Friday, July 30, 2010

It's The Final Shabbos (TTTO Final Countdown)

The theme music playing in my head right now sounds a bit like this. This is our last Shabbos as residents of Postville and I am mucho excited!!!

Have a good one!

Come Here Often?

We've got to stop meeting here at these crazy hours! People will start asking questions ;)

I can't wait for this move to be over with. Tensions and tempers run high. Patience runs low. Food runs out. I want to run away!

Today was a very long day, trailing after yesterday's extreme longness, and sleeping in just wasn't an option this morning, nor will it be tomorrow!

Shabbos has NEVER been so highly anticipated like it is in our house right now. We are invited out for both meals so, hopefully, before Shabbos rolls in, our truck will be full. All that will be left are the beds, Benny's little table, and the A/C units. God bless those A/C units and beds!

Speaking of beds, mine awaits. We'll talk more some other time. My eyes are closing on me. Good night!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Said I Would!

In an effort to stick with my goal, I am writing. Doesn't matter that technically it's tommorrow already. My day has not ended yet, so in my book it's still today. But take heed before reading further, I have been up since the ungodly hour of 6:30, out ALL day with Benny, more or less on my own. Driving for a good portion of the day too. So words may sound good to me but not make any sense at all. Like I said before, take heed.

To repeat, 6:30 am - that was me grumbling as I made my way around the house. Got myself dressed. Got Benny to eat his cereal and get dressed. Packed enough food to go on vacation for a week. Packed enough diapers for two. Lugged everything to the car. Went to my father's house to steal his GPS and found his recycling strewn all over the neighbor's lawn, thanks to last night's storm. Being the dutiful daughter I am, picked up said recycling, all wet and gross. Got filthy. Didn't have time to go home to change. Touched bases with the Slaters. Started my road trip. Realized I forgot to stop for coffee. Poop. (Not the action word, that's raw emotion people!)

The good part started around 9:30. That's when I strapped Benny in to the stroller (which I lugged to the car this morning) and made my way into the Lands End Warehouse Clearance Event for the shopping expedition of a lifetime. They hand you a 35 gallon garbage bag when you walk in. That's your shopping cart. The place was HUGE! Filled from wall to wall with pure amazingness. I'm talking long denim skirts for $5, rain boots for $7, mens pants for $7.50, super fluffy fleece sweaters for $6. Let's put it this way - my one fully stuffed bag and half of another came out to $95. I'm pretty sure I got good deals! :) I didn't even try things on - at these prices, I know I can find someone to buy the stuff from me if it doesn't work! Imagine the lines. They were advising people to put their bags on hold by customer service, go get something to eat, and come back to try things on. The checkout line was about 20-25 minutes long. Doable. When you don't have a kid ready to shoot you and everyone around you. I did it anyway. Oh, by the way, thank you to that little girl who kept handing Benny the things I was busy taking away from him. I'm going to mail you a really large box of junk food. Don't eat it until Mom tells you it's time for bed!!

The best part about the sale was doing it with the Slaters! Benny and Moshe Alex took full advantage of mommies freely giving them lollipops (definitely sure Benny finished most of the bag himself, in M.A.'s defense!) But they also had an awesome time when we let them run free in the playground!

From there, we continued on to Madison, about an hour past Dodgeville. My father's flight wasn't coming in until late in the evening but I had a fun day planned for me and Mr. B. We went straight to the Henry Vilas Zoo, a volunteer-run zoo with free entrance. Don't let that fool you into thinking it was a dinky little place. This place honestly rocked! There were a ton of great exhibits, although there were quite a few that were closed temporarily. There was a goat feeding station, a walk through 'Discover the Primates' exhibit with great views of the different monkeys, and my favorite part of all - the kiddie area. A ride on train, an amazing playground, and Benny's favorite - the carousel. He chose the tiger to sit on. When the ride started, his eyes went wide in amazement. "Mommy, the tiger is flying!" And every time we passed the guy running the thing, he waved and yelled that to him. When we walked off, the guy shook Benny's hand and said, "Come back soon!" Benny took that very literally. He turned to me and asked, "Mommy, Benny come back soon???" We went again. This time it took a few tries until he found the perfect animal to sit on! We started on the elephant, moved to the giraffe, and ended up on the cheetah. He was ecstatic! Wanted to go again. I literally had to shove him back into his stroller, kicking and screaming. He was, that is. I just wanted the Earth to swallow me up. 

We continued our day with a trip to Barnes and Noble, or is it Nobles? I can never remember! Anyway, we love their train tables they have set up. Benny was there for about an hour. Saw many other kids come and go. All taller than him. Not necessarily older than him. He was very reluctant to leave there as well, but we had places to go and things to do! 

Went to the mall, had to pick up a couple things. Got him the neatest little beanie at Gap. As I described it to my sister, it's 'very Park Slopey.' That slouchy beanie style that just gives off an 'I'm way too cool' kinda vibe. He's way too cool.

At that point, we headed over to the airport to find out that El Padre was delayed. Still in Chicago, in fact, so, very delayed! We worked our way over to Old Navy, got me some boring, same-as-every-summer-but-super-comfortable tshirts. Continued on to Target, got Benny a Harold the Helicopter to go with his train sets in honor of his (mostly) good behavior thus far. Headed back to the airport to wait for the big arrival.

Had we waited, Benny would not have his nifty little helicopter. We'll just put it that way. To say that he wasn't happy the entire way home is an understatement, and a gross one at that. Can't say for sure what all the screaming was about, only understood bits and pieces, such as "NO MORE MOMMY'S CAR!!!!" and "I want my shoes OFF! NO! I want them ON! NO! I want them OFF!" Put that math symbol that means repeat over that screamtance (that's my new word, by the way, it's how Benny's sentences come out) and you get a pretty good understanding of where I'm going with this. 

We stopped at WalMart for a bit, diaper change was needed (don't worry, he pulled the 'I want to go on the toilet Mommy' line MANY times in the car!) and a little less energy sounded great. Took us half an hour to get him back in the car. Many times of me asking, "Benny, you ready to head home yet?" To which he politely responded, "Not yet, Mommy."

To make a long story even longer, I got home at about 12:30. Unloaded EVERYTHING from the car, let Shuky get the sleeping Benny (FINALLY!!) and came straight to my safe place - this computer :)

And now, I must peel my contacts out of my eyes, (hopefully my pupils will stay put!) and go to sleep. Tomorrow, we load the truck, even though I'm not done packing yet! Eep! Wish us luck!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Take Me Away....

The house is slowly starting to look empty. I am slowly going crazy.

Scratch that, the craziness is not coming on slowly in the slightest!

Today, I decided I'm done stepping on every toy Benny has ever accumulated and started packing them away. I'm not suicidal, obviously, so those boxes are not sealed! He is obviously pulling out most of what I pack but it takes him longer to make his huge mess as he has to go treasure hunting first!

Last night, I went to Doba Greene's wedding in Rochester, MN. It happens to be that I LOVE weddings! I've always had 'Wedding Planner' tucked away as my dream career. Never really lived in the right city to do something like that, though. Back to last night's wedding...Her parents are the Shluchim - they run the Chabad community there and help people visiting the Mayo Clinic. They are really amazing and selfless people. Our families are friends so when I got my invitation (verbally, the week before the wedding, lol) there was no question about it. I planned my packing around the trip!

It's a 90 mile drive, usually takes about an hour and 45 minutes. It was like a mini vacation for me, Shuky stayed home with Benny, attempting to pack. Needless to say, Benny had other plans. But, I'm getting side tracked again! The wedding was lovely, done at the Kahler Grand Hotel. This bride was honestly the most beautiful one I had ever seen. Everything about her spoke elegance and pureness. Her dress was simple and at the same time extravagant. She radiated happiness!

I got home a little after midnight. Passed out. Woke up too early this morning. Had to take Benny for his two year old checkup. He is finally moving up in the percentile charts! He weighs 28 pounds, he's 33 inches tall (although I think the PA may have measured wrong, pretty sure I saw 32.5"). His head circumference is still in the 90th percentile. Yes. 90th. He got one shot today and as soon as it happened, he turned to me, crying intensely, "Mommy, I got a booboo!!!" I love him!

Made some good progress today, packing-wise. Biggest accomplishment of the day, I finally got someone to take my dining room table. I was offering it for free but no one I knew really needed one! I gave it to the guy who's been doing the work on our house! Shuky pulled it apart on the spot and we helped him load it into the car! THANK YOU JEFF!!!

I am exhausted but excited about tomorrow. Benny and I are going to the Lands End Inlet Sale in Dodgeville, WI. Hoping to snag some great steals. We will be continuing on to Madison, going to hang out at the zoo and then picking up my father from the airport. A day away from the craziness of our house! Yay!

PS Now that Benny is two, I am getting ready to plan his Upsherin - the neurotic woman in me wants to have everything planned soon and just let the year sail by! :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Shuky was called in to work today, mid-packing. There was no way I was about to stay home and box things up on my own with the little guy driving me crazy. So I called Menucha (check out her blog here) and plans were made. We headed out to Clermont, to Heritage Farm to see what they were all about. Kids 10 and under are free, everyone else is $10 a person. We were going specifically for their petting zoo, which I called to confirm it's existence.

Turns out, they were hosting a tractor pull today. For anyone who is not a hick, you're probably scratching your head right now, trying to figure out what in the world that is. Apparently, we are not hicks either, as we stood on the sidelines, scratching our heads, wondering what was going on! If I caught on correctly, there is some heavy piece of machinery that gets hooked on to the back of each tractor, and the concept is to see who's tractor is the strongest, who can pull it to the finish line the fastest. Because of this event, the petting zoo was not set up. We got our money back, marked another random thing done on our belts, and headed elsewhere. 

In Elgin, there is a maze made out of a corn field, called The Maize Maze (Maize is a type of corn). They have a free (!!) petting zoo that actually has animals! Benny scared all the animals and tried taking home the kittens. He also made a request to ride the baby goats. Let's put it this way, I believe we've found the first place that will NOT miss Benny when we move next week! 
Benny vs. the Cow
The maze is $6 for each adult, kids under 5 are free. They hand you a map, show you your exit (on said map) and push you in. Benny and Moshe Alex LOVED it! They were running through it, leading us in every wrong direction! Sometimes holding hands, usually just running together - Benny was his crabby self and got overprotective of his hand at one point, "This Benny's hand!! Don't touch it!" My angel.

Notice the kids escaping as we study the map.

They're on a mission!!!!

And they're off!!

A natural explorer!

We made it out, both kids thoroughly grubbed up and wiped out! Within minutes of pulling out of the parking lot, Benny was asleep. Two hours later, he still is. As soon as he wakes up, we power wash him outside! ;)

'Twas a very nice day. Not much done in terms of packing, just the little bit accomplished before work called. But there's always tomorrow!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shabbos Has Gone Away...

Shabbos was very nice. Our dining room was supposed to be cleaned for our Friday night meal, but for some reason **looking everywhere but at you** it wasn't! Instead, we pulled a folding table and the chairs into our newly vinyl-ized kitchen and had a nice, very conveniently close to everything we needed meal.

We were invited out for lunch so that was great! Good food, good company, as can always be expected at this particular house. :)

After Benny's MUCH NEEDED afternoon nap, we went to play with his good friend, Moshe Alex (or Shalex, as Benny likes to call him). Hours on the trampoline, swings and the slide made for an exhausted little boy. As soon as Shabbos was over, the little guy was taken up to bed and eventually went to sleep.

Speaking of being a little guy, seeing him next to the other boys today made me realize how absolutely tiny he is! He is fully two years old (in both calendars) and his shorts he was wearing today were size 12 months from Gap. And they still have some room in them. Granted, most of his clothing are 18 month at this point but still, he's little!!! Tuesday is his two year checkup. I'll let you know his stats!

Tomorrow will be a very busy day!!! Err, today. Wow, it's late! Good night everyone!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy Two Years!

Today is Benny's second birthday. Which means my blog is over two years old. To those of you who've been here from the start, thanks for sticking around! To those of you who are a bit newer, welcome to the family!

Five years ago, if anyone would have told me I would be sitting in Nowheresville, Iowa, married with a two year old, at the age of 24, I would have had a laughing fit like never before.

Life has a funny little way of making beautiful things happen. Take every turn you are pushed down and make the most of it!

PS Shout out to the Feeley family in Des Moines for sharing some cool birthdays with us!

Have a good Shabbos! Hugs and kisses to all of you!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chani Meyer's Fabulous Top 10 Packing Tips

Tip #1: Don't move. 

Tip #2: If that's not an option, start preparing and planning early.

Tip #3: Save all different sizes of boxes, recruit friends to start collections for you. Check local free sites (such as Craigslist, or FreeCycle), if you need more, before buying any!

Tip #4: Work room by room, don't overwhelm yourself. It's not worth the headaches or panic attacks! (Ask my husband, he had to deal with said attacks. Usually at crazy hours too!) I prefer to have a Dry-Erase board handy, keeping track of all the important notes I need to know about each room I'm in!

Tip #5: Another thing to collect are old magazines. I prefer that to newspaper, the thicker paper usually does a better job cushioning things. We like to ball each page up and use as filler, too. Who wants to deal with those packing peanuts! Only thing is, be careful when unpacking that you check everything, make sure you're not throwing out some small, delicate chochke!

Tip #6: Label your boxes well. It will make unpacking SO much easier!

Tip #7: Use Space Bag 12 Storage Combo Packs. But these things are really great! They have so many uses. Baby clothing stores better when the air is sucked out, otherwise oxidization causes all the stains that we worked so hard to remove just come right back up! Linens pack into much less containers when they're squeezed tight into these bags! Seasonal clothing being packed away until needed will survive much better in these as well!

Tip #8: TVs and radios should be the last thing on the truck. Bopping along to music makes packing so much more enjoyable. The TV is for those few minutes you steal between boxes to keep up with your shows. Priorities!

Tip #9: Wear a roll of packing tape as a bracelet and keep a Sharpie Permanent Marker in your pocket at all times. If you can figure out a way to safely hang a razor off your belt, do that too!

Tip #10: Don't forget how stressful packing and moving can be. On everyone. Keep that in mind when you're about to snap at your two year old for emptying out your just-packed boxes. Or your spouse for putting something in the wrong place. It's not worth it. Take a deep breath and think hard about how your reaction compares to the situation. Chances are, it's not that bad!

All in all, moving can be a great thing. You will find everything you've been looking for since moving into your house, and then some! You will be able to organize all of your things, get rid of unneeded clothing and toys. If you're lucky, you might be able to score some nice, new swag too!

Don't sweat it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

So Many Things!

We got our new computer today :) Yay us!

Just a quick update of what's happened in the past few weeks. Electronically speaking, things have not gone well. First, my almost dead laptop died. Final blue screen and it was done. Kaput. Then Shuky's phone received the kiss of death. Bought a cheapo replacement for now. Mine's been on the fritz for a while but I'm not even going to think about what will happen when it has to go to the 'phone farm'!

But wait, we're not done! With two weeks left until our move, the heating element in my dryer decided to go on vacation, laundry downstairs is no more. And of course I was waiting until the last minute to wash everything going into storage. Cost us $20 to get rid of the dead machine. Next, Shuky's laptop went haywire...the screen just internally combusted on us! Sitting on the computer one day and Shuky hears a loud POP! and there are suddenly millions of colorful horizontal lines instead of whatever he was looking at! So we kept his laptop attached to our TV and watched Hulu on that screen, put on Benny's videos from the hard-drive - it worked for us.

Then, last night, our TV crapped out on us. Started going dark on the top and just shut off. Did some research and, unfortunately, found that this was pretty common with the specific model TV we have. Or had. And of course, it was only fixed by electricians. Everyone else had to dump it. And there's a $20 charge to dump a TV as well. Kick us while we're down.

So, officially, we were going to wait until after the move, get some loan money, get a new computer. Save what little cash we have now for the first few weeks of Ames-ness. But we found an amazing deal and decided to take a leap. And you can thank our insanity for this blog post at 1:40 am. When I should be sleeping.

But, alas, here I am. Let's talk! Being that there is less than two weeks until The Big Day, there are tons of projects going on in the house, aside from packing and keeping our sanity! We have tenants coming into the house four days after we leave so the house has to be ready for them right away. So of course, we waited until the last minute to get things done. Today, our handyman was stripping wallpaper in two of the bedrooms. Tomorrow, the flooring in the kitchen and upstairs bathroom will be redone. Three bedrooms will be repainted. The small nursery/storage room upstairs will get carpet. I still have to get someone to deal with the mold in the basement. It's been a very wet past couple of months!

We have already taken some of the furniture out to our 'Storage Unit', aka my father's large garage and basement. We have many boxes ready to go and all of Benny's baby things will be going there too. I bought enormous garbage bags (like 30/40 gallons enormous!) to cover all the toys (rocking horse, jumperoo, highchair, etc.) and am praying it all remains pure!

My kitchen is probably halfway packed. My table is no longer visible. We have a boxspring leaning up against a bookshelf in the living room and our fridge is in the dining room. The stove will be joining it tomorrow morning. I still have to clear out the storage room for the new carpet and then I will go veg in my father's lovely air-conditioned home for the day.

Did I mention our current house does not have central air? We have a window unit in our room and we put one in the room Zalmy (Shuky's younger brother - he's been here since the 1st) has been staying in. But he has been relocated, for the next few days anyway, to Shuky's office. His room is one of the ones being de-wallpapered and painted. And Benny's bed is in our room as his room is on the same to-do list.

Wish us luck! Hope everyone is enjoying their summers so far!

And, on a fun note, just wanted to share an awesome wall storage unit I found an older link to :) I want these all over my house!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010


For Benny's second birthday, we planned a great afternoon of outdoor fun! We had a coloring station, a sidewalk chalk station, bubbles, plenty of toys, and the bounce house of course! I went with refreshments instead of a BBQ, figuring families would be doing their own things for dinner time! My cake was a huge slice of watermelon and was greatly loved by everyone!! I scattered toys and candies around the table instead of making goody bags, wanting each kid to be excited about the prizes they got to pick instead of possibly not liking what we would hand out!

Of course, about an hour before the party, it started raining outside -- everything had to come inside! We brought the little jumper in the house, cleared out the big dining room table and created a backyard inside. We used his little picnic table and one of his plastic sorting bins to create an indoor bubble station (time to mop my floors now!), put toy bugs all over the big table, and pulled out his train set as well! The kids had a blast, the moms got to sit inside and chat, no one wanted to go home! I would call it a successful indoor backyard party!!

Also, last week Friday, we took Benny for his two year old portraits, just wanted to share that link with everyone! In my unbiased opinion, they came out amazing ;)