Saturday, October 30, 2010

Any Saturday That Involves New Shoes Is Bound To Be a Good One

I needed to get out of the house today. It was a beautiful day, great fall weather. Since I'm pretty sure this area only has a weeks worth of actual Fall weather spread out over a six week period, I wanted to enjoy it. Best way to do that? Not be in the house!

We had some tickets for the cute little choo choo train ride thingy at the mall, so we decided to take the kids to do that, and then decide what else to do from there. Naturally, we pull into the parking lot and both kids announce they are hungry. We ended up eating at Chick Fil A, which I think is the only one in the area. When I was pregnant with T and living in South Dakota, I craved Chick Fil A, but there wasn't a single one to be found in at least a fifty mile radius. Cravings or not? I'm not driving over 50 miles for a meal. I have to say, though, lunch was yummy. I love their grilled chicken. And their southwest chicken salad. Yummy!!

After lunch, we took the kids to ride the train. We stopped by Payless on the way out where S tried on a bunch of cute shoes, but didn't want to buy any - other than the Dora boots she found that were two sizes too small. But to our surprise, she didn't throw a fit over the Dora boots. We tried to explain they wouldn't fit, but she didn't understand or more likely didn't believe that they didn't fit until she tried to put them on. After that, she didn't want any of the shoes she'd tried on, but it was a calm, rational process. Color us impressed.

T even tried on some shoes. We ended up getting him a pair of really cute ones that he could just slip on. Neither of my kids has any desire to learn to tie a shoe, so if the shoe ties, they both immediately say they don't like it. I give that another year or two tops and then they'll probably have to learn since they have gigantic feet (runs in the family) and I'm not sure that shoes come in Velcro closures much past the size 3 T is in now. Of course, I wouldn't put it past S to spend the rest of her life in heels to avoid the situation entirely. heh.

We left the mall and ran by the Y to sign the kids up for parents night out, then were going to head home so the kids could play outside and I could run to the commissary. On the way home, friends of ours called (how awesome was it that I not only had my phone with me, but that it was on and charged?!?) and we ended up planning an impromptu cookout.

As great days go, this one was way up there. Of course, finding that cute pair of boots for me didn't hurt, either.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fits of Giggles

After a day and a half of feeling really, really, really awful, this morning I woke up and felt so much better. Stomach flu is just the worst. UGH.

R and I had a teacher conference with T's kindergarten teacher, which went really well. Mom came over this morning and watched the kids while I met with T's teacher and then went to the gym. As grateful as I am that the Y has childcare, it's also really nice to just be able to go in, work out, and then leave all. by. myself.

Mom and Richard decided they wanted to go to Pizza Hut for lunch, so we were in the process of trying to get the kids in the car. Today this involved a massive fit thrown by the resident diva over wanting to sit in the front seat.


I made her get in the back anyway because that's how I roll, and we actually got out of the garage without anyone breaking anything, or losing their hearing from the screaming, or being permanently damaged from the trauma of not getting what they wanted. Well, okay, I'm not exactly sure about the last one, but I'm willing to take the chance.

And then I stopped by the mailbox to mail some stuff. Big mistake. Huge. S wanted to put the letters in the mailbox, which I had no issue with. The problem was that when we went to get back in the car, we had to rehash the whole "I want to sit in the front seat" thing.


I made her sit in the back because I said so. My punishment for this? She screamed like she was trying out for one of the B horror movie main characters. I mean, the girl has got some lungs. If we could channel it (and if we had any singing talent in this family which we SO do not) she would make one heck of an opera singer simply based on lung capacity. For a minute or two I really thought the windows in the van were rattling. The thing is, I knew she was screaming like this to make me mad. I mean, she's mad, so I should be mad too, right?

And all I could do is giggle. And then laugh, and then snort, and then gasp for air from my hysterics. If someone walked by, how crazy would we look? T so into his DS that he's completely oblivious to the caterwauling, me in the drivers seat, laughing so hard there are tears running down my face, and S flinging herself about screaming at the top of and highest pitch her lungs and voice box would allow. I mean, you had to be there, really you did, but trust was quite a scene. The more I laughed, the madder S got. I truly, truly was not trying to make the situation worse, I just.....couldn't help myself. I don't really even know why I thought it was funny now. Eventually, she stopped screaming and started yelling, "IT'S NOT FUN-NAY!", which just make me laugh more. And within a minute or two, she started to giggle too. And then T rejoined the non video game universe and started to laugh too.

What better time to break into a round of "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt"?

Good times. And we sang it all the way to Pizza Hut, where trying to explain what just happened to Grammy and Grandpa fell a little....flat

Later that afternoon, the kids were jumping on the trampoline. For some crazy reason, they had baseballs with them. T, not paying the least bit of attention, chucked his ball crazily where luckily it missed his sister, his grandparents, me, the windows, and anything the neighbors owned but thwacked loudly against the side of the house. I was worried that it damaged the siding, but I didn't see anything when I looked carefully. I fussed at T about 1) throwing so hard 2)not paying attention and 3) not thinking about where he was throwing (aka aim). This upset T, so he spent about 10 minutes growling at anyone who said anything to him. It also got the ball taken away.

S, who was over being growled at, gets off the trampoline and asks Grammy to play 'basketball' with her. She meant catch. See how into sports we are in this house? Heh! Grammy and S are throwing the ball back and forth and T snaps out of his self imposed exile and wants to play too. It took a little bit to convince S, but she eventually agrees to let him play with them. Grammy throws T the ball and S walks off to the toy box. I figured she was going to rescue T's baseball, but nope! She walks back with a fireman's hat on, visor down, and announces, "I'm ready to play now too" and I just lost it in another fit of giggles. I was laughing so hard that everyone else started laughing and S walks around for about half an hour saying "I'm ready to play now" thinking that's why I started laughing. Which was also true, but it was more that she has the knowledge that she was better off with head protection when playing with T and that she went to get it.....oh my gosh. My stomach muscles actually hurt from how hard I laughed today. I don't think there's ever been a sweeter pain.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Workout Wednesday

I've got nothing good for you this week. No personal bests in lifting, no breakthrough in the cardio arena, no massive drop with the scale numbers. Just me, plugging along - chugga, chugga, chugga - in my little routine.

I think it's time to shake things up.

I signed up S for a new session of ballet, which occurs at the way more convenient time of 10:15 am. Today was her first class, and I was very surprised to learn that the ballet teacher does not want the parents in the room during class until the last week. That is one brave ballet teacher.

So. Here's my pledge to myself. For that 45 minutes that S is taking ballet, I'm going to add a super cardio session on to my Wednesday workout. I'm either going to walk a lap/jog a lap/walk a lap/jog a lap or do interval training on the treadmill - walk 60 seconds/jog 60/walk 60/ up the incline for a fast walk and then repeat the cycle. With any luck, I'll survive and make this a part of my daily routine. By the end of this ballet class session (we have six weeks left), I should see some serious improvement in my cardio stamina.

I did not get to start this today, because I had volunteered to help out in T's classroom. Mom and Richard came to stay with S and bring her home from ballet and I headed home to clean up, change, and go to T's school.

Sitting at a table with 5 kindergartners, all of a sudden my stomach clenched and cramped.

You have to be kidding me.

But no, my stomach was not kidding, and I said hello to a nasty case of stomach flu in the middle of T's Fall Harvest party surrounded by all sorts of food, beverages, and adorable little tots who wondered, but didn't ask why T's mom was a ghoulish shade of green.

I have to say one thing. Life is always interesting around here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Caked on


We had T's birthday party this weekend. The cake we bought him was actually 24 cupcakes with enough frosting on top to make it look like a sheet cake (or at least 1/4 a sheet cake if you are the technical type). I ordered it last Tuesday for pick up on Saturday afternoon. Wooo! I didn't procrastinate on something...finally.

R took the kids to pick it up because I was knee deep in laundry and a slight panic trying to make sure I had everything I needed for this week. Mom and Richard were coming in, we had the birthday party on Sunday, today I had planned to eat lunch with T at school and had to figure out scheduling since I needed to pick up S in the middle of T's lunch period. On top of that, we were having a small birthday celebration here tonight because Mom and Richard sadly, sadly missed the Chuck E Cheese fest (which...too bad, so sad for them - it was awesome!), then tomorrow is T's fall party at school which I so wisely volunteered for, Thursday is S's fall party but T is out of school Thursday and Friday, Friday morning is our parent teacher conference for T, plus a trunk or treat at another local Y (just attending this time, thank goodness), Saturday we have plans, and then Sunday is Halloween. Oh, and I had to make up two sets of gift for T's party and one for his class.
I'm exhausted just typing that. It's just as exhausting trying to plan for it all. So very glad I'm not a party planner! Overlapping and conflicting schedules at this age do not reassure me about the tween and teen years whatsoever. Maybe we'll end up in a state where the driving age is 8? What? That doesn't exist? Fiddlesticks!

Anyway, Saturday I was running around like a nincompoop without getting all that much accomplished. This is pretty typical when I freak out instead of act like a grownup. Really? All I wanted to do was go back to bed because on top of the crazy schedules lately, I can not shake this fatigue. I'm soooooo tired. All the time.

But wait - I had a point. Oh! Cake. R took the kids to get the cake seeing as how I was still comfy in my PJ's. (Judge all you want, sometimes I need a PJ day.) I told them I'd have dinner ready when they got back. So I'm doing my 20th load of laundry and realize that I need to start cooking something. I'm standing at the stove when the phone's R. They have no record of the cake.

Ruh roh, Shaggy.

Normally, I would panic right about now. But you know what? I'm too tired to panic. It's just cake. I had made a carrot cake for some reason on Saturday, so I decided if worse came to worse I could use that one. But as R and I were talking, we decided that he'd go back in and see what our options were. Turns out that they made us one while R and the kids waited and then only charged us half price for the mix up. And it was a beautiful cake, too. Thank you, Walmart!

As it turns out, thank goodness Walmart saved us, because the two layer carrot cake I made? Split right down the middle and as if that weren't enough? Then the top layer slid off. To add insult to injury, I actually put the cake on a cake plate, so now there's no way to lift up the top without the top half of the cake plopping onto the counter. On each side. Oh, I am so very glad that I am not a cake decorator. My cakes generally taste yummy, but as for a polished presentation? Not so much.

T's party went off without a hitch on Sunday, and we came back with a little over half the cake left. The kids asked for cupcakes for breakfast on Monday (umm, no.), and I told S she could have one after lunch. Unfortunately, we hadn't completely snapped the lid back on the base, and when S decided she'd just get her own cupcake, the bottom dropped off and the cupcakes landed icing side down on the floor. Ooooops. May they rest in peace in cake heaven beside my sad, broken carrot cake.

That meant that Monday night, R and I were out buying another cake for tonight's celebration. And while it was yummy, I'm relieved that it will be a while before I have to deal with cake again. For my birthday which is just under a month away? I'd like something simple that is not cake. A candle would work nicely in cinnamon toast, don't you think?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spic and Span

Wednesday is T's fall party at school. I offered to give a ride to the grandmother of one of T's classmates who is here visiting and isn't as familiar with the policies and procedures of visiting the elementary school.

This morning, I got in the van and took a good look around. Granted, it was because I was trying to find something, but still - the end result was pretty much the same. Horror, sheer horror at how much debris from the kids' snacks, crafts, and who knows what that had collected on the floor and seats of the van. How do I not see this? Oh right, denial.

So after the Y this morning, S and I headed to the car wash to clean out the vehicle. Two rounds of vacuuming later, it looked like the floor of a van again rather than a garbage dump/recycle bin.

I usually have Lysol wipes in my car (hey, you never know when you'll need to sanitize something) and so I handed S a wipe and asked her to help me clean up the seats. I look over and she's cleaning the concrete slab the vacuum canister machine sits on. An inch of Cheetos dust (not really) on her seat and she's worried about cleaning up the concrete. HA!!!

About fifteen minutes later, I have the van in decent shape on the inside and I had some change left, so I decide to wash it. Per usual, I had about half the soap rinsed off when I ran out of time and change. Sigh. This happens to me all the time, yet I still attempt the car wash thing thinking I can beat the soap clock. So now who's the foolish one? Oh, right. That would be me.

But I finally get all the soap rinsed off and now I have $18.25 in quarters left. Awesome! I'll add it to the 100+ tokens I have leftover from our Chuck E Cheese visit yesterday and use my purse for some lightweight lifting and toning or as a weapon of mass destruction. Either way it's a win win. But my van looks so much better. My only concern now is that it will fall apart without all that dirt holding it together.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Birthday by the numbers

My oldest turns six soon. The day before he turned one, we left South Dakota to drive to the East Coast so that we could PCS to Germany. Birthday number one for T? Sucked rotten eggs. Fortunately, he was one and could care less. But we cared.

Birthday number two. We were living in Germany, I really didn't know anyone yet with kids T's age. Two of my friends were visiting from North Carolina, but at that point the visit was getting a bit...stressful. The plan had been that they would spend the day in Trier and have dinner with us for T's birthday. They missed the train, so it was just R, T, me and more pizza and cake than we could possibly eat. I was miserable in Germany at this point, too, which just magnified all of it for me, so while T was just fine? Birthday number 2? Sucked rotten eggs.

Birthday number three. We were getting ready for R to deploy. T was just about to start in a preschool program with an amazing lady, but honestly? The airman we were sponsoring came over for dinner and cake, but was disappointed in T's reaction to what she brought him. Awkward. I had recently started graduate school and was soooo tired all the time. Birthday number three? Sucked rotten eggs.

Birthday number four. I've finally made some friends in Germany, we had recently moved off base into our awesome house, and we decided to fly back to the US for about 10 days right before T turned 4. We landed in NC, drove to Clarksville, Tn, then onto Tulsa, Ok, where we got back on a plane and flew back to Germany. We got home and T's birthday was the day after so we really didn't plan anything. However, T got four birthday celebrations in the space of two weeks, so this birthday? Rocked!

Birthday number five. We are prepping for our move back to the US. T is in an awesome preschool program at the elementary school on base, but when we asked him what he wanted for his birthday? He just wanted a bunch of balloons. And so that's what we did. A low key, family thing. But then again, that's what he was used to. I took cookies to school and they made a huge deal out of his birthday, so this birthday? Also rocked.

Birthday number six. Since last year, T has been talking about having a birthday party. We've been so excited to be in a place with options and choices that we were pretty excited about it too. However, T's been inviting everyone he knows, meets, and sometimes sees to his birthday party for the better part of six months (maybe longer). We'd love to be able to give him that, but there's just no way. So we told him - pick from place A, B, or C and tell us the five friends you want to invite. I was expecting a battle, but he choose Chuck E Cheese as the place and picked five kids from his kindergarten class.

And in one of those moments that makes a momma proud, he was worried about all the kids he couldn't invite. Because there were several from last years pre k class, several from this summer at the Y, and several from people I've been lucky enough to meet here that he really wanted to come (and us too, truth be told). But he chose the five and today we converged on Chuck E Cheese for birthday fun.

Let me just say this: this was the best birthday party I've EVER been to for a kid. It was organized, it was structured, our host was incredible. All the kids behaved so beautifully. And T had, hands down, the time of his life. All this and we didn't have to set up or clean up? I am now a bona fide Chuck E Cheese fan, and those were words I never thought I'd utter. I'd do this again in a heart beat.

I mean, really, is there anything that makes a parent happier than seeing their child in a state of bliss? Today I really don't think so. I'm so happy with how today went that I think I lost my snark (just temporarily, I'm sure).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Trunk or Treat

I love Halloween! More accurately, I love what Halloween represents: cooling weather, changing leaves, the start of the holiday season. And, you know, it's also nice that there's candy involved.

I had never even heard of a Trunk of Treat until we lived in Germany. Now I'm so hooked on them, it's not funny. (Talk about working smarter not harder.)

So when the Y I sweat away my mornings with announced they were having a fall festival and trunk or treat, I was totally sold. Sign me UP!

Now - how to decorate the trunk? Hmm. Last year we did a pumpkin patch theme and that appealed to my practical and cheap side. Since last year we were in Germany and this year we are not, I figured we could recycle that idea. And then I came up with a small tweak...a pumpkin patch a la It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Who doesn't love Snoopy and friends?

The word at the Y was that 300-400 kids were going to be coming through the trunk or treat line. So I bought what I thought was an over-abundance of candy. I'm pretty sure I had about 12 bags. When the trunk or treat started, I was all giddy and generous with my candy giving. When I had gone through the first half of the candy, I couldn't see an end to the line. So I had to be a bit less generous. And then I ran out and still didn't see an end to the line. One of the Y staffers brought me a couple more bags, and I ran out of that. I got a bag from the wonderful lady beside me, and then ran out of that. Yikes!

One of the worst feelings ever? Having to tell adorable little munchkins that you have run out of candy. I felt like the Grinch who ruined Halloween. The anti Great Pumpkin, if you will. What's worse? The bright lights of Walmart were within viewing distance, taunting me. "Nah nah nah nah nah/we have candy and you don't! Ha hahahahaaaaa!" It was a bit disheartening, actually.

Then one of the Y staffers came by and gave me wristbands to hand out. Woo! Which was better than nothing, but still....who wants a wrist band in this circumstance?! Not the two year olds, that's for sure. Just when I had scoured the car for any single piece of candy I could have possibly dropped or left in the bag, someone came by with a huge bag of tootsie rolls and divided it up between the few of us on my end of the line that were out of candy. Apparently, lots of people ran out. Then we heard that over 550 kids came through the line. I felt a bit better after hearing that, but still...the poor kids at the end of the line really got short changed. Poor things! I hope this isn't their only Halloween event. Next year I know to buy way more candy. Cause I am totally doing this again! Cute little munchkins!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chicken Soup for the....iron stomached?

Normally, I'm a pretty good cook. Normally. I prefer baking, but with the whole eating healthy and trying to lose weight thing? Baking isn't really on the agenda these days.

When the weather starts getting cooler, I start thinking about soups and chili. These are easy to fix, really healthy, and can sometimes make up for the fact that the temperature in our house in the winter hovers around 68.

Last week I tried to make chicken noodle soup from scratch. Of course I didn't use a's chicken noodle soup. Chicken, broth, noodles, and veggies. Easy as 1-2-3, right?

Not so much.

I shredded the chicken breasts, cooked it with the veggies and some unsalted chicken stock. When the chicken was done, I added whole wheat noodles and more broth since the soup tasted a little watery.

Totally didn't help. The soup just nothing, really.

R took some for lunch and then we had some for dinner the next night and....blah.

Tried some the next day after adding a little salt and.....blah.

So. Now I have a huge container of chicken soup that is sitting in the fridge, mocking me.

"You can't make me, you can't make me!"

Oh wait...

that was just the kids telling me they wouldn't eat it either.

Guess it's back to turkey chili and vegetable beef soup. Or, you know, I could just look up a recipe.

I Believe....

(thanks to the fabulous Samantha at for the idea)

I believe.....

...that no matter what or how much you tell your kids the 'right' things to do, they always learn what you demonstrate whether that's right or not. treating others the way you would like them to treat you. Always. taking responsibility for your actions and apologizing for your mistakes, especially to your children of the hardest things about growing up is seeing your parents as regular people instead of the superheroes of your childhood learning from your mistakes (and then not repeating them)

....there's very little a talk with a good friend, a warm hug, kiddie kisses, a small amount of chocolate can't fix.

...that good night and good morning snuggles with my kids are actually a little piece of heaven

...that there is some good, somewhere, in everyone

...that discipline for children is under practiced

...that music can, in fact, soothe the savage beast

...that a good, solid marriage takes a lot of work, but the payback is 100 fold. Even on the bad days.

...that quality time with your kids trumps anything you could ever buy them

...that exercise solves more problems than pint of Ben and Jerrys. a regular date night....even if it's only once every six months.

...home is where the heart is

What do you believe in?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Workout Wednesday

I'm sore today. Deadlifts made it into the rotation. Deadlifts do what squats and lunges don't normally do...they make my hamstrings scream. Not when I'm doing them, oddly enough, but the next day? Ouch.

Since we did deadlifts Monday, I figured I would be over the majority of the soreness by today. As it turns out, that's not the case. So the deadlifts were full of extra fabulousness today. Woooo!

On the bright side - or the scary side depending on how you look at it - I was on the the leg press machine and decided to see how heavy I could go.

480. Four hundred and eighty pounds for six reps. I'm almost positive that tomorrow I will be in pain any time any muscle in either of my legs moves, but least I had something to write about.

And before you picture me as some massively muscled She-Ra, let me just say that the leg press machine was the exception rather than the rule. After all, my bent over fly weight is 10 pounds and that can be a struggle some days.

It's so freaky how the way you move makes such a difference on how much you can move, doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

She's Only Three...

It's no big secret that S and I have been having a bit of a rocky time of it lately, what with all the fit throwing and crying. I mean, jeez. Where does she GET it?!?!

Today, her preschool class had a field trip to a working farm/pumpkin patch that was different than the one the hub-o-licious and I took the kids to. On this farm, the kids got to feed the animals, play on a super cool playground, pick their own pumpkin (complete with tractor ride to and from), and have a snack of fresh apple cider.

Kinda made me want to be a kid again.

When we got the notice that there was a field trip scheduled for today, I was debating on whether or not to go. On the one hand, it meant missing my workout and this week is crazy busy so there were no guarantees that I could fit it in later. On the other hand, come on! This is my baby girl. How many opportunities like this will we have, so of course I went.

I was worried on the way over, because S is a bit possessive and demanding of her teacher. As in, she wants all her attention all the time. S wanted her to ride with us, sit beside us, hold her name it. I have to give credit where credit is due...her teacher handles it beautifully - doesn't just give in, but also doesn't hurt S's feelings or make her feel rejected.

Yes, I took notes.

There was a bit of confusion at the farm this morning which made things a bit hectic. S and I were with her group feeding the goat and cows and she was standing back a bit from everyone. I've seen her do this before but I've never been with her when she was doing this. I bent down to ask her if she wanted to go feed the goat and cow and she nodded, but didn't move. Normally I would have pressed on with the questions, 'Do you want me to go with you? Do you want me to go get the food for you? Are you afraid to let them eat out of your hand?' and so on...

For whatever reason, today I just let her set the pace. She watched a few kids do it, and edged a little closer. She watched a few more, then walked up to the man with the food and asked for some. She held it for a bit standing pretty close to the fence, still watching. When she finally ready, she walked up and fed the cow. And when the cow licked the food out of her hand, she giggled. And all of a sudden, I got this flash of the woman she will become. The kind of woman I'd love to know - not afraid of new situations, but cautious until she feels comfortable. Not afraid to speak up, but not obnoxious about it either. Funny, sweet, and heartbreakingly beautiful. I snapped a picture.

Monday, October 18, 2010


This morning, I was running a little late to the gym. My weights partner had to leave by 9:30 because her house is for sale and there was a showing scheduled. (Fingers crossed that this is the lucky showing, girl!)

I was running late because last night our resident diva meandered down the steps and declared that she couldn't go to bed last night because her eyes "couldn't close".

Heh! Original.

Then she crawled onto the foot of our bed sometime during the night and this morning I realized that our little three year old had a good 50% of the bed on lockdown. And I didn't know she was even on the bed until I woke up.

Apparently she sleeps well in our bed because I had to wake her up at 7:45 so I could get to the gym. I hate to wake a sleeping child, but I had to do it.

I get her settled in the child care area and I run to meet my weights partner, who had already started on our sets for today. We agreed I'd just add the stuff she'd already done onto the end of my workout.

The point of the detail over sharing is that we were in a bit of a hurry to get everything done, so we were moving along at a pretty good pace. We needed one of the machines that do rows. The Y has two, one of which was out of order. The other of which was being used.

No big deal. We just moved to the next exercise on the list and came back to the row machine. Because, you know, that's what normal people do at a gym. Especially when, say, the gym isn't very busy and there are 10 machines out of 35 or more being used.

We were each doing five sets of reps - a set of 12, 10, 8, 6, and 12. This doesn't take long. Since we were alternating the sets to make them go more quickly. I had gone first and was getting ready to start my six rep set when this lady walked up and stood in front of the machine. My partner, trying to nice but truthful, said that we were going to be using the machine for a just a little bit longer. She then started to explain what we were doing (with the pyramid lifting and sets) so that the lady would see that while we weren't quite done, we weren't going to be there for another half an hour either.

But Madame McHateful interrupted her and said something to the effect that what we were doing wasn't weightlifting, it was talking. The comment came with a bonus case of prissy face.

Who peed in your latte this morning, McHateful?

I mean, yeah, we were talking to each other, but we were not wasting time and we were not standing there just chatting while not using the machine. Each set took less than 30 seconds to complete, and we were switching back and forth so there would be no down time.

There was more conversation between my partner and McHateful, but my blood was boiling too loudly for me to register what was said. That's probably a good thing.

We finished our set, cleaned off the machine, and went on to the next set. My mind, however, spent a good amount of time in an imagined conversation in passive aggressive land with McHateful.

She never did use the rowing machine that I saw. I guess we messed up her Type A rhythm. It's a shame really. That might have been the one machine that actually enabled her to break a sweat, bless her little heart.

Seriously, though? I don't get why women have to act so catty to each other. Such a waste of energy and such a shame.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Faith and Judgement

I went to church this morning for the first time since April.

It felt so good. I felt really emotional during the service, which is generally a sign that there's something with which I need to deal. (Sigh.) Isn't there always something waiting to be dealt with, though?

I have a rocky history with religion. I'll sum it up in a short (no, really, I will) paragraph. The church I grew up in did not provide me (I feel) with much spiritual, moral, and religious guidance but it showed me what I didn't want in religion. Which, on second thought, kinda is guidance.

The hub-o-licious didn't grow up in a religious environment so he's a bit reluctant to jump in at this point. So really, if the fam goes to church it's going to up to me to prod them in that direction. Since I was so strongly prodded when I was younger, I am really reluctant to force religion on my family. At the same time, I want the kids to be exposed to different religions so that when they are old enough they can decide how involved they want to be in church going and all that. It's a dilemma.

So today, I just went by myself. T and hub-0-licious were sick and S was still asleep, so I just slipped out and went. There isn't a single negative thing I can say about going to church this morning. For me, that's pretty amazing.

But going to church started me thinking about lots of things and I can boil those down into two categories: faith and judgement. Specifically, why is so hard to find a church where the church goers aren't really judgemental? My experiences with church going people over the past few years haven't been very positive.

One of the first people I met in Germany flat out told me that she couldn't be friends with me unless we went to her church (they hadn't found one there yet) because she only socialized with people that went to the same church as she did. Ooooo-kay.

I went to a bible study class where one of the couples wouldn't speak to me when they saw me in public, and yes, I always said hello to them and yes, they heard and saw me.

I went to some MOPS meetings right after we first moved to Germany and the lady in charge of my group? Was the kind of person I didn't want to have anything to do with because she was....mean and awful and gossipy and bitchy. She was also heavily involved in the base chapel. So her mean and awful and gossipy and bitchy self had a wide and brutal reach, which is the story for another blog post.

Logically, I know that there are billions of people with strong spiritual lives who are not judgemental . I'm blessed with many people in my life who have strong faith and are not judgemental. So other than the horror of the religious experiences of my youth, I'm not sure why I automatically equate someone who is religious with someone who is overly judgemental.

What I do know is that going to church today? Felt a lot like going home. I'm going have faith and just see where this takes me. And also? I'm going to try not to be judgemental.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

De-germing is apparently not possible

R is sick. T is coughing like he's been smoking 17 packs a day for 50 years. S is on the healing end (I hope) of the coughing thing.

So pretty much we've been passing around sickness of one form or another for what? Almost a month now? Yowsa.

Lysol and Clorox wipes, please don't break my heart by proving that we have some form of super germ that has formed from your overuse in this house. Give a mom a break.

My washer and dryer have been going full speed as I try to keep up with the piles of laundry that I'm creating. Bed linens, towels, clothes -- anything the kids might have touched or coughed on or germed up.

I'm just about to admit that I'm not winning this battle.

T came downstairs tonight in tears because his throat and stomach hurt so much from all the coughing he's been doing. Poor little guy. We tried to give him a cough drop, but he doesn't like them and won't leave them in his mouth long enough for them to help. That's actually okay with me because with the way he's coughing, I'm really worried that he could suck it down his windpipe and choke.

I used to go to sleep with chewing gum in my mouth. I've even gone to sleep with cough drops in my mouth before. I never worried about choking until I had kids.

Being a Mom is hard work.


We finally gave T some motrin (the non recalled kind of course) and he's resting a little more comfortably. I hope he can get some sleep.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mouse Destroyer

Not the furry kind of mice, though. For any four legged mice I may encounter -- and by encounter I mean see signs of their existence in black poo form -- I put out a nice tray of mice remover pellets and then push that I'm basically spreading poison around into the back of my mind. I mean, I have two kids under 6. I'm totally on a first name basis with torture these days. So it's not like those mice are alone in this, you know? Besides, I bear no ill will towards any mouse that chooses to live outside my house. Only the ones that venture over the threshold meet an ill timed demise.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah...mice.

It's official. I'm a computer mouse killer. Not so much the mouse itself as the USB stick. In the last three years I think I've gone through six or more. After mouse number three died, the hub o licious started bringing home the cheap ones.

How do I manage to do so much damage, you wonder?

Since we have laptops, I'm forever sitting on the couch to check email or Facebook or blog. Between having to put the laptop down in a hurry to prevent sibling-i-cide or maiming, having S crawl all up all over me all the freakin' time, my USB stick simply takes a beating. Having it fall off the arm of the couch or slide off the table or slide off my lap when I fall asleep sitting up doesn't help either. Not that that's ever happened. Ahem.

So this last mouse USB died when the laptop kinda just sorta landed USB stick side down somehow. ahem. R just walked over to it, looked at the stick, looked at me, shook his head, and tried to fix it. I managed to...umm...completely knock the hard plastic cover off of the electronics inside. Sigh.

A few nights later I'm mentioning how the mouse really isn't working and R is all, "go get a new one' and I'm all "why? I'll just murder it too" and R's all "they make really tiny USB sticks now" and I'm all "well even tiny USB sticks can't survive my abuse and anyway, the ones with the tiny USB sticks are too expensive"

Fast foward two days and my mouse is officially dead unless the USB stick is in specific position and isn't jostled. Which means, of course, that my mouse is dead. I run into Walmart just to check out the mouse selection and by golly. There is a $24 dollar mouse with a USB stick so tiny that even dropping my computer USB stick side down on purpose probably wouldn't hurt it. Not that I'd ever test that theory or anything.

I hate it when R is right and I don't listen.

I buy it, of course, since that's less than what I was paying for the mouse with the giant USB stick and so far the mouse, USB stick, and I are living happily ever after. Then again, it hasn't even been a week yet.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Today I did something I never thought I'd never do.

I had a bikini wax.

You know what? It wasn't bad. Who knew that for waxing purposes there are two types of wax - a hard wax and a soft wax?

(I learned all kinds of neat stuff today!)

If the wax is removed by cloth or linen strips, it's considered a soft wax. Hard wax is applied then removed once it hardens. Who knew?

I can safely say that I'm now a hard wax fan. The bikini area is pretty darn sensitive, but at the very worst the discomfort (because it didn't qualify as pain) it was kinda like a pinch, and not even a bad one.

Again, who knew?

Workout Wednesday

The holiday on Monday has thrown me off a day. It's a little sad that I'm this easy to confuse.


The last couple weeks, I've been following a pyramid weight lifting program. I was surprised how effective it was, because the first week I was sore after every workout which is kinda cool since the workout did not introduce new exercises, just a different approach to ones I'd already been doing.

Here's an example - for the upper body workout, you start with the dumbbell bench press. There are four rounds, the first round you start with a light weight for 12 reps, up a category for 10 reps, up a category for 8 reps, up a category for 6 reps, back to the original weight for 12 reps followed by 12 reps of a slightly different exercise (in this case you switch from a dumbbell press to a fly) with the same weight.

You can briefly pause between each set of reps, but I try to rest the minimum amount of time because I feel like a get a better workout.

Then you complete a circuit - dumbbell bench press, lat pull downs, bicep curls, overhead triceps extensions, and shoulder presses. Throw in about 30 to 45 minutes of cardio (still struggling with the cardio this week) and you've got a decent workout. You are supposed to do the upper body workout MWF, the lower body on TTH, then switch the rotation for week 2. Kristine and I have been doing upper and lower body on MWF and then concentrating on cardio Tuesday and Thursday.

I love this workout. It's short but effective, and there's a lot of room for improvement.

Now if I could just kick my hiney into gear over the cardio I'd be all set.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Eye was amazed.

T had an eye exam today. In Illinois, all kids have to have an eye exam within a year of starting kindergarten. Wait, I think that's misleading. The deadline is October 15th, and they have to have had an eye exam between last October 15th and this October 15th. Because if we had until the end of the kindergarten year, I guarantee you we'd be eye doctoring it up in May. Cause, you know, that's how we roll.

I finally made an appointment off base for T's eye exam. T is skittish about any kind of medical visit. So I didn't tell him he had an appointment until he got home after school, which is also when we needed to leave for the appointment.

He was not happy. But, in stunning evidence of progress, he listened to me explain what would happen during the visit and accepted what I said. He never lost control, even though he really didn't want to go. We got to the appointment and I had had to fill out a bunch of paperwork. On the bright side, the lady at the front desk seems to think Tricare will cover the actual eye exam. One can only hope.

S, who really needed a nap but refused to take one at a reasonable hour, was all over the place. T was sitting quietly and a little timidly in a chair in the waiting area. I'd love to have been able to reassure him, but I was too busy chasing S down so that she didn't pull all the glasses off the racks and fog up the mirrors with her breath so she could draw on them. Good times.

Digital photography of the back of the eye is the new current trend, and there were pictures of eyes up on posters that showed certain (and I'm assuming fairly common) problems...glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, etc. The kids keep asking me what this picture means and that picture means. I'm reading the descriptions and trying to explain it all, but when S starts her seventh round of "what is dis?" I'm pretty much done. Especially since I'm trying to fill out paperwork.


The assistant comes to get T and I tell her he's a little nervous, at which point she switches into awesome mode and sets his mind at ease. He does everything she tells him the first time she asks, we do the digital photograph of the back of his eye, and then we go to the exam room.

Again, T does remarkably well. He reads the letters off the eye chart like a pro and is fine with all the repetition he has to do.

Then the optometrist comes in and is just wonderful with T. He does all kinds of tests - color blindness, depth perception, and other things I know he told me but I don't remember. It was pretty awesome to watch, actually. And S was so fascinated with the process that she forgot to be obnoxious. (woot!)

And then we were done. T's vision is great, no problems and he doesn't need glasses. He was a little disappointed to hear that and S was very disappointed to hear it. I? I was grateful. As we were leaving and I was paying for the back of the eye photograph, I was delighted to learn that they offer a 30% military discount. So I ordered some contacts for me since my prescription expires in a few months. When it's my turn for an eye exam, I'm definitely going back there. The staff was great, the prices were reasonable, and anyone that can have the effect on my kids (ie getting them so interested in something that they behave) is gold to me.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I have no good ideas for a title for this post. So there.

I am, right at this very second, listening to my kids bicker and snark and battle over I don't even know what. That, and that infernal Super Mario Brothers theme music.

Right at this very second, I do not care. Well, I do not care as long as there is no property or personal injury.

I'm exhausted from dealing with the bickering.

Exhausted and worn down and apathetic.

The hub-o-licious has been lucky enough to escape to work for an important, impromptu meeting that strikes me more as a self preservation of sanity than actual work related emergency. I have no doubt that I'm both mistaken and over reacting about this, but I'm in a snarly mood and so there you have it.

I need to go to the commissary. I've needed to do this for over a week. I can only bring myself to do so and get what we absolutely need. Yesterday it was for the food we fixed the in laws for dinner. And one of those really small cakes that serves 4 to 6 people. That cake is all gone now. As badly as I'd love some more, it's not worth the cardio time it will require to work it off or having to drag the bickerson siblings out in public to get it.

Saturday it was milk, bought in a very hurried trip to Walmart at 6 am before hub-o-licious had to show up at the site where he was overseeing the CSSIP certifcation test.

Despite my reluctance to go to the commissary, I find that I ironically have been more than willing to go and get takeout. Especially if it was my idea and I can throw in an iced tea. I'd say that less cooking means less mess to clean up, but that's so not the case in this house. My kids can make a pig sty out of dust bunnies and air. Not that there are any dust bunnies in this house. Ahem.

A few minutes ago, I went upstairs to take a shower and when I got out, I offered to make the kids pb&j for lunch. T wanted to make his sandwich and S's sandwich, which was really very sweet. Until I came into the kitchen to find pb&j smeared all over every available surface: counter, chair, table, floor.
Really? Floor?!?

I love my kids, but some days I'm just over this whole stay at home Mom thing. Today is one of those days.

What really sucks, really, really sucks, is that my kids are the ones that suffer when I'm short tempered and impatient. It's not their fault. And then I add this huge pile of guilt to my already crappy attitude, which just makes it crappier.

Crappity crappity crappity crap.

This makes me dread the next deployment. I have limited help here for when I'm really going to need a break, and with the kids in school, I can't just take off and visit relatives to get a break.

A magic wand would come in handy right about now.

So would a housekeeper.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I stand corrected

Okay, in case you haven't read all 450 of my past posts....

I have two kids, one husband. Well, technically he's my second husband but he's by far the best.

My parents and R's parents all divorced and remarried. That means we have four families.

Not that we are complaining. :Snort!:

My kids are great, but seriously? They are LOUD. And prone to hilarious one liners that make me laugh until I cry. So I guess that equals out. At least until we are in public.

My relationship with the hub-o-licious' Mom has always been a bit strained. Mostly because I was warned by hubs and his sister that she wouldn't/didn't/doesn't like me.

Hilarity has not exactly ensued.

The in laws came for a visit this weekend.

::Insert minor drama and a butt load of misunderstanding 10 years in the making::

Hub-o-licious talks to parents about them not liking me. Parents come in from a day out with the hubs and assure me, repeatedly, that they do like me.

Reassuring and yet mortifying all at once.

Let's all raise our glass (I'm having water, just so you know) in honor of a new and wonderful era for in law relations.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

The In Laws are coming!

We got the word yesterday that R's Mom and step dad are coming for a visit today.

They live in Tennessee now, about four hours from us.

Things between R's parents and I are...odd. They are always nice when we see them, and we are always nice when we see them, but there is just this...strangeness there. Therefore, the visits are full of too bright smiles and fake laughs and statements that could be taken in a variety of ways.

Hahahaha. Wow, your counters are so clean. (This is said with great surprise)
Hahahaha. Your kids are so....energetic.
Hahahaha. Oh. Your kitchen colors (We have some black appliances, but everything in our kitchen is a neutral color - beige, tan, sage, white)

It could be that those comments are meant for face value. But I tend to think not because after R talked to his mom last night, he got off the phone and said, "I'm sorry my mom hates you."


So I hope this visit goes well. I hope they get to spend some time with the kids and still have a good time. R is going to go with them tomorrow into the city and do some sightseeing. He said when he suggested that idea to his mom, she got really happy. And I'm sure she misses him, we really don't see them very often, so I get it. My mom and I enjoy being able to spend time with just the two of us, too.

Still. I'm sorry his mom hates me too.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oh no he didn't!

Look. I try to have a sense of humor about life in general. I feel like I'm pretty clear on my faults-o-plenty, and I (most of the time) can have a pretty good laugh at myself and some of my inane hangups. Case in point: when I load the dishwasher, I have to separate the silverware tray by utensil. We have a five compartment silverware holder. One is for spoons, one for forks, one for knives, one for the kids' utensils and the sippy cup valves, and one for 'other' like spatulas, serving spoons, and such.

If someone else is loading the dishwasher and does not put the stuff in according to my system? I don't freak out or rearrange it. It just makes it easier to put away when it's already pre-sorted. See how go with the flow I can be? I'm laid back, people!

It's sort of the same thing about parenting. I have my way of doing things, and while it (mostly) works for us, I'm always open to suggestions or ideas. Lord knows there are days when I really could use a fresh approach. Like the days that end with -day. I also applaud that there are parents that do things very differently then we do. Some of the things that have worked best with the kids have been ideas I have 'borrowed' from other moms. First one that deserves credit is Marci's tips on keeping T busy on the 10 hour flight back to Germany when he was 2. Those ideas worked like a charm. (Aquadoodles, snacks, clear fingernail polish, and sticker books if you were wondering)

So today, when I took the kids to this open playgroup thing I recently found out about, I was prepared for a few things.
1) It was going to to be crowded since the local schools were out for a teacher conference
2) My kids would pretty much want to be on opposite ends of the gymnasium from each other all the time
3) Other kids and parents there may not share my ideas on what was 'fair' or what 'take turns' means.

For the most part, I was pretty on target. There were lots of kids there of all ages and since T is the rougher of my two, I wanted to keep a closer eye on him. Sometimes, with his behavioral and sensory issues, he gets so wrapped up in the excitement of being set free to run and jump and bounce and roll around that he forgets to watch where his body is spatially. By that I mean that if there's a ball pit and he's wound up and all excited that he actually gets to run and jump into something without being fussed at, he doesn't always remember to make sure everyone is totally out of the way. Or, he remembers mid air and then it's too late to change his trajectory. Older kids can see him coming and move, but the smaller ones can't. So, I wanted to physically be closer to him to make sure he didn't get too wound up.

Things were going well. I was able to keep a close eye on T to remind him to calm down a bit when he started to get too frenetic. He and S actually ended up doing more things together than I expected. Their favorite things today were the rings. The kids that were over there the first time we played there were great about taking turns. I love it when this happens, because it reinforces what I'm trying to teach my kids. For whatever reason, I can tell them 100 times but they absorb it when someone else tells them or demonstrates it. Hey, as long as the message sinks in, I don't care how it happens. Mostly.

On our second or third visit to the rings, there was this kid there. He was about T's size, so I figure they were about the same age. This kid, who was wearing a red shirt, was a bit pushy. He shoved in front of some smaller kids to have a turn on the rings. We had just walked up, so I didn't really know what the deal was, but you know those kids you see and there's just...something...about them that doesn't sit right with you? Well, that's what caught my attention. As we walk up, this kid grabs the rings and starts swinging. No problem, that's what they are there for. He's trying to flip upside down on them but is having a little trouble. So when he stays and stays on there, I don't think that much about it at first. Some of the other kids that were there when we walked up left, so my kids were getting excited that their turn was going to come faster. Except he wouldn't get off the rings.

After we'd watched him for at least five minutes, T said, "Hey, I want a turn."

That was, I felt, a pretty reasonable statement.

Red shirt kid looks at him and says this, "You are NEVER going to get a turn. NEVER. NEVER EVER!" and then he makes this ugly face at my kids.

Oh-ho. Really, red shirt kid?

So I say to the kid, "That's not very nice. We are all going to take turns with the rings."

He looks at me and says, "I'm not getting off. He (meaning T) is never going to have a turn!" And then he sticks his tongue out at me.


I generally don't offer guidance or discipline to other people's kids. Unless it's a no brainer like hitting, biting, running into traffic, or destruction of property, I have a fairly wide range of tolerance. To each their own and all that. As long as no one is in danger of being injured, I'm pretty much okay with whatever. If I know the parents and know that they expect me to say something to their kids if they get out of line, then I have no problem with that.

But I don't know this kid or his parents. But his behavior? Not okay.

So I look at him and say, "That was a ugly thing to do. You've been on the rings for more than five minutes. You need to let someone else have a turn."



::stare down::

I don't look away. He doesn't look away.

I continue..."you need to get off the rings and either wait for another turn or find something else you want to do. Now, go on."

Now go on? AAAAAACCCCCCK. Flashbacks to my childhood and the elderly aunt patrol. When our family got together, that's what all the kids were told. Now go on. Even if we were behaving beautifully. ::Snort::

The kid does move on, over to where his mom is standing, talking to a group of other moms.

I stay at the rings with my two and the other five or six kids that are waiting to use the rings too. With no one jumping in line and staying on the rings for a really long time, the kids are all cycling through their turns on the rings really well and with no drama.

And then.

The kid in the red shirt comes back over with one of the moms who was talking to his mom and two other girls.

The kid in the red shirt jumps back on the rings without really waiting his turn. In all fairness, I need to mention that there wasn't exactly a line, but it was pretty obvious that there was another little girl waiting to go next.

I look at the other mom wondering if she's going to say something.

The answer to that? Is no.

Nor does she say anything when he stays and stays and stays on the rings. Again.

So, again, I say, "You've been on the rings for a pretty long time. Let's let some of the smaller kids have a turn, okay?"

He does get off the rings, but the other mom then puts one of the girls (her kids) that walked over with them on the rings. And then she puts her other kid on after that.

Wow. Rude.

And then the kid in the red shirt tries to get on the rings again. All these other little kids have been waiting (and shafted, imho) for their turn, so I say, "Hang on a second. It's her turn." And I put the little girl who's turn it was three kids ago on the rings. And the rotation continues. The other mom still kind of stands there, but doesn't say or do anything, so I keep moving the kids on and off the rings. And then it's T's turn. The kid in the red shirt jumps on the rings again. T, who is frustrated by this point, says, "HEY! It's my turn!"

The kid in the red shirt says, again, "You're never going to get a turn!"

T starts to cry and plops down on the floor. As I reach out to pat his back and say something, the kid in the red shirt says, "Why is he such a baby? He's a big crybaby."

Hello other mom? Anything? No?!? Okay then...

I say, "That's a mean thing to say. Shame on you. You've been jumping in front of all these little kids and taking really long turns. My kids and all these kids (insert semi-flailing/pointing wild arm gesturing) have been playing nicely and taking turns. Not only do you take away someone elses turn, then you have to be mean to them when they get upset. That's bullying behavior. Go find something else to do."

He looks at the other mom, who looks at him and then at me. I know she heard me, we weren't far apart. After a few seconds, she says, "Come on. Let's go find your mom. It's almost time to go anyway." He leaves with her without another word.

WTH was all that about? I have a bunch of why questions running through my head: why was that other mom with him at the rings instead of his mom? why was she going to let him behave like that? why, if he can behave nicely, was no one making him do so at the rings? why? why? why?

I guess I'll never know.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Manic Thursday

Today was one of those days that, at the end of it, you wonder how you got it all done.

S was up and down most of the night and got up for good pretty early this morning. It's time to decide if the occasional afternoon nap is worth the poor night's sleep. I'm still on the fence.

Got T off to school, headed to Walmart before dropping S off at preschool (after a long difference of opinion of pj's versus clothes). Headed to the Y, then off to do errands, then pick up S, then home for lunch, a little down time (no napping today), cooked dinner for R and the kids and put it in the fridge, then to T's school for a harvest party planning meeting, then back to Walmart for all the things I forgot this morning, then to get my haircut and face waxed, then back to the Y for belly dancing (which got cancelled) so I did abs and cardio, then ballroom dancing, back home for bedtime, blogging, and Frontierville.

And that's how you do a Thursday if you're insane.

I'm exhausted.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Workout Wednesday

Can I just tell you how much I'm loving belly dancing and our ballroom dancing lessons?

I mean, I still need to work on improving my cardio endurance and both belly dancing and ballroom dancing are a bit too slow paced for that, but man! They are so much fun!

I like that belly dancing is a lower impact exercise, but that I still get nice and sweaty. It seems to be more about increasing flexibility and muscle tone and control than hopping up and down like a crazed toddler in the midst of a sugar rush. My lower back isn't bothering me much at all plus I feel like the muscles in my waist, hips, and legs are getting nice and toned and increasing in flexibility. And the instructor is funny and relate-able. Bonus, bonus, bonus! And it's kind of like wearing fancy underwear. It's like walking around with a secret that makes you feel sexier. Carmen Electra's strip tease cardio didn't so much do that for me. Plus, I giggled through the whole thing. We are learning a routine in belly dance that makes the kids giggle when I practice at home. As T says, "Mom, are you supposed to be all jiggly?" The instructor says yes. So there, five year old! Also? Touche.

Now for ballroom...We are still working on the waltz, but now the beginner and advanced classes have been combined into one class. It's worked out better than I thought, the advanced students are really understanding about those of us who are beginners (me and R) and the instructor is now working with each couple individually which I think helps us (me and R) learn faster because we are going at our own pace. As a huge bonus last week, R and I had a breakthrough in communication.

I know, right? You are thinking that R and I already have flawless communication. ::guffaw:: But as we are trying to nail the part of the waltz where we actually walk across the floor instead of doing the box step, R is tripping up because he's been trained in the way of the military march which is nothing like dancing and I'm tripping up because I'm trying to anticipate the way I think he's going to move instead of the way he actually is going to move (hello, self?! The boy leads...duh!) and we are all over the place.

And then the darndest thing happens. I stop trying to help. Not in a snarky 'fine, then just do it yourself' way, but as in a 'Let me know what you need and I'm here for ya' kind of way. And we bumble through the steps a couple more times with me being (gasp) silently supportive and then it just clicks with R and we get it. And then we waltz our way across the room, ready to learn the next two steps. And from that point on, somehow we were on the same page and the dancing became a lot easier. And as a bonus? No one's toes (or toenails) died a horrible, painful death. Woot!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yo, homie, smell ya later!

Tonight I was sitting here, staring at the computer trying to think of something funny or witty to write. I'm not feeling so much of the funny today, which is ironic since I've been laughing all day at silly temper tantrums and spilled milk. Perhaps that's some odd form of trade off? Dunno.

I had to go to the bathroom, and as I walked across the family room I told R, "I'm just not feeling funny tonight."


R: You feel funny?
Me: No, I don't feel funny.
R: What?
Me: Hang on a sec...

I walk into the half bath downstairs. WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot. Is that skunk I smell? UGH. Really? No way!

Let me interject here that I am paranoid about smells. We bought our van from another military family in Europe. That family had a dog. Apparently that dog was constantly wet and constantly in the van, because as I drove it back to our house after we bought it, the wet dog smell was so awful that in 20 degree weather, T and I had to roll the windows down in order to breathe. Did I mention that we had driven 3 hours to pick up said van? No? We had to drive three hours to pick up the van. And then drive three hours back while the tears running down our faces from the smell froze onto our windburned, chapped cheeks. Pleasant. And even now, three years later? You can still kinda smell dog when the weather is damp long enough.

So take my advice to heart...if you go to look at a used vehicle being sold by an individual and the doors are all open when you pull up to see it? Close the doors and wait a few. And then sniff deeply. Just sayin'...

What was my point? Oh, right. Smells.

I'm really freaky about smells. I worry constantly that I have bad breath and no one will tell me, I worry that my deodorant has worn off and I can't tell, I worry that I may smell in general and not realize it. This has been a worry of mine since I saw that news show (I think it was 48 Hours or Dateline) about the people that have the body odor that smells fishy and they can't smell it. I know, I know...I need to get a grip.

But as I'm in the bathroom thinking that I smell skunk, this is how my thought process works: (sniff) Is that skunk? What could smell like skunk here besides skunk? What if it's me? Oooh - maybe those other people smelled fishy, what if I smell like skunk and don't know it. And if it is me, why am I smelling it now and not before now? It can't be me, I smelled it in the bathroom as I walked in, not after I closed the door. But if it's skunk, how did the smell get in here and not the rest of the house? What if it's a sewer problem? What if there's a skunk trapped in our water supply and the smell is actually coming from the water? No, it's not the water. It just smells like skunk...

Me: Hey, R?
R: Yeah?
Me: Could I ask you a favor?
R: Yeah, what is it?
Me: Will you go outside and see if it smells like skunk?
R: Ummm...yes?
Me: I smell skunk and I don't know where it's coming from.
R: Okay, I'll check. <---this is a good man, people.

The front door opens. R walks out.

R walks back in.

Me: Well?
R: Maybe. A little.
Have I mentioned before that R doesn't have a great sense of smell? This is great when I ask him to go smell for something gross, because smells I think are gross don't usually bother him. The downside is that he doesn't always pick it up, so then I go and breathe deeply and get a head full of gross smell. You'd think I'd learn, but alas....

Case in point...

Since I'm finished in the bathroom, I walk outside. I do smell skunk, but it's more faint than in the bathroom. Weird. But then this huge spider catches my eye.

Me: Wow. That is a huge spider.
R: (glancing over) yeah, but it's dead.
Me: Bet the smell killed it.
R: Well, at least you have something to blog about now.
Me: True. I'm going to take a picture of the spider the skunk smell killed.
R: Ooooh-kay

So here you go...this spider is quite large and quite dead. Thank goodness (for the dead part, not the large part.)

For some reason, after I was outside the front door smelling for skunks, I decided to stick my head out the back door to have a good sniff. The good news? No huge spiders. The bad news? The skunk smell was much stronger.

I say as much, and R just looks at me - probably not sure if I'm expecting him to go out there and smell too. I don't say anything else, I just head to the kitchen to get something to drink. And then it hits me. Our bedroom window faces the back and it's been open all day.

As I start to say as much to R, I realize he's gone outside to smell for skunks. Awww!

He comes back in and shrugs. Smells fine to him out there.

I'm starting to get concerned that perhaps I really do have some sort of odor and don't realize it, because Lord knows I don't think R is going to pick up on it. Which, actually, could be good or bad. Hmmmm.

I run upstairs to close the window and spray air freshener all over the place....just in case. Obviously, R and I are going to have trouble detecting foul odors so prevention is the best cure, no?

And I mean, really, if the smell was strong enough to kill the spider......

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thomas the Tank Engine does not want to be found

Yesterday, R walks over to me and hands me a section of the paper, all crisply and neatly folded.

Dude. Seriously. You know I only read Parade Sunday Magazine, and then I go through the good ads - Target, Walmart, JC Penney, and of course the coupons. What on earth are you handing me? So I look.

Thomas the Tank Engine is coming to a city very near here. Next weekend. It's Thomas' 65th anniversary or something. I took T to A Day Out with Thomas right after S was born at Tweetsie Railroad in North Carolina. As great days with the T-man go, that day was one of the top three.

T was obsessed with Thomas for a very long time. He would spend hours putting together tracks and pulling this huge line of trains around. I'm pretty sure we've seen every Thomas video that was ever created. Even S was really into Thomas for a while, which sparked a renewal in T's obsession. But since we've been here and the kids haven't really had a playroom where they could leave their toys out, T has slowly been backing away from the Thomas stuff, even though he still loves all things train related. It's a little bittersweet, actually.

I look up the information. The Thomas-palooza is only about 20 miles from here. The tickets really aren't that expensive, and the weather is supposed to be beautiful. R is going to be working Saturday, and since he is the least Thomas tolerant of the four of us, I'm liking this idea more and more.

I show the ad to the kids and ask them if they want to go. Of course they do. Awesome! But as I look at the directions, I don't find them to be all that...clear. So before I put in my credit card info and buy the tickets, I decide that we should do a trial run to the train yard and back. That will give me a better idea of when we need to leave, what train ride to buy a ticket for, and so on. Better safe than sorry, right? And since it will just be me and the kids, I don't want to end up anywhere that I won't feel safe.

After R got home from work today, I floated my trial run idea by him. He thought it was a good idea too, so off we went. And we went. And again, the GPS failed us. We weren't surprised because Google Maps didn't like the address either. We even stopped at a couple places and asked if anyone knew how to find this place. No dice. After looking and driving in circles for about 30 minutes, we decided to go back home. Maybe now that we'd been in the general area, the directions would make a little more sense. But I gotta say, the general area was a bit run down and while I'd be fine taking the kids during the day, I really would not want to be wandering around there after dark. At all.

We get home and I look up the directions again. According to the website, we were right there. If we were right there, I'm concerned because there was nothing that looked like it could be turned into Thomas-palooza in weeks, much less a few days. What to do....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Picture perfect

Last year, I was smart enough to book a photo session with Annie Pennington Photography before we left Germany. That photo session was no doubt the best money we have ever spent on having our picture made.

Since we purchased the photo session CD, the only picture we ordered for us was a family portrait. We just ordered the enlarged picture since we were thinking it would be really easy to have it framed once we got to the States. Easy, yes. But also expensive. So we waited.

Plus, once we decided to move into this house, the living/family room area has big windows on every wall, so picture space is limited. Therefore, our family portrait sat in our bedroom closet until a couple of weeks ago, when Michaels offered 60% off custom framing. Woohoo! Time to get framed!

I took it and debated on just a frame versus frame and matting. Holy hand grenades! Framing is expensive. But we picked it up on Saturday.I can't imagine that matting could have added a single thing to this picture. It turned out just completely amazing and has actually changed the look of our living room. Didn't see that coming, but I sure am glad it happened. So here is the digital version from the CD, because the picture of the framed picture doesn't do it justice. I'm loving the result! Thanks a billion Annie. We are still in awe of your talent.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's Fall!

Today, we planned to go and pick apples and pumpkins at a working farm/store/orchard that's pretty close to where we live. I had heard about it, but none of us had been before. The weather guy said this weekend was going to be nice and cool, and that translates into me being willing to go and remain outside while also being pleasant, something that can be...difficult...for me in really hot weather.

I know, I'm high maintenance like that.

Sure enough, this morning was nice and felt like fall. Aaaahhhhhhhhhh! And what's more fall oriented than apples and pumpkins? Nuthin!

I double checked the hours and directions before we left, we got the kids and ourselves ready and away we went. R was driving and I knew pretty much where we were going, but I programmed the GPS as a backup.

The GPS? Once again, it was so very, very wrong. It took us off the road we were actually supposed to be on, through an industrial park, and into a residential area. So unless we were planning to pick weeds (which would have been just fine with my kids, truth be told) or lawn decorations, R and I were pretty sure we were not even close to being at the right place. So, back we went and found it ourselves. Pretty easily. Take that, Garmin! HAH!

Somewhere between walking into the building and heading out to the orchard, T decided to get his undies in a twist. I missed the big trigger event since S and I were in the bathroom, but I'm pretty sure it was launched by the hearing of the word 'no' to something T wanted. I mean, seriously, you'd think he'd be used to hearing that word by now as much as we say it.


So as we walked through the store/nursery/garden center, T was all scowly and disagreeable. There were so many other families and kids there, I kind of felt badly for T that he was missing all the fun because he was so determined to be in a bad mood. But I also know that he needed to figure his way out of this mood bag himself. So, we waited in line for a tractor ride to the orchard and just let T 'be' within reason. About two minutes before it was our turn to catch a ride to the orchard, his bad mood lifted as quickly as it had shown up. R and I looked at each other, shrugged, and decided to roll with it. I mean, really, what else can you do? Demand that your child return to a bad mood so you can make it better? I don't think so!

The tractor ride was great! Seriously, sometimes it's the simple things. The apple trees were so full of fruit - oh my goodness! We had a bag full in under five minutes. They also had these huge bins of red delicious apples that they had already picked, too. That's my kind of apple picking. And, it was cool enough that I didn't have to worry about yellow jackets or other stinging bugs. Perfection!

After apples, it was off to the pumpkin patch. T was taking this whole pumpkin picking thing quite seriously and he looked and looked for the perfect pumpkin - not too big, not too small, round, but it didn't have to be perfect. S? She just didn't want to get dirty. At the suggestion that she actually walk into the pumpkin vines to find a pumpkin? She wrinkled up her nose and said, "Ewww. That's disgusting." heh.
Once we had our goodies, we headed back to pay. $39.00 even in apples and pumpkins. Totally worth every. single. penny. and I have the pictures to prove it. I'm pretty sure we'll be going back before fall ends.


S and I were invited and actually attended a play date on Friday.

This is exciting news! Especially since I am a bizarro combination of shy/anti social/home oriented - and not only did I want to go, I was looking forward to it even though I didn't know anyone.

Friday morning rolls around and S is still sleeping at 7 am. I let her.

Time to see T off to the bus stop at 7:25 and S is still sleeping. I let her. Thank goodness for about the millionth time that the bus stop is so close to our house.

8 am and S is still sleeping. I so let her.

She finally gets up a little after 8. She eats breakfast, snuggles with me while we read some books, and chatters away about nothing and everything. But she does not want to get dressed. No worries, we have until 9:30 before we need to leave.

We leave at 10:00 am. Still, it's an open play date, no set arrival or departure time, so no worries.

Once we get there, S balks at going in -- until she sees all the other kids and neat stuff to play with. And then? It's on!

She runs.

She jumps.

She swings.

She bounces.

She hops.

She sees some buddies and also makes some new ones.

I didn't do too badly myself.

Whenever I start to question my decision to be a stay at home Mom? I can look back on days like today and be so very grateful that I'm able to stay home. Seeing S have the time of her life and my meeting so many really nice women? It was chicken soup for both our souls.