Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Random Post Of Randomness And Some Insight Into My Brain

Can I be real here for a bit? (Not that I'm not normally "real" but I want to get "behind the scenes real.") I've been so grumpy these past few days I'm starting to get annoyed with myself. And I have no idea why. I mean, I'm still tired and part of it is probably post-vacation life. After you get back from vacation you should be allowed at least a week to "ease back into life." I didn't get that (probably nobody does) and so when people ask, "Did you do this yet?" I want to yell, "I'm still adjusting to not being on vacation. Give me a break!"

I'm frustrated that Dave still has to wear a splint which means he can't do dishes or give the kids baths. Or cook, because he also can't chop onions, open cans, or peel potatoes. I know that he's frustrated with that fact too but I'm the one who still has to do all the work. We're really REALLY REALLY hoping he gets out of his splint tomorrow. (But realistically I know that he won't go from having his wrist immobilized for six weeks to chopping onions so there's that too.)

I'm frustrated that my birthday is on Friday and anything I want to do involves a) good weather (it's supposed to rain until Monday), b) something Dave can't do with his wrist (trampolining and having him cook me a nice dinner), or c) celebrating with people who aren't available this weekend. I seriously just want to cancel my birthday this year because I'm so annoyed with the aforementioned limitations.

Plus I had a major cavity filled yesterday (my mouth was still sore eight hours later), and I have another one to look forward to in two weeks. Yay??? All this makes me alternate between wanting to throw things, crawl into bed and sleep for a day, or cry. It's been really pleasant times around here lately. Just ask Dave :)

On a positive, exciting (at least to me!) note, as of last night I am completely caught up on all the blog reading and commenting I missed while we were gone. Next order of blogging business -- responding to all the comments you all have left on our blog in the past six weeks!

And now for something completely different, I want to share some random pictures, just because I took them. Isn't that a great reason? (And isn't this post giving you more insight into my brain than you ever wanted?!?)
 
I was peeling potatoes last week and noticed
  I'd inadvertantly peeled a heart into this one.
Maybe I should become a Potato Peel Artist
 as surely there must be a call for those.
 
I made Earth Day cupcakes again last week. 
However since I wasn't paying attention as I put them in the muffin tins 
they look less like globes and more like half blue/half green cupcakes.

The day after Sam's birthday we made a quick trip to The Lego Store to buy him some Lego for his present. He wanted to stay and play and we told him that it wasn't a good time but after we got back from New Zealand we would go back after church, since it's just a one minute drive away. So we did. However first we had to order lunch. And then we had to wait for it. Various members of my family handled that with varying degrees of difficulty and grace.
Exhibit A: Dave
 
Exhibit B: Sam
 
Exhibit C: Rachel
This picture makes me laugh Every. Single. Time!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Project 364: Days 109 Through 115

Note to my readers: I've normally been publishing these posts on Sunday but it's been crazy times around here so this one is a little late :)

April 20, 2014 -- We celebrated a gorgeous Easter Sunday by blowing bubbles outside, among other activities.
April 21, 2014 -- The celebrating of good weather continued with the first bike ride of the year. After a bit too long in the Chariot, Sam and Rachel's loving relationship was being tested though!
April 22, 2014 -- While Rachel was in preschool I had an afternoon of errand running, including shopping for groceries for the first time in about a month. Seriously.
April 23, 2014 -- Rachel loved licking the spoons after we made Earth Day cupcakes.
April 24, 2014 -- Sam discovered how play-dough could conduct energy at a science demonstration at his school.
April 25, 2014 -- Dave enjoyed getting his wrist to the "neutral position" after five weeks of having it bent down for optimal healing for his tendon.
April 26, 2014 -- Sam played Lego almost all afternoon. He really loves it.

Where'd You Go, Natasha?

Ummmm... nowhere. Okay, I guess that's not a great answer but seriously when even my mom is sending me e-mails saying, "Haven't seen a blog for several days, hoping you are all ok" I know it's time to blog! Yesterday I actually had a chance to upload pictures from the camera so now I have all these posts I want to share with you including my belated Project 364 post (which I was supposed to post on Sunday and which will probably appear later today), a fun night at Sam's school, some changes which happened while we were gone, and some other random things.

However, the past few days other things have kept me from blogging. I was in Rachel's classroom on Thursday afternoon and we (meaning "I") biked to the preschool and back for the first time this year. And I got bike grease all over my jeans. Awesome.
Oh Target -- I still love you.
And also, Sam was disappointed that he couldn't actually
 get this "ball" to move, even with Rachel's help!

Tim, Janice, Tessa and Willem came over for a quick supper and hang out time on Thursday (and now we may not see them for almost three weeks -- boo), and then we headed off to Sam's school for the evening (a blog post about that coming soon).

On Friday, Dave had an appointment with his surgeon about his hand. He now gets to wear his splint for a week with his wrist in the "neutral position" and gets to take it off multiple times a day to do exercises. He still has to wear it the rest of the time which means I am the sole dishwasher and kid bather. Sadly, the total time we were at the hospital was over five hours. Thankfully we had patient babysitters for Rachel and good books to read. However, I would have preferred to spend my time doing other things. Then we ran a few quick errands after we picked Sam up from school and then I headed to my friend Kristen's house to say good-bye to Sarah who is moving to Prince Edward Island (of Anne Of Green Gables fame) in May.

On Saturday I volunteered at a fundraiser for the preschool for six and a half hours. Outside. And it was freezing cold. It took me the rest of the day to warm up. And Dave's parents came for supper on Saturday night. Thankfully they bathed the kids and got them to bed. I was so grateful for the help.
Mother Of The Year Award:
Yesterday's "lunch" was really just Costco samples, 
because I am just that awesome.

On Sunday we had church and then we took Sam to The LEGO Store so he could race cars. I took some hilarious pictures of Rachel waiting for her lunch, one of which you might just see in my Project 364 post on Sunday :)

Sunday afternoon I did three loads of laundry, hung them out, did dishes, baked cupcakes with the kids, lost all my energy, ordered pizza for supper, and then hosted my book club. We had read "Where'd You Go Bernadette?" which is a great book and generated some good discussion.

Yesterday, Sam wanted to stay home from school so we went to playgroup at church, and then Target, Costco and Zehrs. Then I came home and did more laundry and finally had a chance to sit at the computer with my camera. This explains all the random pictures in today's post, which are from yesterday and are mostly to reassure my mom that we're still alive and kicking in case my e-mail didn't accomplish that task! "Hi Mom! Sam and Rachel miss you. So do I."
Sam, post-marinara sauce on pasta sample.
Last night I had a job interview. If I get the job I will say more about it. The timing is not quite perfect (as Rachel will still be home next year) but it's not a huge time commitment and I can work from home on my own schedule so I decided to try for it.

And then I finally got a chance to catch up on some blogging -- both reading all your blogs (I'm only about four or five days behind now! Whoo hoo!!!) and writing this post. I'm still pretty tired and wanting more sleep than the kids allow. Thanks Mom and Dad for getting them on a "We now wake up at 6:30 schedule!!! And we want breakfast RIGHT NOW." Yawn.

So that's where I've been and what I've been up to and why the blog has been kind of quiet these past few days. This week is supposed to be cold and rainy so hunkering down with the computer and writing some more posts has a lot of appeal, especially if I have a mochaccino to warm me up. And keep me awake.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jet Lag Makes Me Stupid

So we've been back from New Zealand for seven days now. You think my body would have adjusted to this time zone but ohhhh-nooo, we can't have that now, can we??? Jet lag is not only causing me to experience extreme exhaustion but I also have memory loss, lack of filters, and difficulty completing simple tasks. For your enlightenment, and possible amusement, here are some examples of all three.

On Tuesday morning I woke up and my whole body was sore. As in, it hurt to close the lid on my contact solution, to cough, and generally to do anything but lie in bed. I attributed it to the first bike ride of the spring which I had done the day before. Although I couldn't for the life of me figure out why my arms hurt so much. At about 6pm I had my "Ah ha!!!" moment.

You see, on Monday I was outside with the kids and I noticed a branch hanging down from our big tree. I didn't want it to fall on the kids, I couldn't reach it, and I couldn't move the ladder to reach it by myself. So my solution was to throw Sam's soccer ball, and eventually his bat, at the branch hoping to hit it and knock it down. I managed to a) dislodge it a bit more and b) to get Sam's soccer ball stuck in the tree.

So imagine the muscles you would use to throw a soccer ball (or bat) up in the air about twenty feet. Yep, a full body squat, an extension of the arms, and the use of stomach muscles to help propel the ball up over and over and over again for about half an hour would explain all the soreness I dealt with on Tuesday. And yesterday. And probably today too. sigh.

Yesterday I baked muffins with Rachel. Janice came over in the afternoon and I wanted to send some home for her family. I wanted to send them two each but then that only left us with five which didn't feel like quite enough. I was deliberating and deliberating and explained my dilemma to Janice in hopes that she could help me out. She kindly pointed out that 4 people in her family times two cupcakes each only equaled eight and not sixteen which left more than enough for our family. Yep, my ability to do simple math has gone out the window too. sigh.

Last night Rachel said, "I don't have a peanut." Dave said, "Right you don't have a [male body part which sounds similar*]." Sam said, "Girls just have a litter." We corrected him with the proper term and he said, "That's not what I meant." So my lack of filter caused me to ask if he meant another female part, which sounds close to "litter." Obviously I had no clue that a five year old would a) likely not have heard that term before, b) did not need to be introduced to that term and c) would love the sound of it, using it for everything in sight for the next ten minutes. Dave blamed me for introducing the term, and I blamed him for misunderstanding Rachel which caused the whole downward spiral in the first place. sigh.

Also, I've been wearing the same pair of socks for forty-eight hours straight. Yep, I'm blaming jet lag for that one too...

As you can tell, jet lag also causes a lack of blogging material. Hopefully this too shall pass and I will be back to normal as soon as possible. I sure hope so because otherwise things are really going to start going to pieces around here!

*Note to readers: At our house we use proper body terms when talking to our kids but I decided not to use them on the blog because I don't want our blog showing up on any weird searches :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Spring Poem

 Spring has sprung,
 And laundry is hung
outside again!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

We're home! We've been home since about 8am on Friday. We handed out presents, and then, since we had spent two nights on the plane and were absolutely exhausted, we went to bed for a nap. I was so groggy for the rest of the day and could not wait to get to sleep that night. I slept for twelve hours and felt so much better on Saturday.
It was a good thing too because Sam had plans about putting out carrots and milk for the Easter Bunny, so the Easter Bunny had to make a quick trip to the store to stock up. I also did five loads of laundry and we hung out outside for a while because, while we were gone, all our snow melted and Spring arrived!

Sadly, on Saturday night, jet lag hit and I couldn't fall asleep until almost 4am. Blah. After about four hours of sleep I wasn't so bright eyed and bushy tailed but I tried. The fact that Easter Sunday was a gorgeous day helped a lot.
Rachel showing off her Easter dress.
We tried to get some pictures after church.
I really like this one even though Dave is the only one looking at the camera!
After lunch the kids headed outside to blow (and chase!) bubbles. It was so sunny and we were out for about three hours. I LOVED it!
My mom put some of the kids' Easter chocolates in some plastic eggs and hid them all over the yard. Sam and Rachel had a blast looking for them. Sam found the eggs a lot quicker than Rachel but we made sure they each got an equal amount of chocolate.
Let the Easter Egg Hunt begin!
The kids had so much fun my mom ended up hiding some empty eggs but the kids were not so impressed with that. Then Sam started "pre-finding" the eggs for Rachel which consisted of him finding an egg, emptying it of its chocolate and then putting it back for Rachel to find! We quickly put a stop to that game :)

As we were sitting around and Sam was trying to convince my mom to hide the eggs for a "front hunt" (a hunt for eggs in our front yard), my mom remembered how much she had loved setting up treasure hunts for us as kids. So we wrote out a ten clue treasure hunt for Sam and Rachel. I was so impressed that Sam could read almost all of the clues.
And they're off!
Finding a clue (left) and sharing its contents with Rachel (right).

After the treasure hunt, but before supper, we went on a walk around the block. Rachel was actually starting to get the hang of pedaling her tricycle but got tired before the block was over. Sam is quite proficient on his scooter!
We stopped in our friends' driveway for a quick break and Sam decided to "get some exercise" by running around the parked bikes. Crazy kid!

And that was our weekend. I'm still pretty tired but mixed in with the jet lag is the good tired from spending so much time outdoors. I love it!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Project 364: Days 102 Through 108

April 13, 2014 -- Today was a travel day from Peka Peka to Taupo. The only picture I took all day was of the scenery outside of Taupo.
April 14, 2014 -- The coffee names in this country are confusing. 'Flat White,' 'Short Black,'... where's just a 'regular coffee'??? After two weeks, Dave eventually figured out the 'Flat White' was the closest thing.
April 15, 2014 -- After our tour of Hobbiton, Dave enjoyed a very hearty "second breakfast" at The Shire's Rest.
April 16, 2014 -- A view of Auckland with one of its volcanic craters in the foreground.
April 17, 2014 --On this, one of the longest days I've ever experienced, we finally got to see the Southern Cross. First, Donny saw it, then Marika, then Dave!
April 18, 2014 -- Cuddling with these two was so sweet after over two weeks away :)
 April 19, 2014 -- Some people plant their amaryllis so it blooms in January, ours bloomed just in time for Easter.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Coast To Coast Chips Walk

Wednesday was our last day in New Zealand and we woke up in Auckland. Dave and I decided to spend the day doing the little known Coast To Coast Walk. This is a 16 kilometre walk across Auckland which takes you from the Pacific Ocean across to the Tasman Sea.
We stopped at the i-Site (tourist spot) underneath the Sky Tower to gather what information we could. Sadly, there was not a lot we could find so with a not very detailed map in hand, we set off.
 
Our walk started at the Auckland Harbour.

Then we found some green space...
 
...a working flower clock...

...interesting door handles...
 
...and an egg! Remember Christchurch???
 
We ended up at the Auckland Domain, home to the Auckland Museum and the Wintergarden. The yellow Coast to Coast signs were very important to us!
 
 
After walking through the city some more, we eventually hiked up to the top of a volcano where we had amazing views of Auckland. I thought the cone of the volcano, which we were aggressively warned to STAY OUT OF, was really interesting.

It was at this point though, not quite halfway through the walk, that things started to fall apart. We were out of water, with no clear place to buy more, we were hungry, and we tried three different paths before we figured out where to go next. After hiking up and down the volcano about three times, we were extremely hungry and thirsty, and I was getting a headache. We decided to detour out of our way to stop for lunch and then decide whether or not to continue.
Lunch was some very tasty fish and chips. However, they did not revive us as much as we had hoped they would, so we made the decision to catch a bus back to our hotel, which was located in the Central Business District. I was sad not to finish our walk, but considering I had a two hour nap for the rest of the afternoon, I think we made the right decision.

We grabbed some supper, packed our bags, and prepared to leave the country the next day. And yesterday's post's ps filled you in on those adventures!