Monday, December 29, 2008

Emma Knows Christmas

I'm not just saying Emma knows Christmas because I am dog gone crazy about her and think she is the smartest, cutest, best three year old Beagle there is....she really does remember Christmas!

It was Christmas Eve, I as always, still had all the presents to wrap and stockings to stuff. The kids were still up, wrapping presents for each other, for us, for Emma and Sarah. I was anxious to get started myself, so I thought I'd get the dogs stockings stuffed.

This is Emma when she woke up, on Christmas Eve, and saw her stocking. She was literally jumping to try to get it!
We took it down and hid it in our room so she would settle down for the night. First thing Christmas morning, she was in our room searching for her stocking. We got it down for her, and those peanut butter dog cookies quickly disappeared.

Sarah has learned what a chow hound Emma is, so she ate her cookies just as fast as Emma.

Emma knows Christmas is different than other present days. She never comes over on birthdays or father's days or anniversaries to try to get into presents being opened, but on Christmas day she knows, there is a present for her, so she checks out what everyone is opening, just in case they accidentally have something for her. The only mistake this year was Dad giving one of David's presents to Sarah!
Emma does have one present under the tree, and she loves to tear it open. Sarah was a little unsure of what was going on, but she sure loved her squeak toy. And actually, she loved Emma's toy too!
Then all the presents are opened, and all the wrapping paper on the floor has to be sniffed and dug through. Emma then settles down with a sad 'is it really over' look and tries to remember how good her cookies tasted.
Meanwhile, Sarah is loving having four new toys, her two and Emma's also!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Ability To Realize Puke Is About To Happen

I love my kids dearly, love, love, love them. They are the best things I've done in my life.

But. But. BUT. They do not have the ability to realize they are about to puke! When they were babies, I thought, well really, a baby won't know what puke is, they just do it. As toddlers, I kind of thought the same thing, this must be a weird feeling they can't decide what it means. I figured they'd grow out of it.

So I've been through years of puke happening wherever we are, the library, the living room, the car, their bedroom floor covered with toys, and I keep thinking, now, now they must be old enough. They have to know this terrible tummy ache, the mouth suddenly flooding with saliva, the urge to let loose, all means make a dash for the bathroom!

Sadly, it does not. The first puke in a throwing up illness is always done on the floor, or the bed, and always in the middle of the night. After that, they have the puke bowl, and seem to do okay between the bowl and making it to the toilet.

All I can say is, thank you God, that my husband is home. He is the killer of spiders, unclogger of toilets, and cleaner upper of puke, which by the way, he does with a smile and jokes to make the sick kid feel like it is no big deal. Last night, I got to stay in bed knowing he was taking care of everything. And when I got up this morning, the house smelled of Murphy's oil soap and not puke.

Whew! Now if only the kids would just grow the gene that alerts them of impending puke!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow!

As I look out the window this morning, all I can hear is Bing, Danny, Rosemary, and What's Her Name sing, "Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow!" Sorry, What's Her Name, I did recently look you up on Wikipedia and learned that you were one of the most talented dancers of your time, highly sought after for films, but also rumored to be an anorexic, which I absolutely believe to be true....hasn't anyone else looked at her legs and thought, 'yikes', but I can't remember your name, only that it's like two first names and no last name and I'm too lazy to look you up again. My favorite line is Rosemary saying she wants to wash her hair, her face in snow......

That sounds unpleasant!
But that kind of joy they are singing about, the excitement of seeing a foot of snow, all crisp and clean, with the air very brisk, I can understand that. I might not want to go outside to play, but I don't mind a walk, enjoying all that loveliness.
Our yard, our neighborhood, our whole town looks like a winter wonderland. It's beautiful! And totally not what Western Washington expects to see, or what we are prepared for.
I'm not entirely complaining! We're having a great time, using 4 wheel drive to get around, the kids and husband going sledding twice a day, the second time late at night, watching the beagles run around the snow like it's cat nip for dogs....What a great way to start our winter break!

Vera-Ellen! That's her name!

So sing it again, Bing, Danny, Rosemary and Vera-Ellen. Snow, snow, snow, snow!

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Nephews Are Monkeys

I have often said to my nephews J and M, "You two are monkeys!" To which the three year old tells me he doesn't have a tail, so he is not a monkey, and the 1 year old vigorously shakes his head no.

But I have proof! I was down yesterday to babysit and I was groomed by those two monkeys! First M found a comb and lovingly combed my bangs. Okay, I thought, that's interesting. Later, when J came home from preschool, the very first thing he did was find a lint roller and proceed to lint roll me. He kept telling me I was covered in dog hair, but he would help.

I asked if it was Emma and Sarah fur, or Nemo fur.....he started laughing and managed to giggle out, "Emma and Sarah hair!" I moved to kneel, since the roller was now firmly rolling fur off my backside, and the roller moved up to my shoulders. Much better! J told me he was making it all better, soon I would look very nice. Thanks, monkey boy! Meanwhile, M stood there nodding his head yes and smiling. He agreed with monkey number one that Oh Cho needed to be de-furred!

After nap, after our craft project, J found the comb and came out to the dining room table where I was picking up makers. He stood on a chair and asked if he could comb my hair. I said he could comb the ponytail part, but as anyone with a ponytail will tell you, it's impossible for a three year old to just comb the pony. Soon I just took the rubber band out, which made both boys laugh, and my hair was combed. When he was finished, J said, "Now you can put your pony back in. It's all better."

Awesome. I'm not sure it was all better. I felt like my hair looked wild when I was leaving their house. So dear sister, the mother to those grooming monkeys, I did not have a wild day that resulted in running my fingers through my hair in desperation. It was a great day. The crazy hair was thanks to some hair help from monkeys.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Reason I Love Romance Novels

Yesterday was totally awesome. My mom, both sisters, my daughter and myself went to see the stage production of Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. It was fantastic! Even sitting in the nose bleed section, suffering a serious bout of vertigo as I looked down on the stage settings start to move back and forth, it was totally worth it. The songs! The dancing! The shirtless men doing suggestive things! The kidnapping and romance!

I have always loved the movie. I don't remember the first time I saw it, I only know that I loved it from that first viewing. It was so romantic! Adam coming down off the mountain to sweep Millie off her feet with 3 years of courtin' done in five minutes, the six brothers stealing the town girls hearts at the barn raising/dance social, the brothers carrying off their sobbin' women, the end when all the girls claim the baby is 'mine' so they can marry the, I love it. I also remember wanting to love the short lived TV show of the same name. Sadly, that was not even close to being as good as the movie.

As I sat there yesterday, grinning from ear to ear, watching the brothers throw their girls over their shoulders and carry them off into the sunset, I realized this show is why I love romance novels. After all, it has all the components of a good novel: a quickie marriage, the realization that the girls romantic dreams are not the reality of her husband, a husband who thinks at the beginning that all girls are the same, add in some kidnapping in the name of love and the town bad boys making good in the end.

Now that is some good romance!

As much as I love Millie, I'd rather be Frank's girl. A man named Frankincense is going to be the most spirited in the bunch, and that's how I like. Scrappy and feisty!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


This poster was on my wall for years when I was a kid, along with a poster of Snoopy holding a tennis racket saying, "It's amazing what a kiss on the nose will do to your opponents concentration." Every night before I went to sleep, I'd read this prayer over and over, so that 20 plus years later, I can still remember almost all of it (with a little help from Google search). It still is a prayer that flits through my mind when I am feeling blessed.

Thank you, God for each new day you give to me,
For earth and sky and sand and sea,
For rainbows after springtime showers,
Autumn leaves and summer flowers,
Winter snowscapes so serene,
Harvest fields of gold and green,
Beauty shining all around,
Lilac scent and robin sound,
Stars that twinkle high above and all the people that I love. Amen

I have so much to give thanks for this year..... my husband being home, not heading out for deployment; our fantastic, wonderful, AMAZING son and daughter; our home, our dogs, our friends and family......Life is good, with all it's twists and wrong turns, I'm grateful for every moment.

Props to the Big Man Upstairs.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Am A Copy Cat

I am a copy cat. Not the super annoying kind, repeating everything you say until you just want to scream. More like the subtle kind, where you don't even know you are being copied until you come into my house and there it is.

I have been going down to my sister's house a couple of Thursdays a month during the school year to babysit. And while the boys are napping, I read her magazines. Sunset, This Old House, Real Simple. I look forward to that moment of sitting down on the couch and reading about gardening or how to make an outdoor sink or finding a good recipe for soup, while the boys sleep and Nemo flops out on the floor. It's a moment of zen on a very crazy day!

So, when my kids are selling magazines for school, again, and I am tired of my boring old magazines, I kept thinking about how much I love my sister's magazines.

Thus, I now have my own copy of Sunset sitting in my living room. The hard thing is, I hadn't read my copy when I went down to her house and saw her copy sitting there. If I read hers, than mine is actually a waste of money! It was wicked hard to resist.

And somehow, not as satisfying! I don't like my copy version. Turns out, hers is better. Or maybe it's the fact that I've just spent the morning with two monkey nephews I adore, with more time chasing them after nap, and I like my routine of red couch, good magazine, quiet house.

We'll see after I get my first This Old House. If I'm going to do a copy right, I'm going all the way!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hey, It's The Beagle Bunch

As previously mentioned on this very witty blog, I walk almost daily. The same way every time. So, it stands to reason that people are not surprised to see me. Once a fellow walker that I kept meeting, asked me my name because, she said, if we are going to keep meeting like this, we might as well be friendly.

That is life in a small town! I smile at everyone I walk past, nod and usually say good morning.

For months, I have been walking past a construction sight. First it was just me and Emma, but now it is me, Emma and Sarah. I usually just smile and nod to the construction workers, but I've been expecting one of them to say something to me.

You know, some sort of shout out for being a foxy lady! A "hey, hot stuff" or a "how you doin'?"

Today is the day. A guy is working close to the fence, it would be impossible for him to not acknowledge me as I drag my Beagles past. Yep, this is the day! I can tell as he drops his load of tools and looks at me and smiles.

I'm ready to be politely flattered, but uninterested. I'm not ready for what he actually says.

"Hey! It's the Beagle Bunch! Morning dogs!"

And you know what? That greeting made my morning.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What's In Your Pocket?

My pockets are usually clutter free. Sure, on occasion, I have been known to stick my drivers license or military id card in the back pocket of my jeans, forget about it, then tear the house apart looking for it while everyone is waiting in the car...but that hardly every happens anymore, since my husband bought me a wallet and encouraged me to use it through guilt.

And in my winter coat I'll have my gloves and possible a travel packet of Kleenex. Sometimes shopping lists and cough drop wrappers find their way to a comfortable place in my pockets to end their days....but generally speaking, my pockets are empty.

Before my son's shower last night, I watched him empty his pockets: his wallet, several pens, a giant calculator, empty wrappers, folded up was like watching a magician pull things out of a hat! He just kept pulling his hands out of his pockets with new items to pile on the table.

I can't say anything though. Since we got our puppy Sarah, I've taken to stashing treats in my pockets so I can reward her for good potty. I have to have quite a few though, so Emma can also have one. I've taken off my hoody sweatshirt and flung treats all over the kitchen. I've reached into a pocket of my walking jeans and found a crumbled mess.

But nothing beats putting on my good jacket at work, reaching into my pocket, and pulling out dog treats. Yep. I even take them to work with me. You never know when you'll find a dog who needs a treat!

Or it could just be I forgot to take them out.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Here's To D's Halloweens Past

Growing up, there were a few of my early years that dressing up for Halloween and trick or treating went hand in hand. Then things got weird and dressing up was required to be Biblical and we'd spend time at church, being churchy. My husband and I knew we were going to do the whole thing: costumes, candy, trick or treating from door to door. Halloween is fun!

Our sons first Halloween was not exciting. He was 2 months old, and the hand me down ghost pj's were too tiny, so I just put him in his snoopy PJ's and answered the door for trick or treaters with a regular baby. People still oh'd and ah'd over him. He was pretty darn cute!

But after that first one, we dressed him up for trick or treating. When he was one, we put a red cowboy hat on him and called him a cowboy. It was also the time when his daddy always wore a cowboy hat, so people asked if he was dressed up as daddy. He was nervous for the first couple of houses, then when he realized that it was candy being dropped in his pumpkin bucket, he was ready to walk the entire neighborhood. By nights end, his bucket was dragging on the ground behind him, but he would not let us help him carry it. Smart kid. That night we, as his parents, realized that his trick or treating was treats for us too!

When he was 2, I had these cool frog overalls that he finally was big enough to wear. Add a green hooded sweatshirt, with googly eyes on top, and he was a cute frog. When he was 3, it was the worst year. He was old enough to give his opinion on dressing up, but too young to actually help with an idea. Everything I suggested was met with I put him in black pants and a black turtle neck, and that night he agreed to be a pirate. Added a red scarf at his waist, and it was all good.

When he was four, he was a bat. At five he was a scorpion. And yes, I made every costume. The scorpion's legs and tail were a challenge! At six he was a werewolf. At seven, he was wild about Steve Irwin and went as the Crocodile Hunter. When he was 8, he went as a zombie. That actually turned out to be a foreshadowing of his current passion: planning for a zombie war!

Nine saw him as a mummy, ten was a very creative Swamp Thing. When he was 11 he went as his favorite TV show character, Earl, from "My Name Is Earl"....every picture from that year has his eyes closed, because that is a running joke on Earl! When he was twelve, he was a fantastically dapper 1930's Gangster, complete with a fedora and tommy gun.

And for this last Halloween, just days ago, he was a Cereal Killer. Very cute, very clever, and very him.Just before the big night, he told me, he's pretty sure this would be his last year for trick or treating. I understand. I do. His Dad and I agreed we wouldn't set an age limit on the night, since we believed each kid would on their own, know when they were too old for trick or treating. I'm just not sure I'm ready for him to be that old!!

So, here's to the cowboy, the frog, the bat. To the zombie, the mummy, the swamp thing. To Earl and the gangster and the very cute cereal killer. I loved making every costume, loved seeing D smile while trick or treating, loved having a big bowl of candy I could casually pick through for good yummy things while he was at school!

Here's To L's Halloweens Too

Having two Halloween's under my belt, I was ready to tackle L's first one as a 3 month old baby. I put her in a regular outfit, but it was a bit "country" and since D kept asking what Baby was dressing up as, I said a country and western singer. She was pretty cute in her blue jeans!

When she was one, we got a clown costume from somewhere. I know she's going to read this and freak out, since she has serious issues with where her clothes come from. I don't remember where I got it, but it fit perfectly, so, hello little clown! It was also the only year we did face paint. That was a hassle! And it was before I realized how creepy clowns are. I'll never do a clown costume again!

When she was 2, I took her brothers green sweatshirt I'd used for him to be a frog, took off the eyes, and put flower petals on instead. She was a pretty purple flower. At three, she knew exactly who she wanted to be. Actually, from that year on, she had an idea for every costume! At three she was passionate about "The Wizard of Oz" and she went as Dorothy. I was pretty excited to actually crack open the sewing machine and make a blue and white checked dress. It was beautiful! And we found red shoes on clearance to go with her outfit. Perfection!

At four, we had a silver dress to make into the tin man, since she was still wild about Oz, but instead, she asked to be a fairy princess. When she was five, she was Glenda the Good Witch. I was dreading the next year thinking she'd be the Lion or the Scarecrow. She surprised me. At six she was a ninja. That was the only store bought costume of my career, and the last! I was sad to not make her outfit, making her an individual, and completely unique.

When she was 7, she watched Shirley Temple as Heidi, and read a little kids abridge version of the story, and loved it, so Heidi went trick or treating with us. At 8 years old, she loved Annie. She owns the movie, and the soundtrack, and of course, that meant she must be Annie. I admit right now, that red dress would have been impossible for me to make. My Mom to the rescue! Sleeves are my sewing downfall.

When she was 9, she was fresh off of reading Little House on the Prairie, and was wild about Laura Ingalls. She even had hair long enough to braid! It was a very exicting day in our house, because L let me do her hair! Then she was 10, and had watched "Grease" about ten times. She was very specific with her idea. She wanted to be Sandy on the first day of school. White shirt, yellow skirt, yellow sweater. She looked so cute!
Now she's 11, and she still loves Grease. She went as Rizzo, also from the first day of school, with her Pink Ladies jacket. I loved hearing her talk to one of her friends about how some other girls at school also had a Pink Ladies jackets, but hers was better than theirs, because Mom made it, and it actually said Rizzo on the front.

I love that she loves her costumes. I love that she has unfailing belief that I can make anything she wants to be.
She's already planning to go as Frenchy next year, but Frenchy after her beauty school fiasco with the hair dye. I'll keep my eyes open for a pink curly wig!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This Is It

At the end of Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, Nora asks Nick, "Are you sorry we're missing it?"

And he replies, "This is it."

It reminded me of a story my husbands grandmother likes to tell of how when E was barely 18, engaged to me, and getting ready to ship off to boot camp, he went down to visit with her. They had a great time talking and he really showed off his love for cars by talking about the kinds he would love to have.

His grandmother was quick to point out that getting married so young, he would not have money to buy those dream cars.

E didn't hesitate to say I was worth more than the cars.

I loved that Nick said he wasn't missing anything, because their relationship was what was real and important.

And that is why Nick and Nora will be at the top of my favorite movies. That and Micheal Cerra is so cute and funny.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Thump And A Rattle In The Night

I have always been a little, lets say, nervous when it comes to sounds in the dark. I can't count the number of times I've jerked my husband from a sound sleep with the question, "What was that?" He usually mumbles something like, "A car door slamming" and goes back to sleep quickly, while I lay there with wide eyes and pulse pounding.

I also have always subscribed the the theory of a closed closet door keeps the monsters in (thanks Monsters Inc for trying to shatter that!) and never letting your hand or foot hang over the edge of the bed since that is too tempting a treat for monster. I never fall asleep without pulling at least the sheet up to my ears, keeping most of my person under a cover for monster protection.

It's so very weird that the little rituals I went through as a child are still with me as an adult!

The other night started my first night alone on my husbands 3 night business trip. I was fine. Totally fine. I've done the alone thing so many times, it's not a big deal. As I crawled into bed, I decided to not watch TV before I went to sleep. I usually do, but the remote is broken so that means I'd have to snuggle down, get comfy, watch a rerun of Seinfeld, then break the warm seal of bed covers to turn off the TV. I was too tired for that. I rolled over to the closet side of the bed to turn off the light.

As I was immersed in darkness, I heard it.

Thump! Door knob rattle!

The closet!!! Something in the closet was trying to get out!!!

The light goes back on. The TV goes on. I carefully got up and pressed on the closet door to make sure it was closed and latched tightly. Nothing in the world could make me open the closet door. I just needed to make sure it was secure.

When my nephew J sleeps over, he gets a special bed made up on the floor right beside my bed. One time I could hear him still awake so I went in to check on him. I got down on the floor next to him and asked if he was okay. He looked over at me and said, "There's a cat under your bed."

I don't own a cat. And to my mortification I could not look under the bed. Best case it was a mouse with beady little eyes. Worse case it was monster with glowing red eyes. Either way, I did not check it out. I laughed, ruffled his hair and said he was silly. It was time for sleep.

And, probably, it was better to not look under the bed.

I applied that advise to myself. It was probably better to not look in the closet.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Slug In Disguise

My husband was getting ready for bed last night, putting on his "good dreams" sweat pants (we are testing a theory that he will sleep better with less crazy dreams if he is warmer!), when badness happened.

My husband took a step towards his nightstand and made a "yikes, holy cow, what the heck!" sort of yelp. I sat up immediately and looked over the edge of the bed. A spider? Is it a big spider? Usually my fearless husband only yelps when he is startled by a spider.

"It's a slug! On me!" he said. A slug? I lean over to take a closer look. Uh, that's not a slug.

"It's dog poop!!!" he yelled. "Sarah!!!!"

As he hobbled out of the room to wash his feet, I collapse on the bed in laughter. If I was a better wife, I would have cleaned up the mess on the floor, but I was too weak from laughing so hard. I kept hearing his surprised yell, then him saying it was a slug, and I would start laughing even harder. I had tears in my eyes!

I thought I was under control when he came back in. I asked if he needed to take a shower and he said no, he'd scrubbed the crap out of his feet. I started to giggle. Yep, I said, you better have.

After everything was cleaned, and we were in bed settling in, my husband said, "I'm not sure, but a slug might have been worse."

I believe he fell asleep to the sound of my laughter.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Like Being His Old Lady

When I was younger, motorcycles were the things of scary biker gangs and dangerous criminals. As I grew up, I learned that not every motorcycle guy was a member of Hells Angels....but motorcycles were for a certain type of people.

Then my husband bought a bike, and suddenly we are that type of people.

I was pretty nervous the first time I got on the back of his bike. There wasn't a sissy bar, yet, and I felt like I would slide right off. I didn't, he bought a sissy bar, and I've loved riding with him ever since.

And it turns out, I like being his old lady. I like riding bitch and just hanging out enjoying the ride. I've ridden hundreds of miles on road trips, through rain and shine, and have really loved every minute.

Okay. I haven't loved the minutes where I felt he was going to fast on a corner, but we've only scrapped a peg once, so he does know what he's doing. I trust him.

He once asked if he went blind, would I learn how to ride so I could take us both out on the, no, honey, I'm sorry. I really am! But no. I treasure my spot on the bike behind him. There is no way I'm going to let him be my old lady!

Friday, October 3, 2008


The best sandwich in the world only needs three things: white bread, Jiff peanut butter, and Smuckers seedless strawberry jam.

To make it absolutely perfect, once the sandwich is made, but it in a sandwich baggy, deposit that into the bottom of a brown lunch bag, and put a heavy apple on top of it, to make it all squished and soggy by the time lunch rolls around.

I'm not kidding. When I pack my own lunch, I do that on purpose.

My kids think it's nasty, and I've had to apologize more than once for forgetting that not everyone thinks a smashed sandwich is the bomb!

It reminds me of being a kid, of opening my lunch box and thinking "yum"...except for that one year when we had homemade plum jam with the skins still swimming in the jelly. That was not okay.

I rarely allow myself the treat of a good pb&j sandwich, but the other day I did. As I pulled it out of my bag (the last thing in the bag mind you), I flashed back to grade school and had to smile at the one thing my perfect sandwich was did not have a bite out of it.

That's right. A bite. I don't ever remember a sandwich my Mom made for us that didn't have a bit taken first. I had thought this was perfectly normal, and every kid had a bite in their sandwich. Nope. Turns out, we were special.

I like to think of it as our Mom's way of saying "Hi" when we were at school.

Either that or she loves PB&J on white bread as much as me and just could not resist that delicious bite of perfection!

I personally don't take bites of the kids sandwiches....I am perfectly happy just licking the pb off the knife. And since licks don't really count, I don't have to record it in my food journal!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Enough With The Walking

I walk almost daily. My goal is 6 days a week, but if I hit 5, I'm actually pretty pleased with myself. I always walk in the mornings, first thing. I don't like to get sweaty, so it's better to do that early and take a shower and be all refreshed for my day.

My departure time varies, depending on if I hit the snooze button, but I try to leave the house around6:40. This is so much nicer in the summer time when it's light out! I've been walking the same route, generally in the same time, for years. I had to quit the big hills because my runner's knee was killing me. I'd rather skip the little bit extra workout, and be able to walk every day. Those hills were making me take every other day off to ice my knee.

It's still pretty much the same walk as always.

Let's review. I walk the same way, at the same time, and have done so for years.

Why, now, all of a sudden, are there walkers on my walking route? Is there some sort of get healthy kick sweeping our community?

The other day I started off my walk following two people. It took me a few minutes to realize there were two more people behind me. Urgh!! When walking a sniffing Beagle, one does not need the pressure of keeping the right pace to stay ahead, but not to pass, other walkers. Plus, a Beagle has to do what a Beagle has to do.....And I do not need an audience when I have to bag a deposit.

Every day since, I have seen the same two people. They are usually on my route, walking at a brisk pace, catching up with me, or popping out through alleys and making me look all around for where they went.

It's enough to make me scream!

So, please, ladies and gentlemen, enough with the walking already! I was here first!

Plus, it's going to get crazy when I start walking both Beagles.....for the love of cripes, find a different route!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Zucchini: Friend To No Kid Or Beagle

Ah, yes, it's starting to be that time of year again, when you see free signs sitting next to lovely green piles of zucchini at the edges of people's yards. When I was a kid, I hated zucchini. Call it summer squash, try a little patty pan, and it was still my worst nightmare of a dinner, and the one thing we knew our garden would produce over abundantly.

As an adult, I've been known to sneak a couple free zucchinis home with me. I find they aren't so bad. Dice them up, throw them in a stir fry, and the kids usually don't notice them. The key is a nice Asian style sauce, but that's besides the point. We are eating a veggie here!

Emma and I were taking our usual walk the other morning, and we were almost done, passing one of the most beautiful gardens in our town. I always admire the rich dark earth, the big pumpkins, the vines of beans curling up the stakes, not to mention the gorgeous dahlias. This garden always looks perfectly groomed. I admit to being preoccupied with the height of the corn, and was taken by complete surprise when we came to the end of the garden fence, and Emma skittered and jumped about a foot away from the fence. I dropped my gaze to her, and she had all her back fur up and was clearly frightened by something.

I follow her stare, and saw two ginormous zucchini's propped against the fence. They glistened in the early morning sun and I wondered if they were free for the taking...they'd make a great addition to a Thai curry dish we were having for dinner.

I told Emma it was okay, but she remained unconvinced. She moved closer, slowly, and finally stretched her head out to try to sniff those weird things without getting a step closer. She jumped back again, completely unhappy.

I knew, even if they were free to me, I could not carry one home while walking Emma. She truly believed there was something seriously wrong with those green things.

Further proof that Beagles are super smart dogs. Zucchini is to be feared. Especially end of the season, unnaturally large, ready to be hidden in a dish for some unsuspecting family zucchini.

The kids should give Emma an extra treat tonight in thanks!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remember, Remember

7 years ago today, right about now, I think I was packing a bag for the kids and myself to take to my mom's house. I had sat on the living room floor that morning, watching the TV show all the horror that September 11th is, and I cried. I sent my son to school, and went to the store with my daughter. Our small town, so far away from the East Coast and all that was happening, was dead quiet. I was only one of a handful of people out. It was like we were all holding our breath waiting for the next shoe to drop.

For me it happened later that morning, when a call came from my husbands unit. Was he at work? Yes. Was this his cell phone number? Yes. I knew what that meant. I waited just a few minutes until the phone rang again.

It was my husband, asking me if I could get some of his gear together. Throw his spit kit and some civilian clothes into a bag. He was on his way home, his unit was being deployed. I called my mom, who picked our son up from school. Our pastor came over and prayed with us before he left.

But what I remember the most from that day is my husband and I standing in our bedroom, holding each other, knowing that could be the last moment we ever saw each other. We laughed a little at some joke that only we would think is funny, our tears could not be helped, and we talked about how much we loved each other, how each day with each other had been the best, how if this was it, we had packed more love and happiness into 9 years than we thought possible....and how grateful we were to have this one more moment, where so many others in the country were not so lucky.

That night I went to my parent's home. I could not stand to be alone in our house, with our young kids, when I had no idea where my husband was. For all we knew, he was on a plane headed to war.

He was gone for three months, but thankfully, it was not to war. He was stationed nearby, so he could come home on weekends. And every time he came home, I was reminded of how lucky I was. For the hardships we were having, it was nothing compared to thousands of other families trying to cope with the immense tragedy of loss.

Every year since, on September 11th, I stop and remember. I pray for the families, I pray for the soldiers, I pray for the police and fire fighters, and I also give thanks for what I have. I hope everyone does.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Day Of School Picture

Ah, the first day of school. I feel jittery and nervous, just like I did as a kid. Being the mom has never changed how I feel about school. I dread it! For the first time ever, I did not walk any kids to school. I stood at the back door and watched my son and his friends walk with my daughter to middle school. I resisted the urge to stand in the back corner of our yard and watch them walk all the way....we live so close I can almost see them all the way into the building. But I did not go farther than the back door. The kids would not have approved of me in my pj's, standing in our yard, watching them!

I had gotten up at 6:30, ready to make them eggs or something for breakfast, but they were sitting at the table, completely dressed and ready to go, eating granola bars and talking about school. Instead, I poured myself a cup of coffee, sat down at the table and used a permanent marker to write my daughters name on her calculator and school bag while I listened to them laugh and talk.

I have never taken a first day of school picture. Never. Not sure why, just didn't do it. I was sorely tempted to do so today. The first and last year they will both be at middle school...and I wanted to take a picture. Probably so I could add it to this blog! But when I mentioned it to my kids, my son told me he had always been proud that I wasn't weird like that. Okay. No picture!

No picture of those kids at least. Instead, I took my camera into my room and took a picture of my other two kids. Today is a day of firsts for them too: Sarah snuggled down under the covers this morning, without trying to play, and I had to wake both of the girls up. Sarah tried to burrow back under the covers, while Emma was resigned to the fact that if I've pulled the covers off of her, it's time to get up.Besides, I am a mother who believes in fairness always. I weaned them both at the same age, make sure they have an equal number of twix and dove chocolates in their Christmas stocking, and have never taken a picture of D on the first day of school. To take one of L on her first day of middle school, when I never did for D, would not be fair.

It's a good thing Sarah and Emma can't talk. I'm sure they would have said no thanks to a picture of their back legs in bed and that they have always been proud that I never took embarrassing photo's of them and posted them on the web!

It's a very good thing they can't talk!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We Are Dog People

Now, if you are a dog person, you know exactly what I mean when I write that. We love having dogs for pets, we see dogs and oh and ah over them like other people do babies.

Our neighbors across the alley recently got a puppy and suddenly we've gone from just nodding and waving a brief "hi, how are you, yes, I'm acknowledging that you do exist" wave, to our dogs having play dates, and us chatting it up in each other's backyards. The new neighbors in the rental across the street also have a dog, and yes, we've introduced ourselves. We never even thought about talking to the previous tenants, and you guessed it, they were dog-less.

Just now, I was letting Emma outside, when the puppy next door came running into our yard, and the dog across the street, crossed the street and raced up the alley to join in the fun. We all had a good laugh, and one neighbor remarked that it sure is funny that all the dogs run away to our house.

Well, it stands to reason. Dogs are pretty smart, and we are dog people!

Side note: anyone who doesn't like dogs seems suspect to us. There are some countries in the world, who shall remain nameless, who not only are not dog people, they prefer cats.

Cats! That is so unspeakable, I will not speak on it further.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Written Remembering

When we go camping, late at night, when we are all bedded down in the tent trailer, my kids ask if I will tell them a story. Sometimes I tell them a condensed version of a book I've read. As anyone who went to school with me can attest too, I don't know the meaning of "condensed"....every part of the book is important to understand the whole story! Other times they ask for stories from when they were babies.

Last time we were camping, my daughter, the youngest, asked why all the stories were about her brother as a baby. Didn't I remember anything about her? I paused and thought. Huh. That might be true. The answer I gave her was when she was a baby, she was D's shadow. Anything he was doing, she was doing. It's hard to separate a baby story of hers, from a story of her 2 year old brother.

But it is more than that. When D was born, he was our first. He was our sole focus, and we did everything with him in mind. We were living across the country from our families, so it really was just the three of us. Then we moved back home, realized we were expecting baby number two, and things in our life got fuller.

When she was born, I remember thinking this was going to go by way too fast. I knew she was the last baby we'd be having and I wanted to savor every moment. But, with a 2 year old at home waiting to meet "baby", I knew I wasn't going to get the same chance to focus on her that I did on her brother.

When D was born, my OBGYN gave me a daily journal to record the first year of D's life. I wrote in it every day, but sometimes the entries were just a line or two. I kept a journal for L's first year also, but it is full of page long entries. I knew I had so much going on, so much to do, that it was hard to find the time to just sit and marvel at her perfection, like I got to do with D. So, at night, when I could find a moment, I would write and write and write.

I might not have memories I can pull out of my head at the drop of a hat for her, but I have the journal. It is full of all the things I wanted to remember about her being a baby. Maybe I'll take it on the next camping trip, and when the kids ask for their stories, I pull out the journals, get out the flashlight and wow them with stories they might not have heard before.

Like, March 25, 1998: L looks so cute today! I wanted to give her a ponytail, but one was impossible. So she has two curly pigtails on top of her head. It is just too adorable! Went to Seattle see Aunt A;s house, L was good. She got screaming mad in the car though. Grandma K said she was glad to know L had such a strong personality! As soon as Daddy came home, her pigtails fell out. Daddy loved them and was so excited he got her all excited. Pigtails weren't meant for rough housing!

And to be fair: March 25, 1996: Boy can D move! He's not a crawler yet, but soon. He twists and turns and wiggles all over the place. He rocks forward, leaping really, and moves all over our laps when he's on the ground. Next steps are crawling and sitting up on his own.

A written remembering.....I'm so glad I took the time to write it down, for them, but mostly for me. It did go by too fast, and I love reading and remembering....those were great days....but these days 11 and 13 years later are pretty darn good too!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Why I Might Turn To Drink

In one crazy moment of complete insanity, I asked for a puppy for our 15th anniversary. I just blurted it out when my husband asked what I wanted, I was almost as surprised as he was to hear those words. More surprise followed when he said, "Okay."

On our anniversary, I opened my gift bag to find a tiny stuffed Beagle and a letter listing all the reasons why we should get a puppy. I can't say I was disappointed...I was pretty darn excited. And very nervous!Emma is a fantastic Beagle. She always has been, from her puppy days to now. What if the new puppy was not so good? What if, even worse, Emma hates her?

We did not rush right out to buy a puppy. We have some very strict guidelines, such as it has to be a girl, raised mostly outside, but not in a kennel. So I told the kids, and anyone who asked, it could be months before we find the right dog. We waited 8 days.

And then we saw the add for Beagle puppies. In the next town over. Two girls and a boy left. Both dog parents on the property. My husband went over to visit and came home very happy. He was pretty sure I'd like the one he picked out. We went back the next night, but I stressed over and over again, if I didn't fall in love with this puppy, we weren't going to get her.

Of course, I fell in love with that puppy! There was really no doubt, I love dogs. I sat on the floor of a house that smelled like it had six puppies and three adult dogs living in it, and let puppies and dogs run all over me. I loved the puppy's big eyes, and petite little paws....she was ours. On the way home, we tried out name after name, deciding that the original name "Bailey" was totally wrong and "Midge" just didn't have the two syllables we like to holler but "Sarah" might be just right.....but mostly we worried that Emma wouldn't like her. Sure, Emma loves having the neighbors puppy over to play, and even herded him into our house, but a puppy living with her full time was going to be a change.

When we got home, I put the puppy down on the ground, the kids and Emma ran over...and little Sarah took a wiz all over my bare foot. Flip-flops do not give any protection against a dog peeing on you!

It took a few days. I won't lie. When Emma wanted to play, Sarah was tired. When Sarah wanted to play, Emma was so not interested. Then on day 5, magic happened. They both wanted to play and they took off running and wrestling. When they finally slowed down, it was to sit close to each other. The wind came rushing through our yard, their ears both started to lift up like Dumbo's, and they closed their eyes and sniffed....It's so cute, so adorable, so sickeningly sweet, I'm not sure how other people can stand to listen to us gush on and on about them.

The down side is, they wrestle from one end of the house to the other! There is no peace when they are feeling full of the dickens. With all their barks, growls and teeth, their tails are wagging non stop.

It's enough to warm my heart, give me goosebumps of happiness...or it's going to drive me to drinking. One or the other!

And if I do turn to drink, it will have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with three thirteen year old boys having a party, running around in the dark with squirt guns and drinking tons of coke. That's just good times!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dancing Dolphin, You Sicken Me

I hate dolphins. I know, right, totally weird. I think they are repulsive, sinister, creepy ocean creatures, with sharp teeth, and a freaky sound system.

When the Simpsons had a Halloween special where dolphins take over the world, I was not at all surprised. They are pure evil. Nothing that lives in the ocean should be that friendly with you. Be afraid, be very afraid!

In Mamma Mia, there is a mosaic dolphin in the courtyard. I choose to ignore it. An otherwise fantabulous movie lost a point for having a dolphin.

During my third viewing of it, my husband whispered, "How do you like it when the dolphin dances?"

Um, what? I have no clue what he's talking about.

Thank goodness I'm recovering from vertigo, and can't stand to look at spinning things, because when they are all dancing in a spinning circle in the courtyard, I close my eyes, and sometime during that scene, the dolphin dances to the beat.

I had been feeling sad that I was missing a part of the movie, missing it four times, but now that I know the mosaic dolphin gets to have a bit part, I am glad I missed it.

Dolphins. Pure Evil. Should not have a place in one of my favorite movies of all time!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I Am So Jealous!!

I honestly thought I wasn't going to get anymore tattoos. Honestly! Even though my daughter laughed when I said that, and my husband said he didn't believe it, I really was sure I was done.

Then my husband came home with his new-rocking-absolutely-fantastic tattoo on his right forearm, and I am so insanely jealous I can hardly stand it! I want another one! Or three!

The best part is, he went to a new tattoo shop in our little cow town, in what used to be an abandoned building, before that it was a church, and he was so impressed with the artist, the shop, everything. He even told the guy he was pretty sure after I saw how great his tattoo looked, I'd soon be down at the shop.

He is totally right. I have a folder of ideas and I'm ready to go!

And when my husband told me that it really hurt right there, and pointed to a certain spot, I was challenged. I can so handle that momentary pain!

I've heard all the concerns about how will I like my tattoos when I'm old and wrinkly, and my answer to that is, I will love them. I didn't smoke or drink to excess or do any sort of drugs. I didn't run away from home, stay out all night partying, or really, have any wild stories from my youth to tell my grand kids. But I will have tattoos. Lot's of them. And I will proudly show them off, wrinkles and all!

Now if I only had time to get something done before the family reunion in a few weeks.....

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mama Mia!!

I was raised on Musicals. I grew up thinking EVERYONE knew, watched and loved L'il Abner, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers....Turns out that is not the case. Musicals died out long before I was born. Thank goodness for DVDs!

But suddenly, we are having some Musicals making a comeback. Wicked Awesome!

Today I saw Mama Mia with my daughter, both sisters, my Mom, my Grandma, and my second Mom. It was a girl day and it was fantastic. The youngest sister sat between the older sisters, since we have a tendency to giggle when it's a sad moment, and as the opening music started to play, I thought, "I'm going to LOVE this movie...."

That is an understatement. This movie is so good, I was ready to leave the theater, buy two more tickets and go back in right away! There is nothing like a good musical: romance, comedy, drama and tragedy all rolled into one wonderful movie, with toe tapping music. Where is the theater that you can sing along to the songs? We would have been belting out every word we knew, and mumbling through the ones we didn't!

I know, Pierce Brosnan got all our hearts racing, but really, when I saw Stellan SkarsgÄrd riding his motorcycle, with the tattoos on his knees, I shivered. I might have a thing for old dudes!

But the best part of the day was afterwards, when one sister called to tell the other two she had already purchased the soundtrack and it was awesome, the other two rushed over to the store and bought it too, ripped the plastic off before we even got into the car and listened to it LOUDLY all the way home.

Mama Mia!

Friday, August 1, 2008

White Rabbit Syndrome

For years and years I have thought the slowest person I knew was my youngest sister. Sorry, but it's got to be said! I can count on her to be late for most things.

Then my daughter was born, and the crown and scepter were passed down to her. She honestly ate one grain of rice at a time. So slow!!

This has been my first year of working outside of our home. I love my job, love getting ready for work, really enjoy everything about having a job. I don't think there was a day during the school year that I wasn't running late. I thought it might be due to not having to leave for work until I got her off to school, which meant I could didn't have to leave the house until 9....

It has occurred to me yesterday, as she and I were running late to Seattle to babysit my nephews, she might not be the only one with a problem. I've done some serious soul searching and have discovered an unpleasant truth.

I am usually running late.

Yes. For work, school, church, name it, I'm running late for it.

Apparently, the white rabbit gene is strong in me. And when I join forces with my daughter, Whoa Nelly. There is no way she and I can get our act together when it's just the two of us. My son was so pleased the day he started middle school and was no longer waiting on us to get ready.


Well, I'd say I'd work on that, but I'm a procrastinator also, so what's the point? I'd just put it off and put if off, and the next thing you know, I'm running out the door thinking, "I'm late!!"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Me Want Cookie

Back in my preschool days, I loved Cookie Monster. I loved how he had a hand that actually picked things up, I loved his googly eyes, I loved the way cookies would fly to pieces as he ate them, I loved how much he loved cookies!

I myself have a bit of a sweet tooth. I could be Bubba from Forrest Gump and list all the sweet yumminess I adore, but I won't. I will just say I love dessert. That doesn't help me in the weight department! I can't give up the desserts. I can cut way back on what I eat, but I have never been able to completely give up sweet things.

I have heard from many people that once they gave up the sweet things for their diet, months later, eating one was not so good. They had no taste for it.


Not me. I know I will forever be a Cookie Monster wanna be. I don't even know if I really believe those weirdo's. Loose their taste for sweet goodness. As if!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Creepy Bathrooms Are Better When They Are Yours

After coming home from a three night camping trip, dealing with disgusting bathrooms and creepy shower stalls, the first thing I did was take a long shower in my own bathroom.

It was so wonderful!

As I washed, I thought how creepy bathrooms are all relative. When we first moved into our house, I detested my bathroom. I felt dirty even after scrubbing the shower several times. It was not right at all. But standing there today I was just so happy to be at home, I realized the ugly, disgusting shower is not so bad anymore.

I know other people look at it and shudder: it has an ancient, chipped bathtub and the shower walls are covered with a lovely golden tropical design. It's creepy to them! But to me, it has become my own.

And after two days of using quarters to buy some minutes in a shower I was repulsed by, I was so glad to come home. 70's tropical motif and all!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Oscar Mayer, How Could You?

Oh, Oscar Mayer, how could you do this to me?

I've been your number one fan of your all beef franks. I love their texture, their pale pink loveliness, their all-beef-no-questionable-meat-ness, the way they blacken over an open fire. They are the only hot dogs I will buy, for years and years.

A few weeks ago, we were camping in Oregon. We ran out of hot dogs, which is easy to do since that is our favorite camping dinner, and we stopped at a local grocery store to buy OM all beef franks. They looked different, more red, and when we ate them, they were DIFFERENT.

The taste and texture was like eating a SAUSAGE! No! No! No! I want my hot dog to be like a rolled up piece of bologna, smooth and delicious.

I told myself it was because we were in a different state. But I discovered yesterday as I shopped for another camping trip, Oscar Mayer has a "new and improved" label on their all beef hot dogs, and they are the same horrible red color. No thank you. Why mess with a good thing in the first place?

So, Oscar Mayer, you have forced me to shop around for a new brand of hot dogs. Ball-Park all beef franks, step up to bat. Let's see how you plump.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Morning Perfection

Finally, our kids have reached an age where sleeping in on Saturday mornings is something we all like to do. The last couple of years has had them up early, knocking on our door to ask if they could make something for breakfast. Today, I woke up at 9 and couldn't believe it!

I got up, let Emma out of her crate so she could snuggle up in bed with Mom and Dad for a little bit. My husband and I laid there until almost 10, just enjoying the soft sunlight, the quiet, and our first Saturday of no commitments in a long time.

We got up, took Emma for a nice long walk, talked about how much she loves a new puppy that has moved in down the street, and got back home to find the kids half up. My husband went and got doughnuts as a special treat. I made us a pot of coffee, and when he got home, we took our doughnuts and our mugs of coffee and sat on the porch.

There is nothing in the world as good to me as a Saturday morning in the summer, sitting on the porch, drinking our coffee and eating our breakfast, watching people walk by. It's a smidge white trash, but I don't care. If I'm lucky, the neighbors across the street are out on their porch smoking, and I can catch a hint of smoke in the air. I don't smoke, but it reminds me of Grandma D, and that makes my coffee all that much better.

Emma sits between our chairs, hoping for a crumb, we can hear the kids laughing over Saturday morning TV, usually re-runs of The Soup (We love you, Joel McHale), and my husband and I can just relax...talking, laughing, enjoying each other's company.

It's Perfection.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Holding Hands

My husband and I met in high school. Yep. High school sweethearts in this day and age. We feel so very retro! We met, fell in love, and just knew. We clicked, right down to the way my hand fits perfectly in his.

Maybe it was because we met so young, and holding hands was a very exciting thing to do, but we've never stopped. We have to be able to sit close and hold hands while we watch TV, while we eat dinner, when we drink our morning coffee on the porch. We walk the dog, holding hands. Even when I'm mad at him, he holds my hand. I like that he won't let go. He says I'm a keeper, flashing eyes and all.

We can't buy a car unless the test drive proves it's conducive to hand holding!

It's a legacy we're passing on to our kids. I know when they grow up, they'll tell their kids stories about how Grandma and Grandpa always held hands, everywhere, all the time.

When I think about Heaven, and how one has to go first, I know that one will be waiting up there, hand ready.

That is my idea of heaven. Holding his hand always.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Footnote In The Bird Saga

I can do many things: clean up puke in the middle of the night, jerry rig the toilet to flush with a shoe lace, hold Emma down while I brush her teeth. I can not catch a bird. I can't even get close to it without embarrassing myself.

And if it's hurt, flopping around the yard, I am really freaked out by it. I feel so bad. I wish I could catch it and take it to our local wildlife sanctuary. I can't.

Twice this year, we've had different birds with injured wings in our yard. The first time, Emma was trying to sniff it, I was trying to get her away, but when the bird changed directions and headed towards me, I ran to the house. Maybe, just maybe, I was screaming like a little girl. I was totally wigged out. I did manage to get Emma away, and the bird escaped into the bushes.

Yesterday, another bird was running around the yard, it's wing totally messed up. Emma would have made a great sheepdog. She herded that bird to exactly where she wanted it, she cut it off at every turn. She can change directions on a dime. She wasn't hurting it, only sniffing it. I did not want her anywhere near that bird. I was trying to get her away, while not wanting to get close to the bird.

Later I asked my sister if it was as comical as it seemed. She said yes, and terrifying. We all suffer from the same bird fear!

Everyone except Emma.

We got her inside, and didn't let her out until the kids went outside and said the bird was gone.

Whew. I don't care where it went, as long as it was not in my yard.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Coffee, Sweet Nectar of the Gods

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee.

I'm so hooked on you.

It started as a kid, I loved the smell of coffee. A fresh pot brewing or the lid coming off the can or walking in the grocery store coffee aisle.....I loved it. Couldn't wait to taste the real thing.

Tasted it and hated it. How could something smell so good and taste so bitterly awful?

Then the espresso-latte-mocha craze hit and I tasted a mocha and have never looked back. I love a 12 oz double shot non fat no whip mocha. While my husband was gone I switched it up to a 16 oz triple shot, because on the days I did manage to treat myself, I really want to treat myself. Plus, if I'm only buying one, and not two, I can afford a bigger cup!

By now I know I love coffee, but I resisted getting a coffee pot. I knew I'd drink the whole pot by myself. Make it in the morning, then continually reheat a cup until it was all gone. And that is exactly how it goes. If only I had the spelling skills to do the word jumbles in the newspaper, I would be my Grandma D. She always had a cup of coffee sitting next to her as she worked her puzzles. She always had a smoke too, but I can forgo that likeness.

I did not know just how addicted I was until I went to work with my 16 oz triple mocha and got caught in the office, licking the lid. It started to spill and I didn't want to loose one drop!

Even after I was caught and we all had a good laugh, I couldn't resist licking up the last of the mocha. It is sweet nectar of the gods after all, and I should treat it with respect!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Corn Dogs: Meat and Veg

A couple of years ago, I started buying vegetarain corn dogs. I told my husband, but not my kids. If they knew, whoa nelly, they wouldn't eat a single thing I served again!

Well, as happens to all secrets, it eventually came out that they were veggie corn dogs, but by then it was too late. They liked them. My daughter and I love them. No questionable meat products in those bad boys. Just good old soy!

My son says they are fine, but he loves a good Foster Farms corn dog. One day, we saw a huge box on super sale at our commissary, and he asked if he could cook them for dinner. All right. He does take turns on Wednesday nights cooking dinner, and 8 times out of 10 his sister's dinner of choice is a vegetarian meal. I can't say yes to her, and no to him, when I have no moral reason to not eat a meat corn dog. Just a personal preference.

I buy the box, and there are about 30 corn dogs in there. Good deal for the price, but 30? Really? We all have one the night he made dinner and it was good. As good as my veggie one? I don't think so.

The next time we had corn dogs, I made a Foster Farms for him, and a veggie one for my daughter. It's not hard to make two different kinds. They bake at the same temp, for the same time. It's a very easy way to make both kids happy.

I've cooked both at the same time for several dinners now, and each time, my kids are so surprised that I've done that. He doesn't have to eat a veggie one? She doesn't have to deal with meat? I'm like Super Mom in that moment.

I really wish that all of motherhood was as simple as making both kinds of corn dogs.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mark Harmon Is Still My McDreamy

It was 1986, I was about 12 years old, and the TV guide arrived with this dreamy guy on the cover. I still clearly remember thinking he was sooo cute!, and I clipped his every picture out, even the black and white ones advertising his show (one I was not allowed to watch, btw).

I used my own money to buy the People magazine when he was named sexiest man alive, but I did not cut those photos out. The magazine is still in pristine condition in my hope chest. I know, right? It's been over twenty years, and I still have the magazine, in my hope chest no less!

I watched Moonlighting when he was on it, loved the movie Summer School and about died of excitement when saw him come on screen in the remake of Freaky Friday.

I just saw a commercial for his show, NCIS, and even with his graying hair, he's still my McDreamy!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sorry Birds, You've Been Evicted

So, awhile back, the kids and I came home to find a mess of twigs, dirt and moss in the carport. I immediately asked my son why he would make a mess like that, who was going to clean it up? He said it wasn't him, but I wasn't convinced. It seemed like the sort of thing boys might do.

The next morning my daughter was standing in the laundry room, looking into the carport and she asked if I thought a bird might have made that mess. I instantly thought, oh no, oh no, oh no! But instead I said yes, do you see a bird out there? Yep.

I venture out slowly, because here I will admit to a silly fear, I am scared of birds. I do not like their flapping wings, their beady eyes, their swooping and pooping. But I go out, because someone has to look up into the rafters of the carport to see if the mess on the floor is related to a building project.

Sure enough, a nest was being constructed. A bird flew out of the carport as I walked in, and I shuddered. I can't live with that! So I get out the rake and knock it down, then sweep up all the bird's mess. Whew. Done and done. No bird dive bombed my head, so that's a very good thing.

Go to work, come home at lunch, um, hello? Another nest being built? No way. I knock it down and sweep it up. We are bird free for weeks and I'm so grateful.

Then we get home from Seaside to find the bird has built a really big nest, in a really hard to knock down place in the carport. Between the kids and me, we manage to shake it loose and knock it down.

Unfortunately, the bird is not willing to give up. I wake up the next day to find a massive, solidly built, monster of a nest, in a spot that at first, I thought was impossible to get it down from. At that point, I thought, okay. Bird stays. My husband will be home in a week and I can turn it over to him.

Turns out, I'm not that kind of woman. I will get that nest down, somehow, someway. I struggle, with the rake, get dust in my eyes and some moss in my hair, but I finally get it down. It was not like the other nests before it, which came down in wisps. This landed with a hard plop. It was solid, well constructed, and heavy. It still held it's nest shape after it landed. I did not investigate, so I do not know why it was so heavy, maybe mud?

All I know is the bird finally gave up. I have officially evicted it from my carport. That being said, I'm sure I've jinxed myself and will wake up in the morning to find a birds nest made from the finest fur a welsh corgi can shed, since I've heard there are mounds and mounds of that stuff laying around somewhere.

Won't matter too much to me this time. My husband is home! He can deal with it. Thank God!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Seaside, Here We Come!

Every Memorial Day weekend, for the last six years, my sisters and I load up our kids and head down I-5 to Seaside, Oregon.

This trip is huge. It is four days of us, doing our own thing. We have to eat at the same fish and chips restaurant the first night, the same pizza joint the second night, we have to get salt water taffy from the Candy Man, we have to hit the beach in sun or rain, wind or calm and sit there for hours while the kids play.....We have traditions that make this trip one of the best sister things we've ever done.

The first year, it was the three sisters and my two kids, in a two bed hotel room, one roll out bed for my son, and ONE BATHROOM! When our extended family heard what we were planning, we had much ribbing. How on earth would the five of us share a bathroom and a tiny room without fighting?

I'm not sure how we did it, but we did, and it was a great trip. As soon as we left we said next year we're doing it again.

And we have. Seaside is not for husbands. It's for sisters and moms and kids. It's us goofing off, eating junk food, having giant ice cream cones, for the brave ones to ride the tilt a whirl after stuffing themselves at dinner. It's us singing along to old country favorites (Your Nobody Called Today...) and laughing until we have zero upper body strength.

Its a four day trip that really makes our relationships better, stronger, funnier! And what I love about it is how our children will have memories of us laughing. They will grow up, and have kids of their own, and will tell them of going to Seaside every year, of almost drowning once, of almost having to rub silky underwear because blankie was lost and panic mode was on, of deciding to go back to the hotel alone and seeing Mom fly across the sand to catch a very independent child, of laying in bed at night listening to their Moms and Aunts giggle like kids.

Only two more days and then we are on the road again!!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

In Honor Of Mom

"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie." Tenneva Jordan

When I read this quote a couple of years ago, I thought immediately of my Mom. This is the sort of thing she would do, just to make it fair for us kids. I knew this also exemplified the kind of mother I wanted to be. When there is just enough cake to split between two kids, I declare I am not in the mood for cake.

Last weekend, my Mom made blackberry pie. Now, for our family, this is the Holy Grail of pies. The little wild blackberries are very hard to find, almost as prized as gold. I have been berry picking with my Mom, it is hard work, and she never wants to stop. There is always one more good spot over the next rise!

She made the pie, and at the end of the night there was just enough leftover to give six slivers of heaven to six people waiting. Yes! Even a tiny piece is much wanted and appreciated.

My daughter got her pie, moved to walk away from the table, when disaster struck. Her pie slid right off her plate onto the ground. I instantly said, "She can have my piece." After all, I am her Mom, I won't eat pie when she doesn't have any.

My Mom trumped me though....she is Mom and Grandma, and my daughter and I both had a piece of pie while my Mom did not.

And that is one of the million reasons why I love her. 5 pieces of pie for six people, and I got to have one of those pieces.

Thanks Mom. And not just for the pie! Although it was super fantastically good!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

How To Sort Of Fix A Broken Toilet

As a wife to a part time soldier, I've had to learn to deal with things that I would usually turn over to him. Like super clogged toilets, dog poop on kids shoes, a bat upstairs hanging on the wall. You know, the husband jobs around the house.

So, when the toilet handle suddenly stopped working a few days ago, I took the lid off the tank and told the kids, just pull that lever, you don't even have to get your hands wet. That worked for about four flushes before the white lever broke too.

Frankly, I do not have time in the week to go to the hardware store to find a new handle, so I improvised. I found a really long shoe lace and tied it onto the white lever. Now when you want to flush, you just pull the shoe lace up, and it's all good.

It's working just fine and I have to keep reminding myself, this is a short term fix. It can not wait six weeks until my husband is home.

Or can it?

Just j-king you. I can't live with the tiolet like this. It's a little too white trash even for me!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

That's How We Roll

If you are packing up to move, or let's say, you've suddenly become insane and are going to refinish the wood floors in your dining room and living room and need to pack up your books so they won't get dusty, everyone knows where the best boxes can be found, right?

The liquor store. The boxes are not too big, not too small, and you aren't going to make any too heavy to carry. They are perfect. As long as you don't care if all your boxes proudly proclaim the name of various types of booze, it's all good.

I've assumed that everyone knows this, but I'm beginning to think that's not the case. With the amount of teasing we get from friends who helped us move, or my sister move, it's becoming clear that not everyone goes to the liquor store for boxes.

Shocking, I know. Where else would you go for free boxes? The grocery store? Gross! I've seen some banana boxes and there is no way I want my books in that.

I'll stick to the liquor store. That's how we roll in Arlington!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tattoos....I Have A Few...Okay Five

I love tattoos. I may not look like a regular tattoo junkie, but I am. Kind of! I don't want a full back or a sleeve, but I do love getting a tattoo.

My first one was planned for years. My sister and I both said we were getting one, and then life rolls on and we hadn't done it. It was getting embarrassing! We were not all talk, we really wanted to get a tattoo!

About two years ago, we did it. She called and made the appointments, and we went in. Two blue eyed girls who giggled and joked and had never gotten tattoos before, and the artist could tell! I went first and had a botanical drawing of a buttercup done in black ink and shades of gray on my left ankle. I loved it! It wasn't too bad pain wise and as soon as I was done, I was ready and wanting another tattoo!My sister got a big bee on her lower back, and she said it was very painful! I mentally blew a raspberry and thought she was a whiner, it wasn't that bad really. Then we are done, and everyone who sees her tattoo says a lower back one is terribly painful. Okay, I'm in. I'm doing something there. I have to! Anything she can do, I can do also!! I don't know what, but since I'm not getting another tattoo right away, I can think about it. My sister says no way. She's done!

Fast forward to now, and I really want a tattoo. I want two actually, and if I'm paying a base price for the whole hour, I might as well get them both done! On the back of my right shoulder I want a line from a book I read to my kids a million times when they were little, along with their initials and a crescent moon. On my left shoulder, I want my initials with my husbands with a neat little flower swirly design. Once again, my sister makes my appointment! We leave our kids with her husband and go to the same place. This time I have the visiting artist and he is so cool! He likes my tattoos, he keeps the crescent moon I drew, and he all around makes us laugh. We had a great time! It was painful, but still, I got up from having them done and was ready for more!

My wonderful sister calls down to the shop and asks how long our tattoo guy will be there. Only a few more days! Yikes! I instantly decide I want him to do my lower back one, and as I'm dreaming (literally dreaming every night) of tattoos, I know what I want as a second one. He works us in and I go first with my lower back one.

Okay, I'll admit it. My sister was not being a baby! That sucker hurt like I couldn't believe! It was about 45 minutes of pretty painful stuff, but when he was done, it's awesome. My thistle is a work of art! But, this was the first time I finished a tattoo and did not immediately want another one, and that was just too darn bad, since my right ankle was up for the last tattoo!
I knew my ankle would be easy, it was just my maiden name, in honor our dad, and I wanted it, but I was so glad when it was done in three minutes and then I could sit back and relax. I did it! In ten days I had gone from one tattoo, to three tattoos, to a lovely and wonderful five. I might be done.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Can You Say Emma?

As previously mentioned, I love my dog Emma. I think she's just the most perfectly perfect Beagle ever.

She has a fan in my just turned one year old nephew. He loves her too! He brings her toys to play with, but she won't rough house with him. I'm afraid she's jealous of the times he has been held by me.

A few months ago, when he was spending the night, I had a sudden inspiration! Emma is a very easy word to say. Very easy! Very similar to most baby's first word of "mama".....

So began my diabolical plan. Pure evil genius if you will! I would softly say "Emma, Emma, Emma" to him as we played, when we let Emma outside, when she begged for food at the table.

I told his mom I was whispering it to him as he slept, my version of subliminal messages. I didn't really. That might have woken him up and frankly, everyone knows to leave sleeping babies or dogs alone!

Even without any whispered night time messages, it worked. It really worked. His first word is officially "Emma" and he uses it when he sees other dogs. It turns out, it doesn't just mean her. I don't care, I'll take it as a win!

I did feel a little guilty. I really did! His first word could have been mama, but I ruined that. Oh well. Look out 3 month old nephew...I'm working on Emma as your first word too. Turns out, I'm about 75% evil....I can't resist!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On

My husband has fallen down on his letter writing to me. I understand, he is very busy doing secret squirrel stuff, but I still would like to get something in the mail.

Today, as the mailman pulled away, my son came in with the mail, waving a "we tried to deliver a package" note. I knew, I just positively knew it was something from my husband. My son willingly ran down the block and caught up with our mailman to get our box. He ran it back to me, and I could not wait to open it.

First, I open the letter to the kids and we go over every thing he has sent them: marshal star pins, dog tags from the chaplain, cigar tins, t-shirts. I see things in the box I know are mine: an insulated coffee mug, a shot glass, a Ziploc baggie of sea glass. But it's the teddy bear that has me stumped. Are the kids to share it? He didn't mention it in his letter to them.

I spill my sea glass across the table, touching every piece knowing he picked up each piece himself, walking the beach thinking of me. I arrange them in a dish on the table so I can look at them every day. Then I settle in to read my letter. The first two pages don't mention the bear, but they mention everything else. I'm really curious about the bear.

Turn to the last page, and as I read it, I could feel tears starting to burn my eyes. He bought the bear a week before he sent the box, and slept with it every night. He thought I might like to sleep with it, kind of like a connection to him. He got the idea after hearing a song that says, "send me the pillow that you dream on...."

He couldn't send his pillow, but he did the next best thing.

And yes, absolutely, the bear is sleeping with me. It is a connection to him. He had this close to him, and now I can hold it close to me. It's the best I can do, and after all these months apart, it is pretty darn good.

The bear and I retired to my room immediately, to cry a little, and to write letter number 87 to my husband. Four months and thousands of miles have not changed how he absolutely knows just the thing to do that will make me fall more in love with him.

Emma, move over a smidge. We've got a new nighttime companion. I think you'll like him, he smells just like Dad.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Headless Zombie Bird

Headless Zombie Bird, I know you are in the outside garbage can. I know when I open the lid, you'll have somehow come out of your bag and be laying there in all your creepy birdness.

If you have no head, though, Zombie Bird, does that mean you are not going to rise again? I'm not sure, since I haven't watched enough zombie movies to know how a finally death would be for you.

All I really want to know is how you got into my yard. Your body was perfect, the feathers all neat and well kept. You were very big, too. When my kids came inside to tell me there was a dead bird outside, I had visions of a small brown swallow. Not a giant gray pigeon. But where was your head? And how did your head come off without any damage to the rest of you?

We couldn't let you lay there. Emma hadn't found you yet, but in all honesty, she would, and it would not be pretty. Imagine bird feathers everywhere. I held a bag open while my son shoveled you in. It was pretty terribly, with your bird legs dangling off the shovel.

I don't mean to offend you, but I really dislike birds. There's something about your beady little eyes and your sharp looking beaks. I don't care for you at all. So, knowing you are in my garbage has totally creeped me out. I couldn't bury you, because Emma might dig you up. You have to leave our place entirely.

I put you in on Monday, and today is Friday. Garbage day. I have managed to not have any need to open the can. I really don't want to see what happens to a Zombie Bird when they have been trapped in a garbage can for four days.

I have thought about you every day though. Several times a day. You've ruined my appetite when I ate popcorn, and gave me the shivers when I was trying to think happy thoughts before bed.

I am so glad today you are going away for good. Thank you for not rising up and wrangling the lid off the can. As I write this, I have to check one more time.

Nope. The lid is still on tight. Whew!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dear Neighbor Across The Street

My dear neighbor, we live directly across from each other.

You might not realize it, but your kitchen window is huge and it does not have a curtain to cover it.

The other night, when you were in the kitchen in all your 1970's stoner glory, with your long stringy blond hair, no shirt to hold your pot belly in, and very low slung pants, we could see you. We could see you there, at 8:30 at night, cooking what looked like an elaborate feast. You were doing a very good impression of Emeril, with lots of flinging spices into pots, and raising your arms up. I could almost hear you saying, "Bam!"

The thing is, it was late. It was dark outside, and your kitchen window was like a spotlight, drawing our eyes like moths. We couldn't help but stare.

So, I'm writing this to apologize, dear neighbor. I'm pretty sure you weren't putting on a show for our entertainment. You just had a bad case of the munchies. That's cool.

I was going to say, next time we won't stare. But that would be a lie. If you are going to be mostly naked in a brightly lit kitchen, we will most likely be looking.

Dear neighbor, all of this could be avoided if you would invest in some curtains. They're not just for pretty! Curtains would benefit all of us greatly. Just something to think about. The rest of the neighborhood might be willing to raise some money for curtains. I know I'd throw in a few bucks.

Okay, that's a lie. You kitchen cooking is highly entertaining!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Leaf That Wasn't A Mouse

As I pulled into our carport one evening, a small brown thing scurried across the floor, freezing in terror when my car started to roll in.

OMG. A mouse. A mouse. A mouse. A mouse. A Freaking Mouse!!!

Okay. Keep calm. It's probably gone. If I was a mouse I wouldn't stay under a car, hoping someones feet would suddenly appear so I could run over them and enjoy squeals of terror. I swear I probably wouldn't do that.

I can't sit in the car like a wuss, I have to get out. I'm brave. I'm cool. If I didn't freak out (too badly) over the bat clinging to the upstairs hallway in our house, I can't freak out by a mouse possible under the car.

I get out, so far, so good. Was that a rustle? A mouse ambush?

Get a grip, woman! You are not a wuss! I said and said those words, I said them but I lied them! I wanted to run into the house and lock the door. After all, mice have nimble fingers!

But instead, I forced myself to peer under the car, maybe I had run it over. I don't really want Emma to get a dead mouse.

Um, yep. No mouse. No hint of a mouse.

Who knew a leaf could scurry like that?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Dexter's Mom Has Got It Going On

Yellow. Rubber. Gloves. Nuff said. We all know how totally sexy they are.

I used to see those packages at the grocery store and think who really uses them to wash dishes? Dexter's Mom always had them on, and it was so cartoonishly funny, I never in a million years thought I would seriously think of wearing them.

I haven't had a dishwasher in years. That's okay with me, I don't mind. I don't miss the dishwasher one bit. But it started to feel like I was always washing my hands, or the laundry or the dishes. No amount of lotion was working to save my hands from drying out. Trust me, I'm a bit of a lotion junkie. I tried almost every kind of lotion out there.

That's when I started thinking about the gloves. I thought about if for weeks before I bought a pair. I tried them on and thought, this is weird. I dipped them in the water and thought, this is weird. I felt along the dish pan for silverware and thought this really feels weird.

After two weeks, I bought two more pairs. I now have a back up pair on hand for the dishes, and one pair labeled with permanent marker "bathroom" so I don't have to scrub anything in that room with my bare hands ever again. How did I live without these gloves? I carefully put them on and take them off, I don't let water get inside of them, I hang them up after use to let them dry off. I treasure these yellow rubber gloves.

I had no clue that Dexter's Mom was as smart as her genius son, and she's cute too. I can top her, though, when I put on my gloves, still have my work skirt and shirt on, flip flops, hair pulled up in a crazy knot and my ancient apron that says "In case you were wondering, I AM the boss"......yep. Totally smoking hot.

It's the gloves.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Know What's Very Nice?

It is very nice to come home at lunch to find someone so excited to see you, she can't do anything except wiggle with glee!

I'm sure that's how my husband feels when he comes home and sees me...but I'm talking about Emma!

I walked into our kitchen on my lunch break, and there she was, running to greet me. I pet her, and her tail is going so fast she can't be still. It's so cute!

She's waiting outside the bathroom door for me with her toy to say, "let's play," and when I make my lunch, she is sitting next to me praying I might drop something.

I usually drop something. Accidentally on purpose you understand. The vet said she's looking a little chubby, so I must be careful!

Then as I eat my lunch, she is right beside me, not begging for food, just touching my leg with her head, as if to say, "I'm so glad you are here." She won't go outside until she's spent time with me.

She never complains over having the same dry dog food three times a day, or that she is left at home during the day, or when babies come over to visit and she has to share her Mom.

I love, love, love having a dog. Emma is the best.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Promise Of The Running Shorts

So, we are almost half-way through this deployment. It's gone by fast, yet every day has seemed to last an eternity. Funny how missing someone desperately does that to time.

The first time I changed the sheets on our bed after he left, I cried and cried. It's a very silly thing to cry over, but I was loathe to change them, to wash away his scent. And knowing there would only be Emma there to enjoy fresh clean tucked in tight sheets was sad. Emma prefers her sheets in a waded nest mess anyway. After almost 15 years of making our bed, I can not stop making his side just how he likes it, even when I know he won't be there. I do not like my blankets and covers tucked in all the way around, he does. Our bed is always half and half. Since it's just me, I would think I'd could do it my way every time. Nope. It's never happened yet, and I will bet I do it this exact way for the rest of my life.

Going to bed at night is sometimes the hardest part of my day. We go to bed together, unless he's working graveyards. We lay down and talk about our day without the kids eavesdropping. I still turn towards his side of the bed, resting my hand on his pillow. It's not even close to the same, although Emma is usually curled up with me, but it's a habit of years and I can't stop. I don't want to.

Plus it gives me a view of something that is exactly the way it always is. His running shorts are hanging on the closet door knob, ready for him to come home. I like seeing them there. It's a promise of how life will get back to normal. It won't stay like this forever.

And when he gets home, if those shorts get left on the floor of our room or the bathroom after his run, for a time, I will enjoy picking them up. For a short time!

Let this last half of deployment fly by, so I can find those sweaty shorts on the floor again.