Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How To Use Facebook Appropriately

It seems like everyone has a facebook account now days. I wasn't even too shocked when my Grandpa friended me (I only had to have the smelling salts waved under my nose once). I like facebook because it is totally like eavesdropping on conversations without any possibility of being caught. I can creep on you without you really knowing it.

That being said, I think there are some guidelines everyone should start using.

1. Friending people. I know having a huge number of friends is super popular, but honestly, the little red headed girl you met at camp when you were 8 years old does not really remember you nor does she want to be your friend. Think things through before you issue that friend request.

2. Tagging photos. I love to see a good picture of myself. The key word is "good". If you have a picture of me pulling at my waistband while making a weird cat butt face, do not tag me. Do not even post it on facebook! Use the golden rule. Would you like a freaky picture of you posted and tagged? No? Then don't do it to others!

3. Beware of dirty laundry. We all have those tiffs with our loved ones, ones where we want to let everyone know what a dirty stink pot louse they are, but after we've calmed down we are glad we didn't do something so rude. But with facebook, you can post whatever you feel and it is instantly available for all of your hundreds of friends to read. Now all your friends know that you are in a fight, they can read all your rants and if you are me, be very sorry for the TMI.

4. TMI. To much information isn't just about dirty laundry. It can be an overload of posting. Do I need to know that you are folding laundry, then cooking dinner, than going shopping, then getting ready for bed, then....I'm already bored. Post interesting things! Or funny things! Or in the case of me, rarely post anything.

That leads me to an important insight: I am too boring for facebook! I hardly post anything, I check it about once a week, and I am very slow to friend people, even my own family members! It may not be a case of others using facebook appropriately, it may be a case of facebook not being the place for me.

I might be too old school. Give me an email, a letter by snail mail or a good old fashioned blog! Now those are the ways to communicate to friends and family!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Love You, Craigslist

I love you. Really! I've found great bargains, and perfect finds, thanks to you. I've gotten rid of things for free, first come first serve, no hauling things to the dump for me! I've sold things and 'made' money, so like a garage sale but without the hassle.

You keep me entertained. You give my husband motorcycles to drool over. And you've made me laugh. Some of your posts are funny!

But, you aren't perfect. Nope. It's not your fault. I swear! It's the flakes that use you. I know, I know. Those flakes are the ones who've sold me my lovely couch or who've picked up a bag of free iris bulbs out of my front yard.

I don't mind the fact that I'm going to get about ten emails on a single item posted. I ignore the ones that are long distance phone numbers, with the call me please plea. I never meet someone halfway. I try to be fair and contact people in the order they email.

But I have a box of dragon legos that I can not get rid of. I've had three people make a plan to look at them, and then nothing. Not one word after that.

I've decided to take it as a sign from God! I wasn't sure if I was ready to let go of my son's favorite toys, even though he is too old for them. I'm not ready. They will be packed up and stored (right now my husband is gasping 'not in the bonus room!') and maybe in a couple years, when my nephews are older, the dragons will find a new home.

Or they'll sit in the bonus room for the next ten years and when my son has his own home, I'll pass them on to his bonus room.

And now, I've got to keep my morning date with you. It's E! news and free stuff on Craigslist that make my morning complete!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The TV Show I Should Stop Watching

I have a love hate relationship with A&E's show, "Hoarders". I should stop watching it for several reasons, but I can't. I think I love gasping in horror and saying, "E, can you believe that? Isn't that awful?"

First off, it's on Monday nights at 10. It is an hour long. That means I won't be thinking about going to bed until after 11! That's pretty late, and before you say, "Well, you are getting older, late nights aren't easy any more," let me be very clear. Late nights have never been easy for me! I was usually the first girl to fall asleep at slumber parties and New Year's Eve is my least favorite holiday!

Second, the show is called "Hoarders". It is all about people who are, you know, hoarders. They can't get rid of anything and usually end up living in a chair because that is the only "clear" space in the entire house. It is actually stomach turning to watch the tours of the house. There is no way I can snack during that show, even if it wasn't long past our cut off hour for snacking. Turns out, I can't eat while watching other people on TV shovel out houses full of human waste and dead animals.

But the real troubles come after the show, after 11, when I spend about 20 minutes wandering my house seeing signs of hoarding in myself! I do not stand for clutter. If it doesn't have a place, it doesn't stay long in our house. But after Monday nights, I can hardly stand to see the pile of clothes I have yet to put away, the stacks of creative memory works in progress I have on my desk and God forbid my bedroom trash overflow at all.

It is making me crazy.

My husband can attest to the truth in that statement!

And yet, every Monday at 10, we are cruising the channel guide. Is it a repeat? No? Then change the channel, quick! I don't want to miss one moment of stomach turning, gasp inducing programming!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Dangers of Texting While Mom Is Talking

Last night I told my son I'd blogged about him (he was holding his cell phone in his hand waiting for another text) and he was shocked. Shocked!

He wanted to know what I wrote and his sister said, "Texting and fast forwarding." I assumed she'd read the blog, but she shook her head and said no. My son wanted to know how she knew about it if she hadn't read it yet.

Um, I totally told him I was going to blog about his texting on Sunday night. Didn't he remember? His sister remembered.

He smiled and said, "Sorry. I must have been texting."

UGH!!!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Laws For Texters

We all know the dangers of texting while driving, but I'm here to warn of another serious consequence to texting while doing something else.....

Texting and fast forwarding DVR shows.

You're cruising along with three fast forward arrows rocking the commercials when a text comes in. The next thing you know the show is half gone and your family is yelling "Too far! Too far!"

Then you rewind it to the end of the commercials and start of the show, but that doesn't work so you just push play and your family has to watch those blasted commercials.

All so you can text while being in charge of the remote!

Dangerous business, my son. We might have to create new laws to govern the use of cell phone texting in relation to family life.

First law: No texting while in charge of the remote control. Second law: Umm.....actually, other than the remote thing, your texting is not a problem. Curiosity provoking, making a mother practically drool for wanting to know what you could possibly be texting about every 30 seconds, but otherwise unobtrusive.

Okay then. Carry on, just leave the remote control out of it. Those poor innocent shows being forced to fast forward or fast rewind will thank you for it. As will your family.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Snooze Button Rant

Whoever invented the snooze button for alarm clocks must have felt very pleased with himself. What a concept! Hit the button and have nine more minutes of sleep before the alarm goes off again. Everyone is going to want this feature on their alarm clock!

As much as I hate the button, I do use it. On occasion. Okay. I set my alarm specifically for 5:51 so I could hit the snooze and get up at 6, feeling like I've got to sleep in.

It's a trick my body does not appreciate. For as soon as I hit snooze, I fall back asleep. Like sound, having dreams, asleep. Nine minutes later I am once again jerked awake by that beeping, and do not feel rested at all.

I tell myself to just jump out of bed. Ignore that easily pushed button that stops that terrible noise. Instead, fumble for the right button to turn the alarm all the way off. Do I do what I tell myself too?

Sometimes. But usually I fall for the old trick of just needing to rest nine minutes more. Snooze....ZZZZZZZZZZZ

And let's not get me started on who made alarm clocks beep in that heart stopping way.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Okay Boys....

Fess up. No one is in trouble, but I want to know who took apart a pen, took out that wire spring, and shoved it into my butter.

My lovely, barely used, cube of golden deliciousness.

This blog is called BUTTERed Toast Rocks. The key word in that is BUTTER!

Don't mess with Momma's butter, boys.

My son insists that he and his friends would never, ever do something like that. My husband says that the boys are 14, that's the sort of thing a 14 year old boy does without thinking, almost as instinctual as breathing.

I know it was them, I know I can't prove it, and I know I must let it go.

Deep breath in, hold it, hold it, hold it, let it out. Whoosh.

It has suddenly occurred to me in that bit of calm breathing that the solution to my unhappiness is to get out a fresh stick of butter and open the sourdough bread and treat myself to a piece of toast. Or two.

Buttered toast makes my world go round.

And, it turns out, no guilty party coming into this house can withstand my Mom eyes. I have a confession and a half apology (he meant to take it out before I got home...) and I laughed and said he got me. I'd been ready to call the manufacturer and demand a refund for making butter with metal in it.

Now if only my toaster wouldn't be so temperamental. Burned toast is not what I need today!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What's That Smell?

Let's play that fun and delightful game, What's That Smell?

Usually played in the kitchen were you wander around the room asking yourself, is it the garbage? Raw chicken left in the can never smells good. Is it the sink? Let's give it a scrubbing with bleach. Is it the fridge? Let's toss any leftovers that look questionable. Is it the fruit bowl? Check to make sure a plum hasn't fallen behind the bowl.

I am now playing that game in our car. I get in every morning and roll down the windows in spite of the cool Fall weather. It smells bad, and I can't figure out why! It's not as easy to track down as the kitchen smell, especially when the car isn't that cluttered. Today I will pull up the seats and look in every crevice.....

What I'd like to find is an old mocha cup, with just enough coffee left to go bad but not enough to spill onto the carpet.

Like the bag full of moisture and two pieces of bread wedged up into the canned foods in our kitchen. The bread was 100% blue gray and the bag could have poured out 1/4 c of liquid. I'm not positive that was the smell in our kitchen, but since I found it and tossed it, I can breath easier.

Game on car smell. I have never lost a round and I don't plan on starting now!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Point For Short Hair

Four months ago, my daughter cut her hair short. Like, short short. Sometimes people think she's a very cute boy.....one time that was me. I thought her friend was walking home with a boy, until they got close to the house and I realized that boy was my daughter!

My daughter marches to the beat of not just her own drummer, but the entire marching band. I am very proud of her and her choices and her desire to be her own person. I am! Although, if I'm honest, the short hair has been an adjustment for me.

She has stopped wanting to dye her hair hot pink (thank goodness!) because she is actually the only girl in middle school with short hair. She stands out in a crowd, in a good way.

Which is actually a huge point in the favor of short hair! At the cross country meets, when all the girls running look alike in tie dye shirts and dark shorts, there is only one girl without a bouncing pony tail. I don't need binoculars to see my daughter.

I have never been prouder of her than I am in that moment, watching her run the distance, put on a burst of speed and cross the finish line going as hard as she can.

Good job, my lovely, short haired, beautiful daughter!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Five Feet Eight & One Third

For weeks I've been noticing how tall my son has gotten. He's shot up over the summer and is dangerously close to being as tall as me. People like to tell me he's gaining on me. But a few days ago someone said he is taller than me.

Taller? No way. I quickly said he's very close, but I'm still taller.

But since we were at the doctors office, we made it official and measured him. He is 5 feet, 8 and 1/3 inches tall. And yes, that is officially taller than me.

I was struck speechless. I couldn't believe it. It really doesn't seem that long ago that I held that 7 lb 1 oz, 19 1/4 inch long, brand new baby boy. Or had a skinny three foot tall three year old asking for a 'snuggle up'.

Yet, here it is. Fourteen years later and he is taller and funnier and smarter and just all around better than I ever imagined our baby would be. Life is pretty amazing.

And that's all I have to say about that!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bring Out The Tights

Wow! It feels like a few days ago I was thinking it was hot enough to wear shorts and now it's cold, raining and we finally turned the furnace on.

It's official. Fall is here.

Don't get me wrong, I like Fall. I do! The crisp mornings, the leaves falling, the holidays coming. It's just hard to let go of Summer: fresh air coming in through open windows, sunlight until 9 at night, BBQ's and tiki torches, birthday parties galore.....

But it is gone and fall is happening. And the true signal that Fall has started is when I look outside and think, where on earth did I put my tights?

I love my skirts and do not give them up when the weather starts to turn cold and wet. Tights are the only answer to the old problem of my legs getting chilled. Doesn't hurt things that I actually love tights. If it wasn't too freaky, I'd probably want those thick cream colored cable knit ones we had as kids. Those things were solid!

Yesterday I found my tights. Luckily for me I still have some good ones from last season since I haven't even begun to shop for new ones. It was just summer on Sunday for goodness sake!

So, welcome Fall! Bring on your worst! I'm going shopping today for new tights so I'll be ready for anything you dish out. Winter, I'll probably cave if it snows. Skirts and snow are not my idea of a match made in heaven. But Fall, you're good to go!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm Feeling......Wicked!

Friday night we left our daughter at a friends house, and our son home alone, and we went out for a night in the big city of Seattle. Well, to be honest, dinner was not in Seattle, but it was a good 30 minutes away from our home stomping grounds, so it counts as living the big city life! It was super crazy to do something when we didn't have a babysitter to worry about.

Kind of made me feel Wicked!

Then we went to the Paramount to see the musical Wicked (sort of set the tone for my whole night!) We got there with 13 minutes to spare, just enough time to hit the head and find our lovely seats. We were on the third level of the balcony, but we were in two seats that formed their own row! No one tried to climb over us to their seat, no one was wedged into the seat next to me trying to take my arm rest, and the seats were super comfortable. When the curtain went up and we saw the flying monkeys scampering around the stage, I knew this show was going to rock.

It was Wicked awesome!

We got out of the show just a little after 11, and the night was still young, and I was feeling Wicked, so we did something we haven't done since high school.....To all those people who immediately jumped to 'making out in the car', sorry, we've done that since high school!
No, we hit our local Denny's on our way home, just like we did after Prom. We had coffee with real cream (I tell you, I was feeling Wicked!) and had some pie. Actually, I had cheesecake which is entirely different than pie, and I can attest to the fact that Denny's at Island Crossing has a Wicked delicious cheesecake!
Since we were home so early, we thought we'd be further our Wickedness by watching late night TV while we were snuggled down in our bed with our dogs......
And that's were the Wickedness ends! We fell asleep almost as soon as we laid down. It had been a long day filled with work, then a wonderful awesome date night, and our bed was so comfy and warm and the next thing I knew Joel McHale was signing off and the dogs were taking up too much space.
But, days later, I'm still loving my Wicked Friday night. It was Wicked Perfect!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Let Us Feast

Let us feast upon the bounty of our garden. Let us go out into the dew wet grass and hop over the garden fence and gather the glorious goodness that is our vegetables. Let us pick peas, green beans, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini and lettuce.

And we shall be overcome with happiness. Our hunger will be satisfied and our children will cry out, 'no more zucchini'. It is a good thing.

Let us have so much lettuce that we forget that we ever bought it in prewashed bags from the grocery store. And when we happen to see the bagged salad at the store we will be disgusted with it. We will come home and smile at our own home grown salad bar.

Let us be those people that ask everyone they know if they would like some tomatoes, fresh from the garden. Let us turn our minds to the idea of canning the abundant crop of tomatoes so we do not waste anything and not feel overwhelmed by the idea of how hot canning must be. And let us remember this next year and even if the plants are free, we only need one.

Let us be forgiven of our love of corn, that tempted us to try to grow our own, thus wasting a square of garden space that could have been given over to potatoes because our corn was sad and wimpy. And we will not forget that at the end of summer, corn is 5 for $1 at our local produce stand and it is sweet and good and not hard to hand over $1 or more likely $3.

Let us remember this summer of planning and planting and watering and marveling and eating and let us make the garden bigger for next year. And we shall have a better, dog proof, fence.

Amen.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner

I so clearly remember where I was the first time I saw Dirty Dancing. I say the first because to teenage girls it became the most romantic movie we'd ever see and a must have at slumber parties. The first time, though, was sitting in the basement of our house, watching it on the VCR, thinking my parents sitting there with me were totally ruining my enjoyment of it!

And when Johnny said, "Nobody puts baby in a corner," my heart melted. There are movies lines that just do it for you. I also get mushy during Last of the Mohicians when Nathanial says, "I will find you, just stay alive no matter what occurs!" And in Coneheads when Prymatt says, "The stench would be great."

But it was the line from Dirty Dancing and the way Patrick Swayze was totally freaking awesome, that made my 13 year old heart go hay wire. I wanted a guy to come in and rescue me like that! The funny thing is, my husband would do just that. He thinks I am wonderful, and should never be regulated to corners unless that's where I wanted to be.

It wasn't just Dirty Dancing that made an impact on me. Red Dawn scared the pants off me. My kids laugh at the idea, but when I was 11, the idea of some communist country taking over the USA was a very dire threat. I was freaked out already, and that movie cemented the idea that it could happen. North and South was the first mini series I ever saw and I totally fell in love with the Civil War (or at least, the romantic aspect of the war!). And of course, Ghost. Honestly, who could watch that and not cry?

Patrick Swayze rocked my world. I don't presume to know the real man or call him friend, but as an actor, he was one of my favorites. So, to all the fans who are saying how much they loved him and will miss him, I will add my voice.

"Ditto."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tell The Other Flies What You Saw Here Today

In spite of my request to keep the bat gate closed, the screen door to the back yard is always open. Always. We haven't had any more uninvited bats come in, but we have a ton of flies.

Flies are the annoying red headed step child of the insect world. They buzz around you, land on you, for no purpose I can tell except to skeeve you out. Those things are dirty and gross. When you try to swat them, they disappear! I assume they have some sort of magician school they all attend.

I almost offered the kids a quarter for every fly they killed, but decided I would just do it myself. I rolled up a newspaper and killed four. But as I was leaving that room, three more magically started buzzing around. Dang it!

My daughter told me that fly swatters are designed to kill flies, something about the holes letting air through and the fly is not aware that something is about to smack it. Okay, time to buy a fly swatter. My first fly swatter of my life. Of course, it wasn't as easy as it sounds. Took two stores before I could get one. But I have one now and it's going to see some action.

I hunt those suckers down. They love the bathroom, which has caused me to apologize to the guests for the outhouse type feel in there. As soon as you sit down on the toilet, flies start in on you. It's so disgusting, but it's also a good place to start my killing spree. I went in, closed the door and killed five. Next up, the kitchen. Their second favorite place is the kitchen. Stood silently in there for a minute and killed a couple more.

That's right flies. Fly away! Tell all your brothers this house is just a death trap for you.

If I was an Indian, my name would be Swift Fly Killer. Or Scared of Moths Girl. But that's another blog!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Only Vacation Worry

My only worry while I'm gone on vacation anywhere, isn't that the house will burn down, or we'll be burgled again, or the garden will dry up and die, it is simply this:

I am afraid I'll miss my holds at the library.

I keep all my favorite authors bookmarked, and I check their websites so I know when the newest books are coming out. I put holds on books when the library still has them listed as "acquisitions".

You could say I am a serious holder of books at the library. And I hate the idea of missing out by having a book come in while I'm gone for two weeks. They only hold those books 7 days!

And what if I forget what obscure book I've put on hold? I don't just read my favorites. I branch out and put holds on anything I hear about that sounds interesting. I just don't always remember I've done that until the book arrives on the shelf with the tag "Young Mic".

So before I leave on vacation, I print out my hold list. If I miss one while I'm gone, I'm still sad. But now I don't have to worry that I'll forget some super spectacular book I was planning on reading!

I can not begin to describe the relief this plan of action has given me....it's a life saver!

But guess what I forgot to do before we left on our two week trip? That's right. I didn't print my list and I worried that idea until my husband said he'd stop and find an 'internet cafe' just so I could get my list....but that struck me as being a tad (BTW, any time I write tad, I think of Tad Martin from AMC, when he was in love with Dixie and fell off the bridge and everyone thought he was dead, but we'd seen him wandering lost and confused so we knew he was alive and that was when AMC totally rocked) anyway, it seemed silly.

Although, now that I'm home, I'm pretty sure my holds list is smaller! I should have stopped somewhere to check!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Are Bats Good Luck?

Is it considered good luck to have bats living in your eaves/attic? Just wondering, because we've got them. We've known for years bats lived up there, somewhere. We don't have a mosquito problem, so we can sit outside at dusk and enjoy our bug free, bat swooping yard. And one time, one came in and was on the upstairs wall. The kids found it, my husband wasn't home, so I came up with a plan to capture and release it. Beating it to death seemed so terribly wrong.

Then I got close to it and saw how furry it was. It's leathery wings didn't faze me, but it's furry body sent me running down the stairs to call my brother in law. He used my plan of putting a Tupperware container over it, then sliding the lid under it very carefully, and letting it go outside.

So two nights ago I was on the couch with my husband, watching our new favorite show (Hoarders on A&E) when I saw a giant moth fly through the room. I scrunched down lower on the couch and was about to say, "yikes, a moth," when I noticed my husband was also scrunching down. Must not be a moth. He's not afraid of moths.

Then he said the words that had me reaching for a blanket to cover myself from head to toe. "That's a bat!" Yes. A bat was flying around our living room. It circled and circled then flew to the dining room. My husband got up to follow it, I laid frozen in my blanket cocoon, and the dogs continued to snooze like it was no big deal we had a bat in the house.

It flew upstairs and made laps around the landing. Our luck was good in that all three doors to the rooms upstairs were closed, so it had a contained space. But what to do? This time I said whack it to death, while I stood at the bottom of the stairs, wrapped in the blanket with only my eyes showing, but my husband wanted to shoo it out one of the three downstairs doors that were currently standing wide open, inviting more bats to come on in. He tried to gently guide it down, but the bat wasn't having it.

So he tapped it lightly with the broom and it fell to the ground. He used the Tupperware method of trapping it, and took it outside to let it go.

When he came back in he was upset. He said it was just laying there, he thought it might be dead. I said don't let it fool you. That's what we thought about the other one, but when my sister and I went outside to see the almost dead bat, it made an amazing recovery and swooped around the yard making us scream like little girls. I said in the morning you'll see, it will be gone.

And it was. I just hope it wasn't gone because a cat came upon it.

So back to the original question. Are they good luck? Because we've got them, and apparently, if we leave all the outside lights off and the back door open, bats will just fly right into our house. Needless to say, I'm thinking the screen door might be used a bit more than it was from now on. Looking like a crazy blanket lady on a warm summer night is not my idea of a good time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Ate A Carrot

That is an exciting announcement for two reasons.

1. It came from my garden! And it was as sweet and crisp and delicious as I had dreamed of.

2. I've been at death's door with a stomach virus for a week and I ate my carrot without any stomach ache following consumption. I might be getting better!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Want To Be Mrs. Weasley

I recently took a quiz on Facebook (yes, that horrible place has sort of sucked me in) to see which Harry Potter character I am.

I am Ron Weasley. I'll take it because I love Ron and his whole family, but who I really want to be is Mrs. Weasley.

Mrs Weasley takes the prize. She takes in Harry as one of her own, giving him presents at Christmas, sharing what little their large family has with a friend of her son's. She's still in love with her husband, even when he does silly things that exasperate her. She's not afraid to send her boys a howler if they deserve it.

Then in the fight of good and evil, she does not hesitate to fight for good, no matter what. Sure, she worries for her kids, and sure, having Harry Potter hang around puts everyone in danger, but she does not hesitate. One son works for the wrong side, one son gets badly mauled by a werewolf, one son loses his ear, and in the final battle one son dies.

And through it all, she knows it is better to lose on the side of good, then give in to evil. You got to admire that kind of dedication.

Plus, when she gets down to the final battle and sees Bellatrix fighting with Ginny Weasley, Mrs Weasly becomes a mother bear. My favorite line in the whole books is: "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!"

Needless to say, Mrs Weasley wipes the floor with Bellatrix and that should be a lesson to all. Don't poke a mother bear. She's fearless, ferocious, and only has one goal: protect her cub.

I quite like that.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Mother's Love And Red Paint

I have painted my kids rooms several times over the years. When they were toddlers, sharing a room, I picked a kid friendly color and that was that, no need for kid input.

When they split up into separate rooms, to make it super special, I let them each pick their own paint colors. This was before I had a digital camera, otherwise I'd post a picture of each one of them, standing in their new rooms, grinning from ear to ear.

My daughter did the Julia Roberts wedding colors from Steel Magnolias (a totally kick ass movie, still, after all these years!) and went with pink and pinker for her room colors. It was like pepto bismo all over her walls, and a hot pink for the trim. She loved it!

My son's favorite color is orange, and that is exactly what he wanted on his walls. I said absolutely, not a problem. With red trim. Also totally cool. That was before I'd ever painted anything red.

Red paint is a killer. It doesn't cover worth a darn, and even with primer, you will end up doing four coats or more. The orange/red room was rocking though, when I was through, and my son was so happy, it was worth it.

Fast forward about 7 years, and my daughter is tired of room colors of pastel blue and green (new house meant a new color scheme) and wants brown and red. Red? Really? Maybe a shade of red like burgundy or magenta.

Nope. Tomato red to be exact.

And that is how much I love her. I tackled red paint again. And it was just as awful as the first time. And she is just as happy as her brother was with his red trim.

As a mother, there are lots of things I'd do for my children, including sacrificing my own life so they might live. Painting anything with red paint ranks right up there with that!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Kids Have Mad Baking Skills

My kids have lots of skills, mad skills, but I am very proud of their baking skills!

A few years ago, they traded off planning and cooking dinners on Wednesday. My son loves a good sandwich and has quite a few keepers in the recipe book, while my daughter likes to try new things....like a red pepper vegan soup. Not the best soup I've ever had, but I was very proud of her for trying it. I just wanted them to know how to cook, to understand how to read a recipe, follow the directions, and not burn down the house!

Dinners also included desserts. Before long, the kids were asking if they could bake something on a night that wasn't "their" dinner night. I gave superficial supervising, such as melting shortening or using a sharp knife, but for the most part it was all them.

And now it is all them. Last night, their Dad asked if someone wanted to bake chocolate chip cookies. Our son excels at brownies and volunteered to make those. We said cool. While we were outside working on things, and the kids decided to look through all the cookbooks to find something new. They picked a recipe from Mrs Fields Best Ever Cookie Book called Marshmallow Clouds and didn't even need to ask, they just knew they could do it.

I personally had marked it years ago as a yummy looking cookie, but it seemed too time consuming to make, what with the marshmallows being "stuffed" into a ball of dough. I am so glad the kids tried them though, they are like my new favorite cookie! Chocolate cookies, with chocolate chips, with marshmallows inside...hot from the oven they were unbelievable yummy. The next day, still super good and I admit, I ate one for breakfast!

Were the cookies worth this mess I had waiting for me on the counter? Absolutely!
Usually the kids are much better at cleaning up their messes. It's the deal we have. Yes, L can make omelets for breakfast or D make the best stove top quesadilla I've ever had, but they have to wash the pan and clean up all their mess. But Wednesday nights are my one and only dish washing night, and how could they deprive me of the joy of cleaning up a baking mess?

The answer is they couldn't. Still, totally worth it. Good job kids!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

West Nile & Rabies In One Fun Night

Summer in our hometown is filled with free events. I dutifully thumbtack the summer program to our bulletin board each year, but as much as we intend to go, we've never actually made it to anything: not the outdoor movies, the concerts in the park, or the plays.

Until this year.

This year, the outdoor movies are: Grease, American Graffiti, and Footloose....three of the all time greatest movies ever! As soon as my husband saw what was going to be playing, and cross checked those dates with our calendar, he's been ready to go. I was a little more hesitant.

How comfortable can it be to sit on the grass terraces? When I walk up the steps of Terrace Park, I think those "seats" look awfully undone. They can't be too flat across and easy on the tailbone if during winter snow, the hill is a great sledding place!

But, I knew how much he wanted to go. And my daughter loves and adores Grease. And we did love going to the drive in movies last summer. So we went. We carried a couple of blankets and our sweatshirts and I fretted about how we were late. The movie can't start until it's dark, but I wanted to be seated way before dusk!

After the initial, where are we going to sit dilemma, which my husband and I can never really agree on, we were settled. I wished we'd brought snacks because what is a movie without popcorn? Not as much fun, that's for sure.

And what would a free outdoor movie be without the hippie running the projector? As he started the opening cartoon, the mosquitos came out in droves. I hadn't thought of that. Next time, spray ourselves liberally with bug spray.

Then the hippie projectionist said, not to worry about the mosquitos. Soon the bats would be here to take care of that problem. This might be the only place where we could get West Nile and Rabies at the same time.

And yep. You could look up and see the bats winging it above our heads, or in the case of my daughter, close enough she swears it touched her hair! Then the movie started and we were sucked in and it was wonderful!

Totally worth the extreme wedgie I had after sliding down our "flat" terraced seat over and over again. We are already counting down the days until the next movie! Although we'll have snacks, bug spray, and lots of pillows, and possible some baseball caps to keep the bats out of our hair!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Double Knotting Is A Life Style Choice

It wasn't until after I had my own children, that I started double knotting my shoe laces. I'm not sure if I did it so much for the kids that it just became a habit, or if I suddenly decided it wasn't just for kids and anyone could use the help of two knots to keep their shoelaces tied.

But now I am a committed double knotter. I don't even realize I'm doing it. And I never have untied shoelaces, so that is a huge plus.

The only hassle is when I take my shoes off. Double knots are a bit more trouble to undo than a regular knot where you can just pull the ends and viola, presto, it's untied. But here, again, this is a life style choice and I've been doing it all my life, I just kick them off. I guess it's not really kicking so much as a heel to toe stepping action, where I put the toes of one foot on the heel of the other, stepping down with my toes as I lift my heel up.

So, that's not at all "kicking them off." That poses an interesting question of how that saying came about....but that's getting off on a tangent, and I don't really have time to google my queries.

I don't know why everyone doesn't double knot. Or maybe we all do and we keep it in the closet. Like eating a whole package of Oreos or loving the movie Milo and Otis. Not that I've down either of those things.....well, at least not since I was a kid!

I've made my choice, my life style choice, and I'm sticking with it. I'm a double knotter for life!

Or until I'm too old to bend over to tie my shoes and my kids buy me velcro ones. All I can think about that is: Awesome! Some parts of growing old totally rock!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Jiminy Cricket!!

I drag myself out of bed at 1:30ish in the morning because nature is calling. And my husband just got home from a concert and kind of woke me up a little, but enough I knew I had to go before I could drop back into sleep. I shuffle to the bathroom, with only one eye half opened, no glasses because finding them and putting them on would wake me up even more, so I'm going about with blurry, sleepy vision. I push the bathroom door open, step one foot in, as I flip the light on, I take another step and felt it.

It was a terrible wet popping sound from under my heel. Jiminy Cricket! That's not what you want to hear or feel when you are barefoot, half blind and completely sleep stupid.

I calmly keep walking to the toilet and as I sit I stare at the brown smooshed blob that is on the floor. I check my foot. Yep. Wet with some kind of bug guts. Is that a long bug leg by my foot? Or a piece of grass?

Gag a little, feel creepy crawlies all over, wish to heck I was wearing my glasses so I could see better. Pretty sure it's a giant spider. After washing my hands I go over to the brown blob to check it out. I was feeling true horror that I had stepped on a giant spider. I briefly consider calling my husband out of bed so he can clean it up because I hate big spiders that much.

A closer look reveals that isn't quite how I think a stepped on spider should look. I scoop it up with toilet paper and think, could that be? Is it? A cricket?

Where on earth did a cricket come from? I don't think I've ever seen one in our yard or in our house. I take it back to my husband and make him turn on the lights too look at it. Yep. It's a cricket. That's totally weird. He says he hopes I won't mind, but he's going to throw it away in a garbage that is not in our room.

Good idea. I don't want that thing in my room. Turns out, I wish it had been a giant spider. Those things you know are wandering around your house and you expect to see them at some point, hopefully not in the middle of the night while you are going potty, but even so that would not be a surprise. A cricket, on the other hand, is something odd and weird and the odder and weirder something is, the creepier it is.

I learned something about myself today. I don't like Pinocchio just because it's a lame, super gay story and a terrible movie. I hate crickets. Jiminy is no friend of mine. Besides the obvious (he is a cricket), he's also always right, and you know how annoying that kind of person is!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Perfect 4th of July

I love the 4th of July. It is my favorite holiday. People always ask you what your plans are for the 4th. Big doings afoot? Not exactly big, but for me our plans are perfect.

It starts with food: Randy's famous barbecued chicken, potato salad heavy on the pickle, baked beans from scratch, corn on the cob so good it doesn't need butter, strawberry shortcake with homemade shortcake all eaten in the backyard of Mom's house. And maybe a cupcake or two!
Next it's downtown, hometown, Arlington parade, us waving, clapping and cheering for tractors, firetrucks, horses, bagpipers, the school of dance, more tractors, old cars, politicians, and one clown (only one, thank goodness), the kids dashing out to get the candy tossed to them, husbands on kid wrangling duty while us girls sit and gossip. This year we added the question, "are you doing okay?" to the pregnant sister who looks like she could have the baby any day now!
Last, it's kids holding sparklers, laughing with the joy of playing with fire. Bigger kids, grown men usually, bags of rockets and fire crackers, punks lit, grinning from ear to ear with the joy of playing with fire. My sister and myself, sitting outside, calling words of caution to our kids, and husbands, ever watchful for a wild, stray rocket to land in our laps and start smoldering. It happened once, and we've been super watchful ever since.
And for me, the 4th is perfect because I've been spending it with my guy for the last 18 years. 18 years ago, on the 4th of July, he showed up at my house with an eye patch and his Mom as his driver, and as I sat down at the river and watched him light off fireworks, I knew I'd love him for the rest of my life. So far, so good!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Four Bag Walk

Almost every morning, except Sunday's upon which I follow God's advice of it being a day of rest, I walk the Beagles. Or they walk me. However it's happening at that moment depends on how tired Emma is, how strong Sarah feels, and if they smell something that might be construed as food.

Or might not. They are Beagles after all, and are not picky about what defines 'food'.

I always grab some plastic bags for picking up dog business. It's so not cool to leave that in someone else's yard when I don't even want it in my yard. If I run out of bags, I have been known to walk back to the scene of the crime with a bag and pick it up.

I try to always have too many bags! In general, I take three. This morning I grabbed four and thought, that will be too many. Sadly it was not.

Sadly, what the bags are for is a nasty stomach turning business. I think I might be more acquainted with Emma and Sarah's poop than I was with my own babies. But it's got to be done.

And I'm all for saving a few cents and going with a cheap box of bags. Once I tried to be even more frugal and use old grocery bags....but they are too big. Four of those suckers stuck in my pocket make for a weird bulge or two. I currently have a never ending box of bags I hate, loathe and despise.

They are white. And what happens to white things when they get, let's say, wet? Yep. See through.

So not only am I carrying several bags of dog crap, I am carrying several see through bags of dog crap.

I will never stray from my black bags again. Never. Saving a little bit of money is not worth the horror of these white bags.

The never ending supply of white bags. So, on that side of things, having a four bag walk is a very good thing! Got to use those suckers up.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Was Wrong

I really hate to be wrong. Honestly, who likes it? But on Tuesday night, just a smidge after 7 PM, I was proven wrong.

And I have never been so happy to be wrong!

For the last fourteen years, starting with my own firstborn, I have guessed right as to the gender of a baby. Sometimes I have been swimming against the tide in my assertions, but in the end I've been right, so there all you wrong guessers!

I base my guess on a feeling I get when I think of the Mom to be, or sometimes I dream of the baby and I just know. There's no scientific, old waves tale, ring swaying tricks I use. Just one day it comes to me and that's all she wrote.

This year, I've had two pregnant sisters, at the same time. I announced very early on that I was keeping my guess to myself. The pressure was too much! But I told my husband I thought A was having a girl and L was going to have a boy. Since they both decided not to find out the gender, we have had a long couple of months!

I wavered about a month ago, with my girl guess. I dreamed of A having a big healthy girl and we were all like, awwww, then out pops a boy and the doctor said, 'where did he come from?'....but I didn't second guess myself and stuck with my original guess.

So on Tuesday night, when A and B welcomed a little boy into their family, I was never so glad to be wrong! He is so cute and awesome and wonderfully his own person and he completes their family perfectly.......I once again fell helpless in love with another nephew.

And L accidentally found out at a recent ultrasound....she is having a boy! So, wrong on one, right on the other. It's all good!

Monday, June 22, 2009

To Grate Or Not To Grate

As much as I love tacos, and I do love tacos, I have always hated grating cheese. It's a time consuming chore and I am actually a lazy person. It always made the prospect of yummy tacos slightly less appealing because of the work.

When bags of shredded cheddar became so available, I stopped grating my own cheese. I can get a pound of shredded cheese for $2 at the commissary. You just can't beat that deal!

My cheap grater sat in the cupboard gathering dust and rust. I finally threw it out in one of my spring cleaning frenzies where I firmly ask myself if I have any intention of using an item. If the answer ranges from no way to a wavery maybe, said item gets donated to the thrift store. Or my own garage sale depending on what time of year it is.

Over the years it has occasionally come up that I don't have one. I haven't needed one really, so it's been no big deal.

Until recently, when the big brick of sharp white cheddar was in need of some grating, and the horror that resulted from not being able to do the grating was intensely shocking. But really, two thirteen year old boys aren't going to make me run out and buy a grater.

Then I was the person who needed to grate some cheese.

Guess what I now own once again? Yep. A cheese grater. Next spring I will try my darndest to remember occasionally, very, very rarely, sometimes I do actually want to grate some cheese. I'll try not to let myself get carried away and get rid of the thing again.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In Honor Of Randy

Randy is the Dad in my life.

The first time I met Randy, my husband, our four month old son and myself had flown home from New Jersey for Christmas....and for my Mom's wedding! It was a little weird thinking how he was going to be part of our family and I had not met him before.

But my sisters gave him two thumbs up...in fact, one sister introduced him to Mom! If that doesn't scream approval I don't know what does.

For the last thirteen years, Randy has been the Dad in my life. He jumped into this parent thing feet first (or was it head first?) with three almost grown daughters and one grandson, one son in law....and he did it with grace.

I can count on him for corny jokes, the best bbq chicken ever, and a willingness to help any one of us, any time. He's a rocking Grandpa to all of our kids (four grandsons, one granddaughter, and two more babies on the way!) and he even has taken care of a certain spoiled Beagle while I was at Seaside.

One of my favorite things about him is that he drives a school bus. I've had so many other school moms tell me that my dad drove their bus for a field trip, and he is so cool.

I know. He is pretty cool. Thanks Randy.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Don't Mess With A Classic

If you love Footloose, and frankly, who doesn't, you might be upset to know about the remake. I am. So upset I've refused to read anything about it. How can you take Footloose with Kevin Bacon and remake it? You can't! You just can't!

But if you loved the movie, you might have loved the soundtrack. You might have had a cassette tape of the soundtrack that you listened to constantly in your little pink boom box. You might actually still have that cassette tape and you might be considering taking the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack out of your stereo and putting the Footloose one in.


Or is that just me?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Where Have All The Good Spoons Gone?

Where have all the good spoons gone
And where are all the knifes?
Where's the good silver spoons
I need for my cereal?
Isn't there a dinner fork to use to eat my meal?
Late at night I toss and turn and dream of what I need
I need a teaspoon
I'm holding out for a teaspoon 'til the end of the night
It's gotta be strong
And it's gotta be round
And it's gotta be dry and clean.
I need a teaspoon
I'm holding out for a teaspoon 'til the morning light
It's gotta be sure
And it's gotta be soon
And it's gotta be right for my mouth
Somewhere after midnight
In my wildest fantasy
Spoons are just beyond my reach
There's spoons reaching back for me


Isn't this a question everyone has pondered? How have I gone from having 24 spoons to only having six? It makes breakfast an adventure if the dishes aren't done the night before.

But seriously, where are they? All the dishes are here so they haven't run away together......

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why I Hate Raspberry Jam

Actually, maybe I should call this 'why I love strawberry jam' because there seems to be only one reason I hate raspberry jam! It's the seeds. I hate those raspberry seeds! Sure the flavor of raspberry jam rocks, but the seeds that get stuck in your teeth make it too terrible to eat long term.

I prefer Smuckers seedless strawberry jam. Seedless strawberry jam? Yep. I also hate globs of fruit in my jam.....or plum skins in a homemade plum jelly that I remember as being the only time in my life (first grade to be exact) that I almost quit eating PB&J. I seem like a jelly kind of girl, but I hate the texture of jelly.

It's so jelly-like.

In an effort to be penny wise, I was shopping the sales at our local grocery store. I usually go to the commissary, but it was too far away, and I only needed fruit, milk, bread, and jam. I stood in front of the jam for five minutes, debating. Jelly is on sale, but gross. Strawberry jam was also on sale, but I could see globs of strawberries. Organic jam was on sale, but it only offered raspberry or blackberry.

I usually buy two kinds of jam: one for me and the kids (Smuckers all the way) and some kind of all fruit, no sugar stuff for my husband.

But buying two kinds of jam at a regular grocery store is expensive. So I grabbed one jar of organic raspberry, and everyone agreed it tasted good.

It did. I had toast with jam for breakfast.

And immediately regretted it when I felt a seed stuck in my molar. That is why I hate raspberry jam. It lingers on, even after you are done with it.

I can hear you all saying I should look for a seedless raspberry jam. Sure, I could. It's right there at the commissary. And now the truth is out. I just like strawberry better.

So suck on that all you raspberry jam lovers! Just so you know, you've got a raspberry seed stuck in your teeth....right there.....okay, you got it.

Kidding. You don't. You better find a mirror.

Friday, June 12, 2009

When I'm An Old Lady

I will wear capris with embroidered sea shells or flip flops on them.

I will have numerous pairs of elastic waist "lounge" pants with matching tunic shirts.

I will get a big sun hat, the kind that ties under my chin, and I will wear it for gardening, for walking, for going to Seaside.

I will not cut my hair short, instead I will keep it long, and usually braided and when my arthritis is too bad and my darling hubby can't comb out my hair, I will ask my daughter to come over once a week to help me with it. This is her only warning of what is to come.

But if I ever start feeding birds, a creature as previously mentioned I can not stand, but if I do feed them, and start calling my kids to say I just saw a yellow feathered, purple spotted, ten toed tweet-tweet (pretend this is a real bird and that I'm actually looking at a book of birds so I know which one to tell the kids I saw), it's time for an intervention.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

How To Tell If It's Saturday Morning

It's very simple really. Where are Emma and Sarah? In the kitchen watching Dad make waffles? Then yes, it is Saturday!


Is that for us?

Resigned to waiting....

But keeping an eye on the waffle maker!

Before any animal rights activists start harassing me, these pictures were taken after the dogs had shared a waffle square. They just love waffles! And pancakes. And toast, doughnuts, cereal, yogurt, eggs, bacon......Um, they might be chow hounds.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Lunch Surprise

I was listening to my kids tell their friends about horrible moments of discovery with school lunches involving chicken and the questionableness of some of it's pieces (my son said he used to love school chicken until he got a huge bite of tendon and that was the end of that love affair), and I said they should let me pack their lunches everyday. There would be no surprises then.

Ha, they exclaimed!

How about when it comes down to the butt of the bread and I turn it over, crust side up, smear it with PB&J, and sandwich it together so no one can see it is the butt. They are like, yummy sandwich until the first bite. Then it's what the heck is wrong with this sandwich? It's the butt!

And their friends were in agreement with them. That is like the most cruel and unusual thing to do to a kids lunch.

Huh. I didn't tell them their first clue should be if all the crusts are trimmed off the sides of the sandwich. That's me, feeling a smidge guilty since I know how much they hate crusts and I've just given them a sandwich that guarantees crust in every bite.

I noticed today, they still went with the hot lunch. They'd rather risk a unchewable piece of chicken than get a bread butt.

They must have noticed the loaf of bread on the counter was almost gone. I think it's down to the last three pieces...and the butt would make four. Perfect!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Skirt Times

I have my sister to thank for my love of skirts as a wardrobe staple. I saw her wearing a jean skirt in the summer time and I thought she looked super cute. What was stopping me from getting a jean skirt? Or a black skirt? Or two more jean skirts? Or.....I now own over thirty skirts. Some are just for work, but many are for casual wear.


Plus, I hate shorts. I have a chubby girls fear of crotch bunchage. You know, when the inside legs of a pair of shorts ride up into the crotch area as you walk. I hate to see that on anyone, but if I even think it's happening to me, I want to die!


When I started wearing skirts in the summer I truly found happiness. I remain as cool as if I'm wearing shorts, but only have to worry about a skirt being too short if I bend over....

I have actually gardened in a skirt. That is how devoted I am!

Add to that the fact that I loathe and despise pantyhose, this new era of bare legs is just right for me! I do wear tights in the winter, and I will wear jeans on cold days, but in the spring, summer and fall, you will find me almost every day in a skirt.

Tomorrow I'm wearing capris though. I'm going down to Seattle to play with my nephews, and that usually takes a lot more active playing than a skirt can handle!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Flower Power

I do love flowers. They have some kind of crazy tractor beam that pulls me in. I can't walk into a store without first looking at their potted flowers for sale and thinking about how pretty that would be in my own garden.

For five years I worked on my garden at my old house. I loved it! I had Dahlias, Peonies, a Clematis to die for, Lilies, Daisies, Bachelor Buttons, Columbines, Asters, Marigolds, Pansies...I was insanely proud of all the flower beds I'd hacked out of the grass by myself.

Then we moved. And the one flower bed here was sad and pathetic and the inside of the house took all my focus. I lost my drive. I did a little bit, even dug out a new flower bed, but never really did much else. I planted things every year, but wasn't surprised if they didn't survive.

But this year, five years later, I went outside in the spring and just started working. I weeded, I dug things up, moved things around, realized I will never be free of that climbing rose no matter how many times I dig it out so I might as well train it to grow up and not out, and discovered, my flower beds are rocking the spring look.

I can go outside and see the millions of irises I dug up, broke up and moved around, the Irises I call Grandma's creek Irises because my Grandma has them growing around her creek and I got them from her, the Columbines I have been cultivating, moving the new starts carefully to other parts of the garden, my Sweet Williams that took over one part of the garden are now spread out around the whole house, the Daisies that make me think of my Grandma D because I have a hint of a memory of my uncle telling me those were her favorite flowers, the yellow Rhodies I bought when I was at a super plant sale with my Mom and are supposed to bloom in time for memorial day weekend but never seem to, the Hydrangea that my daughter gave me that has actually never bloomed but hasn't died either so I keep it, about half of the 150 bulbs I bought through a school fundraiser and planted with my daughter actually made it through the winter, the huge Dahlia my kids wheeled out to me in a little red wagon for my 32nd birthday.....

It's funny to me how after five years, I love my garden. So many of the plants are tied to memories, I hadn't even realized it until this year.

But, I've been giving considerable thought to the fact that the garden wears it's spring clothes lovely, but it's summer wardrobe is a bit bare. I might actually have to do some research on summer blooming flowers! Gasp!

Summer blooming, drought resistant flowers. I still tend to forget to water those babies!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

At Oh Cho's House....

.....We look all over the yard for dog poop for Oh Cho to pick up, play outside in the sprinkler, litter the patio (and the dogs) with peanut shells, have Happy Meals for dinner with ice cream sandwiches for dessert, watch Oh Cho's favorite Disney movies, make a little bed for J on the floor next to Oh Cho's bed, pull the playpen over as close to the little bed as possible for M (so close that Uncle E doesn't have a way to get into bed on his side!), read five bed time stories while we all (even Sarah Beagle) sit on Oh Cho's bed,take pillows and blankets out to the "boat", fix a wooden chair and work on a motorcycle, buy the biggest bag of Swedish Fish we've ever seen, and have so much fun, Oh Cho misses the boys desperately when they leave!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Whats Grosser Than Gross?

We had a blast at Seaside, it might be one of my favorite trips!

On the way home, at a rest stop, I raced into the bathroom, put that protective cover down and sat down on total wetness. Like, it totally could be water splash up from flushing the toilet, but then again, it could be pee. Most likely it is pee. GROSS.

But is it grosser than us eating lunch outside at a picnic table when a ill crow decides to perch in the branches above our table and cover one end of the table with diarrhea? It got into an open bag of chips, splattered all over the table including a chip clip and a little guy's lunch. It was gag inducing, literally. I am proud to say I threw a smallish rock at the bird and made it fly off.

But it was too late. We drew an invisible line on the table. One side was safe. One side was contaminated and every thing at to go. And that was the end of lunch. Barely begun, but totally done. We practically bathed in hand sanitizer after we cleaned up the mess.

That actually was grosser than possibly sitting in a strangers pee.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Missing Husbands

This weekend we, the girls and our kids, are headed to Seaside. I think it's pretty obvious that we are excited! I mean, we start talking about it in September, when we still have like 9 months until we go again.

It's our thing. It's something we do just for us girls. Some people have said we should leave the kids at home, and get away and relax. Well, believe it or not, the kids help make Seaside perfect. I love hanging out at the beach with the kids, or going to the pool several times a day. If I didn't have any kids there, I probably wouldn't have any one to swim with!

But it is our husband-less thing. We started it when two of our husbands were working second jobs and we needed to have something that gave us happiness outside of those guys. I know, the husbands all miss us when we go. I sometimes picture them with wee little tears on their cheeks...or is that sweat? They often tackle big work projects while we are gone!

I can only speak for myself, but I'm sure my sisters and Mom would agree, we miss those missing husbands when we are gone! Getting a phone call from one of them is cause for celebration and mutual agreement that the non phone call havers will watch all the kids so the phone call can have a moment of uninterrupted husband time.

So, to all the husbands, but especially to mine, whose arrival home after a business trip will be after I have left this morning, we miss you. We store up all these funny little things that happen, that we can't wait to tell you about, or the stories of OMG can you believe our kid did that, all because we miss you.

Love you E. Have a good weekend, work hard, play less, and feed the dogs!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's That Time Of Year Again

Time for spring cleaning? Planting seeds in your garden? Go crazy with some remodeling?

Nope. It's that time of year again when the spiders come out to play.

In the last two days I have found one giant daddy long leg smashed on the bathroom wall, right below our hand towel (gross!), one little dime size one sitting on the edge of the tub with a scary sense of where I was, but last nights takes the prize as being the first big and hairy one of the year.

And what's better is that it was either in my daughters rubber boot the whole time she was wearing it, or it was on her rubber boot as she came in. Regardless, it was on her person somehow when she was next to me.

We had seven middle school kids here after church, and I was reading gossip on the computer (my favorite source of news) when my daughter took her boots off as she stood next to me. The next thing I know she's jumping back and screaming, I look down and start screaming, one of her friends is running up the stairs screaming, and I will admit to it here, I was standing on my chair.

My husband, meanwhile, is washing dishes in the kitchen and ignoring the screams because, in his words, how was that different than any other Wednesday night? Um, how about your wife was screaming your name?

That spider was huge, like 50 cent piece huge. And it just kind of sat there, like, cool, glad to be free of that sweaty boot.

My daughter's other friend, the one who wasn't at the top of the stairs screaming, took up one of those dreadful boots and gave the beast a couple of whacks.

It was dead. Now that the screaming is over, my son and his friends wander in to see it, and step on it to make sure it's dead, and my husband wanders in with a paper towel to wipe it up. Girls do not need guys to kill spiders. We might need them if we are feeling generous and want to let it go, alive and unharmed, outside. There is no way I'm catching a monster spider. But other wise, after the screaming, we can get the job done.

Three spiders in two days. Got to wonder about all the others that you can't see.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Top Ten Things To Do At Seaside

10. Eat giant cones of Tillamook ice cream from the Candyman. My favorite flavor is Mudslide and that's all I order...it's chocolate icecream with melt in your mouth chocolate chunks, you can't go wrong with that much chocolate!

9. Buy lots and lots Salt Water Taffy; the best kind is found at the Candyman where there are hundreds of flavors. I buy enough to share with my hubby, so that's my excuse why my bag is so heavy!

8. Walking on the beach bare foot. I love to wiggle my toes in sand. Hot weather sand, cold and wet sand, it doesn't matter, I take off my shoes first thing and dig my toes in.

7. Spend time with my sisters, whether on the beach or lounging in the living room, talking and laughing and sharing and just having fun.

6. Swim several times a day in a heated pool. My preferred swimming stroke is the doggy paddle, and that simple move is how I can survive swimming for HOURS!

5. Read a book....or to be quite honest, try to read a book! There's always something to talk about or a kid to catch or a piece of taffy to eat, which get in the way (in a good way!) of finishing a book.

4. Take an early morning walk on the Prom, hopefully with my two kids. I love having that quiet time with just them.

3. Dig in the sand with the kids, making sandcastles or just digging a giant hole!

2. Fish and chips at Norma's. And if you've ever tasted these bits of fish perfection, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's so hard to order the half size order when I really, desperately want more!

1. And the number one thing to do is spend more time at the beach! Because I have more walking to do, more beach combing, more sitting in my beach chair reading, or on my beach towel talking, more playing with my nephews and my son and daughter, more enjoying the heck out of the best part of Seaside.

Did I mention it's only ten days away? Time to start making lists of what to pack!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Never Too Old To Need Mom

I love this commercial. It makes me cry a little every time I see it. This year I've been looking at it from the point of view as the 'mom'....hearing my son or daughter say my name through the years....


Then I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day yesterday, of which I will not go into because my philosophy in life is to ask myself is it worth hanging onto and being hurt/mad about? and usually my answer is no, let it go.

So I drop my kids off for Wednesday night church, and it's just going to be me alone for dinner, and my Mom asked what my dinner plans were....and I started crying.

And my Mom did what all good moms do. She shut down her work and took me out to dinner, just the two of us. I had a great time, came home feeling renewed and ready to tackle the laundry and the 7 kids arriving home all hopped up on energy and excitement.

I was reminded that one is never too old to need Mom. I've been ill and wanted to be laying on her couch, with the piano bench pulled up next to it to for me to use as a table. I've come out of surgery, both as a kid and adult, and wanted to cry her name until I could feel her next to me. I've had furniture and a piano and no logical way to put them all back together in my living room, until she came over and fixed it. I've had a washing machine stop washing, full of water and clothes, and I didn't know who else to call but Mom. So many things, big and little, and sometimes, there's just no one else who will do.

Today I look at the commercial differently. I am the kid, calling Mom's name, in joy and happiness and sometimes in tears and panic.

Mom. She really can make it better.


Thanks, Mom!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

I Make A Mean Cup Of Joe

And by mean, I mean it will grab your taste by the buds and squeeze the life out of them. It's so mean, it's going to beat up your mouth, sear your throat on the way down, and land in your tummy to make a terrible sloshing feeling.

And I love it. I will drink any kind of coffee, but the stronger it is, the more legs it has to stand on, the more I like it. A disclaimer: it does take me a few sips to get used to it if it's really harsh! But I persevere and by my third cup, I'm totally digging it.

After making a pot of my special coffee (the secret is to not measure it, just pour the grounds in until it looks good) at Easter, I'm pretty sure my sisters are not going to let me make coffee again anytime soon.

Actually, that's a pretty good idea for all those folks who like a softer cup of coffee, a sissy cup of coffee if you will....if you are over and there is a chance of coffee being made, ask E to do it. He makes nice coffee.

I also like strong tea, super dark, with a lovely bitter after taste. Tea drinkers should also beware of me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

To All My Good Underwear: Take One Step Forward

Ah-ah, gray pair that looks perfectly perfect, you are done for.

You are very tricky, but I think I need to get rid of you. I think that every time I've got you on, about half way through my day, but by then it is too late....

You aren't like some of my other's that should go. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about. The ones that have some stray elastic wiggles from the waist band, or fuzzy strings that come out of the dryer all tangled with every single sock that was in there with them.

Nope. You, gray pair, look great, feel great. You are awesome. Except for the little teeth marks a certain chewing puppy made.

The problem is I don't want to toss a worn pair of underwear. I know, that's weird. I'm literally getting rid of them, it shouldn't matter what their cleanliness is. So I throw you in the hamper to wash before tossing and because when I find a good thing, I usually buy more than one, I have several pairs that are all the same color. When you all come out of the laundry, you all look good.

What I forget about until I wear this one pair is that those tiny teeth holes are tiny because they've been washed in hot water, and dried in the dryer, and they are shrunk down. They get bigger as the day goes on!

You must go. It's the sort of underwear you always hear mother's warning about...

Unfortunately, I've already started the vicious cycle again by tossing you into the hamper. I don't really want to dig through it to find you. Here's hoping I'll remember as I'm folding clean laundry!

But I'm sure I won't.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Do You Hear What The Beagles Hear?

Another confession. I do something that I know most people would frown upon.

When I wipe off the counters or table, I just wipe all the crumbs and junk right onto the floor. The idea of brushing that crap of into my hand is so disgusting, so revolting, I have never willingly done it.

Isn't that what brooms are for?

Or actually, Beagles?

As soon as the dogs hear the dish rag drawer squawk open, then the water turn on, they come running. Fast. They know what that means, and neither one wants to miss the chance of a loose fruit loop or a few crumbs of crackers.

They snuffle around my feet, searching out every single tiny thing. Except carrots. They do not care for carrots.

That is what brooms are for.....getting the things Beagles turn their noses up at!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sugar Cereal Is Delicious

Fruit Loops by any other name still taste as yummy! And boy do I love them.

It's not just Fruit Loops. It's Honeycomb, Corn Pops, Cookie Crisp, and one of my all time favorites: Fruity Pebbles.

I've never been the mom that said no to a box of cereal because it was to "sugary". I don't buy all sugar cereal, and most mornings will find me eating cheerios, but there are still those days that you look at the row of boxes on top of the fridge and know you need something more special than blah cheerios!

I bought a bag of Fruitie Tooties (yes, literally a bag) to make cereal necklaces with my nephews. But I got sick and had to postpone my visit for a week.....and during that week I could not resist opening the bag and eating a bowl of Fruitie Tooties every morning. It was so good!

There was still plenty of cereal left to make two necklaces for the boys, and one for their mom, which they were very excited to see her put on when she got home. My favorite part of the craft was when J turned to me and asked, "Is there sugar in this cereal?" and I said, "Yes, can't you taste it?"....at which point he ate several handfuls before he looked back at me and said, "Yes. It's delicious!"

I quite agree. It is delicious!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pick Your Battles

When my daughter was young, it quickly became apparent that she was a SWC, Strong Willed Child. As her parents, we talked about how that characteristic would serve her well as an adult, but as a toddler, we really had to pick our battles with her. No, she couldn't go down town by herself, but yes, she could pick out her own clothes.

That decision has led to years of interesting outfits. Sometimes I have to say her unique choices look great. Other times, like this morning, I say, "OMG. What are you doing?"To which she replied, "Packing a snack for school." I didn't mean why was she filling a baggie with crackers. I meant why was she wearing "shorts" but also knee high socks? To keep her legs warm, duh Mom.

I said no. No. No. Sorry, I can't let her go off like this. Magenta long sleeve shirt, white t-shirt with fabric puffy paint designs on it that she and her friends made together so they would be matching triplets during homecoming spirit week, shorts and knee high socks that don't actually match anything else she's wearing. I can't do it!

So she rolls her socks down.

That really isn't any better. I smile and say, "Okay, wear them however. It's not like I'm going to be at school with you. You'd probably just pull them up when you left the house."
At least she's honest. She said that was her plan.
But that proves my point. Pick your battles, parents. Is it more important for your child to learn honesty and respect? Or for them to look like every other kid and not stand out in a crowd as a wack-a-doodle?
I happen to love my confident wack-a-doodle. Her brother is the same: he went through half a school year wearing a fedora and suit jacket every day. I think they get the fashion sense from their dad. I remember a pea green trench coat he wore in high school....did I mention his mullet? He so had one!
I draw the line at mullets. Unless they really want one. It's just hair. I guess.
Nope. Sorry. After some thought, mullets are my line in the sand!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

To The Deer Giving Me The Stink Eye

Yes, you. Don't pretend you don't remember me. I was the lady being walked by two adorable, yet completely oblivious, beagles.

It was early morning, before 7, the sun was starting to shine, the air was crisp and wonderful, and I was digging my walk. I saw your partner deer dash across the road half a block ahead of me, a car slowed down and I thought, hmm, the deer must still be standing in that yard.

As I approached, my eyes were completely focused on the yard across the street. Just a little further, and yep, a small deer was timidly standing there. Both beagles were on the scent of something, but it quickly became obvious that they were not tracking deer.

Because about 20 feet from us, on our side of the street, there you stood. Bigger than your friend, you stood there, your legs stiff with aggression, and you stared hard at me. At first I thought, whoa, weird. That deer is giving me a look.

I cautiously moved past, moving quickly, holding the dogs in check in case they saw you. They did not. I turned to watch you over my shoulder, and you followed me with your eyes, turning your head to watch me walk away.

Hmm. Not just giving me a look, but you were giving me the stink eye.

Was it the dogs? Because as you could tell, they may be hound dogs, but they are usually tracking food, not deer. Or was it the Mickey Mouse on my baseball cap? I imagine you aren't a fan of the movie Bambie.....and frankly, neither am I. That movie blows and it's not just because Bambie's mom bites the big one.

Regardless of why I got the stink eye from you, I wanted to let you know, it doesn't matter. That's been my walking route for years, and I'm not going to let some beady eyed, sharp hoofed bully chase me away.

And to all those people who are gushing over how sweet nature is, I want to say, it's not that sweet when you are 20 feet from it. It's a little disturbing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Does My Hair Still Smell Like Campfire Smoke?

Our camping trip was fantastic! Started off rough, with cold rainy weather, and a ferry crossing that felt a bit too wobbly, but when we got to our camp site, the rain was letting up, the weather wasn't entirely butt freezing cold and the ground only slightly resembled a giant mud puddle. Heavy on the mud.
Who knew the hardest part about camping with two dogs would be the mud?

We enjoyed our hot dogs roasted over the almost but not quit dying fire (the wood wasn't up to par, it had nothing to do with E, king of the fire makers) and discovered we all have a serious love of peanuts in the shell. Smores, of course, followed all of that, and we went to bed when it was dark out. It was about 8:30, but I was so tired!

The next few days saw us becoming "Twilighters"....
hiking to Cape Flattery, the most NW tip of our state......

hiking in the Hoh Rain Forrest (with a careful eye open for rampaging Elk, seriously, there was a flier, and worrying about how dogs are the natural enemies of everything in the forest, again, seriously, it was on a sign).....
driving on roads we'd never been on before, getting our favorite fish and chips from the Sand Castle in Ocean Shores and driving down the beach in search of a moderately people-less stretch of sand to enjoy our oh so yummy lunch....
The weather dried up, the sun came out and it was positively warm outside!

We came home tired, happy, and so glad we went.

Now days later, I just have one thing to say....Does my hair still smell like campfire smoke? I've showered multiple times since we got back, but this morning as I was drying my hair, I swear I smelled that lovely, intoxicating aroma again.

If I have to smell like something, campfire smoke is at the top of my list!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Blue Tarp Camping

There is a commercial on TV about Blue Tarp Campers and how if you're truly a Pacific North Westerner, you understand what that means.

Not only do you understand it, but you've done it. It was part of growing up! Camping in the rain, soggy tent leaking a bit, miserable kids, parents at wits end....and yet, we did it again and again.

As first time parents, we lived in New Jersey, and we didn't even think we could take our baby camping until he was over a year. But back home in Washington, with our second baby, we took her out at 4 weeks old. Looking back, that seems a smidge insane, and when you add in the fact that we didn't even bring a lawn chair, it was wicked insane!

Now the kids are older, and five years ago we bought a tent trailer. That has been one of the best investments of our life! We're running into a trouble of the kids growing tall and the table folding down to a bed isn't really the right length for them, but we'll deal.

It's spring break and that means camping! We missed Dad last year when he was deployed, but this year we are going for it. As I write this, it is nasty outside: rain, wind, cold. Everyone is saying we nuts to go in this weather.

Nuts? It's spring break weather! It's Blue Tarp Camping at it's finest...and we can not wait to to pull out of the driveway on another adventure.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Veggie Garden

When my husband dug out our driveway, he made a huge pile of dirt in the back corner of our yard. It sat there for years, being dug into by dogs and kids and we always said, this summer we'd get rid of it. Then summer would pass and we'd be back to saying it would have to wait until nicer weather.

When he was in Cuba last year, I decided to get some of those projects that were hanging over his head off his list. Our church youth group came over and it took several loads, but the dirt pile was gone! Yes! Now, what do do with the big dirt oval where no grass was growing? Um, like, totally ignore it. Grass will grow there eventually....or next summer we'll plant grass. It's a vicious cycle for procrastinators!

Instead, this year, I suggested we grow some veggies. I'm not a green thumb, by any means. When my flowers come up in the spring, I'm always surprised they survived another season of my care. So a veggie garden is a big project.

E checked with his mom (who has a lovely garden) and she gave lots of good advice. Before I knew what was what, I had a mound of manure and another of top soil waiting to be shoveled out into our garden spot. My husband turned all the sod, laid down newspapers, and mixed up the top soil and manure. It looks great! A big, rectangular garden space.

And now it's my turn. What to grow? What to plant? What is hardy enough to survive me and my digging dogs? Because as soon as the dogs see me working in the dirt, it's a green light for them to come over and dig too....

We're not growing veggies because of the economy, or the worry that we should all be eating organic, it's because I like the idea of walking outside and getting some lettuce I grew to make our dinner salad. Our kids are excited about the idea of growing their own pumpkins, but booed the idea of zucchini. Plus, I had that big, unsightly area of non grass growing dirt.

We'll see how our garden does. I'm pretty sure it will be a lovely playground for dogs. They've already jumped the decorative fence that was supposed to keep them out, just so they could sit in the dirt.

Did I mention the manure? Yep. Dogs love that stuff. It's going to be a fun adventure!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Murphy

I was 13 years old when my younger sisters and I pooled our money and went to the pound looking for a small girl dog. No luck on the girl part, but I walked past one dog's cage several times before I asked my parents if they were firm on our dog being a girl. The sign on his cage said he'd just been bathed and groomed, but he still looked a bit ragged. His brown eyes were what got me, so sad, so resigned. He was left tied up outside the pound, with no note. Age unknown. I had to have him.

I had put in the most money for our dog, and he was mostly mine. We named him Murphy and he slept in my room. He had a bed, but I let him share mine. He was my friend, my child, my companion. I took him everywhere with me. He moved from Alaska, to Washington, to California and finally to New Jersey and he never complained. Each new place was an adventure we shared.

He was never quite happy with my getting married. It meant he wasn't allowed in my bed and I felt very sad about that. I know, husband or dog....hard choice! When I was pregnant with our first child I was worried about Murphy. He was getting old, he was a smidge cranky, and I wasn't sure how much time a baby would take. Would I still be able to shower Murphy with as much attention as I always did?

Sadly, I never found out. He passed away before the baby came. I was heartbroken, still am actually, and it's been 14 years this April. We've had two kids, and added two dogs, and there is still a place in me upon which has been carved, 'Murphy was here'.

He made a difference in my life, and for that I am eternally thankful. I am a better person for having loved and been loved by a dog.

And to those who question whether dogs will be in heaven, I have read a quote from Rev. Billy Graham that I love. He said, "I think God will have prepared everything for our perfect happiness. If it takes my dog being there [in Heaven], I believe he'll be there. "

I agree wholeheartedly.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wednesday Date Night

I will forever be grateful to my second Mom for inviting my kids to her church's Wednesday night program. D loves the youth group, and has a posse of friends we bring every week, and L is mad for Awana and is making the very most of her year there. Dinner is provided by the church, so I just drop the kids off with Grandma S and they are taken care of for three hours.

Three glorious kid free hours!

I felt pretty guilty how jealously I guarded this night to be with my husband. We don't do anything special (usually!) but even if it's just baked potatoes for dinner and reading books on the couch, it is so wonderful, I hate to loose it.

Last week I went to Awana with my daughter. She'd invited me because she had a thank you card made for me for the work I do teaching Sunday school. I went because I love her, but I was so sad to miss my night with my husband.

I was standing around waiting for L to check in when I saw a mom I know from PTA. She asked if I was dropping L off, and I said no, actually, tonight I'm staying. She started laughing and said her kids know not to ask that of her. Wednesday is date night for her and her husband and she won't give that up!

I felt so much better after she said that! It's not just me who sees those Wednesday night hours as a way to recharge and relax.

I said my second Mom is always so glad the kids love going with her, and it is a gift she's given them, but it's also a gift she's given me. I love Wednesday nights!

I'm choosing not to think about summer break!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pass The Ketchup

It's entirely possible that about half of the food I eat is an excuse to eat ketchup.

Every time french fries, onion rings or tater tots come towards my mouth, they need to have a cap of ketchup on them. Hashbrowns need a topping of ketchup, as does meatloaf, so every single bite is covered. Scrambled eggs used to require a lot of that red stuff, but since my daughter started making cheesy eggs with a splash of milk, I don't need the ketchup.

Things like hot dogs and burgers that need ketchup on them, still need to be dipped in ketchup before every bite. If there isn't a puddle of that red liquid gold sitting on my plate with my dog, you better believe something has gone terrible wrong in the world.

Like, say, there's only enough ketchup for the kids. And by only, I mean by our standards. Regular people would look at a bottle of ketchup 1/3 full and think that's plenty. We look at it and get a bit panicky about how little there is. That is a true testament of my mother's love for them...when we're almost out of ketchup, I will forgo it to let them get enough. The kids have inherited my love for ketchup.

Although I've never seen them drink it as I once did. That was mostly to shock and awe the kids and it worked.

I tried the ketchup potato chips in Canada, but those tasted nothing like ketchup.

And do not try to pass "catsup" off as ketchup. I can tell the difference, and I do not approve.

Yep, there's only one brand of ketchup that makes my heart sing and that would be good old Heinz 57. It's pure goodness.