Catch Up, Smatch Up

Well, if I were to continue with this catch-up post business, I would now have to finish 2012 and do ALL of 2013.  I doubt even my closest friends are interested in revisiting what my kid was doing 2 years ago.  Apparently I’M not even that interested, or I would have done it by now!

On the other hand (yes, I am a Gemini), the OCD part of me wants to finish what I started and do it anyway.

Hm.  Decisions, decisions.  Blog as personal diary / journal?  Or something that others might actually find interesting to read?  Will I ever keep up with it and keep it current either way?

I’ll get back to you on that.  Don’t be surprised if it’s 2015 when I do.

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Catch-up 2012: May

Need I even state that I’m the worst blogger ever and I’m now doing a catch-up post from over a YEAR ago?  No, I didn’t think so.

May 2012.  Mom had a PET scan on the 3rd to check on her progress with treatment.  On the 6th, my mom’s cousin and his wife had us all over for dinner.  I enjoy getting together with my older relatives and hearing about “the old days!”

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With the gift cards from her birthday, we got Hope a cool water table!  (Actually in April but I guess I figured I had enough April pictures!)

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Oh, or maybe I realized the pictures were kind of blurry and not that great!  Oh well.

For Mother’s Day, my sister and I decided to take my mom to The Betsy Ross House for their Mother’s Day Tea.  We were running late as usual; and my sister was pushing my mom through the city in a wheelchair.  My mom was scared and feeling out of control, I guess, so was freaking out at every intersection and bump in the sidewalk. She kept yelling at my sister to stop, slow down, not step into the street, etc. etc. etc.  I know I’m not explaining it well here, but it was kind of a nightmare.  Ugh.  Once we got there, it was nice.

Before:

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Mom and Betsy:

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Hope with her lemonade:

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Hope making me a necklace!

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Betsy Ross House

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On the 18th we went to a local carnival with friends.  Hope loves having someone her size to go on rides with!

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That weekend I participated in a consignment sale.  (I can’t remember if I’ve posted about this before or not.  Ugh.)  I was a volunteer, consignor and of course shopper!  I LOVE these sales because I get almost all of Hope’s clothes there; and I make some money too!  (To offset what I spend, of course!)

On the 23rd Mom started new oral chemo drugs called Xeloda and Tykerb.  It was convenient because she could take the drugs at home and not have to go to the office for infusions.  They were some very strong drugs, though, and bound to make her sick.  And it was a lot of pills per day – large pills – which she did not like.

On the 24th, our complex had their annual resident appreciation party.  Hope got to climb up into a fire truck and explore a little bit!

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We also found out that evening that Eric’s uncle Mike, his Dad’s brother, had passed.  He had been ill, although we weren’t aware of how serious it was at all.

Eric’s Uncle Mike & Dad:

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Cool old photo of Mike:

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On the 25th I got to go to a new Philadelphia museum, The Barnes Foundation, with a friend and some of her family members.  What an amazing collection.  I highly recommend it if you live in the area or are visiting Philadelphia!

My 43rd birthday came and went with no fanfare.  It was also on Memorial Day.  Hope enjoyed her water table again — and Daddy pouring water all over her!  (That is until Daddy threw an entire bucket of water directly into her face.  Men.  Why must they always take things too far??  Oy.)

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Catch-up 2012: April

April 2012.  Gramma & Grampa only stayed a couple of days.  We went to Franklin Square and The Franklin Institute that Monday.

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My mom’s brother, my Uncle Dave, was at Hope’s party at the end of March.  He had congestive heart failure and I knew he had been ill, but I hadn’t seen him for several months, and was completely shocked to see how he had aged in that short time.  He and my mom got to sit together and chat for quite some time.

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If my mom took off her wig they would totally be twins!  Anyway, I am so grateful to whoever had the thought to move that chair there for my mom and have them sit together.  Unfortunately it was the last time they would see each other.  My Uncle Dave passed just after midnight on Easter Sunday, April 8th, just a week after this picture was taken.  He was such a truly good man and we miss him a lot.  His memorial service was the following Saturday.

Somebody there must have had the stomach bug because we were all sick with it for the next 3 days.  Bleck.

Oh, wait, I skipped Easter!

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What, you don’t let your kid eat M&M’s at 8:00 AM?  LOL.

Dressed and ready to go to Aunt Donna’s:

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Hunting eggs at Aunt Donna’s:

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Aunt Donna’s mantle:

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Hope checking out cousin Collin’s new car:

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The rest of April was fairly uneventful.  My mom had a bunch of appointments and treatment.  My mom’s sister, my Aunt Lynn, stayed in town after my Uncle Dave passed to help out with going through his belongings, packing up his house, etc., so we got to see her much more often than usual.  That is the thing about when someone passes or when you attend a funeral:  it’s nice to get to see people you don’t otherwise get to see very often.  And we always say, “we need to get together more – not just at weddings and funerals!”

Catch-up 2012: March

March 2012.  Mom continued radiation.  I studied for and took a couple of exams for an online job which I passed & got the job.  I technically still have this job but I suck at carving out time to work and therefore rarely work and don’t really make any money at it.  Ugh.  Shocking that they haven’t let me go actually.  If I could have more discipline about it, I could actually be earning enough money to be helping our financial situation.  In my defense, it really is hard to find the time between caring for my mom and my child, taking my mom to many, many appointments and trying to keep up with the household cleaning, bill-paying, shopping, cooking, laundry, etc etc etc etc.  Oh and the sleeping.  I like to do that from time to time.  I know a lot of people do it but I really find it difficult.  OK, so still March:  another good friend had her thyroid out.  Turned out to be cancerous.  Good God, enough with the cancer already!!  Somewhere around here I was diagnosed with Diabetes.  Something else I suck at:  taking care of myself.  Oy.

St. Patrick’s Day:

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At the end of March I started touring preschools for Miss Hope for the fall.  On the 30th the in-laws arrived and on the 31st we had Hope’s 3rd birthday party!

That deserves more than a brief mention!  My sweet cousin let me use her awesome house for the party because our townhouse is just too small to have more than, oh, 4 guests here.  We did the theme Ni Hao Kai Lan and I had all sorts of Kai Lan and Chinese-themed stuff.  Of course I intended to do a whole post just on the party – planning, prep, execution – LOL.  I kinda’ went all out.  Here are some pics!

Gift / treat / favor bags:

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Wrapped Hershey bars:

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For our youngest guests’ favor bags:

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Popcorn:

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And all this other good stuff!

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Water bottles:

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I bought the labels from Personally Yours Parties.  (That links to her eBay store.)  Awesome stuff!

Decorated Chinese take-out boxes for utensils:

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Food:

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Fake sushi:

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Cake:

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The birthday girl!

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Balloons:

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Party hat!

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Photo booth:

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Blowing out her candles:

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Gramma & Grampa!

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So, yeah, we kind of went all out.  🙂

Catch-up 2012: February

February 2012.  Had some medical tests myself including annual mammo.  No problems.  My good friend Lisa came for a weekend visit.  Always too short and too few & far between!  🙂  I decided to try to babysit a child or 2 in my home for some extra income.  Had a couple of leads that didn’t pan out and never really pursued it further.  My sister and her sweet baboo came to celebrate her birthday.  My mom continued treatment.  She got a tumor on her neck that was giving her severe pain and she ended up having to have radiation.  Thankfully the pain went away quickly as they shrunk the tumor.  I participated (as a consignor, volunteer and shopper) at the “all-season” consignment sale.

Hope & my sis on her birthday:

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My sweet girl on Valentine’s Day:

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Catch-up 2012: January

*Insert obligatory comment about how I haven’t blogged in forever and I can’t believe I haven’t posted since August and I’m the worst blogger ever.*

There.

Gosh, even when I did post last it was political, and before that, about couponing, consignment sales, etc.  And while I know my blog doesn’t need to be a day-to-day journal of my life, it IS kind of nice to be able to look back on it in that way.  So … I’m going to bore you with a re-cap of sorts.  Of like, the whole year.  Sorry.  🙂  I’ll do a post for each month to break it up!

January 2012.  Not too much was going on.  My mom was still going through chemo.  Hope was playing with her BFF while my BFF watched her while my mom had appointments.  One of my mom’s high school friends passed and we attended her funeral.  My BFF’s mom had a lumpectomy (yes more breast cancer – UGH.)  Joe Paterno died.

I never did post here about the whole PSU / Sandusky scandal business.  I really did want to.  At this point it’s old news and I’ll be brief.  Glad Sandusky got his due.  Sad they fired Joe.  I understand that he could have done more, but I still feel like he and the football program at large were made into scapegoats.  Think the NCAA sanctions were / are WAY too strict.  I don’t 100% trust the Freeh report / findings, especially with news that has come out about it over the past several months.  And I don’t think they should have taken Joe’s statue down.  Anyway, as a PSU alum, the whole thing sucks / sucked and really did sadden me.  If you didn’t go there, you don’t understand.  Period.

We had the winter’s one and only snow in January.  My mom got Hope a sled and boots for Christmas; by BFF handed a great snow-suit down to us.  All of it got used exactly once.  *sigh*  Here’s a picture!

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Or two!

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Or three!  She really liked eating the icy snow a lot!

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And Hubby turned 37 in January!

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I know – I should have my own show on cake-baking.  And decorating.  And inserting candles.  I mean, it’s totally fabulous, right?  LOL.

Tiny?

These are our canisters:

They sit out on the kitchen counter and we use the largest one as a cookie jar.

This is the sugar bowl:

We rarely use it and I keep it in a cabinet.  Hope has rarely, if ever, even seen it.  I had it out a couple of weeks ago and she asked me, “Why did you make such a tiny cookie jar?”  LOL.  I love this kid.

Unplugged

So we’ve been doing the “unplugged” thing in our household.  Partially, anyway.  And not voluntarily.  But that’s a story for another day.

We have no cable TV service, Internet service, or phone service.  I figured – no big deal – we can make do for a few days.

Day One.  “It’s gonna be a long couple of days, but we can deal with it.”  My child watches a lot of Nick Jr.  A lot.  But she also has DVD’s to watch.  I can check email and Facebook on my phone, I can check news on my phone, I can text.  And I can get things done around the house in the time that I usually waste online!  And I did.  I cleaned both upstairs bathrooms, dusted upstairs and vacuumed upstairs.  Great!  The kiddo watched Yo Gabba Gabba, Blues Clues and Diego on DVD.  My mom finished The Hunger Games and started Catching Fire.  Hubby found some kid-friendly games on the computer and started playing them with the little one.  He showed me how to play Spider Solitaire.

Day Two.  Pretty much a repeat of Day One without all the cleaning.  I really like Spider Solitaire.  I got all the pictures off of my camera and all of the videos off of the video camera.  I edited a few videos.  We’re spending a lot of time outside riding bikes, playing ball and catching lightning bugs!  My mom asks if she can watch something other than the kid’s shows.  We remind her that the service is off.  We watch a couple of movies.

Day Three.  Hubby took the kiddo outside to play at her water table for a couple of hours.  I cleaned the downstairs bathroom, dusted, ran the vacuum and mopped the floors downstairs.  I’m kind of liking the partially unplugged thing.  I really waste a lot of time online and watching TV.  We’re spending more quality family time!  Yay!  A friend stops over for a little while.  My mom asks if she can watch something other than the kid’s shows.  We remind her that the service is off.  We watch a couple of movies.

Day Four.  Not much to do.  The house is clean.  Sorted through a bunch of paperwork.  That took a couple of hours.  I’m getting pretty tired of seeing the same couple episodes of Blues Clues, Yo Gabba Gabba and Diego over and over and over again.  Checking email on my stupid phone is a pain in the ass.  Forget about Facebook.  It takes eons to even load.  I play Spider Solitaire.  A lot.  My mom asks if she can watch something other than the kid’s shows.  We remind her that the service is off.  We watch a couple of movies.

Day Five.  I think we can get our services turned back on today, but turns out we can’t.  Hrmph.  Spider Solitaire is starting to get old and so are the 3 “new” kid-friendly games that the kid wants to play over and over.  I can’t take much more Gabba so I force the kid to watch an old Veggie Tales VHS.  She likes it, though.  I do laundry.  I do Sudoku.  I try to check email on my phone.  I want to bash my phone against a wall. My mom asks if she can watch something other than the kid’s shows.  I remind her that the service is off.  I put on a movie for her.

Day Six.  The kid is on my last nerve.  By 9:00 AM, I have made the bed, dressed her, given her juice and breakfast, put a “show” on for her (damned Yo Gabba Gabba), done the dishes, and made coffee.  I don’t go near the computer all day for the Spider Solitaire, although I play it on my phone a little bit.  By 11:00 AM I have showered and dressed, cleaned up the kid’s messy room, put away some clean laundry and have some more going.  I spread white paper out on the dining room table and drag out all of my old rubber stamps and inks, along with colored pencils.  I do like that we are doing “arts & crafts” together and she really loves it.  We color for quite a while.  My mom asks if she can watch something other than the kid’s shows.  I remind her that the service is off.  I put on a movie for her.  Outside.  Kiddo rides her bike a little, plays with neighbor kids.  Back in for lunch.  More stamping.  Back outside.  Back in.  We make Jell-O.  Dear God, is it only 2:00?  The laundry is done and there is nothing to clean.  By the way, we also don’t have the car because I didn’t feel like getting up at 3:00 AM to drop hubby off.  More rounds of outside, inside.  She won’t listen to me and it’s driving me batty.  I have too much of my mother in me.  When the child ignores me, I start to go ballistic.  Spider Solitaire isn’t helping.   My mom asks if she can watch something other than the kid’s shows.  I remind her that the service is off.   Hubby gets home around 5:30, I cook, we eat, I do the dishes and make his coffee for the morning.  He goes to bed.  More bike riding.  Finally in for the night and kiddo wants to watch some “home videos” on the computer.  She watches for a while.  PJ’s, books, brush teeth, time to snuggle up.  I decide to put in a movie for myself.  Screen says “loading” for an awfully long time … DVD is not loading.  I try to open it.  It won’t open.  It is stuck.  NOOOOOOOOO!  Dear GOD, NO!!!  The DVD player is my only salvation at this point!!!!   OK.  I will play Wii.  We never play Wii, might as well get some use out of it.  Load a game.  Remote has dead batteries.  We have no more batteries.

Try for 10 minutes to pry DVD tray open with a nail file.  It won’t budge.  I hear the little motor inside trying to make it open.  I’m certain it will burn out before morning.

Text best friend.  “Please take pity on me. Let’s do something tomorrow.”  Have not heard back from her.

Wine.  Cigarettes.  (Yes, I know, I know – shut up.)

If you don’t hear from me again, you’ll know I didn’t make it through Day Seven.  Or Eight.  God willing, there will not be a Day Nine.

Consignment Sales

I know I haven’t posted in forever, but I’ve been wanting to do a post about consignment sales, specifically kids’.  I’ve been participating in one for a while now as a consignor and volunteer (and shopper of course!) so wanted to share a little bit about it.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, someone (in my case 2 sisters; in some cases charitable organizations) runs the sale, organizes everything, rents a space, sets up racks, gets consignors, volunteers, advertisers, etc.  As a consignor, you enter your items into a program online, print tags, hang and tag your items, and drop them off at the sale.  At the sale I do, if you do one volunteer shift during the sale, you get back 70% of your sales.  If you don’t volunteer, you get 60%.  At the end of the sale, you can choose to pick up your items that didn’t sell, or donate them.

This sale (and most of them, I think) runs 3 days, and the 3rd day, if the tag says “Discount,” the item is 50% off.  (You choose whether or not to discount each of your items.)  The night before the sale opens to the public, (again, at the sale I do) volunteers get the first opportunity to shop (for 1 hour) and then consignors get to shop.

And I love the shopping!  My goal is to make more than I spend or at least break even!  I haven’t gotten my check yet from this most recent sale, but I only sold 27 items, so I think it will be about $47.  I didn’t break even.  LOL.  That’s ok, though.  It will still be nice to get the $47!

So here’s what I got this time:

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3 CD’s (actually 6 because 1 of these has 3 in it), a jump rope (new in package) and 2 Kindermusik resonator bells.Image

A giant Kai Lan floor puzzle, Bob the Builder Colorforms and this cool magnet toy.  (We’re taking a long road trip this summer, so I think the magnet toy, Colorforms and CD’s will all be great for the car!)

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2 really cute dresses.

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4 tops and 3 pairs of shorts.

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3 two-piece top & shorts outfits (1 new with tags.)

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3 bathing suits and a cover-up.

So how much do you think I paid for all this?  (All full price, by the way, because I went to the pre-sale for volunteers.)  I think I did pretty well getting all this for $65.  And, of course, I got rid of some stuff I didn’t need anymore and will still get $47-ish in that check that’s coming soon!

So if you haven’t been shopping at a consignment sale yet, I highly recommend it!  Go check one out.  I’m certain you’ll find some great bargains.  And if you like it, you might want to be a consignor, too!

Getting Organized in the New Year

I’m a fairly organized person.  I used to be really, super-organized … not sure what happened, exactly … but I’d like to be really organized again.  I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, per se, but I do usually take a look at things at the start of a new year, think about what I’d like to change, think about what I’d like to accomplish, etc.

What I do love to make are lists!  Yep, I’m a list-maker for sure.  Sometimes I think if I spent time doing the tasks I need to do instead of making lists, the tasks would be done!  But then I couldn’t check them off of my list.  LOL.

I found this great website this past year called Families with Purpose.  It’s right up my alley because they have lots of templates for lists, schedules, menus, family plans, etc.  Here are the ones I printed off today with a view toward getting more organized!

Daily Routine Template:  I made up my own daily routine chart this past fall.  I wasn’t very good at sticking to it, and I’d like to try again.  I know that it will be a good way to achieve some goals if I can just get myself into these routines.  For example, one of my goals is to keep the house more clean and organized.  So I will put cleaning time into my daily routine / schedule, with a different room each day.  Not only will this help me to achieve my goal, but if I do it faithfully, I won’t need to spend time cleaning on the weekends when we could be doing a family activity, for example.  This Household Cleaning Schedule will help, too!

I printed this Family Schedule template, too.  Just a look at the whole week as opposed to just one day.

I also printed this Screen Time Tracking Chart.  I doubt I will actually track it, because I already know that Hope watches way too much TV and I spend way too much time on the computer!  Again, implementing the daily routine / schedule will set limits for these activities and have times set aside for things like playing together, crafts, reading, and outdoor play.

Here’s the link to the Families With Purpose page that lists all of their free printables.  I hope you find something there that can help you to get more organized, too!