Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oh Military Finance, can't you do anything right?

Everything happens for a reason. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

I admit it, I am quite particular about money and finances. Alright, alright, I can be significantly anal about it. Our pay since we left Germany has fluctuated wildly. At the beginning of last month, we got paid too much. I told R and he said that it was probably clothing allowance. I stuck the extra money in savings and waited. Sure enough, in the middle of the month, we got NO pay. N.O.N.E.

Now, the amount we got overpaid was not as much as our mid month pay was supposed to be, so I asked R to go to finance and ask them what was going on. Because he is wonderful that way, he did. What they told him was that our advance from when we moved off base in Germany was taken out of our pay. Oooo-kay, but we'd already paid that back. Next option? R said he needed to talk to finance at our old base. Okay, that works for me. I also transferred the over payment back into our checking.

Fast forward to today. Our pay still isn't right and R says that we aren't getting any pay on the 15th again. Oh, I so don't think so! When R came home, we pulled his old pay statements and started reviewing them. When we moved off base in Germany, we had to come up with a 1000 Euro security deposit, plus the first month's rent, which was 1000 Euro. The AF will let you 'borrow' the security deposit and it shows up as a debt on your pay stub until you pay it back once you move out of the home. Unfortunately, they don't pay you the housing allowance (rent money) until the end of the month which isn't so handy when you are living in the house and your landlord wants the rent on the first. We took an advance on R's salary to pay the rent, and then paid that back over the next year.

Looking at the pay statements, the monthly payments stopped after we paid the full amount back, but then restarted in December. When our landlord refunded our security deposit, we paid Finance back (this was in November), but for some reason the pay statement is now showing this as not paid either. This is so frustrating. The worst part of it was that we got no notice whatsoever that we weren't going to get any pay last pay period. We just didn't get it. I can't make the numbers add up from the pay statement, so R and I are going together to finance tomorrow to ask them to explain this to us. I just can't wait to hear how this gets explained. I really, truly, can't wait.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's a travesty for wolf boys

I just realized that I've had my New Moon DVD for over a week and have only watched it once. Once! I'm so watching it again tonight after I get back from Zumba. And to make up for the neglect it suffered, I'm making R watch it with me. Don't worry, I'll be sure and have a bucket handy for when he feels the need to throw up from the unpleasantness he'll undergo while watching it. And me? Well, I'll need a bucket to catch the old lady leering drool. I can't wait!!!!

This is exactly why I should never, ever do smug

Yeah. Hi.

Remember that post from yesterday about the whole car audio/stuck cd thing?

A-hem. I emailed my brother on Facebook asking him if he had any suggestions about how I could fix it. Sure! he emails back. Just give me a call.


I call him this afternoon and he gives me a couple things to try. One of them, a last resort sort of thing, was to try and put another cd in and see if the player would take it. First he recommended using a flashlight so look in the player so that I could see the cd and what was going on with the mechanism. Unfortunately, we are a household without a working flashlight. My brother gave me a really nice one about a decade ago, it's multi purpose. It can be a flashlight, a bat, or riot control/self defense. I'm fond of multi tasking. Unfortunately, I cannot find this awesome flashlight. It makes me sad and frustrated. All the flashlights I did manage to find do not work. Even when I changed the batteries.


By now I'm really tired of dealing with this situation at all. At all. So, I grab a cd that I don't mind ruining and put it in. The player takes it, then ejects it, but only that one. What the heck!?!? So I go to put up the cd and I see....the damn Dixie Chicks cd. In the cd/dvd sleeve on the sun visor. No. Way. NO! WAY!

I grab the Diego dvd, put it in the player and it starts to play. This can not be happening. Please tell me that I didn't just spend hours over several days trying to eject a cd that wasn't even in the player in the first place. How is it even possible that I could forget that?!?! Seriously?!? So completely and totally mortifying! And to make it worse, I was stomping around all yesterday afternoon all smug sputtering about how "just because I was female didn't mean I was a complete idiot about all things electronic or mechanical" Some where there's a mechanic and and a car audio specialist laughing their heads off. Yeah, yeah pal. Laugh it up.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Diet Diary Day - entry 4


I know that there are always going to be good days and bad days no matter is going on in life, and not necessarily just in my life. A lot of what seems good or bad depends more on perspective and attitude than the actual events.

The last two weeks have been rough on this household health wise. I ended up at a wellness clinic on Friday because I spent the entire week trying to beat what I thought was a common cold, but turned out to be a respiratory infection (which according the the nurse practitioner I saw is just a really bad cold so it wasn't that serious). I can say that even though I felt pretty lousy for a lot of the week I worked out anyway. Progress. And overall, I really did try to stick to my eating plan, even though I had pizza this week and cake for S's birthday which was a double whammy of white flour and sugar. I've added in some whole grains as well, which I can legitimately do as of Wednesday, but I just did it early. While I don't need pasta or bread every day, I was much more satisfied with my food intake with the whole grains added in. Unfortunately, I haven't lost any more weight, but I have lost some inches, because my clothes are getting looser by the week.

Mom and I had a talk last week and she asked me what the reason was behind my overeating. Do I tell her how I really feel or do I take my usual route and mix some truth in with some avoidance? I have no interest in conflict, I'm not interested in playing a blame game, and I realize that I'm responsible for all the food I put in my mouth, cause no one has been force feeding me all these years - that's for sure! I'm not looking to pass that onto anyone or anything else. So what is behind it? So many different things... I eat as a way to deal with or actually to avoid dealing with emotion, stress, fear...I use food as a wall and a shield. When I'm heavy, I feel like the people in my life are here because of the person I am inside. When I'm thinner, I'm less confident about that. There's a lot of back story there, but it's a pretty good summation. It's easier to eat than to deal with whatever's going on. Food doesn't judge but people? People definitely judge and most of them judge harshly.

So I decided that if I was going to change my lifestyle for the better, that included ending my avoidance of difficult conversations. I did better with the conversation with Mom than I expected, but the thing is that no matter how honest you are with someone, that doesn't mean they are ready to hear it or are really listening. Some things are just never going to be talked about in my family. It's just the way it is. I have mostly made my peace with that. I'm not sure it would actually solve anything anyway. It's not up to anyone else to change my life - it's up to me. And slowly, step by step, I'm getting there. I'm far from having all the answers - far, far, far from it, actually. But I'm also figuring out that maybe I don't have to have all the answers after all.

Now I'm beginning to think it's me

Last week, I made the huge, enormous, tactical error of removing the Go Diego Go dvd that was on perma-play in the car and actually putting in a (gasp) cd. Since I rarely ever get to listen to anything not kid related in the van, the only non child cd I had was a Dixie Chicks cd that I found hiding behind a Raffi cd. So that's what went in the cd/dvd player.

When I went to eject the cd and put Diego back in, the cd would not eject. Nor would it reload to play. This means big trouble. Cartoons are like crack for my kids. Soothes even the most savage of attitudes 98% of the time. Unless, you know, they are fighting about who's breathing in the most air or who got more animal crackers - just the important things. After trying unsuccessfully to figure out this little issue on my own, I looked for some assistance in the form of internet research (yes, I told R but he just kind of grunted and immediately forgot I said anything that involves 'needs fixing' and 'help'). I found and downloaded the instruction manual for the unit that we managed to lose between shipping the car from Germany to here. Then I actually read the entire manual. There was absolutely nothing helpful in it for this issue whatsoever. Figures.

Okay, time for last resorts. I emailed the company. This is word for word what I wrote:

"We purchased a car that had a dvd/cd/gps system in it already. We usually have a dvd playing, but I ejected the dvd disc with no problems and put in a cd. The cd played, but when I went to eject it, it wouldn't eject and I can't get it to load or play either. HELP!
Also - we have dvd monitors on the front headrests and the passengers side is no longer working. The blue light is on indicating that it's getting power, but no picture. Any suggestions for repair on that or am I just going to have to purchase a new monitor headrest?"

This is the reply I received:

"Thank you for contacting _____ USA Corporation. As an authorized agent for ______, we are responding to your recent email inquiry.

For the headset monitors to display an image, you would have to enter the Setup Menu and select AV Interface. Press the right arrow next to the AV I/F 1 to go to page 2. Change the AV Out to DVD.

It is difficult to determine what may be causing the eject problem with your unit. We suggest that you ship the unit to a _____ authorized service center for a professional evaluation as well as repair. If you would like to troubleshoot the problem by telephone first, you may contact the ______ Product Support Department..."


Customer service person,

I can not imagine the people you must deal with on a regular basis that the common solution to the headrest problem is that the vehicle operator doesn't realize how to change it from AV to DVD. Scary. Unfortunately, I already thought of this and the setting is correct. Any more bright ideas? I've also cross connected the wires from the non working headrest to the working headrest. The working headrest works no matter which side it's hooked up to. The non working headrest does not. It would also be infinitely easier to remove a headrest and send that in versus dismantling my dash, removing the dvd/cd/gps unit and sending that in for service. And the closest place to send it is hundreds of miles away? You have a service location in Puerto Rico, for heaven's sake. I can't believe you don't have more locations in mid America. What's up with that? And if I'm supposed to pull out the unit, perhaps I'd need instructions? Just a thought.

An owner that's not a complete idiot.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What's the freezing point on plastic eggs?

Last week, T's teachers sent home a flier that the local community college was having a massive Easter Egg hunt. I'm always game for a good egg hunt, so we decided to take the kids. When we woke up on Saturday, the sun was shining and it looked like a beautiful day. But it was a bit colder outside than it looked. Okay, actually the temperature was fine, but the wind made it seem really, really chilly. Forget Oklahoma, the wind comes howling down these plains. The flier said that events started at 9 am, which is when we got there (nothing short of a miracle) but the egg hunt didn't start until 9:45. Try explaining that to a huge group of 3 to 5 year olds when they can actually see the eggs...

S was content to do the crafts that were provided, but T was all about the eggs. We coaxed him to the petting zoo briefly, but I promise you that child has eyes in the back of his head, one of which remained fixed on the field of eggs at all times. We had some success distracting him when the Easter Bunny rode in on a fire truck -- I mean, really, who wouldn't dig that -- but T was content to wait by his age group egg field. What did surprise me was how into it all S was. She was fixated by the Easter Bunny and a really great sport in general about the weather and the wait.

Here are some pictures from the festivities:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quick! Get me some cheese to go with all this whine

Whoa. Like, Blossom's brother Joey's Whoa!

I don't know what was up with the kids today, but they found a reason to fight, whine, or cry over everything. I'm surprised they didn't fight over who had the most carpet fibers under their butt when they were sitting on the carpet.

They still aren't feeling great and that could be part of was cold and rainy today so they were stuck inside other than our brief foray to Sam's and Walmart. Poor Mom, I'm sure she's debating on the cost of rental cars right about now just to get some peace and quiet.

My favorite part of today? (Insert snort and eye roll here) S's birthday is soon, so we let her pick out a cake at Sam's today. We found a Dora themed one and she was really excited about it. So was T. They fought over who was going to hold the cake, sit near the cake, touch the plastic over the cake. They also fought over who was going to eat the cake, when the cake would be eaten, and why we were going to be eating cake. When I'd finally had enough of the bitch fest to snap at the kids to cut. it. out., T started crying about how thirsty he was. Because, you know, he's in danger of dehydrating from the couple of hours we were out of the house. He also knows that Sam's only has sodas. And there was no way I was going to hand him that much sugar or caffeine (or worse...both!) with the mood he's already in. Even Mom was looking a little frazzled. Totally understandable. As we left Sam's and went to Walmart (which was all of 1000 feet away max), T started crying about he 'was soooooo thirsty. Thirsty. Thirsty. So thirsty. Thirsty. THIRSTY!" From that, he started crying about how he wanted to go to McDonalds. I guess complaining about how thirsty he was made him hungry even though he had two ham and cheese sandwiches and about 2/3 of a sleeve or Ritz crackers for lunch less than two hours before that.

I come back with the comment, "There is no way that you'll get anywhere near a McDonalds with the attitude you're showing right now." And holy moly, the tears dry up and he says, "I'm not upset now, I'm happy. I'm happy."

Uh huh

To which Mom says, "Can we take the kids by Dairy Queen (which was beside McD's) and get them some ice cream?"

Yes..yes! Let's reward them for this horrible behavior. Woohooo!

Now, in all fairness, Mom didn't mean anything by the offer of ice cream, she was just trying to be nice and do something nice for the kids. More than likely, she was trying to distract them from their crabby behavior. So I agree to consider the ice cream thing if they can behave while we are in Walmart - which they did - so we end up getting them ice cream cones at McDonalds. That's my form of a frazzled compromise: Grammy gets to be the good guy, the kids get ice cream and to go to McDonalds, and I get about 8 minutes of peace while they devour them. Only, S was apparently so tired that she fell asleep ice cream cone in hand half eaten. Too bad my tongue wasn't long enough to reach into the backseat and finish it for her, because I totally would have. Totally.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Guess who acted like a toddler yesterday - and no, it wasn't the kids

Oy vey~

For about a month and a half, I've been going to the Tuesday night Zumba class with my friend Samantha [hi Samantha! :)]. One of the things I like most about Zumba is that you get very different experiences with different instructors, but you pretty much always get a great workout. Last night the instructor announced we'd be doing a new routine. It figures, I was juuuuust about to figure out the old one. No, really, I was cool with it because new routines keep it interesting.

The music starts and the first 10 minutes went well. These classes are always crowded and Samantha and I tend to stick to the back corner. It's closer for the EMT guys when I pass out from lack of oxygen or sheer exhaustion. I kid, I kid. Because the classes are so crowded, it's difficult to see what the instructor is doing from the back. It's certainly not like she moves around (like the Sunday instructor does) so that everyone gets a chance to see what she's doing. In no way does this motivate me to stand closer to the front. There are several people towards the front that have either been coming a long time or are just phenomenally talented. When I can't figure out what the heck the instructor is doing, I watch the 'regulars' and imitate the best that I can.

Here's the thing. Contrary to my overall grace-less-ness and klutziness, I usually do pretty well on a dance floor - especially for a large white girl. Right, Germany peeps?!? I'm certainly not perfection swaddled in workout clothes, but I do have some rhythm and I really enjoy dance type workouts (especially now that I'm to old to be going to da club unless it's 80's night). But I really need to be shown the steps once. Break 'em down for me. We are building on the same basic steps anyway, so taking 1 or 2 minutes isn't going to kill you. But this instructor is infamous (at least in my head) for not doing that. Like, ever. So I'm trying to follow along, the people around me are trying, the 'regulars' are trying and we are all failing miserably. As the hour progresses, I'm getting more and more aggravated. As we approach the 1/2 hour mark and I'm not even breathing hard or sweaty (because I don't know what the h-e-double hockey sticks she is doing up there) I start thinking unkind thoughts about our instructor. I see about seven or eight people leave and I see several people just standing there trying to figure out what in the world she is doing.

And then - AND THEN - she shows a couple of the regulars the routine for the song we just finished. Uhh...what is the point of that exactly? Are we going to repeat it? Did they pay you extra for info? What about the rest of us? I'm not on the Biggest Loser ranch here, I can't dedicate my entire day to working out (not that I would if I could) and to waste an hour that's usually a great workout when I'd be better off skipping through the garden and stopping to smell the monkey grass? Well it really, really ticked me off. And obviously, my attitude was not at it's best yesterday anyway, but still. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR. The selective lesson only lasted for the break in between songs, and then she went on to do another non followable (at least in my opinion at the time) routine that involved combinations of steps that would impress the Dancing with the Stars judges. Seriously? SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!

So I tell Samantha I'm done. I'm going home. She was surprised to hear that, I've always stuck with it and figured out at least part of the routines. She asked me to stay and at least watch, but I was determined to flounce out and so I did. Because, you know, I'm adult like that. I stomp off around the track and down the stairs, thinking that maybe I should stop by the front desk and helpfully let them know that just maybe the Zumba instructor should try INSTRUCTING the class when she totally changes the routines instead of being on her own Zumba planet and thinking that we going to be able to download the new routines from her brain. AS IF!

Wisely, for once, I keep my mouth closed and just march on out to my van. I do however have imaginary conversations with her all the way home. None of them pleasant. I'd put them on here, but you all would likely be shocked at my potty mouth, and frankly I'm a bit embarrassed that something like this got me so riled up yesterday. Before I got home, Samantha called and we agreed to try the Thursday class to see if it is any better. I'd be stunned if it were worse, that's for sure!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A story of beauty and grace -- and other things too.

Yesterday it seemed like the entire house was feeling under the weather. T chose to go to school and we let him since he hadn't been running a fever. S was grumpy and less energetic than normal. My head was pounding and my throat was sore, and Mom slept all day.

This morning, Mom said she was feeling much better and offered to keep S while I took T to school and went to the Y. The kids were both reluctant to get out of bed today, so I took Mom up on her offer, and T and I headed to school. We parked and were walking across the parking lot to the school. A very nice gentleman signaled for us to cross while he waited in his car. I had T's hand and said, "let's run!" so we started to run across the crosswalk.

Sigh. I'm not sure what happened next. I think my abnormally large foot got tangled up with T somehow and down I went in the middle of the crosswalk in front of about 80 people. Classic. To make it even better, in trying not to fall on T, I ended up making him fall too. This isn't the first time my feet have caused me that kind of trouble. I went to Carowinds with Angie and Tina and my foot got stuck getting out of one of the rides and I took a pretty bad fall. I played softball with a work team for several years and every. single. year. I would trip over my own feet at some point and eat it in a spectacular fashion. Totally embarrassing. Just like the time I went out to dinner with my brother and some of his friends and fell down the steps at Lone Star. I hadn't even been drinking nor was it bad weather. Then there was the time I was a banquet server at a chain hotel and my feet slipped on a wet spot on the floor while I was carrying a tray of cheesecake to a Peterbuilt conference. Unfortunately for me, the Peterbuilt guys had the door to their banquet room open and could see into the rear of the kitchen. So when I slipped and fell, landing in my best James Brown split imitation, of course I was wearing a skirt that rode up to my hips. Nothing like lunch and a show, right? But at least I didn't drop any of the cheesecake. I also got an ovation from the Peterbuilt group. So I guess it's pretty lucky that I haven't fallen in public here before now, since we've been three months. I just hate that I had to take T down with me, but I'm grateful that he didn't get hurt and that I didn't fall on him.

This is just the latest in our streak of less than stellar luck. Somehow our digital camera got pushed off the bar into the sink where it just happened to land in a Tupperware container filled with water. I have no idea how long it was in there - it couldn't have been terribly long, but it was long enough to totally jack it up. The sliding door on the driver's side of our van stopped opening or closing properly so I hosed the sliding parts with the generic WD-40 and so far (fingers crossed) that seems to have fixed it. I didn't pay enough attention to the overflow of generic WD-40 when I wiped off the surplus, so the side of my van has some slightly different colored paint stripes as a result. You do have to look really, really hard to see them though, which is comforting. Today the kids managed to lock the door from the house to the garage without me noticing or checking, so I got locked into the garage when I went out to get something. The kids thought it was hilarious. Me...not so much. On Friday, T jumped off the trampoline (we hadn't put the enclosure up yet) and landed on his feet on the ground. I was so impressed, I encouraged him to show R, but when he tried, he slipped and landed hard on his hip/side. For a few minutes, we really thought he might have cracked a bone. I could just see me trying to explain that to the staff in the ER - "Well, Doctor, he did it so well the first time I asked him to do it again. No, we haven't put the netting up yet because it takes two adults to do it and we haven't had a chance. Why, yes our kids can climb on the trampoline without assistance, but we asked them not to, so I'm sure they won't. Well, we did stuff like that when I was a kid and we all survived. Sure...I'll be happy to talk to social services."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Diet Diary Day - entry 3

It's Monday. Again. This time last week the mere thought of food had my stomach rolling and flipping and had me calculating whether or not I really needed to dash to the bathroom or if I could just will my mind to ignore my body and go about business as usual. I'm going to call it a tie between mind and body. By Wednesday, I was back to normal. Last week was awful diet and exercise wise. All I really wanted when I didn't feel good were either crackers or cheese toast. The problem with that is I only had crackers and bread made with white flour, which is a no-no on this diet. I can usually resist both of those things with no problem, but not last week. Baby spinach and brown rice just didn't seem nearly as appealing as cheese toast for some odd reason. I didn't overdo it, though, so that's positive. I decided not to weigh last Monday because I knew it would be a false loss - meaning that the extra fluids I lost from the stomach virus would come back as soon as I was eating and drinking again. I was trying to avoid being discouraged or maybe I was just avoiding. Probably it was a bit of both.

I ended up weighing on Friday because I just couldn't stand not knowing. My total loss as of Friday morning is 15 pounds. While that's not exactly bad, I was hoping for more. I also found myself reverting to my usual unhealthy thinking pattern. As in 'I've lost 15 pounds. One (fill in the blank with desired food here) won't really hurt." Which might be true, but seems (for me at least) to pave the way to returning quickly to my bad eating and overeating patterns. It's been harder than I expected for Mom to be here, because some of the foods she, R, and the kids are eating are just hard for me to see being consumed without consuming them myself. I know if I said that out loud, Mom and R wouldn't hesitate to not eat whatever it is, but I've got to learn how to handle situations like that since I'll be dealing with them forever. I am happy to report that when she saw me at the airport, Mom said (without prompting, mind you) I looked great and there have been no neck or chin comments, which leads me to believe that perhaps I overreacted. Shocking idea, I know, but it sure wouldn't be the first time.

So I've been trying to figure out what in the heck is going on with my cravings and desires to eat everything in sight the last few days. Saturday I would have seriously considered trading my car for a double cheeseburger. After Zumba on Sunday, I went to Walmart for milk and New Moon and I walked up and down the Easter candy aisle a couple times. I could actually taste the Reeses' Peanut Butter eggs. I didn't buy any, thank goodness, but when I watched New Moon last night I did eat a single serving bag of Cheetos and some of the spreadable cheese that Mom's been eating all week. And yes, it was on white bread. I asked R to grab some small french bread loaves Sunday when he was out because I made soup. I wasn't expecting to eat any myself, but I did. I could have eaten the whole loaf with ease, so I guess that's the last of the french bread that's coming in this house for a while.

As a result, today I feel tired and bloated and yucky. BLAH. I think for the rest of the day and tomorrow I'll redo the detox (phhhbbttttt) and pick up phase two again on Wednesday. As soon as the childcare room opens at the Y today, I'm packing up the kids and going to work out. S was really opposed to going this morning, but she'll usually go if T does. And getting a really good workout in will do a lot to helping me get back on track.

This was absolutely not my best week. But tomorrow is another day and this is now a one day at a time kind of thing. See you next week.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Don't come any closer. I mean it.

Well, the curse of the rolling sickness has triumphed. Mom is the latest victim, and it's a toss up between a stomach bug and a cold. R has definitely moved from stomach to cold and we found out today that T has another ear infection. S is sniffling, my throat is scratchy and now my nose is running. Lysol and Clorox wipes, I'm disappointed in you both. Shame, shame on you for not killing the promised germs.

It's been cold all weekend and today was also rainy. Before I even contemplate complaining about the weather, Missouri got snow this weekend. Compared to that, I've got nothing but joy and happiness in my heart. Of course, I bought the New Moon dvd today and that may have added just a touch to my giddiness. When I went into Walmart to buy it, there was a display of Twilight barbie dolls/action figures right beside the dvd display. I actually laughed out loud at that because, uh..oh, never mind. It was funny. Let's leave it at that. Kristin Stewart as a barbie? I bet she's just looooooovin' that.

So, short post tonight. Be well, everyone!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What to do, what to do?

The unofficial plan today was to take the kids to a kids museum in the city. We needed to go to the grocery store, I had some things to return to the library, I had to get gas...yada yada yada plus it was pretty chilly outside so we ended up taking them to the community pool (it's hard to top close and free). T was a bit under the weather today - not really himself, but not really sick either. R still feels bad, thank goodness (I think) it's more of a cold/sinus/allergy thing than it is a stomach/intestinal thing. I think this house has seen enough of that for a while.

By the time we got to the pool it was around 1 pm and we stayed for well over two hours. I'm honestly not sure who was more tired - Mom and I or the kids. We came home and T and S devoured a snack and kept asking for more food, so I went ahead and fixed dinner. R was upstairs taking a nap, which is a new record for him of two naps in one week. He rarely, ever, ever sleeps during the day. So I have no doubt he's feeling pretty miserable. Now, maybe I'm just high off our great date from last night, but I love that my husband does not mope around and whine when he's sick. He certainly lets it be known that he feels badly, but at least he doesn't lie on the couch and demand to be waited on every time he develops a sniffle. That could be (but I'm sure it's not) because he fears I'd dump any food or beverage on his head that he demanded. I would never do that - because I'd have to clean it up, and oh how I hate to clean carpet. Absolutely loathe it.

Moving right along, on a whim after dinner, I looked to see what movies were available at Redbox. I was looking for New Moon and the Princess and the Frog. I need the kids movie because I feel it would be inappropriate for the kids to see Mommy drooling over Jacob Black and really, New Moon is not a movie for toddlers whatsoever. And if I'm being honest, I feel like a dirty old woman watching those young whippersnappers (how old am I that I even know and use that word) and thinking naughty thoughts. Shoot - I don't even think they are legal yet, are they? But they are so, so, so, so pretty. Sigh..... The nearest Redbox that listed an available copy of New Moon? Over 20 miles away. Whoa! Normally a list of 20 or more Redbox locations will pop up when we are looking for a movie, but for New Moon? There were 3. THREE! That's insane! The Princess and the Frog movie wasn't much better, so I bet I'm not the only mom inappropriately interested in seeing this film and wanting a distraction for the ankle biters so I don't have to be interrupted all. the. way. through.

It's no problem - I can pick it up at Walmart tomorrow. heh!

Date night

Yesterday, Mom offered to babysit the kids while R and I went out. Alone. On a date. Together. This is exciting to a level on par with winning the lottery. One of the things about being a military family (at least for us) is that we pretty much all hang out together all the time. I mean, sure, I put the kids in a preschool program in Germany and I'm looking for an affordable yet acceptable program for S here, but all that's while R is at work so it doesn't count. But not having family around to help out can kind of suck. Now if I'm being totally honest, I'm really, really picky about who keeps the kids. T, while he is much less challenging than he used to be, can be a real handful if you catch him on a bad day and S? Sheesh! Who knows what you are going to get hour by hour, much less day by day. Is 2 too young for pms? I'm not sure anymore.... The end result is that it isn't often that we leave them with anyone, mostly because we don't have that many really good friends and we don't want to risk ruining the relationships we do have. And yes, the kids could potentially be THAT trying (cuteness and humor aside).

When we are visiting family in North Carolina, both Dad and Susan and Mom and Richard have offered to keep the kids for us while R and I get some time together. Again, we don't want to take advantage of anyone so we keep the farming out of the kids to a minimum there as well. In effect, we are creating our own problems. Ahem. Isn't admitting it the first step?

Anyway, when Mom offered, I shot off an email to R faster than you could say 'typo'. He accepted just as quickly. Once we got ready and headed out the door, the kids were happily having dinner with Grammy and didn't even look up when we left. Sa-weet! In the past when we've taken the kids to Give Parents a Break we sort of mope around and might go grab dinner and a movie or go to the bowling alley since there wasn't too much to do on our last base. But here? Oh, the possibilities! We ended up at a steakhouse for dinner followed by a movie and I even managed to stick to the diet. What shocked me is how much we talked, and hardly any of it involved the kids. I'm sure I've said this before, but it's embarrassing to admit that I forget how much I really, truly, like my husband. He's funny and sweet and he laughs at all my stupid jokes -- providing he gets my humor. Let's face it, the man puts up with a lot from me. If nothing else, just the drooling I've been doing over the food he eats for the last couple weeks should nominate him for some sort of marital award. Ooooohhhh...I could make one up and give it to him.

So, umm, yeah...great night last night but I gotta go. ;D

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wearing out the kids wears me out

Yesterday, in addition to it being St. Patrick's Day, Mom flew in for a visit. S and I picked up T from school around 11 and we all headed to the airport. Even with parking and walking to the terminal, we were still half an hour early for the flight. Imagine our surprise when Mom's plane was already there. We only had to wait a few minutes before she appeared at baggage claim. Niiiiiice!

Once we got home, we were in the backyard letting the kids play when the doorbell rang. It was the UPS man delivering the trampoline we ordered this weekend. (BTW - Sports Authority has better deals online than in the store here. I find that interesting.) The UPS guy was not thrilled about the trampoline the way the kids were, but if I had to cart those things around they probably wouldn't thrill me either. For real!

Mom and I, over optimistic and with the sincere and wholehearted support of the resident munchkins, decided we'd put the trampoline together ourselves. R was home, but was sleeping off the last of the stomach flu. Has anyone ever tried to put together a trampoline? Egads! It isn't for the easily discouraged, that's for sure. But with some divine intervention in the form of R, we got it put together before dark. Good thing the time changed last weekend.

This morning, we hit the ground running: dropped of T at school, worked out at the Y, went to Walmart, came home, had lunch, jumped on the trampoline, let the kids ride their bikes, went to the park about 15 minutes from here, came home, made dinner, more playing, Mom and I snuck out to a wine tasting, and somehow it's 10 pm. The kids collapsed before 8 pm and were too tired to give R a hard time while Mom and I were out, and I'm too tired to go into any more detail about our day. So you KNOW I'm tired! It was a great day. Hope tomorrow is more of the same.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You'd better be glad I've curbed my road rage.

Dear driver of the obnoxious bright yellow car:

I realize that the school parking lot is very busy around 8:15 am. I realize that you are just as important as I am and probably have a million things on your mind too. I'm sure you would agree that those of us who have to walk our kids into their classrooms instead of being able to drop 'em off in the drive and drop lane are at a disadvantage with the limited amount of parking available.

That said, DUDE! Please do not sit in a parking space with your engine running, lights on, and your car in reverse (those little white lights on the back of your car give that away every. single. time.) if you aren't planning to actually reverse out of your parking place in a reasonable time frame. Considering I waited for you for three minutes to move your yellow ve-hick-ular, and the person behind me was still waiting for you after I'd found another spot, parked, walked T in, and come back out...well, methinks you are either the most distracted person ever or a real jerk. I know one thing, if this is how you park, I do not care to see how you drive. And I will not help you when the other parents gang up on you and beat you senseless. Well, okay, I'll call 911, but that's it.


Minivan Mom.

Another one bites the dust...

Oh man. R has the stomach bug. It's got to be going around and not just in our house. He went to work today anyway. Not me. Nuh-uh. If I'm going to be needing the frequent convenience of a toilet, I want it to be my own. Preferably near my own bed. I'm picky that way. There's little worse for me than having to have my head hanging near where unknown asses have been. It just skeeves me out.

This morning after he left, I Clorox wiped down every doorknob, light switch, and counter top he may have touched. Thanks to that Lysol automatic soap dispenser commercial, I also wiped down the soap dispensers in the bathrooms and kitchen. It makes sense that that's where the germs hang out, so why not at least TRY and kill 'em.

There's a twofold purpose for my frantic disinfecting. First, I don't want the kids or me to get sick again. I'm still not feeling right, and I need to hop back into my routine without feeling like I need to sit down and rest every half hour. I miss Zumba and working out. A lot. But I haven't had the energy to go to gym, much less work out. Secondly, Grammy is coming. Today. We pick her up from the airport at 12:30 today. I'm excited to see her, it's rare that we get her all to ourselves and while I understand it, I miss the relationship we used to have. Let's all cross our fingers and hope that the transition goes smoothly. I'm not sure she realizes what's in store for her here and it's going to kill her that I let the kids (mostly meaning Miss S) get their tantrums out. She's going to want to rush in and fix it, and that only makes Miss S worse. I know because I've tried that route. Miss S does not, in fact, want to be fixed or helped. Miss S wants to have a tantrum. I get it - emotional release and general complaint that the world is unfair. It's a lot better to get 'em out of your system now than to still be having tantrums as an adult, no? Exact-a-mundo.

So I'm really hoping that we are now a stomach virus free house, because if Mom gets sick...oh my. At least I made T clean up his bathroom yesterday so she's got a sparkling clean place in which to get sick. And on that note, as he was cleaning up yesterday he told me, "This is a lot of work, Mom. This is too much work."

Exactly! So I tried to keep the lecture to a minimum (no really, I did!) and explain that if he just goes ahead and wipes it up if he 'sprinkles when he tinkles' that he won't have to spend so much time cleaning the toilet. He thought about this for a second and said, "If I go peepee outside I won't have to clean any toilets." Boys.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I should have stayed in bed today

It started out as a peaceful morning with loads of potential. T woke up pretty much right after R left around 5 or so, but he was content to sit on our bed and watch cartoons until the alarm went off at 6. S slept in her big girl bed last night, which had me waking up periodically to make sure the sound I heard or dreamed I heard wasn't her running amok in the house.

All in all we were downstairs and the kids were eating breakfast by 7:30. That's pretty good on several levels: I don't end up shoving a cereal bar at them or urging them to eat so fast that they'll either choke or end up with heartburn. It also gives me time to piddle around in the morning, which I finally figured out makes me feel productive, even when I'm not.

S has taking the hair twisting to a new challenge level. Instead of huge twists that can mostly be untwisted with ease, she's taking very small pieces of hair and twisting them so tight that I can't believe it hasn't pulled the hair out of her head. Yesterday it took me over 15 minutes to undo one twist and there were three of four to work through. This morning there were only two. We may have to trim her hair again to chin length, especially if she continues to twist her hair like she's been doing. At least I know where to take her to get it cut now.

As the kids were eating breakfast, I was getting everything ready for when we had to leave and this huge wave of nausea hit me. I hadn't eaten anything since dinner last night, so I knew I wasn't going to throw up, but I had to sit down on the steps and wait for it to pass. This virus should be gone by now. The kids pick that very second, of course, to start screaming at each other for some reason, and I just have no patience for that when I don't feel well. I mean, good grief! What do they have to fight about? That one of them got three drops more milk in their bowl than the other one did? UGH. Give me a break. So I walk to the bathroom to splash some water on my face and realize that T is hot on my heels. Around that same time I realize I don't think he's gone to the bathroom yet and we need to leave in about five minutes, so I ask him if he's gone to the bathroom yet.

"Nope!" he says cheerfully.
"Well, will you try to go before we leave for school?"
"Sure, Mom. No problem." So he faces the toilet and starts to go.

I've been trying to figure out how he gets pee everywhere and today I got the answer. He starts to pee and then he flips up the toilet seat. While he gets points for putting the seat up, this is an issue I thought we'd addressed and corrected last year. Guess not. He also doesn't like to hold himself when he pees. Apparently, he finds it unnecessary. Obviously, our bathrooms end up taking the uh..fallout? abuse? result of neglect? of all this. Which translates into me scrubbing pee off the back and sides of the toilet, off the floor, and as in the case today - off the wall, because when I saw what he was doing and said, "T!!!!!", he just turned around, still peeing, which means that it went all over the wall and floor.

Cue the red film descending over my eyes and the irrational, uptight, unreasonably angry me that showed up. I demanded loudly that he clean it up, and I handed him a lysol wipe. I told him to start with the wall, so of course he leans over and sticks his hair right in the pee. GROSS! Shooing him out of the bathroom after I clean him up, I clean the bathroom up, muttering about not being anyones maid and how having a penis does NOT entitle you to paint the wall with bodily fluids. A lot of the built up animosity comes from years of living with my brother and his bathroom habits. I refuse to believe that bathroom habits are genetic. Refuse. I tell T that when he gets home from school that he's going to clean his upstairs bathroom. Mom comes tomorrow, and all I need is for her to step or sit in a puddle of T pee, and I'm hoping that if he starts having to clean up the mess he's making, then he'll make less messes. Yeah, yeah, but don't burst my bubble yet, okay? I need this string of hope to save my sanity today.

We finally get out of the house after a showdown with S over the changing of the pull up. Don't even get me started. We were late leaving for school, but got T to class with a couple minutes to spare. Then S and I had to go to the immunization clinic so she could get the second half of her flu shot. I've been dreading this, so hey, why not take her on a day that's already feeling less than stellar. As we are waiting our turn, S decides that the only volume level she's capable of is ear drum splitting and she proceeds to sing, dance, and chatter in the hallway. I'm shushing her left and right - not even trying to get her to be quiet but just to lower the volume - and she responds by yelling, "NO MOMMY! I TOLD YOU I WILL NOT!!!!!!!" and then going back to whatever she was doing prior to my rude interruption. At this point, my stomach is still rolling and flipping and I'm really wondering if maybe I am going to throw up. We make it through the shot, S was appropriately indignant with the whole process, and S and I return home where I lie down on the couch to hear, "Mommy? You okay Mommy? Mommy? You okay?" on eternal repeat for over an hour. And people? It's not even 10 am.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Diet Diary Day - entry 2

While we were in North Carolina in December, we were at my Mom's house and she and I were upstairs in her bedroom. I can't remember the reason now, probably she was showing me Christmas gifts for the kids or something. She has a framed picture of the two of us at a cousin's wedding in 1993. My first thoughts were "Wow I had a lot of hair back then" and "That is one godawful dress I'm wearing". (Words can't describe the hideousness of it and at the time I loved it. Go figure. It was a fitted version of a flowered muumuu. Horrid!)

Mom's comment? "Look how thin your neck was in that picture." Oooo-kay. I was a lot thinner then, a good 45 pounds lighter than I am now. And that was BBK - body before kids - which meant that the damage done by my 12 and 9 1/2 pound kids wasn't even a blip on the radar yet. But really? Your neck was thin? That's a new one. Come to think of it, she's been focused on the state of my neck for years. No idea why. She'd be completely bewildered if I mentioned it, not having any idea what I was talking about.

Let's face it, I don't need help finding things to obsess about on my body. Every time I've tried to lose weight, I've focused on one thing or another: the amount of fat (or lack thereof) under chins, the hollows around collarbones, the area around the Achilles' tendon, how much the ankle bone shows, how thin a forearm is, waist to hip ratio - all sorts of details that avoid dealing with the real issue which is weight. Weight, weight, weight.

I'm hoping that with focusing on a healthy lifestyle rather than losing x amount of pounds as quickly as possible or fitting into a dress by a certain date that I've found the long term solution to the problem. Am I ever going to be a size 2? Nah. I'm just not built that way, and I'm okay with that. But I do want to be the best me and the healthiest me I can be. If it takes me a couple years to get there, that's okay. What's important is that I get there and that I stay there in the healthiest way possible. And that means eating right and exercising and the dreaded portion control, which is the hardest for me. Eating an entire sleeve of crackers? Not portion control. Eating the majority of a bag of snack size butterfingers within a day? Not portion control. Ordering a large soda (regular or diet) pretty much anywhere is definitely not portion control. Slowly but surely, I'm figuring it out.

This week I got to add meat back into my diet midweek. I had a really hard time sticking to the meal schedule. It's hard for me to eat four or five times a day. Sunday morning I woke up with a stomach flu and spent the entire day in out of commission. Once I got an appetite back, I was craving toast, so I did break the rules and have a piece of toast with jelly this morning. I decided that I'd wait until next Monday to weigh in again for two reasons: the majority of the weight loss that would show up would likely be from the stomach flu and I weighed in on Wednesday, so I'd like to give it at least a week between weigh ins to help me stay motivated.

I know this post has been a little disjointed and babbly, and I apologize for that. Next week I'll be back to normal or at least as normal as I get. :)

Sick, sick, sick

Last week S had some kind of stomach bug and when a couple days went by without the rest of us getting sick, I congratulated myself on my comprehensive Clorox wipe disinfecting habits and we went on our merry ways.

Saturday we were out and about and stopped for lunch at Taco Bell. T said that his stomach hurt while we were sitting there eating, but he still ate his chips and part of his taco. As we pull into our development, he says, "I need to throw up", and he puffs out his cheeks. I'm not quite sure whether he's kidding or not, but I figure why take the chance and ask R to pull over which he does as soon as he can. We no sooner get T out of the car and over to the sidewalk, then up comes lunch. Guess he wasn't kidding. We get home and he chills out on the couch, saying that he feels better, but he goes back and forth between feeling well and not so well. We get him to bed without him being sick again and hope that he'll sleep it off.

When I wake up Sunday morning, I know I'm in trouble. I spend the entire day Sunday either in the bathroom or the bed. It wasn't like I ate much on Saturday, so I have no idea where all that came from, but it really threw me for a loop. Even after I slept all day, I was still exhausted. My entire body ached - literally from my head to my toenails. I have no idea what's going on and I feel a bit better today, but I still feel like I could lie down and sleep for a week. BLAH.

Thank goodness S and R escaped it so far. I hope their luck holds.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Now how did THAT happen?

Today I was tired. Tired, tired, and more tired. I did get a work out in, but that didn't help my energy level this afternoon. I think I've inherited a genetic malfunction that causes me to fall asleep wherever I may be if I get still and it's not completely quiet. R tells me I have a sleep button on my butt. Hilarious. But this frequently means that my sitting on the couch while the kids are playing and attempting to blog/read email/facebook/do anything productive results in my getting droopy eyed and if not falling asleep, then at least fighting the urge.

Today was no exception. I wasn't really paying all that much attention when S came up with the phone and said, "I call Grammy" I said "okay" not thinking for one second she could. All of I sudden I heard ringing. That snapped me out of it. I took the phone and looked and darned if she hadn't called Grammy. I have no idea how she did it, but she did the same thing when we were in Germany. She said she was calling Dad and Susan, and darned if she didn't. She continually amazes me, like when she started counting to ten in Spanish or when she counted to 20 today when we were walking into the Y. Then tonight she 'read' (and by that I mean recited) a book to me that we hadn't read together in a long time. I can't wait to see what she does next.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Grooming and a neighbor update

Finding a hairdresser you like, trust, and can afford can be rather difficult. Let's face it, I'm not nearly as picky about my hair as I used to be. Jenn, the lady that did my hair in Germany (whom I miss terribly), recommended some places for me in the metro area, but my friend Samantha recommended someone that's really close by and since her hair looks awesome, I thought I'd give Laura a try.

A couple things about my's really thin these days and not just because of the fine texture. When I get stressed, I really start shedding. The other day I noticed that I have all this new growth (thank god) from the last round of shedding which coincided with our PCS. The bad thing is that the new hairs stick straight up which looks like a version of a crew cut if you look at it in the right light and the right angle. It reminded me of the Kate Gosselin reverse mullet except the short hairs are all over instead of just in the back. Not. Pretty. Fast forward past my usual detailed recounting and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cut and color! I'm so relieved I don't have to go into the city any time I need follicular assistance.

I also got my eyebrows waxed. I try to keep up with the plucking between waxes, but I swear that overnight I can have a mini jungle spring up. It's rather disheartening, especially since the hair that's appearing on my face seems to be in direct correlation to the thinning on top. What is UP with that? I haven't even started menopause yet (I don't think) so why on earth do I feel like I ought to be shaving these days? And, FYI, those 'personal trimmers' that they market to the ladies? It's the same thing as shaving if you use it for facial hair. I'm just sayin'...

I ended up asking Laura to wax my face just for kicks and grins. I've never had it done before, but the lighting in the salon suggested that it would be a really, really good idea. I've been walking around in broad daylight without make up like that for a while. Oh the horror! The HORROR! And you know what? It hurt like nobody's business. How women wax their lady parts is totally and completely beyond me. The good news is that I'll only have to do this about 21 more times before whatever waxing product they use starts to cause the existing hair to come back thinner and finer. But my face feels fabulous and really, it would be hard to feel attractive knowing that I'm walking around with a lady beard. Perish that thought!
So here's a pic of after: R didn't notice (he says) that I had food in my teeth. (Rolling my eyes) And frankly, walking around not knowing I had food in my teeth is just So I'm posting it anyway. One of these days, I'm going to learn how to use photoshop and I can solve these little...situations myself. And the divine Ms. S, resident diva, is trying to make the spoon stick to the end of her nose - just in case you were wondering.

As for my neighbor update:

After I made dinner, I flipped through the mail and noticed that we had a letter for Crazy Eyes McNeighbor - erm... I mean the lady next door. The envelope was stamped that it was time sensitive material, so I decided to just walk it on over since it wasn't even 7 pm. Off I go on my good samaritan mission (snort) and I ring their doorbell. Their lights are on and I can hear voices inside, so I know that someone's home. It was dark enough that they couldn't really see me if they looked out, so I figured that they weren't coming to the door after I stood there for about a minute. Then I heard voices closer to the door and I clearly heard Mrs. McNeighbor say, "I'm not opening the door." Not sure if they were talking to each other or to me, I decided I'd just slip the letter into the screen door and be on my merry way. As I started to do that, Mr. McNeighbor opens the door. Now, at this point, I've seen and spoken with him about a dozen times since the last moving truck incident. He's always friendly and kind. Always. Tonight was no different, and as I explained that her mail got put in our mailbox, he was gracious and even said thank you. Seriously, I have no idea how he lives with her. It makes me want to bake him some cookies and send 'em over with a condolence note. Do you think Hallmark or Shoebox has a category for that?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Normally, I try really hard to see life with a sense of humor. I spent waaaaay too many years taking everything too seriously, and frankly, I hope I never, ever see that uptight, humorless, un-fun version of myself again. Trust me, it's UG to the LY. That said, today I got scared out of my mind and I have to blog about it, and that unfunny too serious part of me? It might have averted a disaster. So, this isn't going to be a humorous post. I just don't have it in me. Here goes:

Today, high on my 10 pound weight loss, I decided to skip the gym this morning and get some errands done without feeling like I was having to rush through everything. Plus, T had asked if he could go with S to the childcare room at the Y today. I was cool with that, but it meant I wouldn't be working out before 4 pm or so since childcare wasn't offered in the middle of the day. I was okay with that too.

S and I dropped T off at school and headed to Wal Mart after taking a side trip to scope out where I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow (long, long overdue). S loves to push the basket, but she's not tall enough yet to see over the top when she pushes so I walk in front of her to help steer the basket and to sacrifice the backs of my heels so that innocent Wal Mart shoppers aren't doing double duty as crash test dummies for my toddler. And also so that she doesn't go around running into displays because she apparently finds that hilarious.

My mission was to get S a new pillow, new bath rugs for the downstairs bathroom, and some other organizational stuff for the house. It's easy for me to get distracted in Wal Mart. After being in Germany for four years with limited product availability, I could spend hours just walking around and looking. After about 15 minutes, S was more interested in looking at stuff than pushing the cart, so I took over. As we were walking by the craft/sewing aisle, I remembered we needed tape and new scissors. I was looking for those items when I realized S wasn't beside me. I found her very close by, looking at the St. Patrick's Day stuff. I brought her over to where I was standing and reminded her that she needed to stay right beside me, then I went back to trying to decide which scissors and tape to buy. It wasn't like it took me hours to do this, it might have been three minutes, tops. But suddenly I realized that S wasn't near me.

Thinking she went back to the St. Patrick's Day display, I walked over there. Not there. Well, maybe by cards. Not there. Okay, she couldn't have gotten far. So I start walking around in a widening square looking for her. She is nowhere. I'm calling for her....dead silence in return. I grab my pocketbook out of the cart and start jogging up and down aisles - still no S. At this point, I'm only an octave below yelling for her and people are starting to stare. I have no doubt that I looked as panicked as I felt. Where could she be? At what point do I alert the store without seeming hysterical and over reactive? I remember getting lost in the grocery store when I was a little kid and how much it scared me. Wal Mart is five times that size, and the world is a lot less safe these days.

By now, I've covered a great amount of ground and I'm absolutely terrified. I can NOT find her, she isn't answering me if she can hear me and if someone did grab her, they probably could have gotten out of the store by now. So I grab the cart that I abandoned in the middle of the floor (no idea why I thought that was important) and I run to the nearest register. I tell the clerk that I can't find my daughter and I am really fighting not to burst into tears. Great. That's really going to help things. As soon as the words are out of my mouth, this lady springs into action. Within seconds, and it's all a blur so the details are sketchy, there are two are three people over with me asking for a description of S and activating a "Code Adam" which in effect shuts down the store. One of the clerks remembers seeing S with me, and goes off to look for her, while I'm giving a description out of my daughter and what she's wearing. These ladies that handled this situation were amazing. They stayed calm and kept me talking so I stayed fairly calm. Intellectually, I recognized that becoming hysterical was going to help no one, but I was feeling pretty darn hysterical, and I was fighting the urge to lose it. Within five minutes, they found her. When I saw the clerk come around the corner with her, all that mattered was that she was okay - not where she had been or had she been in danger (although in retrospect, I'd really like to know these things). The Code Adam was cancelled but not once did anyone that helped us make me feel like I had over reacted or jumped the gun in alerting the store that she was lost.

So what did S do when she saw me? "Hi Mommy!" Oh geez. Oh GEEZ! If I was ever going to have a stress induced heart attack, it would have been today, that's for sure. But truly, all is well that ends well, and I'm grateful that I knew S's height and weight and could describe in detail what she was wearing. And I am so grateful beyond my ability to put it into words for the help and compassion the Wal Mart employees showed me. I learned a very, very valuable lesson today. It only takes a second. Just one quick, horrifying second for life to completely change. I'm lucky. I'm so much more than lucky that I'm not sure there's a description for it, but I'm whatever that description is that everything turned out okay.

I couldn't stand the wait

Okay, even though technically I've really only followed the detox seven days instead of nine, I couldn't give it another two days before I weighed in and so.........(dramatic drum roll please)

10 pounds lighter. 10 pounds. ! 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and that makes it official, this girl is onto phase II. Hello, chicken, my old friend. I can't wait to eat you again. In moderation. And with a lot of fresh veggies and a small serving of brown rice.

Okay, Dr. Ian. You win. I'm convinced and converted. :D

10! I'm doing the little happy dance with less jiggling.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I gotta feeling....

Today was my turn to volunteer in T's classroom. I've been looking forward to it since last month when I volunteered. So much so that I actually woke up before the alarm clock went off at 6 am (I can't believe it either). When I got out of the shower, I heard S screaming/crying in her room. That's pretty unusual when she wakes up, so I hurried in there to see what was going on.

You know what was going on? Lots and lots of vomiting. Poor kid - she was covered in it. Coated would be an apt description and not a dramatic interpretation. She kept saying, "I'm scared, I'm scared" and when she threw up again I understood why. She fights it like I do, which makes it more painful and, uh, emphatic when it happens.

Once she got it all out of her system, we got her cleaned up and I left her to watch cartoons in our bedroom as I went to clean up her room. It wasn't as bad as I thought, and other than having to wash all the sheets and blankets and throw away her pillow, the cleanup was pretty painless.

So then comes the question -do I stay home or do I go? The babysitter was coming here, so I wasn't at risk of infecting anyone else's child, T seemed just fine, and neither R or I was sick. When our sitter said she was okay with staying with her even though she was sick, off T and I went to school since I had already called R and there was no way he could take off work on such short notice to stay with S or sub for me with T's class.

And gosh, I'm glad I went. Watching T's teachers really makes me appreciate our assignment here and how lucky we are to be in this school district and this preschool program. I love being able to watch T in an environment where he feels so confident and secure. I know that he still misses his teachers and friends from Germany, but he's getting such a solid, comprehensive start here. And I feel like I'm learning better ways to deal with him and to help him through this sensory maze. The older he gets, the more in awe of him I am and the more I love being a mom. Today, when we were getting ready to leave class, Mrs. B told all the kids to tell me thanks for coming, which just makes me smile hugely because these are some great kids, and T says, "That's my Mom! She's the best Mom in the whole world."

How on earth do you not cry from happiness on the spot? (If you know, don't tell me.) I think I'm the luckiest Mom in the whole world today, even if I was barfed on most of the afternoon. It's okay - that's what Moms are for, right?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Diet Diary Day - entry 1

Dear Diet Diary (and Dr. Ian)

I have almost really, truly, absolutely made it thorough the detox phase. I don't know that I feel detoxed, per se, but I feel a heck of a lot better this week then I did this time last week. Let me stop for a moment and reflect on that. I thought I was feeling pretty darn good last week, truth be told. Whenever I'm in a regular exercise routine I have more energy overall and I feel better health wise and about myself in general. Look at me! I'm exercising! Regularly! Without a gun to my head! It's hard to explain without sounding a bit...well, much I hate to sweat and how hateful it makes me. And I mean, it makes me so hateful that it divides it into two words with capital letters - Hate. Ful. So really and truly, it's quite a statement that I'm actually genuinely looking forward to exercising daily and that I'm doing it six days a week, sometimes twice a day. This is promising.

Now about the food part. Monday and Tuesday were awful. Horribly, terribly difficult. It didn't help that I also was dealing with the additional stress of what will henceforth be known as THE JOB THING. Turns out I don't want to go back to work yet. It was quite the surprise to me to figure that out, but since that little situation monopolized the blog entries last week, I'm moving right along. Back on point, the stress from all that literally had me pacing the floor and repeatedly opening the pantry and refrigerator door enough that the kids were even like - what are you doing!?! I mostly stuck to the diet on Monday, but Tuesday was not good. I am still waffling about whether or not I want to count Wednesday as the first true day of the detox, but I gotta tell you, adding two more days on at this point seems a lot more like two weeks.

Hands down best meal of the week goes to a great idea given to me by my cousin Analise: steamed broccoli, steamed brown rice (Uncle Ben, I will love you FOREVER for your 90 second rice pouches) with some low fat Parmesan grated cheese. I think I actually licked the bowl. Shameful! My new favorite salad is baby spinach, carrots, celery, cukes, diced apple and almond slivers. When I told R that I'd eaten salad for a week without cheese, he had to re-hinge his jaw back together. I don't think it was quite that amazing, but whatevs.

Once I got into the routine of it all, it did actually get easier. I was even able to fix meals for R and the kids that were on my top 5 list without being tempted to sneak a taste. By Saturday, it didn't even bother me that they had ice cream and I didn't. That was another huge surprise. I did slip up a bit after Tuesday, but nothing to that extreme again. Tuesday I had a package of pop tarts, some chocolate milk, a few girl scout cookies (tagalongs - YUM), and way too many nuts. I love almonds and cashews, which you can have on this diet, but I'm almost to the point that I'm not sure it's worth having 10 cashews or 10 to 14 almonds for 100 calories. I can have 80 cups (not really) of raw spinach for that or a crap load of broccoli or mixed veggies. Even 100 calories of apple is pretty generous. Thank goodness we are now living somewhere I can find decent produce at a decent price. That helps a lot. A LOT.

Onto the physical appearance issue. I did not take before pictures. I meant to, but I chickened out. I may or may not take pictures at the end of the detox. I've got such a long way to go still...ugh! But - I put on a pair of pants on Saturday that were noticeably looser, and by noticeably, I mean that even R said something. He's not the type to say something if he didn't notice, so I feel confident that I'm not imagining it or that it's wishful thinking.

I have to admit I'm REALLY looking forward to having chicken again this week. I think we are going to grill out some turkey burgers by this weekend (if it stops raining long enough). I get to weigh in at the start of phase II, which will either be Wednesday or Friday (probably Wednesday). I'll not be posting my actual weight, but I'll be happy to post what I lose (please, please, please let me have lost something! I'm not looking for Biggest Loser first week numbers here...just some progress please!)

Stay tuned....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Growing up...

My little girl is growing up. The bathing suits we bought her last year are too small, so when I was in Wal Mart this weekend and saw the cutest little suit, I had to get it for her. The kids were with R, so she didn't see it until I pulled it out of the bag, and I wish I had a picture of her face when she saw it. So excited and grown up looking! She immediately wanted to try it on and it's too cute not to share, so here you go....

And of course she looked so cute that we had to go swimming to test it out. Three short years ago she wasn't even born yet. Hard to believe.

Summer camp!

The Y we joined has been advertising summer camp sign up for about a month. If you signed up Saturday, the $25 registration fee per child would be waived. I'm all about the waived fees. I picked up the booklet and almost fell out of the chair in sticker shock. Summer camp is expensive! But - I think it's worth tightening up our financial belts to give the kids this opportunity. While I try to find interesting, stimulating, and educational things to do with them, day camp will provide all that plus some socialization that I can not. (The free time for me is a total bonus!)

We got the kids ready and off to the Y we went. Hi ho, hi ho, off to summer camp they will go.....
I filled out what felt like a tremendous amount of paperwork and went to the register to pay. They ended up with three weeks of half day camp and one week of full day camp each, and a week of gym and swim camp for T. All for the bargain price of $515. I figure the tax credit we get for having kids can offset that cost. So, we're all set and paid in full. Now all I have to do is potty train S. We start Monday. Surely I can potty train this child in three months. Surely!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The clothes wars

I admit it - it's my fault. Mine, mine, mine.

T goes through phases where he doesn't exactly regress, but he acts a lot younger than he is. Usually this just shows up in his unwillingness to dress or undress himself. Since I know he can snap, button, and zip by himself I don't consider this is a big deal. I think it's his way of getting some undivided attention, and I'd much rather he do this for attention than be destructive, whine, or seek negative attention. I'm not sure I've convinced R of this, though.

In the morning, I usually ask T if he wants to pick out his own clothes for the day or if he wants me to do it. Usually he'll do it, and to give credit where credit is due, he's usually pretty good about finding clothes that go well together. Usually.

A couple weeks ago, he started this phase of picking out clothes that really didn't go together at all. Which is pretty difficult considering that I try to buy him clothes that mostly go with each other. I mean, come on, you buy lots of neutral colors and they should all pretty much mix and match, right? (I got that idea from What Not To Wear) T has always wanted to wear a red shirt with red pants, even though the reds are usually really different shades. I can deal with that. But this morning, he wanted to wear his red sweatpants with a shirt that just clashed. Loudly. Like Courtney Love finishing up a bottle of tequila loud.

I said no, he had a meltdown. Last week I let him wear outfits that made me cringe twice, and I explained then that I'd offer him two choices of outfits every morning or that he could pick a pair of pants or a shirt that he really wanted to wear and I'd pick out the other half. I thought that was a good compromise, and it is if you're in your late 30's and reasonable. When you are 5 and obsessed with controlling the world on your bad days, well, it's a totally different experience. So the showdown continued for about 15 minutes and resulted in him taking all the pants out of his drawer and throwing them about the room. My knee jerk reaction to such behavior is to be really upset and unwisely begin a battle of the wills, but I do realize that for the most part when he acts this way he's reacting to something specific. So, I tried to change gears: what did he want for breakfast? That didn't work....he's catching onto my tricks. He was determined to have this fight. I refuse to participate. This means incredible frustration for T. So he huffed and puffed and stomped and shouted while I sat on his floor and listened and watched, not saying a thing. (Oh good grief was that difficult!!) But after a few minutes, he flopped down onto the floor and cried, which was a signal that the outburst was pretty much over if I just let him get it out. So I sat there, not saying anything until he came over to me, and then I just hugged him, which unleashed another torrent of tears. It must be awful to have so little control over life and realize it. I didn't have a clue at that age.

When all was said and done, he got dressed in colors I could look at without dropping to my knees and screaming, "My eyes! My eeeeyyyyyeeesssss!" and we made it to school on time. For such a rocky start, I consider that a pretty big success.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


This morning, I put on my big girl panties and decided to deal with it.

What is it?

It is calling to turn down the job, which I realize is the right thing for me to do at this moment, but stinks because I know that our friend is in a huge bind trying to fill this spot and I want to help her. Some days it might be worth it to not be a grown up.

It is also the downstairs bathroom. I was just walking by last night on my way to the laundry room and BAM! I just happened to look at the right place at the right time and that's one bathroom in desperate need of some cleaning. I'll spare everyone my speech on how I don't understand why or how a boy whose privates aren't that much higher than the toilet (compared to say - his dad - who manages to get 99% IN the right spot) seems to not be able to hit the potty - in just one bathroom. It's not a different height, it doesn't have a spinning target, it's not like one of those carnival games where the area he is aiming for is teeeeeeny. I just don't understand. And also? EWWWWWWWWWW.

It is also this stupid detox plan. Stupid, stupid detox. I'm grouchy and I don't feel not one bit thinner. Harrumph. I find myself looking in the freezer so that I can imagine what the food would taste like if I could eat it. And I'm finding out that there only so many options for broccoli that don't include cheese. On the plus side, I do feel better already. More energy, way less cravings for sugar or junk, so that's good. But I find myself thinking about food I haven't even spared a thought for in ages - like roast beef. And english muffins. And fried chicken. Hot wings....yummmmmmm.

But I digress. Time to go and figure out what spectacular meal I can make for myself involving brown rice and veggies that I haven't already had at least once this week.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I've had an opportunity come up and it's made me do some serious soul searching.

Last Friday, a friend of ours called wanting to know if I would be interested in a job that she just had come available. The job is with the tax center on base, and they would need me from March 15 to April 30. Well, you bet I was interested. Even though it's full time, it's for a short time period, so it's kind of the best of both worlds. All I needed to do on my end was arrange for childcare and wait to hear if there would be any issue with my replacing the guy that was leaving. Easy as pie, no?

No. The CDC has a huge waiting list (and I was really thinking I could get the kids in there no problem) and T and S are in the 50's on that list - and that's with bumped up status. The off base childcare options we checked into do not provide transportation to T's school and were so expensive I had to sit down when R told me. Of the family child care providers I talked to, there was no one that could keep both the kids that I felt would be a good fit. T and I had a bad experience with family child care when he was two and the fall out from that was such that it was a year before I even considered leaving him with anyone else. So, yes, I'm very picky. S is more adaptable, but I'm not willing to mess that aspect of her personality up. I mean, let's face it, with the recent issues she and I have had, why on earth would I want to do anything that might make that worse? The answer: there's no chance. N O N E none.

Where does that leave me? Conflicted and stressed. Part of me feels like if this were meant to be that it will all work out waaaay easier than it has, and all the stuff that's gone on since Friday has been a huge, blinking, neon sign saying "NOT MEANT TO BE". On Tuesday, after much soul searching and over analysis of possible outcomes and complications, I decide that the failure to find child care I was comfortable with was a deal breaker so I email the friend and let her know it wasn't going to work out.

A little bit about that: she works for a company that gets contracts to find employees for jobs. Technically, I guess that makes her a headhunter. The job was from January to the end of April. The guy they hired originally for this job is leaving because he found full time employment and they need him to start ASAP. So, how bad his THIS job that he's willing to break an employment contract to leave it? (I know, I know...I should have considered all these things PRIOR to telling her that I wanted to do this.) Surely he didn't interview for a job before getting this one and it took them that long to decide to hire he's been actively looking and interviewing while on this job. If he's looking for full time employment, I can kind of understand that, but I am surprised that he's willing to walk off in the middle of a job. But he is, and here we are.

So I email her saying the childcare thing isn't working out, and I'm really sorry, but I can't take the job. I haven't signed a contract or anything yet. She responds by trying to help me find childcare, which is just awesome. I mean, she's really going out of her way to help. But then all the warning bells go off in my head...why?!!? When I went to a last minute interview with the office that was overseeing this position, my impressions were not favorable. The people were nice, don't get me wrong, but they only seem interested in getting a body in the chair. While that's great for me in a way, I can't ignore the desperation that's seemingly flying about. I do not want a high stress job. Do NOT. Nor do I want to walk into a disaster zone with the responsibility of fixing other people's mistakes that I'm now accountable for. Been there, done that. No thank you on the encore.

So I email her again today to say that the last of my child care leads have fizzled out. She calls me with the name and phone number of a lady that is interested in keeping the kids. So, the kids and I go and meet her. They love her. She's great with them, too. So why don't I feel any better about this? I go to yoga to meditate and mull this over.

I want to help our friend out. She's in a pickle and she's literally moving heaven and earth to help me make this happen,. This would be great to update my resume: a management position that has a limited time frame. But by the time I pay taxes and childcare, there won't be much left of my paycheck, and it's pretty clear I'm not nearly as career minded as I used to be. T is already reacting to the changes. That's not a good sign. While I don't want to let anyone down, my family comes first. Period. I started the training software tonight. Even if I don't take the job, I figure that knowing more about taxes and volunteer tax prep site management is a good thing. The job description via the training module is way more involved and detailed than I expected or was told. The first rule of working in the financial industry is that you don't mess up people's finances. Why do you think the suicide rate for fund managers/stockbrokers/etc is so high when the market tanks? Knowing I'm the go to person for every return filed through this office? YIKES! I'm not sure I want that responsibility. Scratch that, I know I don't...not with it not leading anywhere. I'm also not comfortable with the feeling that I'm the last resort and not a viable candidate for the job. Do I think I could perform the job well? Of course. So why do I not want to do it now?

I'm pretty happy with my life these days. I would be fine not working until the kids are both in school full time, if then. I honestly didn't realize that until this week. I said it, but wasn't sure if I really, truly meant it down deep inside. Turns out I do. T is making such amazing progress since we've been here. I'd regret it forever if putting him in full time daycare caused a setback or any regression. It's just not worth it. It's not even worth taking the chance.

I'm going to have to turn this job down. I hope that it doesn't ruin a friendship, and I hope that it doesn't blacklist me when and if I'm ready to start working again. I dread the conversation I'm going to have tomorrow, but it's not fair to drag it out.. I know that there was an issue filling the spot initially and that they have no more prospects for this job. But I can't accept that responsibility for our friend, as much as I'd like to help her. What a crappy situation and a hard decision. (Siiiiiiiigh)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Life Savers

On Friday, I got a call from a mutual friend of mine and R's. She works for a company that finds employees for specific companies. A job suddenly opened on base, and she needed someone with a financial background, so she called to see if I'd be interested. Well, yes! Yes I would. All I needed to do was find childcare, and how hard could that be in a place with so many options?!?

Well, quite hard, apparently. S isn't potty trained yet. She's not the least bit interested at this point after a great start to the process. That's a problem because it rules out the CDC and a lot of the private preschools. T has pre-k, which means I need to find a provider that can get him to and from school or that lives/operates in the school district.

We signed them up for the CDC..they are in the 50's on the waiting list AND S must be potty trained (totally not going to happen in two weeks) plus T is considered special needs because of his IEP, which will probably make it even more difficult for him to get in.

Many of the home daycare providers on base don't have space for a temporary full time child, or the space they do have doesn't fit the criteria for this job. I had an interview with the approving committee for this job yesterday on very, very short notice. My friend/workout partner/lifesaver Samantha agreed to watch the kids while I went on even shorter notice. I'm so grateful.

When I went to pick up the kids, neither one of them wanted to leave. Instead of annoying me, it made me really happy. I'm glad that they have the ability to blend well - even if T did leave the door open when he was going to the bathroom scarring Samantha's daughter for life - and take his second massive poop of the day that required assistance in the wiping area. Poor Samantha. I finally pried the kids out the door when Samantha's husband came home and they had to eat dinner right away he had school that night. T invited himself and S to stay for dinner, which was nice but totally misguided. And he didn't even invite me! HA!

So after I drag them out the door and to the car and we head home, T announces he's hungry. Cool - because we are going home to fix dinner. "But it won't be as GOOD as what they are having!" wails T.

"Do you know what they were having?" I ask, amused because I already know the answer

"Noooooooooooo, but it will be better than what we have!"

"Because it's at their house?"


Of course.


Yesterday, the T man didn't have school. Sunday night I was trying to figure out a good way for the kids and I to spend the day, and I didn't come up with anything huge. I ended up taking them to the Y childcare room so I could get a workout in. S has been almost daily, but since I go to the Y when T's in school, he hadn't had a chance to checkout the childcare room.

When we don't have somewhere to go, it can take us up to an hour to get out of the house. It's often as much my fault as the kids'. I get distracted when I'm headed out the door with silly things that shouldn't matter and that I can do anytime and more than likely should have done already. But that's the life these days...lots of theoretical time to do things, so I put them off and end up trying to to them all at once, usually when I'm trying to head out the door. No, I don't know why. It's an annoying quirk, but I haven't shaken it yet.

The kids bickered all the way out the door, to the car, getting into the car, on the ride to the Y, getting out of the car at the Y, walking into the Y, and while we were waiting to get T's id card. By the time we got to the childcare area, I was in desperate need of a workout. When we walked into the childcare room, T's eyes lit up. It was like me walking into Borders or Lowe's or Home Depot. S, having suddenly decided not to be offended by every word coming out of everyone's mouth, shows T around and they don't even look back at me. Cool.

After my workout, I went to get the kids. When I walked into the childcare room, T was sitting by the train table area playing with two younger boys. I just stood back for a minute and watched him. He was showing them how to put tracks together and explaining how trains worked. This was a such a change from the snarl fest that normally happens at our house when more than one child is trying to play with the trains or tracks. It the moments like these that get me through the really bad days with the kids - knowing that somewhere, somehow I'm getting through (probably on a subconscious level), and they are going to hopefully turn out okay. When T saw me, he waved happily and I walked over to tell him we needed to go.

"Moooooommm..I don't want to go. This is much more fun than our house." That's probably true, there's an entire area where he can run, bounce, and jump safely and no one is fussing at him for it (since that's what that area is for, natch). So 15 minutes later we have on shoes and coats and we head for the door. As we open the door to go out, T turns around and announces, "T is leaving!" No one really looks up from what they are doing so he shrugs and walks out the door. "So!" I say, "Did you have fun?" T looks up at me and says, "well, yeah, didn't you see me having fun?"

Oh T. I wish I could bottle you up and sell you sometimes.