, our team is looking for new members to come play trivia.  Our next match is Monday, March 29th at 7:30PM at the Fredericksburg Pub.  We need to diversify our brain portfolio.  Good as we are (we went 15 for 30 this past week), we’re not beating the teams of 6, 7, 8, or more people who show up.  If you’re good at music, general trivia, or just feel like coming out and having some fun, come on!!!!  We want you on our team!

Secondly, date TBA, right after Thanksgiving, I went to Wegman’s and they had all their turkeys on sale, rock bottom pricing.  I bought a 23 pound turkey for $11.  Seriously.  Now, it’s getting to where I need to cook this bad boy up and eat him, and there is no way on this good, green Earth that Mike and I are going to be able to consume 23 pounds of turkey.  Nor do we especially want to.  So we are inviting everyone to come to a turkey dinner.  I will provide turkey and stuffing and would ask everyone to please bring a side dish.  Kind of a Thanksgiving in March or April type thing.  If you want to attend, drop me a line and let me know what dates work best for you!!!  We could do it for Easter weekend if there are any other Easter orphans out there, we could do it some random weekend just because, I’m open, as long as people will help me eat some turkey!!!!

More Random Happenings

Well, it’s time for another update, I suppose, since it’s been a while since I posted one!  We have been busy here at Casa Kosior, mainly on account of the fact that I have been busy letting in tons of contractors to give me estimates on jobs around the house. 

Last night’s bid was hilarious.  We want to put new doors on the house.  Our front door sucks—you can see the sun shining between the door and the frame, there are cracks in the wood, it’s drafty and with no windows, very forbidding.  The French doors in the back are drafty and I find that they are rather uncomfortable to sit in front of during the winter, plus they swing into the dining room, which causes all kinds of problems with the table and hutch.  I also don’t like that they are all broken up in terms of having grids on the windows, where I’d like an unblemished view of the backyard.  So consequently, I am considering getting a sliding glass door back there.

So last night we had our first door estimate.  We were shell-shocked at the price of $8900 for two stupid doors.  Fortunately, this seems to be an anomaly based on everyone we’ve talked to, from the neighbor to my father-in-law to other contractors.  As nice as I’m sure the doors are, they ain’t no $8900 nice.  Particularly in light of the fact that I got an estimate to install all new shutters and paint the entire exterior of the house for $2600.  I mean, let’s get real here.

So from now until next Wednesday, I will be playing hostess to roughly 5 more contractors—one of whom did our windows and gutters and one of whom is recommended by a neighbor—who will do their best to woo us into accepting their proposals for our home.  It’s kind of exciting, really, on account of the fact that I never did like the paint color of the exterior when we moved here, and since I’ve painted 97% of the inside of the house, this is almost the finishing touches on the painting of our place.  I’m also excited to get much needed repairs done.  This week we had a company in who ripped out all kinds of trees and tree stumps and shrubs from the yard.  We kept the three largest trees out front, and everything else is gonzo.  The junk along both sides of the house has been removed as well, leaving us with 3 trees in the backyard and 3 in the front.  I’m pleased everything else is clean, and in time for Leah’s 1st birthday party.  I will put up some pictures of before and after when I get the chance—the upstairs computer is presently off, so I can’t do it just yet.  If you need someone in the Fredericksburg area to do tree removal work, I cannot recommend Kinetic Resources LLC highly enough.  They were out, gave us an awesome price, and showed up and did the job promptly.  They even managed to work around that giant antenna without damaging a thing, which was even better.

I hope to have everything completed in time for the party—nothing would make me happier, sincerely.  Because we have several different projects, we are getting bids from all different types of contractors.  However, the one guy we’re going to talk to on Saturday looks like he might be able to do everything, which would be nice.  It would also be nice if Uncle Sam would hurry up and fork over the cash.

I’ve also been negotiating with a baker recommended to me by Manda to make Leah’s 1st birthday cake.  I decided that I would have enough on my hands with getting the lunch part of the party ready and I didn’t much feel like making a cake, so we decided to hire the job out.  I went through 3 different bakers before I turned to Manda, which just proves I should always go to her first.  Dawn at and I have put together what I think is going to be a gorgeous design based around the invitations I sent out to the party.  Did everyone get their invitations?  Is anyone coming?  So far I’ve gotten 1 yes and 1 no RSVP from over 20 invitees!!!  I’m a planner, people!!!  RSVP.  And if you didn’t get an invitation and want to come, RSVP in the comments here :-)  We’ve got plenty of room and plenty of cake!

Today we were blessed with gorgeous weather. Leah and I spent a lot of the day outside.  We sat on the porch and watched the world go by for a while, we took a nice long walk around the neighborhood, and tonight when Michael got home, all 3 of us hopped in the car and went over to a local park Cindy clued me into and we had a lovely picnic dinner and then pushed Leah on the swings for a while.  She LOVES the swings—she just grins and grins and grins ear to ear when she’s on them.  Hopefully tomorrow will be another nice day so that in the morning we could run over there for a little while between contractors and swing some more and maybe take a walk on the little trail down to the river.  I know she is frustrated with sitting around—she is desperately trying to climb out of both her stroller and her high chair, so I expect she’ll be walking before I know it.  But as much as the thought terrifies me (she crawls like lightning, I just know she’s going to run like the wind!), I am looking forward to taking little walks together.

We got our census form in the mail the other day and I took great delight in filling it out and sending it back in.  I wonder how much money the federal government wasted in sending out the pre-Census letter a week prior to tell me to fill out my census form and send it back in.  And I wonder if they’ll send another one that says, “Thanks for filling out your census form!” 

Leah’s lifebook is coming along nicely, although for some reason I had initally listed her birthday in it as April 6th.  I corrected it and reprinted everything, only to paste the wrong date in the book, so now I’ll have to redo that portion.  The book is beautiful and fun to look at.  I haven’t Cricuted that much in it, mainly just the first two pages because pasting all those damned little letters was driving me cuckoo.  But I’ll get back to it for sure.  I want to get my money’s worth!

Friday night is basket bingo at Courthouse Elementary with Wendy.  I am looking forward to it a lot.  She wants to come play regular bingo too, so maybe we’ll have to get another group together!  I am already looking forward to playing again.

I’ve joined a tea club here in town, our first meeting is March 28th.  I am looking forward to going and learning about tea.  I’ve promised to bake my famous scones, and we’ll see what it’s like.  I’m sure they’ll be nice people, or at least, I hope so.

So that’s the news that’s fit to print.  Till next time…

Monday, March 15, 2010

Interesting Goings On

So, I am the type woman who gets physically ill when I think about having to do things, simple things, with my car.  Oil changes give me palpitations.  Why, I do not know!  I get so nerved up at the prospect of having to deal with mechanics and people finding things wrong with the car that I just get totally worked up and find myself bent over the toilet bowl.  If I could change one thing about my husband and one thing only, it would be that he would have the ability to deal with our car maintenance issues.  Seriously.

So in December, I felt like we needed new brakes.  I put it off because we really didn’t have the money to fix them, but over the past week, I’ve felt like the time was nigh:  I’d been hearing squealing and grinding and I knew I was going to have to take action.  I’ve been reluctant to go too many places because I just didn’t want to risk it on bad brakes.  I even skipped choir practice last night.

So this morning, I steeled myself up, spent about 45 minutes in the bathroom (TMI, I know!), and finally gathered up my girl and we headed off to Midas.  I was praying the whole way, and once I got there, I started estimating how much it might cost.

Because, you see, we are taking bids on repairs to our home.  We got a nice tax return this year, and finally will be able to finish fixing up the outside of the house a little bit—I’ve hired a tree man to rip out our manky shrubs, and have gotten bids on painting.  The big bid will come in on Saturday when I get estimates on the doors and shutters.

But I was putting all that on hold due to car repairs.

Because remember how we got home from Atlanta and found ourselves a flat tire?  Yeah, we are STILL running on Fix-a-Flat.  And the other rear tire went flat, and THAT one is running on Fix-a-Flat.  Because I just don’t want to go over to the Firestone dealer. 

So anyway, the guy pulled our car in this morning and I could feel my stomach seize up as the car went up on the lift.  About 20 minutes later, the mechanic came in and asked if I’d had any trouble with the brakes?  I said I’d heard squeaking and grinding and he said, “Well, it must be the rain, because your brakes look brand new.”

HOT DOG!!!!  I can get the tires fixed!  :-)  I wanted to be sure because our state inspection is due next month, and I would have fixed the brakes anyway because I don’t want to put my little cupcake at risk.  But man is it a good feeling to know that the brakes are A-OK.  My guess now is that it’s the bad tires.

Lady Luck is shining down on me this week.  Awesome!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sniff My Dabber (And Other Unfortunate Bingo Phrases)

P1040247 A few weeks ago, Melissa and Emily came over to do some cooking for 80 Plates.  We got to talking about stuff and I just sort of blurted out, “Man, I miss playing bingo!”  They both agreed that they’d like to play and would be happy to come, so we all got out our calendars and decided to plan a girls’ night out to play bingo here in Fredericksburg.  There is a place almost literally around the corner from our house that has a separate smoking room, and thus is far more pleasant to play in than most bingo halls, so when I sent out the Evite, I invited everyone to come play there to support Catholic schools in our area.

P1040244 We had 9 affirmative RSVP’s, and 7 of us actually went and played.  I was thrilled to have Heather, Cecily, Dustina, Lauren, Meredith, and Melissa join me for a night of fun, and we agreed to go in on some KFC to make the night even more fantastic. (ha!)  Melissa contributed soda and cookies, Dustina and Heather each brought some snacks, and we were ready to roll!  The first task was finding a suitable table where all 7 of us could sit.  This was not easy—a lot of singles were taking up double tables.  We decided to try and cram ourselves into a single table, but it was obvious that was not going to work, so we finally took over one table where there was room for us, except Melissa had to sit behind a post at the adjoining table, presumably because she’d been naughty :-)

P1040245 Once we were assembled, we tucked into our dinner, and I have to say, we were quite the celebrities.  If you ever want to make a splash at bingo, bring fried chicken.  We had people inviting themselves to our table, people asking what the special occasion was, even the workers commented on how well laid out our provisions were!  Everyone got their bingo sheets and we were ready to play.  We started out slowly, warming up until we got into the groove of the game.  I think I was the most experienced player at the table, which says something considering I think I’ve played about 4 times in my life.  We were throwing out sheets that weren’t finished, people were trying to give us tips, it was pretty funny.  Chicken was flying, papers were flying, ink was flying, it was great.

P1040252 Then Lauren for some reason starts reading the dabber wrappers and reads, “Scented inks” and the next thing we know, she is sniffing her dabber to find out what it smells like.  Even though she says it doesn’t smell good, we all decided to sniff our dabbers just to make sure.  Dustina had also raised a bit of a fuss because they hadn’t gotten their free dabbers for being first time players, so Dustina, Cecily, and Lauren got free table delivery of new dabbers.  Which required new sniffing tests, just to see.

P1040249 By the time we were half done with the game, almost all of us had ink somewhere on us.  Meredith had inadvertently dabbed my arm (or I guess I should say my arm ran into her uncapped dabber), I pointed out it looked like we’d all been to vote in Iraq.

P1040251 After the jackpot coverall game (which I was playing to cover all 9 squares on my page, not just one, but fortunately I clarified with the judges to find out just in time to lose that we only had to cover one square), there was an intermission.  We cleaned up some of our mess and the people with pull tabs started collecting their winnings.  It was interminable with those pull tabs, between every game there was another color of speed ball ticket that had winnings, so the seven of us just kept gabbing during the whole thing.  Then the lady behind us says, “Girls, you need to look at your tickets!” and we were like, “We didn’t buy any!” and she told us to look at the slips they gave you in case you win.  The caller was reading some numbers off the bottom, and guess what?  Dustina won!  She won $15 worth of free cards at any game in the next two weeks.  Oh my God, we were like, living now!  The thrill of winning, even if not a cash prize, was really exciting.  We quickly began plotting playing again.

Then the old folks behind us asked about our cookies.  The old man told Lauren he’d sing her a song if she would give him a cookie.  She passed him and his wife cookies and then demanded he sing her a song, so he sang her “Happy Birthday”.  It was so cute!  Then the lady behind us who clued us into Dustina’s winnings won something, and the seven of us clapped like crazy for her, so she said she was pleased to have her own cheering section.  Yeah, we rocked the Fred bingo scene!!!!  It was a blast!

P1040255 So the games start back up, and each of us was getting closer and closer, and closer to winning.  The tension in the room was mounting as there were fewer and fewer games to win.  Heather decided to buy into the Keno racket, and purchased three tickets, one of which had good odds of winning since it had one of the winning numbers on it.  Unfortunately, she didn’t win anything, but she had a 1 in 15 chance out after finding 1 of 15 cards out of 500, so we didn’t care, she had a card with red ink!!!  Another stroke of luck!

Finally I decided to go buy some extra cards for the last 2 bonus rounds.  After the first bonus round, a lot of people left, so we decided that we had much better odds of winning with much less competition.  We were playing an X pattern on the cards, and it was taking some time, but the caller was playing a lot quicker than the regular game because a lot of kids and older people had left, so I guess she had more into it.  She announced it was a $51 jackpot to be won, so while it was small potatoes compared to the $1000 prize awarded earlier, it was still nothing to sniff at.

P1040256 As it got closer and closer, I noticed I only had one number left to get:  I25.  25 happens to be my lucky number.  So of course, they called I26 and I23 and I18 in quick succession, and I was like, “Darn it!”  I was getting aggravated.  Then she veered away from the I’s for a while, and I was thinking, “Well, I probably won’t win” so I just settled in to wait it out.  I was playing and not really paying attention to the monitors when Heather said, “Hey, Susan!” and pointed up to the next ball.  Damned if it wasn’t I25.  We all started praying no one would call bingo, which no one did, and the minute she said, “I25”, I cupped my hands to my mouth and yelled, “BINGO!!!!!”  She verified my card number, and yes, I won FIFTY ONE DOLLARS, coincidentally the exact same amount of money I had spent this morning at the Moms of Multiples yard sale!

Victory, my friends, has rarely felt so good.  The caller said, “It’s about time one of you ladies won!”  I made a speech about how graduating in the top 10% of my high school class was nothing compared to the glow of a bingo, nor was magna cum laude in college.  About the only thing I didn’t do was thank the Catholic Business Alliance or whatever it is that sponsors bingo.

And then it was over and we had to go home.  Everyone agreed what a wonderful time it had been and hopefully we will get to do it again sometime!  Dustina and I posed a final time with our winnings and I headed home to tell Michael of our good fortune :)


It’s true what they say…

P1040258We’ll see you all again over there, hopefully sometime soon!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Craftin’ and Other News

P1040232 Behold the craft corner.  Honestly, the corner where my computer desk is is getting CROWDED!  All the more reason for us to get this move underway, so I can have a little corner in the downstairs office to move my crafting table.  Between my recent affinity for scrapbooking and a suggestion that I should take up something to keep my hands and mind busy, this seemed like a great spot to get going.  As you can see, my makeshift baby gate (a box containing a real baby gate) is ready to ward off intruders, and my Cricut is out of the box and set up.

So of course, I started in a different direction altogether, that being origami.  I enjoyed origami for a brief period while in college, when something finally clicked and I figured out how to make the paper crane.  I went on a bit of a tear then, and made a bunch of things out of paper, but they are long gone “somewhere” in the great span of stuff that is probably residing at my father’s house in a plastic bin somewhere.  So I decided to take another crack at it recently, knowing that it would indeed keep my mind busy and my hands as well.  I ordered some paper and two books , one called The Practical Illustrated Encyclopedia of Origami and the other called Genuine Origami.  I guess I am an origami purist, I refuse to do any model that involves cutting with scissors, and both these books have plenty of options for cut-less origami.

Here are the models I have done so far:


From left to right, I’ve made a sanbo box, a star box, a crown, a lily, and a balloon.  Not everything is crisp, my corners don’t align perfectly, but I’m pretty proud of what I’ve done.  I am surprised at how much fun I still find it, and how it really does take my mind off things I’d rather not think about!  I get to thinking so hard about what I’m trying to do that there is no room in my brain for anything else.

As for the scrapbooking, I am going to work on a life book for Leah to start, I think I have mentioned this.  It will contain all the information that we have about her birth parents, so that if she has questions in the future, we’ll be able to give her the information she wants.  For that reason, the book will be kept private once that information goes in, but until that point, I will take pictures and share my scrapping creations.  What’s holding me back is that all the paper I bought is pretty thick and my Cricut is not cutting through it.  So now I have to buy a deep cut blade, and then I can get started.  I love that new Michael Buble song, “Haven’t Met You Yet”, so I hope to incorporate some of the lyrics into the book.  It’s really meaningful when you put it into the context of waiting for your adopted child.  :-)  I’ve been gathering all kinds of artifacts from our initial adoption steps, and found some things I’m excited to include, like the parking ticket from the morning she was born—they didn’t make us pay to exit the garage when we finally went home to get to sleep, so I kept the ticket as a souvenir.  Maybe she won’t find that as nerdy cool as I do, but I hope she does :-)

P1040224 We’ve spent a lot of time outdoors during the past few days of good weather.  Yesterday we went to a park right down the street from our house and spent lunchtime there with friends.  Leah is such a bully!  I bring her toys to play with and she keeps stealing Elizabeth’s toys.  It doesn’t matter how many times we take them away from her either, she just keeps on grabbing them.  Good thing she’s cute, but I just know she’s going to be a “mean girl”.  She’s an only child, so I guess she’s not good at sharing.  Fortunately, Elizabeth doesn’t seem to care a whole lot at the moment, but that will probably change.

P1040201 We stayed home today—I am determined to get Leah back on schedule and put an end to this nonsense of getting up at 4AM and not taking naps.  We spent a lot of time outdoors, walking over a mile around the neighborhood this morning, and then playing for a couple hours out on the lawn.  She has developed a taste for dead leaves and twigs, despite my assurances that they are not actually ingestible.  She did better with her naps today—90 minutes this morning and 60 this afternoon, a vast improvement over 20 and 45.  Michael and I are writing a little song for her sung to the tune of “Piano Man” by Billy Joel that starts out, “It’s two a.m. on a Saturday, Mom and Dad shuffle in, there’s a bottle sitting next to me, but I’d rather play blocks and make din.”  I’ll post the rest when we get it finished, but suffice it to say, it’s genius.

Lost last night was amazing—I sat there and absolutely sobbed at the ending when Ben finally finds redemption.  I genuinely don’t know what I will do when it’s over.  Every episode is better than the one before.  Today I watched a couple episodes of Billy the Exterminator on A&E, which was entertaining in a Dog the Bounty Hunter sort of way, and I have taken to watching American Pickers and Pawn Stars on the History Channel.  I like to have the TV on for adult noise in the background during nap times, and once in a while I happen upon something amusing.  My FIL turned me onto Pawn Stars, and I have to say, it’s pretty hilarious, especially the old guy.

That’s the news from our little corner of the planet.  More to come as it happens!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

I Know You Are All Missing Her


Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

confessions-of-a-jane-austen-addict Hot on the heels of reading Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, I went to and grabbed a copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler.  I wanted to read how Courtney Stone made out trapped in the body of Jane Mansfield, Regency England girl and fellow Austenite.

In this story, which was actually written before Rude Awakenings, Courtney Stone wakes up to find herself in the body of Miss Jane Mansfield, a proper English society girl in the early 1800’s.  Jane is dealing with the affections of Mr. Edgeworth, who may or may not be a libertine, and Courtney steps into Jane’s life shortly after she believes she has caught Edgeworth having a dalliance with a servant girl in the stables of his estate. 

In addition, Courtney must learn to deal with life in the 1800’s—the medical treatments, the filth, chamber pots, family expectations, servants, fashion, and more.  In as much as Jane struggles to deal with life in modern-day L.A., Courtney’s struggles are just as difficult.

For me, I am glad I read Rude Awakenings first, as I liked it much better.  Confessions was a good book, it certainly kept me flipping the pages, but perhaps because of the restrictions placed on the character in going backwards in time, I just felt the book was not as compelling.  Courtney was not as likeable a character as Jane, she didn’t experience the wonder and joy of discovery and spent more time being negative about the limitations her new surroundings imposed upon her instead of trying to make the best of the situation.  Jane did her best to fully participate in life in L.A., but Courtney more than once sat out from some of the goings on, and the things she chose to do often caused problems for the people around her.

Which story is more honest?  I would say they are both equally true.  Which character is more likeable?  Jane.  Which love story is more interesting?  Seeing as they are roughly parallel, I’d call it a draw. One thing this book had over it than Rude Awakenings was that in either case, I thought, “Gee, if I were so and so, I’d do this and take full advantage of the situation!” and in Confessions, Courtney actually does what I think I would do.  You’ll have to read it to find out what that might be.

Yesterday at lunch, I posed the question to friends, “Would you rather wake up and find yourself 200 years in the future or 200 years in the past?”  We were split.  One friend said he’d rather go backwards, become a brilliant inventor and thus ensure his millions.  Another thought going forward would be more interesting.  Then we attempted to imagine life in 2210.  A lively conversation ensued.  Which would you rather do?  Wake up in 1810 or in 2210?  Knowing that no one you know has ever been born yet, that perhaps you could affect the future in the right circumstances?  Or knowing that everyone you know and care about is long dead and everything is new, a whole world to re-learn?    I think I would prefer to go forward, but I can’t say that with 100% certainty.  It’s tempting to go backwards—at least I’d know what I was getting into just a bit!  Let me know what you’d rather do and what you think you might do if you got there! 

Three stars on GoodReads and this also counts for the BBC Book Challenge.  Unexpectedly, I am at 4 books on the challenge now.  I’m dubbing myself BookWorm+ :-)  Two more books and I’ll be a LitLover!  Woo hoo!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Well, my husband must really love me, is all I can say. This week, I'm out 4 nights. Sunday I had choir practice, Monday I had book club, tonight I am going to see the Harlem Globetrotters with the Heplers, and tomorrow I am going up to see my friend Debbie from DBVI for dinner. He has been so, so patient and taken such good care of Leah while I've been sowing my wild oats. Although, I will say, we had a little incident on Sunday that I thought was pretty hilarious.

I came home from choir practice, and he says to me, "Susan, Leah threw up on her shirt." I said, "Oh really? What did you do?" "I washed it off with a washcloth, but then it was wet, so I just took it off her and put her to bed. I covered her up nice." "Yeah, but what is she wearing? Did you put PJ's on her?" "No, I don't know how, I just put her to bed and covered her up." I went upstairs, and sure enough, there was Leah, sound asleep wearing nothing but her pants and socks. I turned the heat up a bit just in case it got cool, and let it go. But I thought it was hilarious and so new-dadish!

My in-laws stopped in for a quick overnight on Monday on their way home from Florida. It sounded as if Florida was a bit of a bust for them this year--much cooler temperatures than usual. Still, I'm sure they had their usual good time, and it was real nice to see them an extra visit, even if I was gone for most of it. Book club was a lot of fun, although it was awfully strange without Judy there for the first time in 5 1/2 years. I have heard through the grapevine that this may be a permanent state of affairs, so perhaps it'll be something I have to get used to, but I haven't heard anything about that as yet. We were hosted by Maggie at her house, and it was her book that we discussed, but unfortunately she got a call right as we kicked off and had to leave because her daughter had a little fall. It was great that she trusted all of us to be in her home without her, and fortunately she got good news about little Natalie--no broken bones! We did clean up after ourselves and got a nice note from her yesterday, so it reminded me again of what a family the club has become. Everyone really is there for you when you need them.

Yesterday I was feeling a little blue, so I texted Cindy and Wendy to see if they wanted to have lunch with me (Manda, do you text? If so, I need your number!). Cindy replied that I could come on over to her place, so we made plans to have lunch at Chick-Fil-A and then I would go to her house for a Cricut tutorial. Just as we left Chick-Fil-A, my phone buzzed and it was Wendy! She said she was free for lunch tomorrow (which is now today) and did I want to meet her at 12:30 at Chick-Fil-A. Hahaha Good thing they like us in there!!! So we are dining at CFA this afternoon. They have a wonderful greeter/drink refiller/hostess in there named Deborah and as we were leaving, I said to her, "See you next time!" Little did I know next time is 24 hours later!

Last night we had dinner with the Heplers at Chilis. I had to get my Globetrotters ticket from them and will meet them up north in Stafford today. The game is at North Stafford High, and since I have been to Stafford High for basket bingo and Colonial Forge for choir practice, I think I'll have covered the local high schools now and should know where all of them are.

LOST last night was amazing--not quite as good an episode as last week, but awfully good nonetheless. We really are getting down to the end, only 10 episodes to go, and they really are starting to make sense of the whole thing, even though there are still many unanswered questions. I am enjoying the hell out of it, and will be sad when it is over, but at least I have my DVD's and I can go back through and re-watch the entire thing from start to finish to see what I've missed and what makes sense now in light of later episodes, etc. I haven't kept up with Project Runway as much this season. I think last season was such a bitter disappointment, and this season I just don't seem to care. Isn't that awful? I was such a fan. And this season has been so much better than last season, I feel kind of guilty for not watching! I read the Project Rungay blogs to see who wins and loses, and maybe I'll catch up eventually, but just haven't felt like it lately. I also haven't felt like staying up to watch Hoarders, but at least I've been catching up with that on A&E's site.

For anyone who has asked, no, we still have not heard anything about our exchange student. We are just waiting to hear if the school will accept her. We were hoping to hear by the end of January, but then with all the snows in early February, we still haven't heard anything and here it is March! We would love to get in touch with her and start getting to know her a bit better, but I guess we just have to be patient and let things take their course.

In the meantime, we've decided to do some flipflopping of our house if we are able to. We are going to move the home office downstairs into the basement and make Mike's office upstairs into the extra bedroom. This makes sense for a number of reasons: 1. Caroline will have a closet! 2. When the baby wakes up at 6:00am and wants to play, I can take her downstairs and not have to worry about waking up a slumbering teen! 3. The guestroom is a bit larger than the upstairs room, so I could put up a desk for my new scrapbooking hobby! 4. Mike can go use the computers and radios as much as he wants at any time of the day or night without having to use his headphones or worrying about disturbing anyone. 5. At night when we are all doing our own thing, we will still be on the same floor and easily accessible to one another without having to holler up and down the stairs. 6. Our upstairs floors are really creaky and it won't keep anyone up any more if they are trying to sleep in the spare room if someone's moving upstairs and creaking around.

The two questions that will hold this operation up are: 1. can we get that room wired for ETHERNET and 2. can we get his radio antennas wired into that room. He's got a buddy from the ham club coming over to have a look, and then we'll ask our friend about the computer wiring. He could go back to using wireless, but I've been informed he does not want to do that.

Once we find out if it's possible to do this, I'll have to go on a marathon painting binge, since I'm sure Michael doesn't want a pink striped office. It was a lot of work and I enjoyed it and loved the stripes, but I think something a little more subdued will probably be better for a man cave with a wife-corner. I will probably also repaint the office, but maybe not. The color does match all the bedding we already have, so I may just leave it for now and if Caroline doesn't like it, she can help me repaint it. If anyone wants to help paint or move furniture, we'll pay in pizza, beer, or whatever else floats your boat!

We are excited that Mike and Lesley's niece is moving to DC this summer, so even though it's not Mike and Lesley, it's the next best thing :-) She is coming to stay at the Cookie Jar this April and I'm going to take her apartment hunting while she's here so she can get off to a good start when she makes the move in June. She is a great gal and of course we hope this will be an even bigger incentive for Mike and Lesley to move on up here too!!! :-) Damn the housing market is all! But I know they cannnot resist Leah's siren song, so I have a funny feeling they'll come on up sometime sooner rather than later, as Lesley said :-) Jennifer and I have been swapping emails back and forth to figure out a game plan, and we have just over a month to figure out what we want to do, so I know it will be great. I'm of course going to steer her towards living on the Virginia side of things, because we know how those Maryland types are. Haha!

As for Weight Watchers, well, it seems like I get going and then I get off track. I really did great my first week back, down 4.2 pounds, and then BANG! The snow storm hit and we sat around and ate brownies and cake and did puzzles and read books and stuff. Then the storm was over, and we went to Greensboro and enjoyed ourselves. Then we got back and I just couldn't face it the first week, and that week turned into two, turned into 3. I know it is something I need to do, I have made concrete goals for myself and I want the results, I just have to get into a mindset of where it's going to happen. I remember where it all went terribly wrong--we were up in Plattsburgh when my dad first had the attack and we went to the store, and I thought, "F*** this, I'm getting some Doritos." It's all been downhill from there. I know I can, and I know I will, it's just a matter of when! :-)

As for FlyLady, everything is just great! I do a quick clean every day, and my in-laws were SO impressed when they walked in Monday. They were like, "you have done a lot of work around here!" Between that and Michael's "It's a whole new Susan!" campaign, I guess I was a real slob before :-) But I'm happy with how things look and how easy it is to maintain. If I could just get Leah to pick up her toys...

I guess that's about all the news that's fit to print from Fredericksburg. I am very nearly ready to break out my Cricut and get scrapping, just need to go get some pictures printed off at Walmart and then I'm going to town. I'm so excited. I'll post some pictures of what I create. I got a couple of extra cartridges at Joann's yesterday since they are 50% off right now, so I can use different fonts, etc. on the book. Cindy gave me a great tutorial yesterday, so I'm feeling pretty confident I'll be ready to scrap in no time!

Hope everyone else is doing just dandy :-) Drop me a line, update your own blog, let me know what's going on!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

13 Little Blue Envelopes

13_little_blue_envelopes Well, I have been an absolute reading fiend lately, with little else to do apart from housework, baby care, and seeing friends.  The latest entry into the book challenge scene is Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes, which I read as a young adult choice for the TwentyTen Reading Challenge.  After reading Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, I wanted something similarly fun to read, and picked up several different books, but nothing really appealed to me.  A voice in my head kept saying “13 Little Blue Envelopes” which I had tried to read several times in the past, but couldn’t get into.  I listened to the voice and devoured this book in a scant two days!

From Maureen Johnson’s website comes this synopsis:

Aunt Peg, the New York artist and the person Ginny Blackstone depended on to make her life interesting, took off to Europe without a word three years ago. Aside from a few postcards, Ginny hasn’t heard much. Then she gets a horrible phone call that changes everything.  Soon after, Ginny receives one little blue envelope from Aunt Peg containing a thousand dollars and some very strange instructions… And with that, she is sent off to pick up a package containing twelve similar envelopes, which she can open one by one, as instructed. Each letter contains a task that Ginny must perform.  Soon, the mild-mannered and quiet Ginny (who’s barely made it out of New Jersey before) finds herself running from London to Paris to Rome, and beyond. Along the way, she collects a number of new friends, including: a manager from Harrods department store who runs errands for the rich and famous, a handsome but maddening thief-turned-playwright, a celebrity painter who tattoos the names of her dead pets on her body, and the angriest vegetable salesman in all of France.   As time goes on, Ginny realizes that her aunt has sent her on a mission, and that there is something big waiting for her in the thirteenth envelope. All she has to do is make it from place to place and complete all of the tasks that have been set before her.  As if life is that easy.

I thought that this was a great book for teen girls to read.  Who among us didn’t dream of taking off to someplace amazing and living out of a backpack for a summer while visiting all the crown heads of Europe (or maybe in your case it was Asia or Africa or South America?).  I know I certainly did, and for three weeks in 1991, I got to live that dream.  But my adventure was mild compared to the adventure Aunt Peg sends Ginny on as she scours Europe for a starving artist, a man named Piet, a Parisian cafe decorated with garbage, and so on.  I really related to Ginny in many ways and I think I would probably have been very similar to her had someone set out this adventure for me.

She learns a lot about herself and about her missing aunt, about the world, and about people.  It was a sweet little book, hardly the best one I’ve read, but I would definitely recommend it and would read it again someday if I find myself in the mood for a travel fantasy.  I’m rating it 4stars on GoodReads, but I’m getting concerned I have a lot of 4 star reads!!!  Still, this book made me very happy, so I hope you’ll enjoy it as well!