Wednesday, February 08, 2012


I've been a little obsessed with reading lately. I read The Hunger Games in just a few nights and then I started Catching Fire on Monday night. Did I say obsessed? :) Anyway, that's a big reason I haven't popped back on here!

I started a Biggest Loser Challenge a couple of weeks ago. It's with Herbalife protein shakes. In 2 weeks, I'm down 5.5 lbs. Whoop whoop!!! And, I finished another BLC that a college friend is part of......and I won it!!! I lost 3.7% of my weight from 12/2 to 2/3. I'm especially proud that I managed to lose a couple of pounds during December, when I typically gain it! Look out size 8's that have been hanging in my closet for 3 I come!

Lacey has been playing indoor soccer the last several weeks. I had talked to her about playing soccer for a couple of years, but she had no interest in it. I think she was just scared to try. But, some of her friends (including a BFF...Mallory) was playing, so she agreed to give it a shot. She's doing pretty well with it, too! I've loved watching her gain more confidence over the last few weeks.

Last Saturday, during the last 2 minutes of the game, a ball was kicked into her chest. :( The coach carried her off and she was crying. But, she pulled it together enough to walk out at the end of the game for the handshakes.

She & Leah both want to play spring soccer, so I know we'll be running around juggling a lot then.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Weekend Update

I feel like I need a weekend after my weekend! (Kind of like needing a vacation after vacation!) Yesterday, I got up early and went to Weight Watchers to weigh in. I hadn't been since December 10th and needed to show my face. I did well through the holidays and actually lost a little bit of weight. :) (Hopefully that isn't just from having a kidney infection that caused vomiting!) Lacey & I went to a Girl Scout event from 11:00 - 3:00. A couple of the troops in our Service Unit put on a "Beach Party" for all the troops in our Unit. All of the girls in my troop (10) made it. They played games for the first 90 minutes, took a lunch break, then crafts. I was beat by the time I got home since I'd been on my feet for the whole 4 hours. But, I couldn't sit down and put up my feet. There was a party to attend. Justin is heading into the Air Force on Tuesday and we needed to celebrate with him. :) Rick & Kristina had a party at Trinity Church Hall with family and friends. Food (potluck), a DJ/Karaoke and lots of fun. The Hall has a little back room that's a play area and they stayed back there almost the whole night. A couple of young cousins were there (11 and 9) and they all played really well together. I think it's the latest my girls have ever stayed up. We left around 11:00, I think and Leah fell asleep when we turned into our neighborhood. You'd think I'd decide to make today a quiet day, right? Wrong. The girls have both said recently that they want to have their own rooms. They've shared a room since March 2010. We started this morning at Lowe's, buying painting supplies. The "playroom" needed a new coat of paint before we could move Leah's furniture in. I painted for a few hours this afternoon. Then, as soon as the paint was dry, we started moving the furniture. We still have to hang pictures and shelves back up, but it's mostly done. So.... Lacey wanted to sleep in Leah's room. On the floor. She had a bed set up. Then, she decided to go back to her room. And, Leah decided she wanted to be on Lacey's floor. Now it's 9:20. Lacey is usually asleep by 8:30 and Leah by 9:00. They will be so tired tomorrow. I've yelled too much and feel horrible about that, but I was really thinking after all the work today I'd like to sit and watch DH while sipping a glass of wine. Frustrating to still be fighting them at 9:20. Hopefully tomorrow night will go more easily. Leah has promised to sleep in her room then.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Computer Issues

Our family computer (desktop) has needed some "attention" for a while now. The last time we had it cleaned up was in 2008. It was one of those things on my list for weeks months. Ridiculous. Yesterday morning when I was on the computer, I got a warning message about a "bot". So, I called Hunter - the guy that fixed our computer back in 2008. Dropped it off today. He said he found several issues and he took care of and told me we should get a new hard drive, too. The new hard drive will be about 3x as big as the old one, so it will be like a new computer to us. :)

Happy New Year!

I've been considering new year's resolutions over the last few days, but haven't taken the time to write them down. So, I'll do that here.

1) Make a real effort at this blog! (More time blogging, less time Facebooking.)

2) Take better care of myself. This includes several different things: get to bed earlier, make time to exercise, eat more fruits and veggies....less sugar, wash my face each get the picture.

3) Organization! This was on the list in 2011, too. I know I did a little better, but need to build on it more. (I wish the rest of my family was on board with organizing, too.)

4) Do better with keeping the house picked up.

Let's see how I do!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New York

I’m in NY for several days for a client’s convention. This might be the least favorite part of my job. We have a booth/table at the Exhibit Hall to advertise the client’s insurance program. In my experience, most members – regardless of the client – avoid the insurance booth. So, it makes for a long, boring day. The hours at this particular convention used to be 10 hour days. By myself. Thankfully, this year they scheduled a 3 hour break in the middle of the day. This was likely done because of complaints from others last year. We would be there for 10 hours and the attendees were off touring the city we were in. They were not coming to see the booths! Anyway, that 3 hour break made a huge difference yesterday (the first day).

I used to attend another convention for a large client that wanted (and needed) to have several people working the booth. So, there were others to talk to and do things with in the evenings. Lots of touring the cities we would visit, etc. When I’m by myself, I tend to just enjoy the silence of a hotel room at night; a glass of wine; what I want to watch on TV; room service; and no bedtime battles (or bedtime Olympics, as some of my other mom friends call it).

I got here on Friday afternoon. After checking in at the exhibiting area to make sure all my things arrived, I headed back to the hotel. A nasty rain storm was coming and I had no interest in being out in it. After just hanging out for a bit, I ended up doing the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. (Love that workout…and I’m still a little sore today.) Then, I ordered room service (salad and wine) and settled in for a night of TV. Not very interesting, but quite relaxing.

During the break yesterday, I changed clothes & put on my walking shoes…..and, walked for 3 miles. I was hoping to stumble across a good store to buy gifts for the kids, but didn’t see anything interesting for them. So, it was just a good exercise walk.

Last night was pretty much a repeat of Friday night. There was an opening reception that I had a ticket for, but I never really attend those things. By the end of the day, I’m pretty done with people. And, other than just a couple of people, I don’t know anyone. I probably should go to these things. I feel guilty when I don’t. But….oh well. It’s done now.

We joined Netflix a couple of months ago & it is awesome being able to download movies and TV shows. There wasn’t anything on live TV last night, so I just found things on Netflix.

I got an iPhone last week, so I’ve been playing with that quite a bit. It has something called Face Time, which is basically a way to video chat with others that have an iPhone or iTouch. Since I already had an iTouch…..I was able to chat with Butch & the girls last night. Very cool. I gave them a tour of the hotel room and showed them the view from the window. Lacey loved all of it. Leah was too sad about Mommy not being home to enjoy the call. She just kept telling me to come home.

Still 2+ hours from my break today. I'm planning on walking again. This time I WILL find something for the girls. I have a better idea of which stores I want to go to.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekend Update

Monday comes, and I can never really remember what we did all weekend. Ridiculous.

We thought about going out on Friday night, but didn't call ahead of time for our sitter, so we were out of luck with that.

Saturday morning, we headed to the gym. I was getting ready to stretch when one of the child care workers came out to find me telling me Lacey had lost a tooth. My response was "and she's wigging out?". The blood really freaks her out. Apparently she was just crying, but they thought they should get me. So, I stretched in the child care area while she rinsed her mouth out and calmed down. (This was tooth #5, by the way.) Pictures to come.

We went home to get the kids changed for their swim lesson and drove out again - the opposite way. Swim lessons the last 2 years have done wonders for my kids. I'll have to do another post on that.

Home again. Thinking about going out. Called the sitter, but they were out all day and didn't get the message until 8:00ish, so another night at home. Instead, we cooked cheese tortellini with chicken sausage. So good! Since the weather was so awesome (low humidity), we enjoyed the deck again.

At some point, Leah either left the back door open, or didn't close it tight & the wind blew it open....and Alex got out. (I need to post about the new cats!) We didn't realize she had gotten out until a couple of hours later when she showed up on the deck ready to come back in. Apparently, it was a fun outing because she keeps trying to sneak out again.

Lacey woke up early on Sunday - I think because she remembered the tooth fairy would have come. So, she came bounding into our room at 6:45 with a big smile and showing us her dollars. :)

Both girls started asking to go to PaPa's to swim almost immediately after waking. We gave in late morning thinking we'd let them swim for an hour or so, then head home to get stuff done. Getting them out of the pool was much more difficult than we thought it would be! I guess an hour isn't enough. But, we did get back home and managed to be a little productive. I think the house is cleaner than it has been in weeks.

After dinner, the girls & I walked over to see friends. The kids played while I chatted with Donna. The plan was for me to walk home and leave them for a bit, but once we started chatting, it seemed silly to walk back home for such a short time.

Then, it was just a typical Sunday night. Ironing clothes for today, etc.

Hello Monday.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kindergarten....come and gone!

So hard to believe that I will be the mom of a 1st grader next year! Since I have been so lame with posting updates here, I thought I'd just do a quick one (hahaha) about the whole school year for Lacey in one spot. I truly can't believe I didn't do a 1st day of school post!

First, we went to an open house so Lacey could meet her teacher & see her classroom!

Here's the official picture from the first day!

And, just to she is last year starting pre-K!

She barely looked back when she hopped on the bus this year! She sat on the bus with Brittany (who lives across the street) all year. We were really lucky with that. Brittany is in 5th grade and is great with Lacey.

In October, the school had Trunk or Treat. The kids all went around to about 50 cars getting treats. Lots of fun & chaos! Lacey was Alex from The Wizards of Waverly Place and Leah was a pumpkin.

I volunteered for the trip to a pumpkin farm and had a great time with all those little munchkins. I had Lacey & 2 other little sweethearts in my group. We went on a hayride, the kids got to milk cows, we saw baby pigs, pig races and more!

I tried to go on the spring field trip, too, but the school is lucky enough to have lots of volunteers...and they all need their turns! Since it was at a swamp, I'm okay with that!

In June the school held a mini-relay to go along with Relay for Life. Lacey & I decorated a shirt for her that read "In Memory of MeMa" and "In Honor of Aunt Annie and Uncle Steve". The kids walked around the school 4-5 times, while some of the teachers blew bubbles and squirted them with water guns.

Here are Lacey & Haley holding their class sign.

Trying to avoid being squirted by Aunt Kristina (I mean, Mrs. Lacey)!

The end of year picnic was held at Gilbert Run Park. It was H O T!!!!! Heat index was above 100 degrees that day. It didn't slow the kids down, though.

Here's Lacey & her BFF.

They had tons of fun running around. Lunch was set out earlier than planned because of how hot it was --- figured everyone would want to get out of their early. After eating, the rental place for peddle boats opened up and despite the heat, Lacey HAD to get on one. We lasted about 20 minutes!

On the way out, Lacey wanted to pose...and got a little silly!

She had a few more days of school after the picnic. Can you believe the last day was scheduled for a Monday? Ridiculous. We ended up keeping her at home that day. I would have sent her, but none of her best buddies were going and Grandma & Poppy were in we kept her home to visit with them.

She had another awesome report card! I'm so proud of how she's done this year. She's reading ahead of where expected and doing really well with math, too. Comments on report cards through the year were things like "model student", "attentive & ready to participate", etc. It's so awesome to hear these kinds of things as a parent!

And,'s summer! Butch is spending lots of time with her and she's talking about being bored. :) Typical kid, right?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

McNeel Family Reunion in West Virginia

We spent the weekend in West Virginia at a family reunion with the McNeel side. Some people hadn’t seen each other in more than 20 years. The last time I had been to West Virginia was nearly 8 years ago when we came to my cousin Kevin’s wedding. Rick & Kristina hadn’t been in around 25 years. This is something we’ve talked about doing for a few years, but getting schedules together for 40+ people is pretty difficult!

Butch was out of town last week visiting colleges in Tennessee. Rather than flying back to DC or BWI, he flew into Charlottesville, VA --- which was sort of on the way to the reunion. The girls and I drove to Charlottesville on Thursday night and stayed at a hotel. It helped to break the trip up. And, if we hadn’t done that, we would have needed to wake up early on Friday & be in the car by 7:00, which didn’t sound fun. Instead, we had a “girls’ night” at the hotel, room service for breakfast (the worst I’ve ever had) and the girls got to swim in the pool for a short time.

The girls & I were happy to see Butch & get on the road for WV! The place we rented is an old house on a farm in the middle of nowhere. The original part of the house was built in the 1800’s. The drive up the mountain, leading to the house was a bit scary……very narrow…so much so that I can’t imagine what we would have done if we’d met someone else coming the other direction. And, the drop off was steep --- with nothing there to prevent the fall.

We finally arrived at the rental house a little after 3:00. Dee Dee, Bucky and Dad arrived pretty soon after we did. Aunt Annie & Aunt Jeannie were waiting to say hello. Everyone else trickled in through the evening.

We knew we’d be sort of roughing it by staying at this place, based on reviews that we’d read online. But, short of really roughing it (campground in tents), it was the only way we’d found to get all of us in one place. We were able to stay up talking & hanging out without anyone having to drive back to a hotel room.

Poor Leah was so exhausted by the time we were getting her to bed (11:00 pm) that she was sobbing & screaming. Some of the kids were sleeping in tents & she wanted to do that, too --- with me. Since we didn’t have a tent….and there was a perfectly fine bed….sleeping in a tent wasn’t happening!

Saturday morning, we finally got ourselves organized enough to get out of the house. It was nearly 11:00 before we were out the door. We caravanned to Aunt Jeannie’s and visited for a short time there. Then, back in the car to drive to Renick, where Mom’s family lived.

We knew Grandpa & Grandma’s house wouldn’t be the same, but we still really wanted to go. It looks nothing like it used to --- not even the backyard is the same. However, standing across the street, looking at the house brought back memories. The stairs that lead from the street/sidewalk up to the house look the same for the most part. However, we all agreed that when we were kids, it seemed like there were many more steps! The hill doesn’t look nearly as steep now. I can remember being so scared walking down those steps to get the newspaper.

My cousin, Tammy & I walked up to the house to see if anyone was home….sort of in hopes that they’d be open to us walking around on the lawn….or maybe even an invitation into the house. No one answered, though.

We headed over to a little spot where we could check out the Greenbrier River and the kids could get their feet wet. (They were disappointed that the house was supposed to have streams….but when we arrived we were told they are “wet streams” and are dry now.) Tony (named after my cousin who died much too young) is 20 months old and all boy! He waded into the water a bit, then came to a spot where it dropped off to about 2 feet…and he fell….stayed under for a couple seconds. A guy who was going out on a row boat grabbed him since he was closest.

After leaving the River, we drove past Aunt Ruby’s house. I have no memories of it since I was quite young when we would go visit and play there.

Next stop was the cemetery to visit the graves of Grandpa & Grandma and other family members. Then, off to the American Heritage Music Hall, which was started by Aunt Jeannie & her friend, Charlie years ago.

Back to the farm for dinner & visiting……

Most everyone that wasn’t already staying at the farm had already arrived. Oops! (Our touring around took longer than we thought….and we started later then we had planned!) It was so great to have everyone together. (Although, I should say “most” everyone…since there were several family members that couldn’t come on the trip.)

The farm had a zip line and in addition to the kids enjoying it, my nearly 74 year old Dad tried it! Dee tried to talk him out of it, but he wasn’t listening. He ended up with just a minor “boo-boo” on his knee.

Uncle Tom went, as well! I did crafts with some of the girls. Lots of people played cornhole and went riding on the 4-wheeler.

We had a huge spread for dinner – hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni salad, potato salad, fruit salad, veggie tray, 3 bean salad, baked beans, etc., etc. Followed by too many desserts!

Thankfully, we had time to get in some pictures before the storms came.

With all the rain, we weren’t able to have a camp fire & roast s’mores! Lacey was almost in tears about this. It was also the first thing she asked for the next morning!

The kids had a fabulous time playing with their cousins and running around in the country. Leah didn’t want to wear shoes the whole time we were there! She claimed that walking on the rocks in the driveway felt good. Crazy girl.

The last day, Lacey said she wanted to stay longer. And, one of the kids (I think it might have been Cameron) said he wanted to stay for 1 more day of fun!

It truly was a great time. It was so great to have 4 generations together. These types of events never seem to be long enough. You don’t have enough time to talk to everyone you want to. Before we knew it, we were back in the car driving home to Maryland and reality.

We’ll need to start thinking about the next one before long…….