Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Baby Molly!

On Saturday Miss Molly turned 1!! Oh, how we have loved watching her grow this year!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Four Miles And A Day Ago

Like all little kids, Emma sometimes struggles to understand the difference between a day, a week, a month, yesterday, tomorrow, a minute, an hour and even distances like a block or a mile.

So when she was little in order to express any sense of time, either in the past or the future, she started saying "four miles and a day ago". We have no idea where she got it from, it sounds a little Lincolnish, but we're pretty sure that she did not get it from him.

She understands the concept now of days: church on Sunday, school on Monday, Daddy is home Saturday, etc. And she somewhat understands now the concept of a minute and a second. She even understands the difference between tomorrow and yesterday.

But somehow she still says "Four miles and a day ago, when we went to the store. . ." or "Four miles and a day ago when it was my birthday. . ."

It's cute & confusing & all Emma, wrapped up in one.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day Four of Many

Today is Day Four of living in a hotel. Some parts of some days I think that I am okay and can get organized and survive this next month. Other parts of other days I cry and talk to Garry about the possibility of putting me on a plane West.

Today we're in the Holiday Inn. One room, two beds, one bathroom, three drawers, one microwave, one bathroom sink, one mini fridge and five people. That math does not add up in so many ways.

For the longest time I have wanted to move out of the townhouse with its three bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, one big fridge, two living rooms, a dining room, a kitchen and a garbage disposal! I thought that it was too small. So today while I was trying to get ready and wondering in what suitcase my socks were, a little voice in my head asked, "Now will you learn to be grateful for what you have?"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm Holding. . .

Yesterday I played a little game of "Who's On First" with Washington Gas, a local utility company. We will be in a hotel starting Friday night, and I needed the gas turned off, but since we have gas heat, I wanted it turned off Saturday when we hand over the keys.

But, of course, it cannot be done on a weekend, and so my choices were Friday, with the person coming out between 7 am and 5 pm or Monday sometime between 7 am and 5 pm. I still needed heat on Friday but could not let the friendly Washington Gas guy into a house and into the backyard (where the meter and controls are) that I no longer own on Monday.

What I needed, and what I eventually got, was a smaller window on Friday afternoon, somewhere between 12-5. But boy, it took a lot to get there, and I was really frustrated by the end of the conversation.

My saving grace was that I heard, while on hold for the upteenth time, that at the end of the call I could provide feedback through a quick survey. After ten exhausting minutes of explaining to the man why I really needed Friday afternoon and not Friday morning and definitely not Monday, I was ready for that survey.

He ended our call with his standard "Thank you for calling. Please let us know if we can help you in the future" speech and then muttered softly a little blurb about a survey.

Sensing 'crazy lady who wants heat for her family' was still on the line, he asked if I wanted anything else.

"Oh, no," I replied. "I'm just holding for the survey."

I know that they do not mean much and are probably not given much attention, but telling that guy that I was holding for the survey was the best part of my day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Have You Met My Molly?

Molly has had a cold and a runny nose for quite awhile. I've watched it nervously because when Macey had any type of congestion, it always went into her ears. Did I have an Emma or a Macey on my hands? I wasn't sure.

Finally after Monday night where I was up every two hours, I decided to take her to the doctor. She was not running a fever and so there was a chance I was get scolded for bringing my child in for a runny nose.

But no, she had a DOUBLE ear infection. I asked the doctor how I could tell she had an ear infection if she doesn't run a fever.

"Well," he said, "you watch for general crankiness and not being able to sleep."

Woah, doc, have you even met my Molly?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The First Victim

Deep down, deep, deep down, Garry loves to move. He sees it as an opportunity to start throwing away all the "stuff" he has always wanted to throw away. Before he came home from training this weekend, the big outside garbage can was about 1/2 full. By the time he left on Sunday night, it was overflowing.

Some of the first victims? My boosters for toddlers. We had two -- one from when Emma was little and another from Macey. Emma's was creme; Molly's was blue. I am providing these details just to provide some proof that they did, in fact, at one time exist.

They were languishing in the wasteland (otherwise known as the garage) and I asked Garry to go find one of the two for Molly while we are at the hotel.

He came back upstairs empty-handed. "I think we threw them away." Oh no, WE didn't. "I think that we decided that we did not use them much, and we threw them away."

Wow, I was never part of the "we" in this conversation because if I had been asked, I would have said that we did use them. A lot. At least three times a day.

I saw some of the other things that went into the trash, and I just had to shake my head. There's really nothing I can do about it but charge it to his credit card when I have to buy a new one.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I've blogged about it before, I'll blog about it again. I hate the Kay's Jewelers Christmas commercials. They set up an unreasonable expectation of how Christmas should proceed. A man, a woman, a perfect tree with a raging fire in the background. Perfect hair, perfect make-up, the exchange of gifts, a gasp of joy, a huge smile, a lingering kiss. Ahhhh....Christmas.

This Christmas is not going to make it onto any Kay's footage reel. First, we are moving next week. We'll be here in Maryland in a hotel for a few weeks before we head west. If the weather cooperates, we'll get to Utah around December 16th. We'll be in short-term housing and will be scrambling to put up a tree. A tree that we will only be able to decorate about a third of because Molly already proven at church today that she likes to take off Christmas decorations.

The girls will scramble to the tree as soon as they wake up, and my hair and makeup will not be perfect -- not even close. So I'll be dodging the camera every chance I get. I'm not sure if I've been in a single Christmas morning photo since 2003.

And the only sparkling thing that we'll be dreaming of Christmas morning is maybe a stainless steel fridge. With a drink dispenser. I really think that if my kids could get their own drinks of water, it would change my whole life.

Ah, Christmas.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


This time next week we'll be cleaning, getting ready for the final walk through of the townhouse. Then we'll be in a hotel for 2 1/2 weeks and off we go. This week we might also put in an offer on a short sale and hope for the best. Short sales are funny creatures. You can pull your offer at any time without penalty and there is always a chance you will never hear anything back. So, for the sake of our sanity, I guess we'll submit the offer and then try to forget about it.

Time moves along and this week is going to be a busy one! I think that the saddest realization I have had is that Garry is never going to move back into this house. After his training and graduation, we're going to hit the road and head West! He'll never completely live here again, and that makes me a little sad. As our family grew and grew and grew the space was tight and at times I really hated living in this "box" -- and is there anything worse than being on the first floor and realizing you forgot something on the third floor? But, it was our box, and we had a lot of fun here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Same Theme . . . But With Pictures!

The theme of hating to shop at WalMart and my experiences thereat have been a frequent topic on this blog.

Recently Garry found a website called "People of WalMart". If you see someone a little sketchy at WalMart, you are encouraged to take a picture on your cell phone and send in to the website. The pictures and captions are so funny (and a little frightening) that Garry has starting crying he's laughed so hard.

Some of the pictures are from a WalMart in Maryland -- I know everyone is shocked.

Just a warning: some are funny & some are crude.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Benefits of Bad Service?

Yesterday I returned to the Waldorf WalMart. (I know, I know). In Southern Maryland there are two WalMarts, the ghetto Waldorf WalMart one and the so-so one in La Plata. I needed just a few little items. It would be a quick trip. First and foremost, I needed some more Tide.

I didn't have any coupons and sighed when I saw the price for Tide. $13. I always like to buy when it's aound $10, but not that day.

I grabbed a few more items and headed for the check-out aisle. The lady at the register was young and a little cranky. She looked like she wanted to be anywhere but there, but I understood. So did I.

My items were rung up and bagged, and I looked at the amount. $11 and some change.

Well, that was clearly wrong. Should I grab my items and run? Or point out her mistake?

I decided to be honest.

I nodded at the Tide and asked, "Did you ring up the Tide?"

"Yes," she snapped.

Well, clearly no, but who am I to question Ms. Cranky Cannot-Do-Math Pants?

Should I have pressed harder or considered it a benefit of bad service?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Be Content!

In the blog below I talked a little bit about never being content. I always seem to be wanting something else, moving toward something else, nagging about something else. . .especially the nagging part. Garry will say that he doesn't want to fix something because then I'll just start in on something else. I never seem to be content.

This can be a good and bad thing. It has helped me accomplish a lot of goals and get a lot done, especially in regard to education, but it is bad because I am never really satisfied. And I think it would be a lot less exhausting to just be satisfied.

I see this weakness in Emma. If we go to Kings Dominion, she wants to hit Chuck E. Cheese's on the way home. If we have a fun lunch at Red Robin, she wants to go to the park. If I buy her a Snow White doll, she wants Sleeping Beauty. This morning we had cinnamon rolls, and I was so excited to give my girls something for breakfast that they might actually like and be happy about! And they were. But then Emma started in on how great it would be if we could have ice cream today. It drives me crazy mostly because I realize it's my fault, or at least my faulty genes.

How do you teach a five year old about gratitude and contentment when it's a lesson you have not learned yet, either?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Visiting the Hatch Staff

Note to self: when planning a trip into Washington, D.C., always check the news to see if a major protest may be planned at the National Mall. Sadly, I didn't. No parking at the metro, no parking near the mall, no parking at Union Station. Ugh. Eventually I did find something (it was even legal!) and the girls and I were off to visit the Hatch staff!

This was my painting. It was a signed original. When I worked in Senate Russell 143, this was in my office. When we moved to the Hart building, I took it with me. I still miss it.

I am an "uncontent" person. I always want more, something else, something more. But, I can honestly say I was really happy working at Hatch's office, mainly due to the lovely Juliann (shown above). I thanked God everyday for that job, and I still thank Him for those friendships.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

They Don't Live To Serve

Yesterday I was chatting with a friend about the problems I have encountered with customer service at the local Target.

A year ago right around Christmas Garry called the local Target and found out that they had received a shipment of 200 Wii's. Hot dog! He drove to the Target, so excited to make all of his wife's Christmas dreams come true (though he plays more than said wife).

But by the time he got to the store, the clerk said that they were all out. All out? Really? Was there a mass run in 30 minutes? Discouraged, he drove the 20 minutes to another Target and bought the Wii there, telling the clerk at the LaPlata clerk his sad tale.

"They have them," the clerk promised. "They are just too lazy to check. That's the Waldorf store."

But, like Charlie Brown to the football, we keep going back! Garry's luck got even worse when he was shopping for an IPOD dock for me. (I am a LUCKY woman). Garry had a question and turned on the flashing light to signal that he needed assistance.

A clerk came, turned the light off and walked away.

I love that story.

Yesterday I was at Borders and stopped to get a large hot chocolate for me and Emma (Macey was in preschool) and a bagel for Molly. I got the hot chocolate but my bagel was missing. Stupidly, I asked the clerk for my bagel.

"It's in the oven!" she barked.

Wow, crazy lady, I did not know there was an oven and did not ask for a TOASTED bagel. Now I was going to have to wait until it cooled down to give it to Molly. Did she not have kids? Do you know how time slows to an excruciating halt as you wait for food to cool to feed your hungry, screaming little one?

But, bygones. Everyone has a bad day. But then I noticed that she did not tear off the receipt for the customer behind me. She just pointed to it and walked away, clearly instructing her to tear it off by herself because she was ever so busy. The poor lady did as she was instructed, reaching across the cash register and tearing off her receipt. Who has to tear off their own receipts?

The good side of a bad economy is that you are supposed to get great customer service because people are just so grateful that you are shopping. But someone forgot to tell the workers.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Doomed For Failure

Sometimes I wonder if on the path of parenthood I am not completely doomed for failure.

I also have a book blog, and I recently finished and reviewed the book Sing Them Home. In this book, one of the characters is a man in his late 30s but everytime he walks in front of people he remembers that his father (a small town doctor) told him that he had a farmer's swing in his gait. His father (who dies at the very beginning of the book) may have told him everyday that he was smart and wonderful (he didn't), but his son daily remembers that one comment.

For quite awhile I thought that I had time to get this parenthood thing down because the girls were too young to remember my mistakes. But now Emma is five. I remember five! I have memories from being five! What will she remember?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Last Day At Kings Dominion

Garry loves amusement parks. It's a great Cunningham tradition -- getting thrown into the car way before the sun comes up, getting to the park right at opening, and hitting the rides until you collapse in exhaustion at closing time.

We've had season passes to Kings Dominion for several years. Emma is all Cunningham. She loves each and every ride and wishes that she could ride the great big ones! Macey is my girl. I hate scary rides and Macey has only a set few that she'll ride.

On Halloween we met the Moore's at Kings Dominion for one last hoo-rah! We've made great memories there, and I know that Garry will really miss it. Lagoon does not quite measure up to his high standards.

Molly gets to ride the carousel!

Meeting Dora. We were shocked that Molly was brave enough to go see her and hold her hand, but when Garry got out the camera Molly was running away.

One last ride on the Scooby Doo Roller Coaster (their favorite).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween and Halloween and Halloween (oh, and Halloween)

This year the girl's participated in a Halloween that never ended! On the 24th we met the Moore family in St. Mary's County for the annual Haunted Garden. The kids get to walk down a "haunted" path and get candy from local business owners who give candy to the kids and advertisements to the parents. This is our fourth year going -- we love it!

Here we are walking the path. Garry bought Macey (Sleeping Beauty) a wig just that morning. She looked FABULOUS!

Macey was able to go Trick or Treating at North Point High School as part of the preschool program. She got to wear her costume (she was Belle this time) the whole afternoon and had a great time!

On the 30th we went to the church for a little dinner and a great Trunk 'n' Treat. The girls got a ton of candy and had a lot of fun. Molly had a few dum-dums and here she's giving the cornbread a try.

Every year I try to come up with an awesome trunk for the Trunk 'n' Treat . . . and I fail miserably. My decorations refused to light up and so I had to be content with danger tape and fake cobwebs. Sigh.

Finally, the real Halloween arrived! We spent most of the day at Kings Dominion and got home in time to take the girls around the neighborhood. I'm always surprised at how few people hand out candy on Halloween. When I was a child, everyone handed out candy or faced the consequences!

This time Macey was Barbie: Diamond Castle. She had a good time but was done after about 45 minutes.

Emma's favorite house gave out large candy bars. She got a whole Hershey bar and dug into it when she got home. When I was little, my next door neighbors would always save a special King Sized candy bar for when I came to their home. Bless the McCarthy's. That's such a huge thing in the life of a child -- I still remember!

Molly got a lot of ooohhhs and aaahhhhhs for being the cutest pumpkin EVER. But Garry got just as many complements. And you can see why.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

County Champ!

When our neighborhood has its National Night Out, Emma and I were waiting for the games to start. Specifically, she wanted to try out the Hula-Hoop competition, not knowing that there are girls in our neighborhood who can hula hoop until the sun goes down! While we waited, she entered a County coloring contest, and she won for her age group!
We went to the Award Ceremony. Her picture was displayed, she met the Sheriff and McGruff the Crime Dog and she received an award: an AquaDoodle. It was a great night!