May 2018

May 2018

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Outside Workouts

Finally we're getting a reprieve from rain.  And temperatures in the 60s are predicted for most of the coming week.  It's time to tackle the yard and gardens again.

Yesterday I did a little clean up and put together a new glider for the front porch.  Today I spent three hours outside, pitching mulch and repotting a couple of ferns.  It was a true workout.  And since three tough hours appears to be all I can handle in one day, I'll have to work outside some everyday this week to get the job done.  Thank goodness a reliable lawn-service company does the mowing and trimming!

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Fairy Tale (Hopefully)

The alarm sounded at 3:50 A.M.  I turned it off and got up at 5:30 A.M. instead.  I then made my coffee and heated the muffin I baked for the occasion.  I had planned to get a Panera scone, but found a British recipe for Strawberry and Cream Muffins.

Next I had to somehow turn on the television without seeing the picture.  First I shut off the sound.  Then I draped a throw over the screen as I turned on the set and navigated Moxi, through a peep hole, to the pre-show.  Success!  I was now set to watch the Royal Wedding "live" on my schedule.

I just saw "the kiss" on the balcony.  Catherine is a beautiful bride.  Disney could not have cast her part better.  In fact, the whole event to this point seems like a Disney production. Lets hope the union of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is more fairy tale than not.  That would be so refreshing and inspiring.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Extreme Couponing

Last night while channel surfing, I came across a new show called Extreme Couponing.  I thought it would be a lesson in how to save money using coupons.  But, in my mind, it's another show about compulsive behavior and hoarding.

Apparently, there are a number of people who are extremely serious about using coupons. They dumpster dive, have multiple subscriptions to several newspapers, lift papers from the lawns of homes in foreclosure, use several computers and printers to get online offers, and do whatever else they can think of to get their hands on 100s of coupons every week.  Of course, all this effort means they are couponing 20, 40, and even 60 hours a week.

Certainly it was exciting to see a final cost of $5.99 for $500+ worth of groceries and staples.  And, in one case, a women got $400+ worth of items and the store ended up refunding her $40.  But the question begs to be asked, what are they doing with all of their puchases?  Hoarding!  Or, what the couponers call stock-piling.

Couponers are nothing if not organized.  They couldn't process 100s of coupons every week if they weren't.  And that same skill is put to use in their stock-piling.  They all have designated rooms or spaces filled with shelves neatly stock-piled with 100s of different items.  One man was especially proud to show his stash of 1000 tubes of toothpaste all of which he got for free.

As a person who hates clutter, the stock-piling was a bigger turn off than the hours spent. However, after I shared all the above with Jim this morning, he told me the financial experts are encouraging stock-piling.  The fear is that, in the near future, inflation is going to soar as the value of a dollar "goes down the toilet."  So I am now considering stock-piling (yikes!) a six-month supply of staples.  But, first, it's going to require a lot of mental preparation for me to accept extra "stuff" in my house.  Dang this stinkin' economy!

*20 Grandma Days until End of School Year*

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Learning Verbal Communication

Emily said Jonah was "talking" more and I noticed the change yesterday.  It's obvious he now clearly understands verbal communication even if we don't understand most of what he's saying.  He does know a few words -- cheese, dada, mom, bagel, kitty cat, Elliott.  But his limited vocabulary is no longer holding him back.  I wonder if the jibberish he's giving us is what he hears, similar to how a foreign language sounds.  No matter, Jonah seems to be constantly "talking" now.

At the same time, Elliott's language skills are also improving.  Since he could talk, Elliott's vocabulary has always been advance.  The notable changes taking place now are his story telling or descriptive skills.  When he relates an event or incident, it's as if he's reading a chapter out of a book.  We've never edited ourselves for Elliott's age and it shows.  If we use a word he doesn't understand, Elliott has no problem asking for the meaning.  And, amazingly, he'll use that word properly from then on.

I'm definitely enjoying this time.  And I'm hoping against hope that neither grandson becomes a sullen teenager!

*21 Grandma Days until End of School Year*

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Remodel Projects

I just realized that, including weekends, my summer break from Grandma Daycare will only be 73 days.  Whatever happened to the nine-month school year and three-month summer vacation?

During that short time, which is only 51 business days, I hope to have the hall bathroom remodeled and our two smaller bedrooms trimmed and painted.  I'm currently working with the designer to make that happen.  But we also have to schedule around two one-week vacations, which means there are really only 42 business days available.

My plan used to be to get the hall bath done this summer and the kitchen remodeled summer 2012.  However, I don't see how that's possible now.  The master bath took three weeks.  A complete kitchen remodel would certainly take at least six to eight weeks.  I'm now thinking my dream kitchen will have to wait until 2013 when I'm retired from full-time Grandma Daycare.  On the bright side, that gives me more time to plan, dream, and save.

*22 Grandma Days until End of School Year*

Monday, April 25, 2011

Preparing for the Royal Wedding

I'm seriously considering getting up at 4:00 A.M. Friday to see the Royal Wedding live.  I think if I sleep until 7:00 A.M. or 8:00 A.M., I'll feel as if I missed everything.  That sounds crazy, I know, but I'm betting there are others feeling the same way.  Of course, if I had to watch Jonah and Elliott this Friday, I would not have much of a choice.  But since Grandma Daycare will be closed, I now have the luxury of a day that doesn't require as much energy.

This morning I went to Charter's website and searched Royal Wedding.  I then set Moxi to record all the HD shows, including two channels broadcasting live during the ceremony. That's when the anxiety began to set in.  It has only happened a couple of times, but I have had problems with Moxi.  It was mostly operator error, but I would hate it if that happened Friday morning.  And, yes, I know there will be recaps upon recaps as well as many repeats, but that's just not feeling good enough.

I'll see how I feel Thursday night and then, again, when the alarm sounds Friday morning. One thing I know for sure, I plan to have a yummy Panera scone for breakfast as I watch the Royal Wedding, whether live or recorded.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Making Everybody Happy

To make everybody happy, I needed to pull off four things today: attend Easter mass; set up an egg hunt for the boys; cook and serve brunch to the entire family, including dad; and visit mom.  The tricky part was everything had to happen before noon.

Dad and I usually visit mom between noon and one on Sundays.  But today he was going to my brother's for lunch.  So if dad was going to have any holiday time with the boys, it would have to be before visiting mom around 11:00 A.M.  That meant, in order to attend mass, we would have to go before the egg hunt and brunch.  Our only option was the 7:30 A.M. mass, because I drew the line at getting up early enough for the 6:00 A.M. service.  As it was, since any Easter mass draws a big crowd, we needed to be at church by 7:00 A.M., which meant getting up at 6:00 A.M.

Mass ended at 8:30 A.M.  We rushed home to find everyone waiting in our driveway, having arrived early. Fortunately, I had already hid the eggs.  So while the boys hunted, Jim and I quickly prepared a brunch of egg casserole, maple bacon, french toast with mixed berries, orange juice, and coffee.  After everyone cleaned their plate, it was time to visit mom.

It was our first visit since mom's move to the fourth floor.  We checked out mom's new room and I got an update from the staff.  Mom was awake and sitting in the dining room.  But she had no idea who we were and the little talking she did made no sense.  By the time we left, dad was in tears, which is why he should never visit mom alone.

After we got back home, Jim helped me with the dirty dishes while Emily watched the boys and Mike worked on the company's website.  After Jonah's afternoon nap, the Jorgensens headed home.  It's now 4:30 P.M. and I'm ready for bed.  (Oh, I forgot to mention earlier that I couldn't sleep last night.  It used to be if I cut off caffeine intake by 6:00 P.M. I had no problem sleeping.  Apparently, I now need to cut the caffeine much earlier.)

But while today's schedule was absolutely crazy, I'm glad I was able to help my dad and put smiles on the boys' faces.  Besides I have two days off from toddler care this week to help me recover.  Tomorrow is the last day of Easter Break, and Friday Emily is taking a personal day.  That means I can now spend much of April 29 indulgently watching the Royal Wedding broadcast.  Happy Easter to me!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lambert Airport Closed Indefinitely

It's a sad day for St. Louis.  An apparent tornado hit the airport, shutting it down indefinitely.  I feel badly for the workers and travelers, but am also concerned about this huge blow to Missouri's already shaky economy.  The total impact of this latest disaster is just too much for me to mentally handle this morning.

Already, with all that's been going on with dad and mom, it's a daily struggle for me to stay positive.  A little sunshine would certainly help.  But the rain has been pouring for days with no end in sight.  In addition, the storms have been so bad that the tornado sirens have been blasting regularly for a week.  Enough is enough.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Aging Fast

There's no school today, so I was hoping to sleep in this morning.  Actually, I did get up a half hour later, but it didn't make up for all the tossing and turning I did through the night. Most of it was due to the email I read just before going to bed.

Mom moved to the fourth floor yesterday.  My brother visited her around 6:15 P.M. to see how she was coping. As us kids suspected, she was unfazed.  The Alzheimer's has progressed to the point that mom has little fight left, which also means she rarely exhibits fear any more.  Nevertheless, in his email update, Kevin said he spoke with dad who didn't sleep Wednesday night worried about how mom would take the move.

I just don't understand why dad doesn't get how far gone mom is now.  His refusal to face reality is making it harder for him to let go.  As mom's disease progresses, I'm not worried about her because she truly has no idea what's going on.  But I am worried about dad, which is causing me to lose sleep also.

I've read numerous articles about how stress and lack of sleep can age us faster than anything else.  I do believe that's true.  My last job outside the home and family business was extremely stressful.  Toward the end, I used to wake up feeling as if a brick was laying on my chest.  That was over 10 years ago, but I think I still look younger now having gotten rid of that stress.  At least I feel younger.

But, with all that's going on with mom and dad now, I'm afraid I'm aging fast again.  I'm losing sleep and, during the day, the situation is always on my mind.  At this rate, by the time mom passes, I'll look as if I'm turning 70 this year instead of 60!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Seemingly Endless Nightmare

Easter Break begins at the end of the school day today.  School resumes next Tuesday, so it's a short break.  Nevertheless, I'm happy for a little time off from full-time toddler care.  I'm also looking forward to Easter fun with the boys.  This afternoon Elliott and I will color eggs.  Emily and Jonah will join us, but I'm not expecting them to participate much.  On Sunday, we're hosting an egg hunt and brunch.

I just wish the long weekend could be only about enjoying my grandsons.  But, unfortunately, I'm worried about dad who's having a tough time dealing with mom's recent decline.  Mom can no longer walk or stand, and is barely eating. After two years in the dementia wing, she will move to another floor, today or tomorrow, where she can get the extra help she now needs.  Dad thinks mom will be upset about the move.  I doubt she'll even remember her old room once she's in her new one.

I will, however, miss the people who have cared for mom over the last two years.  I think mom's passing would be easier with their support since we've come to know each other so well.  Now we have to meet a new staff and learn a different routine. But I'm praying we don't have much time to build a rapport with mom's new caregivers.  Especially for dad's sake, this nightmare needs to end.

**24 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Yucky" Spring

I noticed a bit of yellow dust on the patio furniture Monday.  Then, yesterday, when I got to my car I found it covered with pollen.  Yep, it's officially the beginning of "yucky" spring.

In Missouri, we only have a couple weeks of "refreshing" spring.  That's when the temperatures are warm, but not hot, and bulbs bloom as well as forsythia bushes, and red bud and dogwood trees.  Then, all at once, the trees begin bursting and spewing seeds and pollen and spring is no longer as much fun.  The worst part is knowing that, once "yucky" spring is over, most of our days for the next 5-6 months will be hot and humid.

I know I would miss not having four seasons if I lived anywhere else in the United States.  But I do wish the midwest seasons were more equal in length, especially the fun parts!

*1 Grandma Day until Easter Break*

**25 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Great Sleeping Weather

It was tough getting out of bed this morning.  It stormed throughout the night and more rain is expected today.  At 7:00 A.M. it was still dark and cool, which is great sleeping weather.

The weather seems to be having a similar affect on Jonah and Rupert.  Jonah usually goes down for his first nap at 8:30 A.M., but this morning it was 7:50 A.M.  Rupert normally takes his 3-4 hour morning cat nap on our bed.  But today he couldn't make it to the bedroom and is sleeping on the couch next to me.

I've been doing a lot of garden and yard work over the past 7-10 days.  As a result, many indoor chores have been neglected.  Today will be good for catching up.  That is if I can talk myself off the couch!

*2 Grandma Days until Easter Break*

**26 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Fun Distraction

Thirty years ago, I had a six-year-old son and an almost three-year-old daughter when Prince Charles and Princess Diana got married.  Nevertheless, I remember getting up early in the morning to watch the wedding live.  And, most of that day, I was glued to the television, not wanting to miss a thing.

Although I'm 30 years older and now have two grandsons, five and one, I'm almost just as excited about Prince Williams wedding.  The big difference, however, is that I will probably not be getting up at 5:00 A.M.  Instead, I now have the convenience of recording the ceremony and festivities, and watching at my leisure.

Part of the fun for me, this time around, will be seeing places I've visited.  Thirty years ago, I never dreamt that I would some day see London and many other areas of England.  Jim and I have been to England and London twice now.  And both visits included a walk around Buckingham Palace and a tour of Westminster Abbey.

We all know now that Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage was far from a fairy tale.  But I'm optimistic about William and Catherine's future.  As all parents hope, William appears to have learned valuable lessons from his parents' mistakes.  Whether true or not, and despite the world's economic woes, I'm looking forward to the fun distraction of a Royal Wedding.

*3 Grandma Days until Easter Break*

**27 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Talented Five-Year-Old

Elliott is a creative, imaginative, and articulate five-year-old with the vocabulary of a high schooler.  Here are two examples that prove my point.

First, this morning Emily and Mike asked Elliott to entertain his brother because they weren't ready to get Jonah up.  This is what they overheard -- "Hi, Jonah. Are you walking around your habitat?"  Elliott hears something once and is able to use it properly and creatively from then on.  He had just learned about bug habitats last Friday and cleverly used the term, today, for Jonah's crib.

The next example shows how Elliott's begun using his language skills to relate stories.  This is how he told me about the excitement over one of his growing seeds:

"Daddy burst into my room and said, 'Elliott, hurry, come immediately!'  And when we got outside, mommy said, 'Look at your pot!'"

Maybe some day Elliott will become the published writer in the family.  But whatever he becomes, I hope he finds a fun way to support himself using his imagination and creativity.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Always Carry Your Camera!

Today I met Fredbird, the Cardinals mascot.  My cousin Gayle's daughter got married and surprised the groom by having Fredbird show up at their reception. Gayle's entire family are huge Cardinals fans and, apparently, so is Christine's new husband.

When we took Elliott to his first Cardinals game, he was so excited to see Fredbird even from the "nose-bleed" section.  I can't wait to show him the picture of Fredbird with his arms around grandma and great-papa!  But, unfortunately, I'll have to wait until my Aunt Lorraine emails me the picture.  I had to use her camera because I left mine at home!  That's a mistake I don't plan to make again.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Boys and Bugs

I sometimes miss not having a granddaughter. Today I did get Elliott to play some board games and color.  But he clearly had the most fun setting up his bug habitat.  After he constructed the maze, we filled it with dirt, leaves, sticks, and pieces of wet sponge.  Then, there I was, digging for insects.  I found the whole process disgusting, but it was the coolest thing ever for Elliott.  And that made it all worthwhile.

I'm not sure, however, how his parents are going to feel about it.  Elliott wants to keep the habitat in his room, making the bugs his very own pets.  But Mike and Emily might as well get used to it.  When you have boys, typically at some point you'll be dealing with bugs!

*4 Grandma Days until Easter Break*

**28 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gardening Fun

I've been bitten by the garden bug!  So far I've planted red peppers, strawberries, basil, cilantro, and rosemary in addition to several front yard perennials.  Next I'll plant my cucumbers, cauliflower, and tomatoes.  And I still want to buy several hanging plants and some annuals for the front yard.

I'm also germinating Jack-Be-Little pumpkin seeds.  I bought a 4' x 4' frame for a raised bed that will be my pumpkin patch.  It should be a lot of fun for the boys and a cool harvest decoration.

If all goes well, I plan to expand the vegetable garden next year.  And if the price of food keeps rapidly rising, my next project might be a chicken coop!

*5 Grandma Days until Easter Break*

**29 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ocean People

In the last couple of days, I've booked both of our summer vacations.  The first is our annual July trip to the Riviera Maya.  The second is our annual August trip to Sanibel Island with the Jorgensens.

Jim and I have been vacationing in the Yucatan for roughly 15 years.  A couple of those years, we visited twice.  The dollar goes far in Mexico, so we can stay at extremely nice resorts.  But one of the biggest benefits of vacationing in the Riviera Maya is that paradise is only a three-hour direct flight followed by a one-hour drive south.  Jim's sinuses almost immediately clear with the ocean water and air.  And my eczema nearly disappears after 5-7 days.  In addition to the physical benefits are the mental.  As soon as we board the plan for our beach vacation, stress begins to fade away.

Our first Sanibel Island trip with the Jorgensens was in 2009.  We had such a good time we returned last year.  With the addition of Jonah, we upgraded to a three-bedroom condo.  We were extremely fortunate to find an amazing vacation home that had been recently renovated.  We are all looking forward to our return.  The condo is right on the canal and a five minute walk to the ocean.

There are mountain people and there are ocean people.  Jim and I are both ocean people, which could be one of the reasons we've been together for over 38 years.

*6 Grandma Days until Easter Break*

**30 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Emotional Eater

Yesterday afternoon I experienced a whirlwind of emotions.  It began with a call from our accountant. We're due a hefty tax refund and, even better, will not have to pay estimated taxes this year.  After paying off our mortgage last year, we now plan to save, save, save for retirement.  Yesterday's news will give that goal a nice boost.

Almost immediately after the accountant's call, I heard from Bethesda.  Mom can no longer stand, so is either in bed or a wheelchair.  Plans are in motion to move her to another area of the home where she can get the attention she now needs.  I don't believe mom feels any pain.  On Saturday, she rolled out of bed and broke her nose. She has no memory of it and doesn't complain about the huge lump on her face. No, at this point the victim is dad.  He is not taking mom's current rapid decline well at all.  For the last couple of weeks, whenever we talk on the phone, he breaks down. Unfortunately, we most likely have many more weeks to endure.  It's a difficult time.

And then I got an email from Emily.  Elliott got into full-time Kindergarten at Westridge, which is near our house.  We had hoped that Elliott could then take the bus from and to grandma's house.  However, we now realize that can't happen since Rockwood no longer provides bus service to students living within a one-mile radius.  That means I'll be providing transportation while, hopefully, not interrupting Jonah's nap.  Next school year should be interesting.

I did learn something about myself through yesterday's highs and lows.  As my emotions were bouncing around, I kept wanting to dig into the chocolate Easter eggs!  So I guess I'm an emotional eater.  However, I'm obviously able to control it, to some degree, because I've never been extremely overweight.  It's an interesting realization and odd that I never saw it before.

*7 Grandma Days until Easter Break*

**31 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Monday, April 11, 2011

Jim Shore Fan

I've been a fan of Jim Shore's art for several years now.  It's whimsical and folksy, so doesn't really fit with my transitional decor, which combines traditional with soft contemporary.  However, my library nook, just off the kitchen, includes a bookcase where I display my Jim Shore figurines.  The pieces I own are seasonal, which means my display changes four times a year.

This year, however, I wasn't going to unpack my Easter figurines because I've been especially busy.  It took many weeks to put the basement back together after the foundation fix.  And now I've been spending a lot of time outside due to my renewed interest in gardening.  But my plans changed this morning.  Jim Shore will have several shows on QVC today.  His first presentation included Easter pieces.  Now I just have to unpack mine!

Besides, it's time to get grandma's house ready for Easter brunch, which is less than two weeks away.  There just never seems to be enough time for someone with many interests.

*8 Grandma Days until Easter Break*

**32 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Shop Your Closet"

Yesterday I decided I could no longer put off going through my wardrobe.  I was tired of the bags and boxes of new shoes and clothes sitting on my bedroom floor because they had no where to go.  Plus my closets and dressers had become completely disorganized as the weather keeps changing drastically day to day.  It took me all afternoon and there are still a few drawers that need to be tackled. But I now have two extra-large trash bags full of clothes and shoes for charity.

I ended up with more than enough room for my recent purchases.  But, as I edited my wardrobe, I couldn't help but think about something I'd heard recently -- "Shop your closet."  When I heard it, I didn't think it would work for me because I thought I knew my wardrobe.  However, yesterday I found pieces I had forgotten about that I actually still like.  I don't regret purchasing any of my new things but, the next time I feel the urge to shop for clothes or accessories, I'm going to review what I already own.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Container Gardening

I'm a big fan of home shopping channels.  Not sure how it happened, but I got hooked ten years ago.  During the day while I'm working, crafting, or cooking, I usually have QVC or HSN on in the background.  I've purchased all types of items from both companies using their websites.  I find the whole process saves time and, often, money.  But, for me, the biggest benefit of watching home shopping channels is learning about products I never knew existed.

Most recently I learned about EarthBox, a container gardening system.  After watching HSN's presentation, I did some online research.  Not only did I find hundreds of happy customers, but I also discovered that HSN's one-day sale price was the best available.  I ended up buying three kits, two for me and one for Emily. We both cook with fresh vegetables and herbs and have wanted to grow our own. But we didn't want to deal with composting and tilling.  Container gardening seems perfect for us.

We also think it will be great for Elliott to see how the food he eats actually grows. I'm already thrilled with his interest.  Yesterday after school, we took the boys to the garden center to pick out our seedlings.  Elliott participated fully.  It was satisfying and fun to see.  I can just imagine his smiling face when he picks the first pepper or tomato he grew himself!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thanks, Jillian Michaels!

I completed Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred six weeks ago.  Since then, I've been doing the workout 1-2 times a week.  Approximately 30 percent of the 28-minute routine involves a variety of squats.  I've been gardening all week and those squats are paying off!

For the first time in years, I have nearly no pain after hours of ripping weeds out, trimming bushes, and digging holes.  I also seem to have more energy and greater mobility than I remember from recent years of yard care.  I haven't gotten an younger, so it has to be Jillian's workout.

As a result, this could possibly be the year I actually plant and tend the annuals I dream about every March.  This weekend the temperatures are supposed to be in the 80s.  Time to hit the garden centers!

*9 Grandma Days until Easter Break*

**33 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mysterious Real Estate Market

Yesterday Benton Builders began preparing the lot next door for the two houses they plan to build.  We recently learned they will be $600,000 homes.  That's crazy!

In today's market, we would be happy to get $250,000 for our home.  Eighteen months ago, the house next door, which is twice the size of ours, sold for $330,000. Before the recession, our home was worth nearly $300,000 and the neighbor's was valued at over $400,000.  Clearly, things have changed.

Even with the current unemployment rate, I understand that there are still people who can afford a $600,000 home.  But why would they want to live in a neighborhood where the average home is $225,000?

One of the key rules of real estate is not to own the most expensive house on the block.  The belief is that, if your house is surrounded by more expensive homes, its value will stay steady or, more likely, increase.  If that rule's still true, I guess our home just became more valuable.  But who knows for sure?  If $600,000 homes are being built in our neighborhood, the current real estate market is a mystery to me.

*10 Grandma Days until Easter Break*

**34 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bye-Bye Mickey!

Jonah's first birthday had a Mickey Mouse theme.  And since Jonah loves music, I thought Dancing Mickey would be the perfect gift. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

The first Mickey I bought from The sound test worked fine.  But when we gave it to Jonah for the full presentation, Mickey's left arm wouldn't move.  It just hung as if Mickey had had a stroke!

After returning doll number one, I purchased a new Mickey from Target.  Again, the sound test worked fine, so I took it out of the box yesterday.  Both arms work, but the only thing Mickey will say, in his squeaky voice, is "Can I get some help?"  Well, apparently, I can't give Mickey the help he needs.  And I doubt a one-year-old will do any better.  So, it's bye-bye to another Dancing Mickey.

After two malfunctioning dolls, I've now given up on Dancing Mickey.  It's turned out that the talking Leap Frog I gave Jonah after spring break was his birthday gift.  Leap Frog was in my gift closet many years and is no longer in production.  It sings, tells stories, and teaches numbers and the alphabet.  Jonah seems to enjoy it.   I think they'll be friends for many years.

*11 Grandma Days until Easter Break*

**35 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Terrible Twos

We appear to have entered the "Terrible Twos" with Jonah.  When Daniel started throwing tantrums after his first birthday, the pediatrician told me there's a reason they call it the "Terrible Twos."  The misunderstanding is that the phase starts after the second birthday.  In fact, it starts during the second year of life.

Last week I witnessed a couple of Jonah's episodes, but they now seem to be increasing.  Yesterday, and already this morning, Jonah has pitched several fits over not getting what he wants.  He stiffens his body, draws his hands into fists, and turns red.  It's pretty amusing until the screaming begins.  Or, what I call, the emergence of the "Devil Child."  At that point, I take a deep breath and thank God for long naps and summer vacation!

*12 Grandma Days until Easter Break*

**36 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Monday, April 4, 2011

Five Pounds Down

After four weeks of conscientious eating, I'm down five pounds.  I'm thrilled to see the scale heading in the right direction.  However, the next 3-5 pounds will be harder to lose.

I'm now at the weight I was for two years prior to Christmas.  In other words, I've lost my holiday weight.  But since my body and life style had previously been comfortable at my current weight, I know it will be tougher to lose those last few pounds.

My plan is to keep counting calories and exercising. I also can begin looking forward to summer's greater variety of fruits and vegetables.  But first I have to get past all those yummy Cadbury eggs!

*13 Grandma Days until Easter Break*

**37 Grandma Days until End of School Year**

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's a Win!

We took Elliott to his first Cardinal baseball game today.  And he actually enjoyed it!

Elliott had never shown an interest in sports before and neither have his parents.  But I suspect some of his classmates are into sports and currently into baseball. Elliott has a competitive nature and doesn't like to be left out.  Therefore, for the moment, he's interested in watching and playing baseball.

It was Kids Opening Weekend at the ballpark.  Elliott got a t-shirt, a voucher for a free ticket to a future game, and ice cream.  Our seats were in the "nose bleed" section but, fortunately, in the shade.  It was a warm sunny day and the Cardinals won.  It was also a quick game, just two hours.  It was the perfect scenario for a five-year-old's first professional baseball game.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Purchase Toner or Buy New Printer?

Nearly a year ago, I purchased the Brother HL-3070W Digital Color Printer.  I love it!  It's fast and the color is amazing.  I especially enjoy using it to take advantage of free online paper craft projects.  It's a fun toy.

I paid $293.98 for the printer.  Today I went to Office Max to replace the four toner cartridges.  With tax, my bill was roughly $305!  The starter cartridges lasted nearly a year and supposedly produced 1000 pages.  The replacement cartridges should produce 1500.  Nevertheless, it doesn't take a genius to see it would be cheaper to just purchase a new printer, especially since the current price on Amazon is $204.99!

But, if I buy a new printer, what do I do with the old one?  I can take toner cartridges to Office Max for recycling, but what happens to old printers?  I suppose I could donate it, but then some charity would have to pay $300+ for toner!

For sure it's a dilemma and one I have to resolve soon.  I need to print the company bank statement so I can close out the month of March.  I long ago elected for online statements as a step toward going "green."  It looks like it's one step forward and two steps back!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Welcome April!

I'm so glad April is finally here.  March seemed so long this year and cold.  With April, I know we must be getting closer to warmer weather.

April, however, will be a busy month for us.  We have three family birthdays and one wedding.  My first grand nephew is due May 4, so there could end up being a forth April birthday.  Tomorrow is our annual MS Garage/Bake Sale and April 16 is the MS Walk.  And Easter is April 24.

With April and warmer weather, of course, also comes yard work.  I look forward to getting started, but know it'll get old fast.  No matter, I welcome April and all it brings.

*14 Grandma Days until Easter Break*

** 38 Grandma Days until End of School Year**