Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Randomizer

- I have this weird phenomenon happening at swim lately. Usually, my youngest students (i.e. hardest classes to teach) come first, then as the night wears on the students keep getting older. Aka, easier to teach. But for some reason this isn't holding true this session, and my classes actually get harder to teach. I have a private lesson first, then a class with two younger students, then a class with three preschoolers, one with special needs. By the end of the last class, I'm done. I hate feeling like that; it doesn't make me feel good about teaching when I'm not enjoying my students (don't get me wrong, there are always gonna be days when everyone is ready to throw in the towel and go home, but I've never had such a long stretch of such days in a row).

- On the other hand, my other private lesson joined a regular class today and while I will miss teaching her terribly, I am so proud of her! Granted, I can't really take much credit since Maggie did most of the teaching before I took over, but hey. ;) And her mom thanked me again and said that we were the best coaches in the universe. I am never going to disagree with that lol.

- Also, a mom of one of my preschoolers came up to me today and asked what they had to do to keep me as their teacher. If they needed to switch times, days, whatever. I love it when people claim me as "their" teacher! Especially delighted because this little boy has the biggest, brightest smile and one of the sweetest personalities I've ever gotten to teach. And he's been struggling with some skills because apparently he had awful ear infections as a baby, and now has tubes in his ears which make floating uncomfortable, but today he arrived wearing the most awesome earplugs and we made great progress!

- So basically, when I read the above, I'm like, "So why was it a hard night again?" Maybe I'm just burnt out. :(

- My family is having a garage sale on Saturday, and I'm determined to use this opportunity to declutter as much as possible. So far I've cleaned out my closet and clothes storage (one big bin of clothes going to the garage sale, and another big bag headed to my BFF! As she said, "It's like shopping through text message." Lol!), and I'm hoping to go through my books and magazines before then, too. I'm finally realizing that I'm very comfortable with less "stuff" in my life, and getting brave enough to shed the excess.

- One word: spring cleaning. Ugh. My "want to do" list is a mile high and meanwhile I'm decluttering/reorganizing so there are piles everywhere, making it hard to actually "clean" anything.

- But on the plus side: this is my first week of "the new normal" (juggling Abigail, triplets, and swim on what's going to be my new normal schedule). I can't wait. Right now I'm taking Abster to school in the mornings, doing triplets three days a week, and teaching three nights a week. Just the right balance of work and downtime. Hoorah!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mailing Some Love

There's some debate about whether eggs have anything to do with Easter. I don't really care. (I've never been on an egg hunt in my life, and I don't feel too deprived, but it's also something I could see doing with my kids someday.) Even so, ever since I saw that you could mail the plastic ones as-is, no wrapping required... I knew Khy was gonna get some. :)

I actually bought some last year, along with candy and stuffers, but I never managed to buy some washi tape, and then in between getting all ready to leave (on Easter morning!) to go to Alabama for BFF's wedding... yeah. Didn't happen.

This year, I actually managed to get all six eggs stuffed, sealed, and addressed a whole week early! And then I had to wait until today to mail them. :)

(Just a sidenote: the girls were obsessed with the eggs. And the stuff inside them. I actually gave them a bouncy rubber ball that wouldn't fit inside, and they spent the next thirty minutes carrying it around, rolling it, and stealing it from each other. But even more exciting to them were the eggs themselves - especially the ones that were already sealed. They wanted to crack/chew those things open and play! So... I may have made some extra eggs for them. Just sayin'. ;) )


I stuffed the eggs with: Jolly Ranchers (c'mon, you gotta have some candy!), Silly Putty (the glow-in-the-dark kind, natch) a "Jacks" game (with little bunnies instead of jacks, lol!), mini bubbles and wands, bouncy balls, and something called a "lucky egg" which is basically a plastic squishy egg that looks just like if you cracked open a real one. I was both repulsed and fascinated by it. ;)

And then I took them to the post office.

Now, I was prepared for some resistance to the idea, so I had the giverslog page all loaded up on my phone so I could whip it out and show it to the postal worker, if necessary.

There were two workers at the counter when I went in (I was at the very end of a longish line, but thank God there was nobody behind me!); one was an older lady, and one was a gal about my age. The gal was very animatedly helping a customer pack their stuff, and talking with her hands, and looked like just the sort of person who would help you mail Easter eggs. I was praying I would get her. But I didn't. I got the older lady.

I walked up to the counter with my best big smile and put the eggs down on the counter. "I'd like to mail these, please," I said.

She looked at them, and then at me. "Like that?" she asked. I nodded and kept smiling. "Yup, just like that! I saw it on the Internet that you could do it and I'm so excited! These are going to a special little guy I only get to see a couple of times a year, and he'll love them!"

She moved towards the computer, stopped, and looked back at me. "I don't think we do that anymore."

I put on my best sad puppy dog face. "Really? Are you sure?"

She thought for a moment, then turned to the younger gal (who by this time had finished with her customer) and said, "Do we mail Easter eggs? Just like this?"

The younger gal took one look at my eggs and squealed in delight. "Oh, my gosh, yes, we can! I saw this online! It's so awesome! I've always wanted to help mail Easter eggs!"

The older lady admitted she didn't know how to mail them, and the younger gal said she'd be right back with the supervisor and darted off. The older lady looked at me again and asked if I didn't just want a padded envelope? Or a box? I smiled very politely and said no, thank you.


The younger gal returned with the supervisor, who was clearly not as enthused about the idea, but was surprisingly tolerant. Apparently yesterday she mailed a coconut. ;) She warned me that 1), the eggs weren't big enough to fit a tracking number on, so I was mailing them without any certainty that they'd arrive, and 2) there was no certainty that the eggs wouldn't break, burst, or get lost. It was a gamble.

Since I'd spent so little on the eggs and their stuffing to begin with, I didn't mind taking a little risk.

So the supervisor began weighing the eggs, realized that they would all cost the same to ship, and began wondering how to attach postage labels.

I volunteered that "on the Internet" they just used plain old stamps.

"Oh, we can't do that," the supervisor assured me. "They wouldn't stick. They'd fall off. That's not the way to do it."

I didn't really care how they shipped, so long as they shipped, so I didn't press the issue. But a couple of minutes later, after trying in vain to fit a postage label on them, the younger gal pulled out a book of stamps and pointed some out to her supervisor and said, "Look, couldn't we just use two of these... and two of these... ?" And turns out, this was indeed the solution.

In the end, each egg cost about $2 to ship (meaning that next year, I think I'll ship one or two jumbo-size eggs instead of half a dozen regular sized) which I found surprisingly expensive. But whatever. :) By Friday, Khy should open his mailbox door and discover that the Easter bunny hopped all the way from Maryland to Alabama to leave him an early surprise.

And by the end, after all the eggs were stamped and ready, even the older lady had entered into the spirit of whimsy and enthusiasm, and requested that I let them know how many eggs arrived at their intended destination. :)

Happy Easter!

P.S. Oh, and Reb? Get ready. ;)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lovely Days

I just can't say it enough - spring is really here! :) I'm so happy. You can tell because it's reached 85 degrees inside my trailer for the past two days, and I don't even care. (I'm determined not to turn my AC on yet, even though - living in a tin can - I know I'll be turning it on way earlier than most people.) It still cools quite a bit at night, and I'm loving the rhythm. Although Fall remains my favorite season, Spring - at least until those pesky allergens pop out! - is a close second. Is there someplace in the world that's warm during the day and cool at night all the time?! I will totally move there!

Last night I hosted a small cookout with my siblings and some friends. Note to self: it cost less than $25 to feed eight people hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, chips, Capri Sun, and still have leftovers. I'd bought ingredients for s'mores, but we never actually got around to making them - next time! The fire pit was so much fun to sit around, but I started reacting to the smoke almost immediately, and had to pop Benadryl before going to bed. :( Today most of my symptoms are receding, but my eyes are still puffy and swollen, and I can't get my left eye to take my contact. :( All this to say - I'm really lusting after a propane pit. Maybe next year.

I thought it was this morning to watch the girls climb out of their cozy enclosed bed and come nap on the top level where it's coolest. Time to break out their hammocks and open beds before I have roast rat! :)

I'm feeling totally lazy/tired today... I'm not admitting how late I got up, and even then I made myself get up, but I could have easily slept longer. I did sort a very few items on my "stuff to sort/discard/etc" pile, and I did manage to pull out the off-season clothing bins and pull out the warm weather clothes... though I didn't actually manage to get all the cold-weather clothes packed away yet lol! Mostly what I'd like to do in this heat is to take a nap. :)

Also added to my to-do list: buy a fan for my sleeping compartment. I forgot that it's easily the warmest spot in the place. :(

Abigail has spring break next week, and already we have a "bucket list" of things she wants to do: go out to lunch with Maggie at our favorite Mexican place, get Allen to take us for a ride in his Jeep with the top off, and go on a playdate with Lilly at the Jumpyard. Also on the list (though she doesn't know it yet, lol): stop for froyo at Sweet Frog. ;)

I'm undecided about what to do with my seedlings. Of the sixty seeds I planted, only three corn and nine cucumber (or watermelon... did you know how similar they look at this stage?!) have actually sprouted. I was willing to be patient, but seeing as Sunday marks three weeks since I planted them, I think I'm going to give up the unsprouted ones for lost and replant the peat pods with my next batch, which includes green beans, lettuce, pumpkins, peppers, and tomatoes. I'm going to try to start my own seeds as much as possibly, and fill in the gaps in May when the danger of frost is over.

I wish my BFF's mom lived nearby... I wish she could come over, have a cup of tea, and explain to me what I'm doing wrong! :(

Well, I'm off to try to finish getting the winter clothes packed away, have a cup of iced raspberry leaf tea, and maybe take that nap before rehearsal tonight. ;) Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Welcome Spring!

Today was the first day that felt like real, true spring. It's felt... springlike? before, but today I was able to put on a tank top (gotta soak up as much Vitamin D as possible!) and get outside to do some jobs that had been piling up.

First, I painted my stolen rescued pallet so I could finish turning it into a garden. I really wanted a vertical planter/plant stand, like this one:

And after trying in vain to create anything similar with my pallet, I gave up, so I'm pretty sure now I'm going to have more of a raised-bed type garden, like this:

Except mine will be cuter because I painted it! And also because I'll end up dressing it up with pretty plant markers and a trellis and the whole nine yards, because that's how I roll. My plants grow big and never produce any fruit, or limp along miserably before dying a painful death, but by golly their pots look pretty!!!

(Can you tell I'm not having good luck with my seedlings?)

By the way - I love picking out paint for a small project. Big projects are scary - they involve a big investment in paint and time - but little projects are cheap and fun and if you don't like the color, well, then for under $4 you can repaint.

I chose Valspar's "New Avocado" - it can't quite decide if it wants to be yellow or green, and that's just fine, because I couldn't decide whether I wanted yellow or green, either. :) So pretty! Maggie walked by after I was done and said if she'd seen the color in the jar, she never would have picked it, but once applied, it was just perfect. :)

I also spray-painted the clay pots I bought to make new solar lights for the walkway, and while I was at it, I spray-painted the wooden bunny silhouette I bought to decorate my front door with. Oh, and I also replaced the burlap stair covers I've had on the front steps since this past fall with new burlap, this time bright turquoise.

I'm hoping tomorrow will be just as warm and sunny, so I can finish off the outdoor projects and enjoy my new and beautiful yard. :)

On my to-do list for the next few days:

- Bring out the summer clothes (yay!) and pack away the winter clothes. And, while I'm at it, cut down my wardrobe by at least 1/3 (I'm thinking of trading it in for credit at ThredUp - anyone else hearing lots about this new site?)

- Measure my kitchen wall so I can figure out how much tile to order for my backsplash. I got to look at a very similar product at Home Depot last week and I loved it, so now I'm super excited about this project! Also measure my linoleum because I may also have found new, awesome flooring that's designed to be installed over existing linoleum (score!) so now I can get rid of my awful ugly tan linoleum, too. And once I get those projects done, I might as well replace the ugly (and also slightly chewed on. Ahem) tan carpet in my living room. :)

- I must. absolutely must. clean out and vacuum and wash my truck. It's getting pretty bad. :(

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The New Normal

It's baaaaaaaaack!


Ladies and gentlemen... I have my life back. The mama is back to lifting, and the family took advantage of the fact that she's feeling well but can't return to work yet by going on vacation to see family. I get this entire weekend off. My only jobs next week are to take Abby to school and teach swim, and I just found out our Friday swim class was cancelled, so I have a long weekend. And the week after that is Abby's spring break, so I have a whole week to hang out with my girl and do fun stuff and take field trips and play with cousins and generally enjoy life. :)

Anyway. I swear it'll be a long, long time before I complain about being busy. ;)

In other news...

- It's starting to feel like spring, slowly but surely. There have been a couple of days where it felt nice, having the windows open in the trailer or driving with the windows down. My seedlings have begun poking their heads above ground and I'm excited about watching them grow and produce fruit.

- I have two major outdoor projects I want to get done this week: make a vertical planter out of the pallet I made my dad help me steal rescue, and make a hammock stand. Because, folks, I want a hammock. I want to lay in the sun and soak up vitamin D and take a nap.

- I probably should have stayed home today and gotten stuff done, but instead, Maggie and I took off to go do some shopping, enjoy a leisurely lunch at Chevy's, and see Divergent with Chris and Natalie. I did not have high hopes for this film (I rarely do with book adaptations) so I was pleasantly surprised when I loved it. It really captured the spirit of the books. And I hate to admit this, but I was in love with Four from the moment he walked onscreen. Before I even knew who he was. Mm. ;)

- First VBS rehearsal tomorrow! So excited/nervous/etc. Just like every year lol! I can't wait to get the ball rolling and watch as everything starts to emerge.

- Guess what I found at Wal-Mart yesterday? BROADCHURCH!!! Yay for David Tennant! (I love the idea of him in a beard, however Maggie feels) Can't wait to start watching this week. :)