Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Anna has a very touching post on her blog about she has resisted the impulse to clean her son's handprint off the wall under the lightswitch. It got me to thinking about one of Son #1's art projects from kindergarten in 2000. Below is a photo and I'll post the poem underneath because I don't think you can read it from the picture.

The poem says:

Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints
on furniture and walls.

But everyday I'm growing...
I'll be grown up someday
And all those tiny handprints
will surely fade away.

So here's a final handprint
Jus so you can recall
Exactly how my fingers looked
when I was very small.

(author unknown)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Oh No You Did NOT Just Say That!!!!

Son #1 comes home from school yesterday. He is my super bright (to see just how bright, check out my Jan. 18th post), very eccentric, very tiny for his age, hyperactive, socially awkward, creative, beautiful child with glasses and a speech impediment. Now, none of these qualities in and of themselves are a big deal. But when you put them all together, I'm a little concerned that some bully might perceived Son #1 as an 'easy mark.' Fortunately he has pretty high self-esteem.

Back to yesterday. I asked, as I always do, how his day at school went. He tells me it was okay, but he got "annoyed" (his word) with his gym teacher. When I asked why, he told me that his gym teacher told him "My dog could play football better than you."

Um, yeah. And I bet your dog could teach physical education better than you do, nimrod! Dear Hubby played every sport there was in high school (the advantage of a small school). Coaches sometimes talk 'smack.' I get that. But IF - and it's a big 'if' - he feels compelled to "joke" like that (I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that he WAS indeed joking), shouldn't he save it for his athletes with whom he has developed rapport, rather than talk smack to the unathletic kid who doesn't even know how to play football? Uh, yeah, what a way to inspire a love for sports, Coach.

I know there are some folks who will suggest that Son #1 and I need to develop a thicker skin, but I really disagree. As a Christian, I try to teach my kids to treat other people with dignity. But I also want them to know that they too should be treated with respect and they should stand up for themselves, tactfully and firmly, when they aren't. In the meantime, though, I 'got his back' (as well as Son #2's and Son #3's).

Fortunately, Son #1's IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting is on Feb. 1st and I will bring it up then since the assistant principal sits in then. His regular teachers are great with kids who learn differently, but I'm far less impressed with the teachers of the other classes like gym and music (I'll save music for another day).

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Drug" Problem???

This is from an email I received today:

The Drug Problem in America

The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, "Why didn't we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?"

I replied: "I had a drug problem when I was young":
I was drug to church on Sunday morning.
I was drug to church for weddings and funerals.
I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather.
I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults.

I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn't put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.

I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profane four-letter word.

I was drug out to pull weeds in mom's garden and flower beds and cockleburs out of dad's fields.

I was drug to the homes of family, friends, and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood;

and, if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.

Those drugs are still in my veins; and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, and think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today's children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place.

~author unknown~

Now, I'm not a big proponent of the woodshed, but to the rest, AMEN!

Monday, January 22, 2007

These Are a Few of My Favorite (Beauty) Things...

~*~*~ UPDATE, Tues. Jan. 23 ~*~*~ Nicole came up with the great suggestion that this could a 'meme' so CONSIDER YOURSELF TAGGED! Go ahead and comment here, but if you feel like playing along, create your own post on your blog. I'll be watching for it!

Time for a nice fluff post. I am such a girly girl. And I'm smart. Except when it comes to the claims of various beauty products. It's not that I actually what the marketers come up with, it's just I really want to believe their claims true. That I can look 10 years (at least!) younger and have smooth skin and poutier lips - all without having to visit the doctor. (Of course the flip side is that I spent so much on beauty products that ultimately disappoint, that I could probably affort that trip to the plastic surgeon's office. ha ha!)

But enough whining, on to my favorite things. I should point out now that this is NOT a pay-per-post. I receive no compensation, commission or consideration in exchange for my opinions. How's that for a disclaimer?

* Favorite Beauty Website: Makeup Alley. I make it a point NOT to buy an expensive skin care/beauty item without checking the product reviews on Makeup Alley first. The folks that post on the review boards, real people like you and me, have saved me a lot of money over the past few years (and yes, I've even posted a few reviews myself).

* Favorite Facial Cleanser: I wish I had one that I really love, but I don't so I tend to switch quite a bit. Because I have roseacea (I have the red flush and broken capillaries, but not really the accompanying acne), I should use a very mild cleanser. I do use Cetaphil, but for me, it's just so-so.

* Favorite Hand Cream: My favorite handcream is Le Couvent de Minimes Honey & Shea from Bath & Body Works. It comes in a silver tube with a yellow label. It's very emollient, yet non-greasy. I like that it lasts through at least a couple of handwashings, before I have to reapply. And it smells yummy. Dear Hubby uses it too. He's man enough not to mind smelling like honey (seriously though, after a few minutes the smell fades).

* Favorite Facial Moisturizer: Because my skin tended to be oily, I rarely used a moisturizer. I know that oil does not equal moisture, but most moisturizers - even oil-free ones - just felt too greasy on my skin. As I'm getting older, though, my skin is more normal-to-oily (it's about time!) so I've been using Vital C Oil-Free Solar Defense Gel (which despite its name, looks like a lotion to me). It's made my Image Skincare, and I buy it at a local day spa. It has SPF 15 and smells great. Given my skin condition, I'd probably be better off with a fragrance-free product, but this is the one that works for me.

* Favorite Foundation: Because of the rosacea and skin sensitivity in general, I prefer mineral makeup. My favorite is Jane Iredale. My shade is Warm Sienna, which took me a while to accept because I'm a 'winter' and tend to look better in cool colors. However, the warm sienna really tones down the redness. It hides the broken capillaries, and feels like I'm wearing nothing at all. That's important to me. I don't like feeling as if I have a lot of goop on my face. It also has a very effective SPF (17, I think). Most makeups tend to fade off of me, Jane Iredale does too, but I find that I can go a few hours without a touch up (other than a dab with an oil blotting paper). A few hours for me is huge!

* Best Exfoliator (scrub): Let me preface with this: I know that people with sensitive skin and/or rosacea should NOT use a scrub, but the reality is this: Despite my normal-to-oiliness, I am prone to flaking. When it gets too bad, I reach for the my Avon Anew Microexfoliant. It has tiny micro-beads, which makes it hard for me to over-scrub. I used to use Buf Puf like an orbital sander, but I'm trying for a gentler approach. I use this Avon product maybe once a week in the winter, less often in the summer.

* Best Exfoliator (chemical): The only one that works on my general flakiness (aside from a chemical peel), is also by Image Skincare's Vital C Line. It's called Hydrating Enzyme Masque and I love it. I use it every other day and keeps most of the flakies at bay. Like the Solar Defense Moisture Gel, this one also has a fragrance. My skin feels hydrated and looks less red after using it. This is probably my favorite product - did I mention that I love it?

* Favorite Lip Plumper: My lips are average and I keep them moisturized, but it's a fact that as a person ages the lips appear to thin out so I'm starting to experiment with plumpers (since sucking the fat out of my ass and injecting into my lips is not yet an option). I've tried a couple with varying degrees of success: Sally Hanson (so-so, but I didn't like the taste), Philip Thomas Roth (worked, but hated, hated, hated the packaging), and Freeze 24/7 Lip Plumper. I just received a sample on Saturday of the Freeze 24/7 Lip Plumper and it's my favorite so far. Most lip plumpers contain ingredients designed to irritate the lips slightly which causes them to swell. It's ironic that I even consider using this, given the fact that I've spent the better part of my life trying to avoid irritation but I digress.... This stuff tastes minty, and does make my lips tingle for quite a while after applying. Kissed Dear Hubby and his lips tingled, too - or do I just have that effect on him after all these years?? ;-) It did feel a little weird, not really unpleasant though, and my lips did appear smoother for a couple of hours so I'll probably end up buying this. It's expen$ive, but I think I saw the smaller size at Bath & Body Works so I might pick it up there before committing to the full size.

* Favorite Eye Cream : I haven't found one yet, but I'm open to recommendations if you know of a good anti-aging eye cream.

* Favorite Eyeliner: I love Clinique's Brush On Gel Liner in Black Honey (a dark raisin color - not quite wine, not quite brown - with a teeny hint of gold flecks). It's a limited edition shade from Winter 2005, and brought back on a limited basis for Winter 2006. I stocked up and have enough to last me for years if it doesn't dry out.

* Favorite Nail Polish: I never wear nail polish on my fingers. My nails are too soft and nail polish starts to flake the first time by hands get wet for more than a nano-second. I do sometimes use Neutrogena Nail Enhancer because it fades off subtly, and dries super fast so I can reapply daily. The downside: It comes in pearl sheen and buff sheen. That's all. I do however, paint my toe nails and splurged the other day on a bottle of O.P.I. The color is the most obnoxious frosted shade of red. Its name is Red Like Roses, but it should probably be called Mid-life Crisis Little Red Sportscar. It struck me as a happy color.

* Favorite Beauty Splurge : Gift-with-Purchase! I'm a sucker for Gift Week at my local Clinique counter. I do use quite a few Clinique products, but I coordinate my purchases for Gift Week at my local department stores (Feb and March, and August and September). Getting free stuff makes me feel less guilty about spending the money. My mother wears Estee Lauder so she ends up sending me her free gifts too.

So there you have it - my beauty picks. Post a comment and let know about some of your recommendations.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Human Encyclopedia

I love that Son #1, age 11 and a half, is a human encyclopedia. I wouldn't say that he has a photographic memory, like Akira Haraguchi who managed to recite pi's first 83,431 decimal places from memory (yes, that's eighty-three thousand decimal places). It took him 16 hours according to wikipedia.com. But I digress....

Back to Son #1. He definitely has the ability to retain and recall a huge amount of information. Planning our upcoming family vacation got me thinking about it. I half-joking asked each of my sons, "where do you think we should go on our family vacation?" We had already been decided, but I was curious to see if it would end up on any one of the boys' lists. (It didn't. But I think that's because I'm always complaining how expensive it is.)

I don't recall what the younger two suggested. Son #1, however, wanted to visit Cyprus. Excuse me? "You know, the Mediterrean island nation." Okay, I've heard of it. He goes on, with this tone that says DUH!: "One of the seats of early civilization? Part Greek, part Turkish?" Oh, that Cyprus. Of course. Uh no.

He can recall the most minute details, arcane facts especially about animals, geography, and past civilizations (both factual and fictional). Son #1 is a Boy Scout. There are many wonderful qualities about scouts, but often it seems, "cool" isn't exactly one of them. Yes, I know there are exceptions. This isn't about one of them. One of the adult leaders in Son #1's troop is a Tolkein buff (Lord of the Rings, etc.). He and Son #1 had a little debate one day. They were trying to stump each other with Tolkein trivia. Little did Mr. E know that in addition to reading The Hobbitt, The Fellowship of the Rings, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, and the unfinished prequel, The Silmarillion, Son #1 also this Encyclopedia of Tolkein characters and can recite their genealogy. Needless to say, Son #1 won the debate. And if he were reading this, he'd point out to me that The Silmarillion was actually completed by JRR Tolkein's son and published after his father's death.

He's a stickler for details. He does drive his teachers nuts a bit, because heaven forbid they get one teensy, unimportant fact wrong, Son #1 will point it out. We're working on his diplomatic skills. His science teacher doesn't seem to mind. She told me she turned the class over to him to teach once because he seemed to know more about certain rock formations that she did. While he was speaking, she was fact-checking the info and sure enough, the little bugger was right.

Which is another issue. He thinks he's always right. It would be really annoying if it weren't true. When he was nine, he wrote a letter to the publisher of a dinosaur book because one of the tables had the name of a particular era (paleozoic, perhaps) listed with the wrong years. The horror! They didn't even bother to respond. He briefly considered returning the book to the store because "it was inaccurate" but ultimately decided to correct the error with his own pen and keep the book because "the pictures were cool."

As I said before, I don't think he has a photographic memory (how does one tell anyway?), but his brain must be hyper-organized that he can recall things so quickly and completely. He can remember the teensiest details about books we've read together six years ago. I don't know where he gets it from. Certainly not from me. I can't remember what I had for breakfast.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

~*~*~*~ VACATION ~*~*~*~

Well, I booked our family vacation yesterday. Guess where we're going next month? I'll give you a hint:

M - I - C (see you real soon)
K - E - Y (why? because we like you!)

Besides revealing my age, did you guess? We're going to Disney, baby! Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL to be precise. I went when I was little back when they first opened. No one else in the family has ever been. I don't know who's more excited - Dear Hubby (who's a big kid himself), me or the kids. Actually, scratch that. Dear Hubby and I are much more excited...because we haven't told the kids where we're going. All they know is that we'll be sleeping in a hotel somewhere in the continental U.S. for 6 nights and that no, we're not visiting Grammy in Washington, DC. I hope I can keep my big mouth shut.

When I was booking the trip the Disney agent told me to be sure that we visit guest services at every park we visit and tell them that we're celebrating Son #3's birthday (we'll arrive on his bday) and there may be a special treat for him. We love special treats!

More later...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Good-Bye, Shenita

Well, Shenita is gone for good it seems, and I actually miss her. Onjjg didn't stick around, and neither did Hxttjvw (or was it Hxttjwv? I can never tell.) If you have no idea what I'm talking about, these are the so-called random "words" that pop up if you have word verification on your blog. I wrote about this in yesterday's post.

Except Shenita was anything but random. Shenita was special. I'm not exaggerating. Shenita accompanied me on all my wanderings through Blogland yesterday. I first met Shenita when I responded to a comment on my own blog. My first thought: Oh, hey, that's an easy one - kind of like a name. Then I moved on to InsuranceMom's blog, posted a comment, and lo and behold, there was Shenita again. I didn't believe it at first so I actually wrote "Shenita" on a post-it on my monitor so I could check further.

Next stop: Flip Flop Mamma's blog. There was Shenita again! (Did you notice that I'm shamelessly plugging the blogs I enjoy in this post?) After Flip Flop Mamma's blog, I stopped by Lala's blog and a few others. Shenita was there every step of the way. She even followed me back to my own blog when I decided to post about her.

Was Shenita stalking me? Is she a ghost in Bloggerland? We'll never know. What I do know is this: I never navigated so easily through blogger. No funny V's and W's mushed together so that they're indistinguishable. Apparently, it was a short-lived visit (Blogger fixed the glitch). End of eulogy.

The fact that I've posted twice in two days on the topic of word verification should give you a hint that things are pretty quiet in my household. Like Shenita, that won't last either.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Today's Rant: Word Verification

It should be considered cruel and unusual punishment for a dyslexic person to have to deal with "word verification." I admit to having Word Verification on my blog - thank you, spammer. Only six people have managed to find my blog. And you, spammer.

So I have Word Verification turned on as many other blogs do. It would be okay if it were actually a word that we're verifying. But those nonsensical series of numbers trip me up every time. I'm not kidding. It takes at least two times to post a comment - even on my own blog.

Today I was experiencing de ja vu. I commented on lala's blog and my word to verify was "shenita" - not too bad, because it almost reminds me of a name. I moved on to someone else's blog, and there it was: "shenita" again. Another blog - also "shenita". Who is this Shenita and why is she following me from blog to blog????

Monday, January 08, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Us!

On January 6th, Dear Hubby and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. That's 81 in dog years. The old 7 dog years = 1 human year is a myth.

Don't believe me? Here it is from a nifty little site called OnlineConversion.com

It says: "It is a common belief that 1 human year is equal to 7 dog years. That is not very accurate, since dogs reach adulthood within the first couple of years. The formula used above is from a canine expert and is a bit more accurate. (as accurate as one can judge these things)

The formula is: 10.5 dog years per human year for the first 2 years, then 4 dog years per human year for each year after."

Isn't that special?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

Do you make resolutions? I do. Do you stick to them? Me either. Okay, I know that some of my more disciplined readers do indeed keep their resolutions. I, however, am pretty "hit or miss" (more miss, actually).

Here's what I posted to my blog a year ago:

Happy New Year! I've made a few resolutions. I thought if I published them here, then perhaps I'll actually follow them. I'll update on my progress from time to time. (Or you can can just check my Jan. 1, 2007 blog and you'll probably see the same ones listed.) :-)

1) lose weight - this has been on my list for the past 15 years
2) drink more water - this is from my 2005 list. I did really well for the first 4 months or so, but I didn't decrease the amount of Diet Coke. 44 oz of Diet Coke + 60 oz of water = a lotta time spent in the bathroom, so I ended up skipping the water.
3) drink less Diet Coke
4) pick a hobby and stick with it for the entire year

Our family resolutions are:
1) less yelling
2) pray the rosary as a family once a week
3) set aside time at least once a week to play a board game as a family (perhaps after the rosary...we play together a lot, but it's often me playing a game with Sam, DH doing something different with Drew, etc.)

As for New Year's wishes, I'm hoping that things stabilize in Iraq so our troops can come home, continued health for my family and, oh yeah, no more hurricanes!

Fastforward to 2007. Let's see how I did. Lose weight? Well, technically I did. Unfortunately I gained it back plus a couple of pounds. Drinking more water? I did manage to add peach-flavored water to my diet. Does that count? Drinking less Diet Coke? Actually, in the past couple of months, I have been drinking less. Stick with a hobby for one whole year? Well, I'm still making beaded jewelry, so I guess I've stuck to this one. We haven't fared as well with our 2006 family resolutions. I *think* there's less yelling, but that one is hard to measure.

So what are my Resolutions for 2007?

1) Lose weight.
2) Exercise at least 3 times a week (my target is actually 5 days, but I'm trying to ease into it).
3) Catch up on all the routine doctor's appointments I put off in 2006 (and 2005).
4) Develop a plan of what I want to do when The Baby starts kindergarten in the fall (such as: do I want to work? part time or full time? or would I rather volunteer? take classes? do I turn my 2006 hobby into a little money-making enterprise?)

Our family resolutions will remain the same, as do my New Year's wishes. I'll try to be more diligent in posting my resolution progress on my blog. Wish me luck!