Friday, February 28, 2014

Cynthia is 39!!!

As I enter the final year of my 30's I think the whole "I'm getting old" feeling has finally caught up with me. I've never worried about age and think it silly that people lie about or refuse to tell their real age. But that's just me. Turning 30 didn't phase me one iota. I was 6 months pregnant with Solana and spent a happy evening at home with Dave and the cats. Maybe we went out for dinner. I don't remember. But now that I'm pushing 40 I'm starting to notice my skin and hair changing. And this winter has been a doozey for exercise. Running just hasn't happened. My waist is definitely thicker than it was this time last year and I find myself wondering if I'll ever wear a bikini again. (And I realize that may be incredibly vain, inciting snorts galore, but I've always assumed that I could easily wear a bikini until I turned 50 so it is significant to me.) As much as I'd like to stubbornly cling to my "I don't care about my age" attitude I must reluctantly admit that I'm feeling a little self-conscious about how I look and about how Dave sees me. I find myself running to put makeup on before he gets home from work and fastidiously plucking my eyebrows. Maybe these are good things? My mom used to shake her head in defeat at the way I used to go out as a teenager. I didn't feel the need to do myself up and was perfectly ok with that. And, as an adult, I usually don't give a fig about how I look during the week. Pony tail, clean face, shorts and a t-shirt (yoga pants and t-shirt in the winter) have always been good enough. But this winter I find myself wearing sweats because my jeans are a tad too tight and looking into the mirror speculatively rather than admiringly.

It's an odd feeling, getting older. I'm surprised at how it snuck up on me. Fortunately for me, I'm not yet wallowing in the depths of despair. At this point I guess I'm just a littler perplexed at this new attitude trying to take hold in me. Thank goodness for this blog, though. Self-awareness can be my sword to fight for the old (or rather, young) Cyndi. And we just joined the YMCA so I hope to get back into fighting shape soon. Maybe this was a bad winter to turn 39 - one in which cabin fever and inactivity are at an all-time high.

With all that being said, 39 was actually a wonderful birthday celebration. Dave took me out on a fantastic date night to my favorite restaurant. We had a lovely 2-hour dinner alone together and then we went to the movies. That was Saturday. On Monday, my actual birthday, he and the girls presented me with sweet cards, hugs, kisses, and my new serger (gifted from them and my parents). I can't wait to get started on it!!
 My handsome husband, who never has to worry about looking "older", 
since he just gets even better looking with time.
 All is not lost. I can still manage a good picture. ;-) Even if it's with my first attempt at a fancy eye shadow, new mascara, and first time wearing blush in…oh…ever. LOL!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Literacy Night at PVS

Since becoming involved with the PTO at Chloe's school I'm much more aware of all the cool stuff the PTO does. In the past I probably would have blown off an event like Literacy Night because we read at home all the time. But the Principal and coordinators really talked it up at the PTO meeting so I decided to be supportive of the program and take the girls. And it turned out to be lots of fun for them! We started the evening with pizza in the cafeteria, which was a big hit. 

Here they are using a variety of instruments to make sounds in/with water. I'm not really sure what this has to do with literacy but they really enjoyed it. Ringing the bell under water was particularly exciting.

There was a word hunt all over the school This was a great scanning exercise for Chloe and she just about screamed every time she was a word on the wall.

Solana got to practice her patience by waiting for Chloe to scan the page to locate the words.

We sat on a blanket and the girls used props to retell the story I just read to them. The books were super cute and the girls did a great job listening and retelling the story.

 The final activity was writing in shaving cream. There was more rubbing going on than writing. This is definitely something we can do at home!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Skunk Returns

During the early morning hours of February 13th I got up to check on Chloe because she'd made a sound, or something. As soon as I got up the dogs jumped up needing to potty so I opened up the front door to let them out. When BANG! I was smacked in the face by the smell of skunk. Have you ever gone from "half asleep" to extremely alert in a fraction of a second? I frantically called the dogs back because they were already lumbering out the door. I took them around to the back of the house and the smell was there, as well. Apparently, our Valentine skunk was trying to ruin yet another Valentine's day! Remember what happened last year on February 13th?

The next morning the side of the house and the garage reeked of skunk. It was almost as if that little f^@%$r went around spraying every side of our house.

We've managed to get through the past week without incident but we think that Monty may have come close to disaster once when Dave let him out. Dave didn't smell anything when the dogs went out but when he let them back in there was the smell of skunk on the air. Monty had ever so faint a skunk smell in his fur but it was almost as though he was in the vicinity of skunk but not too close. I don't know what we'll do if he's hit again…

Skunks wake up around February and wander out of their winter sleeping nests in search of food. This particular skunk seems to be sleeping somewhere around our house during the winter. We're thinking of maybe contacting animal control to trap and get him out of here. February may become my least favorite month of the year (not that the weather is doing anything to endear itself to me) if I have to worry about or, even worse, experience a sprayed dog every year.

Angus the Cat

We finally settled on a good name for our kitten - Angus! He had a couple of different names before that but Dave came up with Angus after our Vet mentioned that he's going to be a big boy! Angus seemed to fit. He's already turning out to be a great addition to our family and fits in perfectly. He's incredibly tolerant of the girls' attentions letting Chloe and Solana carry him around without much fuss. And Chloe doesn't exactly have the best cat carrying technique, if you know what I mean. He's been chased by Monty and Bluebell many times but always comes back and has even taken to playing with Monty. They're almost best buds now.

Angus loves laying on the piano. He's usually on the very top, but they keyboard will do.
 One of his favorite spots to nap is under the ottoman. He barely fits now and most certainly will outgrow this spot very soon. It's cute for now.
 Bluebell doesn't mind Angus taking a drink as she eats her breakfast.
 He lives in Solana's room. As in, that's where is cat condo, food, water, and litter reside, and also where we lock him up when we leave. She's quickly become his favorite person and is happy to nap with her. She's the only person with whom he'll do this.
 He also enjoys the taste of her hair.
 Monty's foot doesn't taste to bad, either. here he is vigorously wrestling (biting, kicking, scratching..) Monty's foot as Monty naps. 

I think Angus will do quite well here. We'd forgotten how fun it is to have a kitten running around losing his mind over a tiny toy, attacking our ankles as we walk by, and getting into all kinds of trouble climbing places he shouldn't. He hasn't gotten into too much trouble, yet. Fingers crossed! He'll do.

Swans in Bellbrook

Have you ever seen swans? I mean, close-up real-live swans? I might have answered "yes" before yesterday but that wouldn't have been accurate. Our neighbor, "Mr. Art,"  stopped by to tell us that a pair of swans has been hanging out at a local pond. Solana and I were heading out to run some errands so we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to see real swans close-up. It was definitely an eye opening experience. They are HUGE!!! Look at how they dwarf the Canadian Geese! And I always thought those were big birds. It was super cold and ice-raining on us so we didn't stay long. Solana and I really enjoyed it, though.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

I love Valentine's Day! It's so much fun! I know some people shun it because they say they don't need a special day to tell people that they love them but I think they're just a bunch of party poppers! I don't see it that way at all. In our family we tell and show how much we love each other every day. But all the red, pink, hearts, sweets, cards, crafts, and more hearts for Valentine's day are just way too much fun!

The girls had the day off from school for a Teacher Work Day so we had all day long to do fun Valentine activities (that is, after they both got in trouble for saying "No!" to Mommy [Chloe] and refusing to do as she was told [Solana] - just keepin' it real, people). After a time out here and a scolding there we had a fantastic day! :-)

We cut out hearts from some Valentine themed paper. It was actually a reuse project using scraps from Chloe's class party last year. Then we used the hearts to make mobiles hang from the ceiling and confetti for the table.

 And here's our beautiful table, complete with flower arrangement from Daddy. For lunch we enjoyed valentine egg pizza with orange juice. Yes, I was a little desperate for a heart lunch and had limited supplies on hand. They're somewhat desperate but also kinda cute, I think.  For lunch dessert the girls each had a candy from the Esther Price chocolate box Daddy gifted them.

We blew up a TON of balloons left over from Solana's class party this year. Oh my gosh I was feeling light-headed! Leticia gave me this great idea for hanging balloons that involves a needle and thread. Look at how nicely they hang in front of the window! And that's with zero tape on the walls. Yay!

During Chloe's "quiet time" Solana and I mixed up some sugar cookie dough and then right before dinner we cut out, baked, and decorated our lovely heart cookies.

 Look at how cute they are! I tried to make mine prettier than Solana's but she's just too artistic!

Dinner was pretty yummy, too, if I do say so myself. Actually, Dave said so many times ;-) I made oven baked hot wings. These are dipped in butter/hot sauce and are so incredibly good!!! Homemade blue cheese dressing, mashed potatoes, carrot sticks, and celery sticks. 

And check out these hot dogs I made for Solana's class party. hahahaha! I don't know why I think they're so hilarious! The kids got a kick out of them, too. 

By the end of the day we were all hearted out and, surprisingly, loved each other just the same as we did when the day began. All those hearts sure were fun, though!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Homemade Play-Doh

Between the holidays, the cold weather, and snow/ice days off from school, the girls have been spending an awful lot of time indoors. I try to limit screen time. And by screen time I mean TV, XBox, IPad, IPhone, Computer, etc. It's hard to keep them occupied and still get my chores done. Last year I made them their rice bin. This year we made several batches of play-doh. I love this stuff so much! It's super soft and it lots of fun to make. I always have the ingredients on hand and can add lots of fun ingredients like lemon extract and vanilla to make it smell really nice. We added glitter to a couple of batches but I added that in during the kneading process because I was nervous about scratching my pan.

Here's the recipe that I got from this blog:

Ingredients: 1 C Flour
1 C Water
1/4 C Salt
1 TBSP Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Cream of Tarter
Food Coloring (actual coloring or a kool-aid packet will do)
Sparkles (If you wanna be a fun mom!)
Sauce Pan and Wooden Spoon 
Little helping hands.

--Pour in all ingredients. 
--Stir until everything is mixed well.
--Once the mixture is (mostly) clump free. Heat over MEDIUM heat. 
--Stir. Don’t stop stirring. After a few minutes it will start to clump up.
--Just keep stirring until the Play Dough is formed. It will  form one big clump. 
--Remove from heat, and knead by hand. 
--Once cooled it’s ready to go.
--I like to store it in ziploc baggies.

New Kitty

Solana has been harassing about getting a cat for months now. I can't remember when it began but she's been relentless. Over the past several months she's checked out just about every cat book available at her school library and memorized oodles of cat facts. She's even learned about the different breeds. To her credit, she hasn't pouted when we frequently say "no" or "maybe when you're older". She even had a cat on her Santa list. Unfortunately, Santa let her down. I think he knew that her parents weren't really on board with the whole cat thing. Fortunately for Solana, her Daddy is a big sucker with a much softer backbone than her mother. Her mother also happens to be a cat lover who's owned cats for about 31 of her 38 years of life. My 17 year-old cats, Serafina and Hardy, both passed away in 2012 and I do miss them. So when Dave started searching online for cats in December I almost caved. I could only stay strong for so long, though. A few months later and several more glances at adorable kitten pictures and he knew I was sold.

Enter our new kitty. We're still working on a name. Dave suggested 'Jaime', the red-headed main character of my favorite book series, Outlander. I was pretty excited about that suggestion but I'm thinking it won't stick. It'll come to us eventually. For now, he's just Kitty.

Everyone's very excited about our new family member. He's sleeping in Solana's room and his food/litter are there, as well. She said he slept well in his cat tower last night and I'm not surprised after all the excitement. The girls are at school right now and he's crashed out there again. I think it'll take some time for Monty to get used to Kitty's quick and jerky movements. He's a lot like a squirrel, I think, and it's driving Monty mad with desire to chase and nip. Fortunately, he's not timid and is tolerating the attentions of the dogs pretty well. 

Chloe woke up from her nap to find a new friend in her room and Solana has a "brilliant" idea.

Bluebell and Monty meet their new kitty friend.

Getting Back on Our Blog

Wow! Our 2013 blog book is going to be a light one if I don't get back into this. It's been a busy year and my computer blog time has diminished to the point of non-existence. I love the idea of having these albums for the girls, though, so I'm going to try and get back on track. I've started keeping my weekly schedule (again) and will force myself to blog at least twice a week on my schedule. Hopefully, I can keep up to date with current photos and back-fill some 2013, too!