Sunday, August 31, 2008

More of our Asheville Trip

We're home from Asheville now. We got home on Friday afternoon.

I wanted to write more about Asheville because we really had a great time. I just loved the town. It was not what I was expecting at all! The locals are all so diverse and eclectic, at times Rich and I remarked we could have been in Camden Town. Yet all the tourists were upper-middle to upper class retirees in search of a good golf course. And everyone was fine with it.

The architecture in Asheville is amazing. The shops are all unique little boutique-y places. We saw lots of "green" shops, places that sold "recycled clothes" as opposed to "used" clothes, artsy shops and galleries, antique shops... all sorts. There are lots of restaurants. More vegetarian and vegan restaurants than I've seen in one small area. And all the "non" veggie restaurants have vegan and veggie options. Lots of outdoor seating...

I know I'm rambling and in my head I had lots of things to say about where we went and what we did... but there was just so much!

Some of our favorite places...

Our B&B. We stayed at the Princess Anne Hotel and I would HIGHLY recommend it. The staff, all of them, were so nice and friendly and welcoming. We had yummy breakfasts every morning and every evening they have wine and cheese and little nibbley bits to enjoy before you head off to dinner. They left homemade truffles in our room every night. It was amazing.

We ate lunch two days at the Early Girl Eatery. This was the only place we went to twice. Lunch on the other days was bread and cheese in our room at the hotel. The food at the Early Girl Eatery was very good. Rich had the soup both days and it was delicious. Very hearty and filling. I had a salad one day and the avocado and sprout sandwich one day. Yummy!

Dinners we had such a hard time choosing where to eat. There is every type of cuisine available. The first night we had Indian at Mela. I'm still dreaming about the salmon tikka. And if anyone knows a good recipe, please let me know!

The second night was a bit disappointing. We really wanted to have either a good steak or some sort of fish. We found a place called Magnolia's Oyster Bar & Grille which looked promising. They had a large covered outdoor seating area and the menu looked good. But when we got in and really had a look at the menu, it was a bit over the top (grilled trout with fried shrimp and oysters with a bur blanc sauce....). I kept expecting Gordon Ramsey to come out as they were filming "Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares" there. In the end, we decided "simple" may be best so we both ordered a fillet -- rare plus to medium rare. I cut into my steak and it was stone cold in the middle. Fair play to them, they were really nice about taking back the steaks and cooking them more. And they even gave us a new plate with new potatoes and asparagus. And the waitress was really friendly. It's such a charming little place, it's just the menu was a bit over the top and complex. I'd like to think the regular chef was off on Mondays and it's better most other days...

Tuesday it poured rain and thundered so we ordered pizza and watched a movie in our room.

Wednesday we went to a very yummy Thai restaurant called Thai-Basil. It was so nice to sit outside and just have a nice meal. The curry puffs were not quite as good as the ones at Chinta Ria in Melbourne, but they were still good.

Our last day there, we really wanted to have a nice dinner but we didn't know what to have. We were torn between Tapas, a pub meal, Italian or Mexican. In the end, my vote was counted twice and we went Mexican. We ate at the best place ever! Called Salsa's. It's a small little place with "Mexican-Caribbean" flavors. We sat outside and stuffed our faces. It was a great way to end the week. Highly recommend them if you are ever in Asheville.

And, like I said, we got home on Friday afternoon. It was so nice to see the boys again. Sam didn't stop hugging me for about 20 minutes. The look on his face was priceless. We met Josh at the bus stop and he was just as happy to see us!

My parents left yesterday -- completely tired and worn out -- but happy for being able to spend a week with their grandsons! They're off visiting their granddaughters now at my sister's cottage.

That was our anniversary vacation. I really am looking forward to going back to Asheville. I can't imagine a more perfect place to spend with Rich!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Asheville, Day 2

The weather here hasn't been the best. Yesterday was a bit drizzly and rainy most of the day. But that's okay, we've been making the most of our time here anyway.

We walked into town yesterday -- we are determined not to drive while here -- and visited the most amazing book store. It's called Malaprops. I love that name. It sounds like a store you'd find on Diagon Alley. It was a great book store. We must have spent 2 hours in there just lingering, reading about books, browsing...

I love book stores. It's so much fun to discover new books and authors, or rediscover books that were on "your list" and never got around to reading. It's so hard to just browse a book store when you have a seven and three year old running amok among the books and asking to go home. Or if they can buy every book they see.

So we spent a fair amount of time there yesterday. Then we had a lite lunch at a really nice little cafe. I popped next door to the smallest yarn store in the world (I found out there is another one here and we're going there today) and then went to a cute little chocolate shop while Rich went back to the bookstore and sat in the cafe reading.

We came back to the B&B in the afternoon. Rich did some reading and I had a nap then a bubble bath before dinner. We went out to dinner to a cute little place with a big outdoor, covered balcony. The staff was very nice and the location was wonderful. The food wasn't as good as we'd hoped, but not bad either.

Today we're heading down to a mall/galleria to look around. I'll let you know how we go.

We're off to breakfast now....

Monday, August 25, 2008


Rich and I are on our 10th anniversary/belated honeymoon trip.  We didn't have a honeymoon when we got married, we had visas and stuff to sort out so I could go live with Rich in England.  So this is it and so far I'm having a great time!

My parents are looking after the boys. I don't even know if they realize we've left. Yesterday they were too busy playing video games and/or watching Scooby Doo on TV to talk to us on the phone.

It's weird being away from the boys.  I've never been away from them for more than one night.  I keep feeling like we're forgetting something.  It was really nice to get to sleep in this morning!  The breakfast here doesn't even begin until 8:30.  It was great to just relax and not be rushed in the morning.

Last night I woke up at 2:00 a.m. and thought Sam was standing by the bed. I fully expected him to crawl into bed with me.

And I keep looking at my watch thinking, "Okay, now it's time to get the bus." Or, "my mom should be bathing them now."

I didn't realize it would take some time to wind down and "let go."  

I know my parents can handle the boys. They look after my sisters girls from time to time. And if they can handle three girls, certainly they can handle my two boys.

So anyway, Rich and I got here yesterday afternoon. We're staying in a very nice B&B in Asheville. They have wine and nibbles every afternoon before dinner so of course we had to go down and sample what they had while we decided what to do.  We walked into Asheville and had a look around.  Since it was Sunday, there weren't many places that were open.  We found a little beer garden and stopped for a pint there.  Then walked around and looked at menus trying to decide what we were going
to eat the next five nights.  There are so many places that look so good!

We found an Indian restaurant last night.  We had tandoori salmon and chicken korma and holy cow they were good!  And for dessert we had a mango cheese cake.  Yum!  The salmon was so good I think I may have to figure out a way to do it at home.  

Today we're going to walk back into town and go to a book store.  A book store without kids.  Ahhh! Heaven! I saw a few boutiques I want to look through too -- and a yarn shop.  I don't think Rich is too keen on going to the yarn shop, but I can't help it.  I love to pet the yarn!

I keep seeing things and thinking, "Oh Josh would like to do that" or "Sam would like that."  It looks like there are tons of things to do around Asheville, with or without kids.  

I'm looking forward to exploring and finding more! 

Friday, August 22, 2008

It's Been a Decade!

Today is our 10th wedding anniversary!

Happy Anniversary Rich!

My parents are here right now. Rich and I are going away on Sunday for a week on our own. And my parents are going to babysit!!!

This will be the first time since Josh was born, and he's 7, that I've been away from the kids for more than 1 night. I'm excited.

So, I'm not sure how much I'll be on next week. I'll be busy reading my book, knitting Rich's sweater, chilling out and hopefully eating at every restaurant Asheville has to offer!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Watching the Olympics as a Parent

Like most people, I've been watching the Olympics this week. Not all of it, but bits and pieces.

I've always loved watching the Olympics. There is something about it. The excitement, the sportsmen ship, I don't know.

And just like every child growing up I had dreams of winning an Olympic medal in some sport. If the sport had been "falling down" or "warming the bench" or even "enthusiasm" I probably would have been a shoe in.

But since the Olympics is for athletes and therefore you need to have some sort of athletic ability, an Olympic gold was not for me.

So as I sit here watching last nights broadcast (thank you DVR) of the gymnastics finals, something has come over me. I'm watching the Olympics with an entirely different point of view.

As I sat rooting for Shawn Johnson to win the gold on balance beam, I sympathized more with her parents. When they showed them crying after she was awarded the gold, I felt for them. I could imagine the sacrifices they had made and coming to China to see it all paid off.

And later when Jonathon Horton won the silver in high bar, I was thinking how proud and excited his parents were -- even more than him.

I just can't imagine what it would be like to watch your children achieve all their hopes and dreams and reach the top of their sport.

At the same time, when Natsia Lukin was robbed of a gold in the uneven bars, the pain on her dad's face was not only the disappointment he felt in the result, but you know the bigger issue for him was watching his daughter be so disappointed. When clearly she had the better routine (yeah, I'm biased) and should have gotten the gold.

And then there are the stories of the athletes who are parents themselves. I know every one has heard about Dara Torres and her incredible comeback in swimming. She is an inspiration to all middle aged moms about what can be done. Yeah, she was an Olympic Athlete before she had her daughter, but still, she's an inspiration.

And what about the German gymnast Oksana Chusovitina, also a mother. At 33 she won the silver medal in vault. She is very understated, but her story is amazing.

I guess what has struck me is before when I watched the Olympics it was all about the athletes. And there is still an element of that. But to me, watching Parents -- both of the athletes and the athletes themselves, has struck a chord with me.

Wordless Wednesday: Winnings!

I've won a few blog contests recently...

I also won the "baby poll" my new bloggy friend Julie was doing over at Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I correctly guessed the day her sister would have her baby... August 14th. No physical prize, thus no pictures, but I do get bragging rights!

For more Wordless Wednesday and to join in the fun visit the Wordless Wednesday HQ

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday, Monday....

*** I realized I forgot to publish this yesterday. I must have been tired. Anyway, here is yesterday's post... I will have another one today...


So after my weekend of nursing a sick little boy, he woke up today happy, cheerful and full of life!

What a relief. Even though he had no fever yesterday, he was completely wiped out! I guess it's understandable though after battling 104 temps the whole day and night before!

It was good he was happy today because we had his "Tea with Teacher" at school today. He starts pre-k3 (pre-k for 3 year olds) on Wednesday.

He's got several friends that have been in his class over the last two years plus quite a few new friends. He clung to my side most of the time, but sure enough, with 10 minutes to go got off my lap and said, "I'm going to go play now Mommy" and went off.

He made a new friend who also likes Lego StarWars and Lego Indiana Jones (but he has a Wii, we just have a PS2, but Sam doesn't know the difference). And the other boy had on green crocs just like Sam. And his favorite colors were green and blue just like Sam. Of course you would think this would be a great friendship in the making. I'm saying they never talk to each other again.

Josh came home from school on Friday and announced he wanted to try out for the 2nd grade Chorus. Apparently it's a big deal to be a part of because you have rehearsal after school and get to sing in performances at the PTSA meetings and around town. I don't know if he'll get in, but he does carry a tune quite well if I do say so myself. He'll be trying out this week and if he gets picked has to start practices next Monday.

So, that was my Monday. Nothing exciting. I still have heaps of laundry to fold and a bathroom or two to clean before my parents come the end of the week.

Anyone want to help?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kickin' Butt and passing it along...

I guess I should be keeping up with my blog reading because I've just found out my good friend Cathy nominated me for the KickAss Blogger Award.

Kick Ass Blogger Award

And from my previous post, you can totally tell I needed some love this week!

As with any "Bloggy Award" there are some rules...

- Choose 5 other bloggers that you feel are “Kick Ass Bloggers”
- Let them know that they have received an award
- Link back to both the person who awarded you and also Mamma Dawg, where the awards originated
- Visit the Kick Ass Blogger Club HQ , to get codes click here and it will take you to KABC HQ, sign Mr. Linky then pass it on!

I'm sure you know there are lots of Kick Ass bloggers out there. Quite a few of my faves have all ready been nominated and since we all have kick ass blogs, I really can't single out any five.

So, if you read this blog regularly (you know who you are), feel free to pick up the award. You don't even have to be a regular commenter... but I do love comments.

You all rock and you all deserve the award... no matter how long you've been blogging...

I'm still here...

I know. I've been gone a bit.

Sorry. I'm still here and still alive. Don't worry.

This week has been crazy. Rich has been working like a mad dawg. He had an install on Wednesday night -- so of course he was up all night -- he got up on Wednesday at 6:00 am and didn't go to bed until Thursday night at 10:00 pm. We're not in college anymore... all nighters are harder on the body when you're 40-something!

And I've had a few other things going on -- mostly trying to keep Sam entertained while Josh is at school. Sam starts school on Wednesday. He will be in 4 days a week for 4 hours. It should be a nice break for me and let me get things done that I need to do!

We've also been having some problems with our laptop. Not major -- but the battery won't hold a charge. We had the same problem last year and Dell replaced it under warranty -- this new battery is 2 months out of warranty and crapped out.

So I've been trying to get a new battery for it. Dell wants $299 for a new battery! Honestly, that's highway robbery! I know this is a common problem too -- just look on line and you can find heaps of other issues with the same battery and same laptop. Even the Dell website has a "user reviews" when you go to order the battery. Not one is favorable. You'd think Dell would get with the program.

And $300 to replace a battery? We just bought the kids a brand new HP laptop for $700 -- and it's comparable to this Dell! Ludicrous.

I tried writing them an email but have been ping-ponged all over the place and given form letters as response.

We did find some cheaper batteries on line with other distributors. We found one with a great warranty for $75 from Same battery! So we ordered it, and it was DOA. Piece of junk. Of course then you start reading the fine print and you have to pay $20 "restocking fee," plus shipping back, plus they have to "review" it.... Cost us more than $75 to fix it! I did try to contact them, but the email address they give you to contact them doesn't work.

The whole thing has really cheesed me off. I used to work in customer service and it really ticks me off when I see how the industry has gone backwards.

But anyway, we've decided to cut our losses and just use the laptop plugged in. It's not like we need to use it where there is no power.

And then yesterday -- Rich had to work (and he is today too). And Sam was sick. The poor boy does nothing by half measures. He is prone to high temps when he's sick. The lowest I could get his temp was 102.8 -- at it's peak it was 104.8. It really stresses me out when he gets sick.

He was born with just one kidney so we are not supposed to give him Advil or Ibuprofen. And Tylenol is great, but doesn't work quite as well and not as long. Last night I was up every 4 hours to give him more Tylenol -- and freaking out because his temp wouldn't go down. He spent half the night in bed with me. When he woke up this morning (at 7:30 -- totally unheard of) he was covered in sweat. He was soaking wet, my sheets where he was sleeping were soaking wet and because he was next to me, I was soaking wet! The fever broke.

He seems to be on the mend today. Much more himself but still a bit clingy. I'm washing all the sheets in the house.

All day yesterday and all night last night I was just so thankful that this happened this weekend and not next weekend; Rich and I are going on a long awaited vacation for our 10th anniversary. I'm not sure how I would have been able to relax leaving a sick boy behind!

So, hopefully things will calm down a bit this week and get back to normal.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A New Post Because My Mom Wants an Update

Yesterday was Josh's first day of school.

We had a little "getting out of bed" issue in the morning. All summer long both boys have been getting up between 5:30 and 6:00 -- occasionally they have "slept in" until 6:30 (thankfully they entertain each other and not me).

But of course yesterday I had to go wake Josh up at 6:00 for school. He gets up, goes potty, comes back, gets back under the covers and informs me he is "not going to school today."

I'll let you guess who won that discussion.

He seemed to have a really great day. He's still telling me things that happened. I always try to pry information out of him and get the inevitable, "I don't remember."

But if I let him be, he always tells me what happened in his own time at his own pace. You'd think I'd learn!

Apparently, he made a new friend that is "really funny!" and his lunch table is next to some of his friends from the neighborhood and class last year, so he's happy.

Today, the second day of school, he had a long awaited dermatology appointment. His eczema has been worse than ever this summer -- and that's bad. I brought him to his normal doctor two and a half weeks ago and she recommended we go to a dermatologist to help control it. Meanwhile, she gave us a 'scrip for yet more products to help control it and they seemed to be working. The eczema was better -- but still bad!

The whole trip today was just frustrating. We got there 15 minutes before our appointment (like they recommend) and then sat there -- me with two children in a waiting room that is NOT kid friendly -- for an hour!

Finally, we were taken back to be seen and the doctor seemed a tad put off by the kids because they were antsy. And in the end he didn't really help at all. Just gave us another prescription for another type of cream and told us, "well, it doesn't seem to be that bad...." Um yes but two and a half weeks ago when I tried to get in it was REALLY bad and bleeding....

It just really irked me. The main reason we were going there was because we have so many partial tubes of stuff that either half work, don't work, sting badly (and I know they do because I've used them on me), work for a while then stop working, or work great then I stop using it (because it's a steroid) and the eczema comes back immediately.

I just want something that will keep it under control most of the time.

You should see his poor hands and feet! They hurt just to look at.

So at any rate, we have yet another prescription to try and yet another combination of creams, lotions and ointments (yes, there is a difference) and a new plan of when to apply what type of medicine to see what works.

I dropped him off at school just as his class was getting out of lunch (at 11:00! Thankfully I gave him a sandwich in the car) and he finished the day at school and was just as excited about school today as he was yesterday! Yippee!

He and Sam are happy as clams playing on the PlayStation2 at the moment!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Summer 2008 Greatest Hits

School starts for us on Monday.

On one hand, I can't believe how fast the summer has gone, but on the other hand it seems a long time ago that the kids got out of school!

We've had a really great summer. The boys spent a lot of time together and got along great! Looking back, it was packed with lots of fun, we reached some milestones and had our share of down time as well.

We took a lot of trips out of town....

Summer started with a wonderful trip to Hilton Head Island. We had such a great time with Nanny and Grandad there. I still dream about going back to that house. It was a wonderful way to start the summer.

We spent two weeks at my parents house in Michigan. We usually go for 3-3 1/2 weeks so the two we were there just flew by! And was action packed!

And most recently, we went to Florida for a long weekend. I don't recommend Florida in July, but we still had a great time!

And in between trips, we had all sorts of fun activities.

We took two trips to see the Braves play. Because baseball is summer after all...

Because Georgia in the summer is hot, we spent lots of time at the pool and at the gym or going to the free summer movies at our local Regal movie theater.

We picked blueberries, made forts, had a vegetarian experiment, and played a lot -- not just video games but lots of pretend play too!

But, summer wasn't all fun and games. We had a few major milestones as well....

Sam is very independent -- when I'm not around. When I'm around, he wants me to everything for him. It gets quite tiring. This summer we worked on him doing things by himself even though I'm there. He's started dressing himself -- he gets his clothes backwards more often than not but at least he's doing it!

He's also started going potty without me (woo hoo!!!). Of course I had to bribe him and tell him NO PS2 games if he can't go potty by himself. This worked a charm!

We also rearranged our seating at the table so Sam is in a "big boy seat" now next to Mom -- not stuck between Mom and Dad at the end of the table.

We upgraded our play room and tossed the sippy cups!

I can't believe School starts on Monday. My little boy is going into second grade! We met his teacher yesterday. She seems really nice.

He's got some really nice kids in his class that we know from kindergarten, first grade, sports, ALP (his gifted class) and just around the neighborhood. There are also some new kids in his class so he'll get to make new friends.

Josh has already targeted one child to be his "best friend this year." I'm not sure if I should warn the child or not... Luckily, he's picked a nice boy for his future "best friend."

Sam starts pre-k3 (that's pre-school for 3 year olds) in 2 weeks. He'll be going 4 days a week for 4 hours. He's grown so much this summer too. He's always been a good communicator, but his language has just taken off. His coordination has gotten much better (he's not falling down as much).

And he's grown! It's just amazing! I had to bring him to the store yesterday to get new shoes. My mom just bought him a really nice pair in June and they are already 2 sizes too small! I paid a small fortune for these at Stride Rite so hopefully they will last more than 8 weeks!

So here's to a wonderful summer that is coming to a close and to moving forward to new friends, new teachers and new fun times!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Introducing The New Improved Play/Game Room

This weekend we cleaned out the kids playroom to make it more of a big boy playroom/game room.

Here it is "before"....

And here it is "after"....

Aside from the 3 bags of broken or too badly worn toys we threw away, we have a heap to give to charity!

We did move a lot of toys into the kids rooms. Josh has one toy bin in his closet. And Sam has one in his closet and one at the foot of his bed. But they are still no where near to overflowing like they were before.

The boys really love it this way. They've been playing up there most of the day. And even when they wake up in the morning, they go in there, close the door and play -- which is nice for me because they don't make me get out of bed!

Now they can get to the toys they really like to play with. Sam spent almost all of yesterday playing with his GeoTrax. Before it was hidden away at the bottom of the closet. Now, he can see it and bring it out to play with it.

And when we were done, Rich looked around and said, "Hmmm... Darts (it's a magnetic dart board), PS2, Football/Air Hockey table.... all we need is a mini fridge stocked with beer and I'll hang out here."

I hadn't told him what Josh said earlier in the week. Like son, like father!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Quirky Meme

Sheila tagged me with the Quirky Things Meme.

Apparently, I need to list six quirky, boring, mundane things about my life.

Ahem! There is nothing boring about my life... I am the only girl in a house full of boys! Quirkiness is everywhere, but I'm the only NORMAL one in the house....


Okay, maybe not....

The Rules
* Link to the person who tagged you.
* Mention the rules.
* Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself.
* Tag six other bloggers by linking to them.
* Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment to let them know that they’ve been tagged.

My Six Quirky Things

1. This is my tea cup. Not yours. I am the only one allowed to use it. If you come to visit, you may use one of our other tea/coffee cups in the house. But don't even think of using mine.

2. I also have my spot at the table. The boys can move about as the want as long as they don't sit in my chair. If you come to visit, you are welcome to any of the other 5 seats around the table, but not mine.

3. I like to play games on my kids' Webkinz profiles. They like me doing this because they earn more KinzCash and they don't have to do anything. I know I'm not the only one who does this... come on, admit it... you'll feel better...

4. I don't mind folding the laundry, but I hate putting it away. I've been know to fold the laundry and then put it back in the basket (neatly) and live out of the clean clothes basket until it's empty and the whole thing starts again. I think this drives Rich nuts because he recently took it upon himself to fold and put away the laundry. Ha ha... my plan worked!

5. I have a piece of toast and an egg for breakfast almost every single day. Sometimes I have a soft boiled egg, but mostly I have a cold hardboiled egg. On occasion, I will mix it up a bit and have scrambled eggs or a poached egg, but usually, it's soft or hard boiled.

6. I love coffee, but I am really bad at making it. When the kids are in school I usually stop by one of the coffee shops around here and buy a cup. I tell myself I'm "treating myself" -- but really, I just want the coffee. And if I bring my own cup I get a discount! The discount varies from shop to shop, but there is one place that only charges 53 cents! Too bad it's the furthest from my house, but still -- it's ALMOST worth the extra gas.

Now it's your turn:
1. Chrissi
2. Cathy
3. Alicia
4. Julie -- she's a new blogger. Please go check her out...
5. Jae
6. Aunt Kathy
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...