Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I did it myyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy waaaaaaaaaay

I just don't know how much more I can take.

S has started singing fifteen minutes shy of constantly. Not that I don't enjoy the songs and her voice, of course, but her repertoire consists of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, the ABC Song, Dora the Explorer theme song, and something I can't quite catch. Oh, and she sings them at top volume. And something else? The words aren't quite right, which...no biggie...but when she asks you to sing with/for her and you sing the song the way it's commonly known? Wooo! Let's just say I have solved the no Simon Cowell problem for the next season of American Idol.

Here is how S sang Twinkle, Twinkle today:


Tinkle tinkle wittle tar
how I one note where you are
up abo da word like high
and the diamond in the sky
tinkle tinkle wittle tar
hooooooooow I onnnnnnnnnnne note if you arrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

My turn to sing? Sa-weet!

Twinkle twinkle little star
how I wonder what you are
NO MOMMY! That's not right!
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
NO! NO! NO! MOMMY! That NOT RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

S? Do you want me to sing this or not?

No. You don't sing right. I do it.

Tinkle tinkle wittle tar...


Yes, S?

I sing Dora now.


Dora, Dora, Dora the explorer. DORA! She a soup or cool bora hora! Grab backpack! Let's go! Jump in cheerios! You can lead the way-ay! D-d-dora! Siper no sipeing, siper no sipeing! Oh MAN! Dora the explorer!

Having learned my lesson? I just clap, cheer, and take notes. I'm a soup or cool bora hora!

Monday, August 30, 2010


Fine. I admit it.

Hello. My name is Brooke and I'm addicted to Target.

Hi, Brooke.

A couple of weeks ago, I made the huge mistake of opening the Target ad. I know better. It's like not letting me eat anything for three days, sitting me down in front of a bowl of my father-in-law's fettuccine alfredo and asking me to lick the bottom of my shoe instead. Totally not going to happen. I didn't NEED to go to Target today. I wanted to go to Target today.

I took S with me because 1) where I go, she goes 2) I was kinda hoping she'd lose patience with me five minutes in so I could stick to just the things on my list and 3) serious budget damage is done if I go there solo. Stuff I can't even use I'll buy. Why? Because it looks good and I spent four years wishing I had a Target nearby.

Here's what I went in to get: a baby gift for William, pajamas for T, possibly some storage bins and baskets, batteries, a price for bar stools, and a quick once over of the clearance section.

Here's what I bought: a baby gift (and card) for William, pajamas for T, some Christmas gifts for Abby and Lily, a shirt and sweatshirt for S, a lunchbox set (sports bottle and either sandwich keeper or snack container) for T and S, batteries, storage baskets, Rice Krispy treats, a piggy bank, and tissue paper for the baby gift. By the way, bar stools generally run 30 or 31 inches and run from about $50 to $130. Good to know.

The list of what I wanted to buy? Whooooooooo. It's long, people.

Once I left, I haven't given all the stuff that seemed like such a good idea in the store a second thought. So why is it that I find it so hard to resist a buying frenzy there? Marketing? Convenience? Product placement? Subliminal messaging?

I dunno. I'm just glad I stayed away from the shoes.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dear Diary. I am boring today. Goodnight.

Arrrggh. Blank page syndrome.

I should have a lot to write about. We had a busy but amazing weekend. Iron Man himself on Saturday followed by a family nap (that has only ever happened when we are moving across six time zones or more) and then dinner with the Smiths.

Today we got up around 7. We have been talking about cleaning the living room carpet for about a month now. So we decided that today was the day and R went to rent the carpet cleaner. We moved all of the furniture out of the living room. R and I? We picked up the couches and carried them into the kitchen. No big deal. Let me pause for a second on that one. Two years ago? There is no way that I could have done that. I'm so grateful that I'm healthier and stronger. And I'm more determined than ever to complete this journey.

It also made cracking my pinky toe into the piano as we were moving it (without picking it up because we're strong, not foolish) a little easier to take. Sort of. Once the throbbing subsided.And I could walk on it again. And really! How do I manage to do that? I crack my pinky toe on grocery carts when I'm in NC all the time. To the point that my pinky toenail? Is too damaged to even describe and I fear permanently bruised. How it's still attached to my toe is a total mystery to me. How my toe is still in a normal position and not pointing due west from all the trauma is also a mystery. A mystery, but I'm grateful. It's hard enough to buy huge shoes for a box shaped foot without having to cut a little hole on the side so my wonky pinky toe can ride in style.

The carpet cleaned up wonderfully and dried quickly. We rearranged the furniture since we had all the furniture out of the room anyway, and after the kids went to bed, I finally got the downstairs completely done. You can see my counter tops. It's been a while. It's a great feeling. And! I accomplished this without shoving anything in a closet, drawer, or bag. The inside is so neat, I may even pull weeds tomorrow. Yeah, right.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Iron Man!

Waiting for Iron Man, with no front teeth.

I have to admit, I was never really into comic books or Superheroes, other than Wonder Woman (love me some Lynda Carter, man!) and the League of Justice cartoon that used to show on Saturday mornings....way back when there were actually cartoons on TV on Saturday morning instead of all day long, every day. Which, actually, cartoons on demand have saved my happy self more than once, so I'd better be careful what I complain about, right? Right!
But, we took the kids to see Iron Man, and T loved it. S pretty much just thought it was too loud. They both had a point.

So awesome!

Well, woohoo! Iron Man himself was coming to base today. We missed Spiderman because we were in NC, so I wanted T to be able to see Iron Man if he wanted. After some debate on the topic, he decided that he did want to go, so off we went, over an hour early. Which was a great thing, because the line started forming not long after we got there and was absolutely huge by the time we left.

Too bad you can't hear the theme music that was playing...AC/DC rocks!

And, man! When Iron Man walked in and the music started? I have to admit, I was really impressed. We weren't too far back in the line and the line moved pretty quickly. And Iron Man was excellent with the kids, posing and goofing around...the music was just a time warp for me and I was really into the whole thing. What an awesome day! And a huge shout out to the AAFES employees that made this about as seamless as it could be with all those kids and waiting.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cereal killer

Today, after the gym, S and I schlepped over to the commissary. We needed cereal because this morning when I went to make the kids breakfast (and by make the kids breakfast I mean pouring cereal into a bowl and adding milk), I discovered four different boxes of cereal with only a handful of cereal left.

Normally, I'd take this opportunity to mention how annoying it is that someone who lives in this house puts mostly empty boxes back without letting me know we are going to need cereal soon. Because stuff like that is SO annoying! Only, ummm, I've been the one all week who has made/given the kids breakfast which also means that I'm the one putting the nearly empty cereal boxes back in the pantry.

Chalk one up for extraordinary unobservance. Go me! Also? I'm so grounded.

S and I grab some cereal and a few other things that added up to $50. Really? $50? But we got a pretty awesome watermelon out of it. After our commissary run, S and I grabbed some lunch and came home. After we ate, I put the groceries away (cereal included, natch) and S and I played school bus. Playing school bus means you have to talk to the bus like it's a person and also occasionally be run over by it. It's way more fun than it sounds. No, really.

Throughout all of this, S was trying to tell me a joke. It went like this:

S: Knock knock
Me: Who's there
S: Orange
Me: Orange who?
S: hahahahahahahahahahaha.

S: Mommy, you say knock knock.
Me: Knock knock
S: Mommy, you say who's there.
Me: Who's there
S: It's me, S! hahahahhahahahahaha

And then the unthinkable happened. She said she was tired, so I just stretched out on the floor with her and covered her up with a blanket and she fell asleep. FELL ASLEEP, people! So even though I needed to unload the dishwasher, do some laundry, vacuum, rearrange the furniture, start the meatballs for dinner tonight, I just remained stretched out by my baby girl and we took a nap. On the floor with no tears involved in the middle of the day.

And after she woke up? I gave her a pair of safety scissors, a bunch of scrap paper, a glue stick and got all that stuff I needed to do? Done. Except for rearranging the furniture, but I can do that anytime. Awesome!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tech support Grandmother style

So, somebody (not me, not my brother, and not our mom) decides that Grandmother needs a computer. At the time, my grandmother was about 80 years old and hadn't even seen a typewriter since she quit work around 1984. And honestly? On the day she retired, Grandmother played "Take This Job and Shove It" at work so it's not exactly like she enjoyed work or work related things. For example, typewriters. While there was some serious logic behind teaching my grandmother to use email (no more long distance charges on her phone bill, it would give her something to do), her desire to adapt to this particular techological development was way, way, way over estimated.

But the computer was given to her anyway, and Mom and I went over, hooked it up, and set up her email account. Just from that little interaction? I ended up writing out a literal step-by-step instruction booklet of how to turn on the computer and then how to get into email and check, send, and receive it. This was so long ago that we were using dial up and Juno. Yep. I know. And, to help paint the scene, it was literally this detailed:

Turn on computer:

Push in the square button beside the yellow note that says "Power Button"

Let go of button

Wait for computer to complete the start up process.

This will take a few minutes. You will know the start up process is done when the monitor (the thing that looks like a small TV) is blue instead of black, and the little square that says "JUNO" shows up as a box on the blue screen.

At the time, I worked in IT and actually knew something about computers versus now when the best my brain can do is recall Dr. Seuss books and stream an endless loop of NickJr. theme songs. Therefore, when there was a problem with the computer, and there was always a problem with the computer, my grandmother would call my mom, who would try and help her, and when she couldn't help my grandmother they would call me.

Unfortunately, I was very little help unless I was sitting in front of the computer. What can I say? I'm visual that way. So it never worked for me to try and talk my grandmother through any issue. She didn't understand what I was talking about whatsoever, and I wasn't exactly the most patient tech support. The conversations went a little something like this:

Me: Hello?
Mom: Hi Honey.
Me: Hi Mom.
Mom: I'm at Grandmothers, and there's....
Me: ...a problem with her computer?
Mom: yes. I tried to fix it, but I just don't know about computers.
Me: (sigh) What's wrong?
Mom: Well, I'm not sure, but I can't find the email button to pull up her account.
Me: Are there any icons on the screen?
Mom: Well, yes.
Me: Are there any that look like the Juno icon but that don't say Juno?
Mom: No. Just the standard ones.
Me: Okay. She may have deleted the icon.
Mom (to Grandmother) Did you delete the icon?
Grandmother: NO I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING! This thing just doesn't work. I don't even know why I have to do this.
Me: Okay, whatever. Let's just make a new one.
Mom: Okay.
Grandmother: I can't even hardly read anymore. My eyesight is bad. The words are too small. People keep sending me some stupid jokes. I don't care about getting jokes. This takes too long and it's (the computer) hot. It's going to get so hot that house catches on fire and burns down. I think we should unplug it. It's too hot.
Mom: Is there a way we can make the words bigger? She's having trouble reading the small print.
Me: Oh my God. How big does she need them to be?
Grandmother: And none of this stuff makes sense anyway. Even the stupid jokes don't make sense because no one ever finishes them.
Mom: What do you mean?
Grandmother: I try to read all this stupid junk y'all send me and nothing is ever finished. Carolyn's emails just stop in the middle of what she's telling me. People try to sell me stuff. I don't know why y'all can't just come by or call. I'm here all alone, a poor old woman, and no one ever comes to see me or cares about how I'm doing. After all I've done for you. And now you want me to use this computer thing that's going to burn my house down.
Me: (silent giggling) She's not scrolling down the screen to finish the emails. Mom, she's not scrolling down. Oh God! (giggling)
Mom: Shhh! Let's just get this icon thing fixed and I'll show her.
Me: You'd better write it down. (more laughing) Use really, really large print.
Mom: Mmmm-hmmmmm. Now what do I need to do?

Lots of things just like this happened. Grandmother had trouble with the mouse, which is pretty typical for older people trying to get used to using a computer. I tried to show her how to just use the keyboard to navigate so she wouldn't have to use the mouse, but that just made things worse. We increased the font as large as we could get it, and make the icons as big as we could too, but Grandmother swore she still couldn't see either, so to make her point she used to have a big magnifying glass beside the computer and whenever we were over there providing tech support she'd make a big show of holding up the magnifying glass to look at the keyboard or the screen, or the on button, or the 'notes'. Sigh. And then, even though she could type by touch about 60 wpm, she'd hold the magnifying glass to the keyboard and hunt and peck.

Eventually, and when I say eventually, I really mean after about a year, she got to the point where she could more often than not turn on the computer and open her email without assistance.

However, she and the mouse never really got along. She managed to get into the system files somehow (and some porn, but I'm almost completely positive that was an accident) and do enough damage by typing in a partial email over the sys commands that we (and by we, this time I mean R) had to wipe the hard drive and start over. I have no idea...no idea...how she managed that.

Not too long after that, I was over trying to uninstall some stuff she'd accidentally installed from pop ups, when she pulled up her email and starting replying to an email that she'd gotten from her youngest daughter. In that email? Were hateful, nasty things being said about Mom. Bitchy much? I think so. I guess when I saw the first comment, I should have walked away, but me being me? I read the whole thing. And then I came up with replies in my head (which of course I never wrote or sent) and then I thought of horrible ways this could come back to bite someone. Say, for instance, being posted on a blog that at least 20 people read. Not that I would ever do such a thing. ::Eyeroll:: ::Snort!::

After that, it was really hard for me to want to help with anything computer related. Or Grandmother related. Of course I did because Mom asked me to. But I was not sorry at all when we ALL gave up the whole computer/e-mail thing. Not a bit.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Workout Wednesday

Ok. I'm trying something new. Every Wednesday until I forget or lose interest is going to be workout Wednesday. I'll blog and you guys can let me know what works, what doesn't, if you tried it, if you think I'm crazy for trying it...whatever and wherever this takes us. Sound good?

Um...hello? Anybody out there?


Oh, well. Here I go anyway.

This morning, I jumped on the treadmill. Oh, wait. I'm being honest. This morning I reluctantly shuffled to the treadmill after giving it the stink eye on the approach. I prefer the elliptical because I burn more calories, it's lower impact, and I can go a lot faster. I prefer the Arc Trainer because I sweat like a prize fighter and I burn more calories. The arc trainer is also low impact for me and works my muscles differently than the treadmill or the elliptical, but I go slower.

So. I'm on the treadmill. I've been alternating treadmill workouts lately. Workout one is a nice circuit mix of faster and slower speeds. I got this from a friend of mine who got it from Prevention.com:

Speed Ladder
This challenging exercise routine features intervals that get increasingly harder but shorter, followed by brief recovery periods.
Time Activity (Speed*)
0:00 Warm-up (3.0 mph)
4:00 Moderate walk (3.5 mph)
9:00 Brisk walk (3.75 mph)
13:00 Moderate walk (3.5 mph)
15:00 Power walk (4.0 mph)
18:00 Moderate walk (3.5 mph)
20:00 Fast walk (4.5 mph)
22:00 Moderate walk (3.5 mph)
24:00 Speed walk or jog (5.0 mph)
25:00 Cool-down (3.0 mph)
30:00 Finished

*These are suggested speeds only and may not be appropriate for everyone. The right speed for you should be based on intensity recommendations and how you feel.

Workout two: Endurance
Warm up for five minutes at 3.0 mph, then walk for 20 minutes at 3.5 (or your intensity level 7), then a cool-down for five minutes at 3 mph.

Today I got on the treadmill and was having trouble deciding between workout one and two. I skipped working out yesterday because I just didn't have it in me, so I wanted to marry the two workouts for the best of both worlds. This is what I came up with.

Warm up for five minutes, gradually increasing speed and incline (incline on the two above workouts is set to 0) until you are at 3 mph and an incline of 3.

Every 30 seconds, increase the incline 1/2 a percent until you are struggling a bit (intensity 8 to 9). I made it to 11.5 today. Then I maintained the speed and incline for five minutes, and then stepped it back down until I was at an incline of 0, and then I did a five minute cool down.

I like this one because my speed stays the same but I still am working on increasing my cardio fitness and getting a doggone good workout. I think I'll rotate this plan in with the other two.

For weights today, Tabata training was on the menu. Tabata training is where you do a specific exercise with weights for 20 seconds, rest for 10, repeat for 20, rest for 10 (lather, rinse, repeat) for four minutes.Today were biceps, triceps, and forearms. It doesn't sound all that difficult, but don't let the description fool ya! It can be brutal for those last two 20 second sets of reps. Then you do another exercise in the same muscle group. And then another one. And then another one. And then you collapse on the floor in tears that 8 pound weights can feel like 800 pounds after four measly minutes. It's a little sad, really. But the last round of Tabata training I did? I couldn't even do five pounds for the series. So, yay. Progress.

That's my workout Wednesday for this week. I may not be able to type tomorrow, just giving you some notice.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Emotional camel

Here I was, all set to stress over what to write about today and BAM! Suddenly there was post worthy material. I love it when that happens.

S had a bit of a rough day today. We had somewhere to be this morning at a specific time, and since I was dragging just a bit (okay, a lot) I shot through a drive thru for the nectar of life for me that is iced tea.

As I was pulling in, I ask S if she wants anything to drink.

No, she does not.

Is she sure?

Yes she is sure.

So to verify - no milk, no juice, no tea?

No milk, no juice, no tea. Nofing for me!!!! (S' version of nothing)

I get my tea, and as I am contemplating the amount of risk with our lives I'm willing to take by turning left out of the parking lot as opposed to turning right and then flipping a u at the next light, the bottom of sanity drops from beneath S (and therefore me) and she freaks out with a dedication that would have been impressive if it hadn't taken me so aback.

What on EARTH could be wrong with this child?!?


She wants juice now.

Well, kid. That's just tough tooties for you because I asked and then I verified and you said no each time.

(increased wailing)


She eventually calms down, we do what we need to do, but as soon as we get home the hysteria returns. What!? Is she an emotional camel and just stores this stuff up?

Nothing, and I mean nothing, that I try helps out at all.

I finally turn on the TV and see that Happy Feet is playing on one of the Disney channels. I take a chance and tune it in and......

Silence. Smiling. Laughter. Dancing. Happy Feet, happy S.

Oh, thank goodness.

And then I go to make her some lunch. First I have to go to the bathroom, so she starts pulling the PB out of the pantry and the jelly out of the fridge. She's very helpful that way when she wants to be.

All of a sudden, this blood chilling shriek comes from the kitchen. I race in to see what could have happened, and S has dropped the jar of jelly on the joint of her big toe. There's already a bruise forming and she is understandably inconsolable.

One hour later and she still won't walk on it, but it's not broken because it's not swelling and she can move her toe. So we cuddle on the couch and then she falls asleep. In a rather impressive Mommy feat (if I do say so myself), I grip the edge of a blanket with my toe and drag it around until it's sort of kind of spread out on the floor. All while holding S and managing not to wake her. (Golf clap)

I gently put her down on the floor and cover her up with another blanket. This time I use my hands - no need to be a showoff. ::Snort::

Not 30 seconds later the phone rings. It's the nurse from T's school. He was pushing someone in swing and got knocked in the head so the nurse is observing him for about half an hour. He's fine, but the nurse just wanted me to know what happened. Then she puts T on the phone and I ask him if he's okay and he says yes....and then? Tears and sobbing. And he's begging me to come and get him. Whoa! Do I have another emotional camel?

I tell him that I'll talk to Mrs. W and see what she thinks (he's only got about an hour left in school), and he gives the phone back to her. She said he has been fine the whole time, and that if he doesn't feel better in a couple minutes, she'll call me back and I can come and get him. Knowing T, I felt pretty comfortable with that. She didn't call, and he was absolutely fine when he got off the bus. And also? He lost his other front tooth. So anything negative that happened to him that day is g.o.n.e and has been replaced by the excitement of Tooth Fairy visits and money.

Thank goodness.

When T comes in and sees S sleeping, he leans over and gives her a kiss on the forehead. She wakes up and blinks at him, then reaches up and they hug each other for a long, long time.

Mushy Mom love going on inside me. And I will take the emotional camels gladly for scenes like that.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pore some painkiller on me

I love me some Def Leppard circa 1980-90's!


About a week and a half before I left for the cruise, I was on one of my travel sized shopping frenzies at Walmart and I saw Biore Clean Pore Strips on sale. I used to LOVE these things. I was always amazed with what was attached when I ripped it off. So, of course, in the name of looking fabulous for the cruise, I bought them. Clean pores = awesome!

After I opened the package, I noticed that the strips had changed a bit in shape. No problem since the more surface they cover, the more clean pores I have. Yay! I followed the instructions on the box and attached the strip to my nose. Firmly. And I gave it a little extra time to dry, because if 10 minutes is good, then 20 is great, right? And also? I got distracted.

So. Time to pull it off.

My eyes watered, the skin on my nose burned, and I think I actually heard ripping. Or maybe I just felt it. Either way, a few minutes after I pried the strip off my nose, my nose felt like it was on fire. The next morning? If you looked closely? You could see where the strip had stripped the skin off my nose. WTG, self!

From that point on, my nose has been more sensitive than usual. The first time I slapped sunscreen on after that? Wowsa!! And even though my skin has regenerated, I think I'll take my chances with larger pores and the occasional blackhead. For reals.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Welcome, baby Memphis

Huge congrats go out to my brother, his wife, and their daughter for the addition to their family this week. Memphis joined his big sister Abby on August 19th and both mom and baby are doing great.

I do, however, have to point out that my brother's oldest daughter, who's 20, gave birth earlier this summer to her first baby. So in the course of a few weeks, my brother is both a new dad and a Grandpa.

Heeee! Love you bro!

Anyway, welcome Memphis! You are one lucky little man and we love you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What did you do today?

This morning at the ungodly hour of anytime before 8 am, R woke me up to tell me that he was headed to the Y for his last Masters Swim class and that while the kids were up, only S wanted to go. How I missed all that activity is beyond me, but I got up and went to take a shower. As I was showering, S comes into the bathroom singing, "I'm baaaaaaaaaaaack". I asked R what happened and he told me that S started crying and refused to go into the childcare room. That's unusual, but then again, she did that one day earlier this week. Hmmmm.

So, since I felt really badly that our adorable diva caused him to miss his last (paid for, mind you) swim class, I asked R if he wanted to go and work out with me at the Y. He's been noticing the changes in my upper body and has from time to time asked me what the workouts are like. (They are brutal. BRUTAL.) So off we went...back to the Y. S was fine to go in the kids room since T was with her, and R and I headed towards the cardio/weights area. After a quick warm up, I let him choose one of the workout sheets to do. Of course he picked one with lots of push ups, the glutton for punishment.

We did lots-o-push ups, we did some pull ups, we did tricep extensions, some flys, some shoulder presses...it was a great workout. R was, I think, a little surprised that he thought it was so hard because by far, he is way, way fitter than I am. And it's rare in the world of fitness that I can offer much to him that he doesn't already know. And I'm impressed that he's willing to go through my workouts with such an open mind. Not once did he say, "In the Army we.....". I so appreciate it because at 40? My hubby can still run a mile and half in about 12 minutes. I can't even fast walk a mile that quickly. It's awesome to see him run. And sexy. (wink wink). And watching him do push ups effortlessly motivated me to push myself when I did push ups.

After all the sweat and weight lifting and bonding we did at the Y, it was also Parents Night Out at the Y, so we dropped off the kids and went out. We went to Borders, then to see The Expendables, then for a quick, light dinner. I think it was the most alone time we'd spent together in months. And it was lovely. I'm so blessed and grateful for my family.

So, what did you guys do today?

Friday, August 20, 2010

I wish my hair would do that...

When S was a baby, her hair naturally formed a little blonde mohawk. As it grew and filled in, to say she was reluctant to let me get it out of her eyes is a dramatic understatement. Any barrette or rubber band or clip that I put in her hair would be immediately pulled out. And if any hair was pulled in the removal process, wailing and anger ensued (not that I blame her on that one).

S is also a hair twister,and when she first started twisting her hair, it took me awhile to figure out how to untwist and untangle it without having to cut any out or break it off. As a result, one side of her hair was way thinner than the other. It was starting to look a bit...strange. So, I took S for her first haircut to the fabulous and talented Jen Temple, who ended up bobbing it off just below her chin. It looked so much better. And I guess that's the first time I noticed how lovely S's hair really is.

Now that her hair is much longer (and many thanks to Ms. Helen and Ms. Ashley for helping to convince my stubborn, lovely daughter that pulling ones hair back is not a bad thing) and she's a bit older, S is all about hairstyles. Braided, ponytails, pigtails....she has an opinion every day about how she wants her hair done. Fortunately for me, this makes her much more willing to have said hair brushed which can be tricky if she's twisted it during the night and I don't catch it before I start brushing it.

The more we do with her hair, the more I admire it. I can french braid it when it's still wet, leave it braided for an entire day and the waves will disappear in a matter of hours once we take out the braids. Right now, she wants to let her hair grow "to her knees". We'll see how long it gets before she changes her mind, but if I had her hair? I'm afraid I'd try to be a walking hair commercial. With all the tossing and flipping I'd probably do, I'd probably have a permanent crick in my neck, so I guess it's a good think I grew up in the hairspray laden 80's, because back then? My hair was so shellacked with Jeri Redding freeze-spray that in a strong wind all my hair moved as one. No individual hair was allowed to exist separately from the collective. I guess I had the borg of hair. heh. Prepare to be assimilated. Resistance is futile.....

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I'm thinking about changing my blog from blogger to word press. Some of the blogs I follow from Top Mommy Blogs use word press and it seems pretty impressive. If I'm going to be taking this whole blogging thing seriously, and it seems like that might just be the case since I've posted pretty regularly since the beginning of this year, I am going to need to learn more about blogging and web pages and code and stuff. It won't kill me, right? It never hurts to learn something new.

Speaking of learning...I bought S a preschool workbook about a month ago thinking that she and I could having some bonding time while being educational. When I pulled it out, she was all excited until she realized that I meant to actually look at and touch this book too. Oh, the horror. So, while she is absolutely all into her 'homework', if I go near it, she freaks. Sigh. For anyone that has, does, or plans to home school? My hat is off to you! Just thinking about trying to harness T's energy or deal with S's tantrums? I want to crawl under the house and cower there until the kids are in college or on their own.

Today, after the gym, S and I went to the BX to get a couple things we needed. On the way in, she wanted me to buy her a drink from a vending machine. Wise to how this goes, I tell her that we'll get a drink on the way out. That way I don't end up on my hands and knees with handfuls of paper towels mopping up any accidentally on purpose spills. S is eerily accurate at 'accidentally' spilling on things she would like to have. Clever girl, but I'm on to you. muahhahaa. As we walk into the building, I notice that the nail place isn't busy. I've been promising S that we could have her nails painted professionally. It's become our Mom/Daughter thing, and it's so worth it to pay three to five dollars to have her nails painted, because they usually do a little flower or something on at least one finger per hand. This means she doesn't pick at the polish as much. She also holds still way better for them than for me.

Fifteen minutes later, we left with S's nails freshly painted and both of us cautioned by the nail technician for S not to touch anything. I think I may be onto something. Because S didn't want to mess up her polish, she touched nothing. It was blissful. Well, it was until she started shouting, "Look Mommy! Look at this!"

Apparently, I under-appreciated her ability to bring things to show me versus an outright holler to come and see it where she stands. After taking 20 minutes to get to the section of the BX that I needed to visit, I had to explain to her that while this stuff was neat, we came to get X and Y and that once we did that? It was time to go. So I would appreciate it if she would please lower her voice and stop bellowing at me to look at every. single. item.



I came home to clean up the house in case child services shows up for a visit.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A cruise story...

My cruise mates all live in North Carolina. When deciding for sure whether or not to go on said cruise, I then had to decide...drive or fly. Thank goodness I had enough frequent flier miles to fly. Because honestly? I might as well have tried to swim back from the Bahamas as get off the boat and then drive back to Illinois.
To make this a readable length entry, let's just say I over packed. In my defense, it sounded like everyone else was bringing a lot of stuff. I'm good at stuff. I'm really good at bringing stuff I don't need. The schedules worked out so that my cruise mates got into Charleston right after I did, so they picked me up at the airport. It was hot.
It was really hot and there really wasn't enough room for my bags. By the grace of God and a true Southern gentleman, we got everything in the car and drove to the hotel. And I repacked my two bags worth of stuff into my smaller bag and my carry on. It also came to my attention that I? Carry entirely too much crap with me.
Cruise day. We have a leisurely breakfast and getting ready morning, then go out to pack the car. Why I bothered with hair or make up is a mystery because I was drenched in sweat and the make up had slid off my face and was somewhere between my bra and my undies. Take THAT Tammy Faye. Also? We had no Southern gentleman to help us shove everything back in Tina's car and I couldn't bring myself to abandon my bigger suitcase. But we got it done, cause we are righteous babes like that. Uh, I mean we are intelligent capable women like that.

Unfortunately, during the packing of stuff into the car, the two pairs of lighter colored pants I owned got something black on the legs. My Tide to go? Did not make the marks disappear. But seriously - I should know better than to wear light colored pants when traveling. It's like putting my kids in white shirts before a photo shoot and then taking them for pizza. Not the best idea.

I have to give Carnival credit, they were efficient at getting us on the boat. It took no time at all and we got to drop off our luggage with the porters. When we got on the boat? They had lunch all ready (since our rooms weren't) and information booths and employees set up everywhere to help you out. The only problem is that it was miserably hot and humid outside and inside seating was hard to find for that reason. So we opted out of eating because of that and because we'd had a late breakfast.

Once our rooms were ready, we headed down and waited for our luggage to arrive so we could unpack. We were going to take a picture of all of us by setting the timer on my camera, but I encountered technical difficulty (technically, the operator knew not what she was doing) and while we eventually got the pictures, we also got this one:

Doesn't the bed look comfy? It totally was!

And then the cruise began. Now I know you guys are expecting a funny story, so this is the best I can do. Our cabin steward, a little guy who hailed from India, was just really nice and sweet and young Really, really young. And probably quite lonely and homesick. I, being immensely appreciative that he would be the one making the bed, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming and dusting for the next six days, was determined to be really nice to him. I think he might have taken it the wrong way, because by day three, he was coming by a lot. Actually, it seemed like he worked around 20 hours a day because he was always doing something in one of the rooms or the hallway.

Saturday morning, I was in the room trying to cool off after my workout and he knocked on our door to bring us ice. We chatted for few minutes and the subject of working out came up (stop laughing, Tina). He asked me what he could do to build up is chest and arms and I said...push ups. He seemed not to know what this meant, so I ended up showing him what a push up was.

Yeah, yeah. I was just trying to be nice. So after our little chat, he gives me a hug. No big deal, right? Right. Only then he started coming by more and more often. I was a little uncomfortable with this - one: I'm happily married, two: I didn't want to give him the wrong idea or lead him on or get him in any kind of trouble, three: when I hid in the bathroom to avoid him, I knew I had to deal with this. I mean, I can't hide forever, right? Especially if I want the bathroom cleaned without having to do it myself.

The night of the bathroom hiding, Tina was giving me a hard time at dinner (good naturedly, of course -- and I did kind of deserve it for showing him push ups. Gullible!) and I was drinking a lot of water. We had purchased soda cards, which meant that you paid a flat fee per day and then got all the soda we could drink. I don't really drink much soda anymore and I was on soda overload so I was missing water. However, by drinking four glasses of water by the main course on top of all the soda I'd had that day, my kidneys and bladder went into hyper drive and I got up to go to the bathroom. The only problem with that? I wasn't sure where the nearest restroom was. So I go outside the dining room...no bathroom. Hmmm. I go down a floor. No bathroom. But - I was only one floor away from the deck where our room was.

Only problem with that? It was clear on the other side of the boat. But I can make it. I take off down the steps and down the hallway. I really, really have to go. And being concerned about having to go and no place in which to do so? Makes me have to go even worse. So, I ran. And when I say ran, I mean I kicked off my shoes, picked them up, and hauled ass. I should mention here that I? Am not so much about the running. And a really full bladder and added pressure from thundering down the hallway like an out of control hippo? Baaaaad idea. By the time I rounded the last corner that led to the hallway to our room, I was in a mild panic. I didn't think I was going to make it. This is one of those times where the lasting effects from a 12 pound baby makes itself known. And there was a little light leakage going on, truth be told. So as I thunder around the corner, I see our cabin steward in the hallway talking to another employee.

Oh, crap. He greets me enthusiastically and I gallop right by, holding my hand up and saying..."Sorry, but I really gotta pee!"

How's THAT for ladylike, hmmm?

And then I have trouble getting my key in to open the door. I fling open the door and the...uh...leakage amps up a little. The one problem with cruise doors? When you fling them open, there's a magnet that holds the door open and it takes a good amount of effort to break the hold and close it. Same is true of the bathroom door. So by the time I get in the room and in the bathroom and get the doors closed, I'm doing what had to be a hilarious pee dance. Luckily my pants were baggy, because I just yank them down. And then I pee for what seems like a half hour. And also? I have to change my pants and undies. Hey, it happens. So I wash them in the sink and hang them up in the shower. I put on new ones and head back to dinner where I tell the girls that I think the problem with the cabin steward had resolved itself. Peeing on yourself tends to do that, I'd guess. Plus, I'm sure he saw the clothes in the shower when he cleaned our bathroom and put two and two together. From that point on, he was nice but way more distant.

And that, ladies? Is how you gently let down an unwanted suitor. Any other relationship advice you may desire can be addressed in the comments section. ::snorts of laughter::

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ow. Like, seriously. Ow.

I am so sore that it would hurt to type if I could actually move my arms. On Monday, my workout consisted of 30 minutes of cardio circuit and then what seemed like an infinite number of push ups and pull ups. Only this time? I did the push ups on my toes instead of my knees (should have made that switch a month or so ago, but I liked the fact that push ups were getting easy), and the pull ups were done by lying on the floor and pulling up to a weight bar. Kind of like a push up in reverse. I also did a set of bench presses with 35 lb dumbbells. Serious progress. I'm loving it.

And today? Well, I'm paying for all that loving. Because I am ALL kinds of sore. Sore in a good way. But really, really sore. Totally sore.

Today was also T's first full day of Kindergarten with a full class. Not surprisingly, he loved it. Also not surprisingly, the wait to pick him up after school was horrendous. So tomorrow? Mini me is riding the bus (by his request). He gets to ride the big kid bus now - with K-4th graders. I know he'll be just fine, but man... some days he's just such a little man.

After school, we were playing (what else) Super Mario Brothers and I'm just miserable in my muscle soreness. T asks me what's wrong and I tell him that I worked out too hard and I'm sore. He thinks about this for a few minutes and then looks at me, puts his hand on my shoulder, and says, "Mom. You shouldn't work out so hard. It's not good for you to be sore and now you can't play the game well."

At least I know where my priorities should be, right?

Monday, August 16, 2010


I am a chronic rearranger. Furniture is my most common victim -- I switch some around at least every couple months. For a long time, I used to watch Trading Spaces and other home decor/improvement shows hoping to get inspired and come up with the arrangement that would be the one - the one that didn't tempt me to switch it up weeks later.

R was a little flummoxed by this at first, but now has the resigned air of helping me lest I do something really foolish and really injure myself. Case in point? In my house in North Carolina? I actually moved a couch upstairs by myself by first standing it on end and then lowering the seating part over me and inching up the stairs with it until it was again standing on end and I just lowered it down and pushed it into the room. Actually, that's probably my most impressive arranging feat, but I've never tried to repeat it or beat it, either.

I had rearranged T's room a few weeks ago to give him more room to play in there. But since he never really plays in there and he isn't as crazy about change as I am, he asked us this weekend to switch it back. So I did. And since I was in the mood to rearrange, I tackled our room too. Our bedroom is set up oddly to me, so there are limited ways our furniture will fit. And since neither R nor I have moved past the mismatched furniture stage (read: we are too cheap to shell out for new, matching furniture), it's always interesting to try to make the room and different styles work.

We are an interior designer's nightmare. Then again, being military, we move a lot, and there's comfort in dragging the same old pieces from place to place. It makes the new place seem like home a little faster. And there's way less worry on our part about something getting messed up. Isn't that what we have the kids for anyway?

As I was thinking about how to switch the furniture today and how this might make an interesting blog entry, I wondered if my penchant for rearranging furniture is a way to make all the changes in life seem more ordinary. That, maybe, by introducing constant change, the big changes won't seem so overwhelming. Because this life is full of changes. Full. And no amount of rearranging is going to change that.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Opposite of yesterday

Yesterday I had a serious attitude problem.

Today? I got karma payback. I slept wrong somehow and when I woke up, I could barely move my neck and shoulders. On top of that? I developed a headache that actually had me wishing by 3 pm that someone would actually remove the axe that felt like it was buried in my head and just finish the job.

I came upstairs to lie down and before long, S came up. She brushed my hair, and by brushing my hair I mean she did her best to rip it out or pound it back into my skull. Not on purpose, of course, but....ow. When I asked her to stop, she cried, so I'm guessing I said it way more sharply than I intended.

I apologized and we curled up on the bed together, me with an ice pack on my eyes, and her with her arm thrown over her eyes. I asked her, "you okay?" Her reply? "Shhhhh. My eyeballs hurt."

This is exactly what I said to R when I requested the ice pack. I shudder to think of what she heard me say yesterday, but when we were at the commissary and waiting for the checkout troubles to be resolved, I was standing with the kids as they sat on a bench across from our checkout line. I had purchased a Propel lemon water, and I was drinking it. S asked for a sip, and I gave her one. T asked for a sip and I gave him one. He swallowed, made a face and asked me what that was. Water with lemon, I replied. I figured we didn't need to have the vitamin/antioxidant talk yet. He looked at the bottle for a second, then looked at me and said, "Well. It sucks." I almost spit water out on my kids. And I laughed really loud, which made them laugh with me. Heaven help these kids if they end up like me. For real.

So as I'm thinking about that today and playing with S's hair as we lie on the bed with our aching eyeballs, I realize that all my grumpiness and hatefulness from yesterday are gone. And I'm so grateful. Grateful enough that the headache is worth it, and that's saying a lot.

What seems like two million advil and hours later, I take some Excedrin. Within two hours, I can focus without pain. I was able to help put the kids to bed without wincing every time I moved or they spoke. And again? I was grateful.

Grateful that the headache was easing, grateful that R was here and willing to take over without complaint, grateful that my kids are the sweet, loving, caring kids that want to help when R or I don't feel well, grateful for my life which I sometimes take for granted. Grateful that I'm in this life with my friends and family, grateful for so many things. Just grateful.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Can you hear me NOW?

Sometimes it really, really sucks to be a girl. First there's the whole issue with not being able to pee standing up which would be nice on long road trips and at most coliseums and stadiums. Or at least the ones I've visited. Those bathrooms are nasty! And that's not even factoring in the whole port-a-potty issue. Second is the whole female cycle thing. I mean, yeah, yeah, we can carry life around and blah blah blah, but how great would it be to have an on/off button?!? That way those of us who are done having kids or are way too young to have kids or have periods so painful that it's not worth it to suffer through them each month in order to have kids could just...blip...flip off the switch and be normal. All. month. long.

Because seriously? Today I actually considered decking someone. Not like, "wow, I'd really like to smack some sense into this person if I did that sort of thing" but more like, "I wonder if I can reach far enough over the counter to do any damage and I wonder how great the fine/jail time would be for hitting this dumbass."

Oh, but that seems so unlike me, doesn't it? I KNOW! Yet for last few months? I'm having some serious anger issues in conjunction with 'that time of the month'. And it's only then. Because it's so unlike me that I've been tracking it. Today I freaked myself out enough that I googled "testosterone levels and weight training". The results are inconclusive.

My irritability started with the great school pickup debacle yesterday and was compounded by our Walmart trip today to celebrate Dora's birthday. I was expecting an actual celebration of some kind, and had to talk R into going because he is wiser than I am and probably knew it would be crap. But T and S both love Dora and Diego, so I pushed it. And wow. There was a lady at a little kiosk with a stack of cupcakes and some fliers for a photo card of Dora if you ordered some prints from Walmart. Harrumph. And the 'celebration' was by the toy aisle. Which could have been a great marketing thing except no Dora merchandise was by the cupcake kiosk. I did feel a little sorry for the employee having to hand out cupcakes and then deal with sugared up kids going nuts in the toy section.

After our Walmart experience, we headed to the commissary. Well, S and I did and R and T went to the library, but walked in right as S and I were finishing up and heading to checkout.

And this is where the potential violence comes in. The guy checking us out, aptly named Moose, was in no hurry to do anything today. What he did do was double scan and then have to void a lot of our items. Then something was going on with the debit card, so after standing there and staring at the computer screen for a while, he called for help. I asked if we could just use another card, but he ignored me. Bad idea. So I asked again, a bit louder. Still no response. As we all know, ignoring me - especially when I'm asking you something - gets me a bit hot under the collar. I opened my mouth to say something loud and unladylike when someone from the office walked up. She, too, ignored R and I and only spoke to Moose. Really bad idea. She put her key in the register, over rode the warnings from his 200 voids, and asked us to complete the transaction on the card terminal. R had asked for $20 cash back, so when the terminal asked me if I wanted cash back, I pushed yes, and the total was $40 over the grocery total. I tried explaining this to Moose and the manager, but he ignored me again and she told me we'd only be getting $20 back. Are. You. Kidding. Me.??!?!?!!!!! I look at R, who sees how angry I really am and he steps in. I throw up my hands and walk off to sit with the kids and wait for the stupidity to end.

It took awhile.

I seriously think I might need anger management. Or a hysterectomy.

Friday, August 13, 2010


First day?

No problem.

After falling asleep really early yesterday, S woke up at 4 am, ate and drank something, then went back to sleep around 6:40. I dozed off too and woke up around 7:20 and then had to hustle T out of bed around 7:30. At that point, S refused to get up. Thank goodness Angela was here and willing to keep an eye on her for me.

I had his lunch all packed so all he had to do was get dressed, wash his face, have a little breakfast and head out the door. He was so tired!

But he perked up on the way to school when he realized that he was really, truly, finally going to Kindergarten. And that he could walk in by himself.

I offered to walk him in, but he wanted to go himself. He had been asking since last year to be able to do that, so I wasn't surprised that he wanted to go solo for his first full day. I was a little surprised how well I did with that, probably from all the advance notice, I'd guess....

Awww.....there he goes!

The pickup wasn't as smooth. Well, at least for me. School gets out at 2:50 but the teachers walk the kindergartners out around 2:45. S and I were there around 2:40, along with most other parents. So the traffic was a bit heavy. And if these parents had bothered to come to orientation, they would have known that the pick up/drop off lane is for picking up and dropping off, not parking and walking in to get your kids. For parking and walking to get your child? The school offers a great big paved area called a parking lot, complete with parking spaces and directional arrows and everything. By 3:00 when we had yet to move an inch, I was getting a smidge frustrated and saying very unkind things about fellow parents and their driving ability. Despite the fact that my nastiness was deserved (at least from my perspective) it probably would have been better kept to myself. This became apparent when S started singing "Old MacDonald" like this: "Old MacDonald had a farm. And mommy is yelling at people. A slow person here and a dumb person there! Old MacDonald had a farm and my mommy is yelling."


At 3:05 I finally get to the pick up area, even though I was less than 100 yards from it when I freakin GOT there in the first place and T jumped into the van. Of course, he forgot to tell his teacher he saw me and was going, so she walked over and reminded us to make sure and let her know. T just wanted to get somewhere cooler, and I don't blame him. We promised to do better on Tuesday.

Once everyone was buckled in and we were moving, I peppered T with questions about his first day of school. His response, "It's a looooonng day and there are a LOT of rules." heh. But, true. Still, he seemed to really like it, so I'm taking that as a positive sign. In his daily folder, he had made a hand print and it had a little poem. Why that particular thing made me tear up I don't know, because as T said, "It's just a hand print, Mom." But his hand print is so big! And he just seems older somehow.

The whole day seemed a little anti climatic, as many of our best days are. How is it possible he's already in Kindergarten?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Once is not enough

The kindergarten meet and greet went well.

T met his teacher and already knows a couple of the kids in his class from YMCA camp. I'm so relieved because none of the kids from his PreK class seem to be in there and T will be more excited (if that's even possible) that he's going to school with some kids he knows. I'm excited because since he's invited everyone and their extended family to his birthday party that we haven't planned yet (don't give my blog that look, it's not until near the end of October) it would be nice if we could follow through with a couple of those invites.

Anyway. We found his locker and put his stuff away. I walked him through the morning process of coming in and what to do in the classroom. He was vibrating with excitement, which is so much nicer than when he's vibrating with anger. We looked around this classroom, found his chair, and he wrote his name and drew a picture for the teacher. I showed him the cafeteria, signed up for PTO, said hello to some more of the kids he knew from PreK last year. And then we were off. Our resident diva was not impressed that she didn't get a locker, chair, and a classroom too, but she was an admirably good sport about it.

Once we got home, the plan for the rest of the day was to go back to Six Flags since yesterday we made it there at 4 and found out the water park closed at 6. My apologies to the Google gods for not looking that up when it was just so out there and easy for me to find. Of course I also needed to find the other two discount coupons so that Angela and Madison wouldn't have to sell a limb to get back into the park. And, T wanted to play more Super Mario Brothers with Madison, and she has been sweet enough for her entire visit to humor his wii obsession.

We finally made it to the park around 2, which gave us four hours. Wooo! Only problem? The pavement was so hot that it actually burned MY feet so I hate to think what it did to anyone elses. So we had to lug our shoes where ever we went. The only other problem? They kept closing everything. It was annoying. Really, really annoying. We did our best to let the kids do everything they wanted (provided it was open, of course) that they didn't get to do the day before. The lines for the lazy river and the slides were long enough that we decided to rent tubes. It was worth having to carry them around to not have to wait for tubes and then wait in line. And the tubes would have been a lot of fun in the wave pool had the park not closed it for well over an hour and my kids been so tired at that point that they lost interest. Even T, yes T, said that he was tired and wanted to go home before the park closed. But by golly, we stayed until 6 pm, at which point S had fallen asleep on the tube while it was out of the water, on the tube while we were floating around the lazy river, then on the chair as we were getting our stuff gathered to go. Angela was nice enough to carry her from the lazy river to where our stuff was, and I carried her from the wave pool to the van, where she promptly fell asleep and - with a brief interruption for a potty break and bath - stayed asleep (so far).

The funny thing? Is that the staff at Six Flags seemed like they were trying to dissuade us from anything we wanted to purchase. We asked about a cabana since if you rent a cabana you get the tubes, some drinks, a locker thrown in for the cabana price. Plus, the cabanas are shaded. And it was in the high 90's. We ultimately decided against it, but the guy at the register kept discouraging us from even considering it or renting tubes. When Angela went to rent the tubes, the girl kept trying to talk her out of it as Angela's feet sizzled on the cement. Finally we all went to the tube rental and I must have had my bitch face on because the girl just rented us the floats with no commentary. And the season pass that was so all fire important when Angela tried to rent floats? Saved us a whopping $2. We are going to spend that in band-aids for Angela's blisters. When the kids and I went to get drinks, the lady at the counter tried to talk us into going to another counter because she didn't have a lot of ice. SERIOUSLY, lady? Do you not see my kids about to spontaneously combust over here? My response? Just give me the doggone drinks, ice or no ice. Pleaseandthankyouverymuch.

But man, that water felt GOOOOOOOD. The lines seemed to move a lot quicker today, which I think is partly because we had our own tubes. I'm glad we went back, though. My kids had a great time and I think Madison did too. She was a great sport about playing with T and S and they just adore her. And also? Look ma, no sunburn! Two days in a row in blistering heat with a single application of sunscreen. Thank you Water Babies sunscreen! And whaddaya know? I can be outside in the Illinois summer without melting. Go figure.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Quiet after noise

If I had to describe today in one word, it would be noisy. Obviously, my kids are the majority of the commotion. Having Angela and Madison here points out how much louder my kids are than most. As if I didn't already know this right?

Hmmm. I wonder if it's because they don't think I listen. (Totally occasionally guilty of that, actually)

Today we ended up at the water park at Six Flags. I was dousing myself with sunscreen before getting into the water and Angela took all three kids into the kiddie area. When I walked up, she was looking around all panicked because she had lost sight of T. I forgot that he tends to take off for the slides without letting anyone know that he's taking off and therefore I forgot to warn her. I was mostly certain that this was the case, so I used some of my remaining post-cruise zen to wait it out.

Sure enough (thankfully), here comes T down one of the slides and back around to us. I stop him in his tracks and explain calmly that he needed to remember to always, always tell the adult where he was heading before he disappears. He agrees, we start to walk towards the main part of the kiddie area when he starts to take off again. I call for him, then again, then again, and then I yell his name. Several people turn and look, but I so do not care. The waterpark was crowded, filled with people we didn't know, there are five of us today and we all needed to make the effort to stay together. Plus, I don't wear my glasses in the water, and the kids need a closer radius so that I can see them. You know, to make sure they aren't drinking pool water or snorting sunscreen or something. You never know with my two what will pop into their head. Case in point? S picks a leaf off some plant and attempts to give me heart attacks (yes, that was meant to be plural) by pretending to lick the leaf, put the leaf in her mouth, and then shove it up her nose. I guess I should be grateful that it was in that order and not reverse because hey, if we are going to make a bad situation worse, shoving a potentially poisonous leaf in your mouth is bad enough, but not AS bad as snot covered potentially poisonous leaf.


So between the normal din of my two and the added noise today of Six Flags and then the stupid Super Mario cartoon that we rented for the kids and watched in the van (yes, I take full responsibility on that one too), there was just a lot of noise.

And now everyone is in bed but me. I'm getting T's stuff ready for his Kindergarten orientation tomorrow; sharpening his pencils, packing his book bag, labeling his stuff...

There is no noise but the rattle of the ceiling fan and the quiet roar of the a/c. No tv, no music, no noise floating down from upstairs. Just me and my mind and quiet. Even my mind is quiet tonight as I see flashes of T from the day he was born until now. My sweet, sweet boy all grown up and full of personality and life. Tonight when I tucked him in, I took an extra moment just to smell his hair. I haven't done that in years, but when he was a baby, I would sniff him all the time. All the baby smells are gone now and he just smells like grass and sky and boy and time passing. The last two days he's been on his best behavior, and I have been most grateful. Perhaps all he needed was for me to be able to quiet my mind and let it focus totally on him for moments at a time. Perhaps all I needed was to stop over thinking and just be totally present.

Tomorrow is the first day of the end of his baby and toddler hood.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Neighbor Diaries, Chapter 3

Ahhhhh...you thought this subject was closed since there had been nothing said in so long, right?

Well. I am happy to report that we have turned over a new leaf...or maybe we are all just delirious from the heat and humidity.

Either way...

When we were leaving for our second trip to NC in June, we had neglected to consider how to deal with the trash/newspaper situation. Meaning, I didn't even think about calling to have the papers held until the morning we were leaving. And also? We didn't think about what to do about the trash. As in --we had a trash can full of...well...trash and didn't want to not put it out, but this area can be a bit windy and we've already had to ask for a new trash can since we moved in since someone stole ours (and more power to 'em cause it was stinky!). So we felt that leaving it out to blow down the street would be foolish and irresponsible. As we are discussing this very thing, our Mr. McNeighbor walks by and he says he'll roll up our trash can for us. Niiiiiice.

When we got back, not only had he done that, but he also walked our paper up to our front door and stacked them neatly so it wasn't so obvious that we weren't home. Double niiiiice.

So tonight, it's around 10 pm and I'm trying to figure out what to blog about. I have several things rolling around in my head - T starting Kindergarten, Angela and Madison visiting, my embarrassing cruise story - and the doorbell rings. Who could that be after 10 pm?

Why, it's Ms. McNeighbor.

Oh no.

I open the door and she tells me that we've left our garage door open and wanted us to know in case we hadn't meant to.




Awwwwwww! That was really, really sweet of her.

I'm feeling all sentimental now and also like I should bake her some cookies.

But really? I think it's karma/the universe/a higher power showing me by example that when I stop being so self involved and stressy and negative and uptight? Wonderful things can happen.

Come here and give us a hug {{{{{{{{{ }}}}}}}}}}}}

Monday, August 9, 2010

School time

Tonight there was a Kindergarten orientation for parents at T's school.

I love to watch people.

I especially love to watch people who are eyeing other people to determine if they want their kids in the same class as "those people's kids". Sigh.

Grow up people. It was 96 degrees at 6 pm and anyone with a brain is dressing for the weather. And call me sloppy (which is usually a legitimate assessment since I've usually just come from or am heading to the gym), but I prefer cooler, looser clothes to skinny jeans and prada heels. Especially for kindergarten orientation. And also? It isn't going to matter that your makeup cost about $100 an ounce when it's melting off your face just like the $5.00 Maybelline. Maybe you're born with it? ::Snort::

Snarky, judgemental soccer moms aside....I'm excited for T to see his room and meet his teacher on Thursday. I'm also hoping that he will be so enamored with Kindergarten and a room full of new kids that he'll be easier to manage at which point the good behavior will be a habit versus polite getting to know you behavior. Hey, I can dream.

T was super good today. We stayed inside for the most part since walking outside felt like being slapped with eighty four layers of steamy hot, wet wool blankets. Just...yuck.

My sister in law and my niece are coming tomorrow for a visit. Well, technically she's my ex sister in law, but since most of R's family pretty much loathes me, we got the sister in law and divorced the brother. But that's a story for a different day. Plus, this way we get to know how Miss M is doing and see her occasionally. We are so excited. I just hope it's bearable enough weather-wise to be able to do some fun things while they are here. And on that note? Bedtime for me! I started a new workout program today. I have high hopes. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cruise summary

Oh, my. Where to begin?

It was hot. I mean....hooooootttttttt. Like, it's getting hot in heerrrreeee hot. The pool was small in comparison to the amount of people on board, but let's be honest...would cruisers rather have a larger pool or more room for food? Why, more room for food, of course. Plus the water was really salty. Burn your eyes right outta the sockets salty. The bonus of that? You float so much easier. The downside? Fifteen minutes in the water and you're halfway to being cured meat. Just sayin'. I think I came back from the cruise even paler than when I left. I'm totally okay with that because it also means no sunburn. Woo!

Speaking of food...the food on board? W.O.W. I tried to make sure I tried some new things, which I did, but gosh..the choices were overwhelming. Here are some pictures of the loveliness I consumed:

What could possibly be better than the food? The company. I was with three amazing women. Funny, smart, kind, supportive....good friends are hard to find and even harder to keep. I feel so blessed to know these women.

During the course of the cruise we sang along with (but chickened out on performing) karaoke, saw a music type show and a comedy show, got our boogie on, listened to some great live music, and we laughed a lot. A whole lot.

My plan was to come home and write all about the cruise, but really? Let's just sum it up by saying I had a great time and I'm so grateful to R for keeping the kids so I could do this. I'm a lucky woman, and I am grateful, so very grateful, for my blessings.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Where does it come from?

Today started off really well. R had signed up for a swim meet on base and the kids and I went to cheer him on. There wasn't much turnout, so we were there less than an hour and half and R swam well. Actually, everyone that we saw swim did well.

Afterwards we went to the commissary, then to return some movies, and we came home. I weeded one of the flower beds which was sorely, sorely overdue. We had lunch, we played Super Mario Brothers with the kids and other than having to fuss at T for yelling at S about not playing the game right (and in case you were wondering, 'right' by T's definition means 'not the way I want' and is subject to change with each passing second. It's a little stressful) we had a great day.
R grilled turkey burgers for lunch then was nice enough to take the kids out of the house so I could do some in depth cleaning. Things were fine. Until they weren't.

I'm still not sure what happened. T just lost it and I know part of it is that he's angry that I left. He cried when they took me to the airport and it broke my heart. But I also know that the kids were going to be just fine with R while I was gone.

Since I've been back, he's thrown spaghetti at me (because we didn't have the type of garlic bread he wanted) and now the massive tantrum last night because he ate some chips, deliberately made a mess, and we made him clean it up.

Seriously little man? Seriously!??!

I had to forcibly brush his teeth last night and he was so full of rage and anger that I was in tears on his behalf. This poor kid. What on earth must be going on in his head that causes him to act out like this? I'm so concerned for S and what growing up with this kind of anger is going to do to her. Tonight? I asked her to go into her room and shut the door so she wouldn't be within striking distance of T if he got out of control. Then I started to wonder - what happens when R and I can't physically restrain him anymore? ::shudder:: I think we are going to look into behavioral therapy for him, we just don't know what else to do right now. But this is so unhealthy and I'm worried that there's something big that I'm missing.

And on that note, I'm going to bed and hoping that this will all look better in the morning. It will, right?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Eat? Check. Pray? Working on it. Love? Oh, heck yes.

This time last week? I was on the high seas, avoiding the sun (too hot!) and getting my sea legs. Time went by so fast, but then doesn't it always?

I took two books with me - the latest Sookie Stackhouse book (True Blood is based on this series) and Eat. Pray. Love. I wanted to read Eat. Pray. Love. before the movie comes out because I wanted to hear it in the author's voice before Julia Roberts takes over. Although - after reading the book I can absolutely understand why she was cast. I read all about Sookie's latest adventures while waiting in the airport(s), so I didn't start EPL until I was trying to go to sleep in the hotel the night before the cruise. I was full of turkey burger and fruit and too excited about the next day to go to sleep right away. Plus, it was warmer than I was used to in the hotel room, which for the money? Was a really, really nice room.

Anyway, the EPL book is much shorter than the other one, yet it took me almost all week to read the whole thing. It's not a book for everyone. Books on personal faith and happiness often aren't. But gosh, I identified with certain aspects of Liz's search for peace and happiness. Mostly the need to figure out a way to quiet my own mind and deal with things that are bothering me.

Surprisingly, what I noticed on this trip? Is that I didn't actually think about anything. I didn't worry, I didn't stress, I didn't over analyze. Well, okay. I didn't over analyze like I normally do. I missed R and the kids, but I didn't feel...how do I explain this? I didn't feel like I wasn't whole because I wasn't being someones mommy or someones wife - no matter how wonderful those someones are.

Also? I waste a LOT of time all keyed up and upset over things that, in the long run, aren't going to matter. I needed to realize this. I loved being around other women who also weren't afraid to be themselves, to say when they did and didn't want to do something, but who were also supportive and positive when one of us really wanted to do something. Hard to explain? Yes. Wonderful to experience? Absolutely.

Since my mind was quieter than normal, I tried my amateurish hand and meditating which basically consisted of practicing clearing my mind. Every single time, I fell asleep. Which, I guess, is a form of clearing your mind, right? But when I woke up after these little sessions, I felt so much more positive. I know, it sounds kind of hokey, and I'm trying not to gush or over-explain. It's certainly worth looking into the meditating thing further, and maybe yoga would be an excellent addition to my workout routine. A balancing sort of thing. Balance is good.

Also good? Having ice cream available 24/7 and one of the choices being fat free vanilla frozen yogurt. And even better than that? Being able to dance for hours without getting exhausted or being sore the next day. Thank you Zumba, Misti, Kim, Maggie, and Kristine! And a huge thank you to God for staying with me through all the ups and downs of my life. Love, man. It's powerful.

Slack, slack, slack.

I promise I will pick up with the regular posting starting today. See? I'm even starting early. I spent very little time with my computer last week and to my great surprise, it didn't kill me or cause major withdrawal symptoms. Truth be told, I didn't really even miss it too much. I was too busy napping, eating, and relaxing.

So! Thanks for reading what I did write while I was gone and thanks for coming back now that I'm back and getting into my routine.

Although, I was completely puzzled as to why my bed wasn't automatically made, my bathroom wasn't automatically cleaned, and I didn't have a variety of food ready to eat (with no dish washing involved) at the blink of an eye. What's up with THAT?!?!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be...

The entitled brat sitting at the table next to us at dinner.

We (and I am taking the liberty of speaking for my entire group of awesome ladies) have been observing and commenting on a young fellow whose table is beside ours in the dining room. It's a large table, four adults, and four kids (I think).

Here's the breakdown.

Night number one....he runs the waiter ragged asking for apparently whatever he can think up. Extra mac and cheese, more extra mac and cheese, condiments, side dishes...on and on. Our waiter who has our tables, the one beside us, and at least one other large table is already running. And the thing is? Most of the stuff being asked for is not being used. Hmmm.

Night two...formal night. Butthead sits at the other end of the table near one set of adults, so we don't really see or hear what he's saying. But, the waiter does spend a lot of time at that end of the table.

Night three. Did this kid take an obnoxious pill today?! It's more of the same behavior as we've seen from him, so no big surprise. But tonight it's in overdrive. But what I DO notice is that our unflappable waiter is flapped. And annoyed. And trying so very hard not to show it. And really, it's more the way this kid is treating him rather than what he's asking for. We have a staff member to make sure we have drinks, one who clears the plates, and one who helps our waiter with the food. This kid asks our waiter for everything, even when the waiter tells him the drink guy will get him is 800th coke, even though he doesn't drink but 1/3 of one before he asks for another.


And, in the middle of dinner either last night or the night before, he asks for the dessert menu and gets irritated that the waiter tells him he'll bring it - when everyone is done eating. Speaking of which, HE wasn't done eating. Butthead.

So the four of us are discussing the obnoxiousness of this kid and vowing that we will not let our kids grow up and treat people that way as we look on with amused affection. And out of respect for the amazing staff I've encountered on this cruise boat? I ask that any of you that read this PLEASE take the "we will not become or raise obnoxious little snots" pledge with us.

Service staff are people too. And they work hard - especially on a cruise ship.

Butthead. Harrumph.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Greetings from the great blue sea. And surprisingly, the sea away from the Eastern coast is...gasp...actually blue. This has been a series of pleasant surprises so far. The cabin was bigger than we thought it was going to be, I managed to pack all the stuff I needed two suitcases to bring to Charleston into the (wait for it) smaller of the suitcases for the cruise and put what wouldn't fit into the empty bag I brought as my carry on, and everyone seems to be having a really great, really relaxing time. I have enjoyed more than I can ever possibly say being with a group of women this week where there has been no drama, no snarkiness (other than the snarkiness we have bestowed through conversation with the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Justin Bieber which is totally deserved), no dissension or any other negative feelings or emotions. That? Is exactly what I've been needing.

We've done a lot of things the ship has to offer, yet not had to spend too much money. We are docked today outside of the Bahamas and all of us voted to stay on the ship and just.....relax. And that is exactly what we've done. It is also exactly what I needed. Apparently, I have many needs. Many needs that I have been fairly unaware of. Ah well. Needy me is very un-needy and very happy right now.

And since internet usage is chokingly expensive, that's it for now. Plus? Now that we've woken up from our naps it's time to eat again.