Monday, August 29, 2011

stay-at-home hubs.

Things that Mark did today while he was home because his office didn't have power:

- cleaned up the leaves and twigs in the yard.
- mowed the lawn.
- swept the deck.
- checked the mail.
- did the dishes. and put them away.
- did the laundry.*
- made the bed.
- cleaned up the kitchen.
- vaccuumed all the floors.

the only thing that would have surprised me more would have been if he had cleaned the bathrooms too. well, there's always the chance that he might have off again tomorrow...
man, i love my hubs.

*well, kinda. it would have been extra awesome if he wouldnt have folded and put away two loads of dirty laundry along with the two clean loads...

hurricane weekend.

I Really Meant To...
stock up on bottled water and non-perishable food.
But Instead I...
stayed FAR away from the grocery store. did not feel like getting trampled!

I Really Meant To...
stay home and hunker down through the storm.
But Instead I...
drove to a friend's house to watch the UFC fight. and then drove home again after.

I Really Meant To...
find the flashlights and make sure they had batteries before the storm.
But Instead I...
searched for a flashlight for 20 minutes the day AFTER the storm. (for something non-hurricane related. we were fortunate to have power through pretty much all of the storm.)

I Really Meant To...
clean up all the leaves and twigs that fell in our yard.
But Instead I...
played catch with the hubs in our yard.

I Really Meant To...
make dinner and have a quiet night in.
But Instead I...
went out to eat and to the movies. (Our Idiot Brother = pretty good for a laugh. not recommended for young kids.)

probably not some of my best and/or brightest ideas ever, but i dont really regret any of them. we had a good stormy weekend, and we were extremely blessed and fortunate that the only thing we lost was our cable. (although according to my brother, that might qualify as a major loss)

my thoughts and prayers are with those who are still without power, those who sustained major damages, and with the families of those who lost loved ones to Hurricane Irene.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

earthquakepocolypse 2011.

hey guys, what's shakin'?

**dissolves into a fit of giggles cuz i am so dang clever! and funny!**

but seriously, an earthquake? on the east coast? on a tuesday? whoah. that's crazy! apparently it was the first earthquake we've had of that magnitude since WWII. apparently it could be felt from ohio to south carolina to canada. apparently office buildings all over the place were evacuated and people got to go home for the afternoon. (in our office, once we were all sure that the shaking wasn't going to trigger another flood, we just went back to work) apparently the shaking even cracked the Washington Monument.

facebook immediately exploded with a slew of updates along the lines of
you know, a reaction that was completely proportional to the severity of the event. major phone companies shut down because they couldnt handle the volume of people calling home to make sure their house was all in one piece. i didnt have anyone at home, so i had to wait til the end of the day to find out how our little house and our new drywall did in its very first major-moderate earthquake. and good news: it was fine and un-cracked!

our house: better than the Washington Monument since 2011.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

recent reading.

i first heard of Wicked when my high-school art club was planning a trip to NYC and we were voting on which Broadway shows we wanted to see while we were there. i had no idea what it was, but it got a lot of votes so i figured it had to be something good, and i was among the disappointed when we weren't able to secure tickets for our group. we wound up going to see Hairspray and The Producers instead, and i forgot all about the other shows on the original ballot.

i next encountered Wicked in my college marching band. one of our closing numbers my freshman year was a mash-up of two songs from the score: Dancing Through Life, and Defying Gravity. i liked the songs, but it was kind of difficult to fully appreciate them while also trying to play them and keep up with the drill too. lucky for me, my BFITW was kind enough to introduce me to the full soundtrack. and then i promptly fell in love with the parallel story of the Wizard of Oz.

and THEN, i found out that the musical was based on a BOOK, and of course had to read it. i put all three* books from the Wicked Years on my Christmas list, and i read through the first book before Christmas break was over. (i only got the first one that year, because apparently the fact that i asked for anything called Son of a Witch was just too shocking!) if it was possible, i fell even more in love with Wicked. i even went to see the musical in Pittsburgh with my BFITW, and it is the inspiration for our hopefully-sometime-in-the-nearish-future matching tattoos.

all that to say, i took a trip to the library before family vacation, and over the past few weeks i finally read the second and third books in the Wicked Years: Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men. and i highly recommend them to all of you. start at the beginning of course, with Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, and go from there. i dare you to not get sucked into the story, and the characters, and the whole world of Oz. they're like fairy tales for adults!

speaking of fairy tales for adults, when we were on vacation, my sister loaned me another book by Gregory Maguire called Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, which is a parallel Cinderella story. i read the whole thing while we were at the beach with the inlaws over the weekend. you should read it. it will give you a whole different perspective on the classic story. and i bet you'll love it.

i've read some really good stuff in the past month or so, but i'm not quite sure what i'm going to read next. have you read anything good lately?

* i hear from the very reliable source that is wikipedia that a fourth and possibly final book in the series is supposed to come out later this year! anyone else wicked excited?!

Friday, August 19, 2011


as part of my post-vacation funkitude of re-acclimating myself to real life, i have had two weeks worth of sluggish mornings.

which is better than i can say for this guy, who has had a lifetime of them:

(haha see what i did there? ya know, cause i don't like to wake up in the mornings, and that's a GIANT slug on my porch? get it? i'm so funny.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

painting together: a short history.

about two years ago, back when the hubs and i were still dating in the summer of 2009, we got our first taste of what it is like to do DIY-style home improvements together. his parents were finishing up a patio room addition on the back of the house, and since i was unemployed and spending a good chunk of my time as a vagabond there, i offered to help out. the task: painting the one wall in the room that isn't floor-to-ceiling windows. and the closet.

i had painted a lot of things in the 22 years of my life up to that point: bedrooms, youth rooms, furniture, VBS backdrops, canvases, buildings at service projects and on missions trips, and i was excited to show Mark just how handy i was with a paint brush and a roller. you know, show myself off a little. well, in a nutshell, let's just say that he was not too impressed with my painting style and suggested that my skills were probably better suited to painting the closet while he took care of the wall in the room.

there you have it folks, the man i love and married, at his finest.

fast forward a year to the late summer of 2010, and we've just bought our house together and are painting the two bedrooms before we move in: the giant guest room and the smaller master bedroom. this time, rather than attempt painting in the same room at the same time, we split up the job. he took care of the master bedroom on his own, while i took on the guest room with the help of a friend from work and Mark's dad. both rooms (and their closets!) turned out spectacularly.

(at this point i would just like to interject the fact that even though Mark doesn't really trust my ability to cut-in the edges or roll the walls of a room, he is more than happy to let me take care of ALL the trim painting. this is progress people. for serious.)

fast forward one more time to last weekend, late summer 2011. we have come to a point in the fireplace room at which we are both beginning to be weary with the project. the trim has been painted (by me of course) and the edges have been cut in (by the hubs). we have one day to get two coats of color onto the walls. i suggest that this will only be possible if we work together. after a moment of slight hesitation, the hubs agrees. (did you catch that? he agreed to let me paint with him! in the same room!!!)

he only questioned my method once at the very beginning of the day, and was pleased to hear that i had (mostly) conformed to his preference for a slightly thicker first coat followed by a thinner second coat. after the first coat dried, we had a good time pointing out to each other all the little spots we had missed, and i may or may not have said to him, "HA! you're just as bad as i am!"

we tackled the second coat after a Home Depot/Lowes/Chick-Fil-A run, and he only went back ONCE to touch up an area i had already painted (which was, admittedly, just a tad bit streaky).

this is huge. the walls in this room are now all the same color for the first time since we've owned the house. and i love it, dont you? (sorry these pics arent the greatest of the overall room, my camera was in the process of dying) the bonus is that the hubs and i painted the room together without any arguments or issues. what a good day!

still on the to-do list for this room:
- molding around the fireplace.
- fix the doorways.
- put all the baseboard and doorway casings back up.
- paint the fireplace doors.
- do something about the warped mantle. (replace? paint? replace and paint?)
- re-hang the light fixture in the nook.
- move the furniture back in.

is it just me or is this list not getting any shorter?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day Eight: Play Ball!

so, the real reason that the sister with the babies came to my house after vacation wasn't just to make me feel better about the end of vacation, or to play at my playground, or to eat a sno-ball. they actually came to see Baltimore and go to a baseball game with us at Camden Yards. and we were more than happy to oblige and to spend more time together! we drove down into the Inner Harbor and walked around a bit to see the sights and find a place to eat. and then just when we were getting ready to head over to the stadium, it started pouring down rain.

even though we had two umbrellas between the six of us, we ALL managed to get completely soaked as we made our way through the streets of B-more. but it was a pretty comfortable summer rain, we finally did make it to the ballpark, AND it was bobblehead night. success!

the tarp was on the field, and there was a rain delay, and no one else (including the MASN guy that Mark talked to) seemed too optimistic that the weather would clear up, but we were actually very optimistic the whole time because we had seats that were under cover, we were on vacation, and we were there to have fun!

the rain delay lasted just over an hour total, and yes, we were among those obnoxious people who cheered when the rain stopped and they came out to take the tarp off the field!

i was pretty excited that they were actually going to play, since this was my first Orioles game too! i have been watching them a lot on tv since the hubs is a fan (and they dont show many Pirates games in B-more) so i guess you could say that i am kind of an O's fan too.

even though the rain came back again just before gametime, they played anyway! it turned out to be a pretty quick game, with a lot of innings where the batters went down in order. (which was good since it started an hour late) the rain kept coming back off and on, but since our seats were covered we hardly noticed.

we thought we were going to leave early, but since the game was going so well, and we were winning, we ended up staying til the end of the game to see if the O's could hold onto their lead. which they did! although not everybody in our party can say that they actually saw the end of the game, just that they were there.

and just like that, vacation was over.

thanks for letting me extend my vacation by an extra week and a half. i hope you enjoyed the recaps even half as much as i enjoyed the actual vacation, because it was awesome. and i can't wait until we are all together again.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day Seven: parting ways.

what? you really thought just because i took the weekend off from posting that i was ready to admit that vacation is over? hardly. i still haven't even unpacked my suitcase. or caught up with all my laundry. although while i've been re-living vacation we have been busy doing other blog-worthy things, but i'll get to those eventually. after all, there are still a couple more days of vacation left!

our time all-together was all too short. so we eased the end-of-vacation blues by having the sister with the babies come and spend the weekend with us. after a long drive home (made even longer by traffic) what the kids really wanted was more car-time, so we headed to the park.

it was a good way to blow off some steam at the end of a traveling day.

and a great way to get really dizzy on this spinny-seat thing.

after dinner, we went out for authentic Maryland sno-balls from the sno-ball stand up the road. spoiler alert: they're just like sno-cones. just not in a cone. but they do taste very much like vacation.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day Six: the last full day.

the end came oh so fast. and since the majority vote wanted to go back to Busch Gardens again, thats where we went too because we wanted to spend as much time together with everybody as we could. we rode all the big coasters again, since the lines were only slightly longer than the day before, and we also made time for a few other rides, like the teacups!

we ended up meeting up with Mom, Dad, Stasia, and the Goob for lunch in New France and to ride the Griffon (a coaster that hangs you over the edge for a few seconds before dropping you down the completely vertical hill!) we rode in the front row, and i managed to keep my eyes open the whole time and my hands up for some of it. Mom had her eyes closed for the first drop, but she said it was her favorite coaster.

the Goob says this is his 'dancing to banjo music' face. 

we split up again on our way out of the park. Mark and I couldnt convince the Goob to ride the Alpengeist, but since he waited so patiently for us at the exit, we stopped to let him check out the Sesame Street Forest of Fun. unfortunately, he was just a little too tall for any of the rides.

ok, so maybe we just stopped long enough to quickly snap this off-center pic.

we had to leave the park a little early-ish because we were in charge of picking up dinner: steamed crabs! everybody sat and picked crabs and worked on finishing up all the other leftovers we had accumulated throughout the week.

check out that pile of shells: i think this is my best showing to date at crab picking. i didnt count how many i ate, or how long i sat for, but i had a good time. i mostly ate claws, because there is still something that is just not right in my head about ripping apart and eating something that is looking at me. ugh. i just can't bring myself to do it.

but pretty much everyone else could, and we made quick work of those crabs. and of course, Mark was the last one sitting to finish them all up.

the Goob tried to kick us all out so that he could go to bed, but we were having way too much fun being all together in the same place, so we stayed up way too late doing nothing but being together.

PS is this really the only sibling picture we took the entire week? gosh i love you guys.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day Five: a bushel and a peck.

Mark and I celebrated our 10-month anniversary on Wednesday. (cue collective 'aaaaawwww' for the adorable newlyweds here) we were tired after beach day, so we slept in a little before filling another day with Williamsburg, lunch at the Olive Garden, and an afternoon of fun at Busch Gardens.

the palace green was full of people playing ball and attempting to master rolling a hoop with a stick. apparently its not as easy at they make it look in movies. i was half tempted to try, but my less-fun more-grown-up scared-to-look-like-a-goofus-in-front-of-a-bunch-of-strangers side of me won out and we just walked past.

since we remembered this time to get a map at the visitors center, we were able to pick out the places that we wanted to see but had missed the last time in our wanderings. one of the first places we stopped was in the church yard to look at some of the graves that were there.

the inside of the church was really neat. there is so much history in the building and it was fun to think about all the differences between churches then and now. it actually has an active congregation, which is pretty impressive seeing as it sits right on the main street of the Colonial part of Williamsburg and not out in the modern part. i think it would be way cool to get to worship there every week.

the colonial gardens were probably Mark's favorite part. i think he would have wandered around in there for a few hours, and might have even liked to sit for a while under the grape arbor with a good book. we would have liked to come home with a few plants, but since our garden and other outside space is less than planned (and more like overgrown and out of control) at this point, we just bought a few packs of seeds for when we do have more of a plan.

the shoemaker was one of the most in-character people we talked to, which mostly made us feel as though he wished we would stop asking him questions and just let him work. so we didn't visit with him for very long.

i convinced Mark to get a little bit into character by trying on this 3-cornered hat. i was not quite convincing enough for him to pose for a picture with me in the stocks.

but i did take this nice picture of a barrel.

we hung around just long enough to hear that the redcoats were coming with that traitor Benedict Arnold, and might burn the town like they had just done to Richmond. but we were too hot and sweaty to stick around for the fire. (Mom and Dad stayed and they said that the town escaped un-charred)

the afternoon was a leisurely day of coaster-riding at Busch Gardens. since there was a threat of rain, the park was not very full and the lines were very short, so we were able to ride all the big rides in about three hours. we didn't take many pictures since most of our time was spent on roller coasters, but i did stop to take advantage of the carousel photo-op. (and i just feel the need to clarify that it was a tiny little horse which is why i look like a freaking giant!)

at the end of the day i realized that there was only one full day of vacation left with the whole fam. and then i promptly stopped thinking about it because it was just too sad.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day Four: Just Beachy.

because Tuesday wasn't a weekend and it wasn't supposed to rain, we headed to the beach for the day!

we dug in the sand, and let the tide bury our feet.

we took advantage of the nice breeze and gave our honeymoon kite another go-round.

Claire Marie held the handle with two hands. and Daddy held onto the string. just in case.

we jumped waves and boogie-boarded the day away. there was no time for just lounging and reading a book, because we were way too busy having a great time playing together.

there were a lot of jellyfish (not the stinging kind) and fish and crabs in the ocean that day, and Claire decided that there were just "too many creatures in this ocean" for her to enjoy any more time in the water.

but Nick, on the other hand, couldnt get enough of the water and the waves and was just bummed that he wasnt allowed to get down and swim on his own.

despite the fact that we slathered and reapplied several times throughout the day, i think we all ended up getting burnt. some worse than others. i think the Goob got it the worst; he didn't want to move very much for the rest of the week. me and the hubs did alright, he had some peeling on his shoulders and i ended up with a lovely chunk right at my hairline that makes me look all dandruffy and my shoulders just started peeling a little yesterday, but mostly i think i just wound up with a pretty nice tan!

note to self: 
try a higher SPF. spend more time with the fam. preferably at the beach.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day Three: a great day for the water park.

ten whole years after the first Williamsburg vacation that went so horribly wrong, we found ourselves right back at the scene of the crime there. and not surprisingly, not a whole lot about the place had changed. i guess that's kind of the whole point, after all. but we as a family definately have. most notably this kid, who is easily 3 times as big as he was on the last trip.

speaking of things that were different, there was actually shade this time... and cold drinks and ice cream...

...and tours of air-conditioned buildings that didn't require waiting hours in the blazing sun...

... and interesting shops other than the blacksmith's that were actually open...

... and we had a great time!

although i think if i actually lived back in Colonial times, i would advise the army to actually use their lightsaber technology (as captured in this rare photo) because i kind of think that it would greatly speed up the whole war process. or at least make it more fun to learn about in 9th grade social studies class...

after a whole morning in the hot hot sun, we decided (just like we did 10 years ago) that it was indeed a great day for the water park, so (unlike 10 years ago) that's where we spent our evening. but since my camera is not water-proof, i have no pictures of that. but real quick before you stop reading due to lack of pictures: there's this one slide, where you start out standing up, and then they DROP THE FLOOR RIGHT OUT FROM UNDER YOU and i totally rode it. awesome.