Saturday, May 30, 2009

girls (and guys) night out!

Last night we had 16 kids in our house.  13 of them were age 4 and under.  And the best part - we weren't even there.

Our "Home Designers" class at our church had a party last night and our home was "kid haven."  Three amazing girls from our church came over to babysit and did an outstanding job!  I was sure I'd come home to a house full of chaos and broken toys, but much to my surprise, when I walked in at 10:00, all 16 kids were in the living room with a movie on.  How did they do that?!  And the house looked very decent and there were no broken toys.  Kudos to Liz, Nicole and Lindsey!  You guys are INCREDIBLE!

And us parents got to enjoy an awesome evening at the Philips household.  You'll have to check out The Sneaky Mama's blog, complete with pictures.  We were pretty much separated guys/girls the whole night, which was great and allowed for some superb conversations!  It started with a delicious cheese fondue for us all.  Then the guys went bowling while we pampered ourselves.  My friend, Kristin, gave me a fabulous foot massage and Carrie massaged my head!  What servants!  And we ended the evening with a scrumptious chocolate fondue.  The time with the girls was so much fun.  We really need to do this more often.  Thank you, Jessica, for pulling together a super fun party!  And thanks to Julie too for helping her in the kitchen!

So... who's planning the next girls night out?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

tag! are you it?

So, my friend The Sneaky Mommy, tagged me in this fun new game of hers.  Here are the instructions:

You're supposed to do the following:
1. Open the 4th picture folder on your computer
2. Open the 4th picture and post it on your blog

3. Explain the picture
4. Tag 4 people to do the same!

This is the 4th picture in my 4th folder.  It was taken almost 2 years ago by Chad's mom right after Emilia was born at our old house.  Well, she wasn't born in our old house, but the picture was taken there.  Anyways... Adeline had received a gift of a soft purse with a cell phone and other stuff in it.  Here, she's trying to talk on the phone like Mommy does (holding it on her shoulder).  She's already learning to multi-task.  Good girl.

So, I'm going to tag...
1.  Amy (Yes, you Miss Perrott)
2.  Jenny (the former Miss Mark!)
3.  Betsy (my evil twin)
4.  Sarah (my loyal party-goer - and friend!)

Don't let me down guys!  And if you're disappointed that you weren't tagged, it's probably because you haven't commented on my blog lately or updated your own!  So, get on that!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

free gifts? probably not...

Okay, so which of you keeps sending me free stuff in the mail?  

Actually, I haven't gotten my credit card statement yet, but I'm pretty sure these aren't "free."  In fact, so far they've all said something like, "This number (or phrase) will show up on your statement."  Hmmm... pretty sure I've never even heard of these companies.  

You see, Chad tried to use our card to get gas last week and it was declined.  He called the credit card company and they said our card had some suspicious uses on it, so it was closed.  Thank God for smart credit companies!  They mentioned a few charges, and one was a payment to "insurance sales" for over $100.   I don't pay our insurance by credit card.  Never have.  So, somehow someone got our number so we had to shut down our card.  Which is a pain since now we have to change our card number with the companies that we actually do pay with credit.  Sounds like it will hopefully be taken care of.  They're sending me a form with my next statement that I can write down which charges we didn't make.  I'm assuming that means we don't have to pay for them?  I hope...

So, anyways, since that has happened, I've received 3 packages that I didn't order.  The first two were for skin treatment and younger looking skin, which I've sent back and called to make sure we wouldn't be charged.  Is someone trying to send me a message about my skin?  The 3rd arrived today from Wu-Yi Source.  Haven't opened it yet.  Maybe there'll be a card in it saying it's a gift from someone.  

But probably not.

splish splash

I am loving this weather!  Upper 80's in May?  Crazy, but I'll take it!  It's been great being outside so much.  We actually hit up 2 parks yesterday.  We walked to the "Froggy Park," only to arrive and see a zillion kids filling up the entire play area.  I guess there was a preschool party going on.  Don't they know that's OUR park?!  Geez... some people.  Get your own park.
Poor Addie, she had talked the whole way about going on the big girl swing and the whole 45 minutes we were there, it was full the whole time.  So, when we got home, I surprised her by loading them in the car and driving to a different park with only 2 other kids there.  She got to swing to her heart's delight.  

After naptime, they took advantage of the hot weather and "swam" in the pool.  They enjoyed it so much that they were out there for over 2 1/2 hours!  Of course, they had sunblock on, but I didn't think I needed it... paying for that smart choice today with pretty red shoulders.  Hopefully it'll tan instead of peeling...

Addie wanted to wear her "surfer girl" suit.  Got it at a garage sale for $0.50.  Not bad, huh?  She put it on all by herself, "like a grown-up" (that's when she shuts herself in her closet and dresses in private).  Bursting out of the closet with a huge grin she says, "Surf's up, dude!"
Millie likes to move water from bucket to bucket.  Adeline mostly "laid out" like a bathing beauty.

Being very into coloring right now, Adeline recently colored this picture.  We were pretty impressed how well she stayed in the lines, especially since she's only 3 1/2!  She even had an explanation for why the water is green.  "Some grass got in the water."

Millie likes to be in every picture too.  Whenever the camera's out, she automatically goes and stands by Addie because she's so used to us taking their pictures together.  Oh, and I offered to fix her hoodie, but she enjoys wearing it off her shoulders like that.  I think it's the new style.
As soon as the girls' nap time is over, we're heading back out to the pool.  I might try and get a few laps in.

Monday, May 18, 2009

schnitzel spaetzle

We finally used one of our Christmas presents this weekend.  My parents gave us some money to go on a little weekend getaway, so this past Saturday we dropped the girls off at Nana and Baba's and headed out to the Amana Colonies.  It's the third year we've done this.  And really the only 3 nights (one night each time) we've ever been away together without the girls since Adeline was born almost 4 years ago!  I know, it's pathetic, but we really just haven't had many opportunities to get out on our own.  So this weekend was great to be with just each other, even if it was for only 1 night!

The weekend started off looking pretty grim.  I somehow hurt my hip (pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve or something) on Friday night and could barely even walk.  Each step I took shot pain into my hip.  I've had a hard enough time walking normally this pregnancy anyways, so that definitely didn't help!  I prayed it would go away by Saturday morning, since much of the Amanas involves walking around to the shops.  But, much to our dismay, Saturday morning it was just as bad.  When we dropped the kids off at mom and dad's, it was so bad that mom and Chad were trying to think of where they could get a wheelchair for me, which I definitely would NOT allow!  Can you imagine Chad pushing me through the streets in a wheelchair?  NO WAY!  It's different if you have to be in one and have a reason to be, but I'm just pregnant with a bad hip, not incapable of walking altogether.  Although I was wondering where I could pick up a Hoveround... (click on that link for a classic commercial)  Fortunately, God answered our prayers and about an hour into our excursion, I was able to walk without too much of a limp.

We stayed at Rose's Place (pictured below) in Middle Amana.  Wonderful place - we highly recommend it.  The breakfast they serve is AMAZING!  And the owners, Betty and Jerry are delightful.

I couldn't wait to have my favorite German dish - Chicken Schnitzel with Spaetzle!  It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.  In fact, I like it so much that I ordered it for lunch and dinner.  We had lunch at the Ronneburg and dinner at the Colony Inn.  And I can tell you that the Ronneburg's schnitzel and spaetzle is 10 times better!  Love that restaurant!  And since saying "schnitzel and spaetzle" is so much fun, we're thinking of naming our son Schnitzel Spaetzle Brooks.  Has a nice ring to it...
Who's that fat lady posing by the sign?!  Oh, wait... just me...

Chad found a super-cool chicken hat.  Should've bought it.  I'm sure we'd get a lot of use out of it.  Who doesn't need a chicken hat?
In case you've never been to the Amana's, I'll warn you that pretty much everything shuts down around 5 or so (besides the restaurants).  Or you can pay $25/person to see a play, which we weren't about to do.  So Saturday night, we headed into Coralville to catch a movie.  It's the first one I've been to since Live Free or Die Hard (our super romantic anniversary flick 2 years ago).  Shows you how much we get out... 

So, thanks Mom and Dad for the night away.  We had a great time!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

garage sale and Mother's Day update

Well, last weekend was our big garage sale - "our" being my friend Abby and myself.  And I know some of you thought my last post may have been a little crazy with all my pet peeves, but let me tell you, it PAYS to have an organized, clean, well-priced and well-signed garage sale!  I don't even know if I should tell you how much we made, because I don't want anyone robbing us, but I think I trust most of you.  Together, we sold $800 worth of baby clothes!  Crazy, huh?  I think my total was $410 and Abby's was $390.  And I swear, it was pretty much all baby clothes.  There were a few household items, but nothing big.  And the best part is that we didn't even pay for advertising!  I just put an ad on Craigslist and put up a ton of big, hot-pink signs, and that was enough.  Although my signs on the main road did get taken by the city at the end of Friday since I guess there's a city ordinance or something (which I swear, they've never acted on before since that road is littered with signs every weekend).  Anyways, I was pretty impressed with all the clothes Abby and I were able to fit into our garage.  We actually took pictures to post on craigslist. 
Friday was our busy day by far.  We sold so much on Friday that we were able to clear off 3 tables!  I did have a hard time seeing some of my girls sweet little baby clothes sell to people I don't know.  But I did save a whole big tub of "keepsake clothes."  Maybe one day their daughters will wear them!

Sunday we hosted Mother's Day at our house for my family.  We had a great time with family and of course, the girls enjoyed any time they got to spend with grandpa and grandma.  They also had a blast playing on the new swingset tower & slide that daddy and grandpa built on Saturday.  Pictures of that to come later when it's all finished.
My lap is starting to get a little crowded.  With this big ol' tummy, there's not a whole lot of leg room left anymore.  :(  

Hope you all had a happy Mother's Day too!

Friday, May 1, 2009

garage sale pet peeves

Yes, I'll admit... I'm an avid garage saler.  I am the freak who actually plans out the sales I'm going to go to the night before and arranges them all in geographical order so I can save time and gas.  But I'm also very picky about the sales I go to.  I have listed some of my biggest pet peeves.  Sorry if I offend anyone... I'm just trying to help you have a better sale next time!
  • Poor signage.  Yesterday I entered a subdivision with a big sign saying, "Garage Sale!"  So I turned where the arrow pointed and found myself in a huge neighborhood and no other signs pointing me where to go.  I drove around forever before I finally found the sale.  
  • "Block Sales" that aren't really a block sale.  There's nothing I love better than a true block sale where I can park my car and load my girls in the stroller for a good stroll through the sales.  But I recently attended a "Block Sale" where the "block" was actually about 5 blocks and only about 1-2 sales on each block.  Very deceiving.  This would be more of a "neighborhood sale."
  • Digging through bins.  Please, if you want me to buy your stuff, don't make me sit on your dirty driveway and dig like a starved peasant through your bins of old, dirty clothes.  I just will not do it.  These sales are definite drive-bys for me.
  • Clothes piled 3 feet high.  I understand table space can be hard to come by.  But it's very difficult to sort through your clothes when anything I try to pull out causes the entire pile of clothes to topple to the ground.  This happened to me yesterday, except I think maybe the piles were actually closer to 4 feet high, no kidding.  I bought nothing at this sale because the frustration wasn't worth any good deal I may have found.
  • Clothes not arranged by size.  I hate digging through piles of clothes looking for certain sizes.  It's a waste of time to search out tags upon tags when I just need one size, and by the time I find an item in that size, most likely it's one I don't want to buy anyways.  I've actually been known to arrange clothes by size as I dig through them (as long as my kids are behaving).  I'm not doing it as a favor to the garage-sale-holder (their laziness doesn't deserve this service), I'm just trying to help out my fellow garage-saler dealing with the same issue.
  • Unmarked items.  I will not attend a garage sale where it says, "name your price."  You are just too lazy to mark your junk and I don't feel like arguing with you over the price of everything.
  • All items marked the same price.  Now, I'm not talking about items marked the same that make sense together.  Example, "All pjs - $1, bibs - $0.10," etc.  That is totally fine and makes it easy for the shopper.  What I'm talking about are signs like a sale I attended yesterday - "All maternity items, $5 each."  Seriously?  The problem with this is that all I wanted of theirs was a few camis and they were priced the same as sweaters and jeans.  And there was no way I was going to pay $5 for a faded black cami.  
  • Outfits wrapped together with duct tape so you can't inspect them.  I understand it's hard to keep multiple-piece-outfits together, but when they're wrapped so tightly with tape, I can't see if there are any stains or holes.  I usually try to give the seller the benefit of the doubt, but then there have been times when I get home and see they were cleverly hiding a big ol' stain.  Bummer.  I think safety pins work better for this, then you can actually see both pieces well.
  • Prices that are too high.  I actually attended a sale where they had child's Target-brand T-shirts for $4.  Are you kidding me?  That's what I pay for them brand new, full price!  If I want to spend that much money, I can go to a consignment store any day of the week, all year round.
  • Prices that are too low.  This may sound unusual, but last week I spent several minutes searching over a pair of kids jeans looking for stains, broken zippers, anything wrong I could find with them because they were brand name, adjustable waist, like new jeans that were only marked $0.50!  Of course I love a good deal, but when things are marked that low, I figure there's got to be something wrong with them, and it makes things seem more "junky."  And it doesn't make sense to sell them that low when you could take them to a consignment shop and get a lot more out of them with less hassle of doing a garage sale!
  • Overly helpful sellers.  I appreciate friendliness at a garage sale.  I love meeting new people and having friendly conversations.  What I don't enjoy is when the seller thinks she's helping you out by showing you certain outfits and items that she thinks you'll like.  Then you feel guilty for not buying them if you don't like them or don't want to spend that much.
So, that's just a partial list of my pet peeves.  Maybe I'm a little too picky.  Or maybe my pregnancy is just causing me to be overly annoyed at every little thing... I'm sure my husband would say this is the real problem.  But don't worry, if you have any of these issues at your sales, I'll still be your friend - just don't be offended if I don't buy anything at your sale!  I'm having my own garage sale next week and I promise to have all my clothes sorted and marked with decent prices.  What are some of your pet peeves?  Let me know so I can try and avoid them at my sale!