Shoegate 2010

On Wednesday in Jamaica it rained on and off all day. We ventured out between rain showers and explored the other side of the resort and the other gift shop. During an afternoon lull in the rain we slathered on our suntan lotion and sat in the clouds for a little while. The sun never quite made it out. Finally we decided to get on a shuttle and go to another Sandals Resort (Dunn’s River) about 20 minutes down the road. We wanted to check it out, especially a Teppanyaki Restaurant called Kimono’s where Pat wanted to eat.
Supposedly, you could make reservations at Kimono’s through our concierge service. We tried that and they made it sound like it was really hard to get reservations and they would do their best and let us know. We never heard anything, so while we were at the other resort, Pat decided he would try to get us in. Me…I would have just accepted that we weren’t going to eat there. Pat…he talked to about 5 people and finally convinced them to give us a reservation that had just been cancelled by someone else. He really wanted to eat there.
We had an hour and a half until dinner so we headed to a windy bar on the beach. After a few drinks, we walked around the resort. It was a little nicer and more modern than the one we were at. While checking out the open-air gym a rainstorm moved through. There were some good magazines so I sat down and started to read, waiting for the rain to stop. Pat thought he should take a nap on a bench…in the gym. Granted, it wasn’t a weight bench, more like a massage table. The pina coladas made him a little tired I guess.
The rain passed, we checked out another gift store and then it was almost dinner. As if it wasn’t enough that we wiggled our way into reservations, Pat thought we should see if we could get in early. As we told the lady we had a 6:30pm reservation, she said, “Do you think you could go back and change your shoes?”
There was a dress code. We were dressed nicely, but apparently our finest flip flops were not fine enough. I was even wearing my leather ones. We explained that we couldn’t go back and change our shoes because we were from the other resort. She then suggested we go down to the front desk and see if they had any shoes.
They have shoes at the front desk for such an occasion? It sounded like this was done all the time. I was momentarily intrigued with what shoes they might bring me. I had a vision of rows of beautiful shoes in all sizes in a back room. Kind of like at a bowling alley but without the multi-colored panels or laces or slippery bottoms. Or maybe like the Blue Fly accessory wall on Project Runway.
Or not at all, since the girl at the front desk kind of gave us a funny look when we asked to exchange shoes. At this point, I am mortified. I continue to be mortified when she brings out a pair for me and tells me I have to leave mine in exchange. They were a little small, but since they had no back strap, I made it work.
What are the odds that they have a nice pair of men’s size 14 shoes back there? In fact, they have no men’s shoes at all. They make calls! They’re calling all around the resort for men’s dress shoes! We sat there for 15 minutes while they apparently put out an all points bulletin for men’s shoes. More mortification!
In the meantime, we were able to watch our fellow diners with a 6:30 reservation head up the stairs. One man in his 60s with khaki shorts, loafers and white socks pulled up to his shins. One man in his 60s with workout shorts, leather sandals and black socks pulled up to his shins. One man with Birkenstocks.
At one point, Pat said the the guy at the front desk, “Not for nothing, but did you just see the shoes our fellow diners are wearing?”
The resort wide search produced no shoes for Pat. We finally headed back upstairs and someone signaled the hostess that we were allowed in. Apparently we just needed to be embarrassed a little bit to earn our dinner. Pat would say it was all worth it. He finally got some sushi (albeit only 2 pieces) and the dinner was delicious. I agree that the dinner was delicious but in hindsight, I would have worn my own heels.
After dinner, I slunk back to the front desk to exchange shoes. I just know the two couples sitting there watched the whole process and wondered what I was doing. I made no eye contact and just hurried over to the shuttle to take me back to a resort where we had yet to have a problem with our shoewear.

Return to Reality

In case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been…last week, Pat and I went on a little vacation to Jamaica. He just finished his tour of duty on the USS Ross and has a little time off before he checks about the aircraft carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt. We decided it would be a great time to take a vacation to somewhere warm. His parents offered to watch the kids and we booked 5 days at the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios in Jamaica.

It was actually a somewhat short stay, with travel days on Monday and Friday, but we managed to soak up some sun, play golf, read, sleep in and eat dessert at every meal. In fact, I’m going through dessert withdrawal right now – a Rice Krispie treat just doesn’t cut it after the delicious desserts we ate in Jamaica.
We stayed at a Sandals resort in St. Lucia for our honeymoon a little over 5 years ago and had a great time so we knew we definitely wanted to go back to an all-inclusive resort. Jamaica was a lot closer and easier to get to but still had the tropical weather we were looking for. It also had the golf course that was on Pat’s list of requirements. We had a great room, overlooking the ocean and were close to all restaurants. It was on and off rainy on Wednesday but it was just nice that it was warm.
Jack and Casey had a great time with Nana and Pop Pop…I’m not sure they even missed us. Nana had them out to fun events and places every day and wore them out. They went to a place calling Bouncing Off the Walls and that’s apparently what they were doing.
I missed Jack and Casey, but it was really great to have a break. We didn’t have to revolve any of our activities around being home for naptime, no one whined about what was being served for dinner (in fact I don’t think any one whined at all) and there were no sibling fights to break up.
Also, I ascertained that I can still be observant. I’ve realized that since having kids, I don’t notice the little things any more. I can’t tell you what another mother was wearing who just spent 5 hours at my house. I don’t even notice what Pat’s wearing most of the time. All my energy and focus goes towards trying to entertain Jack & Casey – keeping the peace and preventing melt downs, especially when we’re around other people. So, when thrown back into the world without my children, I began to notice things again…like minor drug deals in Jamaica and the fact that someone was wearing self-tanner put on rather poorly. Just little things, but it’s nice to know that those powers of observation aren’t gone permanently.
Anyway, it was a great getaway and I am now in the middle of my 4th load of laundry trying to catch up. 85 degree weather and the beach already seem like they were weeks ago, instead of days. Unfortunately, I think my body acclimated a little too well to the warmth because my fingers actually went numb from being cold while shopping at Wal-Mart today. Laundry, groceries, naptime, bathtime, puzzles, Legos, toy kitchens, toy pianos, and dolls…welcome back to life.

The Post Christmas Blahs

Some days, there’s just not a lot of funny going on around here. Actually, I’ll amend that. There are generally some funny moments to every day. But on some days, all the mundane, frustrating and exasperating moments block out the funny stuff.

For Jack’s part, he’s had some bed wetting for a few days combined with no naps. Then I guess he decided he needed to overcompensate and wake up twice in the night to prevent the bedwetting.
Casey has taken to the statement, “It’s mine!” with vigor. She doesn’t necessarily want what she has claimed as hers but thinks it’s important to repeat the sentiment over and over.
I’ve put together the same puzzle dozens of times with Casey. I’ve listened to Jack ask the same answerless question over and over.
On a funny side note, Jack is now beginning his sentences with “Well…” For example, “Well…I think I want peanut butter and jelly for lunch.”
So, just as I was thinking of the fact that I didn’t have a lot of funny stories, I sat down at the computer to write just that. And then I looked at my computer, more specifically at the sticky notes at the bottom…
The note on the left is a list of the things I wanted to get done on the computer and I stuck it on the monitor to remind myself. It’s been there about 2 months and after a while it stopped being a novelty and I stopped thinking about any of those things. Today, Jack found the sticky notes and decided that he should write his own note. After Jack wrote his, Casey decided she needed to write one too. And now there are three. Here’s Jack’s note a little closer…

I’m probably more likely to do that than I am to do the things on my list.


Just a few funny stories from the past couple of days…
We got Jack some bigger hockey sticks for Christmas and now he wants to play hockey a lot more. The entryway has one again turned into an ice rink. The Diego and Nemo push cars have turned into Zambonis. And he found himself a goalie.
We went to watch the Norfolk Admirals play last week and he got a 8×11 poster of the back-up goalie. It was sitting by all his hockey gear for a few days. At some point when I told him to wait a few minutes before I could play with him, he decided to set picture of the goalie up in front of his net. I just started laughing when I saw it. He’s not the greatest goalie, but I think Jack likes that he can get quite a few pucks by him.
After Christmas, we (I) took a big bin full of trucks and diggers and boy things and replaced it with all of Casey high heels, baby dolls and generally girly things. Tonight she pulled it out and was playing with some shoes and necklaces (as was Jack.) She clomped around the house for a while until she got to Tugger. Then she said, “Shoes on Tugger?” and tried to put the heels on Tugger. Tugger didn’t cooperate but luckily it didn’t seem to bother Casey too much. She put them back on and went to get the tutu away from Jack.
Today in the car, Jack asked me if I liked some kind of sandwich. “What kind of sandwich, Jack?” I asked.
“Do you like knuckle sandwiches, Mommy?”
“Where did you hear about knuckle sandwiches?” I asked. For the record I’m not a big fan.
“From Daddy,” Jack quickly responded.
I started to explain to him that a knuckle sandwich wasn’t very nice and that nobody really likes them because they hurt your face.
“No, Mommy, a knuckle sandwich is for when you scream.”
Apparently when Casey was screaming once, Pat asked her if she wanted a knuckle sandwich. Totally joking!!! Now Jack likes to screech to get Pat to ask him if he wants a knuckle sandwich.
We read a story about Clifford’s (the big red dog) best friend tonight, Emily Elizabeth. When I asked him who his best friend was, he said Casey. So cute. And it makes up for him saying at Thanksgiving that he was thankful for the train named Emily. (The teacher thought it was his sister.)

Just Keeping it Clean

Both grandmothers decided that the kids needed a toy vacuum for Christmas. I’m not sure if they think my carpets are dirty and figured they would be cleaner if 2 and 3 year olds did the cleaning or if they know that I secretly like vacuuming and therefore it would follow that my kids like vacuuming. Luckily, it turns out that they do like vacuuming. In fact, they went methodically from room to room upstairs on Christmas day. Jack even did some detail cleaning. At one point Casey says, “Loud, Loud, Loud!” When she was younger and I wanted to vacuum, I thought that I should try to ramp up the noise level in the room so I would say, “Loud, Loud, Loud!” I figured that was gentler than just throwing the switch and scaring her. Now she thinks it’s what you say when you vacuum.

Anyway, from Casey’s room, to my room/bathroom, to Jack’s room to the playroom, I present “Dueling Vacuums.”

Christmas in Pictures (and captions)

Christmas Eve morning…just before going to get Grammie & Grampie at the airport. I took pictures because these are Casey’s first piggy tails. They lasted for approximately 12 minutes. (I didn’t have the right elastics…not that the right ones probably would have stopped her from pulling them out.)

Grampie with Jack and Casey before church. I’m proud that I didn’t really plan our outfits but we were all pretty coordinated. Unfortunately there is no family shot. We were running a little late for church and like last year, we arrived two minutes after all the seats were taken.

Casey chills in a Santa hat and sunglasses while we get dinner ready. We had cocktail meatballs and then lasagna. I set the lasagna out on the counter while we were at church and Tugger helped herself to half of it. Luckily we salvaged the other half and had a good dinner.

Jack opening his Christmas eve presents…this bag has his ornament for 2009. Pat went to about 15 stores looking for a Thomas the Train ornament.

Casey with her Christmas Eve presents.

Jack and Casey in their new pajamas putting their new ornaments on the tree. Casey’s was Cinderella in her carriage. Three of the wheels were broken off it in the first five minutes and it never made it to the tree. Casey took it to bed with her instead and now it is a wheel-less carriage. At least she liked it. And I need to remember to get some superglue before next year.

All that lasagna tired Tugger out.

While the children were nestled all snug in their beds, it only took Santa’s helpers a couple hours to put this together on Christmas Eve. Jack literally ran to his bed and was asleep within minutes so that Santa would come. It was the easiest bedtime ever. He wanted to run no risk of Santa not coming because he was awake or of seeing Santa.

Casey’s presents from Santa. Auntie Jenn got her the cute chair.

Jack’s presents from Santa.

Jack likes his new hockey sticks. I like them too because they are longer and I don’t have to play hockey with him on my knees.

Casey wanted to open all her presents in her chair.

She also figured out unique ways of getting in and out of it.

Pat & Jack play with some of Jack’s new fleet of construction toys. He also got a set of Lego construction toys and Pat spent hours putting them together. Jack wanted to put them together as soon as they were unwrapped.

Stocking time. Santa also brought silver bells for everyone. After reading The Polar Express, Jack really wanted Santa to bring a silver bell. It was not so easy for “Santa” to find one and when he finally did, he had to buy 12 and then walk around the mall with them jingling and jangling.

The aftermath. I love the dog in the middle of it looking so exhausted. It was tough work for her to watch everyone open presents. Or maybe it was her new chew toy that tired her out.
What a fun Christmas. Jack and Casey love their kitchen and do a lot of cooking for me. Casey got dolls and princess shoes, jewelry and a tutu along with her shopping cart & chair. Jack asks a dozen times a day to play hockey on the “ice” in our entryway. I spend a quite a bit of time rebuilding Lego machines for Jack that Casey has ripped apart. Jack also got Cranky the Crane for his train table and a computer that hooks up to ours. And, stay tuned for a dueling vacuums video…Jack and Casey each have their own toy vacuum. If only they actually picked up dirt!
A new post below too! Two posts in one day…a productive new year already.

Randomness from a year ago

Happy New Year! I was thinking a recap of the past year but I didn’t feel like sitting down to try to think of all the things we’ve done this year. But then I set up my new calendar and transferred all the birthdays and saw a few of the things we did in 2009. (Hopefully all the birthdays are transferred…I had a little help from Jack and Casey with this project. There were stickers involved so they thought it was fun.) Then I cleaned out my receipts from January and that was also a reminder of some of the things we did last January.

2009 started off in Philly, visiting with Pat’s parents. We didn’t go out for New Year’s but enjoyed the night on the couch eating leftovers. There were some mozzarella sticks from Carrabba’s that were delicious. (This was not in the day planner…I have a weird memory that allows me to recall things I ate on specific nights over a year ago.) We also visited the Please Touch Museum with the kids on a very busy Friday.
Other things from January include dinner with friends, refinancing our house, replacing A/C filters (just writing what was in the planner), playdates and playgroups. My sister visited at the end of January and we went to the zoo, the aquarium and probably did some shopping. Pat was gone for most of January but when he returned, he was sporting a mustache. We met him at McDonald’s for lunch on the day he returned and Jack wouldn’t even look at him. He hid in my lap the whole time. When Pat came home, after having shaved the mustache, Jack was happy and said, “Daddy left his mustache on the boat.”
Now that I’m three paragraphs into this, it’s just going to be a recap of last January…
Anyway, according to the receipts on file for last January, I bought…
– cleaning supplies and cough drops from Target
– air filters (an obvious pre-requisite to the changing of the filters), a potty, and socks for Casey from Wal-Mart
– groceries at the commissary 3 times, Wal-Mart once and Food Lion a couple times
– a haircut
– onesies at Carter’s (should do that this January too since Casey has no undershirsts)
– a winter jacket for Jack (which we bought big so he could wear it this year too)
– jeans at the Banana Republic outlet (they fell apart after 3 months…so much for the bargain)
– a box to put photos in from Michael’s (I think it’s still empty)
– a new hair dryer (to replace the one I’ve had since high school), playdoh and some random dollar items at Target
– more random things from Target
– some picture frames from the JCPenney outlet (gave them as Christmas presents this year – that’s early shopping)
We also had dinner out at Olive Garden, La Bella Pizza and Buffalo Wild Wings. After seeing all the Target receipts, I remember that I was going there every weekend with the kids to kill time while Pat was gone. It also caused me to buy a lot of random things. We would walk up and down the toy aisle and the kids would touch all the buttons on all the toys. Then I would cruise the rest of the aisles searching for things I “needed.”
I could also go get my menu from last January and tell you what we were eating then too, but I think we’ve probably had a good enough glimpse into last January. This January looks to be the opposite of last in terms of Pat being home. He’s getting ready to transfer to another ship and gets some time off in between so we’ll be seeing a lot of him. We have a little vacation planned and I have a bunch of appointments I need to make while I have someone to watch the kids.
Here’s to a great January 2010!