Sunday, November 30, 2008

Do's and Don'ts

Although it will be 362 days before anyone will need any of this, here are a few lessons I learned while shopping on black Friday...

1. Don't expect to hear your alarm clock at 4am. You will sleep through it and wake up with an Oh Crap at 4:48.

2. Do take your makeup with you to put on in the car. If you have to be at Walmart with the maniacs, at least look good.

3. Don't expect to get a parking space when you roll up into the Walmart lot at 5:10am. All those maniacs have been there for hours already.

4. Do look out for 50 inch tv boxes coming toward you in the aisles. The buggy drivers can't see around them.

5. Don't leave your trampoline unattended in the aisle for longer than 2 minutes and 59 seconds. Do understand that Tiaras will trade your trampoline with the semi-cute blue mat for her boring beige one.

6. Do check out at the jewelry counter even if they do not have bags to put your stuff in. You will get out of there approximately 32 minutes faster than if you had waited in the regular checkout lines.

7. Don't worry when you set off the door alarm with your paid for but not bagged Hannah Montana guitar and HSM3 dolls. Nobody's checking receipts at the door today.

8. Do go to Kohls even if you weren't planning to. Its true that every single item in the store is on sale.

9. Do tell hubby to look out for the posts that hold up the line chains because he will have so much Kohls crap in his hands that he will not see the post under his feet, and he will trip and fall in front of everyone in the line.

10. Do check out the Dollar Spot on your way into Targay but Don't expect everything in the store to be on sale here.

11. Don't expect the caffeine from your 6:30am latte to last past 10am. You will fall asleep on the way home.

12. Do take a nap later.

13. Don't be surprised when the waitress at the Mexican restaurant the next day asks hubby if he got hurt when he fell at Kohls.

I do not plan to do this black Friday ever again. Unless we need another big item and find another ridiculously low price. Then I guess it could be worth it, but I am still tired...

The rest of Friday and all day Saturday were spent listening to B and his dad hammer and saw away at our new mudroom. It just needs painting now and it is the bomb!!! Last night we went to H's house with a new group of friends and had a great time. My stomach was not happy with me later, which I blamed on the Mexican food I had for dinner. B said it was probably more like something that starts with V and ends with -odka. Today we went to the Carolina craftsmen's show at the coliseum. I do not enjoy the woodcarving or embroidered tree ornaments. I go for the food samples and hair bows. Tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner and I'm ready to get in bed and watch the Girls Next Door. Only 14 1/2 school days until another vacation!!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


We've had a busy few days here in the Tiaras house. Here's a *little* update...

1. There was no school the day before Tgiving, but BigG did have gymnastics. Her level 1 class was combined with a level 2 b/c so many girls were absent. Her teacher came to me afterward and said BigG was able to do all of the level 2 skills with no problems so she is going to push her harder from now on. I was proud!!

2. Thanksgiving day was surprisingly easy. In an earlier post I complained about trying to simplify the holidays. Turns out that B's brother and sister in law could only do Tgiving dinner at the same time as my grandma's dinner, which I will NOT miss. I don't know how many more holidays I will have with my grandparents who are in their 80's. So we compromised and had the inlaws over Thursday morning for brunch and parade watching and it was actually really nice. I fixed an egg/bacon casserole, grits, muffins, fruit salad and coffee. B is not a coffee drinker so he had kahlua & cream instead. The girls enjoyed having nana and papa to themselves without the other cousins to compete with. I was proud of the inlaws for coming over together with no issues. We spent the afternoon at home and went to grandma's about 5:30 for turkey and stuffing ourselves. Very good day!

3. The girls spent the night with my parents Thursday night so we could brave the black friday shopping the next morning. We NEVER do this and always wonder why people who do are so stupid? Well, we were among the maniacs at Wal-mart (my LEAST favorite store on earth) at 5:10am yesterday morning. We then added more stupidness to our morning by going to Kohls, Targay, and later Lowe's. More post on that later, but we did get everything we needed and saved a bundle!

4. Since we are not selling our house right now, we have decided to really upgrade the current crib. In addition to the bathroom work that will begin in January, B has decided to build me the mudroom of my dreams. Sounds dreamy, right? In all the new houses we have toured in the last 7 months, a mudroom is the new thing. Cubbies, hooks, benches, etc... provide a place to contain all of your bookbags, coats, shoes, keys, etc... here's an example. He and his dad started working on it yesterday afternoon and it is going to be awesome! Pictures coming soon.

5. Today we are just chilling at home, doing laundry, listening to B and his dad hammer and saw. The girls are going to see Madagascar 2 with the mother in law later and B and I will be partying tonight at the home of one of my oldest friends who is now my hair stylist. H and I go back to middle school and beyond and never get to hang together. We have to take drinkable gifts for dirty santa so it should be loads of fun!

Look for my black friday do's and dont's tomorrow!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas cards

For your day before Thanksgiving enjoyment lets narrow down the Christmas card photo choices. I uploaded these the other day but obviously am just today getting it posted. Busy much? Here are a few faves from our family photo shoot a few weeks ago...

I couldn't resist adding one of my cutie nephew J...
He is 6 months old now and crawling like crazy... look out!
Hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving!

People watching

A few sightings from my DC trip...

Cute must be one of the criteria for the guards at Arlington ...

B almost gagged on this one but I couldn't resist ...
(no, he was not really standing in a gift shop)

Colin Powell at the museum opening ...
(yes, that really is him)

This is what teacher icicles look like (see the windy flags) ...

On a different note, my new favorite website is - you can sign up for updates that will let you know the best deals coming your way this Friday. I got really excited today when I saw iPods, Barbie jeeps, trampolines, HSM3 dolls, Hannah Montana guitars, Wii games, etc... everything we are looking for all at fantastic prices. The only catch is that you have to be there at the crack of dawn (or earlier). Check it out!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Made it back!

I did make it back from DC without losing any fingers or toes to frostbite. It was pretty cold, with a wind blowing most of the time. But the kids were fantastic and the parents even were good, so it was a great trip!

We did accomplish everything planned for Wednesday (see below), pretty much on schedule for once. Thursday morning we got up and headed down the street to Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte (yum!!). The hotel was in Chinatown, which was a first for us, but a neat cultural experience and not at all scary.

Thursday's stops included World War II memorial (1 of my faves), Air & Space museum (not such a favorite), White House picture stop, and freaking freezing Arlington cemetery. The only thing that got me up that hill in the wind and 30 degrees was the thought of those cutie cute guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier. Dinner was Pentagon City mall, but us teachers snuck across the street for mexican at Chevy's. I had a dee-licious shrimp and crab quesadilla (another yum!!).

Friday started with more pumpkin spice latte. Seriously, I could live anywhere if I had Starbucks 2 blocks away. Our 1st stop was supposed to be the Washington monument, but the elevator was broken. No one was too excited about going up in it after hearing that news so we trekked across the street to the American History museum. This was the opening day after 2 years of being closed for renovations, and as we walked up we could hear the ribbon cutting ceremony going on outside. Imagine our surprise as they introduced the next speaker, Colin Powell. I dont' care who you support, it was pretty neat for a bunch of 5th graders from the country to see him live and in person! After he read the Gettysburg Address (which I just read with my 5th graders a couple of weeks ago), they cut the ribbon and we were among the first 1812 people inside so we got a cute little smithsonian bag thingie.

After american history we went next door to Natural History, ate a horribly overpriced lunch, and then went across the street to the National Archives. Seeing the original Declaration of Independence and Constitution is a big deal when you're 10.

After that we got on the bus and headed back to NC. Seven hours and 3 movies later, we were home. I was pretty exhausted but glad they let me tag along. This was my first year going without my own class- I rode along with the teacher who took my place last year and her class, who adopted me like I was theirs and they were mine. It was nice to feel a little less stress, pressure, and responsibility- definitely a good trip!

Now I'm looking forward to a 2 day school week and then 5 days off for Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Heading out

Bright and early tomorrow morning I'll be heading for my favorite city. That's right- I'm helping take 75 5th graders and their 75 parents to Washington DC for the next 3 days. I must have bumped my head, right?

Morning temps for here in NC at 6:30am while I'm loading luggage, coolers, and doughnuts on the bus? A balmy 22 with a wind chill of 14. Awesome.

The forecast for the next 3 days in DC looks like this:

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, High 38(!!), Low 32

Thursday: Partly cloudy, High 48(heat wave), Low 31

Friday: Flurries, High 41, Low 28

At least it will warm up a little before we get to DC. 1st stop is the Pentagon with a tour scheduled for 1pm. We have been inside the last couple of years but I have not seen the new 9/11 memorial park (outside of course). After that we go to the FDR memorial (outside), walk around the path on the tidal basin to the Jefferson memorial (outside), and then head over to see Lincoln, Einstein, Vietnam, and Korean memorials (all outside). A nice warm dinner at Union Station will be followed by my even warmer bed!!!

Think warm thoughts for me please!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

House tour part 2

Before we go over to BabyGirl's room, let's stop by the girls' potty. We had this room totally remodeled 2 summers ago- new walls, tile, tub, potty, etc...

The new sink area:

I wanted them to have a girly bathroom- the shower curtain fabric is Dress Up Frogs from Kelly b. Rightsell. Pink and green are everywhere of course!

Here's the turtle stool (BabyGirl took this picture).

BabyG herself playing hide & seek.

The floor tile is the same as the shower. This was a huge improvement from the 1963 pink square tiles!
Important words to remember...

Next door is BabyGirl's room. It was the nursery when BigGirl was born. B and I stenciled the flower garden around the bottom of the walls when I was 9 months pregnant so I can't bear the idea of painting over it. You can't really tell here, but she LOVES her FancyNancy prints above the bed.

Flowers, bugs, and toys everywhere!!!

See the hair bow holder? BigG has one too and we'd be lost without it.

Books, toys, books, toys...

Come back later for more rooms!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Home Tour part 1

I thought I'd start the tour in my favorite rooms- the girls! This is not where you would go first when you enter the house, but it is the most fun area by far.

Today it's BigGirl's room. The color is Disney TinkerBell. She picked it out herself at age 3. It was excessively bright at first but it has grown on me.

She is still into the princesses, but I was NOT the one who hung those posters or princess prints in her room. DaddyB does not understand my rules of decorating. Alice knows I have a problem with licensed characters- the only clothes with Dora or the like that you will see my children wear are NOT bought by me or approved by me for wearing. You will NEVER see Disney or Nickelodeon bedding in my house. I'm such a mean mommy! I've considered staging a midnight raid to remove the princesses.

Here's her desk, but she does not do homework there. It is more like a stuff holder.

DaddyB made the toy box for her. However there are still toys EVERYWHERE. We need to clean house in here to make room for Christmas.

I know we will never find rooms this big in a new house.

Lots of tea parties and CandyLand at this table. Notice the massive doll house on the right. Another reason we need more space!!!

We'll go next door to BabyGirl's room tomorrow!

Friday, November 14, 2008


I think I am becoming addicted to the dvr. I never have time to watch my shows in real time so I have to dvr it and watch it later. Whenever I do watch something in real time and can't fast forward commercials I get agitated. Is this a bad thing?

We have Grey's Anatomy on the record-it list. We sat down and started watching it about 15 min after it started, so we were recording it and watching it at the same time. Don't you just love technology?

After Grey's, B was flipping through the recorded list and found a CMT Crossroads concert of Def Leppard and Taylor Swift playing together that he had not watched. If you are like me and have never watched crossroads, you need to check it out. DL and Taylor together sounds like a train wreck but it was awesome!!! They played a mixture of their old songs and her current ones with their bands playing together and her singing with the old DL guy (don't know his name). Taylor Swift singing pour some sugar on me and Def Leppard singing I hate that stupid old pickup truck~ like I said, awesome!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

What really matters the most

Weekend lesson learned:

Bathroom remodel: $10,000
HDtv: $1300
Trip to Atlanta for T's wedding: $400
Credit card bill at J.Crew on Saturday: $70
Starbucks frappachino while shopping: $4
Unconditional love of 7 best friends all together again for the first time in 4 years: Priceless

What matters more than new bathroom tile, TVs, or clothes is these awesome friends that I have known since preschool and who are a major reason why I am who I am. They love me in spite of me, and I am so blessed to have them in my life!!!

Yes, that cabernet in my hand was well enjoyed. More wedding pics and post later...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Help Wanted

First, let me start off by saying that I am SO happy the election is over!!! I have mixed feelings about the results- I did not make up my mind until last week who I would vote for. I have always been one of those on the fence types about many issues. I was one of the undecideds everyone was talking about last week! I am looking forward to seeing IF all this change makes a noticable difference in the H household. Stay tuned for that one...

On to the help needed! I have many perplexing topics on the brain today...

1. We are probably going to take our house off the market. We may or may not put it back on in the spring. We have decided to totally redo our master bath, which will make a difference if we do. The contractor is coming over tonight to give us a quote! I'm excited about getting my (hopefully) spa-ish bath that I want, but not excited about tearing out walls, dust, and general unsettlement in the house. Reynie has inspired me to do a home tour, so you all can give me advice on the rest of the house coming soon!

2. The holidays are quickly approaching. We always have multiple family events to attend on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and are looking for a way to scale it down. Here's our delimma: B's parents are divorced and have not holiday-ed together once in the past 20 years. I would like to say, time to suck it up and move on, but that might not be polite! We usually do one holiday gathering with his brother's family at his dad's house, and then another gathering with the same exact people at his mom's house (minus the dad of course). Usually one parent has to settle for not having the holiday get together on the actual holiday, usually his dad, who in my opinion is the easier of the 2 to get along with!

I have not even mentioned my own family. My mom HAS to see us on the actual day. There is no negotiating. We go to my grandparents for Thanksgiving supper and Christmas breakfast, and then to her house later in the day on Christmas. Throw in the in-laws, and that's a whole lot of running around. We all live in the same town, but my children never get to be in our own home on Christmas day. Add to that the fact that there is MAJOR competition betweeen my mom and my mother in law for the children's affection. I also have to factor in my brother and his wife's family's multiple gatherings.

My question- how can we combine/simplify? Make the divorced inlaws get together for 2 hours and deal with their differences (they do see each other at birthdays and such and are civil with each other)? Make the mom and MIL celebrate together? Tell everyone if they want to see us they have to come to us and end up cooking multiple holiday dinners for all the gatherings? And did I mention that I really don't enjoy cooking? I'm exhausted just thinking about it all.

3. Atlanta area readers- this is for you!! I'll be in ATL this weekend for the wedding of one of my best childhood friends! We went to preschool together, he and B were bff's in high school, and he was the best man in our wedding. We are staying here and the wedding will be here. I'm pretty excited about it- Atlanta is one of my favorite places and we'll have all day Saturday to do whatever- the wedding starts at 5:30pm. I've done the World of Coke and all of the downtown attractions. This time I'm looking for some shopping places! Any good outlets I could find easily? Thanks in advance if you can help!

OK- lots for you to ponder. If you can offer ANY ideas, please feel free!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween happenings

Here's a few pics from last week's fun...

Carving our girlie pumpkin- she had a carved in hairbow and a real one!

BigGirl had fun taking a picture of BabyGirl and me

Tinkerbell (AKA BigGirl) at gymnastics costume day

Fancy Nancy (aka BabyGirl) singing a solo at her preschool party (she's a little shy, so she had a little help from some friends)
BigGirl's 1st grade parade (she's the ballerina princess on the left)
Sleeping Beauty and Fancy Nancy on the big night!