Monday, March 31, 2014

Who Authorized This?

How can my baby boy be 6 already?  Who let that happen?

The morning began with a few snuggles & a selfie.


Because it was a school day, we started with presents!




That night we had Lego cake.....



And then that weekend, we headed to The City for some family fun.  


His favorite part was Go Karts!  




At 6, Justin lights up a room.  He has a large vocabulary, enjoys reading, wakes up happy every morning, and is enthusiastic about almost everything except vegetables.  He loves to run and jump, is a Mario master, can ride a 2-wheeler, is learning to swim.  His favorite colors are red, orange, and green, he has requested high tops for his next pair of shoes, and would probably live very happily on just string cheese.    


Sunday, February 9, 2014

January (and a little February) 2014

January was a heck of a month.

Although our weather is normally fairly mild in the winter, Mother Nature seems determined to show us who is really in charge around here.

We've had 9 snow days in January.

9!

In a normal year, we may have one or two.  We have also had many of the oh-so-frustrating two hour delay.  Although I'd much rather have my children be safe & warm at home than travelling over icy country roads or in a classroom that can't keep up with the sub-zero temperatures, I can't tell you how ready I am for sunshine and spring.... although according to Groundhog Day, that won't come before April.  I'm also thinking that there will have to be a warm weather getaway planned for next January.  Let's call it a necessity.  For my sanity.

This day we got around 8" total. 


January also brought us the beginning of Birthday Season, where we celebrated this dude:  


And then Birthday #10 for this Girl:



Per her request, she wanted a fluffy cake with fluffy icing.  So I made an angel food cake & topped it with a chocolate whipped cream frosting.  It was quite delicious. 

This weekend we did run away for a little family fun at the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky.  
Other friends had said good things about it, and an indoor waterpark at a constant 84 degrees seemed like just the thing to thaw us out.  




It was VERY fun!  Great Wolf & Kalahari are very close to each other in Sandusky, and I chose Great Wolf because it seemed to be geared for younger kids.  And it was perfect for us!  There were a few larger water slides for my daredevil 10 year old, and plenty to do for my dog paddler.  


I found everything to be very clean.  The rooms were spacious, the resort was much quieter than I expected, and there was plenty to do - most of which we didn't have a chance to explore.  Unfortunately, M came down with a cold on Thursday, and although he came with us, he didn't have a chance to enjoy the resort as much as we did.  

I can't speak to the restaurants or food there - Sandusky has lots of restaurants, and we ate out for all our meals.  The prices looked high, but on par with what I expected for a "resort".  We also did not experience the arcade (but it looked fun), or the other games/ activities there.  BUT, I would highly recommend Great Wolf for families with kids under 12.  We only spent one night there, and due to the length of the drive, I would definitely spend 2 nights next time.    




The rest of February is going to be focusing on M's job hunt, prepping classroom Valentines and slogging through a No Spend month.   Wish us luck.  
  

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Few Great Things

No trip to "The City" would be complete without a stop at Costco.  
Along with the 12 other things we didn't really need, I picked up some of these:


I've never tried No Slip hangers, but I am now a fan!  I wish I had bought more (my local store only had a pack of 35).  Not only are they no-slip, but the slim design really does cut down on space.  Leaving room for more clothes!  My husband will be thrilled...

I've also been enjoying my Kindle more than I guessed I would.  Nothing will replace the feel of a book in your hand, but you can't beat the sheer convenience of the Kindle.  I try to keep a few dollars in my Amazon account so that if I see a Daily Deal that piques my interest, I can jump on it.  A few months ago I picked up this: 


I don't mind a supernatural theme, and I have found this series oddly compelling.  There are 7 books, and they are light, quick, and the characters are mildly endearing.  I would classify these as "beach reads"(if I was anywhere near a beach).

Finally, I upgraded my phone recently and am still getting everything back in order, including my music.  When I found myself at the gym with no music to run to, I turned to my trusty podcast list.  This is a particular favorite:


With topics as varied as Hessians, New England Vampire Panic, Building Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, The Nazca Lines, Boudica, etc., it is a fountain of information in 30 minute segments.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reflection

2013 was a good year for us.  

Nothing earth-shattering happened.  

We didn't win the lottery.  Or swim with the sharks in Indonesia.  Or complete an Ironman.  

But in its own quiet way, 2013 was really good to us.  

My job was renewed for another 2 years.  J started kindergarten.  We enjoyed a fabulous vacation in Florida.  Husband completed all his professional licensing.  Everyone stayed healthy all year.



All good.  

Specific to me, I had surgery to fix my wonky ankle and am now back to my normal activity levels.  I comfortably wore a bathing suit in public.  I completed several moderately rigorous exercise programs (Chalean Extreme, Body Revolution, C25K).  I read for pleasure more than I expected to.

2014 is looking to be a good one, too.  

I have a handful of personal goals I want to accomplish, and it's looking like there are a few things on the horizon that could be significant for us as a family.  

For me, the following is on my Goal List:
  1. Remodel the Kid's Bathroom.  Floors, paint, light. 
  2. Caulk & touch up all the trim in the house.
  3. Buy & install new pantry doors. 
  4. Run a 5K race. 
  5. Organize the laundry room. 
  6. Replace all the doorknobs. 
  7. Organize the kid's schoolwork/ artwork. 
  8. Go through each room of the house, organizing and purging.  (This is the one that is most needed, and least likely to get done).
  9. Buy 4 new bras.  
  10. Read at least a book a month.  
Wishing you a joyful and prosperous 2014!


  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Stuff I Made

It only took me 12+ months, but I finally finished J's quilt.  Although I once again thought "Why did it take me so long?!", it was all worth it in the end.  It's all flannel with a handsewn binding & 'wonky crosshatch' quilting.  I even napped under it last week, and it earned 2 thumbs up.  

This is a twin sized quilt, and my machine is just not made for something this size.  I think I'm retiring from anything bigger than a baby quilt.  



J helped me make cookies......


I found THE soft caramel recipe!


Tried out a Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread recipe. 
Verdict: Good!


And made crock pot caramel with apples for neighbor gifts.  


Whew!

What am I going to do with all my free time in January?! 

(good thing I have a handful of new books waiting in my Kindle)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Licensing

One of the MAJOR things that has happened this year is that we have gotten Husband's licensing DONE.

This. Is. Major. 

Licensing is important because it allows the Resident the option to begin moonlighting.  And because it's a kick-butt addition to a CV when you start looking for a j-o-b.

Before we started the process, I knew nothing about all the hoops we would have to jump through.  But I can tell you that I now feel like a bit of an expert.

Is it time consuming?

Yes.

Lengthy?

Check.

A lot of Hurry-Up-and-Wait?

Indeed.

Here's how it goes (this is specific to Ohio, so if you are a Resident from another state, the process/ paperwork will vary a bit).

Let me begin by saying that the whole process can easily take 6+ months to complete.  And that's if everyone is on the ball & all forms are completed correctly.  Add in some incomplete forms or a busy time of year, and you may be looking at 9 months. Plan accordingly & DON'T start this a month before you want to start moonlighting.
  1. FCVS On-line Application  
    1. This is your federal credentialing, and must be done prior to your state license application.  
    2. You have to send them a certified birth certificate or your passport.  If you send your passport, it's an extra $25 to have it sent back to you. 
    3. Time to process is 6-8 weeks.  Husband's took 6 weeks to complete.  
    4. Cost: $400 total - $350 for the application, $50 for your transcripts. 
  2. Criminal Background Check
    1. FBI, BCI, fingerprints. 
    2. Must be done in person; lots of locations to choose from.  
    3. Everything gets sent to the state medical board. 
    4. Time to process - about a week or two.  Everything gets linked to your state application, so you don't have to wait on anything. 
    5. Cost: $66
  3. Ohio Uniform Application
    1. Print out the application - all items must be mailed back unless otherwise noted.  
    2. A portion must be notarized.  Our bank did this for free. 
    3. You need at least 2 RECENT passport sized color photos.
    4. The AMA physician profile can be completed online. 
    5. 10-12 weeks to process.  Husband's took 4 weeks.
    6. Cost: $335, paid by check.
  4. DEA License
    1. Can't apply for this until your state license has been approved. 
    2. Application is online. 
    3. 4-6 weeks to process.  Husband's took 1 week. 
    4. License is good for 3 years.  
    5. Cost: $731
We began the process at the beginning of June, and completed it last week.  Because we didn't know how long it would actually take to process everything, we allowed ourselves LOTS of time before he would "need" his license.  We fully expected everything to take longer than it did - especially the DEA portion.  We did not move immediately from one step to the next.  Once the FCVS was done, we spent about a month+ on the state application.  Some of this was because it wasn't urgent, and some was because portions have to be completed by other people - specifically the Residency program, and the certificates of recommendation.  

Anyway, we are DONE with this, and it feels like another gigantic box checked off.  Whew!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Remiss + Christmas

My Husband pointed out the other day that I have been very much remiss in keeping up with my blog.

"Well, I just feel like I don't have much to say these days.  Stuff either doesn't feel important enough to share, or it feels a little too important to share, ya know?"

But again, he wisely reminded me that my original blogging intention was to be sort of a family journal.  And in that, I admit I have failed lately.   And I have plans to catch up and do a bit better in 2014.

Here goes.

First, we bought a real tree this year!!  We haven't had a real tree since we left Oregon.  Our apartment in Iowa didn't allow real trees (fire hazard), and since then we've either been tight on space or money, so we continued to use the fake tree I bought in 2007.  In last year's post-Christmas frenzy I picked up a sturdy tree stand, and have been plotting since then.

On Dec. 2 we went out as a family and chose our tree.  Back in Oregon, we used to do the tree farm, cut-your-own deal.   But this year, instead of Making Memories (aka calling everyone I know in the area to try and figure out where to go, then driving out, getting lost, tromping through the freezing mud, choosing an average tree & paying a heart-stopping amount), I chose to take us all down to Tractor Supply and randomly pick a tree from the stack out front.


And It. Is. GLORIOUS.  


That, my friends, is 7 1/2 feet of pure Christmas joy.   


We put it down in the family room, and it's so big that there is no room for a star, angel, or giant bow.  
Every time I walk downstairs, I smile.  
The smell is amazing.
And at night I like to turn off all the lights and just bask in the soft glow.
Best $20 I have spent in the last seven years!

And of course I had to get some silly Santa pictures in front of the tree.



Merry Christmas!