December 25, 2007

Tea for Two

Merry Christmas! to those who celebrate. Happy Tuesday! to those who don't.

This is a first for me this Christmas. As Steve and I were driving to our favorite Indian restaurant last night, I realized that this is the first Christmas Eve in my life that I haven't spent with my parents and my sisters. This is also the first Christmas morning in my kids' life that I haven't spent with them.

It's a weird holiday season for us. No kids. And since I've had them, my kids are what Christmas is about. Of course, it's still about family and just spending time together, but it's just wrong to not have little ones running around the house.

We just did our celebrating a day earlier this year. And it was great!!! The kids shot off to their Dad's yesterday with the biggest smiles and happiest hearts... just the way it should be for them on Christmas.

Steve and I are off to find the one lone store that might be open today. He'll make me a wonderful dinner later and that will be one more Christmas passed. And it's been a great one, even if a little different.

Merry Christmas.

December 16, 2007

'Tis the season

Some call it Christmas portraits, personally, I think it should be called torture. For both child(ren) and parent(s). That's it! Screw the water tactics... just subject suspected terrorists (or, hell, as the current administration does, subject any ole' one we feel like) to that trauma called Holiday Picture Taking Session.

I mean, seriously, why do we do this? You know, the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. There ya go. Sheer insanity. Let's sum it up, shall we?...

For the sake of discussion, I'll play this out as it does year after year in my house. With the exception of last year, when the entire family was able to be together for this warm, fun-filled, fuzzy event, we have three children of whom we need portraits taken (buzz off grammar police... I suck, I know!). First, you have to schedule the session. This involves deciding what time of the day are you most likely to catch them all in good moods, able to smile without looking either too fake or too scared. Ok, again, for the sake of discussion, we'll assume that such a time actually does exist, we all know that reality is, there is no such time!!!

Eleven in the morning it is. Say... oh, two weeks away (that is, assuming you haven't waited until the last possible minute, as absolutely none of us ever do. Never!). Now, off to the closets to see what hand-me-down clothes you have that can possibly pass for cute Christmas attire. I have to say, I'm very fortunate in this department. There are oodles of girl grandchildren in my family, so there are always way more Christmas-frilly-sparkly-lacy-she'll-never-ever-ever wear-this-dress-again dresses than we can possibly manage in one season. And boys are pretty easy, generally speaking. But, again, for the purpose of discussion, let's assume that you have absolutely nothing for them to wear. You have three kids, they have to coordinate in some way, right?

Off to the stores. Do you start with the girls or the boy? I go for the girls first, my oldest first of those two. She's the hardest to shop for. Five hours, four fights, seven "I hate you"s and thirty-seven grunt / stomp foot combos, you have found absolutely nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Here, oh, picky child... just to get the hell out of the store with something for her to wear in the damn picture, you buy, at full retail mind you, the damn High School Musical tee with the wretched camo pants she just has to have because that is the only thing she has put on that has brought about that oh-so-sought-after smile you are gonna be begging for on said picture day. "Oh well, it'll be okay" you think to yourself. "We'll just put her in the back with the other two in front of her. Only the edge of the solid tee and the khaki of the pants will show, anyway."

You safely pull out the solid emerald green velvet dress for the youngest. At least she'll look festive, with the plaid bow around her waist, gold thread running through it. That is, until she sees big sis' ensemble. Holy Moly!!! "You hate me!" the four-year-old screams, with all the sass and attitude of somebody ten years her senior. Yes, small child, you're right. It's a national conspiracy against you. Nobody on this entire planet ever wants you to own a HSM t-shirt and camo pants, fuggidabouddit, kid. Ain't happenin'. Now, you're quite a bit smaller than your older sister and I can sit on you and make you wear that dress. Still wanna fight!?!?!?!?!?

Ahhhhh.... my boy. Either he really is the gentle, kind soul I think he is, or he sees the raging maniac his sisters have produced in me and he just isn't dare going to tread on that. No way. "Mom, can you put gel in my hair so I look like Danny Zuko?" sigh You know, I could just make extra copies of last year's picture. No one would know, would they????

Picture day. You've got the morning all planned out. Any food or drinks to be consumed prior to picture time is done before any garb goes on. Period. I don't care if you stomach is humming the William Tell Overture. I don't care if your tongue feels like cacti. You are not getting anything to eat or drink after you get dressed. Period!

Of course, the oldest remembers just how pretty her hair was the last time we put hot stix in it. She just has to have them in this morning. Simply has to. What do you think the four-year-old does next??? You got it... hot stix all around!!!! Luckily, I'm getting to be a whiz with these things and, never mind that my neck / shoulder feels like fire pokers are being jabbed into them by the time I'm done, the girls' hair is stunning!!!! The boy... Danny Zuko be damned. We'll save that for Halloween, son, m'kay?

Assuming you actually get out the door any where near the time you had originally hoped for, you arrive on time. But guess what? You wouldn't think for one minute that the portrait studio is running behind, would you? Nah. Oh, hell yes they are!!!! Now, I won't bore you with the recap of the morning... but, we've all just been through what we'll just call 'not fun' and now, NOW you want me to sit here and wait, while my kids hear all of these other children screaming, parents then screaming at their happy kids to SMILE, DAMNIT!!!! And you think my kids are gonna do what????

Now that they are a little bit older (than they were a few years ago, duh! That sounds brilliant!), they just plain ole' get bored. And to tell you the truth, so do I!!! So we sit, and patiently wait... and wait... and wait... and... well, you get the picture (ha! pun intended!).

I'd say I'm pretty lucky. I mean, what do we expect? Put yourself in their little shoes for just one second. We'd no more stand for treatment like that, and then, to be expected to smile??? To put on our angelic faces and actually look like we even like each other??? No way!!!

I'd say I'm pretty lucky...

Let there be light!

A couple of hours after I last posted, the electricity came back on. Off Monday morning, back on Thursday afternoon. It was quite an experience. We've all come out of it unscathed and with a few more survival skills in our arsenal that we just didn't know we needed. We were lucky that we had acquired the camping equipment last summer... and I just love camp coffee!!

The kids just stayed at their Dad's. It seemed silly for them to come home just for an overnight, only to go back with him Friday afternoon. So, for lunch Friday, Steve and I took them out. And now, I'm ready for them to come home. They'll be back tomorrow after school. Short school week (well, four days for them, three for me). We're doing Christmas with my family next Sunday, then they are off back to their Dad's Monday afternoon (Christmas Eve) for another week. Alone time has been nice, but I really prefer the hustle and bustle that is my life. Remind me of that Monday night, will ya?!?!?!?!?

About to wrap up the Christmas shopping via Amazon, I think. I loaded the shopping cart up yesterday and Steve had a peek at it this morning. All seems well and ready for take off. I just have a problem parting with that dough all at once, ya know? When it's $5 here, $10 there, it's not so bad... but all at once?!?!??! Oh well, it'll all be done then and I can breathe again!

So, back to whatever 'normal' is tomorrow. Here's to a happy Monday for all!!

December 13, 2007

In The Dark

We have no power. It’s been out since Monday morning, around eight. Kids dad lost his on Sunday afternoon and it came back on early Monday morning. He went to work on Monday, only to lose power there around noon, so he came to pick up the kids to take them out to his house where they could at very least stay warm. They have been out there since.

Our next door neighbors are on a different transformer than us, and they were only out of power for about 24 hours, from Monday afternoon to Tuesday lunchtime. They have been so kind as to ‘loan’ us an extension from their front lawn lamp. My oh-so-handy husband figured out that it doesn't take much electricity to power our gas heat, so we have a warm house, a couple of lamps and tv. I wouldn't want the kids around all of the cords stretched out around the house and since school has been cancelled for the rest of the week, they are just going to hang out with their Dad until Sunday (it's his weekend, anyway).

We just got internet back, literally five minutes ago. We've been checking email by sitting in a parking lot of a business where Steve maintains the network. Fortunately, with the extension from next door, we can keep cell phones and laptops charged. Been catching up on some reading I've been wanting to get to. Considering re-thinking that Christmas camping trip we've had planned. This may be the only taste of winter camping we'll need for a long while.

There are some beautiful pictures all over the web. This ice storm has made national news (we're in Oklahoma, in case some don't know). Check out one of our local news sites to see some pictures. Seeing the ice was a weird combination of scary and beautiful. And the noises... oh, the sounds of large branches cracking, followed by the crackle of the ice hitting the ground just before the crash and boom of the limb hitting where it may... sometimes on the ground, sometimes on cars or roofs of houses. I hardly slept Sunday night... it sounded like a war zone... in a really weird, creepy kind of way. You'd just lay in bed, listening to the sounds and with each crack, you just close your eyes and hope that branch isn't the one just above your bedroom.

We're fortunate. We're warm and luckily, we've had no property damage at all. We've got each other and fortunately, we're not sick of each other, yet. I think that's where I feel the luckiest... I'm truly married to someone I actually enjoy the company of. Nothing like hibernating in the cold and dark for hours on end to confirm that.

We've got a snow 'storm' headed this way, due to be here tomorrow evening. They aren't sure just yet how much we'll get, which is par for the course where we live. Seems we're always on that 'line' where it could go either way. So, here we sit... waiting for the lights to come back on. They are saying that everyone will have power by the middle of next week, hopefully, the majority by the weekend.

So, we're alive... kids are safe and warm... and I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful man to be 'stuck' here with.

I'm happy.

December 7, 2007

Dear Santa,

Can they please stay just like this?

'cuz they are growing up way too fast.

December 2, 2007

You've just gotta try this!!!

Real quick... go to Google... type in "my husband is useless" and look at the second (at the time I'm typing this) result.


I love you, sweetie :)

I'll never get it

* warning: the subject matter of this post may be disturbing ... Screw that! The subject matter of this post is definitely disturbing beyond my most horrific nightmare!!!

Today was pretty mundane. Could have something to do with the fact that we were up until five this morning singing. Or the fact that we didn't roll out of bed until almost noon (hey, that wasn't even a full eight-hour night!). Either way, we didn't do much other than browse the flea market, do laundry and manage take-out.

Steve had a little bit of excitement. At least, he claimed ownership of a mission this afternoon. In the process of getting screwed by a major corporation, I perused the internet looking to see how many others have been screwed by said company (turns out, there are thousands, but that's not why I'm writing this).

In the course of 'googling', I came across this article. Sick. Truly sick. Absolutely no other words to describe it.

In summary, if you don't feel like clicking to read the whole insanely gross story, sometime late in July this past summer, a beautiful little girl was allegedly murdered. By her mother and step-father. Who then hid her body in a container in their shed for more than a month, then dumped the container into Galveston (TX) Bay. The container was found by a fisherman in late October.

For about a month, this poor little girl was simply known as "Baby Grace" while investigators desperately tried to identify her. In short, she was identified and the whole horrific story continues to unfold.

As a mother, and I like to think that while I don't remember much of my life before children (I seem to have left my brain in the labor and delivery ward of the local hospital), even before I became a mother, there isn't one single fiber of my being that can understand how anyone could ever cause harm to a child, let alone their own.

I'm the first one to jump to the defense of mentally incompetent people, and I don't pretend for one minute that all people all the time are in control of their behavior. I fully concede that there are factors in this woman's life that I don't know about. I am not put on this earth to judge, please don't miss my point. While lots of things may explain why these things happen, they do absolutely nothing to excuse.

There is nothing and I mean nothing on this planet, in this world that would ever, ever bring me to bring any kind of barbaric situation to my children. Nothing. I would lay down my life for them, in an instant, without hesitation. And it is totally beyond my comprehension that any mother could not only cause harm to their child, but bring them to their death at the hands of the very one who is supposed to protect. Beyond. My. Comprehension.

I suppose, in retrospect... there really is no point to this post. Other than when I found that article, first, I was surprised that this was the first I had heard of this story, as Texas in only next-door and I try to stay on top of news events, especially 'headlines'. Second, my heart just broke for this little girl. Not to mention that she bore an eerie resemblance to my youngest. It just struck a chord in me that I didn't even know was there.

Rest in peace Riley Ann Sawyers. You'll never be hurt again.

December 1, 2007

I've failed

I just realized, as I was bragging on my eldest (well, the eldest of the five who actually sprang from my loins), that I've let down The Diva.

Last month, The Diva was honored as a Knight-in-Training for Resourcefulness and Pride. This award is similar to student-of-the-month, but carries a little somethin' special, as an 'actual' Knight (Steve always squirms when they say this at the assemblies. He's close to demanding to know if his Queen actually knighted these guys, or if they are phonies... but, for the sake of the kids, he restrains himself!) performs the ceremony. (Another digression - must stop this - Steve and I wish they'd call on Sir Elton himself to do the knighting... although, that probably wouldn't go down too well here in the buckle of the Bible Belt).

So, for the month of October, my baby, The Diva was honored and selected out of all the students in her pre-kindergarten class as one who exemplifies the characteristics of Resourcefulness and Pride.

You go, Diva!!!

Yet another Mommy Brag!!

The elementary school our kids attend has a monthly 'awards assembly' of sorts. It's called the Knighting Ceremony, or "KnightLife" as the kids refer to it. Each month, in grades one through five, two girls and two boys are selected from each grade who exemplify the characteristics chosen to be recognized for that month. Oh, of course, they encourage all kids to be model students all throughout the year, but lets be realistic... they're kids!!! So, each month, two particular 'virtues' are identified and the kids are chosen because they, particularly, stand out as modeling said qualities.

They do a similar award for the kindergarteners and pre-k'ers, as well, only they are awarded as "Knights-In-Training", which, I, myself, think is particularly cute!!! (Ack! I just realized I failed as a 'Mommy Bragger'!!! The Diva was just bestowed such honor last month and I didn't post it!!! I swear I thought I did!!! Bad, bad Mommy!!! I'll get on that, just as soon as I'm done here!!!)

The ceremony is a pretty big deal for the kids. All week, leading up to it, my three are hounding me every afternoon with, "Mom, did you get any calls from the school? Huh? Huh? Did ya??" (a 'call from the school' would mean that they notified me that my child would be knighted so that I could take off work to attend the assembly). Of course, whether or not we receive a phone call, the answer to the kids is always, "No". I've tried telling them that even if I did receive a call, I wouldn't tell them, anyway, as it is supposed to be a surprise, duh!!!

So, yesterday, for exemplifying cooperation and patience, my oldest daughter was knighted! (I won't go into all the drag here, but I really should mention what a long way she's come. If you had known her even a few years ago, and I was telling you the qualities she was being knighted for, you would honestly look at me like I had green snakes for hair and purple teeth. Suffice it to say, she's come a long way, baby!!!) She's worked really hard and is turning into such an adoring young lady!!! We are just so proud of her! An honor she quite well deserves!!!

Yea, Mac!!! You rock!!!

November 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Joe!

I've only known you for a few years now, but I can honestly say that I truly love you as if you were my own. I wish there were words to tell you how much you mean to me, what an amazing spirit you have that just permeates your being. You are never out of my mind, or my heart. I miss you, Joe.

Happy Birthday, Beanie!!! Welcome to 'Teen-ager-dom'!!! We love you.

Wordless Wednesday

November 19, 2007


That would be me this happy holiday season.

Tom and Joe won't even be here until (hopefully) spring. I didn't even want to get a "family" picture made this year because it would just have two empty spots in it. That's not like me... an opportunity to have even more pictures to slap in frames around the house? Miss it? Nah... never! Yup. My three looked adorable, sweet, deceiving. It just didn't feel right.

Juggling being available for the kids, working, trying to build a business = no money this year. What's new, right? Oh, one funny, tho... guess who got a speeding ticket? Here's a hint: it wasn't me! Mr. "Jodie, you drive way too fast. Here, you just sit over there in the passenger's seat and be quiet while I set the cruise control on 60 mph. I don't care if we're on the turnpike and the speed limit is 75! Check out my gas mileage graph on my Palm!! Oh, look at yours - down, down, down. Slow down, Darling!!!" had a lil' bit o' lead foot... in a school zone, no less!!!! Yes, folks, there is a God... and she gave me a well deserved high-five last week, the day he called asking where in the hell the insurance verification was! I'd laugh harder if it wasn't going to cost us so damn much.


My first Christmas morning without my kids. Without watching their little faces go from all sleepy, gooey, squinty-eyed to Wow!!! in 3.2 flat. Goes with the territory, I suppose. Doesn't mean I have to like it.

I know! How about we just skip Christmas this year. Yeah! I'll go to bed on the 24th, and wake up, and it will be the 26th and it will all be past me.

Maybe we'll get that winter camping get-away afterall...

November 4, 2007


I picked them up from school on Wednesday, a little bit early since Mac had an Awards Assembly (which she SWEPT thankyouverymuch - I'm not proud at all!!!) and escaping from that parking lot even 10 minutes early can literally save my sanity. Ever try bitching at the woman who blocked your car in when said woman can't understand. a. word. of. English.? Not fun, especially when the counselor had her arm across my chest, waving the other mother on. Can you tell I was pissed???

So, we get home a few minutes earlier than usual. They promised homework completed and to give me 'Mommy time with coffee and Steve' - a MUST, especially for what they were about to demand from me...

Into our bedroom we go, an hour later, these three 'creatures' emerge...

allow me to introduce...

Princess of the Underworld

Jack Sparrow


Scary Witch

My cute little blonde-haired, blue-eyed kids became black-haired (one with dredlocks!) wannabe scary creatures. I'll give them creepy, maybe even freaky, but scary... nah. But I'd never tell them that!!!

Now, what was scary... them, upon returning home way too late for small children on a school night, much too full of sugar for any 200 pound adult... confinement in a shower for what seemed like an eternity... trying desperately to find the blonde hair they were born with (it appeared, several shampoos later, although, my bathtub will never be the same!). Thursday came, with them still bouncing off the walls. And Friday? They were all Steve's! ha.

October 22, 2007

My "baby"

It's hard to believe that nine years ago today, I was in the hospital, anxiously awaiting the birth of my first-born... would it be a boy or a girl? I won't rehash the long, drawn out birth story, although, I remember it like it was yesterday. Detail after detail.

At 3:36 pm my daughter entered this world. And life, as I knew it, changed forever. And I couldn't be happier!

Happy Birthday, Mac. You are growing up so fast! What a beautiful, strong, intelligent young lady you have become. We are so incredibly proud of you, darling. To put it into words simply would not justify. I love you!!

(Edited to add: in my effort to be efficient, I wrote this post last night to post this morning, so the date is wrong - when time allows, I'll fix it - but in the meantime, it should be October 23rd!)

October 7, 2007


I bet that when she was born, forty-three years ago, her mother imagined a wonderful life for her daughter. A wonderful, long life, full of happiness and love for her daughter. As all mothers, I'm sure the thought of out-living her daughter simply never crossed her mind.

I bet that with the birth of each of her own four children, she, too, imagined long, full lives bursting with happiness and love and contentment. Four lives that she would have the honor of sharing, of being a part of for a very long, long time.

Early yesterday morning, Sherry lost her battle with breast cancer.

It's not fair. It's not fair that her mother has to experience every mother's worst nightmare... burying your child. It's not fair that her husband had to become a widower at too young an age. It's not fair that she didn't get to see three of her four children enter high school, that she didn't get to see any of them graduate, go to college, get married. Their own children will never get to meet their grandmother. It's just not fair.

And it's not fair that my sister, only in her thirties, now has to face life without her best friend.

I'm angry. But mostly, I'm sad.

I know there isn't much I can do. So I do what I can. I spend the extra few cents on yogurt to get the ones with the pink tops. I buy pink ribbon apparel whenever I can afford it. I joined TeamWhyMommy. I click. And even though I don't have two nickles to rub together most of the time, I donate every. single. time. I'm. asked.

I want this to end. I don't want any more children to lose their Mom way too early. I don't want any more husbands to be left alone. I don't want any more women to lose their best friends.

I want to help find a cure.

So, Jen, if there's anything I can do, or if you just want to vent, yell, scream, talk, cry... I'm here for you. And I'm so, so sorry.

(My sister, Jennifer, and Sherry - October 2006)

September 30, 2007

Slowed to a (non-existent) crawl

That would be my blog. I knew I would slow down once school started, but jeez! I didn't think I'd actually stop! I bow to those of you who really can do it all... kids, work, running from here to there and everywhere in between at warp speed, and blog! Not me. Seriously, I've even stopped drying my hair in the morning. I rely on the gentle breeze from the car window and the can of White Rain I keep at school to complete my beauty regime.

The kids are doing well at school. Mac has settled into her routine. Who knew third grade would be so hard? And demanding? Man! the homework that kid has! We've established the "20 minute rule" for her. After school, she gets 20 minutes to herself to 'unwind' (read: chill out so she won't scream at everyone). In that time, she doesn't have to do anything at all. Her room is off limits to the others and she can just sit and veg... watch tv, listen to tunes, nap... whatever she wants, in order to emerge a kinder, gentler Mac. It seems to be helping, even though we have to remind her once in a while to take it. "Mac, step away from the knife drawer, pull the Diva off of your left foot, and go. to. your. room. NOW!"

Unfortunately, however, it would seem she's inherited her mother's OCD gene, as far as school work goes (trust me, it could be put to waaaaay better use in that wretched bedroom of hers, but I should really pick my battles). She usually doesn't have to be told to get started on homework and if she gets stumped, look out!!! She enjoys a challenge, does Mac, we just need to teach her how to embrace the challenge, rather than spewing pea soup and doing that head-spinning trick. She's going to be just fine... and I can't imagine it possible to be more proud!!!

Mr. Mic... my darling son... is certifiable! Seriously. Six years old... in first grade... and he's already tried to 'change' the weekly discipline report from his teacher. He honestly thought that he could take a ball-point pen, scribble over the numbers his teacher wrote in sharpie and add stars... and that I wouldn't notice!! I don't think he'll be trying that again!!! He is reading at a mid-fourth grade level and smokin' all the others with his AR (Accelerated Reader) points, even his older sister!!! (we won't go into what kind of sibling rivalry that evokes... 20 minutes, Mac, 20 minutes!!!)

He's playing soccer again this year and what a difference a year makes!!! He's gone from the little lanky kid who was only on the field to either dance or attempt to take flight... clueless that a game was going on around him... to one of the best players on his team!!! Not only is he right in the middle of the action, kicking and often emerging with the ball in his control... but, he can often be seen actually anticipating the play and calling out for his teammates to pass it to him or running ahead to make a steal from the other team's Neanderthal. Next on the list, Steve's going to teach him how to tackle properly (even though I've told him this is really soccer, Steve... not football!!!) He scored his first goal yesterday!!! (the only game I couldn't be at all season :( )

The Diva. Oh, The Diva! Steve reckons that once she gets the school to learn her rules, she'll be just fine!!! She's come home with 2 yellow dots (they get stop-light colored dots each day for behavior... green is good) so far, the first one had her in complete and total devastation... the second, well... all I can say is that if a kid scratched me on the face, I'd tackle her ass, too!!! She's over that and just amazes me more and more every day. I'm over the crying in the morning because I'm sending my baby off to school, thing. She's got the world as her playground and she is loving life!!! And I wouldn't have it any other way!!!

Autumn is desperately trying to make its appearance here in Oklahoma. Cooler nights are beginning to creep in and we would LOVE another camping trip before winter. Not sure if it is going to happen, but doesn't stop us from hoping. Planning Mac's 9th Birthday party (she finally settled on a skating party... personally, I don't care, as long as it's not at home, so I don't have to do all the cleaning). Trying to save every penny so we can get Tom and Joe across the pond by Christmas. Anyone know how I can get two tickets from England for, oh, I don't know, about 20 bucks each???????

So, to all two of you out there who pop in from time-to-time... thank you, and I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I don't get in here much for your reading pleasure. I know how riveting my life is and how you just long for that edge-of-your-seat play-by-play that is my life... I really promise to try to do better, but I can tell you right now that I won't!!! Maybe I'll make a pact with myself... at least one post / week? Even if it is just a couple of lines saying why I'm not posting. Fascinating.

(Meanwhile... for your viewing pleasure... the loves of my life...)

August 20, 2007

Things you have to do but just don't want to...

... send your baby off to school.

I've survived the older two, they started third grade and first grade today. They are old pros now, skating in like they own the place. Poor Mac, struggling to get to sleep last night, so frustrated, said, "But, Mom! I've known Mrs. Payne (her teacher this year, who was her brother's pre-k teacher a couple of years ago) for years!! I'm not *nervous*!" Michael had his own issues yesterday evening, dealing with the anxiety and excitement that permeates the night before the first day of school. He finally settled down, quite well, I might add, and managed a pretty good night's sleep and an even more spectacular day today.

But, Nat. My baby. I have to let her go. Poor thing. We've built this and built this all summer... her going to school with the 'kids' in August. We found out a few days ago that she wouldn't exactly start at the same time. She had to go this morning to schedule her "Pre-K Assessment"... so, we explained this to her. That she would be taking a test on Monday, then hanging out with Steve for the rest of the day and Tuesday, and will make her big start on Wednesday. Much to our surprise, she wasn't really too disappointed. And when, last night, she woke up just inconsolable, crying in her sleep, only to be comforted in the knowledge that Steve wouldn't leave her side all day today. She told me she was scared. Of taking her test. She's only *four*!!!

So, as I'm running through the list with Steve last night (he *is* a guy, after all)... make sure Michael's hair is brushed... do you know where the bands are for Nat's hair?... teeth cleaned... what's for breakfast? He smiled and commented that he likes it when I go into my 'panicky mother' mode (really... he ain't seen nuttin'!!). Then, he explains to me that he has earned this with Nat. He has put in the hard time and by gosh, this is his!

And he's right, you know. She was eighteen months old when he came into our lives. The older two had their adjustment periods, but, generally, have been fine. Nat, on the other hand, really wasn't even talking when he appeared. Thank goodness! Because I can only imagine the vile that would have spewed from her little mouth. Let's just say that there was a lot of grunting, moaning and growling coming from her in his general direction. And now? Well, they are inseparable.

For the last (almost) nine years, I've had a baby at home, or at least someone who needed full-time care. Wednesday, that comes to an end. And that school will never be the same...

Go get 'em girl! Make us proud!!!!

July 26, 2007

Blatant plagiarism

Well, maybe not blatant, but I am copying, with permission. Because I think this is important. Very important. And since I've not been around to post much lately (I promise, I'm going to work on catching up very soon) and I know I won't be able to post much in the very near future (I'm sure the suspense is just killing all of you... ha!), this post will stay on top for a while (since I haven't quite figured out how to do that 'sticky' thingy that would keep it on top anyway).

Dunno if you've been here before and noticed the 'Team WhyMommy' button in my sidebar, or if this is your first time to visit (Thanks!)... please click on the pink button over there ------> and then, please, keep reading here...

It's late and I'm tired, so I'm just going to copy and paste this post from WhyMommy because she said I could and because, as I said before, IT'S IMPORTANT!!!!!

Without further ado (wow - that's really how you spell that word??? It is. I just checked on!) and with prayers going her way every single day...

(reposted with "permission")

Inflammatory breast cancer
Monday July 23rd 2007, 3:11 pm
Filed under: About Us / Favorites, breast cancer

We hear a lot about breast cancer these days. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and there are millions living with it in the U.S. today alone. But did you know that there is more than one type of breast cancer?

I didn’t. I thought that breast cancer was all the same. I figured that if I did my monthly breast self-exams, and found no lump, I’d be fine.

Oops. It turns out that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer. Six weeks ago, I went to my OB/GYN because my breast felt funny. It was red, hot, inflamed, and the skin looked…funny. But there was no lump, so I wasn’t worried. I should have been. After a round of antibiotics didn’t clear up the inflammation, my doctor sent me to a breast specialist and did a skin punch biopsy. That test showed that I have inflammatory breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer that can be deadly.

Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed as mastitis because many doctors have never seen it before and consider it rare. “Rare” or not, there are over 100,000 women in the U.S. with this cancer right now; only half will survive five years. Please call your OB/GYN if you experience several of the following symptoms in your breast, or any unusual changes: redness, rapid increase in size of one breast, persistent itching of breast or nipple, thickening of breast tissue, stabbing pain, soreness, swelling under the arm, dimpling or ridging (for example, when you take your bra off, the bra marks stay – for a while), flattening or retracting of the nipple, or a texture that looks or feels like an orange (called peau d’orange). Ask if your GYN is familiar with inflammatory breast cancer, and tell her that you’re concerned and want to come in to rule it out.

There is more than one kind of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer out there, and early detection is critical. It’s not usually detected by mammogram. It does not usually present with a lump. It may be overlooked with all of the changes that our breasts undergo during the years when we’re pregnant and/or nursing our little ones. It’s important not to miss this one.

Inflammatory breast cancer is detected by women and their doctors who notice a change in one of their breasts. If you notice a change, call your doctor today. Tell her about it. Tell her that you have a friend with this disease, and it’s trying to kill her. Now you know what I wish I had known before six weeks ago.

You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer.

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P.S. Feel free to steal this post too. I’d be happy for anyone in the blogosphere to take it and put it on their site, no questions asked. Dress it up, dress it down, let it run around the place barefoot. I don’t care. But I want the word to get out. I don’t want another young mom — or old man — or anyone in between — to have to stare at this thing on their chest and wonder, is it mastitis? Is it a rash? Am I overreacting? This cancer moves FAST, and early detection and treatment is critical for survival.

Thank you.

Please, talk about this. Do your self-check. Know your body. Pay attention to it. Listen to it.

July 12, 2007

The boy and the Diva

(as a preface to this post, I have to put here that this morning, waking up from the night that was last night, I'm sitting on the pot - I know, TMI - and Mic stopped what he was doing, came in the bathroom with the biggest smile on his face and came straight to me with the biggest hug I've had from him in a while. That was it. He didn't want anything. He was just happy to see me. Not a word was spoken, just that hug. What a wonderful way to wake up!!!)

I've shared before how much I adore my son (all of my children, of course, but this one is particularly about him). His heart, his gentleness just amazes me every time I see it.

Today, the Diva comes to me with a 'chapter book' in her hand. I had actually bought this one for Mac, but when the Scholastic order came in, I realized that I had ordered several books for Mic and Mac and none for the Diva. So, as Mac was uninterested in this particular book, it became property of The Diva.

So, book in hand, she seeks me out on the driveway, saying to me, "Mommy, I want you to show me how to read." Giggling, I start to try to explain to her that I can't just teach her to read in a matter of minutes, that maybe we'd better start with working on recognizing her letters. She claims she already knows her letters and is ready to read... this chapter book. Ooookkkkaaaayyyyy.

So, we go inside... crawl up on to my bed and open the book. "Socks". We start with the title. I point to the "S"...

me: Diva, what is that letter?
Diva: 2!
me (again, through giggles): No, Honey, that's an "S"
-by this time, Mic has crawled up next to us and is giggling with me. Remember, this is the boy who basically taught himself to read at the age of 4. Very well, I might add.

I point to the next letter, which she, again, doesn't know.

me: What's this letter?
Diva: (silence)
Mic: Diva, that's an "O"
Diva: O
Mic: Good job!
me: (giggling, and pointing to the C) What's this letter?
Diva: (silence)
Mic: That's a "C"

You can guess the rest... this routine continues with me pointing at letters, her deafening silence and Mic helping her out.

So, after painfully not being able to get through the title, I suggest she go and find her Leap Frog toy thingy that works with just the letters of the alphabet. Mic goes into his room and pulls out a more advanced Leap Frog alphabet machine and brings it in. Diva can't find the one I've sent her for, which I happen to remember last seeing it under our bed. I send her there to find it, but in the meantime, she decides she wants the one he's found and the fight begins.

I won't go into the details of the brawl between the 6 and 4 year-olds, but when Mic screamed, "Mom, she just kicked me in my nuts!" (yes, we allow our children to speak that way!!! egads!!!!), Steve thought it might be time to step in to referee, but not before telling Mic to "move your nuts, then!".

Fight over.

The point of this is that once the bloodshed ended, there was this magical moment between big brother and little sister... him teaching, her learning. He was the best cheerleader, teacher, mentor, brother. He would point at a letter, press the button. The machine would say the letter, then make the sounds that the letter makes. Mic then had Diva repeat the sounds of the letter, after each repeat, he would say, "Good job!" or "Yes. You're doing great!" or various other affirmations. Safely (emotionally - read 'Funky' posts of late) cuddled in my husband's arms, I just laid on our bed as they sat on our floor, listening to the exchanges between the two of them.

Eyes closed, smile permanently planted on my lips, for just that moment, all was just right with the world.

(this would be the day after The Diva's birthday, where she got a ton of make-up and Mic happily obliged when she wanted to "share" - yes, that is an earring on his ear!)

Funky feelings

So, yeah, posting that last night helped a little bit. Very little, but it did help. This one is really sticking around for some reason. Sometimes, I feel like I'm a volcano of emotions and feelings and things that just need to be said... gotten out... and at any second, unbeknown to me, I'm going to just erupt. Unannounced, unprovoked, out of the blue. And risk it all. Like if I show the 'real me', I won't be lovable anymore.

Wow? Where in the hell did all of that come from? Way down deep, I tell you. Territories I don't even dare to tread.

Guess maybe I'd better start getting my toes in.

July 11, 2007


Ever just get into a 'funk'... you know, just feeling down, sad.

I guess it's symptomatic of depression, but I really don't think that's necessarily the case for me. I've lived with depression, and because of that, I am probably more prone to suffering again, but, I'll just, for the purpose of this vent, clarify that I really don't think it's reached that point. yet.

At this moment, what I want to do is crawl under my covers, turn off my phone, disconnect the doorbell and stay there. For however long it takes.

I think I know why I'm feeling like this. Not quite ready to go to that level in 'blog-land' just yet, tho. Sorry. I'm sure most will understand.

Thing is, if I'm right about what has put me into this funk, my problem is that there is just absolutely nothing I can do to change it. I know, because I've been here before. It's all me and I can't fix it.

Ever been at a point in your life where you just have everything you've ever dreamed of having? Healthy (I wouldn't dare type p-e-r-f-e-c-t), happy kids... a wonderful marriage... a doting, couldn't-have-hand-picked-him-any-better-if-I'd-tried husband... way too many pets who just fit in this family perfectly... a great job that I absolutely love (finally found one I can actually see myself doing for a long period of time, instead of dreaming up excuses to call in sick)... a 'purpose'? Yet, at the same time, your self-confidence feels, at times, like it is at an all time low... you can't remember a time in your life where you felt like crying at the drop of a hat so often... you've got it so good, you're constantly waiting for the "other shoe to drop"... possibly creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by single-handedly, subconsciously sabotaging it all at the same time?

I often think it's hormones. About three years ago, I had a 'work-up' with my gyn, and the tests, then, indicated that I'm pre-menopausal, more so than the average (then) 32-year-old. These results didn't surprise me... I started my period much earlier than my peers, developed much earlier, so, I naturally expect for it all to come to the crashing end sooner, as well. Which, honestly, is fine... I'm certainly done having children and the sooner I can stop having to bother with my 'monthly visitor', the better. But, jeez! If this *is* hormones, I don't know if I'd rather just flow once a month for the rest of my life, rather than feel like shit.

I dunno... sometimes it's cathartic just getting it out. Or, I may not even post this, or delete it when i get up in the morning. ::shrug::

I have to say, mostly because I know he feels so helpless when I'm like this, that Steve is wonderful to me. He knows. He just does. And it kills me to see him feel the way he does when I'm freakish. I'm not going to sit here and pretend that we have a perfect marriage... but it works for us... very well. I've (obviously) been married before and I can remember, looking across the table at 'him', thinking, this is it? this is where I'll be in 50 years? I was one of those wives who wondered what in the hell would be left when the kids leave home (and I was still having babies!!!). I knew I was looking at someone who I would never, in a million years, chose as my friend, so what in the hell was I doing with him as my husband? So, I got out. And now, I look at Steve and I can't wait for tomorrow to come... I can't wait for next week to come... I look forward to every single second I spend with him and just hope and pray that we get an eternity of moments together. I can't imagine life without him and actually look forward to looking across the table in 50 (God willing) years, and seeing him sitting there staring back at me (I may have to wipe his drool, or his ass... but, hell, I even look forward to that... crazy, huh?!).

I'm in a funk. And it sucks. It sucks real bad.

I'm going to go under the covers...

July 7, 2007

I wish I could help

I've been trying to catch up on some of my favorite blogs lately. I've gotten quite a bit behind, what with all of our camping escapades, yet to be updated (I know, I know... I promise to get on that, too!).

For those of you who are new to this whole idea of blogging, as am I, you should know that 'out there' exists an entire other entity known to many as the 'blogosphere'. People who wouldn't otherwise even know of each other's existence get to know each other, some becoming very close (not unlike the way Steve and I met, for those of you who know our story). Often, these people never actually meet in person, yet very strong bonds can be formed over simple internet connections.

A few years ago, my sister's best friend found out she had breast cancer. She continues to fight the fight and has many people in her corner. When I learned of her diagnosis, I, as I'm sure many others did, felt completely helpless. I wanted to do something, but what? So I prayed, in my own way, and kept her healing in my thoughts.

A little over a year ago, I, too, had my own scare, which thankfully turned out to be nothing. But I can tell you, firsthand, the emotions you go through as you wait to 'find out' are heart wrenching, to say the least. I decided then, that if I do nothing more than display a pink ribbon on my car, I wanted to do *something*.

So, as I was catching up on my reading, read: poking my nose into other people's lives, I came across this post, which lead me to this blog, which, in turn, led me to Team WhyMommy. (see how it all works... links to this, links to that... before you know it, there's this whole online network of really close people)

I have to say, I don't know any of these people personally. I only take a peek into the parts of their lives they want to share, and sometimes, these parts can be pretty personal. But, I just feel compelled to 'do something'. What, I'm not sure, yet, but I guess it can all start here.

Please, take a moment, a minute, a second and say a prayer (if you pray) or just send a positive, healing thought to what or whomever you send those types of things to. And maybe send out an extra one or several, for all women fighting this brave fight. Just so they know they aren't alone.

July 4, 2007

Today is special

On this day, in 1959, the love of my life entered this world. And it's never been the same since...

I'm so grateful for this day. Steve, you have shown me that it's possible to live a life happier than I ever imagined, yet always dreamed of. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect husband, father or man. You are so special to so many people for many different reasons. Thank you for being you.

Happy Birthday, Darling.

(Steve's birthday, 2005)

June 29, 2007

It gets worse...

So, Steve's working tonight... when I was chatting with him, I told him to check out my blog if he had a sec, to see my 'blog rating'. He clicked on it to check out his rating and, while playing around over there, put my site url in... *now*, I get

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

* poop (5x)
* gay (4x)
* fart (3x)
* hell (2x)
* kill (1x)

Jeez... won't my Mom be proud????

Ok, I promise... I'm done with this ;)

June 28, 2007

I'm shocked!

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

  • bitch (4x)
  • shit (3x)
  • poop (2x)
  • hell (1x)

I'll give ya the other three, but "poop"? My blog got an *R* rating because, in part, I used the word "poop" twice??? WTF????

(I got this link from one of my fav blogs that I read religiously... check it out)

June 27, 2007

Give a girl a fish, she'll eat for a day. Teach a girl to fish...

... and she'll brag about it 'till the cows come home!!!!

I wasn't actually taught to fish today, my Dad took care of that way back in the day.

I love to fish, usually. I find it relaxing and just plain enjoyable. I haven't fished for years, well over ten. With our love of camping and outdoors-y stuff of late, a new fondness of fishing has been sparked.

I'm really enjoying seeing the kids become interested in it. Today, we loaded up the truck and set off to one of the local lakes for an afternoon just gettin' our hooks wet and to check out the campsites.

Steve recently purchased two Zebco 33 combos for Mac and I. These are the easiest reels to learn (Mac) on and I just plain prefer them... because they are easy.

I like fishing with a bobber the best. I actually prefer live bait (minnows), but I'm learning to respect and appreciate our scaled friends, so I'm sticking with the fakies from now on.

We hadn't been casting for very long when I sent one pretty far out and as the bait and bobber were hitting the water, the fish hopped up and gobbled up my little blue rubber crawdad-looking thing. The bobber went under just as soon as it made contact with the water. It all happened so fast, I was really caught off guard.

But... I got the last laugh, Mr. Fishy... Reeled him in, all the while, the kids and I yelling for Steve because, as much as I love to fish and love catching them even more... I do not take the hook out. I repeat... I do NOT take the hook out. Luckily, I had explained this to my oh-so-chivalrous husband when we first started talking about trying our hands at fishing. So, he gallantly comes running over to save Nemo from his impending fate at my hands. Out comes the hook and I touched him long enough to pose for this pic.

Not to be outdone... Miss Mac followed suit, but wouldn't get close enough long enough to snap a shot with her actually in the frame. Nevertheless, this is her big catch of the day...

Way to go, girls!!!

June 26, 2007

just when I'm convinced he's not gay

Yes, I'm talking about hubby. DH. Dear Husband. (sometimes) Damn Husband. Steve. The Limey. Love of my life.

I often tease Steve that he must be gay... this man has more decorating finesse than Christopher Lowe (is he even still around?). Can cook and organize a kitchen meaner than Martha. The first time he visited my home, he went out to the garage, found a couple of boxes, off to the fabric, yes, I said fabric, store to get some scraps to drape over the boxes to use as (really cool) end tables. I resigned my position in the kitchen when, after he was here about 6 months, my oldest looked up from a nicely prepared-by-Steve dinner and said, "Mom, do you know how to cook anything that doesn't come out of a box?" (must remember to thank her for that later!)

He and I both laugh and joke about his sexuality quite a bit. We both know that he is 100% straight, but, there are times...

So, last night, we were laying in bed, chatting as we usually do, about to drift off to sleep when The Limey had a bit o' wind. Wait, I stand corrected... a LOT o' wind ('wind' being his polite English term... we know what wind is, but around here, we call it gas, or more bluntly, he ripped a big 'un!). He is, afterall, a guy... they don't hold their bodily functions in very well, as we all know... but, I must say here that he is always, without fail, very polite and always follows a fart or burp with a "Pardon me!" sometimes proceeded with an "Oh, dear!" (see... told ya he's gay!)

Ok, back to last night... farts in bed... apologizes... then, we start giggling. It was a funny fart. We all have those now and again... the ones that just sound so unusual, you just have to laugh. So, we're laughing and I say, "Jeez, we could put you in the middle of an orchestra with that one!".

Now, most hetro men, at this point, would just bask in their windy glory. Laugh a little bit more, then probably fall asleep, only to do it all again, sans the laughing and pardoning, in their sleep. Not my guy...

He says to me, "It wouldn't tune to the A-440." (my apologies to Steve, as I'm sure I got that wrong)

Excuse me? The "A" WHAT???

Then he goes on to explain to me how orchestras tune to the A above middle C... mmm-hmmm... riiiiiight, Honey (he's really startin' to scare me at this point)... Yes. And they use 44o mega hertz. But, usually, pianos can't get to 440 mega hertz because their strings would be too tight, so they go down to 438 or 436...

(this explanation went on for quite a while... he lost me at "orchestras tune").

I love him. I really do love him.

June 25, 2007

We survived to do it again another day!

Ahhh, camping. Being at one with nature. The outdoors. Pure heaven.

We had our first camping trip last week. I won't bore you with the play-by-play details. I'll just sum it up by saying it was wonderful!

There were many memorable moments, way too many to list. As I'm sure Steve will put together a much better recount, probably from the dog's perspective, I'll just hit a few high points.

Steve and I are still married, and happily at that! I was beginning to worry a bit when at the Father's Day lunch we went to just before we set off, he was laughing as he was saying to my Mother something about putting up tents is just the stuff divorces are made of. I'm happy to report that we set the tent up together and, a few minor tiffs aside, we survived it! I can see what he was talking about, however, but we made it, nonetheless.

Mac adored camping, mostly, the fishing part. We had planned to stay through Wednesday morning, but the Tuesday evening news reported big thunderstorms coming our way for the night and decided that it would be silly to stay just to get rained on (turns out that was the best decision of the entire trip... to say it rained that night is a major understatement). The drive home found her tearful in the backseat because she wanted to fish 'just one more time'. Poor thing. We have since purchased her her own rod and reel and promised her plenty of fishing on the next trip.

She had her usual gripes, which we expected, but they were much more mellow and easier on the soul. She probably complained the most, of the three, of boredom, but she quickly seemed to be able to find things to pass the time.

Mic was typical Mic. Clueless as always, but just a joy to be around. He clung to me quite a bit, wanting simply to hang out with me. We were all down fishing and I wanted to go back up to camp... he insisted on coming with me so I wouldn't be alone. It was great to get some one-on-one with him even with everyone else around. He enjoyed the freedom he had, taking off on his bike to go down the 'fast hill', just exploring. He, too, was sad when it was over.

The Diva surprised me the most. She was completely and totally in her element. She's not afraid of a thing. She has Mother Nature right where she wants her... in the palm of her hand. The independence that she displayed surprised me the most. Being the youngest, she usually sticks close to her brother and sister in unfamiliar surroundings, but it didn't take any time at all before she was off exploring the wonders of the outdoors all on her own. Steve would be down at the lake fishing (we had the perfect campsite, with two separate paths leading down to the lake), and she would just hike down, all on her own, and hike back up at will. She didn't need help and wasn't afraid to tackle those big rocks on her own. She did great!!!

Turns out Diva's independence came in pretty handy for Steve. During one of her visits to his fishing spot, he caught his first fish in America. About a half-pound catfish, which he threw back before I could rush down with the camera. Luckily, though, Diva saw it and even witnessed the kiss (tradition, supposedly, has it that you are supposed to kiss the first fish you catch) and had his back. Otherwise, we might not have believed him!!

My funniest memory happened the last evening, before we had actually decided to leave, Mac and I went to take a shower and left the others at camp. Apparently, The Diva wasn't too happy that she was left behind and ran off in a fit, pouting and crying, temper tantrum (which she excels at, I might add). Steve carried on, washing up and organizing for dinner, when he looked up to find her and Michael sitting in the middle of a muddy / dirty spot with the puppies just covered from head to toe. Almost as if to say, "You won't take me to shower, Mom? I'll show you!" When we got back, she came over and I took my bawling out for leaving her. When she raised her shirt to wipe her face, her bellybutton was *covered* with dirt. I mean covered! Dunno why, but remembering that just makes me smile every time :)

All in all, it was a success... all three kids woke up the next morning asking to go again that very day! We are planning our next outing very soon. Steve and I went this past weekend to scout out some places that might have good fishing access for the kids. Hopefully, the rain will get over before we leave, but we don't hold out much hope. Any other year, we'd be facing drought here, but no (not that we wish for drought, mind you, but a camping trip without rain seems a bit surreal at this point).

June 15, 2007

Friday morning bitch

Not sure if that title describes this post, or me. Or both.

I woke up to yet *another* day of rain. Sheesh! Give me a break! I am so sick and tired of rain! It's pretty bad when it's too damn swampy in the backyard for the kids to even swim!!! Mic just asked me, "Mom, what can we do besides going outside?" Poor kids. Enough, already.

For the second day in a row, I can't move my neck. I don't know if it's the way I'm sleeping or what, but I scared myself trying to drive yesterday. My only choice is to pump my body full of pain meds and muscle relaxers and pray. To just get through another day.

I'm really so very tired of the rain.

I absolutely adore these new puppies. They are just perfect for our family. But my god, can they poop!!! They sleep in the garage at night and I suppose I should just be grateful that they don't tear things up (we've made it pretty puppy-proof), but just imagine the amount of shit *two* puppies produce!!!! That's what I have to look forward to every single morning. I don't mind being the designated 'shit-cleaner'... somebody's gotta do it, and generally, we all have our own duties as related to the pups. But, since this is about bitching... I'm sick and tired of cleaning up shit!!! I've done my diaper duty... many times over. And puppies don't shit those nice little poops that you can just rake up with a scooper... no! I have to get paper towels, pick / wipe up said poop pile, spray the spot heavily with bleach water, then wipe up, again. I need stock in Brawny.

Did I mention I'm sick of the rain????

Hubby has to work again tonight. Again. He's worked the past two nights and Friday usually finds me looking forward to a nice quiet evening with just him, as the kids go to their Dad's this afternoon. I really should be grateful, and in lots of ways I am, because we really can use the money right now. And I'm proud... because he really is good at what he does, so people ask him to fill in here and there. He enjoys doing it (KJing) and has a good time while making money. But, I'm being a bitch here and taking a selfish moment and just want him home, with me.

I'm so sick of this damn rain!!!!!

Because I'm the world's worst procrastinator, the kids and I now have to get out today, in the rain, to go shopping for Father's Day. Not that their Dad *ever* helps them on Mother's Day or anything... grrrr... the mammoth bitch about my ex is another post entirely!!! I just *had* to put it off to the last minute, and now, I have no choice but to go out today (in the rain... did I mention that... or that I'm sick of the rain???) to shop. Ugh.

Ok... I think I'm done for now... gonna go take whatever I can possibly take so I can muster an hour at WalMart for the men in our lives...

I hate rain.

June 12, 2007

I went to a party last Saturday night

Steve runs private karaoke shows from time to time. This past weekend happened to be one of those times. We have a friend who was celebrating not only his 50th birthday, but 25 years in business, as well.

We have attended a few parties thrown by this gentleman. All very nice parties, ranging from a simple, quiet house party to a big 'do' thrown at a local up-scale hotel. This was the first, however, where he mixed business with pleasure, and as we had previously only attended the business parties, we got to see a more personal side of our friend.

The party had about 150 attendees... a mix of business associates, employees and family. The birthday boy happens to be, originally, from India, so there was a beautiful blend of cultures, as well. Indian food (which happens to be my favorite and not as easy to come by here as other cuisines, so I was in heaven!), music and attire permeated the festivities. It was simply gorgeous!

Throughout the evening, Steve and I shared our usual antics... we like, as much as the next guy, to sit in our little space and chat about the event and / or the people. For instance, at one point in the evening, Steve leaned over to me and said, quietly under his breath, as he nodded toward the Man of the Hour (hereafter referred to as Mr. Smith - not his real name), "I wonder how long since he was fifty?" I nearly spat out my drink! We do that... usually, it's Steve piping up with one of his little remarks and me giggling, sometimes much louder than I should. Oh, and by the way, we're both quite sure that Mr. Smith really *did* just turn 50.

The evening turned a bit different for me. As Steve was playing the music, I sat next to him just watching. Just taking in the beauty of it all. As people would come along to request a different song or pop up to see about singing, I'd casually chat to them just about everyday kind of stuff. I met many of Mr. Smith's family members, from the two-year-old great-niece who, while she looked simply stunning in her sari, just couldn't keep her eyes open past 11:00, to the Uncle who was trying desperately to manage the music the teenage girls were dancing to.

What happened between the time we arrived to the time we left was that I had a wonderful evening. As Steve and I were chatting on the ride home about the party, we delved into the obvious cultural differences that were present at this very enjoyable evening we had just experienced. What I'm not so far removed from are people, whom I've since eliminated, best as I can, from my life, who would have been aghast at that party. People who would just as soon wish tragedy upon people I had engaged with that night. To go a little deeper, as I was questioning the racial hatred that infiltrates society, Steve pointed out that there are people who would have bombed that party tonight, simply because they are different... "there'd be a few less of 'em", they'd say.

I lost it. Completely and utterly lost it. What in the world could be so bad about being different that one person, or a group of people, could damn an entire culture... kill an entire race? What? Which threw me into an oracle of what in the hell can I do? What difference can I make to the people who simply want to be with their families, but can't because of something like political asylum? What kind of impact could I possibly hope to have on that?

I concluded that, actually, I can't impact those issues. But what I can do is continue to be the best person I can be and hope to pass those qualities on to my children. That is my contribution.

And I can celebrate monumental steps like the case of Loving vs Virginia. Today marks the 40th anniversary in which the US Supreme Court ruled the way which ended racial discrimination in marriages in the United States completely.

Unfortunately, some parts of society have yet to catch up with the past forty years. There are many places in the United States where interracial relationships, let along marriages, are disparaged to such degrees that people still face physical violence for simply falling in love.

Alone, I can't really do much, except to continue to embrace my 'awakenings'. If it means going against that which surrounds me, so be it. I've never understood hate and bigotry and I never will.

June 11, 2007

There'll always be puppies...

Diva: Ooh, Look! It's Corbin Blue!!

me: You are only 4 years old, and you already know these teen heartthrobs, Diva?

Diva: Yep. I know Corbin Blue, 'cuz he's cuuuuute!

Steve: Cute like Steve?

Diva: You're not cute. You're a bawld maaan!

Steve: Aw, you're hurting my feelings!!

Diva: What? The puppies love you!

June 9, 2007

I'm so proud of him!

I know, I know, y'all come here, see a post titled "I'm so proud of him" and just assume I'm going to go on and on, bleating about my son and how he picked a booger for the first time successfully or something else really Mommy related, and brag about it.

Nope. You couldn't be more wrong. Because my son is so advanced, he actually mastered 'booger-picking 101' at the ripe old age of 19 months... so ha!

This time, I'm bragging about my husband. I know I've done this before... gone on some sentimental rampage that took you deep within my mushy heart and to just how much I am completely and totally in love with this man.

BUZZ x 2!!! Wow! You're really on a roll today, huh? 2 for 2... almost struck-out, eh?

This time, my brag has nothing to do with me, or what he does *for* me. All him, and him alone.

Steve, as I've mentioned, is very political and, therefore, interested in politics. He is a registered member over at DailyKos, a liberal blog that has, in recent years, simply exploded. I read from time to time, but my interest in politics goes about as far as just sticking the tip of my pinkie toe in, not much more. I love to listen to his stories, recounts and just to hear him read, as he often does, to me.

Last week, we were sitting out on the patio and just started chatting away, as we often do. Steve posted a blog entry, recapping our talk. He decided to go on over to Kos and post it as a 'diary'.

He got a few reads, a few comments. Then, he came home late Wednesday from work and hopped online to check email, etc... as he usually does. Suddenly, I hear from the living room, "Jodie, Jodie! You've gotta see this! This is big!!!"

Steve's diary post, it seems, was 'rescued' over at Kos by the 'Rescue Rangers' and moved to, what was tantamount, to the front page!!!

(now, enter my disclaimer: I'm completely new to the world of blogging. If I've gotten any of the lingo or blogging terms wrong or inaccurate, please excuse me... like I said... I'm new)

But, I know enough to know that this was major for him!!! Very big!!! And I am so very proud of him!!

Unfortunately, I don't think Hallmark has caught up, quite yet, as I haven't found a "Congratulations for Making it Big in the Blogging World" yet. I'm sure they'll get there, but until then... my little blog post will have to do.

Steve, I'm so proud of you!!! Now, do as I said, and get out there and write, write, write. You have so much to say and so many people who want to hear it. No matter if you get published one time or one million... what you have to say will always be important to me.


June 8, 2007

We just thought we were done with babies...

We've tossed the idea around for a little while now about getting a dog. We've watched Nat with my parents' Lab / Shepherd mix and often thought that she 'needs' a dog, or as she says (with the thickest Southern accent you can imagine) "a big 'ole hound dawg".

We're hoping to move within the next year or so, and thought we had put off the decision to get a dog until we got into our new place and settled.

A friend of mine called the other day and mentioned that they are getting out of the puppy breeding business. She tells me she has 90, yes *90* dogs and puppies to get rid of. All of them 'pure' bred, most of them with papers... and they are free. She has five breeds, we ran down each of them and decided that none of them really 'fit' what we would be looking for.

Until, I phoned her the next day to let her know that some friends were interested in her Dachshunds, and I asked her if she didn't just have any 'mutts', perhaps one of the pure-breds had escaped their hatch and 'hooked-up' with one of the others (we were thinking a Lab / Husky mix would be perfect). She giggled and told me that they did have a few "Labradoodles".

Labra - WHAT?!?!?!?! What in the world kind of a name is that? So, we Googled. And became interested... not a bad breed, especially with kids, which is a must. Then, we see that in some areas, they sell for as much as $2500! Probably closer to half of that around here, but still. We'll never be able to afford that much for a dog and papers aren't an issue for us, so whether or not they have them is neither here nor there.

So, I phone my friend to inquire more about these 'Doodles', as I find they are so affectionately referred to in the breeder world. She has a litter of four, they are seven weeks old, she thinks two males and two females. Mom and Dad are also available, but we really aren't interested in older dogs if puppies are available.

Ok, bring 'em over and lets have a look at them. Steve heads out to Wal-Mart to pick up a small bag of puppy food and various other small bits, just in case we keep one, to save us from having to get back out later.

Then he springs it on me... "Jodie, you know, if there are two females, we may as well get them both, as to get one." WHAT??!?!?!?!? (seems I've been saying that a lot lately!) I happen to subscribe to this philosophy whole-heartedly. The first dog I owned after leaving home, I soon realized that two really are better than one. Fact is, you'll *have* to leave them sooner or later and one having company keeps them from getting bored and into much mischief when they are alone... yeah right! It'll just make for twice the mischief... you know that and I know that and Steve knows that, too. But it sounds good, right?

He phoned the boys, as we always include them in 'household' decisions, especially ones involving pets. They were ecstatic! They had both not only heard of the breed, but had seen it before and they both agreed that a Labradoodle is a 'cool' dog. He also spoke with them about potential names (Steve already had them picked out) and tried to sway them to agree with his picks. He'll phone them at the weekend for follow-up ;)

I told Steve that this was completely his decision... I know me and when it comes to making decisions about pets, I'm led only by my heart which becomes complete mush, especially around big, fluffy puppies. I knew that Steve would be way more practical... not that he doesn't have a soft-spot for them, as well, just that I knew he could stay way more grounded than I could dream of.

They arrive with the four puppies... turns out there are three females, one male. One of the females has short hair and looks like a lab. The other two have the longer, wavy hair and look like all the Labradoodle pictures we've since found on the web. Steve takes one look at them, says, "We'll have the two long-haired females. It was nice to meet you both, I have to shower so I can get off to work."

It was that simple... and now, I'd like to introduce you to Edmundand Baldrick...

... and Bunny found a purpose :)

June 6, 2007

They really *do* like each other...

Yesterday, the kids just did not get along with each other. Some days are better than others, most definitely, but yesterday was the kind of day that ends with the lecture that mentions things like "we all have to live together", why it is never ok to hit, "you only have one / two brother / sisters"... etc, etc. I'm never really sure how much of those lectures actually make it to their brains, what with the rolling of eyes and quiet sighs that just scream, "Mom, are you *done* yet?"

I was sitting out on the patio while the kids were swimming. This is what happened:

:: lots and lots of splashing around, screaming, laughing, and even some tears :: (this is typical)

me, yelling over the splashing: Mac, did you just tell your brother you love him???

Mac, looks at me as if to say "what in the hell are you talking about, Mom?": Yeah

my jaw drops

Mic: and I told her that she rawks!

my jaw drops even further...

Mac: See, Mom, we really can get along!

Couldda knocked me over with a feather (or that god-awful wind we have today)

Later on, heard from within the splashing and wailing: Mic to Mac: Mac, say, "Mic, you rawk!!!"

poor bunny

The day of Mic's party, Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, this little tattered pink bunny appeared in our backyard. Nobody would claim it and nobody had any idea where it came from.

Poor thing is filthy, but has certainly been 'well loved'. It is missing one entire ear completely, and the other one looks like it's just barely there, torn and missing the tip.

I decided to 'adopt' said bunny, although I haven't named it, yet. We haven't even decided if it's a 'he' bunny or a 'she' bunny. We lean toward a 'she' since it's pink, but we are a tolerant household and accepting of all kinds around here.

Bunny lives on our patio. Not really sure it has a purpose, but I couldn't bring myself to get rid of it. I like to believe it has brought great comfort to whomever it used to belong to and would hate to see such a dedicated animal meets it's demise at the bottom of a trash can.

We check on the bunny from time to time, just to make sure it hasn't found a home elsewhere, and so far, it hasn't wandered. We include it in family pictures and picnics, but haven't taken it for a swim just yet. We'll have to find a new home for it should we decide to adopt one of the puppies set to visit in the next couple of days. I just don't think it could stand to loose another appendage.

So, here I am, thinking I've done a good thing. I've saved this bunny from the jaws of death and destruction, honestly thinking I've helped it in some small way. When I perched it on top of the half-fence that Steve built and turned around to snap a picture, this is what happened... Despite our shouting, "Don't do it, Bunny! Don't do it!"

It jumped. Guess the bottom of the trash can looked better than a life at our house...