Thursday, December 29, 2011

Drinking the Kool Aid

I had a hard time coming up with a title for this entry.  "A Rite of Passage", "A New Chapter", "Every Girl's Dream" all came to mind, but drinking the kool aid seemed appropriate as well.

Mecca for girls. . .and their crazed mothers.

Yesterday we trekked up to Atlanta to the AG store so Sunshine could spend the gift cards that she received for Christmas.  Luckily, I had the forethought to ask whether she wanted to shop first or have lunch first.  And even better, I booked reservations in the cafe as there was a 5 hour wait for walk ups.

AG is an amazing place for little girls.  Dolls with every hair/eye color combination smile at you from every corner.  Historical dolls have these wonderful displays & suck you in.  Sunshine's decided that Santa will be bringing her Kit next Christmas.  I guess she'll be telling GoGo about it??

 There were little girls & their dolls EVERYWHERE.  And their mothers.  And their fathers looking like they'd rather be at the Starbucks outside in the mall.  And their griping brothers who wanted to be anywhere but AG.  We had a fair amount of gift cards to spend in the store but it seemed paltry in comparison to some of these people purchasing what looked like the equivalent of their mortgage payment.

We did some preshopping online & with the catalog so Sunshine knew how much she could buy.  Unfortunately the skating outfit & ballet outfits were sold out so we're ordering them.  It's amazing how quickly things add up in there! Sunshine went back & forth between the books, the historical dolls & the clothes.  Luckily, her doll came with pierced ears & we agreed that the next time we go (see the kool aid?  Next time we go) she can have her hair done.  We finished our shopping in about 30 minutes & spent about 15 working our way through the check out line.  I was actually impressed by how quickly it moved, all things considered.

We were about 15 minutes early for our reservation so I ran our bag out to the car while Sunshine waited inside with Hunter (who has taken to using a wheelchair in malls as it's easier than hobbling around on crutches).

New AG addicts at lunch

Our lunch was fun & luckily by the time we were finished eating, the store had almost cleared out.  The volume in the restaurant had died down considerably as well.  We had a 1pm reservation so I'm thinking the next time we go, we might want to do a later reservation or maybe do tea (as Hunter's aunt suggested later when we were visiting with her & her family.  For the record, her daughter was an AG fan as well & is the proud owner of Samantha)

Sunshine, her Elizabeth doll, her mini-Felicity doll & monster ice cream sundae

While Sunshine has decided that Kit will be her next doll, she's also decided that a regular size Felicity would be nice.  You know, for Elizabeth, since they're besties & all.  You know how you can't go into Target for toilet paper w/out spending $150?  They pump the same stuff into the air at AG.  While we were at lunch, I found myself scouring Ebay looking for deals on Felicity.  I had the sense to put my phone down while I ate & enjoyed the experience.  I fully admit to searching when we got home after 9pm & may or may not have a couple auctions saved into my watch list.

Our final haul of the day?  Two mini dolls (Felicity & Kit), 2 outfits, the Every Day Play earrings set, undies & 2 outfits to be ordered.  

Sunshine wants to go back for her birthday & honestly, I think it would be great.  I'm pretty sure that Kool Aid lasts a long time!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas Eve. . . 

Final Counting Down of the season. . .

Opening presents Christmas morning. . . 

LOVE her!!!

And best of all, no more grief from Sunshine that Baby Jesus isn't out!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Tis better to give than to receive

There is nothing better than surprising someone on Christmas.  Especially someone whose heart is bigger than the world.  Someone who does so much for so many.

I don't want to name names or say too much but early this morning, a friend of mine posted about how she was going to have a meager Christmas due to the inability of others in her life to plan accordingly.  Like I said---she does so much for those around her & is one of the sweetest people ever.

Knowing she wouldn't have a present tomorrow morning made me mad.  And sad.  It wasn't fair.  So, I sent out a few messages on FB & told various mutual friends that I was planning on sending her something & they could get in on the something if they so desired.

They did.  In the span of 2 hours we raised $200.  People, I can buy you nice things w/ $200.  So, a few clics of my touchpad later, e certificates were on their way to this darling girl.  Her email to me was awesome.  She said she was crying & we made her snot her mittens!

You know you've done something right when your gift recipient snots their mittens ;)

Sunshine is beside herself with anticipation of tomorrow morning.  We usually let her open a gift on Christmas Eve & this year is no different.  I have a special present in mind---it's a Cinderella snow globe that she picked out back in September.  You know, when the stores set up their holiday displays.

So she starts negotiating gift opening times.  "How's 7:30?" she asked.  At this point it was 10am.  I told her sure & went about my business.   We went around visiting our neighbors & dropping off cranberry breads & pumpkin breads that we baked yesterday.  Several of them had little gifts for  Sunshine which was really sweet.  We came home, had lunch & realized the Patriots game wasn't televised in Dixie.  Which wasn't very nice.  Hunter went to take a nap (he'd been out doing last minute shopping) & I was trying to get the game online.  Sunshine came out early in the 2nd half & announced that she'd made a mistake & could we bump it up to 5:30.  I said yes.

I'm sure she won't snot her mittens when she sees her presents, but will be thrilled with everything.   We're having a low key Christmas which is fine, but the weather is killing me!  It's 65 degrees!  This is NOT Christmas weather, people!!  I want snow!  I want below freezing temps!  I want to look out the window while we're opening gifts & see snow falling (like Christmas '08 at my parents house).  We've decided that next year we're going to VT.  Hopefully Sunshine will have the same Christmas break schedule (furlough days rolled into break rather than scattered throughout the year) & we won't feel we need to rush back.   But I can definitely deal with a week (or more!) in my beautiful home state during the holidays.  Sledding, snow, that chill in the air as you walk down the Church St. Marketplace.  Yeah, I'm ready to be home for the holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

One tradition goes away

Every Christmas we've taken Sunshine to see Santa.  She was 8 months old the first time.  It was ungodly hot that December & she's in short sleeves.  Santa must have been stroking out in his suit.  When she was 2 1/2, she was too afraid to see Santa so we took a picture of her standing on the side---watching him from afar.  There are 6 pictures of her with him, in pretty red frames, gracing my mantel.  It's something I've loved doing. Watching her little face light up when she caught sight of him &  telling him what she wanted.

That ended this year.  There will be no Santa picture with a 7 1/2 yr old Sunshine because today she told me she didn't want to go see him.  Not just today, but this year & probably next too.  Because, "Mommy, things are changing."

It didn't matter that Hunter talked to her &told her just how special those pictures are to me.  It didn't matter that I told her how special they are.  She didn't want to go.

We went to the National Infantry Museum to see The Polar Express at the IMAX theater, in 3d.  I admit, I had a secret plan to go to the PX on the way home &wow!  Santa's here---can't we grab a quick pic.  Don't judge.

Since Hunter is still on crutches, he was offered use of a wheelchair & we were escorted to the elevator up to the rear of the theater.  I have to say that it was the best view!  Forget sitting in the middle of the theater---next year, we're in the last row!

Sunshine proclaimed that she still believes in Santa &; that she could hear the bell ring because she believes, but still refuses to go see the big guy.

It makes me so sad to accept that she really is becoming this big kid.  I remember the Christmas that Santa brought her a sleigh bell & left it under my parents tree.  She had opened all of her presents & there, way in the back was this box with her name on it.  She opened the box & her eyes grew as big as saucers when she saw the bell.  The joy I felt that morning is a feeling I will never forget.

I know that we only have a couple years left where she does believe, probably one.  Maybe this will be the last year, I don't know.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Olive Oyl's a skank

I know, it's the holidays & not nice to talk such smack about people, but let's call a spade a spade here people.

Last month we switched cable/phone/internet companies & went back to the provider we'd had for 10 years. We foolishly switched to another company when we bought our house as they were offering this crazy cheap deal.   A year later the rates doubled, the level of customer service plummeted & we found ourselves without phone/cable/internet intermittently for over a year.  It was nothing to have our phone out for 3-4 days & nothing other than an "oh we're so sorry" from this company.  

So when we switched back to the company we love we discovered we now get the Boomerang channel.  I was happy because Josie & the Pussycats  and Penelope Pitstop are regularly shown.  Sunshine was thrilled with those two but also that Popeye is on in the morning when she's eating breakfast.   I admit, I'm a Popeye lover from way back.  I credit him with my love of all forms of spinach.  Even canned.  Seriously, my mother will vouch for me.

It hit us the other day that Olive Oyl is a major skankasaurus.  Sunshine commented that OO wasn't "very nice to Popeye" because she threw him over to hook up with Bluto.  I'm guessing that if Bluto were on the Jersey Shore, he'd be known as a "gorilla juice head" & that both he & Popeye are on the juice.  Have you looked at the size of Popeye's forearms?  Those aren't natural.  

But OO does this all the time.  She's got this baby & we've never been told who Sweet Pea's father is.  Maybe it's Popeye, maybe it's Bluto.  Maybe it's another sailor from their ship.  Who knows.  But she'll be on a date or whatever with Popeye & ol' Bluto will show up w/ his big ol' chest, bad facial hair & swaggering ways & the next thing you know, Popeye's getting his butt beat, humiliated in front of skankapotamus OO & has to resort to his drug of choice----canned spinach.  Granted, he always wins in the end, but the humiliation factor is unreal.  How can his ego take this abuse day in and day out?

Hunter had his post op appointment today & it seems everything is going as hoped which is good.  We go back in 10 more days & hopefully he'll be given the green light to drive again.  

I'm on my way to school to be Room Mom & help the kids make glitterific ornaments.   I'm sure Sunshine's going to choose pink.  Luckily, I bought an extra package so we can make some in different colors for our family tree & for hers.

Happy Monday!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's a conspiracy!

As we know, I am in need of a 12 step program for china.  In a bad way.  I started my Spode Christmas Tree collection in 2002 when Hunter & I first got married.  That year's purchase was a star shaped candy dish.  That one little dish turned into a yearly purchasing tradition.  Dishes followed, serving pieces, wine glasses, high ball glasses, candy dishes, ornaments, etc.  

This year I purchased bowls as we use our Spode as our daily dishes starting the day after Thanksgiving & until New Year's Day (or the day after).  I was thinking that maybe a few more salad plates & dinner plates would be nice to have.  

But there's something rotten in Denmark, or at least Columbus as NO ONE has the dishes.  Well, not entirely true.  Dillards & Macy's do.  But I'm looking at TJ Maxx & Marshall's as they tend to be a little cheaper.  We have 2 TJ's & 1 Marshall's store.  All 3 are sold out.  HOW is this possible??  Suddenly everyone is buying Spode??  They better be buying for me!

I'm debating going to Macy's/Dillards after Christmas & seeing what they have but GAH! No Spode?!!!!  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Piggy Backing

As I mentioned in my last post, my New Year's Resolution is to give up feeling guilty about things that are out of my control or at the very least, to not feel guilty when I say no to things.

A very wise woman whom I'm fortunate enough to call a friend shared this list on FB earlier today.

Food for thought, no?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Crazy Train Pulls Into The Station

Do you mind if I vent about something?  I mean, it's my blog & I can do what I want (said like a petulant 5 year old) but do you mind?

So, yesterday was the second day of the Secret Santa Shop (SSS).  We knew things would be busy as we gave the teachers 1 hour slots this year.  Yesterday was early release day so we lost 2 shopping hours.  Two very precious shopping hours as we had a couple teachers doubling up during one slot.   

Our PTA President works part time for big name insurance company headquartered here.  Yesterday she had to go into their headquarters for a meeting & was planning on coming in to help as soon as the meeting let out.  Our Fall Festival Chair person had to go to work as she'd missed the last 4 days because of a sick child.  The SSS chair was at her part time job as well.  So, it left me & another mom to run the show.  We're hard core, we can do this.  

Things went south when she was ringing on the register & I was wrapping gifts.  And by going south, I mean she messed up & loudly proclaimed "SH*T!"  In front of half a dozen kids.  And while this is happening, her husband is texting/calling her.  We switch jobs & she's on the phone while wrapping.  I hear the following come out of her mouth:  "I can't leave.  Laurie would be all alone in here"

The next few minutes are a blur as there are dozens of children in the shop, her phone is ringing & next thing I know she says "I have to go & do something for him"

PTA volunteer say what?

Leave?  Me?  NOW?  With no one to help me?  This just isn't done!

But dear readers, it WAS done.  Chick leaves me high & dry.  And riding the crazy train at that.  

At some point, one of the 4th grade teachers came in with her class & told me she'd help wrap.  And as soon as some of her super reliable kids had shopped/paid/been wrapped they'd help me too.  

I tell you, it took a village, or at the very least, a 4th grade class to make this SSS happen yesterday.

And, may I add that you know people feel really bad for you when teachers are suggesting you go home & have a drink when school lets out at 12:30.  Teachers, plural.  I may or may not have taken their advice---I'll leave you wondering on that ;)

Today was Hunter's ankle surgery---apparently things were quite messy in there.  His ligament (or was it tendon?) was as thick as his doctor's finger & a bone spur had developed to mess things up even more.  He twisted it over the summer while mowing the lawn & things just never got better.  He went from a brace to a boot to a cane to an MRI to today's surgery.

He drove himself in at 5 am as we both agreed that waking Sunshine & having her ride in w/ us would be awful for her.  So after I dropped her off at school, I started my trek to one of the civilian hospitals.  After a quick diversion to the PO to pick up my Mom's Christmas presents for us.  

We got home around 1:15 & he's spent most of the day in bed with his foot elevated.  He's in a bit of pain & so far hydrocodone's not helping much.  We'll see if things are better tomorrow or whether we need to get something else to help him feel better.

And, can I tell you about the cold therapy unit?  It's a COOLER with electric cables plugged into it.  Seriously.  A cooler.  You know the person who created this thing is rich from it.  A cooler, people!  *shakes head*

Tomorrow is my other day off from the SSS.  I felt incredibly guilty about taking 2 days off.  Never mind the fact that our VP is never around for anything, saw I was alone on Tuesday & left me to go back to her son's class, but told me to "call" if we needed help or anything.  What did she think I needed when it was me & some 4th graders running the show?  You'd be right if you said a xanax & a big ol' cocktail, but they frown on stuff like that in elementary schools.  You'd also be right if you said "OH!  Laurie, you needed someone to pitch in & help you!"  And I'd give you a big ol' prize for that correct answer.

So, back to my guilt.  It's awful.  I didn't help out at Family Fit Night last Spring because Sunshine had a knot on her head from falling the day before & honestly, I didn't want to leave my house.  I was beating myself up for days over that one.  Then, the weekend before Fall Festival I skipped out of Beautification Day at school. I worked like a dog at the one before school started & was sick that afternoon.  The best guilt trip I took was during Book Fair---you remember Book Fair--it's how I got started in this whole PTA Crazy Train trip.  So back during Book Fair in September we also host a Grandparents Breakfast on that Friday.  I'm already running & working a major fundraiser.  I've done the planning, the scheduling, the copying, the set up, the working, & will be working the break down so I can have my margarita w/ our librarian.  BUT, as I'm signing checks for the breakfast (I'm also the Treasurer, remember?  Yes, I'm insane), I'm apologizing like a fiend because I can't help with the breakfast.

Seriously.  Insane.  I know it---it's okay, you can say it.

Yes, I have a hobby.  I knit.  At PTA functions sometimes.  Book Fairs at least.

So,  yesterday as I was fuming over being ditched for some errand to the Dollar Tree,  I was writing my letter of resignation to the PTA.  I was going to give up the Treasurer's position, tell them they could forget about me being either Secretary or Treasurer next year & that I'd do Book Fair & nothing more.  I know, I'll never actually write that letter but the fantasy of doing it helped me through the situation.

When I was telling Hunter about my awful day & how I was ditched for the DOLLAR TREE!!!!, I told him how I felt guilty about being gone for 2 days.  He just shakes his head & tells me that I really need to share my thoughts with people about certain situations.  I'm not sure about that.  I don't think that this woman needs to know what I think about her Dollar Tree mission.  Not if I don't want my tires slashed.  Or worse.

It hit me that my New Year's Resolution will be to give up feeling guilty.  I will do the jobs I've volunteered for & that's it.  Someone else can pick up the slack.  Things won't fall apart if I don't have a hand in them.  And I'm sure there are other moms & dads who want to be more involved.  Aren't there??

So tomorrow I'm going to do some knitting, get my Christmas cards written out & addressed & possibly go for a hot stone massage pedicure if my patient is okay.

And I will NOT feel guilty about it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Crazy Train Has Left The Station

and I'm in the first car!

My crazy week has officially begun.  On Saturday, we spent 4 hours setting up the Secret Santa Shop for the kids & had a brief PTA Board meeting.  Brief partly because our agenda wasn't terribly long, but also because it was after 3 & we'd all been there since 10:30.  I was so tired the rest of the day!

Today is the first day of Secret Santa & in true "can't say no" Laurie fashion, I'm working from 8-2.  It'll probably be more like 230 as we'll have some parents coming in to shop with their children.  I also need to make copies for Sunshine's teacher & get them distributed to the kids myself as the letter contains a request for donations for her teacher's gift.  I'm making a gift for her myself, but I've found that if you go in on a joint gift, sometimes you have better options.  We'll see if the parents agree!

Tonight is my Knit Night where I'll work on Sunshine's teacher's scarf.

Tomorrow is Secret Santa until early release at 12:30 then we'll dash home, get Sunshine into her pretty dress, head over to get her hair trimmed & then to the mall to get our annual Santa picture.  I was so excited to find red frames at World Market last weekend when I was there.  Now all of our pictures will have the same frames!  We also have to work on her Mary Musgrove presentation.  Not having been raised in GA & semi ignorant of the founding/early days of GA, I wasn't aware of who she was until Sunshine came home talking about her, James Ogelthorpe & Tomochichi.  BTW, hearing her say Tomochichi is the cutest thing ever.

Wednesday is Hunter's surgery day.  Prayers, please.  Not just for him, but for me as he'll be restricted to 2 - 3 weeks w/ no weight on it.  Have I mentioned that we're going to the American Girl Store w/ Sunshine exactly 2 weeks post surgery?  In a mall.  Where walking is required?  I may have to get him a scooter.

The upshot about Wednesday is I'll have time to get some knitting done while I'm in the waiting room.  Hopefully I can finish that day.  I'm anticipating staying home from SSS on Thursday as well & will have time to address my Christmas cards,  upload games/music to Sunshine's ipod touch that Santa is bringing on Christmas & hopefully do some work on the PTA Treasury records (filing paperwork & such).  It'll also give me a chance to get some cleaning done.

Friday is the last day of the SSS so we'll break down & put away anything that doesn't sell for next year, count some $$ & head to the bank.

And then I'll just have 2 days of school to worry about ---ornament day & brownie tree decorating day.  But those should be fun & less chaotic than this week.

Happy Monday & feel free to board the Crazy Train with me. I'll make room on the first car for you!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Hunter & I don't do big anniversary or Christmas gifts, usually.  There have been years where I received a particularly nice piece of jewelry or the armoire that goes with our bedroom suite.  But we try to keep smallish.  Really, the Kindle Fire is smallish.  As in 7" tablet small.

I'm an iphone/ipod type of girl by nature.  I like things that don't have too big of a learning curve out of the box.  I want it to work IMMEDIATELY.  Like yesterday.  Like a 4 year old wanting to tear into their cake & presents BEFORE the party starts type of immediately. 

I've had a bit of a learning curve with my Kindle & have much frustration with the Vanity Fair app not accepting my sign in, despite 5 days worth of communication between VF's customer service & my email.  But so far I am LOVING this device!  Luckily, my favorite bookatarian has one & has been wonderful about sharing sites/freebies/etc.  Today, I downloaded 4 free books as a result of her sharing this info!

I'm also bone tired.  Today we set up for the Secret Santa Shop at school.  Five of us showed up to get everything done & it took us about 3 hours.  This is the calm before the storm.  Every time slot is filled on the teachers' sign up sheets.  And despite my working Monday, Tuesday & Friday from 8-2, I'm still feeling guilty that I won't be there on Wednesday & possibly Thursday as Hunter is having surgery on Wednesday.  I think my New Year's Resolution for 2012 is to work on that whole feeling guilty because I can't be everywhere all the time.  

I'm just over 50% finished knitting the scarf for Sunshine's teacher.  I'm planning on working on it tonight & hopefully will have it finished by Thursday so I can block it in time to give to her on the 20th (last day of school before break).    I also want to try to work on a scarf for Sunshine's Kindergarten teacher.  Sunshine started at this school in January '10 so technically, I'm free & clear for not having a Christmas present for a teacher she didn't have at that time.  But, my original plan was to give her a knitted gift at the end of the year, only it never happened.  I have the ribbing to finish on my Mara shawl & could give that to her, but was thinking about using some yarn that was gifted to me by Kristine (everyone's favorite bookatarian).  I could work something on larger needles & have that finished by the 20th as well if I am home with Hunter for the day of his surgery & the day after.  Hmmm, something to try to do.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Not Christmas shopping, not shopping for myself or family.  But shopping at the school district's clothing bank with two special needs children.  One of whom lives in a foster home.

Our PTA brings children twice a year, or as needed to the Sara Spano Clothing Bank.  I worked there last Spring & helped a little girl who touched my heart.  This year, I've been promoted to driving/shopping with the children.  I'm the contact person for the PTA so I'm automatically on the drive committee along with our PTA President.  We took a special needs boy in the fall.  He's a sweet boy & worked well with us as we told him he had to try on the clothes we were picking out &if  he was good, we'd take him to McDonald's afterward.  Over lunch, he told us about how he'd moved to GA from WI, the amount of snow he was used to & what his hobbies were.  I'd see him in school periodically & he'd high five me.  When I realized I hadn't seen him in a while, I asked his teacher.  He's currently living in a battered woman's shelter with his mom.

Today, we went with M & M.  She's 5 & he's 10.  Both have special needs.  One lives in foster care.  Both have such sweet little eager faces that it just breaks my heart to think about their situations.

A busload from another school managed to get into the building ahead of us.  Once one of the admins realized we had 2 special needs kids, she pulled me aside & got us signed in.  Since there were 3 of us (PTA President, myself & the aide for our 5 year old) and only 2 kids, we were asked if we'd mind helping a child from another school.  I helped a boy who was a total sweetie.  We had fun filling his bag & I kept going back to find more clothes.  It's not as cold here as it is in other parts of the country, but it's cold.  I stopped counting after 8 shirts went into his bag.  He gave me a hug & high five when he went back with his school.

We took our kids to McDonald's for lunch & things were fine until we were almost back to school.  Our 5 yr old lost it.  Took off her seat belt, tried to open the locked door, screaming, crying, etc.  When we got back to school, her teacher put her in a keeping area where she told me the same thing happens daily at 11:30.  Total & utter melt down.  I've been home for a little over an hour & I can still hear the screaming in my head.  Trust me, Sunshine's had some major screaming melt downs, but nothing like this.  The desperation in that little voice---so sad.

As I was leaving school, I passed one of the 2nd grade teachers who was bringing her class back from the lunch room.  We stopped to chat for a couple minutes & she asked what I had been up to this morning.  I told her & she just shook her head.  "Thank you for everything you do.  You ladies may think that people don't notice or appreciate it, but they do.  And you're making the difference for children who really need it."  she said.

Thank you, Mrs. J.  I needed to hear that today.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


As in 9 years ago, Hunter & I were married. If you've read my blog for a while, you know he had been home from 6 months in Kuwait for a week & that he would leave to go back a month later for the build up to OIF.  The next time that I'd see him would be July '03. 

I'm fascinated by numbers & find it interesting that both of our birthdays are on the 4th of the month, our anniversary is the 4th, our daughter was born in the 4th month of the 4th year.  I also love the old wive's tales about things, such as when to marry:

"Married in days of December cheer, Love's star shines brighter from year to year."

"When December's snows fall fast, Marry, and true love will last."

Having chosen the month, next the day of the week must be decided upon, and here we find:

" Monday for wealth, Tuesday for health, Wednesday the best day of all, Thursday for losses, Friday for crosses, And Saturday no luck at all."

In 2002, December 4th was on a Wednesday.  We were married at high noon.

Like all married couples, we've had our fair share of ups & down, trials & tribulations but we've always remembered our commitment to one another.  Plus, we joke that when we got married we signed a 35 year contract & that we'd be up for negotiations when the 35 years were up.  

I don't things will change after those negotiations except for Hunter having to fold more laundry & unload the dishwasher.  Oh, and to stop using the sink as a staging area for the dishwasher!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It really was the bad panettone!

When the ILS were here for Thanksgiving, much panettone was consumed.  I had picked one up at the commissary only to discover that MIL brought two!  After eating one that she brought & then starting on ours, she proclaimed that ours was better & what brand was it?  When they left, they left us the other "bad" one.

So this evening I decided that a slice was in order as the Virginia Tech Hokies were losing (badly) to Clemson.  As I was slicing my slice, I managed to slice my pinkie.  Maybe it was the fates not appreciating my calling VT the "chokies", maybe it was my conscience sending subliminal messages about how I didn't really NEED that slice but ow!! Owie, ow, ow!

Holy cow, that cut bled.  A lot.  Luckily I live with a retired combat medic who can handle things like this.  Because I'm not really good at pouring peroxide over my bleeding (profusely!) finger.  At all.  And I can't wrap my own pinkie when it's bleeding (profusely!).  I'm still not convinced that I don't need stitches but let's just hope that I don't.

Today was a really great day too.  I met up with super bookatarian & knitter, Kristine.  We went to lunch (Jason's Deli---so yummy!), drove to Opelika to Yarnhouse Studio where we ran into Lacey then onto World Market where I found some awesome red frames for Sunshine's annual pic with Santa as well as some other goodies.  I splurged & bought some Lantern Moon needles which I'd been lusting over for a while as well as some yarn for a Secret Santa giftee.

I scored a major score on Ebay---a discontinued American Girl doll that shares Sunshine's name.  Super amazing mint condition (the seller emailed me to let me know she'd never been played with, only displayed!) & will be a Santa gift for Sunshine on Christmas morning.  Santa doesn't wrap our gifts so we know what comes from Santa & what comes from family.  I had already bought an AG gift card & wrote a letter from Santa letting Sunshine know she could choose her own doll but now she can use the card to buy clothes/goodies for her new doll.  Did I mention what a great deal I got on her??

We put our trees up a week ago after Hunter's family left to go back to VA.  Sunshine's tree is decorated with my Barbie ornaments, her Princess ornaments & other ornaments that we've made (glitter balls).

Ours has about 80% of our ornaments on it---I usually buy one ornament a year but went a little um, crazy at the end of last year & bought several Waterford glass ball ornaments on clearance.  Then I bought a covered bridge one in Stowe, VT when we were home.  And then 3 more when Tuesday Morning brought in some pretty German glass ones.  I do want to add another string of lights as the two we have on it just aren't enough.

We have our stockings hung on the mantel & our mouse tail on her "counting down" mouse from PreK.  I'll get those pics loaded as soon as my pinkie stops throbbing!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I still read my hometown newspaper as part of my morning routine---take the dogs out, wake Sunshine, fix our breakfasts, pour my Diet Coke & sit down to check email/news.

This morning I was greeted by very sad news when checking the obituary section of hometown paper.  My US History teacher from high school died.  The news spread fast on Facebook where friends shared the link.  My hometown's "You Know You're From . . ." page was flooded with posts about his passing.  People shared stories of how he impacted their lives.  He was a teacher & coach to many of them in high school.  As adults, he was a friend, someone who frequented their businesses, a neighbor.  

My father knew him growing up & they both shared a love of baseball.  My father played varsity ball while Mr. B was in junior high & he looked up to my Daddy.  When I was in high school they'd rib each other about the old days.  

When I was in his class I was a good student---honor roll, gifted program, varsity athlete, activities queen.  If I liked your class, you had my undivided attention.  And I loved Mr. B's class.  I wasn't terribly interested in History but in his class I was.  My love of History, which I still have today, was born in that class.  My interest in politics would come a year later when he taught our "Government" class.  

Teachers, be they good, bad or mediocre, leave such an impression on their students.  They inspire.  They instruct.  They change lives.

So tonight, as I sit here crying (as I have done off & on throughout the day), I'm grateful for a man who not only touched my life, but the lives of hundreds, probably thousands of kids from my hometown.   There's a line in "It's A Wonderful Life" that goes  Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?    

I'm grateful that Mr. B was in my life for a brief period of time.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where is Baby Jesus?

Every Christmas my Mom puts out her Creche (Nativity Set/Scene for you non-French Canadians).  The big names are there:  Mary, Joseph, 3 wise men, as well as the supporting cast---the angel, the shepherds, various stable animals, etc.  But Baby Jesus is NEVER there.  

Why you ask?  Because he hasn't been born yet, silly.  
This is a tradition I've followed as long as I've put out any sort of Creche/Nativity as an adult.  Today, it irked the holy hand grenades out of Sunshine.  "Mommy, where is Baby Jesus?  Where did you hide him?  WHERE IS HE??? WHY do you hide him???"   So when I spoke with my mom this evening, I told her she needed to explain to Sunshine that SHE is the one who taught me that Baby Jesus doesn't arrive on the scene (so to speak) until Christmas morning.  It's the first thing I do on Christmas morning, after I check the clock to see what time Sunshine's woken up.

So, what does my Mom do tonight?  Does she tell Sunshine that Jesus' birthday is December 25th & that's when we put him in the Creche?  No, the woman dimes out my father!  "Oh Laurie, your father was the one who would argue that Jesus wasn't born yet & it wasn't right to put him out yet"

So, as you can see, Sunshine was allowed to put Baby Jesus into her Creche & into Hunter's.  Mine?  No way.  Baby Jesus is hiding in a tea cup in the hutch until Christmas morning.  

Just the way my Daddy would want it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Our first Thanksgiving  hosted in our house and in our newly renovated dining room.  

My compliments to my super wonderful husband who stuffed the bird.

Our table---the place mats & napkins are were Hunter's grandmothers, as was the china.  It made for a very special table.  

Hope you & yours had a safe & happy holiday.  We're putting our tree up tomorrow & Sunshine just can't wait!  

And if you go shopping this weekend---be kind to those poor souls working in the stores.  They deserve nothing but kindness from you.  While you were sleeping last night, they were at work because people HAVE to have that deeply discounted tv!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dining Room Redux

When we bought our house we knew that there were many "original" features---the original vinyl floor in the kitchen, the 1991 wallpaper in the kitchen, dining room (pictured above), Sunshine's bathroom & our bathroom.  We took care of various rooms before the dining room as we used the breakfast nook for meals.  The dining room was what Sunshine referred to as the "game room"  If you look in the far right of this first pic, you can see the scary kitchen wallpaper.  It was a pain to peel.  

I knew that eventually I wanted to do something with it----I didn't like it as a game/play room & when Hunter's grandparent's hutch arrived & suddenly I felt that I really had to get the dining room finished.  And since we're hosting Thanksgiving this year, why not get it done now.

The first thing we did was peel the wallpaper below the chair rail & above.  Our original plan was to put in wainscoting below the chair rail.  Hunter ripped out the chair rail & base boards so I could have at it while painting.  Until I decided (after painting the kitchen AND dining rooms) that I didn't want to paint the wainscoting.  But the chair rail & base boards were gone.  UGH!  He didn't bat an eye, returned the wainscoting & bought more chair rails & base boards.  I finished painting on Thursday of last week & he installed them over the weekend.  BTW, that table?  SO heavy!!! I am not meant for furniture moving!  Pardon the scruffy looking dog in the picture---she needs a bath & grooming desperately!

Remember my post about art work?  These bird prints hung in his grandparents house in VA.  They're not really my style but they work well in the dining room.  And they provide memories for Hunter.

This is our new/old maple dresser that we found at one of my favorite antique stores Gina's Junk here in Columbus.   Gina owns her building/property so her prices are better than any shop I've ever been in.  We have several pieces from her (a Thomasville writing desk, Bassett sideboard, a wicker chair, wicker table & a beautiful painted basket.  Oh, and some vintage bud vases to replace mine that were accidentally broken when they met granite counter tops!).  Gina's got a great eye, knows her stuff & like I said, the price is right!  This piece needed very little work---a good cleaning & a quick fix on one of the drawer pulls.   The painting above it was done by Hunter's great aunt.  The lamp & candy dish are vintage.

We're ready for the ILs to invade later today & are doing some last minute tidying up.  I've made my Memere's meat stuffing & am hoping to make MIL's cranberry relish tonight so there's less work for tomorrow.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Things that should be personal

no, nothing like *that*.  I'm talking about art.  Art that you hang in your home & look at everyday.

Many years ago, when Hunter & I were engaged, I was tasked with redecorating our apartment.  He was in Kuwait for 6 months & felt the apartment needed a woman's touch.  My touch.  I poured over magazines, HGTV, DIY, you name it.  A friend told me to look in the Penney's catalog, find a page I liked & order everything down to the art on the walls.

Excuse me?  The art on the walls?  Some random pictures?  Just thrown up there, because?  Ugh, no.

I grew up in a home where the art that graced my parents walls had meaning.  Whether it was the portrait of my sister that my aunt (a very talented artist) painted after my sister died or whether it was a sketch of my grandparents homestead that my brother did in a college art class.  When you looked at it, it evoked a feeling.  It brought back memories.  It wasn't just *there*.  It meant something.

Our living room is our "Paris" room.  We have an oil painting that Hunter inherited from his grandmother when she died 4 years ago.  I remember it being in her home & always commenting on what a beautiful piece it was.   She'd smile & say that Hunter did too & that she wanted us to have it, eventually.  When Hunter went to Paris years ago, he came home with a sketch of the backside of Notre Dame that graces our mantel.  When we went in '08, we came home with two watercolors that represent 2 of our favorite places in Paris:  Monmartre & the Left Bank.  The Monmartre print has been framed but the price of custom framing has left our Left Bank print rolled up & stored away.  I really need to find a Michael's coupon & get it done as the wall behind our sideboard is bare!

This past week we've (I've) painted the kitchen & dining room.  This means new art--or updating the artwork we have.  Over the summer, I bought a beautiful Katharine Montstream print of Burlington & Mount Mansfield as seen from the waterfront.  It's hanging in our kitchen.  Several years ago when I was home I discovered a watercolor of the Chateau Frontenac that I bought in Quebec City many, many years ago (1985!!) during a weekend visit in high school.  I was able to find a frame to fit & had a matte cut.  Now it's hanging in our kitchen as well.  We have a beautiful P. Buckley Moss print that MIL/FIL bought us for Christmas 2 years ago that I'm embarrassed to admit isn't framed yet.   What is it with me & custom framing? Again, Michael's coupon.  Eventually the Moss print will hang in the kitchen.

Which leads us to the dining room.  Our china cabinet takes up one wall in the room.  We bought a beautiful low maple dresser to use as a buffet/sideboard but what would hang above it???  Don't even suggest random art from catalogs here!  I was putting away some yarn in the guest room closet & remembered we have 4 bird  prints that once hung in Hunter's grandparents house.  Not anything I would buy, but they mean something to him.  They bring back happy memories of time spent with his grandfather & grandmother at their home.  Would he want to hang them in the dining room?  The frames match the finish on the china cabinet as well as our table/chairs so it's really a no brainer.

Today is Hunter's day to replace the chair rail & baseboards.  I could kick myself for the whole wainscoting thing, but eh.  Live & learn.

Hope you have a great weekend!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's finally over!

Three long days wearing paint splattered clothes, paint gunking up my fingernails, my hair pulled back & no makeup.

But the kitchen & dining room are finally finished!  Say it with me---PHEW!

I had painted the kitchen when we bought our house after stripping the wallpaper off.  Which was oddly cathartic.  The wallpaper peeling, not the painting.

We (I) chose a pretty blue that brightened up the room with a darker blue to go under the chair rail in the breakfast nook.  It looked great until we pulled up the floor & counters & put in hardwood & a darker granite counter.  Both of which are dark brown (dark brown/black for the counter) & threw the blue off kilter.  It just didn't look right but I couldn't decide on a color.  Just like I STILL cannot commit to a back splash.  More on that in another post.

I finally decided that going one shade lighter than the living room would allow the colors to flow without being all one tan room, one yellow, one red, etc.  I decided to go two shades darker under the chair rail in the breakfast nook as we were taking the kitchen table out of there & putting it into the dining room.  The nook will be a little home office area.

On Sunday I painted the entry area by the back door & decided the color looked really nice.  On Tuesday I went full force with the painting---the drop cloth, edging tool, skinny brush for corners, the roller, wet cloth for smudges & the 80's station on the tv.  I had planned on stopping around 1230 to get cleaned up but it was more like 130.  Same with Wednesday.  Yesterday I started at 830 & finished the dining room at 11.  Last night I finished below the chair rail as I realized that putting in wainscoting was a great idea but more work than I really wanted to put in.  Hunter would be putting in the wainscoting (as well as replacing the chair rail & baseboards).  I'm done with painting---I don't want to wait for him to finish his end so I can finish mine.  So we (I) decided to keep the same color throughout & it looks great.  Very warm & cozy.  Well, neutral warm. Now on to the furniture flipping & decorating!

Sunshine's school is having their Military Appreciation Day today so we are off to get ready to go.  They're also catering lunch for the military families which is really nice.   I hope it's something yummy!

Have a great weekend!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Knitterversary to me!

Seven years ago I had a 7 month old baby, the weather was turning cool & there was a knitted baby hat pattern in a baby magazine that I'd stare at.  Daily.  I copied the pattern & meant to send it to my mom & MIL in hopes that one of them would make it for Sunshine.  
I never mailed it to either one of them.  It sat on our desk for what seemed like forever.  I'd look at it every day as I'd check email & my Ivillage Expecting Club turned Baby Board.  And I'd think that I was pretty sure I remembered how to cast on.  And I remembered how to do the knit stitch.  And I remembered that purling involved the yarn & needle going through the front of the stitch.  I knew that I couldn't remember how to bind off but between the people at AC Moore & various internet sites, I'd figure it out.
So one day, my beautiful 7 month old baby & I trotted off to AC Moore (oh, how I miss you!! Curse you, Joanns!  Curse. You!) where I bought 2 skeins of Baby Teri Yarn (one pink, one green) and the required size 6 & 8 needles.

As you can see, my stripes aren't even, the shaping on the top isn't right & seriously, it's the lamest pom pom ever.  But for my first project in nearly 20 years, it was pretty darn good.  So good in fact, that 2 friends requested I make hats for their babies.  And they'd pay me.  
As you can see, my hats got better.  This one was one of Sunshine's favorites.  She's pretty much always been a pink girl!

The frightening stage of fun fur scarves (carried with homespun or some other yarn) on large needles followed & was quickly left by the wayside, thankfully.  I then ventured into baby ponchos.  I mad LOTS of those.  Sunshine & her little girl friends were well turned out that spring.  I also made 12 for the baby girls at our Ivillage April '04 Expecting Club's meet up in '05.  
Knitting kept me sane during 2 of Hunter's deployments, on road trips when he'd drive & is now my weekly "therapy" session when I go to Panera to knit with my knit group.  My mother taught me how to knit & was taught by her mother.  One day, Sunshine will pick up needles & continue the tradition.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans Day 2011

There's a comraderie that exists in the military.  It exists between soldiers & it exists between wives.  Think about it---you're in the middle of a combat mission.  Things can happen so quickly & your life can change in the blink of an eye.  The guy riding next you might be pulling you out of your vehicle &; to safety. Or you might be pulling him out.  Or treating his wounds.  Or worse.   This experience creates a bond that lasts a lifetime.  It's one that, unless you were there, you will never get.  Sure you can read it about it, you can watch the Military channel & see what happened but you will NEVER really get it because you weren't there.

Last year on Veterans Day, HBO showed a documentary called War Torn.  If you haven't seen it, I highly suggest you do.  Especially if you know someone who suffers from PTSD.  I spent the majority of the time watching it in tears.  And not just *sniff sniff* how horrible tears.  I'm talking streaming down my face, blubbering like an idiot, tears.  After dealing with Hunter's PTSD for several years, it hit me that there were other people living with the same situations as we were.  I wasn't alone anymore.

Earlier this week, I received the following message on Facebook:

Hello my name is William Fraas I read your comments about Wartorn just want to you thank you for reminding me that I and my family are not alone. And by the way I'm the one in the film and I know it's hard to live with someone with PTSD and you are very strong person and again thanks

Um, first of all, dood, YOU'RE in the film & you're thanking me?  ME??  I'm sitting here, identifying with your wife & you're thanking me?   Wow.   Goes back to that comraderie.  I replied & thanked him & his family for putting their life on film so that wives like me know they're not alone.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And then the hangover set in

The Fall Festival hangover, that is.

I got home Friday night around 945 & the minute I sat down the fatigue kicked in.  Every part of my body was tired and sore.  I don't know how much running around I did over Thursday & Friday, but it was a lot.  I wish I'd worn my pedometer to measure just how much.  Saturday morning, my super sweet hubby let me sleep in until 10.  Same with Sunday.  I felt more human on Sunday than I did on Saturday & by Monday I was back to myself.  We spent an hour & a half counting money from the FF & then I did our banking.  I still need to sit down to add up our expenses vs. profits but we did very well.  Parents were happy & so far, all reports have been positive, which is always nice.  A lot of time & energy went into this event.  And then some.  We've already discussed ways to improve next year's festival but have until July/Aug. to actually implement them.

And then it was Halloween.  Sunshine's school has been raising money for Alzheimer's research & had the kids bring in $3 to wear a costume to school on Friday.  She was a ballerina princess as my inner control freak was concerned about her Cinderella dress getting torn on the playground.  The BP costume allowed her to run around freely without me worrying.  Which is always a good idea.  

Halloween night we went Trick or Treating with friends of ours.  These kids slay me.  When I was little, we ToT'ed  until our toes fell off.  Until our fingers were crippled from ringing door bells.  These kids?  Four streets later they were done.  The upshot was we were home before it was too dark & got Sunshine into bed about 20 min. past her regular bed time.  And like any good parent, I examined all of her candy & pulled aside a baby ruth as my payment.  Maybe 2 ;)

Today is boring ol' laundry & some cleaning.  And treasurer duties.  I have reimbursement forms to be signed by reimbursees  (sure it's a word) & have written out checks to said reimbursees.  I need to get up to school to make copies for our Movie Night With Dad invitation for next week but I think that'll happen tomorrow as it's already noon.  I also need to run to Home Depot for paint for our kitchen & dining rooms.  They'll be the same color which is one shade lighter than our living room.  It'll be nice to finally have all the rooms painted that need painting!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Was that drive by posting?

It was.  I'm home on a "lunch break" from Fall Festival 2011.  Eight weeks worth of work culminates in a 3 hour festival tonight.  Yesterday I was working on the FF from 8 am until dinnertime.  I left school around 330 to run to the bank & while I was standing there, realized just how tired I was.  When I got home, it was time to put our class' basket together for the silent auction.  Let me just say that I was channeling Martha Stewart circa 2000 with my glue gun skills.

Got to school today at 8, ran around non-stop.  Again like the proverbial chicken sans tete.  We've had some um, commitment issues with our VP & I may or may not have snapped at her while counting wrist band money.  She shows up sporadically---basically when she HAS to, does a little work & then announces how tired she is after working for an hour & cuts out.  I didn't really snap at her per se, but my OCD when it comes to our paperwork & money handling practices came out.  And really, it's not my handling practices---it's what the state PTA requires of us.  I apologized to her but still wanted to throttle her for being absent on many days when the FF Chair, PTA President & I were working our tails off to make tonight a success.  

So now I'm sitting on the couch, waiting for my lunch to finish cooking.  And I'm watching Beavis & Butthead.  There.  I said it.  I'm a B & B fan.  From way back.  Back in '94, my answering machine was part of a tie in for their show.  Yes, I realize your opinion of me has changed & I'm fine with that.   I'm also reading a book on European royal history.  It's from one extreme to another around here!

I'll head back up to school at 130 to put the finishing touches on my basket, drop it off in the gym & then get to work delegating set up stuff to our volunteers.  Sadly, alcohol is frowned upon on school property but I'll have a nice glass of wine waiting for me when I get home at 9 tonight.

Let the weekend begin!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's definitely Fall

As we're doing all sorts of fall related things, PSL's, enjoying the cooler weather, report cards (Way to go, Sunshine!!) & visits to the pumpkin patch.  Last weekend, it was such a beautiful Saturday that we decided to take a long drive out to the Ft. Valley, GA area & visit Lane Orchards.    

We went through the corn maze & unlike this family didn't need to text our way out of the maze.  Sunshine led the way & did a great job despite not wanting to go into the maze in the first place.  

This is one of my favorite pictures of the day.  I just love the way Sunshine is looking at Hunter.  She didn't want to leave the playground when it was time to go.  

There's something totally awesome about a daddy who will get on the teeter totter w/ his child!  We love our Daddy bunches!!  

The upshot of driving out to Ft. Valley meant that I had 2 hours of uninterrupted knitting & managed to get my scarf finished.  It wound up being over 70" long which is perfect for me.  It blocked beautifully & I'm going to CO matching mittens this week.  I'm working on my Mara shawl (circa 2010) & am almost ready to start on the ribbing portion.  I still have no idea who this will be for.  It had been for Sunshine's ParaPro from Kindergarten who has since retired.  I know, egg on my face.  Her Kindergarten teacher is still at school but I've got a project planned for her that is both quick & easy (the easy shawl pattern from Ravelry).  Then, I need to make a decision about lining a bag that I've made as a Christmas gift.  The ones I've seen aren't lined, which is fine, but I find a lined bag just looks better.  I'm hoping one of the ladies from my knit group can help me out with it or else I'll wind up shipping it home to Mom.  If I had a sewing machine I could do it myself but really, I don't sew enough to warrant investing in one.  Then I start thinking about all the sewing that I *could* do but then it would cut into knitting time & such.  And, I'm not hand sewing my lining!  I learned my lesson with the cushion covers on one of my wicker chairs in the sun room!  It was 9 years ago & I'm still practically crippled from it!

Speaking of Christmas (weren't we discussing Fall?), my shopping is coming along really well!  The only people left to shop for are my nephews (itunes gift cards or something along those lines), Hunter & Sunshine.   The ILS are done, BIL/SIL are nearly done, their son is done.  My Mom is done.  I came up with a great idea for my brothers---I'd found a picture of my Dad circa 1949 with his baseball team online in the UVM archives.  None of us knew this picture existed so it was a very pleasant surprise to see my dad's 18 year old face staring at me via the 'net.  I'm having it printed in 8x10 & framed for them.  I can't mention Hunter's gifts as I know he stalks , reads my blog.  I do need to get going on a scarf for Sunshine's teacher, but I have 2 more months for it & can definitely get it done.  (Please hold me to this when it's December and I'm in full blown panic mode with Christmas,  Secret Santa Shop at school, class parties & the like, shopping, baking, etc).  Speaking of baking---we'll do this again for our neighbors.  It's a tradition that Sunshine & I look forward to doing together.  

Well, it's about time for me to go get ready.  We'd been up in the air as to what we were doing today.  I'd toyed with the idea of going to Auburn as a yarn shop is closing.  I just destashed a bunch of stuff at knit group but I really have a hard time turning down sale yarn.  I managed to talk myself down (there's an Auburn home game today---hello! Crazy traffic!) & we've decided to go to a local pumpkin patch for a hay ride, some pumpkins & a short drive.  Sunshine was mad that Hunter didn't bring her to Starbucks this morning, so she's been promised a Rocky Road cake pop this evening after dinner.  

Have a great weekend & I hope you're enjoying this beautiful Fall weather, too!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dish Rag Tag V--V is for Victory!

The box arrived yesterday.  Our team name is All Four One (we're team 4)---tradition is everyone signing the box.  Here's the box minutes after coming in from the mail box.

My goodies from Amy in VA!  Lip balm, chocolate, MORE chocolate, hot cocoa mix, pretty stitch markers & THE Dishcloth.  So pretty!!!

Here's my cloth about 1/2 way into it. Fun pattern, easy to remember & I love the colorway of the yarn.  I had hoped to get it finished & boxed back up   before the post office closed, but sadly that didn't happen.  It went out first thing this morning with goodies for Sara in AL.  I'd tell you what the goodies are, but that would give away the surprise.   

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Has it really been a week?

Goodness, time flies when you're having fun.  And busy!

Fall Festival's coming along despite the fact that so many classes have parents who just don't want to do anything.  They don't want to be involved, they don't want to help solicit donations, they don't want (or can't, which I understand) to donate themselves.  Ugh.  The upshot is our raffle is on fire!  We've gone through our initial order of tickets, our 2nd order & are now on order #3.  The tickets went out on the 16th of September---this is crazy!  We're making some good money for the PTA which will help to pay for activities during the year.  Woo Hoo!

Sunshine is finished with Speech Therapy.  We had received a letter indicating that further therapy had been deemed unnecessary but we could appeal.  We then received a call from the head of the therapy center & then from her speech therapist who both said we could appeal but appeals aren't always approved.  I love her ST--she's a kind, patient woman & Sunshine adores her, which is always the litmus test for me.  I asked her what her professional opinion was--she indicated that Sunshine has made such great progress in the 6 months she was there & that honestly, with the work we've done at home, she feels that we should take a few months off & see what's what come the new year.   But her speech is really so much better that I think we're truly done.

Friday I was going from the time the sun came up until the sun went down--- brought Sunshine to school, talked to the neighboring teacher whose class is being paired with ours for the Silent Auction basket.  Ran to the commissary, lunch w/ Hunter, Lowe's for picking out wainscoting for dining room, TJ Maxx for Spode Christmas Tree bowls (!!!!!!), picked up the 3rd order of raffle tickets,  back to school to drop off tix, help count $$ & then run to the bank.  The Fall Festival chair brought Sunshine to her house to play so Hunter & I could have date night.  Went out for sushi w/ Hunter, back to FF Chair's house to pick up Sunshine, spent an hour or so visiting w/ her & then to Starbucks for a quick sweet treat.  Phew.

We had a great weekend---the weather was perfect!  Fall has arrived in the South!! Saturday we went to the Cotton Pickin' Fair & had so much fun.  Sunshine & I went a couple years ago & enjoyed it so much.  We were smart & hit the ATM on our way so we'd have spending money as well as lunch money!  Are Square Readers really such a secret to vendors at these things?  Anyway, beautiful fall day, my beautiful family & a good time had by all---can't beat it with a stick.

Sunday was spent knitting with friends in the morning, followed by football in the afternoon.  And a home cooked meal on Sunday night!  I usually order out if the Pats are playing or sometimes will do a "fix it yourself" dinner for Hunter & I on Sundays.  But since the Pats game wasn't televised here & I really had no excuse not to cook the turkey tenderloins in the fridge, I made some turkey cordon bleu.  So yummy!

Last night our knit group did a sale, swap, trade on our stash & knitting books/notions.   It's common knowledge that I have a decent size stash.  It's common knowledge that I'm a bit of a yarn snob on occasion. Well, not really a snob as I have plenty of Sugar & Cream in my stash (best for every day dishcloths!), so maybe more of an afficionado.  I appreciate a good yarn.  As do my fellow knitsters---Mama brought home her goal amount!  Sweet!

Today I'm conducting an experiment---felting in a front loader.  I've got my FO in there with 2 pairs of jeans, 2 towels & this is the 3rd time it's gone through.  The first time was only for 35 minutes which I knew wouldn't be enough time, but I wanted to see what happened.  The 2nd trip was 1 hour---not bad but I decided to chance it & go for a 3rd trip.  I'm about 10 minutes away from finding out what the final verdict is!  But the felting gods have smiled on me today & you CAN felt in a front loader!

PTA duties are looming so I am off.  Have a great week--enjoy the beautiful weather!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You know what burns me?

Well, a lot of things.  But at this particular moment it's a group of people who are either in school & scamming money or have recently graduated & want their debt forgiven.

Because gosh, it's hard to pay back money that you so willingly took to use for your own advantage.

Without being too specific there was a post in a FB group where I'm member.  The poster was talking about getting their grant money & how excited they were to be purchasing yarn with it.  Not groceries for their family.  Not paying their mortgage/rent.  Not even buying diapers for their kids.  But yarn.

Now, I'm certainly not going to begrudge anyone a skein of wooly deliciousness, but when you're receiving free money from the government for your education it's not really cool to be buying wooly goodness.  Not when there are families struggling to put their children through college & not when there are families who are living frugally in order to set aside money for their children's education.  Not when there are students working 20-40 hours a week in addition to going to school full time so they can pay for their education themselves.  Yes, it's judgmental but hey, it's my blog.  I can judge if I want to!

There was also an acquaintance (we were pregnant together & on a message board for women due in April '04) who posted that we should all sign a petition for the federal government to forgive student loan debt as it will help the economy.

Um, no.  I'm very sorry but last time I checked you WILLINGLY took on that debt.  You got your degree which was your goal.  Maybe if you found a cure for cancer, then I could see forgiving your student loan debt, but until that happens, then no.  Again, I'm sorry.

This person wasn't amused when I asked where does debt forgiveness end?  My husband is a disabled veteran.  We pay our car loan monthly.   We pay our mortgage monthly.  Sure it would be nice if that were forgiven, but I'm not holding my breath.  Please, our government threatens not to pay us every few months because they can't get their business together.  You think they're going to suddenly announce that all disabled vets have free housing?  Trust me when I say that I'd be living in a beautiful lake front home on Lake Champlain (or Smith Mountain Lake if Hunter had any say) if that were to happen.

But if people who have actually done SOMETHING for their country aren't getting anything forgiven, why should student debt be forgiven?  Have we really raised a generation who expects that everything in life is free & fair?  Lord, help us!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy House-iversary!

Two years ago we closed & moved into our house.  I shudder to think of how many times we went back & forth between our old apt. & the house during moving weekend.  We hired movers to take care of the big & heavy stuff (washer/dryer, kitchen table, living room, bedroom suite, etc) but did the rest ourselves.  Sunshine's room was the first to be set up & I'm proud to say that all boxes were quickly unpacked & things put in their new homes.  

When we moved in we had a to-do list a mile long.  Here's what we wanted to do & what we have done:

replace light –done!

Sunshine's room:
paint --done
replace light w/ ceiling fan --done

Sunshine's bath:
remove wallpaper –done!
paint –done!
remove stuff in bathtub
replace light

Guest room:

touch up paint --done--actually repainted the room & hallway
replace light w/ ceiling fan --done

paint --done

Living room:
paint --done

Dining Room:

remove wallpaper below chair rail, replace with wainscoting

*The dining room is my project for this month---well, the painting.  I'm going to have Hunter install the wainscoting.  Or maybe I'll just paint under the chair rail.


remove wallpaper --Done
paint --Done
finish shelves in cabinets --no need, just needed a good cleaning
new harware on cabinets
replace both lights --Done
replace counter –done!

our room:

paint --Done

master bathroom:

remove wallpaper
paint –done!
replace lights over sink –done!!


tile floor --we're now thinking about putting all-weather carpeting in there 
as it would easier.


pull weeds –done!
prune rosebush & maple in front of dining room window  --done!
remove elephant ears in back yard---done!

So, happy house-iversary little house---we love you so & are so happy to call you our home!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Randomnessy goodness (what? it's a word)

We were planning on going to the Peanut Festival in Plains, GA today but the putterings around the house have overtaken us & after 2 loads of laundry, some cleaning, unloading the dishwasher, playing Barbies & reorganizing a dollhouse, we're finishing lunch & watching some SEC football.

It's Pumpkin Spice Latte season which is really the best season of the year---the weather starts to cool down (by cool I mean 90) & it's football season.  I'm not a huge college football fan but will watch if nothing else is on. And we all know how much I love my Patriots.  The habit of ordering pizza on the day of a 4pm game while Hunter was deployed (lazy mom, much?!) is still alive & well.  So much that I've renamed the order on Papa John's site as "Game Day" because really, let's call a spade a spade.

PTA's still sucking up so much of my time---most of which I don't mind.  Book Fair went well, we're in the midst of selling raffle tickets for Fall Festival & I'm starting to get a little nervous about our class' basket for FF.  No one has gotten back to me.  Parents that is.  I'm going to do a little leg work this week & drop off some donation letters to locally owned restaurants in hopes of getting some donations from them.  I was so spoiled last year by my co-room mom who did everything for the basket.  Next year I'm hoping that I'll have another mom who'll step up & help me out.

My knitting mojo is back!!! I know I'm tempting fate by admitting this, but it's true.  Granted I've done a mess o' dishcloths but still, knitting is knitting!  I also made the neatest scarf--the   Edelweiss Neckwarmer.  I altered the pattern by CO 220 stitches & wound up using 1 1/2 skeins of Noro Colored Crack, I mean,  Silk Garden.  I love this yarn---little twigs & all.  The scarf wound up being around 50" long which is just a little too short for my tastes.  Even with blocking.  But it is gorgeous--Hello! Silk Garden! Duh!  I'm looking forward to wearing it this winter!  I'm thinking I need to try to find another skein so I can make some mittens or mitts to match.   According to Ravelry, I have one more full skein but didn't see it when I was looking at my wool stash.

Speaking of stash, I'm looking to destash some of my yarn.  I just have way too much & have some that I know I'm just not going to use.  I'm offering it up to my knitting group before listing on Ravelry and/or Ebay.  My only complaint w/ R & E is that I'm going to have to either charge shipping or cover it which really stinks.

I'm also making some great headway on Christmas shopping!  So far I have some things for Sunshine, the ILS are done, Mom is done & Hunter's nephew is done.  And I've done Mom's shopping for Sunshine as yesterday I drove to Opelika, AL to their Target as they had the Our Generation Wooden Doll Trunk (armoire) & the jeep.  Our store had both last week but are sold out now.  When I went online to order them I discovered that shipping for the 2 items was $25.  What happened to Target's free shipping on over 500k items??  I guess it's on the items that don't weigh more than 15 lbs.  Grrrrr.

Speaking of the ILS, we're hosting Thanksgiving this year!!  Which means that I have to have all their pressies  by then so they can bring them home with them.  We've already started planning sleeping arrangements,  what china we'll use (My name is Laurie & I am a china-holic.)--we have our china, Hunter's grandparents china (which is really for Sunshine but she won't mind us using it) & Christmas china.  Yeah, I really need a 12 step program for this stuff.  But anyway, sleeping, china, menus & a to do list of what needs to be done before they arrive.   We've been wanting to start using our dining room as an actual dining room rather than using the breakfast nook in the kitchen.  Which means I need to get off my butt & get the wallpaper below the chair rail removed, prep the walls & get painting.  We want to put in a wood floor but that might wait until spring.  Then will come the fun part of moving around furniture---including the realllly heavy kitchen table, the china cabinet & the Pottery Barn Kids style dollhouse/bookcase that Hunter made for Sunshine.  I think there might be room for everything, including the dollhouse for now.  It's such a great piece & Sunshine loves to play with it so it needs to stay.  If only she didn't have that Barbie Dream House in her room.  Hmmm, why do I do this to myself?

I have a PTA Board meeting tomorrow so maybe I do need to get my family moving this afternoon & out of the house. Hmmm, too late to go to Plains.  Maybe we'll head up to Callaway or bring the dogs to the Botanical Garden as it's only 80 out.  Cool enough to enjoy a walk without stroking out due to the heat.

Have a great weekend!!  Get out & do something!!