The CHERISHED Life of Heather Leigh

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Family Fun Night

On Friday Kev and I took the kids bowling for a night of family fun (and it wasn't even forced!)

We have a marble rewards system with the kids, and once they fill the family jar with marbles (they do this by doing their chores, being nice to each other, etc.) , they get to pick what reward they want...and this time they picked BOWLING!

Well, Kev and I decided not to rejoin our bowling league this year and we have been missing it, so we were both pretty excited to do this with the kids.

The bowling alley was preparing for Friday night leagues, so we only bowled for an hour, but this was plenty of time. Enough time for me to get one of my highest scores ever, 143! Woo Hoo!

Then we went to dinner at White Horse Inn in the town north of us and had a splendid meal.

A trip to Blockbuster for a couple of DVDs and a trip to Kroger for some Movie snacks (Snow-caps, Whoppers, Resee's Pieces) rounded out the evening. Snuggling up on the couch with the entire family was the best way to end the day.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Why do I follow the rules?

Two carry on bags per person. Period. That's the rule. And then the rule gets more bag must be small enough to fit underneath the seat in front of you, and then the other bag can be stowed in the overhead bin as long as it fits within the small overhead bin tester box provided by the airline. And if you have a bigger bag that requires overhead bin compartmentalization, your second bag could be a laptop bag OR a purse, but not BOTH, because then, that would be 3 bags. And that's against the rule.

I take this rule, and most rules, seriously. As a travelling professional woman, this means I have a carry-on suitcase, a laptop bag, AND a purse! Oh no, 3 bags! So, I always leave room in my carry-on bag in which to stuff my purse after I have removed my wallet and cell phone from it and inserted those into my laptop bag. This way, before I EVEN go through security, I am in compliance with the rules. Purse inside the carry-on suitcase = 1 bag. Laptop bag = 1 bag. TOTAL = TWO BAGS.

Why then, when I was waiting to board the plane, was there a young woman in front of me with FOUR BAGS?!? A very, VERY large "carry-on" suitcase, a duffel bag, and two very large purses, one on each arm (OK - I'm a purse girl, but I rarely find the occasion to carry two at once, but I digress). So, this young woman was with a group of many other 20-somethings, heading back to Detroit, oh excuse me Ann Arbor, and they all sounded like the cast of the Real OC (I think they were trying to look like them, too, but they weren't as cute). Are you going to Ann Arbor this weekend? Of course! Where are you staying? Where are you staying? Like we're going to sleep AT ALL. (they roll their eyes) I'm going to start drinking on the plane. Oh my god, we already had a couple of drinks in the airport bar! That is so ghetto. blah blah blah.

Youth envy? Seriously not. But back to the bag story.

How on earth did she get through security with all of those bags?!? She probably has 3 gallons of liquid in all of those bags, too, and you know that I follow the 3-1-1 rule to a T. SURELY they won't let her board the plane with all of that baggage. OMG - they're letting her board the plane with all FOUR of her enormous bags!! She breezed right onto the plane.

So, then, why do I go to all the trouble of transferring my purse belongings to my laptop bag and then transferring the purse itself into my carry-on suitcase? Why do I go to all of the trouble of following the rules?

Here's why. That enormous carry-on suitcase of hers wouldn't fit in the overhead bin even thought there was ample room in the overhead bin for a rule-abiding bag.

Had she followed the rules, she wouldn't have had to hold up the remaining boarding passengers to take her enormous bag to the front of the plane to gate-check it.

Had she followed the rules, she wouldn't have been chastised by the flight attendant for rearranging already stowed bags to try and fit her other bags.

Had she followed the rules, she wouldn't have made an ass out of herself. Ok, she probably still would have made an ass out of herself.

But then I wouldn't have had the opportunity to sit there and smirk while I watched this rule-breaker struggle with her rule-breaking baggage. While I was comfortably sitting in my seat, already buckled, beginning to read a book, prepared for take off, with all TWO of my bags safely stowed.

I'm glad I follow the rules.


A yellow road sign, in the shape of a perfectly square diamond trimmed in black. Deer Crossing. Railroad Crossing. School Crossing.

These are the types of cautionary road signs I am accustomed to.

I know what these signs mean. Watch out for deer, or else you might hit one. Watch out for trains, or else one might hit you.

But, "Caution, Low Flying Planes" ?!?

Does this mean that as I return my rental car to the LaGuardia airport Avis station that I need to watch out for low flying planes or else one might actually hit me?!? Has a low flying airplane hit someone else in the past?

A low flying airplane?


I think I'll rent a compact car next time I'm in town.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

WOW What a weekend!

WOW... what a weekend! It started with me picking up 3 of my sister's 4 kids on Friday on my way home from work. They spent the night with us and we all thoroughly enjoyed their company. The Friday night plan was for my niece Bailey and my daughter Jordyn to babysit the younger kids while Kevin and I went to our last Tigers game of the year. Well, the forecast had called for storms and tornadoes and I did not want to get caught at Hockeytown again for another FOUR HOUR rain delay like we did a couple of weeks ago, so we skipped the game. Plus, Jordyn is TERRIFIED of storms, so we thought it would be better to stay in town. We decided a local dinner date would be fun, but just as we were making our way to the restaurant, the tornado sirens went off. So, we headed back home to calm the kids' fears, and once the tornado warning had passed for our area, we went out for a quick bit to eat.

On Saturday, Kevin went to the Michigan State football game (he has season tickets), and was gone from 6:00 am until 5:00 pm. So it was me alone with SIX KIDS all day. I tried to keep them busy and I got completely worn out in the process, but it was still so much fun.
We went to Liam's soccer game -they won! even though Parks & Rec doesn't like you to keep score... whatever! This is Liam's best buddy, Mitchell (more like his brother). Liam told another parent that morning that we were going to win because our team has a "secret weapon". When the mom asked what the "secret weapon" was, Liam said, "I can't tell you, it's a secret." Then he went on to say, "Our "secret weapon" is Mitchell". Sure enough, Mitchell kicked butt and took some names, scoring at least one, if not two, of the goals.

Then we went to the park afterwards and had a picnic lunch. The picnic would have been MUCH more enjoyable minus the multitude of bees. Bees love juice. Bella loves juice. Bella spilled juice all over herself and the picnic blanket. So, even after the picnic was over, the bees did not leave us alone. They were attracted to Bella's juice soaked dress. Owen was swatting at the bees as if they were flies. I was SURE one of them would sting him, but we left the park with out incident.

Then we went to Meijer to pick up a cake mix for Bailey & Jordyn to bake Bella's birthday cake (I did not help them AT ALL...I'm not much of a baker - the birthday party was on Sunday). Shawn had sent a castle cake form for Bailey to use, but she hadn't sent any cake mix. I nearly burst out laughing when Bailey asked if I had any cake mix in the house. (uuhhhh, NOOO) The cake turned out really well. Unfortunately, as it was cooling, Princess Bella (as you can see she likes to sit on the counter) accidentally knocked the cake off the counter with her feet and it fell apart. :-(

That night I enjoyed a much needed reprieve from kid duty. I met some friends from high school to shop for our friend Lori who is expecting her first baby. Then we all met up with our favorite mommy-to-be for a wonderful dinner and some drinks at the Clarkston Union. Now that Aimee has been home from Texas, and Andrea has moved back home from Arizona, and Gina was in town for the weekend from Chicago, the group along with lifetime locals Lori, Erika, Heidi and myself, was almost complete. We were just missing Kristen in Miami who we contacted via cell phone to say hi! Aaaahhhhh, Good times, Good friends, Good looking ladies.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

My husband the comedian

Last night's conversation with my celebrity-conscious husband as we were making dinner together:

Kev- Hey, did you hear that Halle Berry is pregnant?
Me - No, really? I hadn't heard that.
Kev- Yeah, but, don't worry, I'm pretty sure I'm not the father.

Phew. We really don't need any paternity suits right now.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

LABOR Day Weekend

We were so completely unsocial this weekend. That's because we spent Labor Day, LABORING in the yard, finishing up the landscaping.

Over the last month (and especially this past weekend) I have planted flats and flats and flats of hostas, day lillies, sedum, black eyed susans, russian sage, and catmint. Not to mention approximately 30 spirea bushes, a dozen eunonymous bushes, half a dozen viburnum bushes and variegated dogwood bushes, half a dozen trees, half a dozen azalea bushes, ornamental grasses, a couple of butterfly bushes, some delphiniums, etc. etc. etc.
On Friday we had 7 yards of mulch delivered, and we got it ALL laid (along with LOTS of planting done) by the end of the weekend. Aaahhhhh, now I can enjoy what's left of the nice weather and admire my handiwork. I can't wait to see it in the next couple of years when everything fills in. As much work as all of this was, I do enjoy seeing it all come together.
Here are some before and after pics:

Back Before

Back After (can anyone spot me in this photo!?!)

Another Back After

Front Before

Front After

Another Front After

More Front After, ignore the dirty pavers, driveway, and sidewalk

Anyone remember me talking about hauling all those rocks and rocks and rocks and rocks and rocks (remember, our new house was built on an old gravel pit). Well, here are some of them...a very small portion of them, actually.....

Rocks Before...

Rocks After...

And here are Kev and my dad, and my brother (driving the truck) pulling these boulders out of the lake several weeks ago. And to think, there are another 3 or 4 about this size, (a little bit deeper in the water) that we could have gotten!

Finally, here is Kev on the new toy he bought this weekend. He and our friend Joel went to pick this up together on Saturday, and they were SO Tim the Toolman Taylor about the whole process, Arr Arr Arr. Oh yeah, and the pile of mulch in the background on the driveway.

What a weekend. Utterly exhausting, but, oh so productive!

It's a Sandwich Bag!

On Monday evening, Kevin was supervising Jordyn and Liam making their lunches for the week. We decided that every Sunday (or in this case since it was a holiday, Monday) that the school week would go by much more smoothly if all lunches were made ahead of time, and with me out of town traveling, this would be one less thing for Kevin to worry about.

Anyway, so Kevin is supervising this process. And when Jordyn finished making her first sandwich, she reached for a sandwich bag. (Keep in mind that Jordyn has been making her own lunches since she was in second grade, so she knows how to make a lunch). However, Kevin, being the supervisor and almighty dad, insisted that she use the saran wrap instead of the sandwich bag because the saran wrap is more economical and sandwich bags are expensive.

WHAT? It's a sandwich bag!! Into which you insert a SANDWICH.

Oh, OK Don. OK Bennie. Kevin totally sounded like HIS dad or MY dad who pinched their pennies much tighter than we do ours (wait a minute, I'm not sure we pinch our pennies at all, even though we constantly say - OK, we need to go on a budget now, for real this time. Budget smudget.) My family didn't even bother buying sandwich bags, so there was never even the option.

After some frustration wrapping her first sandwich unsuccessfully in saran wrap, I told Jordyn to use a sandwich bag on the next sandwich. That's what they're for, after all.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Yogos are CRACK for Kids

Kevin tried to warn me. A couple of months ago he put a moratorium on the purchase of Yogos. He was tired of the kids asking for them (or flat out taking them out of the snack basket) every other second. Plus, he tells me, when they would spill (which is often the case when a 3 year old opens any snack), the round bits of fruity yogurty covered balls would go rolling across the floor into all corners of the kitchen never again to be retrieved.

But, as we were back to school snack/food/beverage shopping on Monday, I couldn't resist. They were on sale! (3 boxes for $6!!) And the kids- especially Owen - absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Yogos. So, in to the cart they go (when Kevin wasn't looking, of course).

A day later, and two boxes of Yogos g-o-n-e...let's just say I've decided to reinstate the Yogo moratorium.

Crack is whack.

Back to School

The new school year is here!! I can hardly believe it! In a couple more minutes, Jordyn will have completed her first day (half day) of MIDDLE SCHOOL and in a couple of hours, Liam will have completed his first day (half day) of FIRST GRADE!
Here are a couple of the first-day-of school pictures:

Owen thought he was going to school today, too, but he's not ready for that. I may send him to 4 year old preschool next year, but for now, going to Nee Nee's is enough for him. He insisted on putting a snack in his Thomas the Train back pack and taking it to Nee Nee's.

Back to school for me is kind of like January 1st, full of new beginnings. So, I've made some Back to School Year's Resolutions:
First, I'm re-committing to my diet and exercise regimen. Today, I did the NYC Ballet DVD for the first time. It was a great work out, plus, I felt so cultured and refined for having tapped into my inner ballerina. However, Owen felt compelled to tickle my feet as I was doing the floor barre exercises, which brought me down from my prima ballerina pedestal and back to reality just a bit. (what in the ham sandwich was he doing up at 6am ANYWAY?)
Second, well, I guess there really isn't a second resolution other than to stay organized, stop procrastinating, keep up with the laundry and the gardening, manage a comfortable work/life/mom/wife/friend/family balance never yell at my kids and try not to lose my patience with them, have meaningful conversations with my husband on a regular basis, write timely thank you notes, create spectacular scrapbooks, drink more water, take my vitamins daily, and all that other BS that's supposed to make me a better person.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

7:20 am....AMAZING!

Just as Jordyn is approaching a milestone by entering Middle School next week, Liam has also just reached a milestone. Last night, he had his first official slumber, excuse me, Sleepover (apparently, slumber parties are for girls). So, he had 5 boys spend the night ranging in age from 5 to 8.

The boys got here around 3pm on Friday. They played tee ball in the front yard, ate pizza for dinner, they had sword fights and tore apart the toy room, they went swimming in the lake, then they got into their jammies and settled down to watch a couple of movies with a juice box and some snacks. And, to my surprise, when I checked on the movie-watching situation around 11:30 pm, they were all SOUND asleep, and one of them had even turned off the tv already! No blow outs, nobody crying to go home, no enormous drama.

But, the most amazing part of all was that they slept in until 7:20 am the next morning! Previously when 1 boy or the other from this group of kids has stayed the night with us in the past, they have arisen at the what-are-you-doing-up-so-early time of 5:00 am! So, I was thankfully amazed, that they slept in until 7:20 am.....AMAZING!

They watched another movie in the morning, ate breakfast, went minnow hunting in the lake, and played another round of tee ball in the front yard while waiting for their parents to come pick them up.

A completely successful slumber party, er sleepover, if ever there was one!!