Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane Irene. Ugh.

Hurricane Irene hit while we were out of town at the beach, as Richmond continued Natural Disaster Week. I'm surprised it didn't snow, too. Anyways, when we left and up until right before the storm hit, it looked like it was really going to skirt by Richmond and mostly hug the coast. Then, like these annoying hurricanes do, it shifted West and all the sudden half of Vermont - which isn't even ON the coast - is flooded.

We ended up leaving the beach a day early and as we rode in the car Saturday, I kept up with current events in my most favorite way - my Facebook feed. I ignored the over-hyped national news and instead just read updates from people in Richmond. At least, those who still how power. From what I read, the storm sounded bad, but not horrible. It lasted a long time. Our house lost power a few hours in.

On the second half of the drive home Sunday, I kept checking in with my neighbors and calling Dominion to check the status of our power outage. We were so hopeful it would be on by the time we got home. But it wasn't. We rolled in around 11pm and I lit candles and kept Charlie entertained with flashlights while Brad unloaded the car.

We were very fortunate that it hasn't been hot in Richmond. Mid-80's mostly. So sleeping was a little hard, but not too bad. Monday morning Brad got up and went to the store and drove around some to look at the damage. There were/are just so many huge trees uprooted and many of them were laying on power lines. Every block or so is another one. Trees on houses, cars, power lines, you name it.

Most of the town didn't have power and so a lot of stores (including Walmart - you know they were ticked) and gas stations were closed and intersections were being directed by cops since the traffic lights were off. The start of school has been postponed since the schools lost power too.

I was revving myself up to handle the no power situation with Brad out of town, since he needed to leave by Monday evening at the latest to go to Dallas. It's a really busy week for him and not one where he could really stay. But after he got out of the shower and said there was no hot water, I decided we needed a generator. As Brad put it, I folded like a cheap suit.

So off to Home Depot he went, and picked up the same model our neighbors across the street got. We got it running and had hot water, turned the fridge on, plugged in a lamp, charged the electronics - it was great! It's kind of an intimidating piece of equipment, but I think I have it mostly figured out now. I'm sure it will come in handy many times in the future.

One nice thing about not having power is how the neighborhood comes together. People walk around and talk, we have been invited over a couple of times for dinner, and it's actually kind of social. I guess that's kind of what life was like before air conditioning. You just kept the house open and people dropped by.

Don't get me wrong, I'll still take air conditioning.

We were very fortunate and our house didn't have any damage from the storm. Considering the dozens of trees on our lot, that is VERY fortunate. We just have a TON of debris to pick up. It's a mess. Branches and pine cones everywhere. Brad moved his car into the garage before we left on the trip and so it didn't have any damage either.

Our power came back on yesterday and I'm feeling very lucky about that as well. The two adjacent streets to us still don't have power. I'm not sure what the hold up is for them, but it sure makes me feel bad. I've been offering to let people come do laundry or take a hot shower or watch TV or whatever. I wish there was more I could do. I don't know how we have been so fortunate to get our power back so quickly.

Walking up and down the street, all you hear is loud whirring. Almost everyone has a generator, most purchased right after Hurricane Isabel. Many people went without power for 2 weeks then. Some even have their generators wired into their homes. You can't use anywhere close to everything, but it saves having all those extension cords run all over the house.

So that's what's been going on here. After we got power back, I had about 2 tons of post-vacation laundry to do. And poor Charlie has developed an awful cough. I guess just from being tired out after the trip. His allergies are so terrible here, they turn into an infection really quickly.

I'll do another post about the trip. It was quick but fun! I hope everyone else out there impacted by Irene is recovering OK.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


We are leaving for the beach today, for a little Spooner Family Vacay with some friends. We're headed to Gulf Shores, Alabama. I've only ever been to the Florida part of that coast, so I hope it's as nice. We're meeting some friends down there who are driving in from Arkansas.

It's a pretty long drive and it will be interesting to see how Charlie handles it. I've got the portable DVD player, crayons and sketch pad, books, cars, magnadoodle.... oh I hope I can keep him busy enough. Oh and snacks. Mom's got snacks.

Tomorrow night we're staying in Auburn at some Marriott. I'm sure it will feel like we're there all of 10 minutes since we'll fall asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows! Brad planned the trip and I'm not sure I even know where we are staying on the trip home.

I'm excited to take Charlie to the beach now that he's old enough to enjoy it. He's been to the beach twice, once at 2 months old and once at 6 months old. Needless to say, he didn't get that into it! This time there will be two other kids and one of them is almost his exact age. It'll be awesome to let them play and the parents can all kick back and relax.

Speaking of relaxing, I've packed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to read. One of my neighbors gave me all 3 books for my birthday with promises that they are awesome. I tried a few months ago to get into the first book and couldn't. I'm going to give it another try. I also got the new In Style fall mega-issue. It weighs more than Charlie - have you seen that thing? Anyways, I hope to have enough down time to enjoy both.

Going to the beach at the end of the summer has it's privileges. I found a bunch of Melissa and Doug beach toys today at a local toy store for half off. So I may have gone a tad crazy and gotten just about everything. Maybe. I also found cute beach towels for Charlie at Pottery Barn Kids marked down to $7. I love a sale. Woohoo!

I also found a really neat tent-thingy to take to the beach for me to sit under. I can't really have my incision scar out in the sun for long yet. You know, that whole melanoma thing. I've also really always preferred to be in the shade on the beach. It gets so hot! Under an umbrella with the breeze and the sound of waves crashing and a good book - that's my idea of heaven.

I'm going to try and get a lot of cute pictures of Charlie on the beach. He's such a character these days. I am way overdue on a post of all the funny little things he says.

Ok, we'll catch you on the flip side!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Earthquake... a Drugstore Perspective

If you've been living under a rock and missed all subsequent news coverage, we had an earthquake here in Virginia today. It was a 5.8 and the epicenter was about 30 miles from here, between Richmond and Charlottesville. It was felt all the way up the East Coast. In fact, the first person I heard from after the quake was my sister Meredith, who felt it in Brooklyn!

I was in CVS at the time, since Tuesday afternoons this summer is when I've had my weekly sitter. I was lost in my thoughts, about to walk out of the store when I noticed some really loud rattling.

My first thought was that they were doing some repairs on the roof or something. There was a small crowd near the registers and I heard one of the employees say something about how this kind of thing doesn't happen too often. I stopped and asked what was happening. An earthquake not being one of the answers I was anticipating.

I walked outside and got in my car and could feel it shaking back and forth. Then I did the next logical thing in such a situation and updated my Facebook status.

I also texted my babysitter just to make sure everything was OK and she said Charlie slept right through it and the poodles didn't even seem to notice! I'm a little surprised Ringo didn't panic since he got a little worked up during that thunderstorm last Sunday.

When I got home later she told me she was a little worried our TV that we have bolted on the wall was going to fall because it was shaking so bad. I've decided after hearing so many other experiences from today that I must have been in an exceptionally well built CVS because it really wasn't that bad. Nothing fell off the shelves or anything.

Nothing seemed amiss at home except a few pictures on the walls that needed straightening. All on the second floor. Apparently there was an aftershock of 4.2 around 8pm but I didn't notice. I was cuddled up with Charlie watching the Goodnight Show on Sprout. In fact, I think it was the part where the Pajanimals sing that song about their mom that always makes me want to cry. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

So that's the story of the earthquake in these parts. I'm not aware of anyone getting hurt or anything other than minor damage. I have a former coworker who lives about 5 miles from the epicenter and they were having aftershocks pretty frequently there. His dog was freaking. I have a feeling it's going to be a long night over there.

So now that we've wrapped up this odd natural disaster, a hurricane is supposedly headed this way over the weekend. Irene is coming to visit. Hopefully to just bring a lot of rain. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ready, Set, GO!

For some reason, when we come upstairs to put Charlie to bed, he heads to our room and wants to run back and forth. Kind of like a race, but he doesn't really care who wins, just as long as someone is running with him. And you need to be on his left side when the race starts for some reason or he will move you over. Picky, picky.

Lately Charlie wants Bobo to run, too. I guess he hasn't realized yet (like the rest of us) that Bobo is one of God's lazier creatures and there is not much that he will run for. That doesn't stop Charlie from trying to persuade him and barking (pun intended, ha ha) orders at him. If Charlie was running with a container of peanut butter Bobo might be game.

I got some video tonight of ready, set, go - realizing that it will probably just be my family interested in this one - it's pretty long! But Mom, Meggie and Mimi have been asking for more videos, so here's one! One of Charlie's favorite games!

Oh and sorry for the mostly naked running baby - he gets hot and strips off his jammies after a few races.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Staying at Home: a Recap

As I mentioned in a previous post, this month marks my 1 year anniversary of staying home with Charlie. I worked from home for the majority of it, but that wrapped up in April. Now I am a stay at home mom instead of a work at home mom. At any rate, Charlie has been at home with me full time for a year.

Overall, I would give the past year 2 thumbs up. I have loved getting so much time with Charlie. That would obviously be the primary benefit - and one I had the urge for as soon as my maternity leave was coming to an end. I think a lot of women go through that, though - especially with their first child. It is so hard to leave them at daycare and they seem so tiny. But you get used to it.

As a secondary benefit, staying home has also made things around our house a lot easier for everyone. Our weekends are no longer races to get all the errands run because I do a lot of that during the week. I typically have a babysitter come for one afternoon a week so I can take care of things without Charlie. Overall, things just run a lot more smoothly, which was something we were in dire need of with Brad out of town for work so much.

It's a lot saner for me, not having to take care of baby + house + full time job + all other in-town things while Brad is gone. I think it's also a lot saner for Brad because I'm not as stressed and he can spend his weekends doing fun things with us instead of us constantly trying to keep our heads above water.

I guess you could say I gave up my job in favor of his. And that's probably true. I had kind of reached the natural stopping point for me at the job I was at and I was also dying to stay home. Brad loves his job, apart from having to be away so much. He loves being a workaholic. So I think we are both doing what makes us happy right now.

It's a luxury for me to stay home, and I realize that. I'm fortunate that I had a choice. A lot of moms don't. So I feel very blessed.

However, not being employed messes with my head a bit. After my job ended in April it was kind of weird and unsettling to no longer have a job. It still gets to me periodically, especially with this crummy economy and unemployment rates so high. I kind of can't believe I gave up such a great job. It's a strange panicky feeling until I remember each reason I chose to do this in my head.

I've even had a couple of dreams where I knowingly lied to people and told them I was working. Isn't that crazy?

As much as the part time gig was a great thing for a while, I'm relieved it's over. I didn't enjoy the pressure and feeling like I was never doing enough. Also, Charlie's not sleeping as much these days, so fitting in the hours would have been tough. His naps are shorter and he goes to bed later. It would have been tough to keep going with no daycare.

I recently met a couple of other moms who quit their jobs to stay home because their husbands travel every week and it's been nice talking to them. I feel like less of a wimp for bailing on my career right now. I know I'll pay for it later, when I decide to go back to work, but it's definitely feeling worth it so far. It's nice to meet other people going through the same thing in life.

So overall, it's working out great. I think it's mostly working because it's what our somewhat unique set of circumstances needed. And each of our unique circumstances is really what we have to base our decisions on in this arena, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Funky Music

Charlie and I saw this video on the version of Sesame Street that plays on Sprout (Play with me Sesame?? Or something like that?) and have been singing it for days. Tonight he wouldn't even let me sit down because he wanted to sing and dance to it!

Since I am a truly pathetic singer, and I was having trouble remembering the words, I played it on YouTube for him on my iPad. He wanted to watch it again and again! I have a feeling it's going to be the first thing he asks for in the morning when he wakes up!

The show this segment is from was filmed in 1977. It makes me laugh because I just envision my parents taking disco lessons in the 70's! lol I think my mom still remembers the moves!

Speaking of my parents, tomorrow (8-10) is their wedding anniversary! Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad! We love you!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Charlie's been saying something quite a bit lately and we can't figure out what he means! Usually between the two of us we can figure it out, but not this time.

Charlie will state some kind of object or activity - brushing teeth, going to bed, the poodles, putting on shoes, taking a bath, his toys, the TV show he wants watch.... and then say "Issa Har".

At first I thought he was saying It's hard, but that statement would be out of context most of the time he says it. So we really just have no idea. We just have to kind of say sure, yes, it is. And of course, exchange a look like WHEN are we going to figure this out???

Any ideas? Other than the obvious, it's hard?

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Munchkin

This month marks one year since I started staying home with Charlie. Well, technically I was working through April, but only when he was asleep. Anyways, I've been thinking the past few days how much he's grown up since then.

He was still such a baby then, only walking for a few months, just speaking one word to communicate. Now he's this little boy who strings sentences together, runs everywhere, plays on his own and has no problem telling us what he wants!

So as I typically do when I realize that Charlie is growing up way, way too quickly, I panicked that I am not documenting things enough. My camera and Flip are now sitting out and I'm going to attempt to play some catch up for being such a lame-o all summer.

I attempted to interview Charlie tonight, but as usual, he let me know he wanted something different! Those of you who have watched as much Yo Gabba Gabba as I have may recognize some of what he's saying. He loves the "Cool Tricks" part of that show. He will also - out of nowhere - start belting out some of the songs sometimes. Once Brad and I catch on, it's pretty funny.

So anyways, here's the video and apologies for the partial nudity. He spilled at dinner and it gets fairly warm in our attic playroom, so I just let him play in his diaper for a bit. I promise, he does wear clothes!! Heck, dressing him is one of my favorite hobbies.

Happy Almost Weekend Everyone!