Friday, February 29, 2008

spt - extra! extra!

today is Leap Day, the extra day that is tacked on to the calendar every four years. in technical terms, a leap year (or intercalary year) is a year containing one or more extra days (or, in the case of lunisolar calendars, an extra month) in order to keep the calendar year synchronised with the astronomical or seasonal year.

amazing that the addition of just one day seemingly keeps the entire universe in order!

what's so extra special about leap day? well, in some cultures, this is the day when women are allowed to ask a man to marry them. Cam Ward, Emma Barton, and Pedro Zamora were all born on leap day (people born on leap day are sometimes referred to as leaplings.) The Pirates of Penzance tells the story of an indentured pirate who can't leave his ship until his 21st birthday (when he would realistically be 84 in calendar years.

my son's birthday is on march 2nd, and we've had a lot of fun teasing him that he has to wait an extra day for his party!

the spt challenge for next week is to photograph something that is extra special about you. it might be a physical feature, a talent, or an unknown secret. this spt is all about you!

my family woke up to something extra in the pantry this morning.
happy Leap Day!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

at the sound of the beep...

please leave a message. i would normally be happy to take your call, but at this time, i am too busy playing with all of the fun *working-out-of-the-home-mom* goodies that natasha sent to me!!

amazing good mail!! this package was waiting at home for me the other afternoon, and i couldn't be more surprised by all of the FUN inside. i thought, for a moment, that natasha had held up the Post-It factory. it will certainly make tedious afternoons at work a whole lot more tolerable!


ran for 30 minutes this evening. in the cold. with jack on his bike. i just let it be enough that i got out and ran - tried not to stay riveted on my stopwatch. who cares about mile pace?!? i was just glad to be out running.

and, i should add, that i am coming dangerously close to losing my pants!! time for some new spring running clothes!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


i have always loved a good scavenger hunt. this one was fun for me, trying to figure out how to get 6 spt photos done in one weekend. i'm glad i made it into most of the photos!

light we have a very large entertainment center in our bedroom. it's a great piece of furniture, but there simply is no other place for it in our home. i use it to showcase various collections and i love the ambient light it provides. well, when the lights are working that is. amazing what new lightbulbs can do

lavender do you guys think about spt at the strangest times? i was thinking about it in the shower the other day, and was thrilled to find all of these lavender products almost at my fingertips. i might have a little obsession building here...

lips thanks to michelle's tutorial, i finally remembered to replace my nubby lipliner this week.

laughter waking jack up each day can be very challenging. as you can see, he was not enjoying the spt opportunity as much as i was this morning!

lunch matty makes the best chili in the world. hands down. i could eat this every. single. day.

little i'm glad i snapped this photo over the weekend, because according to kelly, i will never have to sew another patch in my life!! by the way, i learned recently that it's much easier to thread a needle if you "lick" the eye of the needle, rather than the thread. am i the only person who did not know this?!?

what did you find on your scavenger hunt?

Monday, February 25, 2008

rite of passage

saturday afternoon brought the cub scout's Blue and Gold Banquet. (i use the term "banquet" lightly...) kelly, and all others who have gone before me, i bow down to you!!

it was so... so... chaotic!! i'm not sure what the master plan was. the *theme* was "Chinese New Year." the organizer definitely went with the "less is more" approach. actually, it was more of a "what can we do that would be even less than less?" approach.

the event started off at 3 pm. three!! it included four different games of tossing things through holes in plywood cutouts. and how do you reward 50 some-odd scouts for tossing things through holes in plywood cutouts? give them CANDY!!

after the candy, though, walk them through a buffet line with a dessert to dinner ratio of approximately 14:1. and after they eat, since they've depleted your candy supplies and are no longer interested in tossing things through holes in plywood cutouts, let them run around outside, unsupervised, in a construction site, for 45 minutes, where they will quickly divide into *friendly* pack wars.

and then? then, let's get serious about some awards. because they won't be silly enough at that point. we really should ask them to stand still and soak in the importance of scouting!

before jack and his denmates received their tiger badges, they were handed a cup of *tiger blood* to drink as their initiation. you can see that jack was totally excited about the prospect of drinking *tiger blood*.

he was so relieved to hear the *tiger blood* was thinned out with pink lemonade!

they have this very cool tradition of pinning the new badge on upside down. once the scout has "done a good deed" he can turn it right side up (so mom can sew it on!)

here is the new tiger and his proud akela!

is anyone surprised by this reaction from a 16 1/2 year old forced to spend four and a half hours of a saturday with the cub scouts?!?

i do not mean to begrudge the organizer. i'm sure it was a ton of work to supervise the parents of 50 cubs, thereby assuring we had enough brownies and Mello Yello. i'm just thinking that, with approximately 11 more years of scouting ahead of us, i fear i'm going to have to get a little more involved. and with at least 4 more Blue & Gold Banquets in the mix, i am now accepting all of your (kelly's!) ideas!!


in what has become a new sunday routine, i did a *quick* 2 mile run after lunch. i felt like i was running pretty slowly again, although (like yesterday) i got in a good spring right at the end.

total time 28:52 @ walk 1/run 20.

i have been so, SO frustrated with my weight these past few weeks. i am actually gaining weight!! what the @$*&!? here are all of the thoughts that run through my head about this:

am i eating too many calories?
am i eating too few calories?
am i eating to much processed ("white") food?
am i eating enough fruits and vegetables?
am i eating enought fiber?
are my portion sizes out of whack?
am i eating too much sugar?
is my heart rate where it should be when i'm running?
am i drinking enough water? (O.K., i can definitely answer YES to this one)

i feel like i've never lost weight before!! i'm trying not to get down about this, but it just seems like ever since i made the subtle shift from "running for fitness' sake" to "i should be losing weight doing this" the scale has been virtually deadlocked. it's way too frustrating!!


a 4 mile run, and a reminder that it will soon be hot. really hot.

total time 57:44 @ walk 1/run 15.

Friday, February 22, 2008

spt - scavenger hunt

ohh, i sooooo LOVE this idea! this weekend, we're going on a scavenger hunt for SPT!!

this challenge is totally up for interpretation, and i hope to see some really creative ideas!! choose one, some, or all of the items on the list, and come back here tuesday (or wednesday, or thursday...) to show us what you've found.

in honor of february, the month of L.O.V.E., all of the items begin with the letter "L"


not as easy as you thought, huh? i really can't wait to see what you all come up with!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


remember last year when jack lost his first tooth? and, according to him, the "going rate" was $1000.00 per tooth?!?

seems his collection efforts have been sorely affected by the state of the economy, and he is now THRILLED to accept $1.25 per tooth. IF the $1.25 is in the form of various quarters he needs to fill his Quarters of the States folder. WHICH he decided to tell the "tooth fairy" at 8:15 pm. because the "tooth fairy" has nothing better to do than sit huddled in the bathroom pawing through jars of change looking for the elusive quarters...

ham it up, kid! it just might have been easier to write that $1000.00 check!

on the set

okay, all you readers out there (especially you book club people!) i know you've all read The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd.

did you know they are making a movie out of the book?

and did you know that they are filming in north carolina?

and did you think i could resist a quick spt??

(i may have to revisit the set to make sure matty doesn't get too close to his secret crush!!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

another one bites the dust

i survived another murder mystery on saturday night!! (read here for details on the last event). rosie's "tea room" was jumping!! you literally had to have "the password" to get in to this speakeasy!!

this event was a ton of fun - you've never seen this many flappers in one place!! sadly, i was too busy toting around my "juice joint waitress" tray to take any photos. but you might recognize "timmy flannagan the doorman".

and a quick photo i snapped of my "candy girl" outfit (i steadfastly refused to be called a "cigarette girl', so i offered Charleston Chews and Sugar Babies instead). sadly, i had already taken off my pillbox hat. my sister, jen (you know, the one who perfected using all 24 hours in day) *whipped up* four identical outfits for us!

and look at the adorable nametags she made for everyone, using a round deck of cards she picked up at Michael's:

did you know that "eleanor" was the 29th most popular girls name of the 1920s??

have you been to any fun parties lately?

USPS redemption

apparantly, the USPS is trying to get back on my good side, as i have received several pieces of really good mail over the past few days.

first, an amazing LOVE swap package from liz, featuring Lavender bath sugar & salts; Orange chocolate; Vintage-look apron with amazingly fun prints; and a fun letter E with embellishments. it was all topped off with very cute and sparkly letters, which are currently hanging from my mantlepiece, and will become part of my annual valentines decor.

thanks, missy, for organizing such a fun swap!

yesterdays mail included a return address i'm getting to know quite well, only... it was addressed to jack!! he was THRILLED to get a pack of authentic hockey trading cards from barb. he even got a *special* card that featured swatches of two jerseys! i'm telling you, i just can't get these here, so this really was good mail for both of us! (he also loved the pinewood derby stickers.)

i've received a number of fun cards and valentines, too. (i must get better about photo-ing them!) there seems to be lots of good mail floating around these days. are you good at documenting yours?


after last week's *great* runs, i am definitely feeling like a slug this week. i am really starting to think that i'm not taking in enough calories. it goes against every fiber of my being to say that, but i honestly feel like i don't have enough fuel. i'm so wary of taking in more calories, though, even when i know that it would give me more energy, and, ironically, probably help me lose weight. ugh - my own body is a mystery to me, even after 38 years...

total time 34:37 @ walk 1/run 15.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


when i'm feeling like this...

even when i just want to sleep;
even when i just want to bitch and moan at everyone;
even when i just want to stare at mindless television;
even when i want to eat a box of thin mints;
even when i want to do a little more bitching and moaning...

i know i've just gotta put my sneakers on,

and get outside!!

Monday, February 18, 2008


i did NOT want to run today. i did NOT want to do much of anything. i was sluggish and headachy all day, and it wasn't until about 5 pm that i thought maybe a run would help. it didn't.

i hated every step of the two miles i ran. was i wearing cement shoes?!? it *sort of* improved my mood, but it certainly wasn't a life-changing run!

total time 29:38 @ walk 1/ run 15.


up at the crack of dawn today, so that i could run before we got busy running around preparing for the murder mystery party. it was a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL morning!! perfect for a little 5K.

total time 46:34 @ walk 1/run 14.

Friday, February 15, 2008

spt - pick me up

i'm feeling a bit grouchy. i woke up this morning with a frown, and it's been difficult to shake. it's not helpful that i've been working with spreadsheets all day (if you know me at all, you know how draining this is for me.) i have a few tools in my kit to help me deal with days like this, because i really, really don't like to walk around like a grumplestiltskin.

i keep these aromatherapy sprays in my office. i don't know how effective they are, but they smell nice. (i don't know what it says about me that the *balance* spray is the one that gets used the most...) today, i definitely reached for the *revitalize*.

my office smells pretty now, but i don't know that i feel any better about the spreadsheets. let me just check back in my toolkit for something more effective...

what do you turn to when you need a quick "pick me up?"

additional postage necessary

there is absolutely NOTHING exciting about finding your mailbox chock full of valentines, when they are the valentines YOU mailed out!!

yup. that's what greeted me yesterday afternoon. and every single one of them had an obnoxious sticker covering the mailing label announcing that my valentines require additional postage because they can't be machine cancelled. because in a last minute attempt to make my valentines *cuter,* i added an embellishment that is apparantly offensive to the USPS and their sensitive machines.

and just why, exactly couldn't they have told me this when i asked them to put postage on the valentines that were going to other countries?!? why couldn't they tell me then??? and i've only gotten about half of them back, so i'm fully expecting that i'll get the others today. and, by God, i am going to resend each and every one of them again. so there.

and as long as i'm in the middle of a good rant, please read this:

do you see the part where it says, "if you are going to send in a treat in addition to a card, please choose stickers, pencils, erasers, etc. we do not encourage sending candy..."

wait - you couldn't read that? here, maybe i can get a clearer picture with this lollipop-laden valentine in the shot. the red dye, high fructose corn syrup laden valentine from. his. teachers.

here's the total haul (which i dutifully tossed while jack was off at a scout meeting.) one and half pounds of candy!! (and, i'm here to tell you, it wasn't even good candy!)

i'm feeling a little better, now that i've gotten that off of my chest. how are YOU this morning?!?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

happy heart day!

i remember always waking up to a little treat from my parents on each holiday. it might have been something tucked away in my lunch bag, or a collection of silly treats (pencils, plastic jewelry, etc.). in later years it might have been care packages sent to college, and in even later years, an unexpected check would flutter out of the envelope.

in the spirit of taking back the day, i wanted to make sure that everyone in my house woke up to a little treat. so before i climbed into bed last night, these little bags were assembled in the kitchen. little treats. stickers and gum and glittery pink accessories.

of course, the day would not be complete without valentines for school. last weekend, i picked up some cookie dough that was marked down to a clearance price (i have not ever been a proponent of "break and bake" cookies - these were a total impulse buy if ever there was one...) however, jack immediately decided we had to have MORE so he could bake them for his teachers. (we can't make home-baked treats for the kids at school, but apparantly, the staff isn't scared of a few germs!!)

i was exhausted last night, and when he said, "it's time to bake the cookies," i almost collapsed into a puddle right there on the kitchen floor. but he persisted. "let's just pre-heat the oven," he said, and before i knew it, he had "breaked and baked" (i couldn't resist) 4 dozen cookies, almost by himself.

i had bags and shred and twine, and he quickly set about counting out and bagging the cookies. and then, he jumped up and said, "we have to go turn on the computer! for labels!" (if you ever have wondered about the far-reaching effects of creative blogging, my friends, may i present my son, who absolutely appreciates the value of good packaging!!)

i sort of dropped the ball when it came to photographing his treats, but here are a few shots. the labels simply read "happy heart day love, jack" simple and RED (his favorite color).

they have decided to have a *dance* at school this afternoon. oh, my. jack is beside himself ("will i have to dance with girls, mom?") here's a shot of us getting ready to head to school this morning. they were allowed a free dress day (no uniform), so here we are, red clothing and all!

i must come back today and pen a few more words about how i'm feeling this holiday (inspired by april's tandem post, and amy's idea that she might tell a great love story.)

in the meantime, hope you have a happy heart day!

happy birthday, jen!! start a blog already ;)


lots of rain today, but it moved out just in time for me to run. i even got to use my new capris (which are totally cute and totally comfortable, too!) i was feeling particularly stressed from some stuff at work, so i was even prepared to run in the rain. fortunately, i lucked out on that front.

the entire first mile, i felt like i was walking, i swear! then something clicked, and i was able to kick it into high(er) gear. my first mile pace wasn't so hot, but i was able to make up some time in miles two, three AND four!

total time 57:51 @ walk 1/run 14 (total minutes walked - 4)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

look what rolled in on the tide

a few weeks ago, i wrote this post. and imagine my thrill when a few days later, i found this in my mailbox

Posted by Picasa

patsy sent the sweetest message in a bottle, and i've been smiling about it ever since!! matty and jack dubbed it *the coolest good mail ever.*

have you ever found a message in a bottle? would you send one?!?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


since i feel like i rarely treat myself with *things,* this was an interesting challenge for me.

i have been having a lot of fun with paper crafts lately, and this banner was put together one evening not so long ago. it hangs over our entertainment niche, and makes me smile every time i see it.

i picked this up many weeks ago - sort of an impulse buy at the gift store. it's made out of window screen, and i LOVE it. i had seen a jack-o-lantern similar to this back in the fall, and i have become a little obsessed with trying to recreate the look. i am a sucker for pretty little things to hang on doorknobs.

i actually have splurged and ordered myself a piece of jewelry, and i have to say it feels very good to treat myself to something special. unfortunately, i don't have it to share for this spt, but let me just say, i can't wait to open it.

were you able to treat yourself with a special valentine?


chillier tonight, but what a great run!! i literally had moments where *forgot* i was running, if that makes sense.

it was getting dark, so i only went out for 2 miles (i still have to smile to myself when i say "only.") it felt great right from the get-go, and i put up 13:48 for my first mile. pretty excellent for me.

total time 28:50 at walk 1/run 14. how's that for a 14:25 pace per mile?!? in my book, that's pretty much SMOKIN'!! (and i can't wait for the day when i can say i "only" had a 14:25 minutes pace...)

Monday, February 11, 2008

random acts of kindness

ever have one of those moments when you experience something small, almost insignificant, yet it lingers in the corners of your mind. almost daring you to remember it, in all of it's insignificant glory?

i had one of those moments over the weekend. and it seems the only way i'm going to get it out of my head (so that i can focus on all of the monday-morning-tasks vying for attention), is to blog it. thank goodness it's the perfect day to talk about random acts of kindness!!

on saturday, i had to swing by the "dollar general" for some charcoal (yup, we grilled out this weekend!) a woman in line had just rung up $20.18 cents worth of stuff, and handed the cashier two $20s. the young cashier promptly handed back one of the $20s and said, "Here, I'm not going to have you break a $20 for 18 cents." the customer responded, "are you sure?" (probably assuming, as i had assumed, that the cashier would end up reimbursing the 18 cents at the end of her shift.)

the cashier smiled and mumbled something to the effect of "no problem." the customer was quite gracious. after i paid for my bag of charcoal (yup, it was grillin' weather!), i ended up with a few coins worth of change. i handed the cashier a quarter and said, "do you need 18 cents?" and SHE said, "are you sure?"

this is such a teensy weensy RAK, i'm almost embarrassed to post about it. but i believe that this young cashier is probably the type who does things like this for many customers throughout the day, and likely ends up paying back her employer at the end of the shift for the shortages. she was so gracious at my simple offer - i hope she will continue carrying out her own random acts of kindness.


6 miles this weekend! the weather was unbelievably beautiful, so it was definitely time to ramp up some miles.

total time 1:27:25 @ walk 1/run 13. it was a very good day.

(forecast says next time i run it should be about 45 degrees. too bad i just bought those cute running capris, and won't get a chance to use them!!)

Friday, February 08, 2008

spt - love, me

love is in the air. unless you are living in an old shoebox underneath your great-grandmothers four poster bed, you can't help but notice the not-so-subtle hearts and flowers dripping from every retail shelf. heck, i've been walking by valentine displays since the day after Christmas!

jack picked out valentine's for his classmates over a month ago. together, we also had some fun with paper crafts to share with aunts and uncles and cousins. i'm also very excited that i found *the perfect* gift for matty, for under $5.00 (that is sooooo "my-kind-of-gift-giving!")

i have one more valentine to create: one more act of love to perform, one more thoughtful card to send, one more gift to give. the person who will be receiving this valentine is not expecting it, which makes it so much fun to prepare!!

i am so excited, because that valentine!

but, what to do? will i buy something for myself? will i write myself a love letter? will i indulge in chocolate, or will i spend a few hours with hugh, colin and liam?

what will you do for yourself this valentine's day?