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The Sunday Somethings, 20apr14 and 13apr14

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Something that makes me happy: We had a wonderful visit from Gabe’s family this weekend.

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about all the pictures that I need to sort from the last few months. I’m quite behind, and I still haven’t finished my 2013 photobook.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping to catch up on pictures soon, but I’m not sure that’s going to actually happen!

Something happening around the house: We had eight people in our house this weekend with Gabe’s parents, Dylan, and Dylan’s girlfriend Morgan.

Something I’m reading: I finished I am Malala. I started and finished The End of Your Life Book Club, and I was disappointed in that one. I am now reading City of Ashes, the second book in The Mortal Instruments. None of these are for book club.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe finished Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, and he started reading The Blade Itself.

Something I’m watching: Most of our shows are coming to a close. The Walking Dead is over, and we finally watched the last episode of Downton Abbey. We started watching Orphan Black, and now it seems like everyone else is watching it, too. We tried to watch The 100, but that was awful. We’re watching Resurrection, and that one is good enough to keep watching. We’re still watching The Amazing Race, though we need to catch up on Sunday’s episode. We’re also still watching Hart of Dixie. I imagine that show isn’t going to last much longer, but I still like keeping up with it.

Something I’m playing: We played a lot of games with Gabe’s family while they were here. We played Trivial Pursuit, Sour Apples to Apples, La Boca, Hoopla, Kaleidos, King of Tokyo, and Tribond. Grandma played Max the Cat and Too Many Monkeys with Gabe and the kids. Gabe and I are still playing Candy Crush. We played bar trivia and photohunt this weekend, too. Cullen showed Dylan how to play his Ninjago spinners.

Something I’m creating: I did several of our cruise posts since my last somethings. I still have a few more to go.

Something tasty: We made sugar cookies on Easter. Yum!

Something about both kiddos: The kids really enjoyed having visitors this weekend. They love Grandma, Grandpa, and Dylan, and they instantly took to Morgan (or “Mogo,” as we all call her). They played lots of imagination games with them, showed them Frozen, showed them their games on their devices, played board games, and put people in “jail.” Both kids have been playing their devices too much. We’ve been giving them too much device time without requiring them to turn in tickets. Maddie was out of school on Friday, and we all went to lunch with Cullen at the cafe.

Something Maddie is doing (6 years old): Maddie’s class did child-led 3rd quarter conferences. She’s doing very well in most things, though her teacher has had some recent issues with Maddie’s conduct. She also says that Maddie is weak in “retelling,” so that’s something we’ll be working on. She gets reading homework, so we have a lot of opportunity to strengthen that skill. I don’t think she’s terrible at it, personally. She’s reading well above her grade level, and she is able to tell me about it. You do have to prompt her a bit as she’s hesitant to answer. I think she’s much more comfortable when there is a right and wrong answer. She’s less comfortable when there’s not a “right” way to do something, so retelling is challenging for her. She is still enjoying gymnastics. I think she enjoys seeing her friend Sophie at gymnastics, too.

Something Cullen is doing (4 years old): Poor Cullen has had a stomach bug that comes and goes (or he’s caught several in the past 2 weeks). He has thrown up all over his bed at least 3 different nights and had a lot of other stomach issues. Poor little boy. The first night that he threw up in bed, he came down and said, “Mama! Dada! I barfed all over my bed. It was the biggest barf ever in the whole wide world.” He was out of school again today. Poor boy missed Earth Day and his class Easter egg hunt. He had fun playing the Ninjago spinners with Dylan. Dylan had a lot of trouble beating him at the game! Cullen is very excited about learning how to read, and he asks to read to me every night before bed. He gets frustrated sometimes, but I’m quite impressed with his progress. We are still working through the phonics books with short vowel sounds. I’ve been sticking with the same book until he has it mostly memorized to build his confidence, and then we move to another one. He responds very well to visual cues (like pointing to his nose to remind him of the sound for “n”). This has helped him learn much better than simple repetition. It’s not too long before I don’t have to use the visual cue.

Something I am struggling with: I had some kind of upper respiratory crud, but it seems to have cleared up now.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: We should beat our $5,000 goal for this year’s MS walk.

Something I learned: I get to go to WWDC this year! This year’s tickets were distributed through a lottery. I didn’t personally get a ticket, but I was able to get a transferred ticket from another coworker. Hooray!

Something I’m looking forward to: Maddie has gymnastics this week and next. I have book club next week. Maddie has a birthday party this weekend, and both kids have kiddo book club. We have dinner with friends next week. I’m going on my girls trip to Key West soon!

Something captured: How cute is our nephew and his girlfriend?

The Sunday Somethings, 06apr14

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Something that makes me happy: A good visit with family!

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking I’m also happy about a great year of fundraising! It’s amazing to see all the support from family and friends once again.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping to get my thank you notes done soon. I’ve been emailing thanks the last few years, so I just need to get organized.

Something happening around the house: My parents and my sister and Chad came to visit all at once for Walk MS. This is the first time that we have had them both spend the night in our house. We borrowed a fancy air mattress from the neighbors, and that worked quite nicely. Brendon and Abby both spent the night, too. It was fun to see them interact. Abby was so happy to see Brendon!

Something I’m reading: I finished reading The Husband’s Secret, and I think we’ll have lots of good stuff to discuss at book club! I started reading I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe is still reading Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.

Something I’m watching: Kentucky basketball!!! WOOHOO! We are looking forward to the championship game tomorrow. Will Kentucky win their 9th championship?

Something I’m playing: I’m still playing some Candy Crush. Maddie and Cullen played some boardgames tonight. They were excited. They played Zingo, Max the Cat, and Too Many Monkeys.

Something I’m creating: I’m still working on our cruise summaries.

Something about both kiddos: The kids had a lot of fun playing board games tonight. We have some work to do with their sportsmanship skills. They do get upset when something doesn’t go their way or they lose, and they tend to gloat a bit too much when they win. We need to carve out more game playing time! It’s great family time. We all had the Walk MS event yesterday. We didn’t bring any strollers (and couldn’t remember if we had last year). The kids walked the whole way, except for a short period that Cullen rode in our friends’ stroller. They did a lot of complaining for the mile route, so there was no way that we were going to try the 3 mile route! They had fun playing in the bouncy house area after the walk. They had a good time visiting with Nana and Papa this weekend (and Kristin and Chad yesterday). They introduced Nana and Papa to Frozen last night. Today, we dyed Easter eggs. Papa and Daddy hid them in the yard a couple of times for the kids to find. Then, this afternoon we went to the neighborhood egg hunt. It was a busy, fun weekend! Both kids have been getting themselves dressed each morning, and this has been a huge help to our morning routine. The changing weather each day makes this challenging as the kids put on long sleeves and need short sleeves or vice versa every other day.

Something Maddie is doing (6 years old): Maddie went to a birthday party for one of her favorite school friends yesterday. It was at a horse farm, and Maddie had a great time! I wasn’t sure if she would opt to ride the horse, but she did. She was very nervous, but she was excited (and she did it). I was proud of her. I was also happy to see how quickly she warmed up at the party. She went off running just about as fast as we arrived, which isn’t always the case with her. Gabe went to visit during lunch with her on Friday, and she enjoyed that. She had complained that *everyone* else’s parents had been to lunch with *their* kids (which I’m sure is totally not true). She had another gymnastics lesson this week, and that seems to be going well.

Something Cullen is doing (4 years old): Cullen has been working on his reading in the early phonics readers. He’s been working on short vowel sounds, and I’m really proud of him! Sometimes he throws out random guesses, but he’s starting to get better at making the sounds and putting it together to make the word. I feel like he’s catching up fast (though that still means slow, steady progress towards actually reading). He is really excited about reading, and he asks to read to me every night. It’s amazing to watch this process again! Cullen continues to give me directions on the way to school and the way home. He’s often right, but more importantly he has the “right” and “left” directions down now. Cullen was especially nervous about my parents’ dog Abby, but he did pet her a few times. He was nervous every time she came close to him.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: We raised nearly $5,000 for the National MS Society!

Something I’m looking forward to: This week we have the NCAA championship game to watch (GO CATS!), I have a musical (Wizard of Oz), Maddie has gymnastics, we have a “child led conference” at Maddie’s school, Maddie has picture day, I have a scrapbooking day, and we’re getting together with friends to decorate Easter cookies. We may have bike day for Cullen in the next week or two. Cullen also has picture day next week. Gabe’s parents are coming to visit for Easter.

Something captured: This year’s walk team

The Sunday Somethings, 16mar14 and 24mar14

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Something that makes me happy: Our dinner out on Saturday without kids was nice! We already had a sitter for a party, so we thought it would be a nice time for a decent dinner.

Something I’m thinking: Staying up until 3am these days takes a lot longer to recover from…

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping that we can find some time to get Maddie some new shoes this week. She’s been complaining about her tennis shoes for a couple of weeks.

Something happening around the house: The cleaners are coming tomorrow, so we have some work to do in order to get ready for them.

Something I’m reading: I finally finished the third book of The Demon Cycle. Wow, that one seemed to take forever. I started and finished both Spring Fever and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. They were quick and easy reads, and I enjoyed both of them (especially Lemoncello!). I started reading Hollow City, the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe is still reading Pandora’s Star.

Something I’m watching: Lots of NCAA basketball. We’re also caught up on Amazing Race and The Walking Dead. We’re behind on quite a few other shows, though we started watching Resurrection, which is based on the novel I read recently, The Returned. It seems fairly loosely based so far!

Something I’m playing: We had a games night last weekend, and I played Nations, Glass Road, Amun Re, and a quick round of Sour Apples to Apples.

Something I’m creating: I finished Maddie’s letter, and I started to think about the blog posts for the cruise. I really need to work on those. I haven’t had time to sort photos or anything. I need to get back to my 2013 photobook as well. I had made pretty good progress on it, but then we’ve been quite busy with the cruise and crazy weather and all.

Something tasty: I still can’t stop eating Hiding Eggs.

Something about both kiddos: At games night last weekend, they were crazy. I don’t know what was up with them. They didn’t get along with friends that they usually play with quite well. They fought with each other and their friends, and they were so loud. I’m guessing next time, one of us will have to be on constant kid duty to keep them in line. The worst part is that the kids all managed to trash every room that they were in. It wasn’t just a matter of taking out lots of toys and not putting them away, it was more along the lines of them dumping out EVERY container. And that isn’t even quite accurate. It was like they threw everything into a different corner as they did it. We were not happy with that. We’ll have to put down some ground rules next time. Both kids finally finished their birthday thank you notes, though I know a few things slipped through the cracks. Both kids filled out NCAA tournament brackets. I was amused by their choices. Maddie’s bracket is holding pretty strong, and she has Kentucky winning it all. Cullen’s bracket is totally trashed with picks like Coastal Carolina winning a couple of rounds and American making it to the championship. He had Kansas winning it all. Gabe’s bracket is awesome. Mine is doing worse than Maddie’s. It’s been fun to have a family pool this year.

Something Maddie is doing (6 years old): Maddie had a tough week at school this week, according to her teacher. We got a couple of notes from her teacher, so that was a little frustrating. She was asking for some ideas of how to help Maddie, and I think I have some good ones. I think understanding why she breaks a rule is more significant than the rule. She often has logical reasons why she “misbehaved,” and they aren’t excuses. She wants to follow the rules. For example, she got in trouble this week for not answering a question when asked. She said, “but I didn’t raise my hand, and I didn’t know the answer.” She was perceived as being stubborn. I explained to her that she has to say something when called upon, even if she didn’t raise her hand. And that she can say, “I don’t know” if she doesn’t know the answer. She hates making a mistake and hates being put on the spot. She is loving gymnastics. She was nervous at first with the bar, but she did a flip on it after some encouragement. She’s always worried that everyone else already knows what they are doing, and she doesn’t know how to do it. Maddie had a firm understanding of the seeds in the tournament, but when presented with Mercer 14, Duke 3, she immediately said, “Mercer! Nobody is worse than Duke!” I guess that maybe Daddy has had some influence here??

Something Cullen is doing (4 years old): Cullen had another fever bug and missed two days of school, and one of those was the one that Maddie was home from school due to ice. Poor guy. He is still obsessed with the iPad, but we have the kids turn in “tokens” that they earn for good behaviors. Each token is 10 minutes of time. This is working pretty well, though Cullen was banned from turning in tokens for more than a week. Cullen has been experimenting with big words lately. He has always had a strong vocabulary, but we’ve heard some surprising ones coming out of his mouth. He says words like humiliating, tragedy, antagonize, hilarious, concentrating, distracted, and fabulous. Disgusting is one of his favorite words. He’s gotten interested in reading recently, and we’ve been starting on the early phonics readers. He gets frustrated sometimes, but he’s so proud of himself when he figures it out. It’s exciting to go through this process again, though I remember it taking a little while to get some traction. I hope that he will stick with it for a while. It’s so fun to watch the process of a kid learning to read, but it definitely takes a lot of patience with an eager 4-year old.

Something I’m looking forward to: Let’s see. Over the next couple weeks, we have a festival at Maddie’s school, I have book club, Maddie has gymnastics (every week), Gabe has another fantasy baseball draft, my parents are coming for a visit (and returning from their South American cruise), and we’re walking to raise money for the National MS Society. Whew.

The Sunday Somethings, 21apr13

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Something I’m thinking: What? It’s already April 21st? Man, time is flying!

Something happening around the house: I tried to flood our “water closet” in the master bath. I guess I truly wanted it to live up to its name. It took all the towels in the house to clean it up. Yuck! I’m just glad that Gabe was here to help in my panic as the water filled up the room. He’s able to do things like think clearly and turn off the water. I am only capable of panicking and yelling for towels and help.

Something I’m reading: A Dance with Dragons…getting closer to finishing, then I guess I’ll have to tackle next month’s book club book before I get into anything else. I have a few library books that I should probably read before they expire, including one that had a long waiting list.

Something Gabe is reading: He finished Fall of Giants and started and finished Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Book Store.

Something I’m watching: We decided to skip a few episodes and catch up with Survivor. I’m glad we did as the last tribal council was one of the best I’ve seen!

Something I’m playing: A little Qatqi, but that’s about it.

Something I’m creating: I wrote a few more paragraphs on Maddie’s letter. Maybe I should try to finally finish the thing this week. I’ve also been writing thank you notes for the MS Walk fundraising.

Something about both kiddos: They weren’t too excited to go to rollerblading on Saturday. We’ve missed a few lessons in this session, and the sporadic attendance has hurt their motivation. I think we’ll probably be taking a break from those. We’ll be trying to do more swimming lessons this summer, anyway. We took the kids to the cafe this week, but both of us were feeling under the weather and the kids acted up a bit. We had plans with a big group, and the kids were going to be disappointed to miss it.

Something Maddie is doing (5 years old): At dinner the other day, Maddie said, “Mommy, my brother was making me laugh so much that my mouth opened, and my juice fell out.” While we were walking into swimming lessons on Tuesday, a guy in the parking lot was wearing only a speedo. He was walking towards us, and when he was about 5 feet away, Maddie pointed at him and laughed. “Look at that guy! Why is he wearing underwear?!” We had a little talk about why we don’t point and laugh at people (even if we think they look a bit silly). She’s doing great at her swimming lessons. I’m impressed with how she’s warmed up to the instructor and made a new friend. It’s been good for both her swimming skills and her social skills. Maddie asked Daddy if she could take the training wheels off of her bike this afternoon, so they did some practice on the big girl bike without training wheels! She doesn’t quite have the hang of it yet, but she’s getting closer. We’ll have to get her some more practice soon. Maddie’s been asking for ballet lessons. I’m not sure if she will enjoy “real” ballet lessons as she’s done the “pre-ballet” a few times. I think mostly she wants to twirl around in a leotard and skirt. Maddie was excited about the graduate field trip at school. They visited the on campus construction site for the new building and saw a parade of construction vehicles. She enjoyed telling us all about it.

Something Cullen is doing (3 years old): He had a small poop accident in his underwear this week at school. Instead of telling anyone, he decided to just turn his underwear and pants around backwards. I noticed they were backwards when I picked him up, and said, “oh, I see you put on your own pants!” When we got home, I asked, “Cullen, why are your pants on backwards?” He triumphantly exclaimed, “I pooped! Wanna see??” and dropped his poopy pants right there in the kitchen. Other than this incident (which was somewhat amusing), he has been doing really well and been mostly accident free. He hasn’t had a change of clothes from school in a while. He even went to bed last night without pullups and woke up dry! He was dry after nap this weekend, too.

Something I am struggling with: I was feeling better for a few days, and then I woke up on Friday feeling much worse. I went back to the doctor and got a new antibiotic which will hopefully get rid of this stupid bronchitis. I’ve had it for almost two weeks now.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: We raised some more money for the MS Walk this week with some late donations. Our total is up to $5,591!

Something I’m looking forward to: We have a busy week with Maddie’s continuing swimming lessons, my new photography class starting on Monday, book club on Wednesday, maybe poker on Friday for Gabe, helping my sister with her yard sale, and rollerblading. Whew.

Something captured: I don’t know if I took any new photos this week (it’s rare, but it happens), so here’s a picture of our Triangle Walk MS team!

The Sunday Somethings, 14apr13

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: I can’t believe the support that we had this week leading up to the walk. We raised over $4,000 this week to bring our total to almost $5,500.

Something I’m thinking: Just thinking about the upcoming week.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping to feel better this week (and that nobody else in the family gets sick).

Something happening around the house: My parents came for a quick visit for the MS walk.

Something I’m reading: A Dance with Dragons for at least another week or two…

Something Gabe is reading: Fall of Giants (his is a long one, too!).

Something I’m watching: We took the kids to see a Winnie the Pooh play as part of the Storybook Theater series. They had a good time!

Something I’m playing: My mom convinced Gabe and I to start playing QatQi on the iPad/iPhone.

Something about both kiddos: The kids pretend to play “baby school.” We have no idea why they call it baby school except that maybe they bring their dolls to the school? No idea. Baby school involves dragging all of the toys from around the house into one room. Baby school was in our bedroom for a short time. It’s been in the library, the foyer, guest room, Maddie’s room, and the bonus room. Currently, it’s in the bonus room and neither of us have had the energy to get them to straighten it up. Better there than anywhere else in the house, I suppose! Also, I can’t really explain why Cullen likes to play that he is “baby spider.” The two games aren’t related. They didn’t have rollerblading because our MS walk was on Saturday morning. We have been enjoying a lot of outdoor play time (even with the constant pollen cloud, ugh!). Until the pollen attacked the area, we had been having some dinners outside. The weather has been beautiful!

Something Maddie is doing (5 years old): Maddie started her swimming lessons this week, and she’s doing great. She seems to have lost her fear of the water, and she’s doing very well listening to the instructor (and being responsible when it’s not her turn). I’m so proud of her. I was surprised when she recently brought home a math problem that she had done in class adding two 4-digit numbers where every column needed to “carry the 1.” So cool! Maddie has done very well the past few days with her walkie talkie. She hasn’t called us very much, and she hasn’t been “scared” every night. Progress!

Something Cullen is doing (3 years old): Poor little guy had a high fever on two nights (not back to back) and a bad cough. He was out sick for 3 days this week. He didn’t act sick most of the time, but he was more sensitive then usual. He played some new iPad games while he was out. Gabe downloaded some Lego based games, and both kids have been enjoying it. It is amazing to see how they navigate around the tablet! Cullen has an awesome imagination lately. It’s so fun to hear his stories, and he’s very good at recounting movies or books. He has been writing his name on papers at school, and he’s been working on writing other letters as well. I’m impressed by his penmanship!

Something I am struggling with: This bronchitis has me extremely tired. Parenting doesn’t stop for illness.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: We finished up our fundraising for 2013, and I’m thrilled with how we did yet again! Every time I get discouraged, I’m reminded about how wonderful people can be.

Something I learned: I’m allergic to azithromycin (in addition to the sulfa drugs).

Something I’m looking forward to: We have a crazy number of appointments this week. I think we might have to try to reschedule some of them. I have an evening with a friend, swimming lessons for Maddie, rollerblading for both kids, and an iPhone photography class.

Something captured: The kiddos before today’s play!

The Sunday Somethings, 31mar13 and 07apr13

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Something I’m thinking: I’ve really been neglecting the blog…mostly because I can’t get my act together on Maddie’s 5-year letter. I feel like I can’t write anything else until I get that done.

Something I’m reading: I finished I’ve Got Your Number, which was cute and my favorite of her books. I finished the Sisterhood series as well, Sisterhood Everlasting. I read Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Book Store for April’s book club, and I loved it! I’ll be interested to see how the rest of the club likes it. I started A Dance with Dragons, so that may take me a while. Sigh.

Something Gabe is reading: He finished Blackout, the last in the Newsflesh trilogy. He started reading Fall of Giants.

Something I’m watching: We watched seasons 1 and 2 of Downton Abbey (free on amazon prime!). We were disappointed to find that the 3rd season isn’t free (or at least not yet), so I guess we’ll take a break or decide whether it’s worth buying somehow. We’re really enjoying our Roku box lately!

Something I’m creating: I made periscopes and disguises with this month’s kiwi crate (this month has a spy theme).

Something about both kiddos: The kids had a great time making their disguises, but they weren’t willing to let me take photos of them! Both kids enjoyed their Easter goodies! The day before, we went to the Life and Science museum for the dino egg hunt. We skipped a week of rollerblading (no classes Easter weekend), so they were both a little rusty at this week’s lesson. The weather has finally warmed up, so we have been playing outside quite a bit. It’s nice that it is warmer (and still light) after work, so we can get in a little play time before dinner. The kids had team spirit day at school, and Maddie chose to wear her Kentucky sweatshirt while Cullen represented NC State.

Something Maddie is doing (5 years old): Maddie loves for us to take her to the cafe, yet she melted down when we picked her up for our last outing. It was pizza day. Maddie hates pizza, except for the pizza at school. Apparently she LOVES that pizza, so much that she wanted to make sure that we didn’t come to lunch on Fridays anymore (just in case). She has had some rough nights, but the last few nights have been better. Fingers crossed that this is yet another new trend! We had our second Magic Tree House Book Club meeting, this time about Leonardo da Vinci. Maddie is having a great time with the book club. I hope to continue to foster her love for reading. Her swimming lessons start this week. Maddie’s reading speed has been improving.

Something Cullen is doing (3 years old): We discovered a tick on Cullen’s belly this evening after bath. Yikes! He was a little concerned but a brave boy while I removed it. When I was putting him to bed, he said, “That tick was sneaky!” Yesterday, Cullen spotted a deer crossing sign and said, “that sign means that reindeer aren’t allowed to gallop on the road.” Cullen has been writing his name on some of his paper at school and has been writing lots of letters at home. I’m surprised at how well he is doing with that! He is excited about his “readers” that introduce pre-readers to the letters and phonics.

Something I am struggling with: Meh.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: Our walk is on Saturday, and we’ve been raising funds for the National MS Society!

Something I’m looking forward to: MS Walk, Maddie’s swim lessons, Winnie the Pooh play.

Something captured: Cute kiddo book club!

The Sunday Somethings, 17mar13 and 24mar13

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking that I could have slept the whole day yesterday, and I think I’d still feel tired. I’m still recovering from the solo parenting weekend (almost a week ago now). Gabe had a lot of fun on his trip!

Something happening around the house: We all stayed home yesterday which was a cold and rainy day. We were glad that we didn’t have plans! The kids entertained each other pretty well, and Gabe and I spent quite a bit of time being lazy.

Something I’m reading: I finished the third and fourth book of the Sisterhood of the Pants series. They were quick, fun reads. I also finished A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash and The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. Both books were for our new online book club. I didn’t love either one, though the habit book had a lot of interesting anecdotes. I enjoyed the first section of the book the most. It got repetitive, and some of the organizational/society things weren’t as interesting. The last section had a few more interesting bits with night terrors and gambling. I’m reading I’ve Got Your Number. I had been on the waiting list at the library for a while, and it finally became available recently. I’m not sure how much to expect from it!

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe has been reading a lot, too. He finished Deadline by Mira Grant and is now reading the third book in that series. He also read the first book of another series, The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett in the Demon Cycle series.

Something I’m watching: We are thinking about streaming Downton Abbey to see what all the fuss is about. It looks boring to me, but people seem to like it. It’s free to stream, so we’ll see if we like it. I guess.

Something I’m playing: We had games night yesterday. I was able to play Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar twice. I liked it, but I wonder if I’ll be able to get a handle on a good strategy to use in that game! I’m glad I finally got a chance to play it as I have heard about it from several friends.

Something I’m creating: I haven’t finished the 2011 photobook or worked on it much. I started an 8×8 book about my Disney adventures with Audrey early last year. I guess I finished about a third of the book so far.

Something tasty: I can’t stop eating Brach’s Hiding Eggs and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. I’m glad Easter will be over soon.

Something about both kiddos: The kids and I had a great time while Gabe was gone. When he returned, they said, “Daddy! Daddy! You missed all the fun!” We went out to dinner almost every night which kept us out of the house and kept me from needing to figure out what to cook. Keeping us out of the house was an even better benefit as I didn’t have much energy to keep up with cleaning and laundry and all that. We went bowling (their first time). They loved it, but I’m not sure I’ll do it again for a while! We went to the Shiny Diner for the first time (well, theirs, I hadn’t been in at least a decade). We had rollerblading lessons and spent the weekend with Sophie and her mommy doing all kinds of crafts, Easter egg hunts, and cookie decorating. The kids had their first official slumber party. Marie and Sophie ended up sleeping in the guest room, but Maddie and Cullen slept in sleeping bags on Maddie’s floor. They took forever to go to sleep. The kids made a sign for Gabe to welcome him home. We had a lot of fun, but we were very happy to have Daddy home again. Surprisingly, I kept everyone healthy and happy and kept my sanity at the same time. It’s a miracle. They had rollerblading again this weekend, and both kids did great. Maddie claims that she doesn’t like rollerblading anymore, but I don’t think that’s true. She has a big smile on her face while she’s doing it, and today she asked to rollerblade on the hardwoods in the house. They are both making big improvements! Oh, and we got some “journals” while Daddy was out of town, and the kids have been drawing and writing in them frequently. One of the crafts that we did while Sophie was spending the weekend with us was to make things out of toilet paper rolls. The kids all decided to make binoculars and used them to “explore” the backyard. They then returned and wrote what they saw in their journals. Some of the pictures are mostly scribbles, but the process was great!

Something Maddie is doing (5 years old): She’s not been doing particularly well at bedtime. I think part of this is her usual stuff, and another is both the time change and Daddy being out of town for almost a week. She went to bed at a pretty reasonable time tonight, so I hope that’s a good sign. She has been staying awake until 10:30pm or 11pm almost every night. That made for an exhausting time while Gabe was out of town as I couldn’t really go to bed until I got them settled (and then one or both of them would be up bright and early in the morning). Maddie is still reading every day. I’m glad she’s so motivated! It seems like in the past couple of weeks she’s gotten a lot faster with her reading. I’ve been impressed. I wonder when she will make the leap to read to herself. It’s rewarding to see all of her hard work (and mine) paying off after months of daily practice.

Something Cullen is doing (3 years old): Cullen has been enjoying his journal and enjoys drawing random pictures and writing his name (not always with the letters in order). We are wondering whether Cullen may have a food sensitivity. His cheeks have frequently been flushed, and we used to think that it happened mostly when he had been playing outside and it was too hot or too cold. Recently, I have noticed it happening at other times when he hasn’t been in any extreme temperatures (though the temperatures didn’t have to be all that extreme). We think we are noticing a correlation with things like pizza and other tomato things. Since tomatoes are one of his favorite foods, that could explain why his cheeks have been so flushed lately. I feel like it happens even without tomatoes, but I found out that many of his other favorite foods contain some of the same things that can cause sensitivities with tomatoes. We may have to do some more investigating. Cullen has been doing well at preschool! He is excited about being at Children’s House, and he was even more excited when I volunteered in his classroom on Pi Day. We made mini chocolate pudding pies in mini muffin pans. I had so much fun! Cullen was so proud to share his mommy with the class.

Something I am struggling with: I knew I would have a hard time writing this one while Gabe was out of town, so I’m not surprised I skipped. As long as I write this every other week, I think I’ll be happy. I’m having trouble finding time for writing…and still need to write Maddie’s 5-year letter. I’ve worked on it, but I have a ways to go to finish it.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I did some fundraising for this year’s Walk MS. I’m having a slow start, and the walk is coming up fast. I always wonder at this time of year if we’ll make our goals, and somehow we always do. Somehow I still find myself doubting it each year.

Something I’m looking forward to: Book club is this week! We are discussing Little Bee (and it sounds like many of us didn’t like it, so we’ll see what everyone has to say!). We also have some doctor appointments and dinner and games with friends. We are going to do a dino egg hunt next weekend, and the Easter Bunny is coming to town! Just in case I don’t write next week, the following week brings a movie outing with some book club peeps (The Host), the second kiddo book club meeting, and a birthday party.

Something captured: At the Shiny Diner while Daddy was out of town

The Sunday Somethings, 08apr12

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Something that makes me happy: Potty training progress!

Something I’m thinking: People are nasty to each other on Amazing Race this season (and Survivor, for that matter)!

Something I’m hoping: We took two family walks today around the neighborhood and the greenway behind our house. I hope we will be able to do this many more times in the coming months!

Something happening around the house: Potty madness!

Something I’m reading: My friend’s book and a little Escape, this month’s book club selection.

Something Gabe is reading: Feed by Mira Grant.

Something I’m watching: We finally were able to see The Hunger Games with members of the book club and some hubbies. I loved it! I look forward to seeing what the rest of the movies will be like. We also picked up Hugo from Redbox. I’m not sure what we were expecting, but it was quite different from what I thought it was! I thought it was great.

Something I’m playing: Hisss, Pengaloo, and Kids of Carcassonne with Maddie. The kids have also been playing Zingo together. Gabe and I have been playing Draw Something and Mystery Manor on the iPads.

Something I’m creating: I’m still going through the photos from our cruise in December. I have over 2300 photos left, and at least half of them are still terrible. It’s a tedious process.

Something tasty: Reese’s Pieces eggs. It’s probably a good thing that Easter candy season is coming to a close.

Something not so tasty: I attempted to make gingerbread pancakes this morning. The flavor was not too bad, but the pancakes didn’t come out right. I’ll have to try some more recipes.

Something about both kiddos: We did some tissue paper crafts with the kids this weekend (from a kit). The kids also did some stamp marker art using their new stamp markers from the Easter Bunny.

Something Maddie is doing (49 months old): When Maddie is playing Kids of Carcassonne, she says, “Bagels!” every time one of her meeples show up on a piece. I have no idea why she decided to start doing that. She loves playing games (which makes me very happy!). The Easter Bunny brought her her very first “real” Legos (you know, the teeny kind). We had a great time putting together her first creation, a cafe from the new Lego Friends series marketed to girls. She was able to follow the diagrams pretty well and handled the tiny pieces, too. She needed a little help here and there, and I helped her with following the instructions. I’m so excited that she is starting to get into Legos! Given how easily she puts together 100-piece puzzles, I thought she might be ready for them! It will be a while before she puts together something that complicated by herself, but it was a great project for us to do together! I’m sure we will be putting together the cafe over and over.

Something Cullen is doing (26 months old): Cullen’s week was mostly about potty training. It is going pretty well with 3-5 accidents every day Monday through Friday. We asked him to go fairly often, and he often will pee when sitting him on the potty. I think that the poop training is going to take a bit longer. Today was the first day he didn’t have at least half an accident (on his first day, he realized he was doing it and asked to sit on the potty). He had a few smudges in his underwear a couple of times, but that was it. I consider that a huge success! Yesterday, he had NO wet accidents, and he let us know most of the times he needed to go. Also, he’s been asking to potty at bedtime (usually after I leave the room). I thought it was just a delaying tactic, but he’s actually needed to go every time. Today, the only accident he had at all was after nap. I think he had been awake longer than we knew, so we were just a little too late getting him to the potty after his long nap. By Friday, we were starting to wonder if we were making progress, but today we feel pretty good about it! I can’t believe that we’re finished with daytime diapers (and wonder how long it will be before we’re completely done with diapers!). Oh, and this weekend he started insisting on standing when peeing. I wasn’t ready for that, but he actually seems to do pretty well with it. They teach them at school to put the lid up and lean against the lid, helping them with the aim. That technique seems to be working pretty well.

Something I am struggling with: I am still recovering from the laryngitis that resulted from bronchitis more than a week and a half ago. My voice is mostly back now. I’ll see how well it is tomorrow morning when I try to sing with the kids on the way to work.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I desperately need to write my thank you notes from Walk MS. It’s daunting with over 30 people to thank, but I am very happy for the generosity!

Something I learned: Target is closed on Easter Sunday.

Something I’m looking forward to: Dinner and games with friends and games night. And my trip to Disney (the one without kids) isn’t this week, but it’s next week!!!!

Something captured: Hoppy Easter!

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 02apr12

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Something that makes me happy: Writing these each week, even if they are a little late.

Something I’m thinking: Gabe and I have been playing too many iPad games.

Something I’m hoping: If I had written this on Sunday, I would have hoped that Kentucky would win the National Championship. Since it’s the day after their victory, I guess I already got what I hoped for!

Something happening around the house: The usual. Clutter, clutter, clutter.

Something I’m reading: I finished The Wise Man’s Fear, and now I’m reading a friend’s pre-published novel.

Something Gabe is reading: He’s still reading Feed.

Something I’m watching: Kentucky win their 8th National Championship. Woohoo! Go Cats!

Something I’m playing: Kids of Carcassonne, Pengaloo, Hissss, and Teddy Mix & Match with the kids. Mystery Manor, Trainyard, and Draw Something on the iPhone/iPad.

Something I’m creating: Lots of drawings in Draw Something.

Something tasty: Easter candy, the best type of candy in the whole year.

Something about both kiddos: Gabe came to get the kids when I went to book club this week, and he usually brings them by my building so I can give them kisses. They are so sweet! Maddie gave me “purple” kisses for the first time in a long while. And Cullen gave me some colored kisses of his own for the first time ever. His first kisses were yellow and green. I thought it was great that he came up with his own colors instead of just copying Maddie.

Something Maddie is doing (49 months old): Maddie is very excited about playing games these days. We play at least a game or two every night before she goes to bed (after Cullen goes to bed). She’s getting pretty good at the ones that she plays. She’s also very fast at her 100-piece jigsaw puzzles. She’s been practicing her writing but still doesn’t show much interest in learning to read. She knows all the sounds, but she doesn’t want to sit down and look at words together. She has been taking books and copying words out of them, so she definitely shows interest in related skills! She is still enjoying The Magic Treehouse series every night.

Something Cullen is doing (26 months old): Cullen’s teachers called me last Tuesday saying that Cullen wanted to ask me a question. He got on the phone and asked if he could wear underwear. We have been telling him that he can wear his Mickey Mouse underwear that we bought a while ago whenever he was ready to use the potty. I guess the other kids in the class are motivating him, because he decided that he was ready! We decided with Walk MS this weekend that we should wait until after the walk and start on Monday. We started yesterday, and he’s doing pretty well! He’s only had a handful of accidents each day. He will probably be wearing his nighttime diaper for a while longer (though you never know…Maddie insisted that she wear underwear at bedtime after only 10 days of potty training because she “wasn’t a baby anymore.” Hard to argue with that logic!). So, we are completely done with diapers during the day. It’s hard to believe. On that same phone call, I told Cullen I loved him when we said our bye byes, and he said he loved me, too. He’s a very loving boy. I can’t remember if I wrote this before, but he’s very good at identifying his colors (and has been for a while).

Something I am struggling with: A few things that I’m not writing about (hey, I don’t share everything here). And Easter candy, but that will be over soon enough.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: We raised over $5,000 for the National MS Society (so far? technically the fundraising isn’t completely over). I am so proud of our team! I need to write my thank you notes soon. I have only written one so far, and that was for an early donation a couple of months ago. I better get on it.

Something I’m looking forward to: We’re going to see The Hunger Games tomorrow! I’m excited to finally see the movie. I have been waiting to see it with book club people (and some husbands). The kids are excited because one of Cullen’s teachers, Dana, is coming to babysit. They love Dana! I’m also looking forward to a visit from the Easter bunny!

Something captured: Go Cats!

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 25mar12

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Something that makes me happy: I grumble about the time change, but it really is nice to play outside with the kids a little after getting home from work!

Something I’m hoping: I hope Kentucky continues to win!

Something happening around the house: Ugh, this week our garage door seems to be fixed, but the washing machine is on its last legs. It broke earlier in the week and someone came out to fix it, but we aren’t expecting it to last much longer. We also had a ceiling fan on the fritz (which Gabe fixed) and a light fixture that is having some issues. It feels like everything is breaking at once!

Something I’m reading: I’m still reading The Wise Man’s Fear.

Something Gabe is reading: He’s still reading Feed.

Something I’m watching: More basketball…

Something I’m playing: We’ve been playing Pengaloo and Kids of Carcassonne every night with Maddie. I played King of Tokyo and Pangea at the game day yesterday. Most of the time, I played the supervise the kiddo game. Gabe and I are still playing Mystery Manor on the iPad.

Something I’m creating: I’m finally catching up on the trip reports from our cruise. Woohoo! I’m still way behind on photos in general.

Something tasty: I made these bird nests with the kids. Thank you, pinterest! YUM!

Something about both kiddos: They are playing together so well! This morning, they played together 2 or 3 hours with very few squabbles.

Something Maddie is doing (49 months old): Maddie spouts random “facts,” and we’re not always sure where she learned them. Some recent ones are: “big thunderstorms have tornadoes,” “female mosquitoes are the only ones who bite because they don’t like you messing with their babies,” and “why is it light and then dark and then light and then dark? Because the earth is rotating.” Cullen teases her relentlessly and knows just what to say to get under her skin. She lets it get to her. She reminds me of me when I was a kid and my sister would similarly try to get under my skin (like when she would say that she’s older because her birthday is in February and mine is September, since February comes first in the year). She can definitely count to 20. She has been doing it a lot this week with no problems. It turns out that she can even count to 100 with a little help. She did it yesterday, and I only had to help her with 40, 90, and 100. She counted to about 110. She also can count from 10 to 0 backwards. I’m not sure how long she’s been able to do it, but she just did it at random the other day.

Something Cullen is doing (26 months old): Cullen continues new tactics and excuses to stall his bedtime. He gets out of bed and comes to the door/gate several times. This week, he added a few. One night, he kept claiming that he pooped because he knew we would come and check (at least the first time). Guess what? No poop. He also threw pacis and books where he couldn’t reach them and asked us to retrieve them. One night, he opened the door and said, “Go State! Wolfpack! Go State! Wolfpack!” Twice this week, he’s gathered his pillow and blankets and “slept” at the gate. This week he asked to read the NC State board book almost every night. He likes for me to sing the fight songs and alma mater. We usually sing a few more songs after we read books, and he requests the “NC State song” and “Wheels on the Bus.” I think he specifically requests “Wheels on the Bus” because it has more verses than a lot of the others. In the car this week, Cullen was making elaborate plans involving Maya and Tristan involving coming over to play with our blocks and build towers and maybe even a sleepover. Maddie started to chime in with more ideas, and he turned to her and said, “No. You not talk. It’s my turn to talk, and it’s your turn to listen. It’s not a competition. It’s not a competition, Maddie.” He gets the competition part from me, but the my turn to talk/your turn to listen comes from his teachers at group time. I think he’s going through another rapid phase of development which has resulted in him being more sensitive than others. Yesterday, he refused to nap and was extremely sensitive in the evening. He has a new “monster attack” that he does when wearing his hooded towel (especially the shark one) where he puts his arms out and walks in an exaggerated fashion and attacks you at the end. It’s a sort of zombie maneuver. He sat on the potty and peed twice this week for us, and apparently he’s been doing it frequently for the teachers. I see potty training in our near future.

Something I am struggling with: Work continues to be busy, but I think that it will be much better after this week. I hope so, anyway.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: We’re raising a bunch for the National MS Society, and the walk is coming up this weekend.

Something I learned: I learned how to play Pangea.

Something I’m looking forward to: Book club! Walk MS is this weekend, which means we’ll get to see family and friends, too.

Something captured: Two photos this week of my sweet springtime kiddos.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey