Monday, December 17, 2012

What's the deal-i-o?

Last week passed in a blur. My general schedule was this: get up and get the kids off to school, go back to bed for a bit, get up again, shower, do whatever it was I absolutely HAD to do, be home by the time the kids got home, get homework done, feed them, back to bed.

And yes, it was as pathetic to live it as it is to read about it. I just could not shake my funk. My whole body ached, I was blue, I had no energy.

Not like me at all. I didn't want to Zumba, so you KNOW it was bad.

I think the worst thing about it was that the kids just rolled with it. It makes me wonder - am I like this more than I realize? That's a horrifying thought. I'm hoping that the opposite is true - that I'm normally nothing like I was last week (except for my obvious love for sleep, which has always been a constant in my life) and the kids were willing to give me some leeway because of that. It's a good thought anyway.

Yesterday, we had made reservations to have breakfast with Santa at Eckert's. It was a lot of fun - the  food was excellent, the activities were cute and the lines weren't too long, the kids were excited, and it was very relaxed. On the way home, I started to feel tired. I went upstairs to change clothes and flopped down on the bed. Sara came up right after and wanted to lie with me. Within 20 minutes, I was asleep. And I slept for four hours. This is after getting at least 7 hours of sleep the night before. And then, I was tired by 11 pm last night. What in the world is going on with me?

Today, I felt better. I didn't have a problem getting out of bed, I didn't go back to bed after the kids went to school, I got a ton of running around done that I've been putting off for weeks. I even made it to a Zumba class. I'm starting to wonder if it's hormonal. Maybe I've hit the anti puberty - menopause - although I feel like I'm way too young for that. Any of you have any ideas? Has this ever happened to you?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's a Zumba update.

A week ago, I taught my very first, real live Zumba class.

So how was it?

It was terrifying. It was thrilling. It was so hard! I was way out of my comfort zone.

I spent the week and a half prior trying to choreograph an hours worth of songs. That doesn't sound like such a big deal, not really, until I realized how much work went into ONE song. I needed to do a variety of song styles, a variety of steps within each song, plus remember all the steps, plus cue the people trying to follow me, plus breathe, plus make it through the entire hour myself, plus somehow stop making my frowny 'I'm concentrating' face which often comes across as a frowny 'I'm a bitch' or 'I am constipated' face. And that's not even addressing the issues I have about a group of people staring at my ample behind.

And no, I'm not kidding, either.

Plus, when I get really nervous, I tend to hold my breath. Not holding my breath while dancing around (hopefully) energetically in front of a group of people is SO much harder than one would think.

In addition, I'm still searching for my personal Zumba style. I love Doreen because she's so expressive. I love Michelle because she feels the music. I love Susan because she is easy to follow and so sweet. I love Vickie because her choreography is fun and really dance-y. I feel like I'm a little bit like all of them, but not a lot like any of them. And that's totally fine...I just need to figure out how to let my personality shine through like they've all done. Mostly it will take practice. Lots and lots of practice. Lots and lots and LOTS of practice.

My first attempt at a playlist was ambitious. I love high energy, fast paced music. However, as I was working through routines, I was working on one song at a time. Putting 12 songs like that in a row was a bad idea. (Just in case you were wondering, my 14 song play list lasted 54.8 minutes. Holy exhaustion, Batman!) Unfortunately, I didn't truly realize this until I taught three songs in a row in two different Zumba classes on the same day. At the end of the third song in each class, I was gasping for air. Like, really contemplating asking for an oxygen tank gasping.

As it turns out, being in front of the group versus following along with the group is a totally different beast. So the day before I was teaching, I changed my playlist up - one faster, one slower...lather rinse repeat. Only problem with that? Then I was using songs I wasn't as familiar with and it made me even more nervous.

Good grief.

So Monday comes, I alternate between praying no one shows up and that lots of people do. It ended up being 4 people, one of which was a really good friend of mine (thanks again, Alicia!).

The hour went by in a blur. A big sweaty blur. Turns out that in all the haste to get the steps committed to memory, I totally forgot about practicing my cues. I mean, I thought I had them down going in, but in front of the class, if I was thinking about cuing, I would lose my place and mess up the steps. If I was concentrating on steps, I totally missed the cuing. And while I tried really hard to smile and make eye contact, I am pretty sure I looked a lot like the Joker - the Heath Ledger version. Not. Pretty.

Why someone didn't throw a shoe at me is a complete mystery!

But I survived. No one yelled "YOU SUCK!" at me, even though (truth be told) I really kinda did. But I was up there, trying my hardest. For sure. So hopefully that came through. And everyone has to start somewhere.

The next day I had an audition to become a Zumba sub. Shaking off the negatives from the night before, I showed up with a really positive attitude. This was only going to be three or four songs in another small group of people - none of which I even knew. Believe it or not, that makes it easier.

Just before class is scheduled to start, in walks the instructor and another Zumba instructor. Turns out she was auditioning too. Not gonna lie, my first thought was 'there is NO way I'm going to get this job over her.' She's really, really good. And thin. And experienced.

And my second thought was this - "yeah! There is NO WAY I'm going to get this job over her!" And just like that, the pressure was off.  She could not have been any nicer or more encouraging to me, and even though we were technically competing for the same gig, she was super supportive when I went up there and just made the experience all around awesome. Afterwards, she was nice enough to give me pointers and advice and offer to let me do some songs in the classes she teaches regularly.

And in case you were wondering, yes she got the job...or at least I didn't. I don't know if the studio had more auditions set up or not.

But that's okay because the hardest part is over. It only gets better from here.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

24th Day of Thankful

We took the kids to see Santa today on base. There were no lines, no waiting, just a very chilly looking Santa since they had him sitting outside (what's up with THAT base people?!?) in 38 degree weather. Granted, since he's from the North Pole and all, 38 probably felt plenty warm to him, but we were pretty chilly. It worked out well, since we had lunch right before we went to visit him and Sara spilled her lunch down the front of her pretty dress. With her coat on, you couldn't even tell. Come to think of it, I'm thankful for that too.  And for that fact that my kids made a Christmas list of things they wanted, but still wanted to give Santa money from their allowances to help them buy presents for other kids too. 

I have no idea what they are looking at!

23rd Day of Thankful

Keeping this short and simple - I am so very thankful that I did not have to go out and deal with Black Friday traffic, crowds, and waiting. In the rain. In rapidly dropping temperatures. With employees who wanted to be with their families instead of dealing with customers who had to deal with traffic, crowds, and waiting in the rain and rapidly dropping temperatures.


photo from

Thursday, November 22, 2012

22nd Day of Thankful

Today, I'm thankful for the opportunity to have a wonderful meal with a group of people that have become like family to me. That's a pretty big deal to me, because growing up I always heard 'family first'. And I took it very seriously. But my generation, like all the ones before and after mine, does things a little differently. So while my mom's generation grew up with lots of family all around them, by the time I was growing up our family had started to scatter all over the place.

So for me to find a group of people here that not only feels like family, but acts like family...well, that's a pretty amazing thing. And today, I got to have Thanksgiving dinner with some of them. It doesn't get much better than that, especially for a gal who has never felt like she fit in with her own family all that well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

21st Day of Thankful

Today, and every day, I'm thankful for my son, Tucker. He can always make me laugh and he is such a kind-hearted kid. Life is always interesting with him and he constantly amazes me with the things he can do. It's a joy to watch him grow up (even though I think it's going by way too fast) and he gives the best hugs in the world.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

20th Day of Thankful

Today, and every day, I'm thankful for my daughter Sara. She is funny, smart, beautiful, and so freakishly self assured. She always makes life interesting and I think I'm learning way more from her than she ever will from me. Even on the really dramatic days, I cannot imagine my life without this amazing child and I cannot wait to see the woman she becomes.


Monday, November 19, 2012

19th Day of Thankful

Today I am thankful for chances. I went to Zumba tonight and the instructor mentioned that she was looking for subs a couple of nights in December. 

All during class I debated mentioning that I am a licensed Zumba instructor. It's no secret that I love Zumba, but getting up in front of a group of people makes me want to curl into a ball, cry, and hope that clicking my heels will eventually take me home. But one of my goals was to teach a Zumba class before the end of the year. 

So  I did it. I offered to sub for her and she accepted. I'm terrified but excited and hope that I can make it through the class without throwing up - because how awful would THAT be? (Pretty awful!) So here goes nothing. Or something. Or everything.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

18th Day of Thankful

Today I am thankful for days of rest and to be able to spend time with my family. We didn't do anything, we didn't go anywhere, we were all just together and and happy. Well, mostly happy. Tucker has pronounced me 'boring' today multiple times, but considering he's grounded for a nice, long while that's to be expected.

photo from

17th Day of Thankful

I have so much to be thankful for today I don't know where to begin.

I'm thankful to have happy, healthy children who have gone out of their way the last couple days to show me how much they love me. I'm lucky to have a husband who puts my happiness up there with his own and even after over 11 years of marriage, still makes me smile when he walks in a room. I'm thankful to have such wonderful friends. I'm thankful to be alive to celebrate another day/week/month/year/decade.  I'm thankful that even in these tough economic times, we have somewhere to sleep, food to eat, and money to be able to help others every now and then. I'm thankful for new experiences and for the opportunity to step out of my comfort zones, even though I'll fight it all the way. I'm thankful for every person that reads this blog. Today, I'm just thankful.

Friday, November 16, 2012

16th Day of Thankful

Today, I am thankful for love. What other feeling allows so much acceptance, forgiveness, and happiness? It comes in so many forms: love for family, love for friends, love for God, love for a significant other...

There is little else that can compare to the feeling of being loved and loving in return. Very, very little.

photo from

Thursday, November 15, 2012

15th Day of Thankful

I am SO thankful for understanding.

This afternoon, I was at a friend's house and we were working on a wreath we were making (more on that in another post).  When it was time for the kids get home from school, we walked to the bus stop and then all of us went back to her house so she and I could continue working.

Almost two hours later, it was time to go and when I verbally expressed this to Tucker, he had the mother of all meltdowns (more on THAT in another post). It was so bad that my friend's husband had to drag him out to my car, it took both of us to get him in the car, and I had to childlock the door to keep him in the car.

Through this entire horrifying process, my friend and her husband were so gracious and understanding. Me? Not so much (more on that in another post).

So now I owe you guys at least two more explanatory posts but I really, really need to go to bed because I am emotionally exhausted. Thank goodness it's a brand new day in 25 minutes.

14th Day of Thankful

Today I am thankful for conversations with friends. Some days I think those conversations are the only things  that keep me sane.

photo from

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

13th Day of Thankful

Today I'm thankful for laughter. Hands down, it's the best medicine for just about anything. It's like Windex in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Endless uses and it fixes anything. Also in that category? Duck tape.

I love to make people laugh, and I love for people to make me laugh. There is something so satisfying about making someone happy and seeing a genuine smile on their face.

Hands down, my favorite kind of laughter in the universe is the sound of my kids laughing. It's magical, musical, heart warming, unique, and endorphin-inducing.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Something funny just happened and my kids have no idea

Today we took the kids to see Wreck It Ralph.

Cuuuuuuuuuuute movie - especially if you grew up in the golden arcade era.

Tucker liked it, I think. It was hard to tell, he won't admit it, but he laughed a lot and grabbed my hand during the sad part.

Sara was just in it for the popcorn. Per usual.

We're home now, and Tucker raided his piggy bank for quarters (because we have so many arcade style video games here), and came over and handed me a quarter.

Me: I don't have a quarter slot and you can't play me. Hahahaha!

Tucker: ::totally serious:: No, I just want you to have it.

Me: ::lets it go:: Okay, thanks.

Tucker walks over to Robert and hands him a quarter.

Robert: What's this for?

Tucker: It's for you.

Robert: Yes, but what's it for??

Me: So you can call someone who cares. Bwaaaahahahaahaaaaaaaa!


It's hard being the funny one here. Seriously.

12th Day of Thankful

Today, I'm thankful for opportunity, and to live in a country where just about anything is possible. I could keep writing, but I'm going to take this opportunity to keep it short and sweet.

11th Day of Thankful

Today I'm thankful for clean, safe water. I drink a lot of water and it's easy to take for granted that any time I want some, I have plenty at my fingertips. In so many other places in the world, this is not the case. I cannot imagine having to get drinking water out of a polluted river or scrounge it up from places where one should not drink water.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

10th Day of Thankful

Today I'm thankful for play dates. It gives me a chance to spend one-on-one time with my kids without the other one feeling like they are missing out on anything.

And if I'm being completely honest, it gives me a chance to really, truly miss them. I love that both kids are independent and eager to have their friends over here to play or go to their friends' houses without over involvement from adults. I love that with a rare exception, other parents make it a point to tell me how great my kids are.

But what I REALLY love is that moment they see me after they come home and they run and give me the biggest hug and kiss and I know they missed me too.

9th Day of Thankful

Today I'm thankful for observation. There are so many times when I wonder if the kids listen to anything I say. And often, I feel like I say a lot of negatives - 'don't', 'stop', 'no', and so on. Not to mention, I'm fighting my own battles pretty much daily to set a good example for the kids. I know that even if they are listening, chances are they are going to learn and repeat the behaviors they see from me and Robert - especially the ones we hope they don't!

Then I'll see the kids at school or playing with their friends and I have hard evidence that Robert and I? We are getting through. That makes the rough times and the repetitiveness so much easier to bear.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

8th Day of Thankful

Today I'm thankful for our military - and especially all the men and women who serve and have served our country. Because of them, I have freedoms people in other countries cannot even imagine. I can speak out in support or opposition of my government without fear of oppression or repercussion (although I'm not sure the same can be said of putting those thoughts on Facebook). None of this would be possible if not for our military. As a military wife, I have a pretty good idea of the sacrifices made by military members and their families. I've been lucky. So many other families haven't been. How do you thank someone adequately for being willing to die for you and for your country? I'm not sure that's even possible. But I am so thankful and humbled and grateful for all of it. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Go away, sweetheart!

Since I have a horrible, re-occurring case of over-share-itis, I simply must blog about this.

Last night was Sara's weekly dance class. (On a side note, we got to go in and watch their tap routine - C.U.T.E!!! And Sara inherited Robert's rhythm for choreographed dances, but that's another blog post entirely)

Once class was over, Sara and I were walking out to the car with Megan and her daughter. As we prepared to head in different parking lot directions, a lady comes out of the building holding a toddler that was throwing one heck of a fit.

Dude. Been there, done that. It's awful when it happens to you, and it's almost as awful when you see someone else going through it.

There are three basic reactions available for such an event:

1) Ignore it completely
2) Empathy/sympathy
3) Judgement

# 3 is the one I dreaded the most because it generally came with a side dish of commentary and a garnish of holier-than-thou-ism - often with a dollop of eye roll.

If you've had children, chances are pretty good that you've survived a tantrum (or a couple thousand). The public ones were the worst!  If you have children and you've never experienced a public tantrum consider yourself EXTREMELY fortunate and pray that nothing changes. And you might want to immediately start writing a parenting book, because I would LOVE to know the secret to that.

No, really.

I could see how upset this poor lady was and I felt her pain. Sara and I said goodbye to Megan and Z, and went to our car. It turns out the lady parked a couple of spaces away from me. Her child was still screaming bloody murder and was putting up a fight about getting in the car.

Been there too, honey. No bueno!

I ask Sara to get in our car, buckle up, and close the door. I walk over to the other care to see if there's anything I can do to help. From personal experience, every now and then a random act of kindness truly seemed to make the difference between sanity and a 5150. I had no intention of passing judgement, offering advice, or interfering. I just wanted to know if there was anything I could do to help her in any way.

I approached the car just as something happened between the mom and child. The child was in the backseat and the mom had turned around to say something and I didn't see what happened, but the look on her face changed to a pretty scary face and she grabbed the child and drug him into her lap in the front seat. I had my hand raised to knock on her window when she saw me. She wasn't happy. She rolled down her window and we had the following conversation:

Me: Hi. Look, I don't mean to bother you, but I just wondered if I could help....
Me: I know. We've all been there and I just thought...
Her: SWEETHEART, JUST GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She throws up her hand towards me as in 'talk to the hand...'

Window rolls up. Her face is still REALLY angry. I feel like an idiot.

I slink away and get in my car. From where we were parked, I could see her talking to her child, and wiping off his face, so hopefully everything was okay.

I mean, I get it. I've been that angry at my kids before for the same exact behavior.Many, many, many, many, many times did I have to drag one or both of them kicking and screaming out of somewhere. It's horrible, as are the comments about my parenting and the dirty looks I would get.

The few times someone said something kind to me, it made a world of difference. If nothing else, it gave me a second to not be so in the situation, if that makes sense. And every time that was the case, going back to the situation didn't seem nearly as awful as a few seconds before.

But I'm not like everyone else, and everyone else is not like me. And I felt foolish for trying to help when it wasn't wanted. So, lesson learned. After all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, right?!?

7th Day of Thankful

Today, I'm thankful for reconnections  Through Facebook, I have reconnected with lots of people I went to school with, worked with, or used to know at some point in my life.

Through Facebook and a series of miracles, I was able to reconnect with my biological son this year - something I have been waiting over 19 years to be able to do. (Pausing for a moment while I put down some of my baggage...)

photo from

On the days when I am starting to doubt that there are decent people left in the world, these reconnections I have made reassure me that there are many, many decent people still in this world being kind and compassionate to others. I'm astounded by how many truly wonderful, amazing people I know. For this, I am truly, truly thankful.

6th Day of Thankful

Today, I am thankful for music. In my best and worst of times, music has been right there - able to express what I often was not/am not able to say myself. It can lift me up when I'm sad or blue. It can take me instantly back in time or make the present moment something I'll remember forever. So much of why I love Zumba has to do with the music involved. And most of the movies I love are as much for the soundtracks as for the movie itself. 

No matter your mood, your opinion, your personal preference, your experiences....there's music for that. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

5th Day of Thankful

I am thankful for simple things that make me happy: a great workout, pleasantly sore muscles, a comfortable couch, a good book, an unexpected email from a friend, a warm pair of socks for a pair of cold feet, ice cold water to drink when I'm thirsty... I could go on for hours today. 

Life is full of small unexpected blessings and I know that too often I take them for granted. I find myself making lists throughout the day of things I'm thankful for this week and there are so many more than I expected to have. I am very blessed and hopefully appropriately thankful. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

4th Day of Thankful

I am thankful for my husband.  He's always got my back, but he'll tell me the honest truth...or at least refuse to answer based on the absence of the 'cone of safety' and protection of his fifth amendment rights. I can tell him anything (and I pretty much tell him everything). And he never judges me. 

Together we've moved halfway across the world and back and had two amazing children. He has supported me through some serious ups and downs and I know I can lean on him anytime. He makes me want to be a better person. He pitches in and helps me out when I over-volunteer.  I couldn't ask for a better partner. 

Not to mention, he lets me sleep late on the weekends if I need to. I love this man with all my heart. And he's really, really cute!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

3rd Day of Thankful

Today I am thankful for the ladies I have met through Zumba. They are funny, smart, kind, supportive, inspiring, accepting, amazing, thoughtful, considerate, and all around wonderful.

This is the first place that has ever truly felt like home since we moved away from North Carolina. I feel like the friendships and support network I've built here are just as the strong as the support network I thought I had in North Carolina.

It's a powerful thing for me, because I've never really felt like I belonged anywhere before. But here, I feel like I belong and that I'm wanted. And for that, I am SO, SO thankful.

Peace, love, and Zumba baby!

Friday, November 2, 2012

2nd Day of Thankful

Today I am thankful for Pinterest.

What other one stop shop is there for fashion, DIY ideas, crafts, recipes, and things to make you laugh out loud?
pinterest funny-junk

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thankful In November

Awesome! Now I have a blog entry idea for every day in November!

Today I am most thankful for....

image from
Free time.

I have willingly filled most of my days up with something to do this year. Sometimes it seems like too much something, but today I took a day and did absolutely nothing. I don't know if it's the change in weather, a sinus issue, the common cold, stress, or whatever..but my head feels like someone hit it with a sledgehammer.

So today I did nothing while the kids were at school.  I am so lucky that we can afford for me to not work right now and that every now and then, I can do nothing without it affecting any one else in the house.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Well, that was brilliant

I would love to share a witty, clever post about our Halloween - complete with pictures of the kids all dressed up before they were ear deep in candy and over the whole trick or treat thing.

And by over the whole trick or treat thing I really mean having to wait their turn, say please and thank you, and only take one piece of candy from the bowls people in the neighborhood trustingly left out. Parents ruin everything. Sigh.

And by ear deep in candy, I really mean sticking their head into their buckets of candy and and eating their way through as much as possible as fast as possible.

And by pictures I really mean that I don't have any because while I did take my camera and I did take pictures, guess what I didn't take? The SD card. That little thing comes in handy if you aren't just practicing pushing the buttons on your it turns out.

And by witty, clever post, I'm sad to say that this is as good as it gets tonight, but there's always next year, right?

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The truth hurts, but it can make you laugh until you cry

So, this weekend was planned like this: Saturday Robert and Tucker were off to go camping with the Boy Scouts. Sara and I were going to hang at home in opulence and total comfort and do girl stuff. I had thrown out an invitation for people to come over and watch Rocky Horror on Saturday night. Sunday was going to be a much needed, well deserved down day.

Early Saturday morning (and for the record - early Saturday morning involves anything before 9 am) Sara was up, Robert and Tucker took off, and that meant that I, too, was reluctantly up as well. Emphasis on reluctantly.

I was downstairs unloading the dishwasher and I had one of those annoying moments of clarity  My house is messy and cluttered. I dislike clutter immensely. So it's either poetic justice or karma that I'm constantly surrounded by it.

Inspired by who-knows-what or perhaps horrified that people would be coming over to SEE my messy house, I made a deal with Sara. Let me clean and I would invite a friend over for her to play with AND I would take her that afternoon to get her fingernails and toenails painted. She eagerly agreed (probably because nothing was mentioned about her helping me), so I invited her friend over and got to it.

One little problem. Tucker, in his attempt to protect us from a spider last weekend, tried to smush it with the broom. The broom broke. I forgot to pick up a new one each time I went to the store. I'm too embarrassed to say how many times that is. And like a Groundhog Day short, I'd go to grab the broom and say, "OH! That's right. I need to buy a broom!" And just like magic, the thought would disappear until I went to grab the broom again. Thank goodness for my Dustbuster or things would have been...well, they would not have been pretty.

So it's Saturday morning. I haven't showered and I know I'm going to get all kinds of  nasty from cleaning or at least feel like I'm all kinds of nasty. I am SO not going out in public without showering but I really need a broom.

What to do...what to do...

I got down on my hands and knees with clorox wipes and cleaned the floor that way.

Can I just say...Gross!

But that little bit of detail cleaning inspired me to REALLY clean. And it took forever. But I also got a lot of de-cluttering done and I was so proud. I also had put baked apple pie into my Sentsy warmer so the house smelled really good. That could also be because I actually scrubbed out the garbage disposal which was 200 kinds of nasty and detailed the bathroom. ::shudder::

Sara and her friend played upstairs and stayed out of my way. I think they tried on every piece of clothing Sara owned, but they were so cute when they came down to model that I didn't mind having to refold and re-hang everything. Plus, I made her help. HAHA!

We went and got Sara's nails painted around 3:30 or 4. She chose a black glittery polish and the nail salon tech drew spider webs on her big toenails and her middle fingernails (obvious comment being avoided about that). Cute, cute, cute! And in my cleaning frenzy, I found a bag of boots that my mom had brought to Sara at some point in the last year. I had completely forgotten about them. Sara tried them on and they all fit. And when she wears them, she looks so grown up. She's not a baby anymore. And that girl has style. I envy her that!

Anyway, it turns out that this weekend was probably not the best weekend to have planned a Rocky Horror viewing on such short notice and it ended up not happening. Megan and her daughter decided to come over anyway (probably because I begged) and we hung out. Sara was delighted to have a playmate (and someone to show her nail art).

We ended up going out for dinner and ended up having Mexican. Yum. Only, on the way home, something I ate didn't agree with me and I had to go to the bathroom pretty badly by the time we got back.

After making a beeline for the bathroom and being as discreet as I could be about it (fan running and hoping for minimal sound effects), I washed my hands and rejoined everyone in the living room. I had made a low fat dessert (brownies made with pumpkin - YUM!), and we had leftover birthday cake so I offered everyone dessert.

Megan and I sat at the big table and Zoey and Sara sat at the little table. After they finished eating, I asked them both to wash their hands. They both headed for the bathroom versus the kitchen sink. Uh oh.

I looked at Megan and said, "It may still be pretty stinky in there..." right about the time Zoey walks up to bathroom door - mind you, not INTO the bathroom - and says loudly, "EWWWWWWWWWW! It's STIIIIIINNNKKKKKYYYYYYYYYY!" and turns on her heel and walks away. Sara, without comment, goes in and shuts the door - minus gas mask or air freshener.

Now I know that really, you had to be here to appreciate all of this, and that probably only Megan and I will read this and still laugh until we cry, but -

we both burst out laughing and laughed until we cried. Megan commented somewhere along the way that she was sorry about Zoey being so outspoken, and I commented that she spoke the truth and sometimes the truth hurts and that Sara just went in and closed the door without even blinking. Which made it all the funnier to both of us. So I guess that it's true that Megan's s**t really DOESN'T stink and it's also true that Mexcian food is not my friend because that's not the first time eating at that restaurant has upset my stomach. But I think Zoey, bless her heart, was my first casualty. Sorry Zoey!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Just call me Ron Burgandy

Earlier this month,  I tried to wish my SIL Happy Birthday on Facebook only to find out that I was blocked from seeing anything on her page, including the Happy Birthday post I just entered.

If I've upset you (or whatever) and you think that's the necessary course of action versus just talking to me about why you're upset, do whatcha gotta do. I'm okay with that.

But when I come across a situation like this, I'm all for calling a spade a spade. If you've blocked me, then why are we even still friends on Facebook?

It's a mystery to me.

And in that situation, I'll unfriend you. Because...duh.

Am I missing some crucial part of Facebook etiquette?

As it turns out, today the unfriending was noticed because my SIL tried to wish Tucker a happy birthday on my page. So, she texted me and I texted back a sincere thank you. Because that was thoughtful of her to take the time and wish him happy birthday and I appreciated that.

I was volunteering at school all day today and when I got home, there was a post on my wall from my brother - wishing Tucker a happy birthday and then a calling me out for the unfriending and ending up the comment with '...classy.'

I know this situation isn't really funny, per se, but anytime anyone uses 'classy' I automatically think of Ron Burgandy. And then I giggle.

So there you have it. I don't understand friend etiquette on Facebook whatsoever and am puzzled at how I'm the one who's in the wrong. I'd love some feedback on this. Do I owe my SIL an apology and a friend request? How does this work?

Stay classy, San Diego.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I'm like....

I have started a dozen posts since my last post on October 7th. Where are they? Still in the drafts folder for one reason or another. And no, not just because they are all unfinished. Although, yes, they all do have that in common.

If I don't finish a post and then publish it within 12 hours of starting it, it's very likely that that post will never get published. I don't know why I'm like that, but I am. ::shrugs::

You know what else I'm like?

I'm, like, tired. I did something funky to my back on Saturday and I'm having a lot of trouble sleeping. Well, actually, that's not true. I can go to sleep just fine. I just can't move when I wake up, no matter if I sleep on my tummy, back, or side.

You want to know the worst part about that? No working out right now. Oh my gosh - did I just say the worst part of back pain is that I can't work out? Yes, yes I did. My, my how things have changed. Thank you Tony Horton. Thank you Zumba. Thank you Shawn T. Thank you Romi Hancock.

I'm, like, sad. A good friend moved away this week. Far, far, far away and I hate good-byes. Since we are military, I'm hating good-byes quite often. Unfortunately, the frequency of good-byes fails miserably to make any of them the least bit easier.

I'm, like, puzzled. I'm developing issues with Facebook etiquette. Hopefully someone out there can explain to me what the point is in keeping someone on your friend list yet restricting them from everything on your page.  Wouldn't it be kinder and more honest to just unfriend them? Has society come to that point where we hide behind social media pretending instead of having a conversation that's the least bit unpleasant? Wait....maybe I don't want that question answered.

I'm, like, happy. I finally got the laundry caught up, except for one really large comforter that needs to be taken to the laundry mat and washed in an industrial machine. Last time I tried to wash it in our washer, unpleasant noises came out of the laundry room and I'm not referring to my constant complaining about the abnormal amount of laundry around here.

I'm, like, excited. Robert is taking Tucker camping with the Boy Scouts this weekend which means 1) I don't have to go and 2) Sara and I get some girl time. The jury is still out on whether or not she will complain less once she has my full attention, although I do have my suspicions.

I'm, like, grateful. It has come to my attention recently in bright, glaring, neon color that I have some ah-mazing people in my life. Not too terribly long ago, I was wondering where all the decent people in the world had gone and then I started to realize how many I knew. It was a pretty big number, and I was humbled by it. So I shifted my focus to start looking at all the positive and good in my life instead of all the negative. What a difference a few years can make.

I'm, like, honored. My cupcake post from yesterday got re-posted by the cupcake shop on their Facebook page. Pretty awesome stuff, if you ask me. I can't stop grinning! (Now go visit Sweet Katie Bee's and eat some delicious cupcakes too!)

I'm, like, curious. What are you like?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

All Good Things to Those Who Cupcake

Today was a cupcake day. Don't judge.

There has been SO much going on lately - lots of stress (the good and bad kind), too much to do and not enough time to do it it in, a friend moved away, lots of changes, basically. It just feels like it's all on fast forward while I'm still on pause.  

When I got invited last week to join some friends for cupcakes today, I dove at the chance. And in all honesty, it was as much for the company as it was the sweet treats. 

I had never heard of this cupcake place called Sweet Katie Bee's Cupcake and Coffee Bar. Which really doesn't mean anything because I'm not from around here (said in my best southern drawl.) Sweet Katie Bee's is located in O'Fallon, Illinois in the middle of a small town downtown. Charming. Picturesque. Awesome. Freakin' delicious. 

When I walked in, I was cautious about the flavors listed - today was vanilla bean cloud, Katie's chocolate cake, Tiramisu, Mojito, Fudge Cake, and PB&J. Here's the super cool thing - they serve regular sized cupcakes and mini cupcakes. That way you could try a couple small ones if you weren't sure what you would like. 
photo courtesy of Sweet Katie Bee's Cupcake and Coffee Bar Facebook page.

Since I'm so daring and adventurous, I tried a mini Katie's chocolate cake and a mini vanilla bean cloud. 


I LOVE vanilla anything. The cake was kind of like a pound cake texture but tasted so much lighter. And the vanilla icing? Buttery, sugary, heaven. Obviously, an excellent choice. 

And then I tried the chocolate. There are no words, people. It tasted like a chocolate buttermilk cake (which is my favorite kind of chocolate cake) and was rich without being too rich and very moist. The best part? There was a dab of cream in the middle, kind of like a Hostess cupcake, only 2 million times better. And no, I'm not kidding. Or exaggerating. Or simply on a sugar high.  SO good. 

My friends tried the mojito, vanilla bean cloud, and the tiramisu. All with rave reviews. We talked about it so much, that we went back and got more mini cupcakes so we could split them between us and try them all. They were all really good and we were all really full. The surprise like of the day for me was the PB &J. But I cannot tell a lie, I liked them all. But if I had to pick my top three, it would be the Mojito, Katie's Chocolate Cake, and the vanilla bean cloud - in no particular order. 

If you are in or near O'Fallon, Illinois, stop by Sweet Katie Bee's Cupcake and Coffee Bar. And make sure you try the David Rio Chai, which was the liquid highlight of my week!

This is what is looked like when we were done:
Photo: Wonderful cupcakes with awesome ladies.
photo by Meredith McGill

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Slight Clarification

In my last blog post, I talked about going out with Megan after Zumba and then being invited to join some other Zumba ladies. 

I want to clarify something really quickly. I didn't feel like there was a clique thing going on. I think the person  who seemed uncomfortable with the our presence wanted to talk about something personal. With the addition of two people that she didn't know, it just sort of interfered with what she had needed - which was to talk about something that was bothering her. 

It wasn't anyone's fault, and my intended point was that I, like Megan, could have taken the initiative to ease the tension by either saying something really nice or by making an excuse for us to leave the table. But I did neither of those things, and I'm a little embarrassed by my behavior. 

Okay, maybe a lot embarrassed. 

I have never felt more accepted and welcomed in my life than I have with the people I've met through Zumba here. I love these women like family and I would do anything for any of them. 

Just wanted to put that out there. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Three Women I Admire and Some Soul Searching...

Two stories today and three women I admire immensely:

Number one:

I read a blog post today by one of my favorite bloggers - Tatted Mom. Click here to read it. I hope her post goes as viral as the picture of Maria Kang.

Look. I would never make light of anyone trying to live a healthy life. I think it's great that someone who had 3 kids in 3 years can look like Maria Kang. Good for her for being dedicated to keeping her body in shape!


The whole 'What's your excuse?" thing? I'm so over it. Tony Horton posted a picture of a guy who did P90X with absolutely phenomenal results. He only has one leg. The caption on that picture? Yep. 'What's your excuse?' Not knocking him down for it - he looks amazing and I have no doubt he worked his butt off to make the changes.


I think there's a whole lot more to being fit than a number on a scale or what size pants you wear or how toned your abs are. It's entirely possible to be thin but not fit and it's possible to be fit in an unhealthy way. And no picture shows whether or not you have a healthy attitude towards food or a healthy balance in other areas of your life. ALL of those factors are equally as important (if not more so) than how you look in your undies.

As a fat girl, I'm about to share a secret with you. Fat people? We KNOW we are fat. Most of us, no matter how jolly or how overweight/obese are well aware that as fat people, we are considered 'less than'. And I'm willing to be that most of us Fatty McFattersons are way harder on ourselves than the public would think. So how about lifting us up, fellow humans? How about not giving us yet another reason to make the damn excuse you are so willing to berate us for. How about a little love?!?!

::Deep cleansing breath::

Number two:

Last night after Zumba, my friend Megan and I decided to go have a drink. It turns out that some other people from class had the same idea. The first one of those ladies that arrived at the restaurant invited Megan and me to join them. Since I've never experienced anything but kindness from my Zumba peeps, I was thrilled at the invite (the more the merrier) and we accepted.

And then the rest of them arrived. Two of the girls seemed...put our joining their little party. Had either Megan or I thought for one second that we would have been intruding in any way, we would have politely declined and been just fine hanging out by ourselves.

But by the time we all got settled at the table and the body language came across, we had changed tables three times (not my preference, but majority rules) so we stayed put. I was sitting on the same side of the table as the two that were less than thrilled at our presence and directly across from Megan. I was totally fine with just ignoring the situation. The girl beside me had angled herself so that her back was to me anyway. I was totally fine with the live and let live thing.

But after about half an hour, Megan leans over and says something so incredibly nice to the girl beside me that all the tension just melted and at least Megan was forgiven for the intrusion. Possibly me too. And at the time (and I also told Megan this later), all I could think was this - how hard would it have been to do the same thing? What would it have cost me to at least try and break the ice? (The answer to that? Not a thing!) But I was totally fine with sitting there and pretending the girl beside me didn't exist since she was doing the same thing to me. Shame on me!

Number three:

I can't really tell the third story because it isn't mine to tell. What I CAN say is this: the whole mean girl thing doesn't end when you get out of middle school, high school, or even college. That is such a shame. So for third third woman that I admire, I hope you read this and figure out that I'm talking about you. And that some of the decisions you made in the last week have not been easy, but they have been really brave. And I am so honored to know you.

But how do these tie together?  First, they all made me do some serious thinking about the kind of person I want to be and whether or not I'm on the right path.  Second: Words matter. Actions matter. It's not okay to be unkind. Ever.  Third, bravery is speaking up. Whether to agree or disagree, defend yourself or explain yourself, or just to say something kind. But speaking up can be done well and respectfully - just like the three people referenced in my blog post did. Bravery is also doing the right thing.  I need to do better in all three areas. And fourth, how lucky  and blessed am I to know some freakin' awesome people?!?

Who are you thankful to know?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wardrobe Resistance

For those of you who are fans of my Daily Dose of Dahl Facebook page, you guys will likely know what I'm about to blog about.

For those of you that aren't, please become a fan. I'm only 9 away from 100 fans. There's a link on ------> this side of my blog page that makes it easy.

And while I'm asking for favors, how about voting for me on Top Mommy Blogs? There's a button for that over this way ------> too. Please and thank you. :)

Back to our regularly scheduled programming....

Sara has missed the bus three times in the last two weeks. Granted, she slept later than usual, but the real reason she missed the bus is because of severe differences of opinion over her wardrobe.

You are probably thinking she wants to wear outfit A and I don't approve. I wish it were that simple! No, nothing with Sara is ever really simple.

Girlfriend has a severe case of wardrobe resistance. What's wardrobe resistance? Well, in this house it's resistance to putting on any piece of clothing she owns without a fight. And by fight, I mean throwing a fit. Matching doesn't seem to matter (she's only five, after all), it's just that she's a grade A control freak. Not gonna lie, she comes by that personality trait honestly.

I've tried letting her pick out her clothes the night before. I've given her creative leeway in that as long as it's clean and fits properly and there's no chance of ruining someones eyesight, she has pattern and color carte blanche.

That little experiment works beautifully until she wakes up the next morning and then suddenly, her choices are no longer acceptable.

I wish that I could translate the sounds she makes during this process phonetically  but there's no way. She sounds like a cross between a rabid dog, a wolf, a very hungry grizzly bear, and a very frustrated teenager. Lots of grunting and growling and exclamations like 'arrrrgggghhhhhhhh. THIS. IS. NOT. WORKING!!!!!!!!!'

And yes, if you were wondering, it can be very difficult not to laugh. But if I do and she sees it or hears it, it spikes her to another entire level of anger and frustration. And that, my friends, is seriously no bueno.

By the end of the....event....there are clothes thrown all over, tears have been shed, and she has mentioned her lack of acceptable clothing choices about 30 times. (She has LOTS of clothes. Cute ones.)

I am, predictably  unmoved by any of this. It never helps the situation. Sara then turns that into self verified proof about how I don't really love her.

Last week she tried to wear hot pink footless tights as pants.

Not even.

So then she put light purple knit pants over said hot pink footless tights and combined it with a greyish purple animal print top. The temperature that day was supposed to be 65.  Her jacket is a beautiful dark purple, so I'm hoping she left it on for most of the day, because girlfriend was a hot mess in that outfit. I should also mention that she pulled her tights up realllllllly high and the waist of her pants was not pulled up reallllllly high, so you could see the hot pink tights when she raised her arms or sat down or you know, stood still.

I do not understand.

This morning, I picked out a pair of knit pants in medium bright pink that we recently bought at Target. Cuuuuuute! They are tapered and rouched a little around the ankle so that if they are a little long, your child doesn't end up walking all over the edges of the pants. On the back are these cute little bows. Sara loved them in the store and begged and begged for them. This morning, predictably, she didn't want to wear them. At first it was because they were too hard to get on and fit too tight around her legs. Spoken by the girl who will wear winter tights in the middle of summer, so please! Then she refused to wear them because the bow was in the back and she decided bow should be on the front. My solution to this was for her to wear the pants backwards then. Problem solved!

And yet, no. That was not acceptable. So I had to try not to laugh as she stomped around her room fussing and grunting and trying to kick the pants off of the one leg they had managed to be put on. No lie, it was hysterical. She finally figured out to sit down and pull the pants off (YAY, my kid is all smart and stuff) and then ended up shoehorning her way into a pair of jeans from last year. I fear her first attempt at going potty at school will end up with me having to run another pair of pants up there because she couldn't get them unbuttoned and unzipped fast enough. I hope that's not the case, but I'm pretty sure it will be. In that event, I've already packed a change of clothes for her and put them in the car.

Guess which pants I chose? 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Feeling like a Rock Star

I admit, back in the day, I could be a little dramatic.

Oh hush! The truth is setting me free. If you are cackling like that, how are you ever going to be able to pay attention to what I'm about to say?

But I have nothing on Sara. Not even on my most dramatic day did I ever come close to her status quo.

Most of the time, Sara's dramatics make me roll my eyes and briefly wish I could Forrest Gump (or should I say Jen-nay) it and be made into a bird so I "could fly; fly far, far away!"

But today, I was putting up a bulletin board in the school cafeteria and our bulletin board assembling ran over into lunch time. Tucker is in the early group and from him I got a wave and a cheerful 'Hi MOM!'.

But oh-ho! When Sara looked up and saw me? Her whole little face lit up and she's all "That's my mom! That's MY mom! Look, look, that's my mom!!" And a friend of hers got just as excited and started shouting, "That's Ms. Brooke! HI MS. BROOKE!!!! I know her! I know her!" Then all sorts of kids started waving and saying hi.

It made me feel like a rock star, which was pretty awesome because I'd been up on an 8 foot ladder stapling things at odd angles. The combination of stark terror (I'm not a heights person), about 200 little eyes watching my every move, the warmer temps at the top of the room, and the fact that I was trying to hurry and finish the bulletin board and get out of the way combined to make me a sweaty mess today. Not. Pretty.

But Sara was glad to see me anyway. You'd think from her reaction that someone famous was in the cafeteria trying not to staple their sweatshirt sleeve to the bulletin board. It gave me the warm fuzzies - which will inevitably come in handy when Sara comes home from school and has a meltdown when I tell her no, she can't have a bunch of junk for a snack.

It was nice while it lasted, though!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cauliflower Pizza


Yes, yes. I made this over a week ago and I'm just now posting it. I also have a Wordpress blog that I'm trying to get going (and sucking at it in case you were wondering) but I am having technical difficulties because I keep changing the password and then forgetting it. Frustrating. Also frustrating? It's not nearly as easy to upload a bunch of pictures and then tell a story like I'm about to do here. So while this is an entry meant to be on my health and fitness blog, it's on this one instead. Because sometimes that's just how things work out.

SO. Cauliflower pizza. It's yummy stuff. I was not a believer either until I tried it. So far I've made it 3 times and the third time was BY FAR the best effort. For my next attempt I'm going to put the crust in a skillet to get it evenly browned first instead of double baking it. I think that fake frying it will help it hold together better.

Here's how this batch of magic happened.

I cut up a head of cauliflower and steamed it in a microwave safe bowl (because the entire point of eating healthier is to not put unwanted things into your body and that includes substances from non-microwave safe dishes).

cauliflower - steamed, seasoned, mashed

After steaming the cauliflower, I mashed it up, seasoned it with pepper, garlic, and italian seasoning. I then added flaxseed meal that I'd mixed with water and allowed to set up.

flaxseed meal mixed with water
I flattened the cauliflower into five separate crusts, sprinkled them with low fat grated parmesan, and baked them at 375 for about 15 minutes, until the edges were brown.

ready to bake!
Pre baked and ready to top!
I had a can of low sodium petite diced garlic and onion tomatoes, so I drained and rinsed them, and then pureed them with my hand blender.

I spread the pureed tomatoes out on the crusts (which actually seemed to make them soggy - hence the idea about pan frying them next time), then topped it with diced onion, green pepper, mushrooms, sliced roma tomatoes, and low fat Sargento Mexican cheese blend.

I popped them back in the oven at 375 for about 15 more minutes until the veggies were cooked and the cheese was bubbly.

Now you KNOW you want to try this...
Taste wise? Out of this world! Structure wise? Better bring a fork and a napkin or six. I took some to my Zumba instructor and two of the ladies in class that wanted to try it. Two of them told me they loved it, and I never heard either way from the third. But I loved it. It passed the husband test too, even though he didn't like that the crust was kind of soggy and fell apart when he tried to pick it up as one piece. So pickly, that one!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Who Needs Viagra?


I haven't been posting much. I've been busy but who hasn't/isn't?

But here's the thing. When someone comments on my blog, I get an email. I've never gotten a bunch of comments, which is a shame, because I love me some comments. However, all the sudden I'm getting at least three or four comments on several different posts.  And the comments? They are all about getting Viagra or some other such ought-to-be-by-prescription only pills.

As if.

So if you want some probably fake Viagra or some Ritalin or Oxycontin or some such nonsense, let me know and I'll forward you the info from my spam folder. I'll do this from my newly purchased tropical island or rural country estate with the proceeds from a lovely Nigerian prince's inheritance that he'll be wiring to me shortly. Or that lottery I won even though I never entered one. ::snort::

Monday, August 13, 2012

Who's ready for school to start? ME!

Admittedly it's been a short summer. We spent most of it away from home and I don't know about the kids, but I am ready to be home for a while. The kids will be back in school in less than two weeks. Both kids. Full time. Every day.

I hate to go all Jersey Shore on you guys, but - ::fist pump::

I am ready.

I think the kids are more ready than I am.

Last week at registration, Tucker was surrounded by kids he knew from school who were as happy to see him as he was to see them. Next year, I bet that will be both Sara and Tucker.

These kids of mine continue to amaze me. I can't wait to see how the year unfolds. And to take a nap in the afternoon if I want to. It's a win-win.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

P90X and I

In January, I started P90X. For the first five or six weeks, I was unstoppable. Then the kids and I took turns getting sick and for the next 7 weeks, I did the best I could but I missed some workouts.

Through it all, I kept going to Zumba as often as possible. After the first 90 days were up, I attempted to 'maintain' by throwing in the P90X weight routines a couple times a week.

But here's the thing. The reason it's a 90 day program is because all the workouts work together and by picking and choosing what workouts to do, I really wasn't doing myself any favors. Sure, it was better than not working out at all - but the results when you follow the program are way more dramatic than if you half-ass it.

Then again, that's true of most things, isn't it?

So on Monday, Robert and I started P90X together. He wants to build his upper body strength, I want to meet my weight loss goal. 70 more pounds. I figure it will take 2 to 3 rounds for me. Robert will likely be where he wants to be halfway through the program. Sigh.

I'm also throwing Zumba in 3 to 5 times a week. Mostly because Zumba to me is just sheer joy. The workout is a bonus.

Last night, I came home from Zumba soaking wet with sweat, cleaned up and climbed into bed to read.When Robert came bed and I had to move over (I'm a bed hog and had draped myself across the bed diagonally) I am not exaggerating when I say that every muscle in my body hurt or was stiff.


Shouldn't I get prior credit or something for having done P90X?

To my great surprise, this morning I was fine when I woke up. I'm still a little sore and a little stiff in places, but at least I'm not considering rolling myself down the stairs instead of walking down them. And compared to last night? That's some serious progress.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wicked Wednesday

Welcome to Wicked Wednesday.
I'm trying something new! On wicked Wednesday, I'm allowing myself to put out there things I wanted to say in the last week but didn't because (in all honesty) they were too mean or judgemental. If I can still remember them days later, I figure they need an outlet. 

I am not too sure if that's good or bad. I try really hard to be positive and nice. I don't always succeed, but I try.

Today I have three*:                                          

1. Regarding right of ways: Drive right, or get outta my way. GAH! Drive, fool, drive!

2. There's such a thing as oversharing. Yes, that includes pictures. For the love of god, please stop. Like, RIGHT now.

3. I appreciate that you are retired.  But last I heard, the entire universe wasn't presented to a single person as a retirement gift, so please understand that some of the rest of us peons have stuff we have to get done today.

* Disclaimer: none of these about about anyone I know - just people I've run into in the last week that made me roll my eyes.

WHEW! I feel better!

Add your wicked Wednesday-isms in the comments!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Emotional Vampires

I was at the base library today and ready to check out when I saw a book titled, Emotional Vampires. Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry.

Ohmanohmanohman! There was NO WAY I was going to walk out without checking that book out.

I've only partially glanced through it so far, but oh my goodness! I know some peeps that should have their pictures beside some of these descriptions.

Can't wait to learn how to 'stake 'em' out of my life.

Stay tuned!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A puzzling situation

**This should have been posted June 26. Oooooops.**

We made it to Florida safe and sound.

Of course, now there's a tropical storm circling around the Gulf of Mexico. Debby does Florida. HAHAHAHAHAHAAA. Ahem. Sorry.

The condo that Robert's been in has a screened in porch, which has flooded with the incessant rain, and as we found out today is causing a leak in our neighbors' living room. Ever tried taping up a huge plastic sheet in gusting winds and rain?

Not terribly effective.
So every few hours, Robert or I go out onto the porch and sweep as much of the water off as we can. Pointless? Probably. But I'd want someone to give me the same consideration if the situation was reversed.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Debby stays low key and goes away soon. In anticipation of being shut-ins for the next few days, we bought a board game and a 1,000 piece puzzle. The game has been a blast, but I think we got a little ambitious with the puzzle. It's been two days and the border isn't completely assembled yet.

Of course, the kids lost interest about 30 minutes in, while I have to restrain myself from spending hours sitting there and visually scrutinizing the 30 pieces that look like they should go together, but don't - no matter which way I try them.

I've decided it's a metaphor for my life. I'll spend the most time and have the most patience with the most difficult and complicated things, but have no patience for the things I can accomplish in no time with little to no aggravation.

Please, please tell me this doesn't make me high maintenance. Or a lunatic.

Could shorter be better?

It. Is. Good. To. Be. Home. Especially with my husband in tow.

The last deployment we went  through was rough. Most of that was because of my insecurities that I couldn't handle life and kids and all the adventures therein while in a foreign country with minimal support. 

This time I was mentally prepared because I was in America (holla for my home country), I had a fantastic support system in place, the kids had school during the week, and I had a much healthier outlook overall. Plus, we stayed really, really busy. Probably a little too busy. But it worked for us.

So, now that life is back to the way I like it, I've been thinking about my blog and what to do with it. I am, if you haven't noticed, a little wordy. So I wonder if having shorter blog entries would make me more likely to blog more often.

Only one way to find out, right?

So starting today, for the next month I'm going to pledge to post at least one sentence a day - every day - on my blog.

Hey wait - how cool would it be if I told a story over a month one paragraph a day?

Yeah, probably not the best idea.

But at least I'm done for today. Heh.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


One week and six days ago, the kids and I arrived in Florida. Robert is set up in a pretty sweet apartment here, and much to my surprise, the kids have shared a room here with no bloodshed and no property destruction. And no, we aren't drugging them. Or bribing them.

Color me stunned.

So what have we been up to?

Our first day here we took them to the beach. Sad to say, I expected them to hate it. But because I am often wrong in my parenting assumptions, I brought their suits just in case. And guess what? I was wrong. They LOVED the beach. We had to drag them away that first day. But being that we were in Florida, I figured we'd be at the beach at least every other day, so no big deal.

Yeah. Hello tropical storm Debby. And massive rain and flooding.

So we took the kids to see Brave. I swear those two only want to see movies for the chance of popcorn. 

Last Monday we headed to the Museum of Science and Industry. I thought we'd spend a couple of hours there, but we were there almost all day. It was beyond awesome, and by far my favorite thing we've done here. I could have spent two days there with ease.

Last Tuesday, the kids and I took a quick trip to Florida's eastern coast to visit with Chris and meet his parents and siblings. Hello again, tropical storm Debby. Thanks for raining on our entire vacation thus far.

Last weekend we headed to Legoland. It was really, really hot. Thank goodness we got the combo tickets so that when the heat became too much to tolerate we changed into our swimsuits and headed to the water park.

Today the water was going to be shut off in the complex from 9 until 1, so the kids and I headed to the aquarium. I was expecting us to spend three or four hours there, but we were completely done in an hour and a half. So we walked down the street to the movie theater and caught the new Spiderman movie. Tucker and I were enthralled and Sara was there for popcorn.

It's good to know some things never change.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cumbia is the devil

Last summer when I was in North Carolina, my cousin Debbie told me about the gym where she got her Zumba on. They have at least two Zumba classes a day, sometimes more. It's awesome. The instructors rotate, so there's always a different feel to each class.

I was a little late to class today because I couldn't find my car keys and I had to fill out some paperwork. I walked in on a Cumbia song.

Cumbia is my least favorite Zumba step because the I cannot make the rhythm work for me. No matter what, I'm always either ahead or behind a beat or two. Frustrating.

So I freely admit, I was pleased that I had missed some of the cumbia.

And then there was another one.
Trust me, there's more to it than this.

And another one.

And another one.

And another one.

I started to giggle in the middle of the third one because come on! How many cumbia songs could there be in a Zumba class.

Five. Five Cumbias.

I've never been happier to hear a salsa.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Playing Well With Others

I've been tagged by the awesomesauce Tatted Mom over at Inklings for Life. This is my first ever tag in such a thing, and I'm not the least bit ashamed to admit that I'm all giddy and giggly over it.

So here is the dealio: I offer up 11 facts about myself, answer 11 questions posed by Tatted Mom, tag 11 other bloggers, and then create 11 questions for them to answer. And then they get tagged too.


Let's begin, shall we?


1. When I put dishes in my dishwasher, I have to place them organized by size and sort the silverware by utensil. It doesn't bother me if other people don't do this - even in the same load. Weird.

2. I love to color. I prefer colored pencils over anything else, but I'll use whatever is there. Too bad I have no artistic skill. :(

3. I am a fiercely loyal friend. But once (and this takes a LOT of doing) you do something that crosses my invisible but damages-it-beyond-repair friendship line, you may as well be dead to me.

4. I often have an frowny look on my face. I'm not upset - AT ALL - it usually means I'm thinking really hard about something. It never fails to surprise me when people ask me what's wrong when I'm doing this. Probably because I'm not aware of it until someone points it out. I feel badly for all the small children I've scared doing this. Although, my kids totally ignore it.

5. Sometimes I think I was more of a grownup at 21 than I am at 41.

6. I over volunteer myself at the beginning of every school year. It never seems like that much until I need to be in six places at once on May 2.

7. I love to read. LOVE it! Doesn't matter what, just make it interesting.

8. I am hopeless with my phone. I don't know if it's just my phone or if it's me, but I cannot get pictures to upload on Facebook or Twitter, nor can I email them successfully. It's got to be me. Got to be.

9. I have serious doubts about my parenting skills most days.

10. I used to want to own a bakery, but decided it wasn't for me when I realized the hours involved. I'll just stick to bake sales and stuff, thankyouverymuch.

11. My head is so full of useless trivia that I don't have any more room for the important stuff - like doctor's appointments and the kids' social security numbers. Wait, what?

Tatted Mom's Questions:

1. What motivates you to write?  Hmm. I love to tell stories, which I think is probably the main reason. Also, now I tend to forget things pretty quickly (see #11 above) so a lot of the stuff I write is so I won't forget it. I also write as a form of therapy (shhhhhhhhhh! Don't tell anyone!)

2. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate? Almost always dark chocolate. Living so close to Belgium ruined me for milk chocolate. And white chocolate? Puh-lease.

3. What's the one thing when you were growing up you swore you'd never do, but now that you are older, you find yourself doing all the time?  Oh man. I hate to put this down - but I'm constantly on the kids about the never ending messes. It befuddles me why a seven and a five year old will spill a glass of whatever and then think it's okay not only to NOT clean it up but to walk through it and track it all over the house. Let's just say I have developed a whole new appreciation for my Mom. I mean, I get that accidents happen, but PICK UP YO' SHIT!

4. Uniforms. Hot or not? Depends. My husband in any sort of uniform? HOT HOT HOT. UPS uniforms? Not so hot. Baseball and football uniforms? Meh. I have a preference for sure for men in military uniforms - all crisp and starched and stuff. YUMMY.

5. What's the one thing you would do if you were President? Outlaw politicians. Our leaders should be effective leaders, not effective bullshitters. If we combine all the money that politicians have raised to get elected, we could freaking pay off the national debt in no time.

6. Sushi. Yes or no? No thank you. I've tried it, it's just not my thing.

7. What celebrity do you have a major crush on (keeping in mind Ryan Gosling is taken)? I don't know if he would be considered a celebrity, but I have a huge crush on Henry Rollins. His spoken word is awesome. Profanity heavy, but awesome.

8. Which current fashion trend do you wish would die? This one is easy. Dressing little girls like prostitutes - why is everything so tight and short? And the whole Toddlers and Tiara's thing mystifies me. Why? WHY?

9. What's a nickname you've been given? Lots of people call me Brookie, but a friend of mine from high school calls me Babbles. Like, to this day. I have NO IDEA why. LOL!

10. If you crash landed on an island, what items in your purse would help you survive? Sadly, probably none. I rarely carry a purse and instead carry a small wallet with me, which is ironic since I'm a chronic over-packer. If I could salvage my suitcase, I'd be golden. But with just my wallet - unless the island takes debit or credit cards, I'm out of luck.

11. Would you ride a broomstick to get around instead of drive a car, if the option were made possible by modern technology?  Um, YES! YES YES YES YES YES!! I would Harry Potter it up!

Those who shall be tagged:

1. Tatted Mom, but she's already done this, OBVIOUSLY.

2. Jessica at the Spit Up Chronicles

3. Dawyn at Living with IBC

4. Heather at Expect This

5. MB at EmBee's Place

6. Diane at Be Still a Minute

7. Lollygag Blog

8. Samantha at The LeMay Bakery

9. Shannon at Golladay Fit

10. Katherine at Katherine's Corner

11. Gingerbreadmama at The Adventures of Captain Fussypants and Little Miss

Inquiring minds want to know:

1. Iced tea or hot tea?

2. What is your least favorite household chore?

3. What is your fondest childhood memory?

4. What is the best book you've read lately and why did you like it?

5. Do you believe in fate?

6. What made you decide to start blogging?

7. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

8. What is the one thing you could eat every day for the rest of your life and never get tired of it?

9. To be or not to be?

10. What is your favorite hobby - other than blogging, natch.

11.  Truth or dare?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sucking it up

Things have changed here in the Dahl household.

And by changed, I really mean that I have decided that I am, in fact, the boss of the house and that being super nice and acting as the peacemaker is getting me nowhere.

I know, I know, these seem like good things in theory. I thought so too. But it has come to my attention that my kids tend to treat me like a doormat lately and seeing as how I don't care to be trod upon, it was time to do something about it.
photo from

The kids, predictably, have been somewhat resistant to my demanded changes.


I, predictably, have been fighting the urge to shout lectures at them. You know, the whole 'you don't know how lucky you have it/when I was your age/my house, my rules' sort of baloney that they don't listen to anyway.

I keep telling the kids that words are nice to hear, but actions speak way louder and way more convincingly.

The best way to demonstrate that is to lead by example, right?


Yeah. It's harder than I thought. 

And my kids are, for the most part, really awesome kids. But we are having a lot of issues with disrespect lately. If it's bad now, I can only imagine what it will be like in five more years. So! It's time to nip that right in the bud.  And also thank God that I didn't have kids with my ex-husband, but that's another story entirely.

My kids are used to me saying things are going to change and then slowly slipping back into parental slackness where I let stuff slide (and build up) until I explode and repeat the process. That's not how I want to parent. So this time I've been sticking to my guns.

It has not been pleasant. Predictably, when they figured out that I wasn't kidding and that I wasn't backing down, things got way worse instead of way better. But I also realize that once there is an established foundation of acceptable and unacceptable behavior, that things will be easier for everyone involved. Right? RIGHT?!?

Tucker told me last night that he didn't like me because I am so mean now.

I'm okay with that. I figure it's actually  healthy that he doesn't like that things have gotten more strict around here. Not to mention he is 'using his words'! Which, really, doesn't that sound completely patronizing? Of course he uses his words. That's how he speaks. Duh!

Let's face it, there have been days when I haven't liked him all that much either and I clearly remember not liking my parents back in the day when things didn't go my way. Yet, everyone survived.

Yeah. Right. (photo from

And also - life isn't fair, kid.

To my great surprise, Sara has been the one to adapt the quickest. She and I? We are doing much better than a few months ago. Who would have thought it? (not me, that's for sure!)

Thankful Tuesday

I've been grumpy lately. It's much easier for me to focus on negative things than positive ones, and that's something I work really hard at to change about myself.  So I'm bringing back Thankful Tuesday as a reminder to myself to look at the bright side too.

Last week, a friend of mine asked me to take some pictures of her kids. I was really flattered, because I would LOVE to get more into photography. I don't feel like I'm quite ready to try and make money at it...yet. I need some more technical knowledge, and to take a class in Photoshop or some other similar photo editing software, and of course lots more practice.

I didn't even have to pay them to sit like this!

Oh my goodness, I love this kid! Look at that sweet face...

Boo-boos happen :(

I don't know why I love this one so much, but I do.
But I got some great shots of my kids too, and wanted to share.

I also wanted to say how thankful I am for my children, for good friends, for sunny days, and parks. Other than Zumba, there's no better therapy.