Monday, December 27, 2010

Be careful what you wish for

as it may come true. In my case, wintery weather has arrived in Dixie! Snow on Christmas (!), crazy cold weather yesterday & today.

Last night we went to Callaway Garden's Fantasy in Lights & froze our tails off in the 30 degree weather (somewhere my Northern relatives are laughing that I've gone "soft" living in the South). We brought a blanket, dressed in layers & snuggled close to one another. I kept taking off my mittens to take pictures as it's hard to press that button w/ them on!

Sunshine fell asleep at the tail end, so we decided to skip the hot chocolate & sweet treat afterward & just went home.

I think next year we might have to go earlier in the season just in case we have another cold snap.

MIL/FIL called this morning & are on their way to see us (as well as Hunter's aunt in ATL)!! We'll be going to see The Polar Express at the IMAX theater on post when they get here on Thurs.

Today is cleaning from the weekend & a trip to TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, etc for post-holiday sales.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas!

We were at a neighbor's house when her son in law came in to inform us that it was snowing. What a wonderful way to cap off a wonderful Christmas! And how awesome that it snowed twice this year?!!

It's been spitting snow all day, which is nice. Sadly, it's not enough to stick, but it is pretty to watch.

Tonight we're going to Fantasy in Lights with a friend & her 2 girls. I'm anxious to see if they cancel as this morning her youngest lasted 15 min. playing outside before deciding it was too cold & could she just sit by the fire & have some hot cocoa? You can drive through in your car (realllly slow, but warm) or ride the trolley. Obviously our tix are for the trolley, we'll have to see if it's just the three of us or whether our friends come with us!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

As the song goes, have yourself a merry little Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Note to self

Dear Self~

Kudos to you for getting your decorations up Thanksgiving weekend. And hey, all that volunteer work in Sunshine's class & in her school? Good job! Let people mock SAHM's, PTA volunteers & Room Moms all they want, but giving your time & energy allowed a lot of kids make keepsakes that their parents ( who weren't able to be in the classroom) will treasure for years to come. So much for SAHMs not contributing to the "greater good"

And the smiles & looks on your neighbors' & mailman's faces when you dropped off their pumpkin breads? Awesome. It's always nice to feel appreciated.

However. . .

the fact that you waited until the 22nd to mail out your family's gifts? Not.good. Yes, yes, I know you overnighted them, but still. I know your nephews will be thrilled w/ gift cards, but come on. Overnighting gifts smacks of amateur shopper/gift buyer/sucky out of state relative.

Let's get it together for next year, shall we?



Dear Me~

Thank you for your kind words of praise. I really felt good (and tired!) after my crazy time at school & am so glad I've gotten "involved" & turned into one of "those" moms. The hugs & cries of "Mrs. C!!!!!" that I get when I go into the classroom really make me feel good about what I'm doing. And when a parent who normally can't volunteer makes it into the classroom, the look on their child's face is absolutely priceless. Their face lights up & their energy is palpable. Suddenly that parent is elevated to superstar status in the eyes of the classroom.

I really should know better than to have to overnight anything. And you're right---so amateur. We've been thrown a bit of a monkey wrench into Christmas with FIL having the flu. The ILs were coming, then they weren't, then they're going to let us know. We started flirting with the idea of driving to VT. The logistics began to mess with my head. When would we leave? Where would we spend the night (not wanting to expose anyone to the flu, least of all me as a diabetic--very dangerous)? What gifts of Sunshine's would we bring? Would we tell my mom or would we just show up on say, Christmas Eve? How long would we stay? What? How?

We decided to stay here & that's when I started debating sending out gifts *after* Christmas, but that's just really sucky. And amateur.

So I apologize for the overnighting action. Next year's goal (should we not go to VT) is to have gifts for my family purchased by 1 December (if not earlier) & shipped out shortly thereafter (if not earlier).

BTW, tell your husband to get the leaf blower out & do something about the leaves in the backyard. They're starting to bug me.

And have fun tonight w/ the girls at dinner/drinks. You've earned it!!



Monday, December 20, 2010

On the 3rd day of Christmas Vacation

I spent quality time with my stove. Bacon-wrapped artichokes to bring to an Ornament Swap/ Dirty Santa tonight. I was #14 & snagged #12's pretty glass poinsettia ornament.

Six loaves of pumpkin bread for some of our neighbors. And a dozen pumpkin muffins for us.

Tomorrow we'll deliver our breads as well as make 2 more (mailman & one more neighbor). I need to wrap some of Sunshine's gifts. Santa doesn't wrap his presents, so it's how we differentiate what's a Santa gift & what's from Mommy & Daddy.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Woo Hoo!

I made it through the last two weeks & *knock wood* appear no worse for wear!

I managed to get Miss Linda's scarf finished & have CO another one for Sunshine's Para pro. I managed to make a big batch of chocolate dipped pretzels & white chocolate/cranberry cookies for the other moms on the path. A few more glitterific ornaments were made as well. I also got 3 dozen chocolate cupcakes made on Thursday!

AR Celebration Week was a success---the kids were psyched for Treasure Chest, Face & Hair Painting were very popular & I have to admit, really fun. I'm not terribly artistic, but managed to rock out some Auburn & UGA logos as well as flowers & holiday stockings. The hair painting was a lot easier than I thought it would be & holy cow, do these kids LOVE it! I was talking to Kristine (our super cool librarian & a wonderful friend) about having the mid-year Cel. Week in January next year rather than December. The kids will have more time to accumulate points (they trade points earned by reading on the Celebration Week treats: Hair/Face painting, a special movie, hat day, etc) & we won't be so strung out busy.

Our class party was lots of fun & it's so nice to be on vacation! We're waiting to see if FIL's health will allow him to travel to see us for New Year's. Keep your fingers crossed!

This morning I had a wonderful wake up call from Kristine & went to knit with her at Starbucks. Complete with a Peppermint Mocha & Pumpkin bread. Yummy! This afternoon it's raining & damp so we're staying in & taking it easy.

Christmas is one week away so Sunshine & I will start our baking for our friends next week. I need to make 6 loaves of bread & a few batches of cookies. But first, some DVR'd tv & knitting!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Carol Ann, go into the light!!

I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! Let's just hope that like Carol Ann, I don't get covered in all that ectoplasm or whatever that was.

Today's list of accomplishments: 7 gingerbread houses & 5 extra ornaments in Sunshine's class. I snuck in lunch (sushi!) with a fiend for some much needed girly venting time. I managed to get white chocolate chip & cranberry cookies made to go with yesterday's chocolate dipped pretzels. I picked up 2 gifts for Sunshine that I really didn't need but reallllllly wanted to get for her. I also picked up an ornament for an ornament exchange that I was invited to next week. A load of laundry was also done! Phew!

I also finished my Two Weeknights with Warrick scarf. What's that? Oh sorry, I said I also FINISHED my scarf! I know, I'm quite proud too. It's currently blocking & drying in the guest room---let's just hope it's dry by tomorrow afternoon as I'm hoping to give all my "path" friends their goodies then.

Tomorrow is Face Paint day for AR Celebration Week & then home to bake cupcakes for the class party. *Knock wood* I'm feeling good about the next two days & probably need to keep quiet about it as I'd hate to jinx myself.

But my beautiful Noro Cash Island scarf? DONE, baby!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I can't relax, 'cause I'm a Boinger!

(admit it, you miss Bloom County too! Who didn't love Billy & the Boingers?)

We're in full blown craziness here people. Today involved dropping off the popcorn (very generously donated by a local movie theater) at the library, quick meeting w/ Sunshine's teacher about the gingerbread houses we were building that afternoon, running home to knit a bit & then getting ready to leave. I ran to Winn Dixie (It's okay---I didn't need to go to the deli), grabbed a diet vanilla coke (a girl's gotta have some yumminess every day) & then got to school by noon. Two volunteers didn't show up.

I understand that people's time is very precious, especially at this time of year. I understand not everyone has the luxury of staying home (and yes, believe me--I realize it is a luxury), but you don't volunteer to show up to help in your child's class & just not show. It's not cool. It's not cool to the teacher who's expecting you. It's not cool to the other parents who are there helping all the kids. It's especially very NOT cool to your child who is watching the door, wondering when you'll come through.

So, yep it was just me & another girl's mom. Crafts with kids are not only fun, but they're educational as well. You get insight into what each child finds attractive. How their minds see the finished object, or whether they're just flying by the seat of their pants. Whether they're elaborate in their decorating or whether they're a minimalist.

It's educational because unless you've done the same craft with 20+ children, you have no clue on how to get it done in the time allotted. I've learned that, whenever possible, you ALWAYS label with the child's name before you begin. If your craft is an ornament with 2 pieces of felt that need to be glued together & the directions say to glue the string/ribbon to the back, throw out the directions, put the string/ribbon between the two layers & glue away. And when making 20+ gingerbread houses, the trick is to hot glue the graham crackers to the milk boxes prior to starting the project. Of course, we learned that little tid bit at 230 after the kids were done with school & we were planning for me to come back tomorrow morning with Sunshine to finish them w/ the 7 remaining kids.

Of course, if those other parents had shown up we would have finished on time, but I'm not bitter or anything.

So tomorrow is the day to finish up the gingerbread houses. And knit.

Thurs is face painting in the morning. And hopefully be done knitting so I can block the scarf. And make cupcakes.

Friday is hair painting followed by Sunshine's party at lunch time. I have all of my cupcake decorating stuff together & ready to go to school.

Saturday? I'm not doing a blessed thing!

I am proud to say that I managed to get my Christmas cards done on Sunday. Mailed out too, so that's one less thing to worry about. And I managed to find a gift certificate to a restaurant for my mom that needs to go into the mail ASAP. Which will probably be Saturday at this point.

Off to watch a little tv & knit before I crash.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saying aaaaahhhhhh

After a long week & a dinner gone wrong (we went with a friend & her kids refusing to behave & began dragging Sunshine down with them), I received a phone call this morning from Kristine who claimed to have a knitting emergency. I discovered she was in dire need of a pattern as well as yarn to supplement her project. We found the pattern online & I started to search through my stash to see what I had that I could offer.

It turns out I have NO Noro Kureyon. I have a fair amount of Silk Garden & Cash Island that I purchased last summer @ North East Fiber Arts Ctr in VT. I've come to realize that I'm not going to use all of this yarn. Please, I'm never going to use all of my stash & have debated selling some of it.

I told Kristine that I'd be happy to give her the yarn for her project. Arrangements to meet up
were made & next thing I knew, I was sitting at Starbucks, Peppermint Mocha (RED CUP!) in hand, knitting in bag. She had yarn for her project, I had pepperminty goodness & a few hours of girl talk, knitting talk & just a nice relaxing afternoon. Just what I needed! Sunshine was bummed she didn't get to see Mrs. M (Kristine is the librarian at her school) but had a fun lunch with daddy & was happy to see me when she got home. We had a nice evening at home & now I'm thinking it would be a good thing to hop in bed.

Another opportunity for me to say aaaahhhhh!

Friday, December 10, 2010

1 crazy week done

1more to go.

I'm nearly crafted out people. I think I have tacky glue in my ears. And if I see another box that says Oriental Trading Company, I may have to kick it on sheer principle.

Next week is AR Celebration Week & the last week of school before Christmas Break.

Monday I need to pick up popcorn for movie day

Tuesday I will be in Sunshine's class to help build gingerbread houses.

Weds: NOTHING! I don't have to be at school. Maybe this would be a good time to work on Christmas cards as I haven't had time to do them. Every year I buy cards after the holidays b/c they're on sale & oh so cute. The next year I find myself going "OMG, I need to SIGN these things!!!". Maybe there is something to ordering picture cards on snapfish/shutterfly.

Thurs: Face Painting for AR Week. Bake cupcakes for Sunshine's class party on Friday. I got smart & bought frosting w/ the decorating tip so I can bring them up to school & decorate them there. I need to pick up some sprinkles or something to add to the top. Or maybe crush up some starlight mints to decorate them with.

Friday: Hair Painting for AR Week & then Sunshine's party in the late morning.

Friday afternoon: collapse.

I managed to order 2 more presents online today & thankfully am done w/ Sunshine. I still need to buy & send presents to my family in VT. Luckily my nephews are teenagers & happy with cash/gift cards. My mom is playing the "don't buy me anything---I don't need anything" card. I know she doesn't "need" anything but she certainly deserves something.

I'm getting a super bad case of homesickness & am still having 2nd thoughts about not going to VT this year. Last year was hard as it was our first Christmas in our house, but also the first Christmas without my father. I wanted our family to wake up in our own beds, in our own house & not have to worry about packing up clothes, toys, presents, etc for a 22+ hr drive. But at the same time, I wanted to wake up in my own room, in my old house & eat the same Christmas dinner that I always have at my parents house. I made my Memere's meat stuffing for our dinner here, but it wasn't the same as I wasn't fighting with my brother over the leftovers. We had a green Christmas & really, I don't like green Christmases. I don't dream about a green Christmas & I certainly don't like looking out the window & not seeing snow falling as we open gifts. Darn it, I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know.

So, here I sit, homesick for my old home, but wanting to be in my new home, with our little family's traditions & not being tired from a long drive & worrying about bad weather while we drive. Not worrying about "how are we going to fit all this stuff in the trunk on the way back???" There is something to be said about a stress free holiday.

I'm looking forward to baking with Sunshine during Christmas Break---breads, cookies & chocolate dipped goodies. And finishing up our shopping together. And sleeping in late. In our own beds.

But if it snowed in Georgia?

I'd be the happiest girl, ever!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pet Peeves

I know it's the Christmas season & we should be all thankful & joyous, but these things have been bugging me & I need to get them off my chest.

I don't like when the bottom of footie pajamas wear out before the actual pajamas themselves. This has bugged me for years! There is nothing worse than having to cut the feet off because really, the whole point is to have on the pjs, not just a zip up union suit.

People who use the British spelling of things (favourite, humour, etc). If you were educated abroad, great. If you're a UK citizen, rock on. If you grew up in Wisconsin, give me a break. It's pretentious.

People who think it's acceptable for their children to run around in a busy restaurant. Especially school age children. We went to dinner Friday night w/ Sunshine to a Japanese steak house (Sunshine's all about the miso soup & rice). We were seated next to a family of 4 whose children were still in their fancy private school uniforms. The daughter could.not.sit.still to save her life. We know people whose children attend this school. Their standards are high. Children are expected to behave & I'm willing to bet it goes beyond the classroom & spills out into home life. Did the parents say anything to her? Nope.

We already know about my feelings toward the deli dept. @ Winn Dixie.

And people who don't return phone calls/email.

I'm also amazed by the gall of people who claim to "support the troops", yet have never sent so much as a card or care package to anyone serving overseas.

People whose dogs have no manners. I work with Smitty so that he's not "that dog" --you know--the one jumping on you, barking incessantly, letting them jump on my dog. Pulling your dog off someone & telling them "no" isn't mean. It's what your dog needs.

Moms who volunteer to come in to their child's classroom to help out, but leave after their child's project is done. Yesterday we had a mother do this. Sunshine's teacher turned down other offers from parents because she thought 3 parents would be enough. And it would have if this mom had stayed to help EVERYONE's child. I understand wanting to help your child with their project. When we do certain crafts at school (decorating t-shirts), I want to help Sunshine. But I also help a good amount of other children before helping my own.

This week is our Secret Santa Shop at school. I volunteered for 2 shifts as I've got Room Mom obligations (Monday was the only day I wasn't in Sunshine's class) & AR Celebration week next week & honestly, I'm wiped out. Yesterday I was at school for 4 hours, today for 6. 2 1/2 of which were courtesy of the mom who blew off everyone else yesterday. Tomorrow is a "short" day---only 2 hrs. Phew!

Off to make some ornaments with Sunshine---we're addicted to the glitter on the inside ones!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

January Redux?

I'd like you to go back & read this blog post from January. I'll wait.

It seems 2010 is going out the way it came in. ER visits for both Sunshine as well as Hunter. Last Sunday evening I had Sunshine in the bathtub when she started telling me things didn't feel right, were hurty & answered my questions about her general health. We decided an ER visit was in order. Four hours later we were on our way home with a prescription for Bactrim for a UTI.

Yesterday I decided I was going to knit night @ Panera. I haven't been since late summer as Hunter had a class on Monday nights. I know I could have brought Sunshine with me, but it's not easy to keep an eye on her, make sure she behaves & knit. Plus, that's MY time with friends.

We helped Sunshine with her homework for the week & I went into the kitchen to start winding a skein of yarn for a project for the crossing guard on The Path (the rear exit from the school leads down to a street). Hunter had left dishes in the sink from Sunday evening & with being so busy yesterday, I didn't get them done. When I asked if he was going to do them, he jokingly replied "but that's women's work"

That Karma, she's a . . .

As I was arranging my skein of Koigu to find the beginning, Hunter started to wash the dishes. Suddenly there was a cry out, obscenities followed & the dance one does when one is hurt. We realize that he's practically cut off the tip of his finger. I'm panicky & queasy all at the same time. Phone calls are made to arrange for someone to watch Sunshine while we go to the ER. Luckily, the ER is slow on a Monday night.

Hunter was taken back almost immediately & he sent me to get something to eat (I hadn't eaten as I was planning on some yumminess from Panera). I find him in the ER & it's decided that I'll be more comfortable in the waiting area, so off I go to knit. And people watch.

There are some incredibly sad stories in the ER, like the couple from Sunshine's visit who had a 2 day old baby in need of a spinal tap. And last night's couple who was 5 wks pregnant & experiencing complications. I admit to crying & praying for both of them. All the while wanting to give them hugs.

Then there are the ones that make you go hmmmm. There's always a group of basic trainees who are so used to not having to think for themselves that answering the most basic of questions is a hardship for them. Bless their hearts---so many of them are babies--18 & 19 yr old kids who are away from home for the first time. Suffering from their first stomach bug away from mom's loving care, or a really bad cold w/out the comforts of their own bed.

Last night, a woman & her teenage daughter come in, having been referred by the local doc in the box. The daughter's got a headache, chills, sore neck, aches all over & mumble mumble mumble (I can't hear this part from where I'm sitting), they want her tested for Meningitis.

I realize there are very sick people in hospitals. I also realize Meningitis isn't contagious just by sitting in the same room as someone who has it, but I'm not taking chances! My sister died from it in 1970. Not the illness I want to be exposed to. And if you were the mother of a child who just might have it, wouldn't you walk to the far end of the waiting room? Far, far, far away from other people??

Then, there was the crazy lady. I'm not being mean--this was the woman who ran a running commentary on my wife & kids, or whatever show was on. Like a discourse with the characters. The best part was when she got up to ask the receptionist if she could please call back to the ER to see if anyone back there smoked & if so, could she please bum a ciggie from them.

Let that sink in. ER. Bumming a smoke. From the staff.

Amazingly enough, she got one. I thought about getting up & asking for a cocktail, but didn't want to press my luck.

About 3 hours after we got there, we left. Hunter has roughly 10 stitches & a follow up appointment on Weds to determine whether the flap (so icky to say) of skin will survive. There's a 50/50 chance it won't & they will have to (ick) remove it. (ick)

Today we're making Glitterific ornaments in Sunshine's class. I'm excited! I finally found the Pledge with Future Shine floor wax after going to 4 or 5 stores. I also made a prototype yesterday with little success. When I couldn't find the Pledge, I tried the ornament with Joann's Tacky Glue & glitter. Mess. More ick & lots of ugly. Neither the glue nor the glitter would spread inside the ornament. Did I mention these are glitter ornaments where the glitter will NEVER rub off on your hands???!! Love! This!

So, then I try glitter glue. Pour a generous amount into the ornament & start rolling, swirling, twirling. Nothing. Lumpy, barely moving glitter glue. At this point I'm getting panicky. I texted AM to find out exactly where she found the magical Pledge, because you know, she lives on the opposite side of the country so of course it'll be at the same store here. It was---Kmart. And I got a military discount (woo hoo!)

When Sunshine got home from school, we took ornament 2.0 out to the sun room. We spread some paper on the floor, plopped down & started the ornament making process. Pour floor wax into ornament. Swirl around to coat entire inside. Pour excess back into bottle. Pour glitter into ornament. Swirl around to coat entire inside. SUCCESS!!!!! We have a beautiful red glittery ornament! I'm running to Michaels to get more ornaments & some pink glitter. Sunshine's all about her pink! So, the week before Christmas, we'll make more ornaments. Hunter's suggestion was to mix the glitter colors. I think he might get in on this craft too---if he's healed up a bit.

So, 2010----thank you for the ending that was the same as the beginning. Please tell your friend, 2011, that we have fulfilled our ER visits & he need not expect any from us!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm actually a little afraid

December is usually an incredibly busy month---shopping, decorating, baking, running around to see friends/family.

Then you add in volunteer time. When Sunshine started Kindergarten last year, I volunteered to be the Room Mom, something I did this year as well. I also got roped into being the co-chair of our AR (Acc. Reader) Celebration Week, as well as the co-chair of book fairs. There are 4. Book fairs, that is.

We had a Room Mom meeting this past week to go over what's on the schedule until Christmas & it's just busy, busy, busy. Lots of crafts, lots of volunteering. Class party on the 17th. I still need to run out to buy a long sleeve t shirt for a craft on Weds, some future shine wax for an ornament craft on Tuesday (thanks AM for the idea!)& then cupcakes for the 17th. Normally I'd make them, but out of the next 10 school days, there are 2 days I won't be there. I wonder if Sunshine would share her lunch card with me so I don't have to rush out to grab something to eat between commitments?

Today we went to see the Columbus Ballet perform an abbreviated version of The Nutcracker at the library. I think she was in awe of Clara & the Sugar Plum fairy. Especially Clara since she wasn't much older than Sunshine. Having danced in The Nutcracker millions of years ago (1980), I love the story as much as the music. Sunshine has my costume--yes, I saved all of my dance costumes from 1976 until 1989 & while it's way too big for her, loves to put it on & pretend to be a ballerina.

I have a project on the needles right now (Rickenbacker Scarf) for the crossing guard at "the path" & I'm hoping to get it finished before the 17th. She's one of my FB friends so I could always arrange to meet up with her during Christmas break, but I don't want an unfinished gift hanging over my head.

Off to do our AR reading for the night. Have a great week if I don't make it back!

Friday, December 3, 2010

But we didn't register for glad ware!

When you get married in the Russell County (AL) courthouse, you get a gift from them. Yes, I am holding up a travel size deodorant, toiletries, a single use of laundry detergent & have one piece of glad ware on my lap! Where do they think you're going afterward???

Hunter & I were married 8 years ago on December 4th, 2002. Ten days after he came home from 6 months in Kuwait & 34 days before he would return to Kuwait in anticipation of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I'm happy to say that we have spent more anniversaries together than apart (we were in the negative there for a while!) & had an amazing 5th anniversary trip to Paris (6 months after our anniversary as he was in Iraq for that one). I've decided that a special anniversary trip every 5 years would be great.

I thought the 8th anniversary (traditionally the bronze year, but also tourmaline (pretty!), and linens/lace for the more modern thinking couple) was boring as it's one of those inbetween years. Apparently I was wrong:

The number eight is considered particularly auspicious in Chinese culture because it sounds similar to the word for 'prosper' or 'wealth'. It is pronounced like "bah" in Mandarin (pinyin: bā).

infinityWe also like the visual aspect of the 8th anniversary because it is similar to the infinity symbol which is a happy thing to associate with the connection you have with your husband or wife.

We had a family celebration tonight----dinner out with Sunshine, followed by the evening out at a tree lighting ceremony. I remember the night before we were married--we had homemade chicken noodle soup with friends who were going to accompany us to the court house the next day. Funny the things you remember.

The next day we went to the court house for noon, went to lunch with our friend who was our witness/photographer and then home to celebrate our birthdays (Hunter missed them being overseas) as well as Christmas--we didn't know if he would still be home or not. We went out to dinner that evening & the next night had a small party with friends at our apartment.

Tomorrow night, Sunshine is staying over at a friend's house so we can have another date night (dinner & a movie). And Sunday morning to sleep in. Aaaah, heaven.

Happy Anniversary Hunter. I love you tons of gobs of bunches of oodles. You are my favorite & my best. And I'm so lucky to have you as my husband! xox

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

especially since we put our tree as well as Sunshine's tree up this weekend. Snowflakes are in our windows & the fireplace (mantel & hearth) are decorated. I still need to get more suction cup thingies for the snowflakes for the french doors leading to the sun room, ( Get this---Hunter actually asked if we were decorating them! ) and for Sunshine's bedroom windows.

Each year I think how fun it would be to have a tree trimming party. Then I remember how I have to tell the story of each ornament (Oh, this one is from my mom, this one is from Hunter the first Christmas we were married, this is the one I bought for Sunshine's 1st Christmas) & how certain ornaments HAVE to go at the top of the tree, away from dogs & little hands. I did well this year---I didn't "correct" Sunshine's ornament placement too much. I moved a few ornaments so they'd be more visible, but that's about it.

Each year I buy myself a new ornament. Last year, we bought a 7 1/2 foot tree & found ourselves needing more than one ornament for the year. I found some great ones at the after Christmas sales including a pretty set of Gorham silver snowmen, 2 beautiful Waterford glass ones. When Mom visited in April & we went to the Atlanta Zoo, I found a hand painted glass ball with pandas. And a trip to World Market earlier this month helped us with a couple for our tree, as well as some for Sunshine's tree---including a disco ball.

Today Sunshine & I cut & stapled the
loops for the mouse tail for another of our Christmas traditions. When she was in PreK, they cut the little mouse body, ears & glued on eye. They also made the loops for the tail & each night we tear off a loop read the little poem. I have to admit, this is one of my favorite things about bedtime at Christmas.

We also broke out the Spode Christmas Tree dishes on Friday. I started buying these dishes the first Christmas we were married & my collection started with a star shaped candy dish. The following year I added 12 dinner plates. It went on and on for years. Last year I invested in the wine glasses & high balls. This year will be cereal bowls. It makes so much more sense (to me anyway) to use them daily for one month out of the year rather than just for a couple days a year.

I'm roughly halfway through my shopping & need to get going. I'm losing almost a week's worth of shopping the final week of school as it will be Accelerated Reader Celebration Week & as Co-chair, I'll be at school a lot that week. Hopefully I can help my co-room mom with the planning of our class party.

Luckily, we're staying put this year so the additional pressure of traveling won't be upon us. We spent a lot of time on the road at Christmas in years past ('02, '03, '04, '07, '08) so the idea of waking up in my own bed on Christmas morning's a wonderful thing. Sunshine & I will have the week of Christmas to do some baking for our neighbors & friends as well as tie up any loose ends.

Friday, November 26, 2010

No Black Friday here

I refuse to shop on Black Friday ---the entire weekend actually. Do I really need to be in a store at 3 am with $3 jeans in my hand? Do I need to be another store at 4 am with a 40" tv in my cart for whatever discounted price? I think not. My place at those times is home, in my snuggly bed. And that's where the employees of these stores belong. Sleeping in their cozy beds, memories of Thanksgiving in their head & getting a good night's sleep before they have to be at work, at a decent NORMAL hour.

My last year working Black Friday was in '02. Hunter had come home from 6 months in Kuwait that Monday, we spent Thanksgiving with his aunt in ATL and drove home that night so I could be at work at 6 am. We figured parking would be a nightmare so he drove me in at 530. Lines were wrapped around the mall. I got into work & got ready for my day. There are no crazy deals in cosmetics as their prices are regulated. There may be a gift with purchase or a value set, but no one's going to be running around with a 3.4oz bottle of Chanel No.5 that they scored for $25. And in my case, there's not going to be anyone who wanted a makeup lesson at 615am. The desire to learn how to do a smokey eye just isn't there before sun up.

I admit to doing some Black Friday shopping online last year. Amazon ran a crazy 2 day deal on the Barbie Town House. It was too good of a deal to pass up & I knew Sunshine would go nuts when she saw it. (she did!) But going into a store? Nope. If anything I'd go in with a black armband around my arm & would tell the employees that I feel their pain. So, if you're doing some shopping this weekend, or holiday season at all, remember the poor souls working the registers so you can achieve your holiday goals. Yes, it's their job, but they're seriously abused.

Our plans for today are to put away the Thanksgiving decorations --done as Sunshine is seriously motivated to decorate for Christmas. Get out the Christmas dishes to use as our daily dishes until after New Year's. And to go see Tangled this afternoon with some friends. We've already bought our tickets on Fandango and are hoping to get there early enough so all 7 of us can sit together.

Tomorrow we're going to decorate the living room & put up Sunshine's tree. Sunday, our tree will go up. I want to put up some sort of decoration outside, but I'm not sure what---a lit wreath on the big window in the dining room maybe? And I need to add some cereal bowls to my collection of Spode Christmas Tree---but I'll wait until Monday to go looking for them. Wouldn't want to break my own boycott of Black Friday shopping!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving's such a bridge holiday, isn't it? Every year it sneaks up on you during your Halloween hangover when the stores have already started putting up their Christmas decorations & advertising Black Friday bargains.

The Halloween costumes & decorations have been put away but you're still rationing the candy. If you're like me, you've hidden a bag of Vanilla Tootsie Rolls in the pantry & allow yourself one a day. Just so they last.

Then, before you know it, it's Thanksgiving. There's baking, cooking, traveling to be done. The grocery stores are filled with crazed people looking for ingredients they only use once a year. "Traditional" becomes the word of the day. I'll admit, I'm all about traditional Thanksgiving dishes & get a little stabby when people start tweaking the recipe. My family's traditional meal is turkey, corn, green beans (but not green bean casserole---more on that later), my Memere's meat stuffing, mashed potatoes, traditional stuffing for the heretics in the family, rolls. Dessert is usually a pecan pie (my brother Michael's favorite) and either apple or pumpkin pie. The men in our family do the cleaning up.

As much as I love tradition, it seems we really don't have one when it comes to Thanksgiving. We've gone to Hunter's aunt's house in ATL which is so much fun. She hosts friends from the neighborhood & it's not uncommon for there to be close to 40 people there from noon until well into the evening. We've hosted single soldiers during the years Hunter wasn't deployed. We went home once & last year we went to a friend's house. This year we're going to the same friend's house. They live on some crazy number of acres in the "country" so a day at their house involves feeding the horses, tractor rides, the men go out shooting cans/ targets, the kids "swim" in the hot tub", good food, good company & an all around wonderful day.

Last year we were in charge of dessert & appetizer. This year we're doing 2 appetizers (fruit salsa w/ cinnamon pita chips and my bacon wrapped artichokes--they were a huge hit last year) and I have the honor of making the green bean casserole.

Have a safe & happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your traditions, whatever they may be!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Remembering the "good ol' days"

Do you look back at times gone by & remember the "good ol' days"? Times spent with family that are long gone? We spent every Sunday evening with my Memere & Pepere (the couple at the center of the group). A lot of times we'd spend afternoons at their house playing. I grew up as the youngest of 22 grandchildren on my mom's side--there was always someone to play with, bother or just to tag alone. All but 3 cousins lived locally which made for fun times. When my Aunt Gert (brunette in the front w/ her husband's arm around her shoulder) & I used to talk in the last couple years before she died, she would tell me that she always looked back on the time spent with our family at Memere & Pepere's as truly the best days of her life. I have to agree.

This picture was taken in 1961 at my grandparents 40th wedding anniversary 8 of the 22 grandchildren were yet to be born (myself included, obviously). Everyone looks so young & if I try, I can hear everyone's voice. I can hear my Aunt Gert & Uncle Louie's (back row, 6th from the left) distinctive laughs. I can hear my Memere's French accent. My Dad was a master story & joke teller. I'm willing to bet he & my Uncle Eddie (far right in the front, drink in hand). were trading stories & jokes all evening.

Seven people out of this picture have passed & I miss them. My Daddy, Memere, Pepere & Aunt Gert in particular. I wish my Memere & Pepere had been able to meet Sunshine---I know they would have loved her sunny disposition & sense of humor.

So, as the holiday season is starting, take a minute to focus on what it is really about---family. Savor each moment with those you love as they leave us far too quickly.

*Editing to addthat my Uncle Eddie passed away on Sunday 28 Nov. And then, there were 6.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm sorry, that's private.

In an age where we Tweet, update Facebook statuses more often than some people brush their teeth, blog, spend time on message boards, post pictures on Fotki, Flickr, Photobucket---I always wonder where people draw the line at what they choose to keep as private.

There are very few online communities where I've shared my last name & other info about my family. It's pretty much one message board where I've been a member for almost 10 years & Facebook, where I know/trust my friends list. I've denied friend requests on FB from people I didn't know. I've got enough Farmville friends, thanks & if we don't know one another in some way, shape or form, I'm not adding you.

I've read blogs where the author has basically given out everything other than their social security number. Maybe if your blog is private/invitation only that's fine, but for me, it makes me twitchy. Because, let's face it, there are some downright scary people out there. And you don't know if those scary people are reading your blog. Learning your name, your child's name, where you live, where your child goes to school, where you work, etc.

The Disney Channel (shush, you have kids that watch it too!) has a PSA done by Phineas & Ferb (you know you like them!) that talks about the internet & how important it is to be careful what info you put out there. We live in such different times than when I was growing up. As parents our job is to teach our children what is right and wrong. It's also to protect them---from the scary people out there, but also from themselves. You hear stories about teenagers who were pressured into "sexting" or sending provocative pictures of themselves to a boyfriend/girlfriend. Like Phineas & Ferb say---be careful what you put on line. It never goes away, ever.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Naked with strangers

What is it about spa treatments that make us totally comfortable about stripping down to undies or less?

I love spa treatments. Love.them. Mani/pedi, facial, massage, yes please!!! Many years ago, before Sunshine, I was a spa junkie. Manicure (acrylic fill) every 2 weeks. I'd get itchy if I had to go 3. Pedicure every month. Facial every month & a massage every month or every other. It's amazing the money & time that I had for all of this! I still get pedicures every month or so. I have to admit, I'm a fan of the "chop shop" mani/pedi rather than the spa versions, especially since a friend told me how her salon offers a hot stone massage (I die!) with their pedis. I don't care who came up with the concept of a hot stone applied to the body, but I love 'em! I start to slide down in the chair & am thisclose to drooling during a good one.

Last year, Hunter gave me a gift certificate to local day spa for their signature spa package as an anniversary present. Our anniversary is in December. It's November. Procrastinate much?? I had the Signature Diamond Microdermabrasion Facial & the Hot Stone Massage. I know, I'm amazed I can even keep my eyes open, too!

Facials are bizarre things when you think about them. You're half nekkie, in a dim room with someone you may or may not know very well. In my case, it was with Jessica, whom I had never seen before in my life.

It all starts off innocently enough--gentle facial cleansing, a little massage action on the cheeks, forehead, chin. A scrub, a mask, upper body massage, or if you're lucky---lower leg & foot. Then all of a sudden things get nasty. They get mean. Your relaxing, dimly lit room suddenly becomes glaringly bright & this person you may or may not know very well is hurting you. A lot. They call it "extraction" ---please. It's pretty torturous & I'm willing to bet it's against the Geneva Convention. I don't care if you've had one facial or 1,000. Extractions hurt. And trust me Jessica, I know hurt. I had a 17 hr labor followed by a c section to deliver an 11 lb baby. And afterward, I was the only mother in the Mother/Baby Unit who was walking with her baby 6 hrs after giving birth. The mother who had a baby 1/2 Sunshine's size? I was the fool walking the halls with my morphine drip. But, I digress.

So after the Gestapo treatment (I'm convinced Jessica's a war criminal), we moved on to the diamond microdermabrasion. I have to admit, in all of my facial history, I'd never had it done before. But now that I'm of a certain age (yes, 43 & I make it look good!), I think it would help. I started taking good care of my skin in my late teens, use sunscreen daily, but still. Certain age.

The microderm wasn't too bad & my skin certainly feels like the proverbial baby's bottom. I've decided that my Mother's Day gift needs to be another GC for another facial.

Jessica---we will meet again. Oh yes we will

Friday, November 12, 2010

A real "must see"

Last night HBO premiered a documentary called War Torn about PTSD. It offers a glimpse into the personal hell faced by the soldiers who suffer from it. It also shares the frustrations & fears their families experience.

Back in '08 when Hunter came home from his 3rd & final tour in Iraq, we spent 3 hours in a mandatory marriage seminar that focused on helping military couples remember what it's like to live as a couple again. It also touched on PTSD & at the time how 12-20% of all returning soldiers would suffer from it. That percentage has been raised to almost 30%.

I first suspected something wasn't right with Hunter when he came home from his 2nd tour in '06. He managed to hide his symptoms for about 7 months after coming home. He met with a chaplain in the Family Life Offices on post (usually a first stop for most soldiers & their families dealing with post-deployment issues). They suggested he come back, but that was about it. They were busy preparing for their next deployment as we were on the year home/year gone cycle. He left again in March '07 as part of the surge & would be gone 14 months.

Within a few months of returning in '08, his symptoms of PTSD & TBI began to manifest. The agitation, discomfort with crowds, noise, the memory issues, various physical issues--all classic textbook symptoms. I began to notice that these were lessened if we were away from home. Thanksgiving & Christmas were spent with family out of state & things were nice. With the exception that some family members didn't want accept the possibility that he had PTSD. One person told me that so & so couldn't accept the fact that Hunter had PTSD. Others suggested that his thyroid was off & maybe he needed to be tested as it ran in the family. It's hard to comprehend what things are like for the spouse of a soldier unless you've been the spouse of a soldier. Just as I will never know what things were like for Hunter (or any soldier) when they're in country because I wasn't there.

All I knew was things weren't right with my husband & I felt like I had almost no one to turn to. What should have been a happy time for us (having him home with us ) was frustrating because my fears were dismissed as other people wanted to sweep them under the rug for their own comfort.

I should say, I have one friend who got it at that time. Her experience w/ her husband's PTSD nearly destroyed their family & their marriage. She was and is a huge source of inspiration to me & knowing she & her husband came through it all made me believe that we could too. She knows who she is & that I love her.

Starting in late January & going thru June '09, we saw him 2-3 days a week. It was almost like a deployment only I knew he was no more than 25 miles away & he wasn't in harm's way. On the days he was home, he was exhausted & needed to catch up on laundry & whatever else the Army was demanding of him. In mid-June he finally found a doctor who was willing to work with him.

In July '09, I was on my way to VT to visit my parents as my father was dying. Hunter was supposed to leave for a 30 day TDY & we had an emergency plan in place should Dad die while Hunter was gone. I was 3 hours away from home when Hunter called me. His PTSD had come to a head & he was basically breaking down. I have never felt so helpless in my entire life. I was so far away from him & had no way to help him. We agreed he should go to the ER & I began calling his supervisors. One of whom was absolutely no help. He suggested that perhaps Hunter was just not wanting to go on the TDY. No one wants to go on a 30 day TDY less than 2 months before they're leaving for a 14-15 month deployment, but to suggest that was the problem was completely stupid.

July '09 was a brutal month for our family. My father did die on the 17th of July. Hunter began treatment for his PTSD & would eventually be diagnosed with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), as well as other physical issues. In Sept. 09 he would be transferred to the Warrior Transition Brigade where he received daily treatment. It felt like a weight was lifted from our shoulders as FINALLY someone got it! They knew what was wrong, they didn't try to deny it, they treated him & accepted him. They wanted him to get better. We began seeing a change in him at home--his patience level increased. We didn't have to leave parties early b/c of the noise. The memory issues slowly improved. In February '10 he received his disability rating from the Army & in May, was retired.

The funny thing about being medically retired is there is no walking across the stage. There's no ceremony, no thanking the soldier for their service. You're just done. Game over.

So, back to War Torn. I didn't expect to feel the emotions that I did while watching. I didn't expect to see aspects of our life together on TV. The coping skills of one of the wives really hit home & I saw so much of myself in her. The things she's thought, the thing's she's had to do. I sat there & just bawled like a baby.

I feel that I should stop for a second & say that unlike this woman's husband, Hunter has never become violent. Not all PTSD victims are.

But man, so many of the things she & her husband said & did---been there, done that.

When it was over & I managed to dry my eyes, I gave Hunter a huge hug & told him how much I love him. BRAVO, HBO for putting this out there. For taking away the stigma associated with PTSD. For showing the human side of it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day 2010

"On this Veterans Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free."
Dan Lipinski

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sometimes, on Monday afternoons

when we're not feeling well, we make pumpkin bread & pumpkin muffins. And when they're done, we get out Hunter's grandmother's china & have a tea party.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Isn't it amazing how looking at a picture takes you back to that moment?

This was taken in late Oct. '04. Sunshine was almost 7 months & had started to crawl. She had 2 teeth & was a champion sleeper (going down around 7 & sleeping until 5 or so in the morning). Hunter was preparing to deploy in 2 months & I was in the throes of PPD. MIL was visiting us for a few days & snapped this picture while we were walking Libby & Sunshine late in the afternoon.

I remember getting these back (they were taken on our old Nikon 35mm camera that required film. One day you'll have to explain to your child what film was) & thinking how awful they all looked. I hadn't lost all my baby weight (9 mos on, 9 months off, right?) & looked ginormous. Hunter looked lobotomized & Sunshine wouldn't look at the camera.

About a year or so ago I found this group of pictures & it took me back to a wonderful time in my life. Yeah, I hadn't lost the baby weight but the look of sheer joy on our faces brought tears to my eyes. Our little family was so happy despite the weight on our shoulders. We had a beautiful, healthy sweet baby girl who was (and is) the center of our universe. Despite the threat of Hunter deploying, we were together. We had new mommy & daddy friends who had wee ones just like us. Some of them were facing deployments as well.

"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose" ~From the television show The Wonder Years

Recently I've found myself remembering what I once considered the hardest year of my life---Hunter's last deployment & the year Sunshine was 3. My friends with children will agree with me that the 3's are so much worse than the supposed "Terrible 2's". I had nights where I would be praying for 7 o'clock to roll around so Sunshine could get in bed & I could get some peace. The emergence of free will & vocabulary in a child, especially a strong willed child is frightening at times. Going it alone while fearing for your spouse's life makes it that much worse. Turning 40 during that time adds to the mix.

It's amazing to me how time away from something changes your perspective. While Hunter's last deployment was hard, it wasn't as horrible as I remember. Scary, yes but I look back on my time with Sunshine & know those were some special times for the 2 of us. Days we will never get back. While Hunter wasn't able to spend them with us, I'm happy that I was able to carry on & enjoy some things along the journey.

When I look at the picture of us on that fall day in '04, I see a happy family. The same as I see today.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I can't even come up with a witty title

I was on Ravelry earlier & one of my friends had linked to this blog
in theirs.

See if you still have dry eyes by the end of it. I didn't. Boo is an awfully lucky boy to have such a wonderful mama.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I voted

Did you?

This picture is circa 1910. As a woman, the mother in the picture does not legally have the right to vote. Her daughter, born in 1903, would be almost 18 when Vermont (her home state) would ratify the 19th Amendment in Feb. 1921.

This was the first election where Hunter & I have gone to vote together. As a service member living in a state other than his home state, he chose to maintain his VA residency & therefore, voted via absentee ballot. After bringing Sunshine to school today we went to vote together & saw several of our neighbors at the polls, as well as several parents from Sunshine's school.

We take voting very seriously in our house. We discuss politics & manage to be nonpartisan in our conversations with Sunshine. I want her to form her own opinions based on the knowledge she has been given.

I normally vote for a candidate based on their platform or what they've done during their previous term in office. Today I voted against a candidate based on his inability (or his staff's inability) to return a phone call & letter. Two months ago, Hunter was having problems getting information regarding money owed to him from the VA. If you've never had the opportunity to deal with their phone system, thank God. Their phone lines open at 8 am. If you call after say, 11, you're told to hang up & try your call again tomorrow as all lines are busy. Disconnect, thankyouverymuch. Even calling at 8 am doesn't mean your call will be answered in a timely manner. It's nothing to wait 30 minutes to speak with someone. And if you manage to speak with someone, it's rare that they will even be able to help you.

So back to this phone call & letter that went unanswered. Under the Post 9/11-GI Bill qualifying soldiers (all military, but we'll just use solider) are entitled to a certain number of months of tuition, a living stipend & book money. Hunter had no problem getting his tuition paid, but for some reason his living stipend & book money were in arrears. Which we expected, but not to the degree we experienced. Calling the VA was frustrating as I indicated above. IF he did manage to speak to someone, he was told the money would be deposited "soon!" and that it was "coming". But it never came. It was suggested to us to contact our senators & representative, which we did. Two of them followed through with phone calls and letters. The third didn't. At all. So today at the polls, I exercised my right to not vote for someone whose staff clearly didn't see the need to exercise their ability to help those who put them in office in the first place.

By the way, that mother in Vermont in 1910 who didn't have the right to vote? My great-grandmother. The little girl in the picture was my Grammy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

It wouldn't be Halloween without Trick or Treating with our friends from school.

Or going on a hayride to Trick or Treat with our friends.

Our scary & sweet Trick or Treaters.

For the past couple years we've gone to a friend's house to celebrate Halloween. This year we brought chili, fruit salsa (with cinnamon pita chips), and spooky cookie cups (chocolate chip cookies in muffin cups with whipped cream on top to make the ghosts). We also had brats & hot dogs on the grill as well as veggies/dip, fruit w/ chocolate dip, cake, cookies & brownies. Sugar overload anyone?

The kids had a blast & we managed to get then to sit down to eat before heading out to T or T. Why on Saturday you ask? Because Sunday is a school night, silly! Now, work with me on this one. When Halloween is on Monday-Thurs. it's celebrated on those nights. Aren't they school nights as well? If you said "yes", you'd be right. Some crazy logic down here in Dixie!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Totally random things that make me happy

**lunch with Hunter. Even going to our local pizzaria for a slice & soda.

**Speaking of soda--Diet coke, diet ginger ale, diet cranberry ginger ale. Real ginger ale (in moderation). And Sonic---I love that you will put vanilla syrup into my diet coke.

**my bed.


**fall weather (when we actually have it)

**spending time w/ Sunshine in her classroom

**decorating for the holidays. Any holiday.

**Discovering rosebuds are still popping out on our QE rosebush.

**The happy noises Smitty makes when he lies down.

**Our neighbors & their dogs (Leo, Bijou & Georgia. Leo (shih tzu) & Bijou (poodle) are my faves).

**Playing bubbles with Sunshine.

**Listening to Sunshine read.


**bloody marys with olives

**A long soak in our tub. With the jets on. And a bath bomb.

**When friends send random text messages that make me giggle.

**Pedicures, manicures, facials, massages. Any spa service really.



**Helping Sunshine with her homework & watching her "get it".

**Sitting on the beach, feeling the sun on my skin & the way the sand feels on my feet.

**Seeing the "Welcome to Vermont" sign after a long drive home.

**Sunshine's crazy laugh

**Hunter's crazy laugh when he reads/watches something that's really funny.

**Talking to my mom every day.

**Trashy tv

**Historical fiction. (Good historical fiction, not trashy bodice rippers. )

**The History Channel.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Callaway with Sunshine

Sunshine & I took advantage of Daddy having a cold & not feeling well yesterday to head up to Callaway Gardens. We've toyed with the idea of getting an annual membership but since all military (active AND retired!) get in free, we've not had to pay.

Like Fancy Nancy, we always look for the azure butterflies. This was the only one we saw.

Sunshine desperately wanted a butterfly to land on her hand & would walk around with her hand out in hopes of one doing so.

Then she'd stand there. And stand. And stand.

They're getting ready for Fantasy in Lights! The Nutcrackers & Toy Soldiers greeted us as we drove into the park. Last year we went with several other families & had so much fun riding in the "Jolly Trolley" together. Everyone met up here, we had drinks/munchies/dinner & then went up to Callaway. This year, we're planning on going on the 26th as the weeks before Christmas tend to be hectic with various parties, shopping, school activities. Fantasy in Lights is one of my favorite new traditions that we've started for our family. The other is going to see The Polar Express at the Imax theater on post at the Infantry Museum on Christmas Eve Day. It's complete with a conductor who punches out each child's name on their ticket.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Revenge of Dish Rag Tag

is over & I am proud to say that my team, Cable4inFront, finished in the top 5!

I made some stitch markers for Jessica in AL.

As well as the blue regulation cloth.

We're having a nice weekend despite my two semi-sick lovebugs. Sunshine got sick at a friend's birthday party yesterday. I think it was too much activity & too much junk food as she only got sick the one time & had a normal appetite when she got home. The downside was she didn't get to have her sleepover at her friends' house. Which meant Hunter & I didn't get a date night. It actually worked out as Hunter isn't feeling well either (pretty standard cold/virus thing). I'm thinking Sunshine & I may head up to Callway Gardens to the Butterfly Center so he can get some sleep.

I don't know what I'm going to do tonight with no Mad Men! One of my neighbors has the first 3 seasons on DVD so I might have to start watching from the beginning again (I did the same thing last year).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What ever happened to

common courtesy? Did it go the way of the dodo bird? Was there a bill in Congress to outlaw it? Did I miss a memo?

When did it become illegal to *gasp* let another car go ahead of you? Hold a door for someone? Especially a woman pushing a baby stroller, an elderly person. Anyone, really. The number of people who don't return phone calls/emails is mind boggling.

When did we decide that it's okay to never accept the blame for something. It's always someone else's fault. Last night I watched the reunion show for the Real Housewives of DC (hey, I balance my trash tv with more educational fare as well!). The White House crashing couple STILL blames everyone else under the sun for the fact that they knowingly went to the party without an official invitation. Accept responsibility for yourself.

And parents---disciplining your children doesn't mean abusing them. Trust me. Generations of parents before you disciplined their children. You may claim to be "involved" with your child & being "gentle" but honestly, that 3 min. time out is going to do more than you saying "no, no, no" over and over again.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How did two weeks fly by?

Earlier this month I went to Sunshine's class for a little going away party---the para pro was being sent to one of the Kindergarten classes as their para pro was retiring. The other room mom & I volunteered to come in to help out. I started going in every afternoon to help the kids with their AR tests (Accelerated Reader), made copies for the teachers (23 of everything for Mrs. K & Mrs. M., 16 for Mrs. S (she's the inclusion teacher), and 24 for Mrs. P.) & kept an eye on the class if the teacher needed to get something done.

Last week was a little less hectic as there was less to do, but I still spent time with my beloved Ricoh copier & went in to help the kids decorate their pumpkin tie dye t shirts. Word on the street (or at least in the classroom) is that they may have a new para pro. Let's hope so!

Yesterday we went to Best Nursery in Fortson, GA to their pumpkin patch. Sunshine went there 3 years ago when she was in preschool for a field trip. We had so much fun & the weather was perfect. We had a hay ride, picked out some pumpkins & ran into Sunshine's friends who were there with their dad.

The mailman finally brought my DishRag Tag box (while we were out for the afternoon, of course!) so I worked on it last night. Cute pattern. I got one cloth finished last night after Sunshine went to bed. Sandra in TX sent me some nice goodies---gummy bears, a beautiful (really beautiful!) shawl pin, a TX key chain & 2 dish cloths. I've got my goodies picked out, but will wait until DRT is done to share what they are. Last year I forgot to take a pic of the cloth I made so I'll make sure to get one this year.

The weather has been beautiful lately---40's in the mornings & low 80's in the afternoon. And lots of sunshine. I'm so happy we're finally out of shorts! The leaves are starting to change & it's so nice being outside. We may have to take a trip to the park today before the Patriots game starts.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thank you, Mother Nature

It was 49 when we woke up this morning. 49 glorious degrees. Sunshine went off to school wearing a fleece jacket. If I weren't under the weather with upper respiratory ickiness (thank you, allergies), I'd have Smitty on the walking path around the lake. Maybe tomorrow.

Shhhh, plans are in the works for a surprise trip. I'd tell you, but then it wouldn't a surprise. Sunshine will find out on Christmas morning.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy House-iversary!

Today makes one year since we closed on our house. One year ago today, I was knee deep in boxes in the kitchen, trying to get everything put away & organized. Our painter was working in Sunshine's room taking it from a pretty wedgewood blue to a slightly lavender/pink. He would go on to paint the hallway, guest room, living room & our bedroom.

We would go on to peel the wallpaper in the kitchen and Sunshine's bathroom, treat the walls & paint. Our bathroom was finally painted. Hardwood flooring went into the kitchen (good bye icky vinyl floor that NEVER looked clean!). Granite went on the counters. We called the warranty people twice--once when Sunshine's toilet was so clogged (not her fault) that stuff was backing up into the tubs & our shower!) and another time when our water main broke outside. FYI----warranty companies won't touch it if it's outside the house & will suggest you call your homeowners people. Yet, when you call them, they suggest you call a plumber as it's beyond their realm. Fun little runaround!! Countless hours were spent doing yard work & we learned that you can't cut knock out roses too far back. Our back yard still isn't to the point we'd like it to be, but with the cooler weather coming, there is plenty of time for that. Our next room project is the dining room. The wallpaper below the chair rail has been peeled & we need to start playing with paint swatches.

Happy House-iversary house----we love you so & are so happy to be here!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Waving overseas

I recently discovered the Stats header on my blog's dashboard & have to admit, it's kind of fun to look at. It tells you what posts people are looking at, how they arrived at your blog, and where they're from. Big Brother at it's finest!

While the majority of my readers, this month, are from the US, there is a good number from Canada as well. Love you, Great White North! I've also had a fair amount of hits from around the world---check it out:



New Zealand




United Kingdom


Interesting, n'est ce pas?

While today is the first day of fall, you'd never know it. Our high is going to be 96. Again. The leaves are slowly starting to change but it's still so disgustingly hot that it really doesn't seem like fall. I'm craving those crisp fall days where you're able to wear jeans & a sweater, maybe a scarf. My shorts, skirts & t's are begging to go into hibernation but they can't yet. The other day I was looking at clothes for Sunshine in a desperate attempt to find a new dress for picture day. I left empty handed as the stores are getting fall/winter merchandise in and while we're ready to wear these things, Mother Nature just won't let us. Can't we please have a high of 70? 75? Please?

And while I'm on the topic of clothes for girls---what is with some of these stores? You have a baby girl & everything is pink, girly & cute. When they're a toddler, things are still cute. You may find some pants that are low rise (because it's cool to see pull ups/undies sticking out the top of a 3 yr old's waistband), but by & large, things are appropriate. Then, when she reaches a size 7, BAM! Everything changes. Cute clothes are replaced by what I call "junior hoochie-wear". I get that little girls want to dress like the bigger girls, but good grief, can we remember that we're dressing small children here? I don't want Sunshine running around with low rise jeans. I know I'm not alone in my frustration---several of my friends have commented on this as well. I was bummed when Sunshine grew out of shopping at Carter's. Their clothes are cute & appealed to Sunshine (who at age 4 started choosing her own clothes in stores. I'm fearing the teen years!), as well as to me & my pocketbook. I knew that spring/summer things that fit in March would most likely be worn well into early fall & with any luck would fit the following March if only for a few weeks. And that they wouldn't be worn looking so that I could consign them (Columbus moms---check out the Just4kidz consignment!).

Back to my initial shopping rant--is it too much to ask that we not dress our daughters like hoochies? Do 7 year olds need heels for daily wear? Do we need to see Little Mermaid or Hanna Montana undies peeking out of the top of a pair of skinny jeans? What happened to letting children stay children for a while? The tween years come along too quickly as it is, can't we do pink dresses & hair bows for as long as possible? The old Carter's jingle comes to mind---if they could just stay little 'til their Carter's wear out.

I am off to make cookies for the snack as today is Sunshine's teacher's birthday. Happy Wednesday everyone!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sometimes, on a lazy Saturday morning

we make forts & laze about while reading Skippyjon Jones to Smitty and Baby Ella.

By the way, this is the "girls only" fort. We were washing our sheets/comforter today when Sunshine ran into her room with 3 of our pillows & proceeded to make her fort.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The one with "stuff"

In my younger days I was a bit of a slob. It was nothing for the floor of my room at my parents house to be covered with clothes, magazines, books, etc. My father would liken it to the city dump & my mother would threaten to go up with a garbage bag, scoop up everything on the floor and throw it away unless I picked up.

Sadly, my Oscar Madison tendencies continued into early adulthood. I had several apartments that were best described as "messy". Slowly I outgrew my Oscar tendencies & became Felix Unger. Only I didn't carry an umbrella with me & I don't do that weird nasal honking thing he did.

When we were started packing last fall for our move into this house, we were amazed by all the "stuff" we had accumulated during the years we lived in our apartment. I can't tell you how many trash bags full of "stuff" we took to the trash drop off at our complex. The amount of Army "stuff" Hunter had was mind boggling. More than 3/4 of the "stuff" in our storage unit was Army issue.

The people from whom we bought this house were slobs. I'm not talking messy, clothes on the floor type slobs. I'm talking serious slobs. The bathrooms were filthy (the shower in the master looked like a bathroom in a fraternity house), the kitchen was beyond disgusting to the point where I refused to cook a meal on the stove until we replaced it. Cleaning it wasn't even an issue. When we steam cleaned the carpets, the water came up the color of chocolate milk. I kept hearing Teresa's ( from the Real House Wives of NJ) voice in my head---how she just couldn't live in a house that other people had lived in b/c it skeeved her out to think about their dirt.

We got our house cleaned up before we moved in (except for that icky, nasty, dirty oven that had to be replaced before I'd cook in the kitchen!) and since we'd purged so much non-essential "stuff" things were neat & orderly.

And I liked it.

A lot.

Then I started watching Hoarders on A & E. If you haven't watched it before, I highly recommend it. I know it's mean to pick on people who are mentally ill (and really, anyone who is okay with living in a house with 50 tons of trash, dead animal carasses & bugs has to be mentally ill), but for the love of Pete----these houses are NASTY.

Hoarders helped me take my cleaning to the next level, so to speak. Some may say OCD, I say I stepped up my game. Any given Tuesday (the show airs on Monday nights), you'll find me cleaning some random part of a room that really might not need to be cleaned (how often do you need to clean ceiling fan blades? Do you need to vacuum 4 times a week? Or even 3??) and I'm pretty sure the baseboards in all rooms are so clean you could lick them. If you could turn your head that way.

We've been under "threat" (I use that term jokingly) of a house guest since Saturday. A friend of Hunter's is supposed to pass through town on his way home from TX. A friend Hunter hasn't seen in oh, probably 18 years or so. He's very excited about seeing him & having him meet me & Sunshine. So on Saturday I did what I consider "final" cleaning before someone comes over---make sure Sunshine's bathroom is clean, make sure the guest room is spotless, make sure any toys are out of the living room (except the ones she's actually playing with) and, here's the OCD-----that vacuum lines are visible on the carpet in the living room.

There, I said it. Judge me if you must.

Hunter kept telling me to go take a shower & relax before his friend got there. "The kitchen still needs a quick cleaning". Right, because there is *GASP* a glass right there in the open on the counter that isn't in the sink! Or dishwasher. (Hello, time for an intervention!!) Hunter stopped, looked at me & said "oh right, you've been watching Hoarders, you're all OCD cleaning now."

After we both laughed I agreed to go take a shower (there were now visible vacuum line on the carpet) & told him that while I was showering I expected he'd get the duster & take care of a dust bunny in the corner of the tray ceiling. Because "what if" his friend looked up & saw it.

I really need to get back to knitting, but will do that once there are visible vacuum lines again.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Commitment issues

When we bought our house last year we knew a kitchen remodel was in the plans. The wallpaper was very early '90s, the vinyl floor was in okay shape, but had some areas where it was starting to lift & the counters were a mess. Fortunately, the cabinets were in great shape & just need new pulls. At least I think they do. We'd watch HGTV & the DIY network & try to find inspiration. We'd stalk Lowe's & Home Depot & get ideas. Finally, we got off our butts & made decisions. We put hardwood in the kitchen & instantly the cabinets looked like they'd had a face lift.

Two weeks later we found ourselves without a kitchen as our counters were ripped up so that a template could be made for the new granite counters going in. Five days of no counter, no sink, no running the dishwasher & using red solo cups, plates & bowls along with plastic flatware. Believe me, the irony of buying plastic cups & having the cashier put them in a pink piggy Envirosax bag wasn't lost on me.

It was worth it as our counters were installed & looked amazing.

Now I find myself unable to commit to a back splash. We've gone from glass tile to regular tile to paint back to glass tile. And I'm rethinking my blue walls. *sigh* It's better that I want to just change paint colors rather than tear up the new floors/counters, right??