Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Okay, I'm asking my readers - all 4 of you - am I being nitpicky? Son #2, age 9, had his best friend spend the night last night. Best friend is basically a good kid. Decent grades, I'm very fond of his family, etc. It's just that this kid annoys the daylights out of me. Little things. Like when he kicks back in front of the TV and props his feet up on the TV armoire. Or he decides to sit on the coffee table. Or when he decides to snoop in the fridge. I know I should be glad that he feels so comfortable in our home, but really, I don't think this is a testament to my hostessing skills. I'd also have no problem if I told him, hey, if there's anything you want, just help yourself. Truth is, I haven't warmed up to him that much. Case in point - a while back we treated him and Son #1's best friend to dinner at a local Italian restaurant. All was fine until this kid remembered there was a Baskin Robbins Ice Cream place next door and ASKED if we could get ice cream. (Because the $60 dinner didn't hit the spot?!)

If I ever pulled something like that when I was a guest of another family, and my mother found out, I'd end up smacked in the back of the head (and rightfully so - in my opinion - thanks, Mom).

It's hard for me to point out this kid's transgressions to Son #2 without sounding like I'm criticizing his best friend. And I know there are worse faults than being spoiled. But still, I can't help myself. I give Son #2 "The Look" and whisper to him, ever so discreetly, "You don't pull that crap at his house, do you????"

So tell me honestly. Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Am I too old fashioned? I am, after all, (gasp!) over 40. Have the standards changed? Oy Vey!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Twas the Day After Christmas, and All Through the House...

CHAOS reigns!!!!!

Actually, it's not that bad (any more). I did manage to get the unwrapped gifts into the recipients' respective rooms. Many, however, are still in their boxes and stacked on the floor. But at least I managed to get them all out of the living room.

Santa Claus - and Grammy Claus (my mom) - were very good to the boys this year. Among their haul this year: a Star Wars light saber that lights up and makes sounds (Son #3), a large teddy bear (Son #3), a Star Wars light saber that plugs in to the TV so you can battle on-screen opponents (Son #2), various Nintendo DS and Game Cube games, stuffed pink pigs (Son #2), a Lego dragon kit (Son #1), a build-your-own robot (Son #1), two stuffed lambs (Son #3), Bionicles (for all 3), a mini roboreptile and a mini robosapien (both for Son #3), Barnes & Noble gift cards (Sons #1&2), pajamas (for all 3), two DVDs (Chicken Little and Over the Hedge), a bracelet with a small lucite square containing a real beetle (Son #1 loves it), and a Chinese dragon statue (Son #1 again). The list goes on and one.

Dear Hubby received three Star Wars DVDs, some dress shirts and a sweater from my mom. I gave him a bottle of Polo Double Black cologne. This is in addition to the two early Christmas gifts he received within the past couple of month (a set of Litury of the Hours, plus a backpack, sleeping bag and combo). My gifts included a small but really cute leather handbag, an iPod Shuffle (both from Dear Hubby), as well as three sweaters, two casual tops and two pins from my mother. I also received a Lowe's gift card from my brother-in-law. His family draws names for Christmas and he picked mine.

Now we all know that getting gifts is not the true meaning of Christmas. My kids are very tolerant of my near constant reminders of this fact. But once Christmas morning comes, let's just say the message gets a little lost in the mix. It's hard not to be seduced but pretty wrapping paper and bows.

I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas and may the true spirit of Christmas remain long after the mess is cleaned up and the decorations put away.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Deck The Halls...

Above is the finished product. The tree is an artificial 9.5 foot pre-lit (thank goodness!) slim pine. I think its scale suits the room, which is pretty small, but with 11 foot ceilings. The photo was taken at an odd angle - it's hard to tell, but ours is a corner fireplace. We painted that wall red as an accent. The white portion above the red is actually where the ceiling slopes downward. Obviously it looks better when you can see it in 3-dimensions.

Do you see the little village on the floor to the right of the tree? Son #1 and I had fun putting that together, although I have to watch it. Son #1 has an offbeat sense of humor and will sometimes make small "modifications". For example, there's a small fox that he propped up so it looked like it was peeing on the tiny fire hydrant.

I didn't set up my Nativity this year (I'm down to only one Wise Man anyway), but I did put the Holy Family under our tree. My advent wreath has a smaller Nativity included - that's on a table that's not visible in the photo.

You can't see it in the above photo, but there are small plush toys tucked in the tree. They are collection of Rudolph characters. My mother bought them for me at CVS Drugs a few years ago. I have the entire set: Rudolph, Sam the Snowman, Coach Reindeer, Hermie, Yukon Cornelius, Clarice, Abominable Snow Monster, Tall Skinny Elf, Grumpy Head Elf, Santa, King Moonracer (lion) and of course all of the misfit toys: train with square wheels, jelly gun, cowboy riding the ostrich, spotted elephant, Charlie in the box, plane that doesn't fly, and the doll (why is she a misfit anyway - she seemed perfectly fine to me). I'm probably omitting a couple.

Now, back to the tree. Here are a few more of our ornaments:

The ornaments above are Son #3's baby ornaments. Each of my kids has a set but for some reason Sons #1&2 opted not to put theirs on the tree this year.

Friday, December 15, 2006

More Christmas Spirit

Here are some more photos of our ornament collection. Below are some lovely glass bird ornaments. Son #1 has a fascination with peacock feathers so that ornament is his. I liked it so much that my mother sent one to me as well, but it's not visible in the photo. The little gold bird with the purple feather tail is Son #3's from last year. The ornament in the bottom left corner of the photo is a bird in a nest.

The below photo isn't great, but it's of three glass pink pig ornaments. The ones on the right and left belong to Son #2 (aside from Betty Boop, he loves pink pigs). The one in the center has wings. That one is mine, since I have a thing for flying pigs. As you can probably guess, this is pretty much the only pink we have in our house.

These are the Hallmark photo ornaments from a couple of years ago. Although you cannot see the photographs well, the one of the left is of Son #3 when he was 2. The one in the center is Son #2's First Communion photo. The one of the right is of all three of my sons. All the photos were take taken two years ago.

Tomorrow I'll post more pix, including a full length view of the tree (requested via email by a non-blogging reader/friend of mine).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Getting Into the Christmas Spirit

I'm borrowing an idea from Lala (you can visit her blog by clicking on the title: Insight to Lala's World). I'm posting some photos of the special ornaments that adorn our artificial 9.5 foot slim Christmas tree.

My ornaments are clustered by 'theme' on the tree. Over all, it's a hodge-podge of collections. We try to buy one special ornament each year for the boys that commemorate their activities, interests, etc. Unfortunately, my mother and I can't seem to stick to the one ornament "rule". :-)

The ornaments above are part of our collection of White House ornaments. My mother has been sending them each year for about six years now.

It's hard to see the top ornament in the above photo. It's Dear Hubby's policeman bell ornament. He was a police officer from 1992-1999 - a job he loved. The other ornament is mine. No, I'm not a convict. Some of you might recognize it as the Hamburglar from McDonald's. I worked as a secretary in their regional office a few years back.

One year I had the opportunity to don the Hamburglar suit (the fiberglass head stunk!) and accompany Ronald McDonald himself on a tour. We visited one of the local McDonald's restaurants, before visiting the local Ronald McDonald House (it's where the families of sick children can stay while their ill loved one is receiving medical treatment at a local hospital). Afterward, we visited the kids at Children's Hospital. Something as simple as two idiots in costume brought a lot of smiles to kids and adults alike. Despite the heat (it was 85 degrees that day) and the smell, it really was a fun day. It was also a nice McMemory.

The ornaments above belong to Son #2. When he was very young - 2 or so - he developed a 'crush' on Betty Boop, or "Miss Boop" as he called her (he's quite the gentleman). My mother-in-law had a little Betty Boop doll that Son #2 would carry around when he visited her house. His uncles were mortified. Their nephew with a doll - the horror!!! Betty Boop mysteriously vanished, never to be seen again. Gee, I wonder who was behind that? (you can't hear the sarcasm in my voice, but it's there) My mother got even by sending Son #2 another Betty Boop - ahem - action figure, which he still has. He drinks his cocoa from a Boop mug, and yes, has a few Boop ornaments.

I'll post more pix soon!

Monday, December 11, 2006

And Yet I Caved.

Yes, I'm overprotective, but I ended up giving in (see previous post). I had a couple of nice, rather lengthy phone conversations with Birthday Boy's mom and her family's values seem similar to ours.

She only allowed Birthday Boy to invite a few friends to the sleepover and he ended up with a pretty small turnout. Of the 3 other kids that attended, Son #1 knew two pretty well, plus I know the parents of one of the other guests (who is also a neighbor of the Birthday Boy's family) so I did let that influence my decision a bit.

Son #1 ended up having a great time. (Whew!)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'm Over-protective

There. I said it. Son #1 (age 11.5) was invited to a classmate's sleepover/birthday party but I'm not sure how keen I am on allowing him to go. It starts Friday around 6-7 pm. The next morning there'll be cake, ice cream, gifts, followed by pizza and a movie. The invitation says we can pick my son up between 4 and 5 on Saturday afternoon.

Red flag #1: How insane must these parents be to host a houseful of boys (8 are invited) for almost twenty-one hours??? Okay, so I'm mostly kidding there.

The birthday boy and Son #1 have been in the same class at school for the past three years. Last year, they didn't get along so well, but Son #1 tolerated Birthday Boy's teasing because they share a mutual friend (Son #1's best friend ever). I recall last summer Son #1 hoping that Birthday Boy would not be in his class this year. We talked about ways that Son #1 could better stand up for himself without making Best Friend Ever choose who to hang with. We also talked about how Birthday Boy might mature over the summer.

Well, here we are halfway through the school year and Son #1 and Birthday Boy are getting along fine. Son #1 is happy to have been invited. He's rarely invited to parties unless it's for family or he's being invited as a courtesy because Son #2 (the more outgoing of my two older boys) has been invited and their social circles overlap. Actually Son #1 doesn't have much of a social circle. He has a few kids he spends time with at school, but at home, he prefers reading and building things to spending time with something as trivial as people.

Son #1 wants to attend the party. I spoke to Best Friend Ever's mom. Her son was invited but isn't too excited to be going. There are some "things" going on (red flag #2), but she really didn't elaborate. I think BFE might be tiring of Birthday Boy. She said if BFE wanted to go, she'd let him, but she's not pushing it, which I can respect.

Son #1 and I left it at this: he needs to ask Birthday Boy who else is attending. If Son #1 knows them pretty well, I'll consider it. My concern is if Son #1 doesn't know any of the other guests, how will he handle it if Birthday Boy reverts to his former pattern of teasing my kid?

Am I worrying too much? Am I not trusting Son #1's judgment enough? Son #1 has ADHD and a speech impediment. He's an eccentric child, but very small for his age. Sometimes (okay, often) I'm afraid this will make him an 'easy target'.

My latest thought is that perhaps I can come up with a conflict for Friday night, but call Birthday Boy's mom to see if it would be okay for Son #1 to join the festivities early Saturday. It would be different if I new Birthday Boy and his parents better. On the other hand, I share his excitement that he has another friend. I know I can't hold his hand forever, but I have a tough time knowing when to let him spread his wings. (And to be honest, I do sometimes underestimate Son #1.)

Decisions, decisions....

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The End of Life As We Know It?

Okay, I'm exaggerating, but we finally got cable TV. We had it when Dear Hubby and I lived in Virginia but when we moved back to our birth state in 1999, we didn't bother with it. No particular reason why. We were in an apartment, the kids were small (4, 2 and non-existent), we spend much of our free time at Dear Hubby's parents house. It just seemed...unnecessary.

When we moved into our house in 2001, we considered getting cable, but truth be told, we had gotten used to not having it. Plus we could always find something else on which to spend the 50 or so dollars a month. Then there was the whole having to wait at home for the cable installer to arrive. Why this would bother me, a stay-home mom, I don't know.

Our family doesn't spend that much time watching TV. When Son #3 (age 4) and I are home during the day, the TV is rarely on. I might let him watch an episode of Clifford the Big Red Dog or Dragon Tales on the small TV in my room when I'm taking a shower, but that's pretty much it, until Dear Hubby gets home. He seems to like having the TV on as 'background noise.' Personally, I think our household generates enough noise on its own so I only turn the TV on if there's something I want to watch. Without cable, the choices are pretty limited. Two really clear local stations (ABC and FOX) and a few more fuzzy (CBS, CW) or hit-or-miss stations (NBC, PBS).

The rabbit ears were letting us down, so I finally decided to call our local cable company, which interesting enough, does not have a local phone number. Go figure. Let's just say that getting cable was not as simple as one phone call. Below is a brief synopsis:

Oct. 23 - I placed my initial call to the toll-free number set up service. I'm told they'll have to do a "serviceability assessment" to see if they service my area. Whatever.

Oct. 31 - Sharona at the cable company (she's in Tacoma, WA) tells me that my 'ticket' is listed as "pending" which means they're still working on it.

Nov. 1 - After spending several minutes on hold, Randy (Minneapolis, I think) tells me that serviceability has been approved, but the details have not been entered into the system yet.

Nov. 6 - Lisa (don't know where she is) said I needed to talk with the repair dept. Before I could tell her that no, I don't, she transfers me to Ellen who says that Randy was incorrect and that this company does NOT serve my area. That's a crock and I tell her so. I explained that prior to Hurricane Katrina, the people across the street from me had cable with this company. (They switched to satellite because it took the cable company 3 months to restore service to our neighborhood.) Lisa transfers me to Ellen who suggests I visit my local cable office and gives me an address for one approximately 40 miles away. She said they didn't have a phone number on file for that office.

Nov. 8 - I speak with Kim in Kingsport, TN, who checks the log associated with my address and says that they do indeed service my area, and that apparently I need a piece of equipment installed - a "4 port, 10 tap". Since they don't have a phone number for my local cable office, she'll ask her supervisor, Lori, to email them. I'm told to call back in a few days. Do I need a direct phone number, extension, etc.? Nope, Kim says, just ask for the Kingsport Help Desk.

Nov. 16 - After not hearing back, I call speak to Isara to tells me that they do not service my area (what the ???). I ask if she can transfer me to the Kingsport Help Desk but she says she cannot without an extension number. At this point I hang up, and go door to door checking with my neighbors to see which ones have/had cable TV. There are only 11 houses on my street. The house across the street had cable, the house two doors to my right had cable, the house to my immediate left has cable. Armed with this new info, I call back.

Nov. 16 - I speak to Dante (Atlanta, I think) and tell him of my little neighborhood "survey." He pulls up my record and says that I had an "appointment" on November 9th. What??? No one told me of any appointment, nor did anyone call me (I provided my cell phone number so I could be reached no matter where I was). He says he'll 'reissue' the ticket.

Nov. 21
- I see a cable truck driving up my street. Resisting the urge to throw myself in front of it, I'm cautiously optimistic when it stops right in front of my house. The guy asks what kind of trouble am I having with my cable. Uh, getting it? He looks at my house, and the utility pole next door. Yep, they service my area (duh).

Nov. 30 - Kerry from the local office calls. The local office, by the way, is only 8 miles away,and yes, I have her local phone number stored in my cell phone now. We discuss the plan I want (Expanded basic, no premium channels). She extends the new customer discount for longer than what's generally advertised. She sets up the installation for the following day.

Dec. 1 - we finally come into the 20th Century (I say 20th, because I'm still on dialup internet).

So now, I'm wondering about the effect on our family dynamic. We're a family that usually watches TV together, or else Dear Hubby and I watch TV while the kids are off playing elsewhere in the house. I've kind of prided ourselves on being one of those families that does stuff, instead of spending hours in front of the tube. But now, there are more viewing options. Will the kids want to hang out glued to Cartoon Network like they do at their Paw Paw's house? Will Dear Hubby opt to watch the History Channel in the bedroom while I'm watching AMC in the living room? How much TV will we be watching? How much sleep will I lose now watching back to back episodes of 'Forensic Files' on A&E? Is this the end of civilization as I know it? ;-)

Monday, November 27, 2006


Thanksgiving was nice, as usual. The following morning around 8:00, Dear Hubby left with all three of my sons to go on a one-night camping trip. It's a tradition of sorts, since 1999. Dear Hubby and some friends of his from high school take their kids camping the day after Thanksgiving. Which left me ... alone.

For the first time since Son #3's birth four years and nine months ago, I was going to have a whole day and night to myself. Just me. (I've taken mini-vacations by myself to visit my mom, but that's hardly all alone, is it?) Ah, the possibilities!

I ended up doing what so many others do on the day after Thanksgiving. I went shopping. I left the house at 10 am and was finished by 1:30 (including a quiet little lunch - party of one). It's surprising what you can accomplish when shopping uninterrupted and with both hands. Usually my right hand is occupied - holding Son #3's hand, or dragging him by the collar out from under the racks of clothes, depending on his mood. No tug-of-war, no 100 questions. Yes sir, even as the 20th person in the checkout line at Bath & Body Works, I was still smiling!

In the afternoon, I cleaned the house and assembled our Christmas tree. I did not put a single ornament on, though. The kids wouldn't forgive me, if I had (we decorated on Sunday). I thought it would be nice to watch a movie uninterrupted for a change, but by dinnertime, I was getting a little tired of the quiet. Fortunately, my friend, Sandie, invited me over for dinner. She and her husband were cooking filet mignon. How could I say no? I spend a few hours at their house and was home by 9:30.

At this point, I should tell you that I'm not really comfortable being home alone at night (with or without the kids). I don't sleep well when Dear Hubby is away. So I did a quick check for the boogeyman (closets, under the beds, behind the shower curtains), put on my pjs, cranked up the Christmas music on the radio and read for a few hours. It was around 1 or 2 a.m. before I finally turned it for the night. Dear Hubby and the boys came home around noon on Saturday.

It's Monday evening now, the holiday week is over, and the kids are back to their usual antics and squabbling. Now I miss the peace and quiet (even if just a little). Just goes to show you: the grass is not always greener! OY!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Wishes!

It's 1:00 on Wednesday. Thanksgiving Eve, if you will. I've just finished cooking for tomorrow. As I mentioned in my previous post, my father-in-law will cook a turkey and ham and we "kids" bring side dishes and desserts.

My herbed bread stuffing game out very well. My cornbread stuffing - embellished with pear, walnuts and cranberries - is okay, but not as tasty as I hoped. Turns out the pears lost their flavor in the cooking process. Go figure. I'm not stressing about it, though, since I make it primarily for my brother-in-law who's allergic to poultry and therefore, cannot have my herbed bread stuffing which is made with chicken broth. He might be eating my cornbread stuffing just to be polite, for all I know.

My green bean casserole came out very well, if I do say so myself (it's pretty hard to screw that up).

Tonight we've been invited to a little get together at the church before the prayer service. Tomorrow morning there's a Mass at 9 am so I'll go to that too. After I get home, I'll start heating my stuff in the oven then bring it to my father-in-law's house (4 blocks away).

Lots to be thankful for this year (a partial list, in no particular order):
1) Family
2) Friends
3) Church
4) Health
5) an uneventful hurricane season

Hope you and yours have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thanksgiving Traditions

Since moving back to the state in which Dear Hubby and I were born and raised, and where his family still resides, we’ve settled into our regular Thanksgiving tradition. It’s generally accepted that we will all gather at my father-in-law’s house. We always did with the exception of two years: his Sister #2 hosted one year, his Sister #4 hosted another year. Her house is largest of all the family’s but hers has an older oven and smaller than ours.

Still the drill is the same: Father-in-law will cook a turkey AND a ham. (Dear Hubby’s Brother #2 is allergic to poultry.) He also makes a casserole of some kind and a meat dressing.

I never understood the concept of meat dressing, but whatever…My mother would always make herbed bread dressing (aka embellished Stovetop Stuffing). This is my contribution to the festivities. I have also branched out into cornbread dressing with cranberries and walnuts because of my brother-in-law’s poultry allergy (my regular Stovetop Stuffing contains chicken stock). I don’t eat it though – not a fan of cornbread.

I also make the traditional string bean casserole, complete with the Durkee’s fried onions on top. And I’ll buy an apple pie. I remember early on when Dear Hubby and were dating, I was initially mortified by his family’s Thanksgiving menu. Meat dressing? Pumpkin and mincemeat pies, but NO fruit pies? No black olives? (Okay, so that was a stretch. My mother used to set out a little dish of raw radishes and pitted black olives to snack on while the turkey was roasting, so I’ve come to associate black olives with Thanksgiving.)

My own personal tradition – after dishes have been loaded in the dishwasher and the football game’s on TV – I’ll write my Christmas cards.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'm at a loss for words today (rare, I know) so here's this from

You Are Blitzen

Always in good spirits, you're the reindeer who loves to party down with Santa.

Why You're Naughty: You're always blitzed on Christmas Eve, while flying!

Why You're Nice: You mix up a mean eggnog martini.

Monday, November 13, 2006

So What's Next?

I don't know what made me consider this, but here it goes:

My 20's - I partied my way through college, got engaged to be married, graduated from college, got married, began my pretty-much-nonexistent career, moved to the Washington DC area, bought a home, and started college (again). Not too shabby.

My 30's - I became a mom twice, finished my master's degree, sold my home in Virginia, moved back to Louisiana, bought another home, became a mom again, and quit amy going-nowhere career. All in all, a very good decade.

So what will my 40's hold? (For those who know me personally: Oh, hush!)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Little Rant

I like my house, but it's small. Five people and two dogs in less than 1200 feet. (It's also located two doors away from The Jerry Springer Show, but never mind that today.) The real estate prices jumped substantially after Hurricane Katrina, but prices seem to be leveling off. Dear Hubby and I have been pre-approved for a loan, but truthfully there's not a lot in our price range in our area. We did find one that we liked a lot, but despite the fact that it's only two blocks away, it's in a different flood zone than our current home, which makes insurance significantly higher.

This past week our insurance company, Allstate, has announced that effective later this month, they will not write wind/hail policies on any new homes purchased by Allstate customers. (If you aren't already an Allstate customer, they won't write any type of homeowners' policies in our state.) This is a change from the way it was when we started our search a couple of months ago. At that time, if you were an existing Allstate customer, you'd be able to get wind/hail coverage on a new home. However, now even if we DO find a house we like, the only way we'll be able to insure it against wind/hail is to go with a state-sponsored insurance plan (read: costs a whole lot of money for very limited coverage). So much for the house hunting, it seems.

So, it looks like we're staying put. That being the case, I've been trying to set up cable TV service for the past two weeks. We bought the house new five years ago and never bothered to sign up for cable. I called the cable company's toll-free number which connects me with a call center located in another state. One person I spoke with was in Spokane, another in Minneapolis, and so forth. They 'opened a ticket,' which is apparently the first step in establishing service.

After not hearing back from them for a few days (they were supposed to contact me within 24 hours), I call the toll-free number again. This time I'm told that the cable company doesn't service my area. Uh yeah, it does, I explain. My neighbor to the immediate right has cable TV. My neighbor across the street had cable until switching a year ago to satellite. The house three doors to the left of mine has cable TV. They tell me I'll have to go to my local office to see if they can straighten it out. The 'local' office is 35 miles away and the call center can't seem to find a local phone number for me to call. Neither can directory assistance, or

I told the alleged customer service rep that I find it hard to believe that there's this one little "pocket" on my one-block dead end street that is not serviceable - and I'm it. Today I spoke to yet another person - this one in Tennessee - and she contacted her manager to see if she can't email my local office for help. The manager is supposed to call me back by the end of the week. I'm not holding my breath. I'm starting to think satellite TV might be the way to go.

Of course I deal with stress by eating and there's this whole box of Halloween candy sitting on the kitchen counter. Not pretty.

End of rant.

On a positive note, the essay that Son #1 wrote for the school's PTA-sponsored contest was one of 8 from his school chosen to go on to the district level. Woo Hoo!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Halloween 2006

The white Clone Trooper is Son #1 (age 11), Darth Vader is Son #2 (age 9) and the one who bucked the Star Wars theme is Son #3 (age 4) - he is a Mystic Force Power Ranger. They had a nice time trick or treating in our neighborhood. Dear Hubby stayed at home to keep an eye on things (just a tad suspicious of the teen who lives a couple of houses down - if you've been following my blog, you'll understand why). We don't usually get many trick or treaters at our house since we live on a one-block, unlit, dead-end street. This year was no exception. The rest of the neighborhood, however, really gets into Halloween. I sorted the kids' candy, keeping the bubble gum and the pitifully few Almond Joys for myself (the boys don't like coconut).

Monday, October 30, 2006

Cub Scout Cuboree 2006

We returned yesterday from the Cub Scout District Campout. We camped overnight Friday, had a full day (really full) of actvities on Saturday, camped out Saturday night and returned home yesterday, which I affectionately dubbed "LaundryFest 2006". Woo Hoo!

The weather was great - low 70's during the day and low to mid 40's at night. If you're new to my blog, Son #2 (age 9) is my cub scout. Son #1 (age 11) is a 1st year Boy Scout. Dear Hubby is the Cub Scout Master.

Here's a photo of Son #2 with his BB target. You can't see it in the picture, but there is a smattering of little holes along the right side of the target.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here's a photo of Son #2's archery target. It's hard to tell but there are four arrows there.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

[Posting photos via Blogger still isn't working properly. It's saying the pix have been successfully uploaded, but they're not appearing in my blog. I had to use Photobucket to get these two pix uploaded.]

Son #3, age 4 (too young to be a scout), enjoyed the trip, too. He was enthralled by this large green magnolia leaf that Son #1 found on the ground. Son #3 carried it around all day long like a treasure. He also did a great job of keeping up with all the walking that was required. Unfortunately, after the last activity of the day, after trekking back to the campsite, Son #3 realizes he forgot his leaf on the picnic table at the archery station. He'd been carrying the leaf for 8 hours and now IT'S GONE!!!!!! After grilling him to be sure that's where he left it and preparing him for the fact that it might have blown away/gotten trampled, etc., we embark on yet another hike.

A short way from our campsite we spot a magnolia tree. Big brown leaves all over the ground. Not good enough, though. He wants a green leaf. Unfortunately, every branch was out of our reach - and if you know magnolia trees, green leaves are not easily dislodged from their branches. So onward ho! We arrive at the now-deserted archery station and sure enough on the picnic table, there it was. Son #3 was very happy to be reunited with his precious leaf. (Chalk this up to one of the many idiotic things we do for our kids.)

Here's the kicker. We're not back at the campsite 15 minutes when a few of the younger cub scouts come out of the woods dragging a branch that they found. A branch full of a couple dozen big, green magnolia leaves. God has a sense of humor.

Unfortunately, Blogger is not allowing me to post any photos right now. I'll try again later.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Talk About a Pain in the Neck!


I received the call from the school. Son #2 (age 9) hurt his neck during gym class. Oh, he's moving okay (ruling out major spinal cord injury), no tingling fingers or toes (which usually occurs with a pinched nerve). However, when I arrived at the office, his ear was up to his shoulder and he was in tears. Since he was moving okay - it hurt to do so, but he *could* move - I opted to take him to the doctor's office rather than call for an ambulance.

Good call, fortunately. Turns out he pulled a muscle in his neck (which I suspected) and I could feel it spasming - is that a verb? He's home now and getting around much better. He'll spend the evening relaxing on the recliner with a heating pad instead of playing in his baseball team's tournament game.

He's feeling much better since he took some Motrin. I have a prescription for a muscle relaxant if he seems to need it.

This kid is a very tender fellow. It doesn't take much physical discomfort to move him to tears, but ironically this was his first non-routine visit to the doctor since his first and only ER visit when he was 9 months old.

Knock wood.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The "Time Argument" Revisited

This from an article by John Clark in a homeschooling newsletter I receive:

"First, remember that the "time argument" itself is an invitation to assess what is really important in you life. When you say "I have no time for X", what you are really saying is: "Everything in my life is more important an X." So the next time you are about to say, "I have no time for helping my six-year old daughter with her reading", substitute the words above and say this instead: "Everything in my life is more important than helping my six-year old daughter with reading." You might discover you have more time than you thought."

Ouch. But the man has a point.

A lot of time management gurus use the analogy that time is like currency. Assume that each morning $86,400 is deposited in your bank account. The catch is: you have to spend every penny in order to have the same amount deposited the next day. What would you do? Would you forget about it until the last hours of the day and then attempt to spend it all in one place? Or would you plan and budget in an attempt to use it wisely throughout the day?

Those 86,400 dollars represent the number of seconds in our day. Of course we can't hoard our 'seconds' until 11pm and try spending them all then. So how do we get the most "bang for our buck" (or in this case, our seconds)?

Thoughts, ideas? Feel free to comment.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I Live Down the Street From 'The Jerry Springer Show"

If you've been following my blog for awhile, then you already 'know' these folks. If you want details, you can read my August 25, 2005 and August 2, 2006 posts. Otherwise, here's a brief recap:

June '05, Stay Home Dad (he's collecting disablity) and Working Mom move in the house two doors down from ours with their autistic 12 year old son and 8 year old daughter. January '06, Stay Home Dad's 15 year old son from a previous relationship moves in. Stay Home Dad had no contact with 15 year old since he was two. The 15 year old's mom goes to jail and it's either foster care or moving in with biological Stay Home Dad. The dad initially told me he thought his son would be 'better off' in foster care, but a week later, 15 year old son moved in. A neighbor told me that the state 'strongly encouraged' him to take custody of his son, otherwise they would pursue the issue of, oh 13 years back child support.

Shortly after the 15 year old moves in, the Mom (his stepmom) moves out of the house and into her boyfriend's apartment. Mom and boyfriend are evicted from the apartment so they move into the house with her husband, step son and two kids. How cozy. Mom and boyfriend have since found another place to live - a dump of a hotel, according to the 8 year old daughter. (She didn't say it was a dump, but she did tell me the name of the place.)

So here's the latest. I've tried to be friendly with the 15 year old, in part because 1) I know he's had a tough childhood and 2) I feel really, really sorry for him that he's moved into that house. The 15 year old is on probation for breaking and entering. He likes to dress 'hip hop' - normally I'd say to each his own, but c'mon, we have a lot of little girls on the street who do *not* need to be seeing your drawers, thankyouverymuch. He's taken up smoking, stealing his dad's cigs. (Irony: can't afford to pay for your trash collection, but you can afford beer and cigarettes. Nice example, pops.) Dad's reply: "As long as I don't catch him...." PUH-LEEZE.

As for the 8 year old girl (she's probably 9 now), I've always thought she had severe ADHD or a hearing impairment. You tell her something, she'll say 'okay' and if you remind her later, she acts like she's hearing it for the first time. We've learned from her grandmother, that the girl does have a hole in one eardrum (complete hearing loss) and significant hearing loss in the other ear. This explains why she'll ride her bike in the middle of the street and not flinch when a car honks at her. According to Grandma, Stay Home Dad is supposed to take her to the doctor for this, but isn't. The girl is doing very poorly in school - I'm sure the hearing impairment is part of the problem but apparently the school has been sending notes home, but Stay Home Dad never sees them because he doesn't go over her homework or even check her bookbag. Finally the school called the Grandmother, who would like to take the kids, but has no legal right to do so.

There are some other things we've observed: 15 year old son speeding on a four-wheeler down the street when there were at least 6 kids under the age of 8 playing outside (riding a 4-wheeler on the street is illegal in our area), Dad getting behind the wheel of his car and driving away with an open beer bottle (violation of open container laws, among others), 12-year old autistic son left home alone, etc. Neighbors have called the police and social services. The police have been out a few times, but apparently nothing has come of it.

Grandmother bought the house for her daughter and son-in-law, with the agreement that they'd pay a certain amount in rent each month, but she made one crucial mistake. She listed them on the title as 1% owners, and therefore, she cannot legally evict them. Stay Home Dad knows this so where's his incentive to live up to his end of the bargain (he hasn't been, by the way). So now Grandma has to hire an attorney to see if she can get out of this mess.

Hear that sound? That's the sound of our quality of life and property values going down the toilet. Oy vey!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Sofa Saga

It started simply enough. Dear Hubby and I decided to replace our sofa. Our old one was in pretty good shape, but our decor in the living room evolved over time so that it just didn't really "go" anymore. Plus we decided it would be nice to have a fold out sofa bed for guests.

We decided to splurge and order one from our local furniture store. I jotted the dimensions of my old sofa on a piece of paper and took it to the store. The sales lady and I found a style I liked, compared the dimensions of my sofa to the new one we were considering, selected our fabric and placed the order. They said it would take 8-10 weeks (yikes!) so I borrowed a fabric swatch and took it to another store where I ordered a new area rug and selected new paint colors for the living room.

The rug arrived, I painted. We were all set. Just waiting for the sofa. It was delivered to the store earlier than expected and we set a delivery date for this past Friday. The two delivery guys arrive and one of them had the worst attitude from the start. I told him that he might want to take a look to see which way would be the best to bring the sofa in because it would be a tight fit. "Aw man, don't tell me that," was his reply and it went pretty much down hill from there.

The problem is this. My doorway is 35" wide but as you step in to the foyer, you have 51" before you hit the coat closet, so there is an awkward angle. The kitchen doorway (through the garage) was 29" wide, with no awkward angles.

Delivery Guy #1 just kept telling me that it wasn't going to fit. He tried to bring it in the front door at an angle but it wouldn't work. I explained that my old sofa came through that very door and the dimensions were very similar (new sofa is 2" shorter, but 1.5" deeper). I also explained the the previous sofa was angled upward, and his reply was that the sofa-sleeper was "heavier." Well, duh. But that shouldn't be my problem, should it? Okay, I didn't actually say that.

I suggested removing the feet of the sofa and Guy #1 said they didn't come off. Huh? Keep in mind that this sofa was not carved out of a single piece of wood. If someone put the feet on, then of course the feet come off. He persisted in trying to wedge it in at an angle and ended up damaging the fabric (only slightly, it turns out).

Delivery Guy #1 moved the sofa back outside and called the store to tell them that "it won't fit." He also mentioned the damage, which I'm sure he's thinking is my fault because, "it won't fit." I suggested trying to go through the kitchen door. Guy #1 says, "You still want it like that?" (referring to the damage). I replied that of course I wanted it. I have no sofa (we gave our old one the neighbor across the street), and I knew this one would fit. Once it was inside, I explained, I'll call the store owner to discuss restitution (either a discounted price or ordering a new one). He made a half-assed attempt to get it through the kitchen, but started complaining again about the small freezer that I have in my garage (the same freezer I offered to move twice before he even got started).

Finally I had enough and told them to load the sofa back on the truck and take it back to the store. I should point out that the entire time, Delivery Guy #2 was rather quiet. He'd occasionally offer a suggestion but Guy #1 would shoot it down every time.

At this point I was so bummed and stressed and second-guessing my measurements, etc. I tend to do that. Something goes wrong and I tend to scrutinize my own role first. Normally special order items are non-refundable, but the owner said if I wanted to cancel the order, he would refund all but a 15% re-stocking fee. I was satisfied with that, but Dear Hubby said, no, the sofa would fit so we shouldn't have to pay the restocking fee.

That evening Dear Hubby took some PVC pipe that we had laying around the garage and fashioned a frame that was 86" by 37" (the length and depth of the new sofa). We knew that since the height was 31" if you turned it sideways, it would fit in the 35" wide doorway. He and I practiced bringing the frame in through the front door. Essentially, you have to treat it as it you were trying to load it in an elevator. Go in slightly, angle it up sharply, and bring it it on its side. Worked every time with the frame.

The following day, Saturday, Dear Hubby, kids and I returned to the store, armed with my measurements. I explained to the owner what happened. He looked at my measurements, apologized profusely and said that yes, it should indeed fit if it was brought in how we practiced with the PVC pipe (which the delivery guys did not try, by the way). He offered to try deliver it again on Tuesday. We agreed with the stipulation that Delivery Guy #1 (Mr. Negative) would not come.

Dear Hubby wanted to assess the damage for himself so he and the owner walked back in the warehouse. Delivery Guy #1 has the gall to walk up and tell Dear Hubby and Store Owner, "I told her it wouldn't fit." Dear Hubby got very close to Delivery Guy #1 (okay, he got 'in his face') and words were exchanged. Delivery Guy #1 said he wasn't going to be the one to deliver it on Tuesday (fine by me). Dear Hubby apologized to the store owner for almost causing a scene (even though they were in an area where customers do not normally go).

Flash forward to Tuesday. The warehouse manager, Delivery Guy #2, and two other delivery guys arrive in the afternoon. The smaller guy - who looked to be 17 and couldn't weigh more than 130, looks it over and said 'piece of cake.' Dear Hubby is home, because I told him I didn't want to deal with the stress. I said I was going into the bedroom, turning the radio up very loudly so I can't hear anything that's going on, and to please tell me when the sofa is inside. I go to my room, click on the radio, before I can crank up the volume, Dear Hubby tells me, "it's in."

The damage is so minimal that you can't see if unless I point it out. It's a chenille sofa so much of it was just the mashing of the fabric against the door frame. The store folks used a little soft brush to fluff it back up. We're still going to discuss a small discount, which I think all things considered, we're entitled to.

Oh and Delivery Guy #1 no longer works there. Apparently this wasn't the first time they had a problem with him. (I should mention that it's crossed my mind that, uh oh, he knows where we live.)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Epilogue (see last post)

There are times when I find myself wishing my older two would just act their ages, for Pete's sake! They're 9 and 11 and it's pretty normal for them to sometimes revert back to their former selves, right?

After re-reading my previous post, and chatting with some of you via 'comments', I've come to the realization that my 4 year old probably could stand a healthy dose of "acting his age." Although, if anything, he's a bit precocious beyond his years. It seems at times that he's growing up too fast.

Let's face it. His playmates are his 9 and 11 year old brothers and the Old Fogeys (his dad and me). To summarize, he was completely overwhelmed at a new friend's birthday party. Those young kids (mostly 4 to 7) were pretty noisy and rambunctious - as 4 to 7 year olds should be.

This isn't the first time I found myself wondering just how, in 2002, I gave birth to a 75-year old little man. Once he and I were at our local library's Story Time. The children's librarian read several books with the space theme. Afterwards, the kids were to do a little craft projects - glue pre-cut contruction paper pieces on an ordinary paper plate to create The Man in the Moon.

The Librarian was explaining to the kids how it works: "Okay, this (holds up paper plate) is the moon." Preschoolers nod. Except Son #4, who dubiously looks at the Librarian and replied, "Uh. No. It's a plate."

He did ultimately use the glue stick to paste on the contruction paper eyes, nose and mouth, but I think he was just going along with it so as not to upset the crazy lady who thinks you can buy a pack of 300 "moons" for a buck and a half at WalMart.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Well, It Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time...

Son #3 (age 4 1/2) was invited to the birthday party for the grandson of a friend of mine. The birthday boy turned 6. Son #3 was so excited - this was the first time he was invited to the party that was not a family member's party. The party was held at this little karate place where the Birthday Boy takes lessons. I thought Son #3 would love it since he's always jumping and kicking, but...

BUT. I didn't realize just how his sensitivity to loud noises would play out. You see, my youngest son doesn't like loud noises unless he's the one making them.

We arrive, Son #3 gives the Birthday Boy his gift, which he picked out on his own, I might add (a Lego Star Wars set), then Son #3 is invited to take off his shoes and line up with the other guests on the mat. They start with introductions and the instructors show each kid where to stand: on a white "X" on the mat, so that they're far enough from one another so they don't collide. They start with a warm up: running in place, which must have seemed pointless to Son #3 because he wouldn't do it.

Next they were shown how to do a couple of blocks and punches, and taught how to do the karate yells. Son #3 was doing a good job with the movements, but at this point I could see that he was wiping his eyes repeatedly and trying his best to maintain his composure.

I didn't want to be too quick to jump in and rescue him so I watched for a bit. Finally, he walked off the mat, leaving behind his little exposed white "X" and sat in the chair next me. I tried pointing out how much fun the other kids were having, how most of them had never done karate before, how much it was like Power Ranger School. He was having none of it.

He did perk up and rejoin the rest of the kids when the pizza, cake and ice cream was served.

I'm sure his sensitivity to loud sounds is only part of it. A bigger part, I'm sure, is the fact that he's with me all day long and although we do have our fun, we also spend a lot of time running errands and doing other 'grownup stuff.' Finally, doesn't really have much opportunity to spend time with kids his own age. He's much more used to being around his older brothers who, although noisy at times, are past the age where they yell just for the sake of yelling.

I wonder how he'll do when he starts kindergarten next year.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Here We Go Again...

I'm about to go on another obsessive-compulsive tear regarding the house. Those of you have been following my blog know all about the garden retaining wall (summer of '05), and the pavestone walkway (summer of '06). I don't believe I blogged about the garage. It's too small for a car and anything else, so we officially made it a workshop. I painted the walls (white), painted the floors (gray), purchased and assembled a large cabinet, a small cabinet, a workstation with hutch, added a small 7 cubit foot freezer and an A/C window unit.

Now I'm moving on to the living room. It's currently painted a shade of taupe with one red accent wall (the wall that houses the corner fireplace). It looks very nice in my opinion, as well as that of the two realtors we met with when we thought we might want to sell our house and buy another (I think we've gotten over that idea).

Anyway, a few weeks ago we decided to splurge on a new sofa. We found one we liked, but I knew instantly that it wouldn't go with our living room color scheme. The sofa won't arrive for a couple of weeks so I borrowed the fabric swatches from the furniture store on Saturday and went shopping. I ordered an area rug, and selected my new paint shades.

The cranberry red accent wall will be painted...a different shade of red. The taupe walls will be painted...a different shade of beige (the new beige has a slight greenish cast). I hope to start painting on Thursday. I also hope to finish painting on Thursday. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

5 Unusual Facts About Me

I've been tagged by Lala! (Click here to view her blog: Insight into Lala's World) Her meme is called "Five Weird Things About Me" but I don't know that I'm interesting enough to come up with anything truly weird. (I'm pretty "white bread", y' know?) But here we go:

1) I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. This is a problem for me because, let's face it, at my age, I'm probably more than halfway through my life expectancy. I better get a move on! Seriously, if I could have any job/career in the world right now - forget the fact that I lack the skills - I think I would like to be in construction. (This is an improvement from the days when I wanted to be an actress. I'm talking a hundred years ago.)

About the construction job. I don't necessarily want to the be the one on the roof baking in the hot sun pouring my blood, sweat and tears (wait - contruction folk don't cry, do they?) into building a beautiful home - that I can't afford - only to have some snooty rich people enjoy the fruits of my labor. But I would love to know how to do electrical wiring, plumbing, etc., buy a home, fix it up, sell it and move on to the next.

2) I'm a bit obsessive-compulsive. This is *not* an official diagnosis, mind you. But there are times when I'm working on something and I have such an overwhelming need for "closure" that I really can't focus on anything else. This is - in part - why I drive Dear Hubby nuts. He also secretly thinks it's one of my better traits. I tend to finish what I'm working on before he even has to get involved. It's disorienting to him at times. He's returned home from work on more than one occasion to find entire rooms a different color than when he left in the morning.

3) People think I'm "organized" and "efficient." Which I am. In part because of item #2 above. In part because of the ADHD (being organized is a management tool in coping with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I know these folks mean it as a compliment, but please DON'T call me organized or efficient. I HATE it!!! Really, does anything sound more ... boring? For one day, I'd like to be the flighty, artistic type.

4) I have 3 sons. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything by not having a daughter. I've never wished for one. To those of you that have them (hi, Mom), that's great. I think I prefer boys because I was pretty much a girly-girl growing up, so this whole 'snips and snails and puppy dog tails' was - and sometimes still is - pretty foreign to me. They're an adventure.

5) I'm borrowing this one from Lala, because it's so completely me too. (Either we're both weird, girlfriend, or it's not as odd as we thought.) If I have multiple foods on my plate, I eat them one at a time. For example, I'll eat every single pea before I take a single bite of mashed potatoes (except I won't eat the peas that have touched the mashed potatoes and vice versa). I start from least favorite, saving the best for last. I really need to switch that. I'd probably eat less and maybe lose the weight that's annoying me. And if it's a food item that's supposed to be mixed - say a vegetable medley - I'll eat all of one type of veggie before moving on to the next. I've never thought about the reason why. I just gotta be me! :-)

I'm tagging the following fellow bloggers, in case they'd like to play along:
* Jules
* Insurance Mom

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Nice Weekend...

This makes up for the crappy day I had last Tuesday. It was a nice, generally quiet weekend in our household. Friday was a blur - I can't remember a darn thing that went on.

On Saturday, Son #2 played his second baseball game of the season. His team won, primarily by walking and stealing bases. I'm told that this is pretty typically for the first season of kid-pitched ball. They're getting used to pitching, swinging at balls pitched by kids who are also new to pitching, learning to steal bases and bunt, and adjusting to a larger playing field.

Son #2 was walked to first base, managed to steal second, and then later on snuck past third and stole home. His team is 1-1 right now. They lost their first game (last Saturday) and was rained out on Tuesday night's game.

After the game, we took a leisurely drive around town. Dear Hubby and I were checking out various neighborhoods and trying to get a feel for the real estate market. Our evening plans, dinner with another family, were canceled because the other family's son was ill.

On Sunday, Dear Hubby and I went to an Open House in our neighborhood, then to his dad's house (also in our neighborhood) for a barbecue. His sister, Son #1 and I left early because I teach Son #1's 6th grade CCD (Catechism) class on Sunday evenings and I recruited Sis-in-law #2 to assist me. It went well. Dear Hubby and my other kids met us at Church and we attended 7:30 p.m. Mass.

Not exciting, not particularly eventful, not a lot of running around, just a nice weekend.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Why is it...?

...that on Thursday evenings, I just can't get to bed early? Dear Hubby turns in around 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays because for the past several years he's been volunteering at our church's Perpetual Adoration Chapel. He has the hour from 3:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. on Fridays.

We're Catholic and the Adoration Chapel houses the exposed consecrated Communion host. Because a major tenet of the Catholic faith is the belief in the actual presence of Christ in our Communion, the exposed host is never left alone. There has to be at least one person in Its presence at all times. Dear Hubby likes his early morning hour because, as you might guess, it's very quiet and he's usually alone the whole time. He reads, prays, meditates, then comes home and exercises before starting his day.

But I digress. My point is that Dear Hubby sets the alarm for 2:21 a.m. so he can freshen up and dress before going. I know this. He's been doing this for a few years. Yet even though I know the alarm will be ringing in just over 2.5 hours, I still can't bring myself to go to bed. It's almost as if my brain is saying, 'eh, why bother?'

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I Hope It's Not Going to be One of "Those" Days...

How's this as a way to start your day? I got to sleep a bit late. I woke, had breakfast with Son#3, homeschooled him then just as I was stepping into the shower, I get a call from Son#1's school. He has an upset stomach. I talk with Son#1 and let him know if I pick him up it's because he's sick and therefore must rest in my room (no TV, video games, short, no fun). He agrees, which is how I know he really is not feeling well. I finish my shower, dress for a meeting that I have this evening at church and Son#3 and I head out the door.

As I'm buckling Son#3 into his car seat (he's 4), I hear the very fast pitter patter of canine feet. As soon as I turn around, I see the neighborhood menace: a big, frisky, golden labrador retriever who just loves people. Did I mention that he also loves to swim in the ditches that run along many of the streets in our neighborhood? He's wet, he's muddy and he's very happy to see me. He tries to jump in the van, but fortunately I manage to grab his collar and yank him out before he can muck up the upholstery and I slam the sliding van door shut.

Meanwhile, he's trying to jump all over me and he's shaking the water/mud off. He manages to splatter the entire passenger side of the van from roof rack to tire well. As for me? Mud all over my clothes, my legs, in my hair, on my face and arms, on my shoes. ICK! I manage to get a peek at the tag on his collar and attempted to pay his owner a visit but no one was home. (I will be going back later.) I wipe myself off with the Clorox wipes I keep in the van for spills (oh, that's gotta be really good for my skin!) and head to the school to pick up Son#1. He's sick, but not too sick to find this terribly amusing.

I drive to the gas station nearest my home, fill up my tank, attempt to purchase a car wash only to find out after the fact that the car wash is indeed broken. Of course no one who works there can be bothered to put a sign on the gas pump. I drove a few extra miles to go to Safari carwash ($3, incl free use of the vacuum). So Steve (that's the name of our van) is all clean. I return home to have my second shower within the span of an hour.

Son#1 is feeling a bit better. Someone please tell me my day will only get better.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


It was an uneventful weekend, once we found out my father-in-law is "out of the woods" (at least for the time being). The doctor put in another stent yesterday. If this works, he won't need coronary bypass surgery. He does, however, have to return in a month to have the blockages in his legs worked on. Not sure how they treat that.

In other news, our household is mourning the passing of Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter. Son #1 especially enjoyed his TV show and specials. I suppose it's a small consolation that he died doing something he loved (although I'm not sure whether his family and friends would take comfort in that).

It's the Tuesday after Labor Day. The older two boys have been back in school for two weeks already. Things will start gearing up for us now: Cub Scouts for Son #2 (Dear Hubby is Cub Master this year). Baseball is just starting for Son #2, Boy Scouts for Son #1. The RCIA program for which I volunteer at my church begins again meeting tonight. Religion classes for Son #1 and #2 start next week. As a stay home mom, my days are pretty open - it's the evenings that keep us hopping!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Couple of Belated Happy Birthdays, etc.

A belated happy birthday to my mom (who occasionally reads my blog) and to Flip Flop Mamma (a blog buddy - see the link at bottom left). Both were born on September 1st and celebrated their birthdays this past Friday.

I've been feeling a little too scattered brained to blog lately, but I'll give it a whirl this evening. So far our Labor Day weekend has been okay. We took the boys to the Home Depot Kids' Workshop (which they hold on the first Saturday of each month). The boys built bird houses. Zack was feeling unually shy so his birdhouse ended up the best because, essentially I made it. I did coax him into hammering a couple of nails that I started in the wood, but mostly he was content to eat the popcorn and drink the juicebox that Home Depot provided.

Afterwards, we went to Belk (a department store) to see if Dear Hubby wanted to pick up another sports coat - he bought one a week ago, but as fate would have it, they've been further marked down, plus the paper had an 'extra 10% off' coupon. He didn't find anything, but I bought a pair of casual shoes for fall/winter. Aerosoles. Very comfy. I debated about them. I like 'comfortable' shoes, but I don't want 'sensible' (matronly) shoes, you know what I mean? I ended up buying them. I'll wear them with jeans and casual skirts - basically anytime that does not require dress shoes.

We ate lunch at Moe's Southwestern Grill. Decent food, but you order cafeteria style and they give the dishes goofy human names. For example, "Fat Sam" is a burrito (and a hobbit from The Lord of the Rings). There's also "Art Vandalay," a quesadilla (and George Costanza's pseudonym on 'Seinfeld'). The list goes on. Here's the problem: I can barely remember my own children's names, much less the human-sounding dish they've requested.

Since Dear Hubby was serving at Mass this evening, we all decided to attend 5:00 pm Vigil Mass. The boys and I sit in the pew while Dear Hubby sits up by the altar with the other altar servers. Still, it's sort of like attending as a family, right? Anyway, as we're pulling into the parking space at church around 4:20, Dear Hubby's sister (I'll call her Sis-in-law 2) called to let us know that my father-in-law is in the hospital, waiting to go to the cath lab for an angiogram. He apparently had some chest pain last night and arm tingling today so she brought him to the hospital around 2:00 this afternoon. He apparently has blockages in his carotid, femoral and coronary arteries. They put in three stents but they're keeping the catheter in the femoral artery because they may go back in Monday and do another angiogram and perhaps bypass surgery, if necessary. The cardiologist on call said that he likely wouldn't have survived the night had he not been admitted.
Right now, he's resting comfortably (flat on his back because of the catheter) and watching the football game on TV.

As for family history, his brothers are all deceased (most of them heart attacks, the oldest in his very early 60s). His eldest son, now 50, had double bypass about 5 years ago. His second oldest (Dear Hubby) had triple bypass 2.5 years ago at age 36. His youngest son had one stent put in at age 31. His daughter died at age 40 of complications from receiving 4 stents. Frankly, I thought all the bypass and stent stuff was inherited from my mother-in-law's side - she and her siblings have all had multiple bypasses. Father-in-law's side tended to die from their first heart attack.

Anyway, we're keeping him in our thoughts and prayers. It's been a tough year, his having lost virtually every possession and his home to Hurricane Katrina and having to start over again from scratch at age 73. (He's 74 now.)

Dear Hubby went to the hospital to hold vigil. It's what his family does and they do it well. He'll go again tomorrow. I'll probably go for a little while, but I'm not as good at the vigil thing. I remember when Dear Hubby had his surgery. It was nice to have company for a while, but as the surgery lasted several hours longer than expected, I was actually grateful when they started heading home. I can only do 'small talk' for so long. (Must come from my being raised as an only child since I was 11 or 12.)

On to other subjects. Son #1's class was asked to fill out a 'student questionnaire' so his 6th grade teacher could get to know him better. Here's some of his answers that I especially got a kick out of. He's 11, by the way.

Q. What do you like most about school? "I like recess the best at school."

Q. What do you like to do in your spare time? "I like to do a lot of different things in my spare time." (Pretty vague, right? Keep 'em guessing! He's probably splitting the atom in his room.)

Q. If you could be a famous person, who would you be? "None, I'm happy the way I am." (Elle's note: that's my boy!)

Q. What is your favorite food? "Pasta"

Q. What is your favorite place? "Virginia" (his birthplace)

Q. What is your favorite TV show? "Becker" (Oh my gosh! I've created a monster! This is what I get for letting him stay up late during the summer and watch sitcom reruns with me.)

Thought of the day: I smile because I am your friend! I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

One Year Post-Katrina

It was one year ago today that Hurricane Katrina decimated my birth city (New Orleans), all but erased part of our favored vacation destination (Gulfport, MS), and wreaked havoc in the area I currently live.

Hurricane Katrina probably seems like 'old news' to the rest of the country, but it's still a near constant topic of conversation in our area. There are some areas that are rebounding and rebuilding. Too many other areas, the City of New Orleans especially, are bogged down by bureaucracy and indecision. I think in the immediate days following Katrina there was a real opportunity to rebuild and this time, to 'do it right.' Right some wrongs, fix what's broken...I'm just not seeing it, though.

There's no describing the allure of New Orleans. Its culture, its history, its charm, its attitude. Unfortunately it take more than a lotta heart to be a viable city. It also takes a brain. Despite its precarious geographic location, I never really thought a storm would be the demise of the city. Too bad Louisiana politics is threatening to be the proverbial final nail in the coffin.

The place in which we live has rebounded. We're booming actually since we have a lot of displaced New Orleanians who have decided to relocate to our area, many of them permanently.

A year ago, my family of 5 (plus two dogs) were staying at Uncle Harold's house in Lafayette, along with my father-in-law and two brothers-in-law. I remember watching the storm coverage on TV, day and night. After Katrina passed, the news showed coverage of New Orleans. A lot of high rise buildings with windows blown out, power lines and utility poles down, flooding in the predicatable areas. I remember seeing a shot of the Lakeview area of New Orleans and thinking, yeah there's water, but it doesn't look that bad. We survived the storm. Sense of relief.

Hours later, the levees broke. Those couple of feet of water in Lakeview suddenly became 8+ feet of water. Other areas, such as the upper and lower 9th Ward was similarly flooded. That's when the sigh of relief became a collective gasp of disbelief.

I've blogged about Katrina in late August/early September 2005. If you're interested, you can click on the archives at left. However, there's a columnist from The Times Picayune, Chris Rose, who really captures the feel for what went on and what's still going on. I encourage you to check out some of his columns. You can do so by clicking on his name.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mangled Song Lyrics

Have you ever been singing along to a song on the radio only to discover that you are completely mangling the lyrics?

Case in point: A few years back, Son #1’s favorite song was “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar. Lyrics should be “You’re a heartbreaker, dream maker...” He’d sing “You’re a heartbreaker, boom baker...”

A woman I worked with several years ago would mangle the lyrics of “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison. Instead of “Hey there, where did we go?” she’d sing, “Hey there, Rodrigo.” However, to this day, I can't hear that song without thinking about her.

Another woman I know was shopping for a 45 - that’s a record that was played on a turntable for those of you too young to remember. (If you’re too young to remember a turntable, then it’s probably past your bedtime. G’nite!)

Anyway, her daughter wanted the 45 of the song “Hooked on a Feeling” by BJ Thomas. (“I’m hooked on a feeling, I’m high on believing that you’re in love with me.”) This lovely lady had the record store clerk completely flummoxed when she asked for “Stuck on a Ceiling.”

Son #3 is partial to the song ‘We Will Rock You’ by Queen, except instead of the correct lyrics - “We will, we will rock you!” - he’d sing “We were, we were Rotten!” (autobiographical, perhaps?)

The song that always tripped me up? “Blinded by the Light” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (Of course after reading the actual lyrics from, I think it’s easy to see why….)

Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Madman drummers bummers,
Indians in the summer with a teenage diplomat
In the dumps with the mumps as the adolescent pumps his way into his hat
With a boulder on my shoulder, feelin' kinda older,
I tripped the merry-go-round
With this very unpleasin', sneezin' and wheezin,
the calliope crashed to the ground
The calliope crashed to the ground
But she was...
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
runner in the night
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Some silicone sister with a manager mister told me I go what it takes
She said "I'll turn you on sonny to something strong,
play the song with the funky break"
And go-cart Mozart was checkin' out the weather chart to see if it was safe outside
And little Early-Pearly came by in his curly-wurly and asked me if I needed a ride
Asked me if I needed a ride
But she was...
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light
She got down but she never got tired
She's gonna make it through the night
She's gonna make it through the night
But mama, that's where the fun is
But mama, that's where the fun is
Mama always told me not to look into the eye's of the sun
But mama, that's where the fun is
Some brimstone baritone anticyclone rolling stone preacher from the east
Says, "Dethrone the dictaphone, hit it in it's funny bone,
that's where they expect it least"
And some new-mown chaperone was standin' in the corner,
watching the young girls dance
And some fresh-sown moonstone was messin' with his frozen zone, reminding him of romance
The calliope crashed to the ground
But she was...
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light,
revved up like a deuce,
another runner in the night
Blinded by the light
Madman drummers bummers, Indians in the summer with a teenage diplomat
In the dumps with the mumps as the adolescent pumps his way into his hat
With a boulder on my shoulder, feelin' kinda older,
I tripped the merry-go-round
With this very unpleasin', sneezin' and wheezin,
the calliope crashed to the ground
Now Scott with a slingshot finally found a tender spot and throws his lover in the sand
And some bloodshot forget-me-not said daddy's within earshot save the buckshot, turn up the band
Some silicone sister with a manager mister told me I go what it takes
She said "I'll turn you on sonny to something strong"

Explains a lot, huh? And sad to say, current hits aren't immune to my own personal (ahem) revisions. So, ‘fess up. What’s your biggest lyrical blunder? Post a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Magnetic Hiney?

The Little Guy, who is 4, was taking his bath this evening. He stated rather succinctly that I was NOT going to wash his hair. I assured him that I would indeed shampoo his hair. No, you're not, he says. Am too. Am not. And so forth.

Meanwhile the wheels are turning.

"You're not going to wash my hair, because I'm gonna jump out of here naked, run and put my clothes on, and put magnets on my butt, and jump on the sofa and you won't be able to pick me up."

I have to admit: it sounds like a pretty good plan. Except that we don't have a stainless steel sofa.

I won on principle (he did relent and let me shampoo his hair). However, he wins the prize for creativity.

Here's a thought of the day:

I am in shape. Round is a shape.

Monday, August 21, 2006

What Do You Call It When... become obsessed with a particular project/book/craft/chore - whatever - and you absolutely MUST finish it TODAY???? A form of OCD? (No offense to those of you who may, in fact, have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.)

This weekend, I started another home improvement project. First off, let me say that it's huge progress that I know only work on a single project at a time. No starting new projects until I complete the one I'm already working on.

Anyway, this weekend, we decided to tackle the garage. Calling it a 'garage' is a stretch. It's very tiny. You *might* be able to fit a car inside if you had nothing else in there. We just don't live that way (in part, because our house is so tiny, we need the extra space for storage).

So we've decided to admit defeat (a motorized vehicle will never reside within its walls). We're sorting through what to pitch, what to donate and what to keep. We're rearranging shelves. We're going to buy a work station and cabinets. We're going to paint the floor gray and repaint the walls white. By 'we', I mean 'me.' Okay, Dear Hubby, is helping with the heavy lifting and spider removal, but I'm doing the bulk of the work. (Besides, painting over spiders is a pretty effective means of getting rid of them. It was an accident, folks. Really.)

Because the garage is so small and there's so much stuff, I have to either move stuff out into the driveway or move it to one side of the garage while I paint the other half, then paint the other side and move the stuff back. Plus the place where I'm donating the usuable stuff can't pick it up until September 21.

I'm getting burned out, though. I'm really ready for the this project to be over. But I still have purchase and assemble the cabinets. If I could just a good, uninterrupted, twenty or so hours, I know I can make it look great. (Yeah, right.)

I know, I know. Break the job into manageable pieces. But I don't want manageable, I want closure. I want to be finished. I want to start plotting my next project. (sigh)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Swim Test

Just gotta share, but first a little background: Son #1 just turned 11 in June. He's very small for his age. He is what's referred to as hypotonic, which means he has low muscle tone ("floppy muscles"). Hypotonia in and of itself is not a disability, but usually appears in conjunction with another disorder, for example cerebral palsy (which Son #1 does not have). In fact, if Son #1 has hypotonia in conjunction with something else, we don't know what that something else is. But I digress: in a nutshell, when he runs or swims, his arms and legs flail kind of like a rag doll. His form isn't pretty but his stamina, however, is very good. He had swimming lessons for a few summers, but we didn't have a pool where he could practice.

Generally, Son #1 is very comfortable floating and treading water that's over his head. However, he tried the boy scout swim test before going to camp in June, but panicked and had to be plucked from the water. At camp, he opted to work on his pottery merit badge with the only other non-swimmer in the troop. It rained on the last day of camp so the kids who were working on their swim merit badge couldn't complete the requirement. They re-scheduled the swim test at a community pool this past Sunday. I took Son #1 along so he could at least work on the water safety requirements (i.e. how to help rescue struggling swimmers without drowning yourself). Son #1 did pretty well with that.

One of the adult leaders talked to my son and asked if he wanted to try to take the swim test, which entails swimming the 25-foot length of the pool four times, using three pre-assigned swim strokes plus one of Son #1's choosing. If he passed the swim test, he'd be able to participate in other water activities, such as canoeing, etc. (with a life vest, of course). If he doesn't pass the swim test, then he can only go in the canoe if there is a certified lifeguard onboard.

It wasn't pretty, but Son #1 did swim all four laps. I couldn't always tell which stroke he was using. He had a little trouble with the side stroke since he kept veering off course, but someone would holler to him to straighten his course and he did. His final lap was of his own choosing: the modified backstroke (as a floater, this was perfect for him). He was so proud of himself when they told him that he completed the test. WOO HOO!

And I underestimated him - I really didn't think he'd be able to do it! Not without a lot of practice. He has to repeat the swim test each year, but know he knows he can do it. Who knows - maybe there's a swimming merit badge in his future, after all.

Monday, August 14, 2006

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school for Son #1 (6th grade) and Son #2 (4th grade). They each had a good day. Son #2 has the same teacher that Son #1 had for the 4th grade. I hope he gets along with her better than Son #1 did.

For some reason, they would clash and Son #1 would get very, very upset (usually ending up in tears and just 'shutting down'). I remember when the teacher first suggested we 'get together to brainstorm on ways to help him manage his frustration.' I recalled telling her that sure, we could meet, but I had no suggestions to offer because he's never done it around me or any of his previous teachers. That didn't go over very well. (I should also point out that he never had any problems in class last year.) Still, Son #2 doesn't have the same issues as Son #1, so I suspect he'll be just fine.

As for Son #3, I resumed homeschooling him today. We took a break in June a couple of weeks after the other two boys got out of school for the summer. Today was a 'review' day. I was impressed with how much Son #3 remembers of our work together. All we have to do tomorrow is review the phonemes "n" and "k" and then proceed with new stuff.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Back in late April/early May, I took Son #3 to Story Time at our local library. The theme was "Earth Day." The librarian read three books to the children then - instead of the usual craft project - she had each child plant a single sunflower seed in a paper cup.

The seed sprouted within days and when it grew to a few inches, we transplanted it into our garden. It took a couple of months for it to grow tall and finally bloom, but check it out now.

Here's Son #3 and his prized sunflower:

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Summer Vacation is Winding Down...

Sons #1&2 return to school on Monday, August 14th. They'll be in 6th and 4th grades, respectively. This will be a new school for Son #2. It's called a 'middle school' but it covers grades 4-6. In our area, Elementary school is K-3, Middle school is 4-6, Junior high is 7&8, and High school is 9-12. Seems strange to me, but I think it has to do with the population in our area.

The class listings will be posted on August 10 so we can go the school and check to see which classes the sons will be in. Son #1 isn't so interested in who his teacher will be, but rather will he have to indure another year with The Pest (a kid who has been in Son #1's class for the past two years). At different times, Son #1 and The Pest have tried to be friends, but they just get on each other's nerves.

Son #2 is looking forward to school, Son #1 less so. Son #1 will miss his late night TV viewing with Mom, I think. Today, my father-in-law took us all to lunch at IHOP to celebrate our last week of summer vacation. Two uncles, one aunt, two cousins, my three boys and I.

Afterward, I took my three to get their hair cut. Yes, even Son #3 who will again be homeschooled for pre-K gets a back-to-school haircut (and brand new school supplies).

Other than camp for Sons #1&2, and my trip to visit my mother, it's been a pretty relaxing, quiet summer.

Thought for the day: A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory. :-)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Well, It's About Time!

Seventy-six hours later, we finally have Dear Hubby's test results (see yesterday's post). All is well. whew.

Basically, Dear Hubby has a heart condition. Well, technically his heart is in great shape. It's the arteries that aren't.

This from

"Cardiac enzyme studies measure the levels of the enzymes troponin (TnI, TnT) and creatine phosphokinase (CPK, CK) in the blood. Low levels of these enzymes are normally found in your blood, but if your heart muscle is injured, such as from a heart attack, the enzymes leak out of damaged heart muscle cells and their levels in the bloodstream rise.

Because some of these enzymes are also found in other body tissues, their levels in the blood may rise when those other tissues are damaged. Cardiac enzyme studies must always be compared with your symptoms, your physical examination findings, and electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG) results."

There are factors that can affect the test, including strenuous exercise (which he hadn't done in a couple of days) and cholesterol-lowering medications (statins, which Dear Hubby takes).

A normal CPK level for a man is in the range of 55–170 international units per liter (IU/L). Dear Hubby's was over 4,000 - yes, that's three zeroes - in the first test. The doctor called to see how Dear Hubby was feeling (fine) so she recommended that he discontinue one of the statins and go for another test a week later.

His CPK level in the second test is within normal (150 IU/L). While I'm relieved, I'm still annoyed that the doctor had the first set of test results within hours, but it took over three days for the second test. End of rant.

Thought of the day: Wrinkled Was Not One of the Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Today's Rant: Medical Labs

The short version: Dear Hubby has a medical condition that requires regular check ups and monitoring. He went last Tuesday to have his routine blood work done. The very next day (the day I left on my trip, by the way), the doctor calls and says the lab faxed over the results and that one of the tests was abnormal.

He had a high level of a particular enzyme that's released when there's an injury to a muscle. Since his condition is coronary, and the heart is a big muscle, the doc decided to call rather than wait until their sit-down appointment later this month. Dear Hubby is feeling fine, so the doctor thinks it's an interaction with his medications so she asks him to discontinue taking one and go for more bloodwork a week later.

So....Dear Hubby goes to the lab to have blood drawn on Tuesday morning. Here is it Thursday afternoon and the lab has not yet faxed the results to the doctor.

My rant is this: Why did it take less than 24 hours to fax the results the first time, and more than 2 days the second time? 53.5 hours and counting. GRRRRR!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Love Thy Neighbor?

I've blogged about this family once before, on August 25, 2005. They moved to our neighborhood - two houses down - in June 2005. To recap, there was a stay-home dad (he collects disability), the Potty Mouth Mom, a 12 year old autistic son, and an 8 year old girl. Stay-Home Dad and Potty Mouth Mom would frequently argue outside their home - every other word was a expletive. Well, one day last fall, Potty Mouth Mom decided to move out of the house and into an apartment with her boyfriend who works at the same grocery store she does. Stay Home Dad lives in the house with the kids. Potty Mouth Mom and the Boyfriend visit occasionally. (The house was purchased by Potty Mouth Mom's mother and a few other folks - I don't believe that Potty Mouth Mom and Stay Home Dad are listed on the title.)

In December, Stay Home Dad's 14 year old son from a previous relationship moved in with them. Apparently when this child was around 3 years old, his mother decided not to let Stay Home Dad visit anymore, so Stay Home Dad discontinued paying child support. The 14 year old's mother went to jail for something and the kid was put in a group foster home. Stay Home Dad told me about it previously, and one day I asked how it was working out getting to know his son. Stay Home Dad told me outright that they're taking their time to get to know one another but that he (Stay Home Dad) told the 14 year old that he was 'better off where he is' (meaning the foster care system).

Part of me wonders what I would do if it were me: what would it be like bringing a 14 year old stranger who has his own issues into a home with a 12 year old autistic boy and an 8 year old girl. Then the other part of me thinks, geez, this is your SON. Grow a set and step up, will ya? Apparently the state threatened to hit Stay Home Dad up for 11 years back child support (don't know how they'd collect). I don't know whether this had any bearing on Stay Home Dad's decision to have the 14 year old move in, but I suspect it did.

Meanwhile, the trash piles up outside this home. Stay Home Dad leaves the garbage can by the curb all the time. It's overflowing and there are trash bags lined up along side. This tells me two things: 1) he apparently hasn't paid for his trash pickup service, and 2) racoons are going to rip open the bags and I'll end up picking up the trash that blows into the street.

Recently, a neighbor hosted a birthday party at another community's pool house. Stay Home Dad brings the daughter but says that the autistic child isn't feeling well and that if he's not back to pick up the girl when the party ends, would I mind driving her home? (sigh, okaaaayyyyy) I tell Stay Home Dad that I have to stop by KMart to exchange an toy that Son #2 received for his birthday but that never worked properly. I tell him his daughter can ride with us to KMart then we'll be home. No problem, he says. No problem until it's time for us to leave the party. His Daughter can't find her towel so I loan her one of my boys' towels. She changes into her clothes, but guess what? She didn't wear shoes to the party. Now, I won't bring her to KMart barefoot. Some people may not have a problem with it. I'm not one of those people. I have a big problem with it. So I end up driving the daughter back to her house and then back tracking to KMart. What a PITA.

According to the neighbor who lives between us, Stay Home Dad knocked on his door and asked to borrow $10 to put gas in his car. When Neighbor said he didn't have any cash, Stay Home Dad asked, "well, could you write me a check?" Uh no.

On one hand, I want to be a good Christian (love thy neighbor and all) but on the other hand, these people just drive me nuts.

Monday, July 31, 2006

I'm Back!

I had a very nice visit with my mother in the Washington, DC area. I flew up there on Wednesday afternoon, bringing a little suitcase and big purse. I don't like to check luggage, even on direct flights, because I want my vacation to begin the minute my feet hit the ground!

I picked up our rental car, then picked up my mom from work. We stopped at Starbucks, then a place called Noodles & Company (since they don't feed you on the plane anymore - the half a tablespoon of peanuts doesn't count). I picked up an order of Pad Thai to go then went back to Mom's apartment to unpack a bit. That evening we went to a little hangout where she and friends meet every Wednesday. Had a couple of cocktails.

Since I don't have cable at home (just haven't gotten around to ordering it), I like to catch up on all the stuff I normally don't get to see so I stayed up to 3:00 a.m. every morning watching movies (Walk the Line was very good, The Family Stone not so)or the true crime shoes on A&E.

The rest of my visit was pretty much a blur of dining out and shopping. Really, that's all we do. Especially nice was the fact that the only decisions I had to make was whether to buy this item or that one (or both!), and which menu item to order. I didn't have to make any of the little day to day decision that we stay-home moms make.

I did manage to have lunch with some former co-workers (now friends), and went to the post office to ship four boxes of stuff - things I bought, and stuff my mother has accumulated for me and the kids - to my house. They should arrived in a couple of days.

Dear Hubby took time off of work to spend with the kids and they had fun, too. They also cleaned the house - including the bathrooms! - while I was gone!

Today, I'm still in my pj's at 12:30. I slept late this morning (catching up on missed sleep - I only averaged 4-5 hours per night on my trip), and just finished catching up on my email. Now I'm off to catch up on other folks' blogs.

It's nice to be home.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Son #1 and Dear Hubby spent a week in June at Boy Scout Camp two states away. Son #2 spent a week at a sleep away camp also in June (different week, though). Now it's my turn. This seems to be the Summer of Separate Vacations.
I'm going to visit my mom just for a few days - shopping, cocktails, dining out (not in that order) and no picking up after anyone but myself!

I'll be back blogging by early next week. Check back then!


Monday, July 24, 2006

Happy Blogger-versary!

It was one year ago today that I started blogging. In that time, my readership has increased from 3 to 8. But enough of that...

Today, I took My Three Sons (anyone remember that show? I've got the theme music running through my mind) plus two of their guy buddies to Chuck E. Cheese. I sort of wondered whether Son #1 and his friend might be too old for it - they're 11 - but I was worried for nothing. We ended up with a lot of pizza left over, which I brought home. Let's face it, though. Who really goes for the food, anyway? We lingered for a couple of hours before coming back to our house so the kids could play. Son #1's friend had to go home, so we're down to four.

Son #1 doesn't have a wide social circle, but this kid has been a school friend since first grade. I really should make the effort to get them together more often. Friend of Son #1 is a great kid. Son #2 is very outgoing and has more friends. Many of whom I find annoying. Oh well. They're only 8 and 9 years old so 'annoying' is part of their job description. ;-)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Lazy Weekend...

This is the first weekend in a long time that there's nothing that we *HAVE* to do. So, yesterday we made the hour or so drive to the outlet mall mostly to look for shoes for Dear Hubby and the two older boys, as well as school uniform for Sons #1 & #2. Their uniforms consist of khaki pants or shorts, and navy or white polo shirts. In the winter, they can wear a plain navy sweatshirt over the polo and a coat of their choice. No obvious logos. I like the uniform policy. It's flexible enough that I can bargain-shop, and it simplifies things in the mornings.

Anyway, I found adjustable waist khaki pants in size 8 at the Gap Outlet. My boys are 9 and 11, and size 8 pants are rather big. If they don't grow into them by winter (probably late November for us), I'll deliberately shrink them in the wash. I did it last year and it worked great. Still, I'm hoping for a growth spurt.

We didn't find any shoes at the outlet, but the fragrance store had a Nautica Competition gift set at a great price, but I couldn't talk Dear Hubby into buying it. He likes the scent, but just bought a bottle of one of the men's fragrances from Bath & Body Works and therefore, didn't "need" the Nautica gift set. But it was a bargain! What does 'need' have to do with it?? ;-)

He even rejected my argument that he should buy it now and set it aside for later. He said he'll look for it when he's running low on the other stuff. But it won't be there then, I pointed out. Then it just wasn't meant to be, he countered. Sheesh.

Well, there was a cute little leather accessory (overpriced, of course) at the Coach outlet and they only had one left. It apparently was 'meant to be' so I bought it. It was kismet. Just waiting for me to come along. (See, Dear Hubby, that's how it's supposed to work.)

I would've liked to have spent more time in the Banana Republic Outlet but the kids and I were getting hungry so we left. We ate a late lunch at a place called Logan's Roadhouse. The kids liked the food, but even better, they were allowed - no, encouraged - to throw their peanut shells on the floor.

From there, it was on to Academy Sporting Goods where we loaded on up on school shoes (Sons #1&2), church shoes (Son #1), and work shoes (Dear Hubby), plus adjustable waist khaki shorts. I know my mom has been picking up navy polo shirts so we're probably set for the school year, clothing-wise.

This morning we attended Mass, but it's shaping up to be a rainy afternoon. Nothing to do but hang out and listen to the kids bicker.