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. :)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Getting There

Everything is slowly returning to not-yet-normal-but-almost-there. I'm still with the triplets every day from the time I wake up or drop Abby off til the kids are in bed (except for Sunday - looks like I'll be getting the entire day Sunday off from now on!), so there's almost no spare time unless it happens late at night when I'm exhausted, but there's some very positive signs happening. The triplet's mama is lifting a little bit (every time she does, I hold my breath!) so hopefully next Friday, which marks six weeks since the surgery, will mean everything goes mostly back to normal. And both their grandma and I got to go home last night and tonight, so that's a huge step forward in getting everything back to normal.

In the meantime, I got two days off in the last week (Sunday and Monday!!! Okay, only Sunday was scheduled, Monday happened because it snowed and I got stuck at home... but still!!!) which was absolutely. amazing.

I would love to say that I was a busy bee and got all caught up on everything that's gotten neglected in the last six weeks, and I truly did intend to - I had a to-do list and everything - but when it came right down to it, I totally relaxed both days. Watched a lot of Doctor Who (I'm up to the episode "Hide" in season seven... only four more episodes to go and then I'm current! (Well, except for Day Of The Doctor and Time Of The Doctor. Well, except I also haven't seen The Christmas Invasion, Planet Of The Dead, The Waters Of Mars, The End Of Time, or The Snowmen, either.)), slept in (actually, I kept waking up thinking "I have to go to work!!!" and then remembering... no, I didn't... and my bed was so soft, so I kept rolling right back over and going right back to sleep. I'm way too embarrassed to say how late I slept in lol!), visited with the family, took my mom out for lunch, let the girls out for a long playtime, etc. I got absolutely nothing accomplished. But it sure felt good!

Tomorrow (my day off) I do intend to clean at least a little, and get my seedlings planted in the little mini-greenhouse I bought. And take an afternoon nap. And watch some more Doctor Who. :)

The only bad thing - and I hate to say it that way because I feel like I should be much more enthusiastic about it - is that swim lessons resume next week, so I go back to teaching. And I'm trying to have a good attitude about it. I really am. It's not that I dislike teaching - I know in my head that I love it. It's just that right now I'm so very on the edge of burnt out, and I don't have much left to give by the time I get there. The last session was almost painful. Luckily, I realized last week that I was dangerously close to being overstretched, and I asked my boss if I could maybe do less training this coming session and just teach the classes I had down pat, and he generously agreed. As things go back to normal I look forward to doing more cross-training again.

I'm working on a little mini-article about things I've learned in the last few weeks (God has been so good!) and I'm hoping to have it finished and posted by tomorrow.

I can't believe it's practically April already. I'm kind of in shock.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Bucket List

I thought I'd wait until next Thursday - the official first day of spring - to post my bucket list. But... it's been so warm lately (although, in all honesty, it's supposed to snow tomorrow. Y'all...) and - even more exciting - I'm going to get a whole day off tomorrow! You heard right! A whole entire day! And since it's supposed to be warmish before it starts snowing... ikr? ... I'm going to take advantage of it and start celebrating!

1) Start seedlings
2) Make new solar lights for their walkway
3) Expand patio (or maybe replace it with a wooden deck!)
4) Wash the outside of the trailer
5) Wash the windows
6) Buy a new swimsuit
7) Clean out closet and pack away winter clothes
8) Wash and store winter bedding
9) Buy a new spring/summer blanket
10) Upcycle an old pair of flipflops
11) Go on a picnic
12) Go wading at the beach
13) Go to dinner and sit outside
14) Paint something
15) Leave a message
16) Go dancing
17) Mail Easter eggs
18) Get a pedicure
19) Drive with the windows down
20) Send BFF and her husband a gift for their first wedding anniversary! :)
21) Have a photo shoot
22) Spring clean
23) Go canoeing or kayaking
24) Buy a birdfeeder for my kitchen window
25) Go stargazing
26) Plan a mini road trip
27) Open the windows
28) Take a canoe or kayak trip
29) Touch up paint
30) Clean out and wash my truck

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Winding Down

Although right now things are still very far from normal - I'm still working between sixty and seventy hours a week, haven't had a day off in four weeks (although I did get a few hours off one morning and it felt amazing!)  and I have no. time. - I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Barring any more complications or unforeseen disasters, in two weeks the triplet's mama should be fully healed and I can have my life back. Amen. I have a whole slew of ideas on how to spend my first weekend off, but for now I'm mostly trying to make sure I don't let my sleep debt get too enormous, eat somewhat decent meals, and find a few minutes to nurture my own self each day, whether that be driving with my windows down and some good music, reading inspiring blogs on my phone while kiddies nap, or snagging a few minutes outside (I hope to never be as cooped up again as I have been these last few weeks!).

The weather has definitely changed, and although it's supposed to be cold tomorrow, you can tell spring is on the way. I'm excited about posting my new spring bucket list (and actually having time to do some of the things on it!).

I've started working on the VBS script, and I'm excites about getting the casting nailed down and beginning rehearsals. This year's theme is "International Spy Academy" - should be fun!