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.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Little Sexist Humor

But before I get to the joke, I'd like to thank Flip Flop Mamma for inspiring yesterday's Random Musings post. She has a "100 Things About the Flip Flop Mamma" on her blog. I read it awhile ago and when I sat down to do my own shortened version (I could only come up w/ 50), I forgot where I initially saw it. Check hers out - it's great.

On to the silly joke. Uncle Harold emailed it to me and since I've run off the one or two guys who ever checked out my blog (perhaps it was the birth stories), I don't have to worry about offending their sensibilities. ;-)

The Subject: Apples & Wine

"Women are like apples on trees. The best ones are at the top of the
tree. Most men don't want to reach for the good ones because they are
afraid of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they sometimes take the
apples from the ground that aren't as good, but easy. The apples at
the top think something is wrong with them, when in reality, they're
amazing. They just have to wait for the right man to come along, the
one who is brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree.

Now Men.... Men are like a fine wine. They begin as grapes, and
it's up to women to stomp the shit out of them until they turn into
something acceptable to have dinner with."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

50 More Random Musings

I'm having a bit of a writer's block, so here are some random musings...

1. My favorite color is red.
2. I'm dieting - again. This is unusual since it seems that I only diet in months containing the letter 'r'.
3. I don't dress my age. I've blogged about this.
4. On a related note, my mother dresses me. I think I've blogged about this as well. My mom, bless her heart, is a mall rat and is always buying stuff for me on sale.
5. I like shopping for home improvement stuff as much as I like shopping for cosmetics, shoes and handbags. I don't like to shop for jeans (see #2).
6. I was baptized six years ago.
7. I love chocolate.
8. I make beaded jewelry (I've blogged about this, too.)
9. I love my three boys. Four, if you count their dad.
10. I never wished for a girl.
11. I like 80's music
12. I probably know the theme song to every stupid sitcom from the 70's.
13. I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, for which I do not take medication. I haven't ruled it out for the future, but as a stay-home mom, I don't find that it's necessary. Son#1 also has ADHD.
14. I have light brown eyes. I think brown eyes is a dominant trait, yet all 3 of my boys have their dad's blue eyes (recessive trait).
15. I have dark brown hair. How dark depends on how well I'm hiding the increasing number of gray strands. Dark hair is another dominant trait. My three boys inherited their dad's dark blond hair (another recessive trait).
16. When I'm with my kids, I look like the nanny. Remember the old Sesame Street song, "One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn't the same." That would be me.
17. Since my kids didn't inherit my dominant genes, I hope they inherit my coronary arteries.
18. My favorite TV Show is 'Grey's Anatomy'. I also like 'Lost' but the second season started to bore me.
19. I'm a night owl. So is Son#1. He and I stay up late on weeknights (during the summer) and watch reruns of 'Seinfeld', 'Becker', 'Frasier' and 'Yes, Dear'. Thankfully so much of it is over Son#1's head.
20. The ages of my friends range from 26 to 81. No kidding.
21. I like to browse eBay. I scan the auctions, but also some of the discussion boards.
22. I like blogging more than I thought I would.
23. I once decided my kitchen was a mess and instead of cleaning the stove, I repainted the entire room.
24. My master bathroom is a mess. Rather than cleaning the toilet, tomorrow I think I'll replace the faucet in the sink.
25. I shouldn't play favorites, but I really enjoy the company of our greyhound more than I do our beagle. The greyhound is very mellow, the beagle is very hyper.
26. I sometimes think I ruined Son#3. He's the first one I've stayed home with since birth and boy, is he a handful! My other two who were in daycare at least part time when they were babies turned out just fine (so far - knock wood).
27. I didn't watch 'Ally McBeal' often when it was on TV, but I did see one episode where she said that everyone should pick a theme song. I can't remember what hers was - something empowering, I think. My theme song would be 'Fat Bottom Girls' by Queen.
28. Speaking of songs, 'Kung Fu Fighting' - who can NOT smile when that stupid song comes on?
29. I'm very detail-oriented. Would that be anal-retentive or obsessive-compulsive?
30. I love to sing. I stink at it. No kidding. I took voice lessons for a time - just for fun. My vocal coach, a former broadway actress, said that I had good range and great lung capacity. "It's too bad you just don't have a good voice...." We both got a laugh.
31. I don't like to dance. I stink at it, too.
32. I've lived in Louisiana, Michigan and Virginia.
33. I've never been outside North America. I've been to Canada twice (Niagara Falls and Windsor) and Cancun eight times (before it became a spring break destination).
34. I have a bachelors in Communications and a masters in Organizational Development.
35. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
36. My alma mater, George Mason University, made it to the Final Four this year. I don't really like basketball.
37. I have no tattoos. I've considered getting one, but I'm pretty fickle. I'd love it today and hate it tomorrow.
38. I've worn pantyhose twice in four and a half years.
39. Other than for the births of my three babies (I've blogged two out of three), I've never been hospitalized.
40. I was a late bloomer.
41. Someday, I'd like to visit Scotland and the Tuscan Region of Italy.
42. I drink way too much Diet Coke, and not enough water.
43. I hate cockroaches.
44. I have excellent hearing. Sometimes it comes in handy, like when I can hear the mail truck a block away and I'm reminded to run out and put my bills in the mailbox. (hey ~d, Norbert is back on our route). Other times my bionic ears can be a nuisance.
45. I come from a small family (one living parent, one sibling) and we're scattered across the country.
46. I'm not athletic, but I'm handy around the house when it comes to assembling furniture, and fixing things.
47. I love gardening. I have a black thumb.
48. Besides being a night owl, I'm also a bit of an insomniac. I just read an article that talks about how insomnia can exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD.
49. I'm having trouble with the whole 'love thy neighbor' concept. At least literally. The neighbors two doors down drive me nuts.
50. I'm very nearsighted. So is Son#1. I wear contacts, he wears glasses.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Way to Go, Son#2!

Today, Son#2's Cub Scout Pack held a "raingutter regatta" boat race. Each scout was given a balsa wood boat kit several weeks ago to decorate and assemble. Today they raced the boats. The two racing "lanes" consisted of two 10-foot length of gutters, capped at the ends. The kids powered their boats by blowing on them (some cub scout packs use straws, ours blew directly on the boats). Out of 18-20 scouts, Son#2 came in 3rd place over all for speed. He got a nice little trophy. I always knew the kid was full of hot air! ;-)

Friday, July 14, 2006

My New Walkway

It's been a few days since I've posted and here's why. I decided to re-do my walkway. Here's a "before" short - I don't know if you can see it in the photo, but the walkway was approx. 23 feet long by 3.5 feet wide and all grey limestone gravel (3-5" depth).


On Tuesday, I spent six hours digging up the gravel from the walkway and putting it in a pile on a blue tarp on my (also limestone) driveway. My father-in-law expressed interest in my leftover limestone but we haven't even considered the logistics of getting it to his house yet. Fortunately, Son#1 helped for about 3 hours. He's such a hard worker, despite his small size. Son#2 helped for a bit but pooped out early on.

On Wednesday, I spent six more hours digging up chunks of clay, pouring bag after bag of paver sand to level the area, laying the stones (32 lbs each), pouring more sand between the stones. Thursday, I finished it off by adding a layer of pea gravel. Here's what it looks like now:


There seems to be a lot of gravel, but it will settle over time. A couple of you may recognize the garden retaining wall from last summer's post. It's 90+ degrees here in southeast Louisiana. Why do I wait until July to do these projects? And do them during the week when Dear Hubby is at work? Because I'm an idiot. A very achy, tired idiot.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Love & Marriage

This is a continuation of last week’s post in which I discussed disposable relationships, esp. marriage.

I’ve seen the term ‘starter marriage’ used in the media to convey that first, brief, childless marriage usually occurring during or right after college. I know people who’ve had such marriages. I also know people who got married because they discovered they were expecting a baby. Too many of those “Because of Baby” marriages didn’t work.

Now, I’m not saying that it can’t work. But consider: a somewhat shaky relationship between a man and women. Neither have had time to ponder what they want out of life, what they want out of a relationship, what they hope to accomplish individually and together. Now add a complete stranger to the relationship. A totally helpless, dependent stranger who is going to count on you for the next 18 to 20 years. That’s a heavy load for even the most stable relationship.

I myself wasn’t always keen on the idea of marriage. I just didn’t understand my parents’ relationship. It seemed dysfunctional to me, yet they stayed together through thick and thin until my dad’s death in 1991.

I never really appreciated their marriage and the lesson from it until I started these last two posts. For my parents, for some reason (probably religious on her part, who-knows-what on his), marriage was forever.

Marriage = Forever

And that’s the subliminal message I grew up with. And although I’m only 16 and a half years into ‘forever,’ here are my thoughts on love and marriage.

1) Marriage = Forever*
The exceptions would be in cases of physical and/or emotional abuse, some cases of infidelity if – and only if – the trust between the husband and wife can not be rebuilt, and some cases of addiction if the addicted party is unwilling to seek help.

2) As a Catholic, I believe that Marriage is a Sacrament. I stood before God, thanked him for bringing this amazing person into my life and pledged to love him always. For better or worse (fortunately things have been pretty damn good), for richer or poorer (I think we’ve got the poorer part nailed), in sickness and in health (yeah, been there, done that).

3) True or False: Love fades. I guess it depends on what love means to you. If you mean the butterflies-in-the-stomach, can’t keep our hands off each other, just calling to hear the sound of your voice stuff – well, that’s not love. It’s a chemical reaction in the brain (and perhaps a couple of other body parts). Hormones. Lust. And it’s why I believe in long engagements.

4) Love is 10% emotion and 90% choice. Every morning you have the opportunity to choose to love the person lying next to you. No, I don’t wake Dear Hubby and say, “Today I choose to love you and reaffirm my commitment to you. Now how do you want your eggs?” It’s just a brief nanosecond mental note of why we’re together. It’s how I assume responsibility for my marriage rather than putting it on auto-pilot. When you forget to choose, or you’re too busy to choose is when complacency sets in.

5) True or False: Passion fades. Answer: Not necessarily. It’s more like the ocean tide. It ebbs and it flows. Sometimes you have to work at it. Other times, it sneaks up on you by surprise (as it did with my parents – see yesterday’s post). The trick is to have something to keep you in the game, so to speak, during the dry spells. If your significant other is fun to be with, trustworthy, respectful, has a good sense of humor – well, that can certainly carry you through any dry patches.

6) Sometimes you have to redefine “romance.” Dear Hubby still brings me flowers sometimes. We hardly ever hold hands with each other in public as we used to do – we’re usually holding our children’s hands instead. He doesn’t write the love letters that he used to occasionally write. He does, however, make sure the three boys get their baths so I can have a few minutes to myself at the end of the day. That’s pretty romantic to me.

I admit I get a little frustrated when I hear someone say that they’re divorcing because they “drifted apart” or “fell out of love.” I asked a friend who was going through this what she did to try to save her marriage. Did you try to talk it out? Did you try to get away just the two of you to reconnect? Did you try to put the spark back in the relationship? Did you try counseling? Did you try?

Now, I don’t want to offend anyone who had a marriage end. Some marriages just can’t be saved, and I’m sure you have reasons just as good – or even better – than the ones I listed in #1 above. Some marriages should’ve never had happened in the first place. If that’s your situation, then this next statement obviously doesn’t pertain to you. But in this disposable society, I think too many people enter into marriage without ever giving serious thought to what it means. And too many people give up so quickly. Someone once said that “parenthood ain’t for quitters.”

Neither is marriage.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Changing Horses Midstream...

Disposable relationships. Marital do-overs. Not sure where I'm going to go with this, but I was reading the July 6th post on ~d's blog and towards the end she asks, "Do people really change their whole lives mid-life for someone new?" Of course, she mentioned other things, but that one question struck a chord.

The answer to ~d's question, of course, is yes. People do. Brad Pitt did (although, in all fairness, I don't think the horse analogy works when you're talking about Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie, but I digress...). Eddie Fisher did. Out with the old (Debbie Reynolds), in with the new (Elizabeth Taylor). Then consider Henry VIII. Not only did he have six horses, but he sent two of them to the glue factory! (I'm having way too much fun with the horse analogy.)

Dear Hubby's childhood friend (and best man at our wedding) came from a family of do-overs. He has commented to me in front of his third wife that he and Best Man's mother (Wife #1) would still be married were it not for his in-law's. Best Man's father married Wife #2 and started a relationship with a married neighbor, who eventually became Wife #3. They've been together for at least a couple of decades so it appears he finally found The One. (or wait, was "The One" wife #1?) Anyway, Wives #1, #2, and #3 all attended Best Man's own wedding approximately 18 years ago. It was all very civil.

Best Man married his boss's daughter. Not a great career considering the marriage fell apart perhaps 5 years later. No children. Best Man, now divorced and unemployed, joined the military. This was around the time of the first Gulf War. He wasn't sent overseas, but he was sent to Indiana, where he met Wife #2, who had a young son. Instant family. They had two more children together and moved to Best Man's native Louisiana, then back to her native Indiana where they bought a house. Somewhere along the line, Best Man decided to change horses. Out with the old (Wife #2, stepson, two biological kids) and in with the new (Wife #3). The trail stops there. We've been out of touch for several years. It's just as well. I have trouble keeping the names of my own children straight, much less having to keep track of his revolving wives. To this day, he is our most-married friend, a title he's held since his 3rd marriage at the age of 32 in 1999.

My own parents were married for 30+ years. Growing up, I never really understood their marriage. They'd argue (loudly) and bicker (constantly) and I'd wonder why they didn't just get a divorce already. (I was probably one of the few kids who actually wished their parents would split.) But no, they stuck it out. What's the secret? Beats the hell out of me.

Something weird happened nearly 30 years after their wedding. They rediscovered romance. With each other. I was 24 and absolutely mortified! My parents smooching in public. Not the face-digesting public displays of affection you see from adolescents these days. But if you knew my family, then any display of affection - public or private - was, well, alarming. But I didn't go blind as I initially thought I would, and eventually my appetite did return.

This is getting awfully long, so I'll take a break here and pick up the topic another day...

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Boys' Birthday Party

On Saturday, we had a little party at the house to celebrate the Son#1 and Son#2's birthdays which were June 23 and June 17, respectively. If you've been following my blog, then you know that Son#1 and Dear Hubby were at Boy Scout Camp from June 17-24, so we decided to celebrate with the extended family on Saturday, July 1.

The guest list included Dear Hubby's dad and siblings, niece and nephew and the neighbors across the street. That amounted to, what, 14 people in our little 1163 sf house. Nothing fancy. Chips, dips, half a dozen pizzas from Papa John's, and the cake I baked (Son#1 requested chocolate cake with chocolate icing). The electricity went out as soon as the guests arrived and stayed off for over two hours, so we started with the ice cream first (Son#2 requested chocolate). They made out like bandits gift-wise.

I'm going to take Sons #1&2, along with one friend each, out for the day - maybe Chuck E. Cheese and a movie. (Hey, I'm a glutton for punishment).