Friday, August 28, 2009

Hilton Head Island -

saying good bye -
we ended our stay with wave riding and skim boarding in the morning.  A thunderstorm rolled through mid day so we biked back and started packing.  Tim took Beanie out for her date this afternoon; they stopped at the Hilton Head Museum where they saw a sea turtle skeleton, a shrimp boat named The Miss Kathleen and a few other things Beanie excitedly rattled off.  They also stopped at "Off 5th Avenue" but luckily they didn't buy anything.  I might have had to get my ugly out.  Mean time the rest off us knocked off laundry and hung out.
Currently Tim is packing the car - we'll leave at 3 or 4 AM tomorrow.  We like getting as far as we can before the rest of the world decides to drive to or from the beach on a Saturday morning!

ah yes - Tim comes in and sees that I am NOT doing anything he deems productive and says. "I'm going to fill up the car with gas. When I get back can you be ready for the final push?"

I smile and nod. But what I"m thinking is "my clothes for tomorrow are on the dresser. So is my purse. In the bathroom is a toothbrush, a hairbrush (man likes a girl with long-ish hair - hair requires maintenance) contacts and contact solution. WHAT do you want organized?"

FINE I will put away the computer.

30 minutes later;
man comes in. looks at kitchen. notes bag of nonperishables left. grabs beer. sits on couch with kids.


and so I will finish playing with pictures.  

Beanie kept stepping on sand dollars in the water. I've been visiting Hilton Head off and on for 14 years. My husband has been coming much much longer. I haven't ever seen a sand dollar, a piece of a sand dollar or anything that would make one to believe you could see/find sand dollars here. Well, people were finding tons of them. They have a soft brownish covering and purpleish leg/frond things underneath. I never saw an alive sand dollar before. Beans just picked up a few to look at and put them back and then she was a riot about only collecting ones she knew were dead when she saw them being washed around in the surf.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heroes - a small addiction

I am not a TV person.
I grew up in a house without a T.V.
(yes I'm American. yes, I think I'm normal. and really - we didn't have a T.V.)
I like T.V. I just don't make time for it and find most of it stupid.

every now and then I get hooked. The first season of "Desperate Housewives" I was all over it.
And I loved "Greys Anatomy" but then I think we had a new kid and well... my schedule got all messed up...

My husband got me hooked on Heroes.
So... We buy it via itunes and download it...
And after we put the kids to bed here on vacation, we spend literally hours (HOURS) watching episode after episode. We drilled through Season 3 this week and now we are working on 4. (I think - unless I have my sequencing wrong - ) Gabriel/Sylar just hooked up with the very scary military guy in black and Nathan's on the run.

Kids are in bed and I gotta go...

Monday, August 24, 2009

cute (kid) shoes giveaway

sorry - I'm a shoe hound, I'd go bananas clicking on cute shoes for me! but I'm about to go almost as bananas trying to win this giveaway - these are really - really cute kid shoes!
please run (don't walk) over to "RaisingMy4Sons" and check out her See Kai Run give away.
Raising My 4 Sons
These are really, really cute shoes. The contest is open to persons in the US and Canada and ends Sept 1st. Go check it out!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wave riding... suh-weet!

Hurricane Bill has passed us by. I have not been paying attention to the news so I hope that it passed us by without flattening some other local.
The jelly fish that were washed up all over the shore are gone - the waves are fabulous. After a quiet walk with Tiger this morning we headed back and joined the rest of the tribe and biked to the beach. The waves were tossing everybody around. That is unusual for this beach. Hilton Head is on a "shelf" we don't get the rip tide (according to the life guards) and it is fairly shallow for a ways out so we don't get big waves, just gentle rollers.
Ha ha! Not today. They were over my husband's head. He had the three oldest kids out with their wave rider boards for hours.
Bitsy, it turns out, is insane. She kept jumping into the water, getting knocked over, getting pulled up by me, pushing me away, getting knocked over. I was sure she was going to drown or get washed away.
There were lots more sand dollars today. And this morning Tiger and I found a washed up horseshoe crab - it was the biggest one I've ever seen. The body had been eaten so it was just the shell. Without the tail is was bigger than Tiger's head.
We stayed until maybe 3 and headed back to the time share.
I found Tim's i phone in the bag so I tried to take pictures. But I couldn't see because it was so sunny. They are dark...

random - yesterday we were out driving around and stopped by the movie theater. I wanted to check on times for G- Force which the kids really want to see. A gentleman came out of the theater to ask me if I was there for the morning movie. Apparently a local Austim Support Group was having a movie at the theater - with the sound not as loud as normal and the lights dimmed but not dark. I'd never heard of such a thing; but it sounded really cool. I hope they got a good turn out.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hilton Head SC - We are having a great time!

taken on the back deck, waiting for a storm to come in.

We are having such a good time. Tim drove here from Florida yesterday - about 3 hours from Jacksonville he said. He stopped and bought groceries - it seems everything is pricier on the island.

There is a storm brewing in the Atlantic and add that to a full moon and there have been coastal flood advisories and rip tide advisories.

This morning Beanie and I headed out on bikes early, just us two, to walk the beach. The tide was fairly high and moving out. There were lots of jelly fish washed up from the higher tides over night. We saw three the size of dinner plates! She also found 7 sand dollars. 2 were chipped but 5 were fully intact. She is very cute - she takes each one rolling around in the surf and holds it under water to see if it is alive and then places it on wet sand. The healthy ones seem to bury themselves. None of the ones she found this morning dug in so we kept them all.

We rode our bikes back to the house and Tim had lunches packed up and ready to go. So we got everybody changed into bathing suits and headed back to the beach.

M-Lyons can ride all the way there by herself (with her training wheels) and so everybody is on bikes except Bitsy. She gets pulled in the bike carriage.

I had asked the life guards about the rip tide warnings and they said it didn't concern this area so the kids brought their wave boards. Beans, Tiger and Dragon did lots of wave riding. Tiger spent almost the whole day catching waves. Beans and Dragon spent a lot of time combing the beach for shells. It isn't a good shell sort of beach, most things are broken and shaped by the waves, but they find those interesting as well.

Someone happened upon a "welk" in the surf. A large conch shell with a snail like thing in it. They waded it back out to about waist height to see if it could get itself back into safer waters.

After dinner a thunder storm moved through. Once it got quiet I took Beanie and Tiger back to the ocean (about 7 PM) to watch the waves as they are always fun after a storm. Far off we could see lightning flashing. Walking to the car Beanie gave me a hug. "Thanks for taking us back out." and then with a hug, "you are such a cool mom."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

playing with youtube

Well - we spent Sunday and Monday playing at the beach. Monday was a little bit of a challenge; Tim was at his client's in Florida and I had the 5. Truthfully everybody was awesome but there are inherent challenges in taking this spread of ages to play on the beach - the 3 oldest are reasonably strong swimmers (it is pretty shallow for a while here) and interested in wave riding - the 4 yr old WANTS to ride waves but doesn't quite get it and sometimes it is a bit scary - the 2 yr old requires constant attention... but we did okay. Except I got sunburnt. Nobody else did - I get mom points there. But it is crazy - I'm fairly dark for a white girl and I don't burn. (well, usually) So we took a break today. M-Lyons got out her bike with the trainers and practiced (it is fairly flat here) and the girls and I painted our nails a "Tia Color" metalic mermaid blue - and we played with the video feature on my iphone.
One of the DataXstream sales guys complains that we aren't cool enough. We don't have any videos on Youtube. (well, why would we?) So... "The Future Geeks of DataXstream" are taking matters into their own hands.
One of our attempts:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

we made it :-)

ah - Hilton Head rocks!
We drove yesterday - left Williamsburg around 12:30 - after spending the morning cleaning our house as a family - all the bathrooms are scrubbed - kids rooms cleaned and vacuumed (except the small girls - they destroyed their room after their older siblings helped them clean it) kitchen detailed - even my room is clean. (THAT NEVER HAPPENS!)
Had lunch from Subway while on the Jamestown Ferry and then a long day of driving. We stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Florence SC (that matters because we used to stop at my sister's house in Florence SC but she moved a few years ago to PA) - we met the sweetest waitress named Brandy. Great girl. She was fascinated by the kids. We didn't stay for desert - Tim wanted to get back in the car - but while he filled up the gas tank I went looking for something to pass out. I have two new favorite cookies now... the first is "Mom's Apple Pie Cookies" by Too Good Gourmet. YUM! AND they are made in the US (this is big to me right now. If things are not made in the US, Canada or the EU I really don't want to ingest them. There have been too many instances of differences in standards and my body is not a lab rat.) AND on the ingredient list - it is all REAL food. Flour, sugar, butter, oats, eggs, apple pie spice blend, cinnamon, vanilla extract, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar - and one suspicious one "propylene glycol." I'll googled that later. Totally yummy and I'm so excited that they are made out of real food. You have no idea!
The other one is "Maple Cream Cookies" by Maple Grove Farms in Vermont. OMG! Very yummy, very sweet - awesome with milk or coffee! I'm so addicted! These cookies are made i Canada. BUT - Not as high on the real food rating - it includes artificial flavors and colors. Bummer.

We arrived at the Shipyard (where we stay) around 11 PM or so. Got everybody settled.

This morning - my husband snuck out to get me coffee from Starbucks and to stop at the grocery for bagels & cheerios & bananas. And then the BEACH!

M-Lyons, Dragon, Tiger and Beanie spent HOURS on wave boards in the surf. Tim took pictures... I'll figure out where all the connector thingys are later...

Tomorrow AM he drives to work (his client is in Florida) until Thursday. He gets next week off. His parents own this week at the timeshare but they aren't using it this year and so, last minute, offered it to us. *total cheshire cat grin*

well darn it! I just googled propylene glycol. EWWWW!!!


Propylene Glycol

A cosmetic form of mineral oil found in automatic brake and hydraulic fluid and industrial antifreeze. In the skin and hair, propylene glycol works as a humescent, which causes retention of moisture content of skin or cosmetic products by preventing the escape of moisture or water. The Material Safety Data Sheet warns users to avoid skin contact with propylene glycol as this strong skin irritant can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.


What is propylene glycol?

Propylene glycol is a clear, colorless, slightly syrupy liquids at room temperature. It may exist in air in the vapor form, although propylene glycol must be heated or briskly shaken to produce a vapor. Propylene glycol is practically odorless and tasteless.

Propylene glycol is used to make antifreeze and deicing solutions for cars, airplanes, and boats; to make polyester compounds; and as solvent in the paint and plastics industries.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified propylene glycol as an additive that is “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. It is used to absorb extra water and maintain moisture in certain medicines, cosmetics, or food products. It is a solvent for food colors and flavors.

I CANNOT BELIEVE IT!!! SOOO disillusioned!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Catching up with myself

So... sorry... everybody is surely over the whole family reunion in PA bit but the pictures are so great and my husband only took 1,000 (truly) and I haven't scrapbooked in 2 years and I figure if we loose the files I'll at least have SOME pictures out in blogland right?

Which brings up - do you blog for yourself? to dialogue with regular readers? or to catch the eye of new readers? I think I'm still defining my mission here.

But I digress.

We got home Tuesday. Did I mention I did a FABULOUS job packing up and being organized and I FORGOT my purse in the room? Yep. I also couldn't find my phone but my husband found it. I never told him about the purse. I didn't realize it was missing until we were home and then Wednesday morning I got a phone call from a Miss Adriana, Housekeeping Manager at SkyTop "Mrs. Yates... we found your purse. I saw your business card in your wallet and that is how I found you." She sent it out THAT day. It arrived via post today. Thank goodness for honest people who go above and beyond.

Wednesday Beanie and I had a meeting with the assistant principal at the Jr. High School to discuss her "double label" as both LD (learning disabled) and Visions (gifted). I am so glad we did. We had a great meeting and established that we needed to add some specific points to the IEP (individual education plan) like "no grading spelling on essays" and "books on tape" to help her keep up with literature assignments. She will also get work with word study and Orton Gillingham. Thankfully the Visions teacher is more than reasonable and doesn't look to have issue with dyslexia and so I think we'll have a good start.

Thursday I had a meeting with the principal of the Elementary School. This is the school I took Dragon OUT of last spring; but the husband has said in no uncertain terms that we do not have the cash flow to keep Dragon in the private school. I have fought, cried, prayed, wished all summer and Dragon is going back to the public school. So... I walked into our 9 AM meeting and said, "I am here to talk about Dragon. We don't have the funds right now and I need to bring him back. And I have the audacity to do so and make several requests." She laughed and said "Well, we can always ask." It set a good tone and we have a plan to try. Keep your fingers crossed.

This morning at 8:45 Beanie and I arrived at the Pediatrician's for her check up and mandatory shots for Jr. High. UGH. I am anti inoculations. But some are state mandated and my husband and I disagree... so on the law ones I acquiesce. (you can refuse but then I don't believe the child can attend school. My first natural practitioner home schooled her children originally because she did not want to inoculate them.) As I didn't have my purse yet, I showed up without ID, without insurance info, without a number to call... I called my husband's executive assistant and asked her for an 800 number and the staff at the doctor's office got on the phone. They were not pleased but they were polite and got it done. We went home and Beanie baked them sugar cookies which we delivered this afternoon. And then drove straight to the post office with my newly delivered wallet and mailed off Knitty's package. It's coming Knitty!

In between all of this I am unpacking and doing laundry. My husband flies home tonight and we repack it all back up again (minus the posh clothes) and head to the beach. I DO live a nice life!

Dressed for Dinner

My grandparents (seated) me right behind my grandfather. I'm the oldest grandchild. One of my cousins is holding M-Lyons and the blonde in the red shrug is the youngest grandchild. She's in High School.

having given the BEHAVE in the dining room OR ELSE speach, Mommy procedes to model perfect behavior

On Saturday Night SkyTop hosts "The Grand March" a tradition going back to who knows when. They have a live band in, roll up the carpets, and set to dancing. 50's music, the Hokie Pokie, Hula Hoops, and then something to do with 4 corners and the grand elimination followed by a rowdy march in and out of the building. I had Bitsy up in our room on the third floor, she found it all over whelming, we could hear them without difficulty. It is great fun!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More SkyTop

So I showed you the amazing building - it is in the Historic Hotels of America registry. Link
The is a gorgeous lake with a nice trail around it. A beautiful golf course and the grounds are covered in gardens. Inside there is a basement with a cool game room including ping pong and indoor miniature golf.

my posh boys playing ping pong

two of my girls playing miniature golf indoors on a rainy day

Some of my cousins and some of my kids hanging out in the main hall, sitting area. This is where we all gather as we arrive and every afternoon at 4 there is tea service.

I am not sure when my dad's family first gathered here. I first joined them in 1996, I was newly married and living in Wisconsin. During a phone call with my mother she mentioned plans to join the family in the Poconos Mountains and I asked if I was invited. She said she didn't know. I think my reaction was along the lines of "well, if YOUR invited, I'm invited. I was born into this family!" So I asked who was in charge and she told me which Uncle had made arrangements and I called him and asked if I was invited. He said sure. So my new husband and I threw some things together and drove all night from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania and showed up at this ritzy resort driving his 1988 Delta 88 with McDonald's wrappers all over it from the road trip. The same guys who were valet parking the cars then, and bringing in the bags then, are working there now. The same guy is managing the dining room. I don't recognize the front desk personnel though. But there are lots of other faces I do recognize.
That first year we brought out a big old cheese head hat for my grandfather for his birthday present (the Packers had just won the SuperBowl). And I remember pouring an insane amount of money in the form of quarters into the video game "Area 51" with my husband.
It is a little different now but we still have fun ;-)

I decided I'd do the dinner pictures separately. We dress for dinner. So fabulous!

I know I complain and grouse and what not on occasion - but I do live a charmed life and I am GRATEFUL every day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Blueberry picking at Skytop

Every August my grandfather hosts a family reunion at Skytop Lodge in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania.  Like I said in my "I'm supposed to be packing" post - totally "Dirty Dancing" kinda place.  It is AMAZING.  Anyway - it is also a very "outdoorsy" kind of place.

On Saturday my oldest 4 went on an organized hike up the ridge with my husband.  It starts at the lodge and ends at the picnic at Robin Hood Cove near the lake.  The guy leading the hike told them that the blueberries along the trail were true blueberries and safe for eating.  He also told them that if you hike the trail very early in the morning you'll see bears eating blueberries. 

On Monday my sister and two of her kids joined us as we walked in the direction of the waterfalls.  My husband really wanted to reach the falls but we had 7 kids happily picking blue berries.  In 2 hours we hadn't made it yet so my sister and I turned back around with the youngest ones and my son who wanted to stay with his cousins. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'm supposed to be packing but...

whenever I'm running around my brain kicks into gear - I've been on the computer all day (don't tell Tim!)
Facebooking and beginning to ask for auction donations and then trying to say THANK YOU to the businesses that said yes.
One of my favorites:
"House of Mongrel" is a new children's clothing line
they launched in 2008 - organic clothes, low impact dyes, made in the UNITED STATES (seriously)
and funky - cute - comfy
check em out:
they just started on twitter and totally need followers - if you like baby clothes or were ever interested in that industry check out House of Mongrel
House of Mongrel's web page
the Look Book
and they have a facebook fanpage
so please, if you are so inclined, check em out, fan em or follow em. They are hip, they are cool, and they are donating to our preschool's scholarship auction.
and of course the list of where to shop for their things:

Monday, August 3, 2009

Purging and Consignment shopping

Being a HUGE fan of consignment shopping the kids and I headed off this morning. We had a large box and bag of things not consignment worthy which we dropped at the Thrift Shop but didn't go in. I didn't have tons of cash and wanted to get to the consignment shop before we all were too cranky (at this point in the summer that is anytime after breakfast but anyway)
I had $40.00 in my consignment account waiting for me. Yay. We brought in a small bag of things, mostly Halloween, to sell and then went browsing about. Next weekend is the annual family reunion hosted by my grandparents. As it is at a posh golf place - all stone and mahogany up in the Poconos (think Dirty Dancing) we try to please both the resort and my grandmother and wear "resort attire." Luckily I can still use the suits from my sisters wedding so that gets us through the fanciness of the "Grand March" on Saturday - but I need a few button downs for the boys to wear to dinner. No such luck. However - there is a lovely grey Garnet Hill sweater that must have just been put out. As I drool over that catalog regularly I feel rather confident in my estimate that the sweater would fetch $50 to $70 new. It was in excellent condition and priced for $15. YAY! We picked up a dress for Beanie, and then went to the Prime Outlets with fingers crossed. Ralph Lauren was running good sales and we found a short sleeved button down shirt and a polo shirt for a total of $14.00. Perfect. And for now anyway I can afford a new shirt at $7.00. This weekend will be the big back to school craziness - no sales tax(!) on back to school items. It will be mobbed. But I'll be hanging out in the moutains admiring my posh boys in their nice shirts. :-)

shouting to the Universe

I have found that I have incredible luck with shouting out at the Universe "I need this" and somehow it ends up coming my way. I know I have lived a totally charmed life (and I AM thankful and completely aware how lucky I am). But I find myself struggling just now with the feeling that I am a bit trapped and cannot get out. I do not like this feeling:

So Shouting!!!

There are bloggers with sponsors. I need sponsors. Some of them have the most amazing sponsors - "Land of Nod" for example (have you seen that catalog?) How do they find these sponsors???

My sponsor wish list:

Keystone Colorado and or Vail Colorado (we used to cash in all travel points and head to Vail the last week it was open. Haven't made it the last 2 years. Very SAD!)

Athleteca or Title Nine

Gap Kids

Simply Shoes

Garnet Hill

Barnes and Noble, or Amazon, or Books a Million (I'm not picky)

Trader Joes

The Pottery Barn

an airline (can you just see them trying to fit my batch in first class amongst all the suits? we'd take up the whole cabin!)

Neiman Marcus or just Ralph Lauren would do too

a fabulous stylist too. Somebody needs to do something with my hair and get me regular waxing and nail appointments. I mean - puhleeze

visualize me sitting crisscrossed with my fingers in little yoga circles saying "ohmmmm" and being one with the universe while I wait.

except - the kids want breakfast. Oh well, Pancakes it is. Oatmeal pancakes with butter and pure maple syrup. Add fresh hot coffee and even a wish list can't beat that.

(I forgot Hannah Anderson - the world's BEST PJs and underpants and SOOOO good for kids who are itchy clothes sensitive
and also
Boden (ooh la la) and Mini Boden)

writing about Sparky & Big Boy - bearded dragons

So I've been back over there at Associated Content again; writing about Sparky and Big Boy the two beardies that live with us. (the blog title is from 18 months ago - when we loaded the 5 kids, 2 labs, lizard and crab into the mimivan and DROVE from Virginia to Colorado...) there are currently 2 lizards and a snake in our midst (thats another story) and I'm rambling. See what happens when I wake up at 1 AM and cannot fall back asleep? I make no sense!
Anyway - my point was - I would like to invite you to go read about Beanie and her dragons or check out my A.C. profile and read one of my other pieces. Thanks!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to KNITTY!

My oldest "Beanie" pulled Knitty's name from the bowl and we have our winner.  

Thank you all for participating!  I really and truly appreciate it!