Thursday, March 31, 2011

No news is good news, right?

Yesterday I called the heart clinic to which my insurance referred me so that I could make an appointment to have my ticker evaluated. To my surprise, they had openings this morning. I dropped the kids off at school and headed to the doctor's office.

My fellow waiting room-ers were all well over the age of 70. I chatted with them while we waited. They all assumed I was there with/for my parents. hee!

After filling out the equivalent of a book or two of paperwork - seriously - why do they keep asking the same questions over and over on different forms? Annoying. It's almost as bad as closing a mortgage up in there.  But after I finished filling out forms, they processed me (read: entered my info into the computer. I hope they had to type my name, address, and insurance information as many times as I had to write it) and took me back to the exam room.

In the exam room, there was an ultrasound machine, a bed, and a treadmill and other assorted things that didn't register with me because, well, it didn't look important. I would not make a good partner for Jason Bourne today, that's for damn sure. I made a crack to the technician about borrowing the treadmill when we finished since I was at this appointment instead of being at the gym. She was was not amused.

"Get undressed from the waist up and put on this gown (more like a vest, actually) with the opening in the front."

Umm, okay. I guess we are doing this together then.

I hesitated for a second and she asked tiredly, "do you want me to leave the room? I can leave if you aren't comfortable."

Lemme think about this for a second.....
 1) the vest will be opening in front, so she's going to see everything anyway - and it's not like my chest is dipped in gold.
 2) the blinds are open, so anyone strolling around outside could see in if they really wanted to whether or not I'm in this room alone.
 3) time is money, people. Well, okay, not so much for me - but definitely for them.
 4) to be the size I am, I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin, and pretty comfortable with being uncovered as long as it doesn't involve jumping or jiggling my fat around for the mirth of others - so it's not going to bother me to undress around someone especially after some of my German life experiences. (Read about a really good one here.)
 5) I'm pretty doggone confident I don't have anything that she hasn't already seen before like 20,000 times.

"No, it's okay."

And I stripped from the waist up, put on the vest, and hopped onto the bed.

Once on the bed, she had me turn onto my left side with my left arm sticking straight out in front of me. Then she took my blood pressure - putting the cuff around my left arm. Just a guess, but I'm thinking since my body weight was bearing down on my left arm that it might make the reading high. Indeed, it was high. She didn't seem the least bit concerned. Neither my heart or brain exploded, which was awesome, but since I was in a heart specialty office within a hospital, I felt pretty confident someone close by could help if something was majorly wrong. At the very least, someone in the office should know CPR, right?

So began the echo doppler ultrasound. Gotta say, it was seriously cool even though I had no idea at all what I was looking at. I got to hear the blood flowing through the different chambers of my heart and I could actually hear the heart murmur. Or what I thought was the heart murmur. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, though. The echo ultrasound only took about 20 minutes start to finish. It was totally worth having to lie half naked on a table by a window with open blinds in a hunched but also slightly twisted position. Next time I have one of these, I'm totally wearing pasties with tassles, just for fun.

This afternoon, the doctor's office called - twice - wanting information for my primary care manager's (aka regular doctor's) office so they could send the results over. That worried me a little, but no one called and told me to report ASAP to the hospital or other medical facility, so I figure no news is good news.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Workout Wednesday

PROGRESS! On Saturday, R and I headed to the gym for a little stress relief. It was busy and I really wasn't in the mood to plod along on a machine. I decided to test myself. There's a very small track that runs around the outside of the cardio equipment. Time to trog (trot + jog = trog) along. So! My plan was to walk a lap, trog a lap. I ended up following this pattern for a mile, which means that technically, I trogged a half a mile.

::Fist pump:: YES!

I was breathing heavily by the end, but not heaving or gasping. I can't even begin to remember the last time I know I made it half a mile in anything above a walk. The fact that R made it over two miles on the treadmill to my one mile on the track didn't bother me at all. After all, he runs for a living. Sort of.

I wish my swim on Sunday had gone as well. :( I didn't finish the entire sixteen laps, but my form and my speed are improving. In all honestly, Saturday was such a crazy day that I was just flat out tired, and I'm pretty sure that was 80% of my problem. A big inhale of water combined with having to share a swim lane accounted for the other 20%. I had forgotten how much it burns to inhale water. Blech! I also apparently do not share a swim lane well. Even though I was sharing with R, it threw off my rhythm and swim mojo. Which translated means that I was being a big ol' baby about being crowded. And being left in the dust by R and his aquatic awesomeness. coughshowoffcough

Monday, I let S sleep in, so I didn't workout until the afternoon Zumba class. It was so crowded! Zumba is a good workout, but I wasn't feeling into all the bouncing on Monday and felt like I didn't get a good enough workout  - which is hilarious to me since two years ago, I honestly considered climbing a couple flights of stairs a 'good' workout. These days, I want lots of sweat and heavy breathing and exertion from a workout. As a result, I skipped the cool down and walked just under a mile around the track at the Y.

Since T was home sick from school yesterday, I couldn't take him to the Y. I had a PTO committee meeting last night so I couldn't go to Zumba. That meant I didn't get a workout in at all. Scratch that. That meant I didn't make the time for a workout yesterday.This morning, though, I got an hour and 30 minutes of cardio in - 35 minutes and 3.5 miles on the elliptical, 25 minutes and 1 mile on the arc trainer, and 30 minutes and a little over 6 miles on the bike. Not too shabby.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thankful Tuesday

This week, I'm mostly thankful for.....everything.

Thankful I'm here, thankful my kids are healthy and happy. Well, happy most of the time.

Thankful that S had a wonderful fourth birthday and we had family and friends here to share it with us.

I'm thankful that I didn't have shovel snow even though it snowed Friday and Saturday.

I'm thankful that people I worked with 7 years ago not only remember me, but are willing to give me glowing references - for a volunteer position.

I'm thankful that my Dad and I have a much better relationship these days.

I'm thankful I've been able to let go of some serious long term grudges.

I'm thankful that the people I love have love around them as well.

I'm thankful for my husband in too many ways to list here.

I'm thankful for tax refunds.

I'm thankful for all the men and women who, past, present, and future, have put their lives on the line for our freedom and our country. I'm thankful to their families for their sacrifices too.

I'm thankful for Extra dessert flavored gum - seriously? It's heavenly.

I'm thankful for my fellow bloggers. Your writing blows me away.

I'm thankful for sweatpants. Ironic as this is, sometimes my fat layer needs a little help keeping me warm. Especially when I forget to turn the heat back on.

I'm thankful for friends and much needed, overdue chats.

I'm thankful for all the luxuries it's easy to take for granted - clean, abundant drinking water, ample food (sometimes too ample), clothing, transportation, medical care, heat and air conditioning on demand, and a roof over my head.

I'm thankful God forgives our sins as plentiful and repetitive as they may be.

News flash - I'm boring. Oh well...

This morning, T climbed into bed with me around 6am and promptly went back to sleep. I'm not crazy about the idea of the kids sleeping in our bed - mostly because we've spent most of the winter being sick in one form or another. And by 'we've' I really mean me. This state has horrible wellness juju. Horrible. But if he went right back to sleep, I was okay with letting him stay there. I, however, got up not long after I realized he was still in our bed. It just doesn't start my day off well to have either of my adorable little munchkins coughing or sneezing in my face.

Last week, Mom and Richard were here. For the sake of laziness and because I also think it's clever, let's just call them Brichard from here on out. You know, like Brangelina or Bennifer. heh. Mid visit, as expected, they both got sick. Sigh. Of course it went from 80 and serious sunshine to freezing, high winds, and snow in the course of 4 it wasn't totally unexpected. Richard has a horrible cough - a sounds like you are coughing up your lung cough - that Mom tells me he's had for weeks.  Great. Bring it on over!

By Sunday night, both of the kids are coughing away. ::defeated sigh:: This morning, T comes downstairs and curls up next to me on the couch and he coughs and coughs and coughs and coughs and coughs. Then he starts to gasp/wheeze when he breathes in. Then he says he doesn't feel good and asks if he can stay home from school. T never, ever wants to stay home from school. Mostly, he tells me, because I'm boring. ::snort!::

I call and make him an appointment to see a doctor today. He's ready and willing to go. He MUST be sick! We take S to school, do some errands, pick her up and head to the doctor's office.

Diagnosis: allergies and an ear infection that's minor enough that no antibiotics were prescribed - but I'm taking him back in a week to make sure everything is okay. I'm so glad it's nothing more serious. When he was coughing and wheezing this morning, I was really concerned.

And I don't think he'll be anxious to stay home from school again. He didn't get to do anything fun today. When he complained that he was bored and this was boring and I was boring I had the perfect answer ready for him.

Welcome to your sick day, sweet pea!

New Beginnings

Last week, I ended up in the doctor's office again. Testing for strep. Again. And of course I had it. Again.

I'm starting to think there's a stream-o-strep that everyone knows about and avoids walking through but me.

In the course of the exam, the doctor noticed an abnormality with my heart beat. My freshman year of college, I found out during a routine physical that I had a heart murmur. I asked Mom about it then and it turns out I've had it my whole life, but wasn't ever told about. Umm, alrighty then.

So, life continued on normally, and I usually only give it any thought when I have to go to a new dentist because I'm supposed to be on antibiotics when I have dental work done (this according to the last heart murmur related exam I had, oh, 11 years or so ago).

But now I'm having to think about it because the doctor who examined me decided I needed to have a closer look taken at my heart. I agree. If there's something wrong, especially if it's potentially serious, I'd rather know sooner rather than later.

I got the referral paperwork in the mail this weekend. I haven't called yet. The only reason? I'm terrified. But I'm dealing with it. Of course I'll call and schedule the appointment. I'm hoping that it's minor or easily fixable. Only one way to find out.

However, there is some good that's already come from this. It's become crystal clear that I worry about some unnecessary crap. That. Has. Ended.

Welcome, self, to the new evolution. Hang on.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Defining appropriate

Lately, my go-to word with the kids has been 'appropriate'.

As in:

No, T. You may not watch King of the Hill even though it's a cartoon. That's not an appropriate show for a six year old.


No, S. We can not listen to the trailer park girls go 'round the outside song (Eminem) right now because Mommy's version has language that is not appropriate for a three year old.


T, I realize that (fill in the blank) does, indeed, suck - but suck is not an appropriate word for you to use. Especially at church, school, or with Grammy.

and my favorite and most often uttered -

Kids! Please do not (fill in the blank) at dinner. That is not appropriate behavior
Here are our most common blank fillers -  a) burp b) fart c) lick the table d) put your mouth at plate/bowl level and shovel the food in e) use the words butt, poop, pee, or stupid in a sentence

Last night, after putting the kids to bed, I was downstairs attempting to watch a movie (R rated) when T comes downstairs to tell me he came untucked and needs me to tuck him back in.

I tell him to go back upstairs and that I'll be there in a minute to re-tuck him. He pauses for a second, looks at the TV and says in a disapproving voice, "Mom! You should not be watching that movie. You already say enough bad words and that? Is not appropriate."

Oh my - he is SO my child. God bless his little disadvantaged heart.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

'do me

The last professional intervention my hair experienced was in December. It actually still looked decent other than the highlights that had grown out Carrie Bradshaw style. So, really, some attention was called for.

On a whim and since Mom is here this week, I made an appointment with a stylist at the same place I get all my waxing needs attended to.

Gotta admit it, I was a bit nervous. The lady that normally does my hair is soooo nice and did a good job, but I had to cancel an appointment in November and just never got around to rescheduling. Now it's been so long that I'm a bit embarrassed to go back. I know that's silly, but it's just how I am.

But you know? Everything turned out fine, as these things usually do. I decided to simply color my hair this time instead of just highlighting or highlighting and coloring.  It's darker than it's been in a long time, but I'm kinda digging it today. The cut seems pretty versatile, which is awesome. It's shorter than I've had in a long time, but I can deal.

I didn't do much to it this morning, and I had quite a long day, but as I sat down to write this, the ol' helmet head still looked fair to middlin'. Hard to complain about that, right?

Here's me goofing around right before I collapse into bed in 54 seconds.

Oh - and the bonus plan? This cut and color process was about $35 less than I expected to pay. Gotta love the awesomesauce surprises, right? Right!!

Ignore the crazy eyes, I'm trying to smile naturally ::snort!::

Whatchooo talkin' about Willis?!?

Who you callin' wild, child?!?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Workout Wednesday

So this week has been interesting.

I worked out last Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and then today. The interval sets we created out of P90X seems to be working pretty well. However, all that jumping rope started to cause trouble with my heel and tendon on my left foot. So, I had to put my shoes back on to jump, which then causes my right shin to hurt. Seriously??!? I'm doing it anyway since I can see a HUGE difference in my endurance and stamina. But really - oooowwwwww!

But what doesn't hurt? Jumping on the trampoline. The weather has cooperated this week and I've been out there a lot with S. I'm about a 10 minute jump session away from being trampoline banned by the kids. Heh.

My swim went way better this week too. This morning I jumped on a bike to see how many miles I could do in 20 minutes. Nowhere close to 22, let me tell you! I wonder if spin bikes are different. At this rate, I'm going to be biking forever in that dang triathlon. My butt may be permanently asleep afterwards, too.

On a positive note, I breezed through a 20 minute session on the elliptical this morning averaging around 6 mph. That felt good! Really, really good! I also did my first clap pushup on my toes on Monday. Next week I want to be able to do two.

Now if the dang number on my scale would continue a downward drop, it would be all good. Are you listening to me scale numbers and fat? Go on with your bad selves. Shoo!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thankful Tuesday

I'm exhausted, so I'm just going to list the things I've been thankful for at various points today, even though it may show some shallowness on my part. I'll even spare you my commentary. You're welcome.

Freshly brewed, unsweetened iced tea
Good morning snuggles from my munchkins.
Ice makers
A daughter with more fashion sense and style at three years old than I'll ever have.
My sense of humor.
Finally managing to do a decent clap pushup on my toes instead of my knees.
Really good looking second year interns working at my doctors office, who are also very nice.
Low fat granola
A jumbo bag of oranges from Walmart that has yet to deliver anything less than a yummy, juicy orange.
Kids that welcome fruit or carrots as a regular part of their meals.
Air conditioning.
A kick ass pound cake recipe
The opportunity to stay home with my kids these past six years.
My mom watching the kids so I could take a nap today.
Kids who love reading and hanging out with their mom.
My husband.
Fellow bloggers.
Fresh clean sheets on a comfy bed.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday, Monday...

Sometimes I think Monday gets a bit of bad rap.

And then I come to my senses.

Well.....I'm being a bit unfair. We had a wonderful, wonderful weekend and I think my dreading Monday this week is mostly because I didn't want the weekend to end. R also had to leave today for a temporary TDY (short term business trip), so I'm a little sad. But he'll be back by the time I have a chance to get all the extra laundry done (spring cleaning, natch) even though this week looks a bit less busy than last week.

We had incredible weather today. So even if I really was holding a grudge against Monday, the weather would have erased it. I even jumped on the trampoline with S and I can say this with 100% confidence: all that jump rope and sprinting I'm doing? It's showing up as noticeable progress. YES!

I think today was the first day in my entire adult life that I stopped jumping on a trampoline for a reason other than being winded. And I jumped for a pretty good amount of time. That's a good feeling. A VERY good feeling.

The kids were just awesome today.We had a busy day and even though they were both tired from this weekend, they were in great moods and even got along most of the time. I wondered how bedtime would go with it just being me here - in that they might think I'd let them get away with stuff that normally doesn't fly like trying to sleep in our bed - but everything today has gone really smoothly. Let's hope it continues!

If it does, I may have to become a Monday person. Which is still better in my book than having to be a morning person

Saturday, March 19, 2011

All about Jesus

R is not exactly a religious man. It's a long story, and one that he's only shared parts of with me.

I grew up going to church. A very different childhood than my husband, but I have my own issues with religion. Also a long story.

The differences of/about/regarding religion never mattered too much to me because I loved the whole man - as is - strengths, weaknesses, and all.

We agreed before we even had kids that they would be exposed to religion (more than one faith) and they could choose the religion they liked best - or none at all - once they were older.

Time went by, we had kids, and we'd talk every now and then about finding a church and going with the kids. We tried the base chapel in Germany a few times, but T was too young for childcare program and he didn't do well in the church service. So we decided to wait a bit and try again.

The kids and I were just starting to get back into church related activities when we PCS'd back here. For a little while last year, the kids went to an Awanas program, but it ran kinda late on Sunday nights and it was about 30 minutes away from where we lived, so we stopped going after a little while. I decided to find a closer Awanas program closer to us after the summer break. I didn't do such a great job of that.

Here and there, I'd try a church service. Sometimes the kids would go, sometimes they wouldn't.

The preschool S attends is through a church. The base has started an Awanas program, and we've been going. I sent them to a weekly bible study for kids in the housing community center. R and I are taking a Love and Logic parenting class at a local church, and the kids go to the Kids Club there while we attend class.

So basically, the kids are starting to learn about God, Jesus, the bible, and faith, but they have been sort of bombarded in the last month.

Today, I'm taking T to a birthday party and we pass a pretty big Baptist church.

T: Look at that school!
Me: That's a church, honey.
T: A church?
Me: Yes.
T: Like where Jesus lives?
Me: Uh huh.
T: Man! It's all about Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
Me: (trying really hard not to giggle) What do you mean?
T: I mean that it's all about Jesus. He gets everything.
Me: How do you figure?
T: Well how many houses does a dead guy need if he lives with God anyway?
Me: That's a really good question, T.
T: It is?
Me: It is.
T: That just means you don't have the answer.

I think T may have had a bit too much Jesus exposure all at once.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sweet Dreams

Every now and then, the kids will ask for stories about when they were babies. T doesn't do it very much anymore, usually only when he's had a bad day and just wants a little extra time and attention.  A few weeks ago, he'd had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day and it seemed like everything sent him off into a rage or a puddle of tears.

As we started the bedtime routine, he asked if I would rock him for a little while.

Okay, the kid is 2/3 as tall as I am. How on earth am I going to rock him? Plus the rocking chair is in S's room. But you know what? We made it work.

I did, however, have T hanging off all over the place.

One of the stories he loves best (no idea why) is the one where I talk about trying to get him to sleep before we figured out he wasn't getting enough to eat. He would just cry and cry and cry, and I would rock and sing, rock and sing, rock and sing. Once we figured out that hunger was the problem and bedtimes got way easier, I'd still rock him before bedtime. It soothed me as much as it's ever soothed him, I think.

When I ran out of kiddie songs, I'd sing him James Taylor, Jimmy Buffet, REM, and the Beatles...anything I could think of that was mellow. One of the songs I heard while pregnant and decided I'd sing to my kids was a song by the Dixie Chicks off their Home album. It's called Godspeed (Sweet Dreams). I don't think I'd sung it for years, but I sang it that night and every night since both kids have asked for it as part of their good night song set.

If you want to read about the story behind the song (and it's worth a look), click here. Then have tissues ready for when you listen to it. Lots of them.

The YouTube link is here (of the Dixie Chicks, not me natch) and here by the actual song writer if you aren't a DC fan.

Here are the lyrics:

Dragon tales and water is wide
Pirates sail and lost boys fly
Fish bite moon beams every night
and I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angel's wings
Sweet Dreams

Rocket racer's all tuckered out
Superman's in pajamas on the couch
Goodnight moon, will find the mouse
and I love you

Godspeed little man
Sweet dreams little man
All my love will fly to you each night on angel's wings
Sweet dreams

God bless Mommy and Match Box cars
God bless Dad and thanks for the stars
God hears amen wherever we are
And I love you

Godspeed little man
Sweet dreams little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angel's wings
Godspeed, godspeed, godspeed
Sweet dreams

You'll need to excuse me, I have to go blow my nose and look at baby pictures now.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I have no good ideas for an entry today.



Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Let me distract you with some pictures.

Workout Wednesday

This last week was fun! Last Saturday was the Zumbathon for the YMCA Partner in Youth program. I made it through the entire three hours. In all fairness, the instructors took it pretty easy on us in hours two and three. But gosh, it still felt like an impressive accomplishment. 

On Sunday, I started the swimming training for the mini triathalon I want to do with R in December. It's an 8 lap swim, a 2.5 mile run, and I think it's a 16 mile bike ride. I did okay. R helped me with my form and breathing by having me swim a couple laps freestyle, a couple laps just using my legs, a couple laps just using my arms. Then repeating it. I swam almost a half mile in about 45 minutes, which wasn't too bad considering I was working on form over speed. After all the impact my body went through on Saturday: a basketball game Saturday morning, a short but intense workout with R, running around at the park for a couple hours, and then the Zumbathon, it felt soooooo nice to have a slower paced, no impact workout.

This week, Kristine and I are breaking up the weight lifting sections of P90X into blocks and jumping rope, doing laps, and throwing in some ab work in between them. I'm pushing myself as hard as I can go, kinda like Jillian Michaels is standing behind me shouting 'work HARDER. HARDER!!!' So far, that seems to be working. I've had several people come up at the Y and tell me in the last week that I look smaller. For whatever reason, it amazes me to think that people are noticing and I'm so, so grateful that they take the time to say something. It's really motivating. I have to be honest, when I look in the mirror, I don't look a bit different to me, but I also know that I can't trust my own perception.

I've been within the same 5 pound weight range for about a year now. Every now and then, the needle would start creeping up and I'd cut back and the needle would go back down, but never past that one magic number. When I decided to try the Fat Smash Detox again, it backfired in a huge way. By the end of the first week, not only had I not followed it, but my weight kept creeping up until it was almost 10 pounds over my comfort range high. (sigh)

After trying and trying to get back on a stricter eating plan (and failing miserably), Friday morning I woke up decided to take it one day at a time. Just for today, I'm going to make healthy, nutritious choices. Just for today. And then I wake up the next day and say the same thing. So far it's working. Depending on where the scale is placed on the floor, I've either lost eight or ten pounds. I'll take it gladly, either way.  Let's just hope I can keep the momentum going without having to do three hours of Zumba every Saturday in a row.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thankful Tuesday - the positive friendship post

So. Thank all of you for attending my sad little pity party yesterday. Missed it, didya? You can read about it here, if you wish.

I'm a bit embarrassed now that I made a post out of it, but I'm not sorry because I got it all out and off my chest and immediately felt better. So there's that....

But JLK over at Pieces of Me pointed out that I neglected to mention the good friendship categories. Excellent point, and thank you so much. I admit that I was sort of lumping all the good categories into "good label-less friends" until I started to think about it.

For all the wonderful friends I've made in my life - I dedicate thankful Tuesday to you!

1) The be there no matter what but minus the judgement friend
Good times, bad times, totally forgettable times: this friend is always there for you. In person, by phone, by email, skype, text, or whatever, this is the person you want to tell all things - important and not so important - because you know they will understand where you are coming from, be supportive, and not hold it against you when you do something really, really stupid. This is also the person most likely to be beside you if you end up in jail, a mental institution, or volunteering to make 200 cupcakes.

2) The make you laugh until you cry friend
This friend can make you laugh about anything - even a really crappy day. She gets your sense of humor, you get hers, and she never fails to make even the most mundane of times seem amazing.

3) The tell it like it is friend
One of my personal faves, this friend will answer you honestly (but kindly) if you ask her if your butt looks big in these pants, if you are acting like a total bitch today, or anything else you ask her about. For example:
Me:  (gripe, gripe, moan, moan, complain, complain) What is WITH everyone today?
Friend: What do you mean?
Me: Is it just me or are people extra obnoxious today? The head of the committee I'm on for the PTO project I'm doing just told me we weren't having a committee meeting even though the committee was having what looked like a committee meeting to me.
Friend: Or, you know, they could be talking.
Me: Well, they could have asked me to join them.
Friend: Or you could have said something along the lines of "Mind if I join you?"
Me: Okay, fine. Make perfect sense then. Sheesh.
Friend:  That's why you love me.

4) The common interest friend
Scrapbooking, working out, book club, photography, silly Facebook games, or blogging (of course)...this friend is around when your common interest brings you together, no matter what else you may or may not have in common. But when you are with this type of friend? All sorts of awesomeness results.

5) The dependable friend
This is the person who helps you clean up, offers to keep the kids on short notice, feed the dog/water the plants if you are out of town. This is also normally the first non relative listed on your 'emergency contact' forms. She calls when she says she's going to call, shows up when she says she'll show up, and delivers if you are depending on her for anything, and often when you aren't.

6) The feel like I've known you forever friend
It's an instant connection, like you were BFF's in another life or something. It's instant, mutual, and  equal. This friend is most likely to turn into a be there no matter what without judgement friend. It's basically friendship at first sight.

7) The expert friend
This is your go-to person when you need advice (or whatever) on a particular subject - interior design, cooking, style, neighborhood gossip - she knows her stuff and is happy to help out when you ask her, but never forces her opinion on you.

8) The always sunny/laid back friend
This friend goes with the flow and lets all the negatives roll off their back. Impossible to resist (kinda like really good cheesecake), being around this friend makes everything just seem.....better. Even when things are going great.

Okay! Those are the good friend categories I came up with - did I leave anything out?

My perspective on the meaning of friendship.

Oh lordy, I'm struggling today.

Isn't it so funny (not really) how such a bunch of little things can sometimes just sneak up on a person and seem like one huge....ordeal?

The older I get, the harder it seems for me to make lasting, mutual friendships. And in the interest of full disclosure, I have kind of lost the desire to try. I'm also a bit spoiled because I married one of the best friends I've ever had, even if his male DNA can sometimes make me want to strangle him where he stands.

Case in point: R comes home from work, "Hey - what smells good?"
Me: Dinner (we don't say chicken around here lately because T is convinced that's all we ever eat ::insert dramatic child sigh and much protesting::
R: Oh, are we having chicken?
Me: *wincing* You know we don't say that word (giving a head jerk and the glance of fear towards T).
R: What word? Chicken?
Me: Wow. Way to follow the cues, hon. Great job.
R: What?!? (pause...sounds of wheels and cogs turning mightily) Oh. Oops. Sorry.

But I digress.

Not long after we got here, I really thought I had found a great friend who shared a lot of similar interests and views. As sometimes happens, it just didn't work out like I thought it would. No harm, no foul.

Then I met another lady that I thought, "Wow. We could be great, long lasting, stay-in-touch-no-matter-how-many-pcs'-we-endure friends.

And now I'm not so sure that's going to work out like I thought either. I'm feeling such a sense of loss and sadness. These types of things tend to trip me up for a bit. But after talking to R about it off and on, he made an excellent point that I so, so do not want to admit is right - this gal and I? We are great friends when it's convenient for her.

That's not my definition of a friendship. It's entirely possible that I expect too much. It's also entirely possible that I don't.

Right after S was born, R and I hit a rough patch and I poured my heart out via email  (we were Germany and I had no support system there whatsoever at the time) to the women that I considered to be my closest friends. Two of them, true to form, were absolutely there for me and probably saved my marriage. The other one never acknowledged or replied to my email. And hasn't to this day. That still smarts a bit...four years later.

That cemented the idea of categorical friendships to me. I mean there are levels of friendships, right? The more you know someone the deeper the friendship. Usually. 

But there are also categories.

1) The therapy friend
This friend tells you all her problems and troubles, deeply personal TMI stuff included. Even if you haven't known her for very long. You are expected to be supportive, nurturing, understanding and 100% available. I mean, she needs you at 11:30 pm to talk about the lady in the grocery store line who gave her a dirty look and it's because she's fat, right, cause her husband said her pants looked tight a couple weeks ago. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the therapeutic ear will be reciprocated. It most certainly will not.

2) The good times only friend
This friend only wants to be around you if you are in the best of moods. Any inkling of having a normal range of emotions will have her running for the nearest exit, plugging her ears and yelling 'blah blah blah', never to be seen or heard from again. And as a bonus, she'll tell everyone she knows what a downer you are.

3) The friend if you're here, but once outta sight, outta mind friend
Pretty self explanatory, actually. But I feel obligated to mention that included in this type of friendship is the implied understanding that whatever might have happened while you weren't "here" is not to be mentioned under any circumstances. Ever.

4) The bad habit friend
This is the person that brings you a pie on day three of your new exercise/healthy eating regimen, talks you into buying something you really didn't want or need when you are watching your budget, thinks it would be great fun to have a drink at lunch when you have to go back to work. Unfortunately, this person is so charming and fun to be around that it's practically impossible to stay away from her.

5) The situational friend
This friend is your best bud at the PTO or on parent night at school, but wouldn't give you the time of day otherwise. Specific rules apply to this friendship and if you violate or question them, you will be given many blank, unblinking, confused stares. I mean, really, what were you thinking inviting them to join you when you ran into each other a Applebee's? As if.

6) The 'I'll hang with you until something better comes along' friend.
This person? Ahhhhh, this person will likely leave you in mid sentence and let you hear their huge sigh of relief when she spots someone, anyone else to hang out with. And then she'll do the same thing to the person she ditched you for. It's like trading up on fast forward and as long as you aren't emotionally invested in the relationship, it's hilarious. Also - you are not allowed to be funnier, smarter, thinner, prettier, or more talented than this person. Duh!

Have I missed any? Let me know in the comments :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yesterday, the weather here was brisk and blustery. Seriously? The wind is as brutal here as it was in South Dakota. Brrrrr! It was also overcast and dreary.

But today? Oh, today it's sunny and warm and amazing. It is simply not possible to be upset about anything on a day like today. Well, okay - I'm sure it's possible (don't want to tempt fate ya know) but this has seriously been one great week.

The kids were out of school on Monday, so after the gym the kids and I went to Chuck E Cheese. I love that the games there are only a token, no matter which game you play. I also love that we had a ton of tokens left over from T's birthday and that I had a coupon for pizza, drinks, and more tokens. The kids were awesome! They were patient with me and each other since they had to share my attention and S is now old enough to know how to play some things by herself. Also, we got a bunch of tickets to add to the ones we already had. We left with a pretty awesome prize - a gumball dispenser. We put M&M's in it instead. Yum!

Tuesday the dentist visit went better than I could have dreamed. The kids liked it so much they've both asked to go back. T gets to go back next week to have his molars sealed and a small cavity taken care of, so he'll get his wish. Plus, they've been way better about paying attention when they brush their teeth since we went. Can't really ask for more than that!

Wednesday was the ballet session that parents get to watch. Oh my gosh, those kids are so cute. All the little tutus and ballet shoes. I wish I was a better photographer, because there were some amazing opportunities there. And S just loves it. I so want the kids to like to be active. The benefits of that will last a lifetime.

Yesterday, my computer problems proved to be easy to fix and not too expensive. S was with me while we waited, and she was really, really well behaved. In fact, the kids have been really well behaved all week. I think it has to do with the parenting class we are attending. I like that there has been very little yelling all week - kids included. It just makes for a happier house. And we are all reaping the benefits of that. Bedtime hasn't been an issue this week, either. Color me delighted!

Today, S and I headed out to a movie. The movie theater here offers $5 admission before noon, so we went to see Rango. Turns out it was a bit scary in parts, so the movie was probably meant for kids a little older. There was a group of special needs students there and they were high school-ish aged, and they loved it. Then, we came home and the resident diva is napping - yes, napping - so I know that my efforts to keep them moving to get them tired are working.

What a great way to end a great week - a day that's just about sheer perfection. Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Please don't leave me like this!

Oh no. Ohnoohnoohno. The vent/cooling fan on my laptop has decided to take a permanent vacation. As much as my laptop is used, and let's just round it up to an even 24/7, I'm not surprised that something has quit. I've had my Vaio for around 3 years, which I think might be a new record for me. When I was trying to finish my Masters', online of course, I went through three computers in less than two years. And no, none of them got thrown out the window or from a moving car.

But then...heavens parting, joyful lord noises, halos floating, etc...we got the Vaio, and all was well in laptop land. Until a couple of days ago. With no cooling fan available, the computer gets too hot, and just...wham!...shuts off. No warning, no error message, beep of impending doom - nothing. One second it's there and working fine, the next it's off.

I'm taking it to a repair shop today to get an estimate to fix it. Fingers crossed it will be an inexpensive fix and that the part I need is still floating around out there. As quickly as technologies change these days, I may not be able to get a replacement fan for a computer that's 3 years old.  No way can we afford a new laptop. And even if we could, it would be a want and not a need.

You know, the fan could have at least given me notice. Seriously. Like, hey owner. I'm kinda tired because you use me too much, so could you tone it down so I don't have to up and quit on you? kthanksbye.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Workout Wednesday

(Deep breath. Or six.)

Remember that detox I was mentioned I was starting on my last Workout Wednesday post? Yeah, not only did I not stick to that, apparently some part of me thought that 'detox' meant 'inhale everything in sight' because a week later I'm not detoxed whatsoever and I've gained five pounds. Preeeeeetty sure it's not muscle weight either.

I mean, I know how this works. Calories in need to be less than calories out and for heaven's sake, move around as much as possible. It's really not all that complicated.

So why am I sabotaging myself?

I've got no answers for that.

Moving on to something more successful for me - workouts. R and I worked out on Sunday and it was intense. I ran more than I have to date, and it wasn't too bad, really. Then we jumped rope and did abs. My abs have been sore pretty much since Monday, but Kristine and I started the P90X abs again. I'm seeing progress in those workouts. I almost did a clap push up. I can do them no problem on my knees, but I need to get just a couple inches higher on my push-off when I'm doing them on my toes. But still - that's nothing to sneeze at, especially with five extra pounds hanging off my gut. Sigh.....

Today I put in Bob Harper's Yoga DVD, and I started laughing about two minutes in because it's basically YogaX with a few modifications. Bob, Bob, Bob....(shaking my head) shout out for TonyX? For shame, my friend. For shame. You know what would be really cool? In the middle of Warrior Yoga if Jillian were to run through and start screaming as only Jillian can do. "Yoga? Yoga is for wusses! Don't just pose there in plank. Alternating tricep extensions. LETS GO!"

As for me? Let's hope next Wednesday sees me down those five pounds plus a couple more. The three hour Zumbathon on Saturday ought to really help with that.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Thankful Tuesday

Dear Dental Gods:

I don't know what I did to deserve your kindness and generosity, but I am totally and eternally grateful.

Love, kisses, and flossing daily,


After a slight mix up about where to be (didn't know that the dentists' office had more than one location until I went to the wrong one, natch), I had the paperwork filled out and the kids were being called back.  Now, I realize that I've never actually been to a pediatric dentist office before this, but color me impressed. The staff was great and the kids actually got seen at the same time side by side. Very cool. I didn't have to choose to be in one child's room over the other, I got to sit in the middle of where they both were.

The kids were so amazing. They cooperated fully with the entire process and were smiley and giggly the entire time. The dentist and hygienists complemented me on their behavior (and gave the kids extra prizes for being so good).

I gotta say it, I kind of want to go to a pediatric dentist. Cookie dough flavored toothpaste? Sunglasses so the bright light doesn't bother you? A variety of awesome flavors for fluoride treatments (including marshmallow)? Toys at the end?

Sometimes growing up kinda stinks.

Dental Dread

(Meant to be posted on 3/7/2011)
Tomorrow, both kids have dental appointments. I am so dreading this. When we lived in Germany, we got one visit a year at the base clinic (if you could get an appointment) plus we all had to get cleared by dental before we could PCS. Oh military. How I looooove you and your hoops that are completely pointless. Where else can a possible cavity keep you from escaping moving to a new base?!?

And suddenly, it's been almost two years since the kids and I have graced a dental chair. Whoops! The base dental clinic here does not see dependants, so off base we go. That's fine with me because that way we get to choose who our dentists are. First, we had to get new dental cards from our supplemental dental insurance company, plus get it straightened out that S was, indeed, our child and dental responsibility since she wasn't listed on some system somewhere in military paperwork land. Quite the charlie foxtrot.

T has been to the dentist about four times now, S has only been once. They have a joint appointment. My only fear for T with a dentist is that he'll need to have dental work done that requires numbing and a big old Novocaine needle. Just thinking about it makes me want to crawl inside the dryer and hide. I'm not sure how S will do - it will either go beautifully or horribly.
At night, R takes the kids up to brush their teeth. Every now and then I'll realize their teeth could use a little something extra, so I'll either brush them or take them up for the next couple of nights. But we really should have started flossing a while ago. When did we start? T's teeth are so close together that the first time I flossed his teeth I made his gums bleed and it was this whole big thing with tears and accusatory little toddler eyes - I couldn't take it. I bought the little floss pick things, but pretty much they ended up as toys and occasionally weapons. But as far as flossing goes, it went pretty well. I need to floss more anyway, so I figure this is a great opportunity for me to improve my flossing frequently too.

So if any of you hear some crazy screaming tomorrow around 9, 9:30, don't worry -  it's just our dental appointment worst case scenario. But I'm about 7% sure that won't happen.

Children's Museum field trip

S's class went to a children's museum last week. It was just the coolest thing ever to see her playing in all the stations. She's growing up so quickly that I feel like I'm missing it, even though I'm with her every day. Oh, how I love this kid!
In the kitchen
Playing doctor
Grocery store time!
And her favorite area - the library

Theory of strife

(Meant to be posted on 3/4/2011)

I'm noticing a trend of increased, consistent business for this family. I wasn't expecting to be so...scheduled until the kids were in middle school or later. Just goes to show you what I know, right? I feel like I'm still on the laid back German pace of life versus the standard frantic American pace. And I'm sorely out of place. T gets home from school at 3 or so, and we had something to do three nights this week, so last night, the kids were showing some obvious wear and tear. Not that they were showing it by sleeping late.

When T got off the bus yesterday, I had about 20 minutes before we needed to get back in the car to take the kids to their bible study class. T got off the bus in a less than stellar mood, which has been pretty common for him this week. We've tried to get him to talk about what's going on, but have had no success. When I dropped him off, he was less than thrilled to be there, but seemed okay to stay. R picked the kids up and we ate dinner soon after they got home, so I was surprised that T wanted to lie down on the couch right after dinner and homework. I went upstairs to check on S, who was in the tub, and when I came down about 5 minutes later, he was asleep. 

R's been saying all week that T is simply exhausted, but T keeps waking up at 5 am on his own. I'm not sure what's going on with that, but I was glad to see him sleeping. The kid was out cold, too. R carried him up to bed and a couple hours later, T comes flying down the stairs, all frantic and clinging to me. I walk him back up to his bedroom and he keeps mumbling about how he doesn't want me to leave him behind. What? I'm right here.

It finally hits me - he's not really awake. I just sit with him and talk about nothing until he settles back down into a deeper sleep. I'm thinking all those times when he was little and I needed him to come on already that pretending like I'd leave without him was probably not a good idea. Sigh. Oh, the ways to feel guilty about your parenting are endless. Endless, I tell you. As are the the mistakes you realize you've made....after the fact.

The next morning he was still in a pissy mood. Really? Even after a good, long night's sleep? Drat. One of his bottom teeth was loose and it was bugging him. He'd been talking about it for a couple days, especially when he was eating something. So he asks for cereal and a few minutes later he asks for a paper towel. I'm unloading the dishwasher so I don't think much about it. Well, that's not true. I thought YAY! He's going to mop up the milk he spilled without being asked. SCORE!

Fast forward ten seconds and he shouts, "MOM! My tooth came out!"

So that's what the paper towel was for. Pulling out his tooth. I admire his tenacity.

We get him cleaned up (the tooth wasn't nearly as ready to come out as T was for it to come out) and he finishes his breakfast.

And I swear-it's like the personality fairy brought T's missing one back because he was back to being the T I'm used to - thank the holy heavens.

Next week is almost as busy as this one. This weekend is crazy busy. I guess I'll test my theory in real time.

Pray for me.

Bloggy hopes and bloggy dreams

(Originally from March 3, 2011)
I started blogging while we were in Germany for several reasons - I needed to do something to feel...connected to the outside world. The first year we were there, I really struggled with feeling isolated. I hadn't realized prior to that how rare it was to find true friends, good friends. I also hadn't realized how much it would bother me to feel like so many of those connections were being lost. I was that easily forgettable? Ouch! That stung, believe you me.

I also wanted a way to tell people what was going on without feeling like I was pestering them with phone calls or emails. Well, okay, maybe not phone calls. Between my dialing issues and the time difference, it was hard to connect by phone. Plus, until we decided to Vonage it up, we were at the mercy of international phone rates. The cost to us wasn't too bad, but calling Germany from the US? Pretty expensive.

So the blog started out mostly for friends and family. I hoped that my stellar storytelling and rock star kids would attract attention (from whom, I'm still not sure..._), they'd ask me to write a book or a regular column somewhere, and I could turn my nicey nice online family life stories into a paying job.

Ah, the power of the naive mind.

BUT- to those of you that have been with me from the start - which does not, by the way, include my mother (she read my blog until the Christmas letter snarkfest and I don't think she's been back since then) - I am tearfully grateful. Grateful that you read, that you come back, that I can make you laugh. That you care enough to take time out of your life to read about mine. It's humbling. Thank you.

But as time passed, I realized that if I was going to get my blog out there to the masses, I was going to have to self promote. UGH. Not really on my agenda. I halfheartedly stuck my blog on a couple of blog sites, but I enjoyed finding other blogs way more than trying to push mine.

So now I've got this nice list of blogs that I follow and read faithfully. These bloggers are talented. All of them. It's intimidating, but in a good way.

I realized though - I'm not the least bit sure about blogger ettiquitte. Is it silly of me to want my followers to actually read my blog and not just follow me because they want me to follow them? If they follow me am I then required to follow them, even if their blog isn't my cup'o'tea? I don't do advertising, I don't do giveaways and I have no plans to change that at this point. Is that blogger suicide?

But in reading some of the blogs out there, I have to get this off my chest and request your help. If ever my blog comes across like a whiney, complainey, I'm-never-happy-with-anything-and-no-one-can-do-anything-right-but-me blog, will someone PLEASE smack me right across my face - virtual or otherwise. I do NOT want to be that blogger. Do not, do not, do not. I've got no problem with venting or complaining, and lord knows I do it plenty. It's good to get things off your chest! But if that's all you've got? Unhappiness and misery and a general dissatisfaction with everyone and everything around you? I can't do that. It just sucks up all my energy. And I need to keep all of the energy I've got, frankly.

And finally - can some one tell me why everything turns into a form of high school cliquey-ness? Even 20 years out?

Monday, March 7, 2011


I've got five or six posts started, but my laptop has decided to keep shutting down randomly after making a horrible noise. If this were my car, I'd just turn the music up, but that does no good when said music is also on your computer and stops when the computer takes a power nap - usually in the midst of posting something important. Like a blog entry. Or  a status update. Or finishing our taxes. Or, you know, crops on Frontierville.

Posts coming soon!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Reaping what I've sewn

My smart-ass-i-ness has come back to bite me. Smack dab in my own smart ass.

Tuesday, T was sick and home from school. We spent a good amount of time looking for his DSi that morning, but had no luck finding it.

I tried getting him to retrace his steps the last time he had it, but I wasn't exactly sure when that was, and he was full of 'I don't know's'.

Eventually, I figured it would be worth driving to base and seeing if the DSi was in R's car, which was pretty much the only place we hadn't looked.

After we picked up S from preschool, we were headed to base. T asked if we could stop at Wendy's and get a milkshake.

Since we hadn't had lunch yet, I hate the Wendy's closest to our house, and the fact that we had ice cream in the freezer at home, I said no. I did not, however, mention any of the above reasons, which threw T into a pretty fierce pout-titude.

Right as we were approaching the base gate, T said something fairly hateful to me, and then tried to pass it off like he was saying it to S.

Like that makes it better. ::rolling my eyes::

Tired of the whining and attitude and also the phrase, "This is BORING", I summon all my mommy wisdom ::snort:: and snark:

"You're welcome, T. You are welcome that I'm willing to go all. the. way. to base to search through Dad's car to try and find your DSi - which you are supposed to be keeping track of. You're welcome that I'm willing to risk being questioned by security forces when they see me going through a car in a parking lot. You are welcome that even though it's your responsibility to keep up with your things, I'm helping you look for your DSi. Again. You are welcome, welcome, welcome for all the things I do for you."

Apparently, T was in no mood for my brand of snark because this is how he replied:

Congratulations, Mom. Congratulations to YOU for being willing to do what most moms do. Help their kids. Congratulations, your majesty. What WOULD I do without you?


I probably shouldn't think that's funny, and I know I shouldn't have burst out laughing, but honestly? If he hears me speaking like that to others, then what do I expect?

Still, it's important that even though he has sarcasm nailed down, that he realizes when to use it appropriately.

And as soon as I learn that myself, I'll pass it right along.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Workout Wednesday

I've been trying to figure out what to write for this post all day. The highlights of my workout week seem like a reasonable place to start, right?

Sunday I actually ran at 6 mph for a minute, and I'm not sure if I've ever done that. I am notoriously slow. I can jog now for two to three minutes at a time without gasping for air at the end. On Wednesday nights when we have basketball practice, I'm able to run around with the kids without getting winded. It's starting to make me think I should play more basketball, except I have no talent and can't shoot for crap. That, of course, just leaves running so I'm back to square one. 

On the Arc trainer today, I went almost twice as far in the same amount of time that I did three months ago. And while I was working hard, I wasn't heaving or gasping for air. I did the cardio fit test on the elliptical last week and am still making good progress. I really think starting to get to Zumba a couple times a week is really making the difference.

Speaking of which, I signed up for a Zumba-thon on the 12th. I'm going to try and do all three hours. I'm so excited and it's keeping me motivated cardio wise because I don't want to drop from exhaustion. I also don't want to have to slack off. But three hours is a LOT of Zumba - especially if Misti is leading the Zumba-thon.

R completed his first triathlon last week - it was a mini triathlon that involves an 8 lap (quarter of a mile) swim, 8 miles on a spin bike, and then a 2.5 mile run on the treadmill. My goal is to be able to do Christmas mini triathlon with him this year and to jog the entire 2.5 mile part. My training starts immediately.

Something really interesting is happening though. The more I concentrate on the proper form and breathing when I'm trogging, the easier the actual running part is becoming. I realized while I was doing YogaX (ironically) that part of the trouble I've had with trogging/running is that I'm not breathing correctly. When I start to get out of breath, I tend to breathe more and more shallowly because I hate to breathe heavily. We can chalk that up to some serious bullying about the way I used to breathe in PE when I was younger. And to be fair, both kids inherited my crappy breathing habits. Sorry kids! It's definitely a learning process, but hey - at least it's a process now instead of a pipe dream.

Also, and I'm throwing this in because if I write down and publish I'm going to do it, then I'll actually do it - I'm starting the Fat Smash Detox as of right now. I weighed this morning and the results were horrifying. So for each post I manage to complete in the next 10 days (and heads up, some of them may be a smidge grouchy) I'm going to update my progress on the detox. Water, veggies, fruit, yogurt, and some brown rice. That's my entire menu for the next 10 days. But I've got to get rid of these junk food cravings. I don't feel as well when I eat crap, but I crave it. So it's time to stop it. Last time I actually did the detox, I lost 10 lbs in a little over a week and by day three or four, all my cravings for 'bad' foods was completely gone. I'm way more interested in beating my bad eating habits into oblivion than I am about losing 10 lbs in a week. Although - I'm not gonna lie. I'll take a ten pound loss cheerfully. With a side of dancing. Stay tuned. I'll try really hard not to obsess.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I never thought about it that way....

A couple of months ago, there was a knock on our front door.

Our neighbor across the street wanted to talk to me about the school bus that picks up his son, who is confined to a wheelchair. I have seen his son plenty of times, and while I'm not sure of his age or how severe his disabilities are (they look to be pretty serious), he always has a grin for you when you say hello. T is mesmerized by his wheelchair, which is seriously cool.

Anyway, the gist of the conversation was about the fact that people are passing the bus that picks up his son, even while his son is being loaded. Our neighbor came over to let me know that morning I had passed the bus during the loading process. I had to think for a second before I realized that I had, indeed, seen the bus sitting there when I left the house that morning. 

I didn't do it purposefully or with any sort of intent (Hey! There's a school bus sitting there - I'm going to pass it for FUN!! Muahhahaaa!) The bus parks there for between 7-15 minutes in the morning. The bus driver doesn't have the flashing red lights on or the stop sign or arm extended the entire time. Sometimes not at all. I'm so used to seeing the bus there waiting, in fact, that I had (at that point) stopped thinking about it as a school bus and saw it mostly as another parked vehicle in front of their house. There is no excuse for that. None.

I was so mortified when I realized that I had done that, that I burst into tears. I was plenty upset that I drove past the bus, but even more so that I was so absorbed in getting the kids out the door and to school that I took that kind of risk - and it didn't even register until our neighbor came over. That kind of carelessness is what lays a slippery foundation for a tragedy that can't be undone.

I'll skip the deets about part where he passes on thinly veiled threats about turning me in and having us kicked out of housing and how karma is a bitch and so forth.  Because, honestly, I totally understand his point of view.

But something besides my carelessness was really nagging at me about this and I eventually realized that I'm pretty sure that there were no warning or stop lights flashing when I left that morning. I remembered seeing someone in the driveway, but the nurse aid shift change is around 7:30 or 8:00 am, and his mom usually walks out with him to the bus. I don't remember seeing several people, I just remember seeing a person.

And here is my only issue with this situation: when is it safe to drive past a bus that carries special needs students?

Here are the facts based on my observations of the bus driver's habits:
The driver doesn't use the warning and stop lights appropriately unless she knows someone is watching.  How do I know this? Because I watched the bus for several weeks. Sometimes no lights are used at all, and I have video proof.

The bus is in front of the neighbors' house for anywhere between 7-15 minutes. Most buses can stop and load or unload passengers in under 2 minutes. (Yes, I timed T's bus for a while to compare and our stop is always under 45 seconds.)

Since the student across the street boards by ramp and the ramp is in the middle of the bus on the side I can't see, it's difficult to tell at a glance what part of the process he's in.

So for me, the obvious answer is to not drive past the bus or leave my driveway (since I can't back out of my driveway without overlapping where the bus is - and would that be considered passing since my vehicle is technically moving?) until the bus isn't there anymore.

Since then, I have been pretty lucky and we've needed to leave either before the bus got there or after it came and left.

This morning, however, we got in the car, opened the garage door.......and there was the bus across the street. Five minutes early.


So I back out into the driveway and am watching in my rear view mirror. When we pulled out, no lights were flashing, as soon as we were in the driveway, the yellow lights got turned on so I stayed put -- which I would have anyway after my discussion with my neighbor -- and then the red lights.

Right around this time, a black SUV comes up the street. It had to be pretty obvious that we were waiting on the bus to leave since a) at that point the red lights, stop sign, and arm were all happening b) the kids and I are sitting in a running vehicle, doing our best Linda Blair attempts to see behind us to what the bus was doing, and c) our neighbor was being pushed down the driveway to the bus in his wheelchair.

This black SUV slows down allllmost to a stop, and then passes the bus slowly.

Are you KIDDING me?!?!?!?!?!?!??!!?!?!!?

I admit, I'm still really upset whenever I think about the conversation with our neighbor about my passing the bus, no matter how sure I am that I didn't pass a bus with the stop lights and equipment going. And my being upset is allll about my being in the wrong. It's my responsibility as a mom, driver, and human being to pay attention to just such things. Period.

So when I saw that SUV pass the bus today, my jaw dropped. What in the hell could be so important that you risk the life of a kid? Not to mention that passing a stopped school bus carries the highest points for a DMV violation.

During the conversation with my neighbor, he mentioned there was a black SUV that routinely passed the stopped bus, which is why they were trying to get driver and vehicle info for any vehicle that passed it. At the time I wondered if maybe the SUV passed the bus when the lights and arms weren't being used. But after this morning, it's pretty obvious that it makes no difference to the driver. If she was running late, she had enough time to see the stopped bus, turn around in any of the empty driveways before getting to the bus, and go the other way because you can get out of our development going either direction. 

I just can't stop thinking about it. No wonder he was so ticked off when he came to talk to me. I have to admit I didn't really think that there would be anyone who knowingly, willingly, and intentionally passed a stopped, loading school bus but apparently there is.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thankful Tuesday

Today, hands down, I'm thankful for sunshine. We had a pretty horrible storm blow through here Sunday night and while I love a good storm, I'm perfectly okay if it doesn't wake me up by sounding like it's going to shatter the windows and blow off the roof.

I'm also thankful for sunshine because when it's really sunny, I can see the chin hairs I need to pluck without actually having to stand in the backyard with a mirror and a pair of tweezers while dodging the kids. Tweezers, as it turns out, can be a force for good or evil.

I'm thankful for winter sunshine because it makes it simply seem warmer outside, and I look for any possible excuse to open up the sunroof and drown out the bickering in the backseat.

But most of all, I love sunshine because it just makes me happy to be alive. Well, as long as it's 75 degrees or cooler.