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...

Today, we had a picnic

We're in the process of gathering all this stuff for our first camping adventure. Luckily, Steve knows what he's doing and serves me well as a guide.

One thing we picked up on a recent trip to Walgreens were three decent sized meal trays for the kids. Cool colors... lime green, bright pink and turquoise. At a buck each, I couldn't hardly pass them by.

The menu for today's lunch was corn dogs, chips and pineapple chunks (I was being lazy), all washed down with Steve's home-made root beer.

I remember when I was a kid (yes, I can remember that far back!) and sometimes *what* you ate your meal on just made it taste better. I think this was one of those times for my kids...

A Happy Freakin' WHAT?!?!?!?!?!

I don't get it... I just don't get it.

In my 26 years of having them, I find absolutely *nothing* remotely happy about having my period (save a couple of times when I was really, really glad it showed up, but that was years ago).

Now, they have things called "Pad-o-Meter"s and "your time-o-month mantra"? Give me a freakin' break!

Slide the chocolate under the door and step away... s-l-o-w-l-y. And we'll all be friends.

But happy? Hardly.


... because I can bring you a bowlful of M&Ms and call them "brain food". You just smile and say, "Thank you"

... because of that silly little thing you do with your tongue when you are concentrating

... because you let me be me

... because you protect me

... because you respect me

... because you gave me two more beautiful children

... because you have loved my children, from day one, unconditionally

... because minutes before leaving for our wedding, you took me in our room, my face gently in your hands and asked me if I was really sure

... because you waited

... because you are a wonderful father

... because you don't look at me funny when I bring a *bowl*ful of M&Ms, rather than just a handful

... because when I make the bed in the morning, your pillow isn't in the middle of your side, it's wedged up, right next to mine

... because you 'get' me

... because when you don't 'get' me, you try

... because you're honest, trustworthy and my foundation

... because it's cute, the way you cradle your head with your hand when you sleep

... because you appreciate me

... because you adore the things I do for you

... because what I think / feel / say actually matters to you

... because you actually think

... because you squirt the kids with the hose

... because you know when to laugh, when sometimes crying would be easier

... because you have a way of putting it in perspective

... because of your loyalty and undying dedication to me and our family

... because of your convictions

... because you make me laugh

... because you make me cry

... because of days like today

... because you 'know stuff'

... because you would give me your last Rolo

I love you because you're you.

June 5, 2007

I miss them

I often post about my three children. Lest anyone forget, I do have two more. I only actually gave birth to three of them, but in all, I have five.

Tom and Joe are my step-sons. They live in England with their Mum. Fortunately, we get to talk with them very frequently on the phone. We don't get to see them anywhere near what we would like. Unfortunately, that's just the way it has to be, for now.

We make the most of those phone calls... laughing, talking, sometimes just sitting in silence. I love to hear their accounts of the going-ons and the day-to-day stuff they are involved in.

They are always on my mind... if not just because I'm thinking of them, but because I know how incredibly difficult this is on their Dad. His pain is my pain, and sometimes, it just gets to be a little much. They don't see it, they don't need to. They know he misses them, terribly. I know he misses them. I miss them. It's hard for all of us.

The three who live with us know they are their brothers. Not a day goes by when they aren't talked about, thought about, included. This is their home, too. There is so much love here for them and they know that.

Sometimes, distance can be a real nuisance. But, we have no choice but to keep going. We make the most of every single second they are with us and learn to appreciate those talks just a little bit more.

I love shopping and seeing something they might like. Whether it be an OU folder for school or a guitar poster for Joe or OU (sense a 'theme' here?) golf club covers for Tom. It's nice, sending them a little piece of America... a little piece of 'home'.

I miss Tom putting The Diva to bed... so does she. I miss Joe tossing the football around with Mic. I miss Mac snuggled up next to her big brothers, sharing the "Chicken Run" she got for her birthday.

I miss them.

let them be little

Sometimes, especially while they are sleeping, I just stare at my kids. Not a creepy, stalker, over-bearing mom stare, but the nostalgic, longing, almost sad stare that comes with realizing that they aren't babies anymore.

It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle. The "eat your carrots!", "stop hitting your sister / brother / the cat!", "if I have to tell you one more time to pick that up...!" days sometimes seem to outnumber the real, truly meaningful ones.

Don't get me wrong... every single second I have with my kids is meaningful. It's just that sometimes, I stop and look at how things are today and wonder where in the hell the time went? It seems like only yesterday, I was a basket case because Home Health had to come visit my 4-day-old to place her under bili lights. Or that I had failed my son miserably because I chose not to breast-feed and then had to play the 'formula juggle' just to find one that didn't make him look like a cooked lobster (actually, I still agonize over that one). It seems like only yesterday that I was on that operating table, praying to God that my youngest would come into this world healthy and viable and that she wasn't too early.

The time will come soon enough where they won't want me to pick out their clothes. I won't be the first one they come running to when something makes them happy. They won't care if I sit down for a meal with them. They won't cry out my name and come looking for me when they get hurt.

I long for the days of sleepy babies on my shoulder, drool puddles left behind. Tiny baby socks to keep those tiny baby feet warm. Those little chubby fingers holding onto mine during a middle of the night nursing. Nursing. Cheering for the first steps, first waddles... the crash on the diaper covered bottom. Baby belly laughs.

But, I do, at least, know enough to cherish what I do have... right now. Those 'just a little less chubby' fingers, rubbing my cheeks as I kiss her good-night, just because she knows I like it. The kiss on the cheek and a reassuring "Mommy, I love you" out of the blue, for no reason at all, because he just understands 'my' needs sometimes. That every time we take an outing alone, my oldest will turn to me and say, "I love hangin' out with you, Mom. You're fun."

I have so many hopes, dreams, desires for them. But, not too soon, ok? Let's just enjoy today because we have it. And for now, I'll let them be little.

June 3, 2007

So, he's not only *ginormous*...

... he also isn't soaking up the local dialect very well.

Pulling up into the parking lot at Academy, he points and says, "I like those trucks with the pinched waist."



Did you actually just say the words *pinched* and *waist* while referring to a pick-up truck in COWBOY COUNTRY?????

In my most 'I'm being supportive to my British husband, who isn't quite as used to Oklahoma as I might like to think' voice: "Honey, that's a step-side."

I love him. I truly do love him.

So, we've decided to go camping

We've been brainstorming about activities to fill our summer days. Since we're on a tighter than tight budget, one idea we tossed around was camping. Steve's been an avid camper for years, so he's armed with the 'know-how'. I did some camping when I was a kid and although I'm sure I didn't absorb, or really pay attention to, the camping tricks and techniques my Dad had, I simply love the outdoors.

When I spoke with the kids last night (they are with their Dad this weekend), I mentioned that we were thinking about camping this summer. They were beside themselves with excitement! Couldn't really not follow through, now, could we?

We decided to go out for a drive today to scope out potential sites and areas. We started with Keystone Lake. Found some wonderful areas to pitch a tent... places we think the kids will have an absolute blast. Off to beg, borrow and steal (well, we won't really *steal* anything) whatever isn't tied down so as to make this venture as inexpensive as possible.

One of our stops was at the bottom of the Keystone Dam. Steve and I popped out there once last summer and the river was so dry, you could pretty much walk all the way across it. The dam is open now, the first time in about two years. The view was amazing! So, of course, we snapped a few shots.

Last summer, all of this area, just past the shrub line, was rocky. People would sit on the rocks and fish. We were able to walk all the way to the bottom of the ramp and circle back around to trample on the rocks, ourselves.

In this picture, you can see at the bottom of the ramp, the water level has risen to cover it. The ramp actually extends much further out, past the present water line. In the distance, you can see the steps and handrails that led down to the rocks, now covered with water, as well (we don't have a clue who these people are!). Didn't stop them from fishing, though! I wasn't sure how they managed those bobbers... the current was amazing! But, they kept reelin' them in!!!

Happy Summer!! Happy Camping!!!

June 2, 2007

I cleaned the kitchen...

... and in about 2.2 seconds, he messed it up, again.

I love you, Sweetie, I reeeeaaalllly love you!


a true lesson in researching before you post...

About my "farting gene" post... sheesh... I thought we women stuck together!!! How wrong I was!!!

Blogging over time

My most recent two posts, about farting and politics, were written over a period of time. Meaning, that I didn't just sit down and get it out in one blogging session. For whatever reason, either the kids were up to no good and needed adult intervention or the cats were ripping some poor reptile's appendages off in the bathroom, it just took me a while to get them done.

I'm not happy with them, either. When they both started out, trust me, they were way better in my head than how they came out.

I've just told my dear hubby that the next time I start out posting and don't finish it soon after starting to stop me. Yeah, sure... he'll get right on that!

the fart 'gene'

In my 35, nearly 36, years of existence, I have come to the conclusion that the scientists got it all wrong. Genetically speaking, the 'x' and 'y' chromosomes are not what make the difference between males and females... it is, to put it simply, the "Fart Gene".

Men have it, women don't. Plain and simple. Quite frankly, I could end this post right here... enough said... but, I'll take a moment to elaborate, shall I?

It's just innate, that men are more fascinated with their own flatulance, way more than women are. Unless you've been locked in a biodome, strictly inhabited by females your entire life, you've witnessed it. Everybody has. And it starts early. I'll wager a guess that not much research has actually been documented, so we'll just assume that it rears it's ugly head sometime in the early childhood stage of development.

There is a whole range of 'fart facination' out there... and I've lived with both extremes, but let me tell you... all men have it. It is probably relevant here to mention that there aren't many people out there who haven't experienced this phenomenon with my ex-husband around. Anyone who met him, with the exception of my parents, saw it. That alone would have been grounds for the divorce! Current hubby, I have to admit, is rather more polite about it, at least with other people. But, believe me when I tell you that that prim and proper accent is just a smokescreen!!! He farts, people!!! And he can be incredibly 'manly' about it, as well!!! (I'm probably sleepin' on the couch tonight for that, but it's worth it!! Right????)

I've resigned myself that my son will not be able to escape it. As much as I try to raise him to be a polite little chap, he already has the ability to fart on demand. And he does. Much to my dismay. I suppose, at this point, I can only try to teach him when it is appropriate to share that talent and when it isn't.

So, I plead with the biologists and geneticists out there... for the love of Pete (whoever the hell he is)... please, please find a way to isolate that buggar and rid us of it at once!!!!!

Politics (this one's gonna be long...)

Alan Jackson sings a song called "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning". Catchy enough. It's about 9/11 and asks the question all of us will undoubtedly remember. For the record, I was sitting in my living room with my almost three-year-old and my four-month-old. I was just sitting down after breakfast to turn on "Blue's Clues" for Mac when I thought I'd pop over to NBC just to see what Katie was up to for the day. Just in time to watch the second plane, live.

I mention this song, because part of the chorus says "I'm just a singer of simple songs, I'm not a real political man, I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you, The difference in Iraq and Iran". I'm not a singer, certainly not of simple songs... my husband, the K.J. can attest to that... he often mentions something about howling and glass shattering... I'm definitely not what I would consider 'political' (I'll get into this a bit more - it's kinda the purpose of this post). Don't watch CNN much, as I pretty much stick to the local CBS station where I daily watch, or at least listen to, the local news, and I try, daily as well, to stay informed of national and international goings-ons. Sometimes, this is done via my highly informed, news-addicted husband, and sometimes, I actually get to watch the CBS Evening News (with Katie Couric... my girl!).

As a teacher, one of my main goals with my students is to help foster independent thinking. As a Special Education teacher, this can sometimes prove to be extremely challenging, especially considering that I mainly teach teenagers with emotional disturbances (one might argue, correctly, that simply *being* a teenager is an emotional disturbance in and of itself, but I'm talking above and way beyond the normal *weird* stuff that makes them teenagers). I try to instill in them, they would probably say I preach it, a desire to gather information from several sources. I encourage them to go out and find sources that they feel they can trust... do their research and probe and poke until you find trustworthy sources. Then, take all the information they have available to them and make their own decisions, draw their own conclusions. Sometimes, I feel like I've had a break-through or two, sometimes, I honestly feel like I'm talking to a brick wall. Either way, I come home at the end of the day at least feeling like I did my best.

But, this isn't about my career choice, it's about politics. (ADHD much?) I've been working on this post for almost a week now... life just gets in the way. So, I'm gonna wrap it up *now*... I'm just gonna spew it and offer apologies later.

My husband is very much a political person. We have a balance that works for us... we both allow each other the space and support to think and believe what we will. We don't always agree and certainly aren't necessarily passionate about the same things. However, politically speaking, I've learned a lot from him in the (almost) three short years I've known him... and happily hope to spend a lifetime educating each other about the things that matter to each of us.

So, politics... I've never much looked past my little hole in the world... suburbia Oklahoma (is that even a phrase??), loosely translated... rednecked. Don't get me wrong... I'd say that I had a wonderful upbringing with parents who I always *knew* loved me, unconditionally. I was raised with discipline coupled with the freedoms necessary to make me who I am today. I always questioned what was fed me, intellectually. Didn't necessarily voice my wonderings, but they were there. I think I turned out ok... I'd venture to say others would agree, others, not so much.

Like most people around me, I grew up thinking that America was just the be all that ends all (or however that goes). We have all these freedoms and inalienable rights granted us by The Constitution. We are A-1 Superpower... others fear us... others want to *be* us. I couldn't have been more wrong. Take, for example, this war we are in. Now, I will sadly admit that I don't pay attention like I should, to the politics and policies that got us to where we are. But I do know this... we went to war because Saddam had WMDs, right? He didn't. We went to war with Iraq because *somebody else* flew planes into our buildings. How much sense does that make? Absolutely none. Again, even this self-proclaimed political 'dummy' can see that.

I never really thought much outside of my State, heck, didn't really think much outside my hometown, or my home, for that matter. When I was getting ready to go to Europe for the first time, Steve was surprised that I had made it to the age of 32 without ever having needed a passport. I didn't have the first clue how to go about getting one (in the end, it wasn't that difficult, thank goodness!). I explained to him that for us, international news is more like 'What's happening down in Texas?'. I suppose that has a lot to do with the sheer size of the States, but, never the less, I just didn't pay much attention to anything that went on outside of the 'border'.

I'd challenge those narrow-minded thinkers, just like I used to be, to take a gander... wander 'outside of your box' and have a peek at how others do it. Maybe, just maybe, we haven't gotten it all correct. It is just quite possible that someone else might actually have a better idea about doing things, like health care, than us.

I'll save my rant about health care for another day, but suffice it to say that America has really messed this one up. Quite frankly, I'm appalled at the way my country treats its sick... not to mention its children and elderly.

I say all of this to say this... I'm a registered Republican, that's just what I am. I vote. Every single time I can, I vote. I *never* vote straight-party... I vote my conscience. I have two rules about voting... 1) I ALWAYS do it, and 2) I NEVER tell anyone, not one single person, how or for who I vote. I do my research, consider my sources, think independently and vote. And I will always vote. I figure that's the only way I can continue to complain!!!

June 1, 2007

my husband is Ginormous

My husband is a Limey (I'm not). That means, just in case you don't know, that he is originally from England. Yep, immigrated all the way over here just for me (that story is another post entirely). As I've mentioned before, I absolutely adore him, and I can say the same for my in-laws. As I've joked before, I've finally gotten in-laws that I cherish and wouldn't ya know... they live on another freakin' continent!!!

Now, while we both speak the same language, English of course, we often joke that he actually speaks English, while I (and all of us 'Merikens) speak 'American'. Each day, I learn more and more just how true that statement is. He calls England and America "two countries separated by a common language". He will tell you that that was probably the most difficult thing in adjusting to a new life around these here parts. First of all, ya don't get many Brits in this fly-over-state, so when he has to say something, or ask for something, say at a store, he always has to say it twice, because the first time, they are only hearing the accent, not the actual words. Secondly, they only listen to the accent!!!!!

Now, this can come in pretty handy for him, we've come to learn, especially when requesting something from a female (or a 'light in his loafers' male). For example, he needed to request some medical records from his visit to the emergency room a couple of years ago. He asked me if I would call to get what he needed... I was busy pulling gum out of someone's hair or mud from ear canals or something else freakishly weird... so he had to do it himself. Now, I *know* how Medical Records departments work around here... had I called, I would have been told that he would have to come in, sign a release and pay a nominal fee to have said documents couriered to where ever it was they needed to go. Period... no ifs, ands or buts... He calls and some sweet Southern Belle, no doubt mesmerized by his 'sexy' accent proceeds to tell him that it'll be no problem... she'll get right on it... he didn't have to go in... didn't have to pay a dime... didn't even have to sit on hold. Done. The very next day, no less. Sheesh. Although, we've come to use this to our advantage and know when to toss that sexy accent around to get what we want!!!

Ok... so where was I going with this... today, as he was chatting to his oldest son on IM, he was told that 'Nanny said I need to talk to you'... uh-oh... you can read all about Steve's reaction here, but I'll go on with my version, anyway... Eldest son proceeds to tell him that Nanny (Steve's Mom, or Mum, as the Brits would say) thinks he has put on quite a bit of weight since he has been here (a little over two years now). Steve and I think this is quite funny, since we have both been keeping an eye on our ever decreasing waist lines recently (I'm down thirty pounds!!!). Steve, who is six foot tall, came to the States weighing in at 196 which wasn't heavy for him at all. He weighed in at a whopping 174 this morning, a weight he says he hasn't been at since he was about 30. Again... irony!!!

So, Steve phones his Mum a little while later to inquire as to the pudgy comments apparently directed at him from 5000 miles away. He can't get through the conversation before he hands the phone to me. I swear, she could barely stop laughing long enough to tell me that in the Christmas card we sent (it had the pic of all of us - the one on my blog) his face was looking quite round!!! At this point, I'm burst out in laughter, because one, it just sounds so adorable, this proper English woman giggling and telling me her son looks a bit round, and two, well, it was just funny!!!!! Through my laughter, I try to tell her that maybe it's just because he didn't have any hair (he decided to start having me shave him bald last summer - 112 degree temps will do that to a guy!!)... and I promise her that the shorts he bought during his first summer here can't even be held up with a belt these days. Then, through her screeching wails, she blurts out, "Yes, he was looking quite GINORMOUS!!!"

I have never in my life heard that word, ginormous, let alone applied to my husband, who's nickname is Twig. Needless to say, the laughter continued for several more minutes until I could finally compose my self, as did she, and let him resume the conversation with his Mum.

It was great to hear her voice :) I miss them... they are wonderful people. *And* what wonderful ammo and name-calling I've put in my back pocket when Steve starts misbehaving!!!