Monday, June 30, 2008

Ocean City





We had an opportunity to spend the weekend in Ocean City, MD. Friends of ours have a house there and they kindly offered it to us since they could not use it as planned. Yay! We had such a great time: playing on the beach, walking the boardwalk, renting a surrey (a workout for sure, schelping 4 kids up/down the boardwalk!), dining on the bay and playing lots of mini golf. It was very relaxing and a good time was had by all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

All A-Buzz

We are all "A Buzz" here now that school is over!

Scholastic is sponsoring a summer reading program for kids that is pretty cool. Each child signs up on-line and has their own Buzz Meter where they record the books they are reading and how much time they are spending reading. This is great because it is "so much more fun" to log-on to the computer to record books, rather than just writing on a paper log. At the end of the summer, the girls can print out their Buzz Log and turn it in at school, rather than turn in a hand-written log.

But the REALLY GREAT thing about this program is that for every 4 books that get logged, Scholastic will donate 1 book to a needy child! So the kids can help a needy child just by reading! The other REALLY COOL thing about the program is that each child who enters gets his/her name entered into a drawing for a free trip to Disney World (4 trips will be awarded in September.)

We'll let you know our stats at the end of summer and we'll definitely let you know if we've won a trip to Disney!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Workin' for a Livin'


My brother gave my girls the book called The Daring Book for Girls. One of the chapters tells how to run a lemonade stand so my oldest daughter was determined that she was going to try it. She wanted to squeeze the lemons herself but I managed to convince her that Countrytime would do just fine. She and her siblings ran the lemonade stand yesterday for about 3 hours. Guess how much money they made? $25!!!!! Can you BELIEVE that???? So today my husband helped her count the money, track her expenses (he even made her reimburse him for the cost of the cups and ice he bought), pay her employees (her siblings) and set aside some to give to church/charity. She walked away with about $6. She was not very happy about this, she did not really want to pay her siblings, BUT it was a really good learning experience and we might try it again next month, except have her give all her proceeds to charity. This might take some convincing . . .

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What time is it?

It's summertime!

My kids have been blaring this song (High School Musical 2) for DAYS in anticipation of summer. I have to admit, it is a pretty good song and has been going through my head too. Today is the last day of school and I am as excited as the kids! I LOVE SUMMER! We are going to celebrate by going to Scoops and getting ice cream for lunch! I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the last day of school! I can hardly believe that the school year has come to an end; the kids are a year older and wiser; and we have 10 weeks ahead of us to spend sleeping in (them, not me), playing, swimming, staying up late and just enjoying the relaxed pace of summer. Hooray for summer!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Happy Birthday!



It's official. All the Langan children are a year older. We celebrated 4 kid birthdays in about 5 weeks (not to mention my birthday, my mother's birthday, Mother's Day AND my mother-in-laws birthday, Memorial Day, oh, and my nephew's birthday, but he lives in England so we don't celebrate with him). Anyway, its a lot of cards and cake. To make my life easier and more affordable, the kids get parties every other year. The girls get a party this year, the boys will get theirs next year. I could not possibly afford 4 parties in 1 month nor would I have the creativity or energy to throw 4 parties that close together. Anyway, the girls are giving up their parties this year and instead, we will take a trip into NYC in July to American Girl Place where the girls will have lunch with their American Girl Dolls. We'll also go to see Mary Poppins on Broadway. We'll go with my college roommate and her 3 girls so it should be a great time.



We celebrated the last of the kid birthdays today. The Drama Queen is sporting her birthday gift, a baby sling for her dolls. She is always asking me to tie her blankie into a sling so I thought I'd buy her a real one that won't come untied. She is in love with it and is planning to keep it until she grows up and can put real babies into it. Except that it is doll-sized, but she doesn't need to know that yet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Is your refrigerator running?

Mine's not.

Yesterday at breakfast I noticed that my glass of milk was not cold; I commented on it to my husband and he said it is probably just because of the heat and humidity. Which didn't make any sense to me. Last week it was 99 degrees for a few days, but the last few days have been relatively mild.

After he left for work I decided to fiddle with the temp in the fridge. I never know with those dials whether I am making the fridge warmer or cooler so I usually play it safe and put the dial somewhere in the middle, around number 4. So I put it up to 7 for a few hours; no difference. Then I went the other way and put it to number 1 for a few hours; no difference. So when my husband came home from work I told him again that the fridge was not working right. Instead of taking my word for it, he pulled out a thermometer and put it in the fridge and monitored the temp every couple hours and then declared last night that the fridge isn't working. Uh, YEAH. Isn't that what I tried to tell you about 15 hours ago at breakfast?

Luckily we got a second fridge a couple months ago so at least I still have a fridge. However, I was not able to save the ice cream products. I am really annoyed by this because I like to buy Weight Watcher pops, which are $4.39/box. So now 2 boxes are ruined. It wouldn't be so bad except that I've already been through this 2x with the new fridge. Loyal blog readers will recall the ice cream cake incident. What I failed to later post to the blog was that one of my children (youngest) discovered that he could turn the temp dial himself in the new refrigerator so several times (ice cream cake incident was the first time) we lost everything in the freezer until we caught on to what was happening. (At first we thought it was that someone didn't shut the door. The next time we thought the hand-me-down-fridge was faulty. Turns out it was a curious 2 year old messing with the dial.) Anyway, I've now spent about $25 in melted WW ice cream bars. And now my main fridge is broken for sure. The repair guy is coming this afternoon. Hopefully we won't have to buy a new fridge. But if we do, I know which one I want but it is so astronomically expensive that we'd never buy it. But it's nice to dream! Here's a look at the retro kitchen I would create if I had millions.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Field Trip



Today I chaperoned the 1st grade field trip to the zoo. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, low humidity. I was dreading having to ride on a hot school bus but it was actually quite comfortable.

The Girls



The penguins were the crowd favorite, we spent about 20 minutes just looking at penguins. Each penguin was tagged on its wing and the zoo person gave the girls the list of the tags and names of the penguins; they had a great time identifying each one, especially the one that was missing an eye.

A good time was had by all. The girls were so cute and had a really good time together and everyone was well behaved.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Perfect Day

My 1st grader brought home a story that she wrote at school. I thought I'd share it on the blog.

(I corrected her invented spelling just to make it easier for you to read but the misspelled words are cute.)

My Perfect Day

My perfect day would be my birthday. First mysister will bring me breakfast. She will bring me ice cream with cookies and syrup Yum. Then I will get dressed in a dress for my birthday party. For lunch at the party my mom will order pizza and for dessert we will have cake. My mom will make candy bar cake yum. I love candy bar cake. After we will break the pinata. I love it. Next we will make mini pinatas and fill it in with candy like Jolly Ranchers. Yumo. For dinner we will have cake and fruit and pin the crown on the princess. I like that game a lot. It is a good game. Then we will break the little pinatas. Then the party will be over and I will get a limo and the driver will give me 1000 bucks. And I would go shopping and come home to go to bed but first read then go to bed. The end of my perfect day.

When I started reading it I was so touched that all I have to do to make her dream come true is let her eat ice cream for breakfast and let her have a party. But then I got to the part about the limo . . . I don't know where that came from. I like to think she copied it from the kid next to her because really, where would she get an idea like that?!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Heat Wave

My boys are in Pittsburgh with my parents for a few days. They are visiting Grammy & Grampy so that I can chaperone my daughters' school field trips.

Except that today's trip was canceled because it was 99 degrees, too hot for the kids to be on a school bus for an hour each way. In fact, the school did not have a hot lunch today because it was too hot to turn on the ovens. It was so hot that they dismissed at 1pm (some schools in the district are not air conditioned.)

Since I was not going to chaperoning a field trip and since my boys are in Pittsburgh, I had the house TO MY SELF today for the first time in 9 years. No exaggeration. I have not been ALONE in this house for more than 45 minutes since 1999, when I went into labor with my oldest child. Yes, the last time I was alone for a day, I spent the day having contractions. Sad, but true. So when I found myself alone today, I wasn't really sure what to do. I thought of going to the library to get a book; or I thought maybe I would get a pedicure; or watch the 12 Oprah shows that are on my TiVo. But no; what did I do? Cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed; cleaned up the dog poop in the yard; cut the grass; scrubbed the kitchen floor; folded laundry for about 45 minutes; cleaned the playroom; cleaned the kids' room; and THEN I finally took a shower and by that time, my girls were home from school.

It looks like I will have the house to myself again tomorrow for a few hours. I will have to try and enjoy it. But I am so used to always moving and doing and planning and organizing, that it is hard to relax. (Sounds like I need a vacation!)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Piano Recital



We almost didn't make it. My oldest was freaking out, crying, saying she wasn't going to go to the recital. It all started because I told her she could not go swimming at the neighbor's house after school; instead, she had to practice her recital piece. She freaked out. But she DID finally practice. And then wanted to go swimming. But I still wouldn't let her because I didn't want her getting her hair wet because it was almost 5pm and we still needed to eat dinner, get ready and then leave for the recital around 6pm. So she spent some more time ranting about how she was Not Going to the recital and her life was So Awful because she Never gets to play when She wants to play. But she finally stopped ranting because she got interested in something else (painting her toenails) so I proceeded to get the boys ready.

BUT. My 5 year old freaked out when he found out that he had to wear a button-down shirt. I had to wrestle him to get his clothes on and then he was rolling around on the floor and shrieking. I felt like skipping the recital; too tired to deal with all these melt-downs. However, I was starting to feel sorry for him, knowing that he is still tired from our Disney trip and overwhelmed in general; we've been on the go every night since we returned from Disney and the button-down shirt was the straw that broke the camel's back. I tried to reason with him, calm him down, but to no avail. So then I reminded him that if he continued to behave this way, he would not get ice cream after the recital. He continued to freak, saying he didn't want ice cream, wasn't going, etc. I gave him a second reminder and after the 3rd reminder, I took away his Ice Cream Privilege. This did not change his behavior AT ALL, he continued to cry and roll around on the floor. My oldest daughter, who was acting like a monster 20 minutes prior, suddenly turned into a loving and nurturing sister and brought him to me (I was trying to get myself ready) asking me to give him another chance. I explained that I had already given him 3 chances and he was not going to get another. So then she said that if he couldn't get ice cream afterwards then she wasn't going because it wasn't fair that he couldn't get ice cream and if he couldn't then she wouldn't either. At this point I was pretty darn close to calling the piano teacher (who is also my friend) to say that we would not be at the recital. But because she IS my friend, I didn't want to disappoint her and I also thought it was important for my daughter to perform after all her hard work, so instead I called my husband to ask about his ETA (I badly needed back-up!) and put my son on the phone with my husband. I had hoped that this would calm him down, but it didn't. All it did was allow me to finish getting ready without feeling guilty about ignoring my crying son. My son continued to cry until my husband came home. Miraculously, my husband was able to calm him down and then we went to the recital. Below is a pic of all the students and their teacher.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Graduation

Accepting his diploma:

Preschool Graduation. Totally crazy. Parents were practically knocking each other over as they vied for the best spot to videotape the ceremony. I am happy to report that I was not among the video-taping masses . . . we've decided that our 5 year old (he's 5 now!) should have an extra year of preschool before entering Kindergarten . . . so we went to watch him graduate from the 4s to the 5s . . . no need to break out the video camera just yet since we'll be back again next year for his REAL preschool graduation. But it was fun for him nonetheless. And he got this cool self-created plate as a momento of his school year.


Side Note:
As I was waiting for the pics to upload to the blog, I heard the oven beep, indicating that it was now ready to accept the yummy Joe Corbi's pizza that we are all hungry for. I walked into the kitchen and this is what I found:



YES. Our dog ate the ENTIRE uncooked pizza. She is really more like a small horse than she is a dog. Or maybe she is like a small moose. A pig. Yes, she is definitely a pig.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Birthday Boy


We celebrated another birthday the day after returning from Disney. It was great that Grannie and Grandad could be here with us (they returned to Ireland the day after the birthday.) And although we don't have pictures, we celebrated 2 birthdays in Disney: my oldest daughter and my mother-in-law were born on the same day so it was really special for all of us to be able to celebrate with them while on vacation.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Ready, Set, Disney!

We're back and we had a FABULOUS time!!!! It was amazing that the vacation went so smoothly, considering that we had 12 people ranging in age from 3-70+. But it was spectacular; the weather was PERFECT and we were busy EVERY MINUTE but it was worth it. I can't wait to go back!

Here are some of our highlights (at least the ones we captured on film).

Classic Castle-in-background Photo


Spinning plates on the Boardwalk


Grandad in the pool!

Grandad has not been in a pool since circa 1978 so this was definitely an important moment! He only needed lifeguard intervention twice. Seriously. He was a good sport and went down most of the waterslides but didn't realize that the pool was only 3 feet deep; he popped off the raft and started yelling, "Save me! Save me!" The lifeguard had to jump in and show him that he could stand up and then he was fine.

I like to call this picture "Ha Ha Ha Ha!" because that is the sound that was coming out of my son's mouth when I snappped this photo. He was delighted to see Pluto coming towards him and could not contain his joy.




My 4 kiddos, plus my nephew and niece, and of course, Mickey.


The girls at Downtown Disney


We spent LOTS of time at Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, the 2 waterparks at Disney. They are spectacular. We got this mammoth ice cream sundae on the last day for everyone to share. Yes, that green bucket is FULL of ice cream!


Here's a picture of the whole gang (minus my husband who is taking the photo) at Typhooon Lagoon.


Sword fighting


Mickey Ears


This was my 7th trip to Disney and I love just as much as I did the first time (1980). My absolute favorite, cannot miss Disney activities:

Typhoon Lagoon & Blizzard Beach
The waterparks are THE BEST EVER. Perfect on a hot day, lines are not too long and they are SO WELL THEMED that you will want to move to central Florida just so you can visit them regularly. Seriously. I would go back to Disney just for the waterparks. Tip: You can meet characters at the waterparks without having to wait in line like you do at the other parks.

Magic Kingdom SpectroMagic Parade
This is the most amazing parade, beautiful lights, songs and characters and just spectacular, truly. Love it. Tip: This parade takes place at night so you don't have to stand in the hot sun to watch it.

Magic Kingdom Wishes Nighttime Spectacular

This is a stupendous fireworks show that is so good that it makes you gasp with awe. If you go to the Magic Kingdom you absolutely MUST see this show! We had the opportunity to see it twice while we were at Disney; once just outside the castle and the other time we were able to view it from the top of the Contemporary Resort Hotel, on the 15th floor. We made dinner reservations that coincided with the fireworks and were able to go out on the rooftop to watch the fireworks (the music is piped in so that you can see that the fireworks are timed to the music). It was so amazing to watch the fireworks from that vantage point and then be able to have a 4 star dinner afterwards. I will definitely do this again next time and it is one of my all-time favorite Disney memories.

Toy Story Midway Mania
This is a brand-new ride in Disney Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). I can't adequately describe this ride but it is cool and fun and is my favorite ride at Disney.

Lots more to share but must get some sleep. Our flight was delayed several times so we did not get in until 1AM so I need to get to bed.

But I will leave you with this: I think I am getting old. My head hurt after Rockin' Roller Coaster and my neck hurt after Space Mountain and I felt nauseous for several hours after Mission Space. The last time I visited Disney was only 2 years ago and I was FINE after riding crazy rides. Like I said, I am getting old!