Saturday, March 26, 2011

Welcome, Spring!

Just a some of the things we've seen this week. Queen Elizabeth Roses in the back yard. Hell's Fire iris in the front flower bed. It now has 4 blooms which is incredible considering last spring, this plant was no more than 4" tall. And lastly, the gekko in our large QE rosebush in the flowerbed in front of the dining room window.

We have 3 more iris that have blooms---one is white & the other two look like a deep purple. I'm anxious to see what other ones decide to bloom this year!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pass the bleach, please!

So we've had a busy week---who hasn't? Sunday was the PTA's Exec. Board meeting where we took the rough ideas the Field Day Chair had & organized Field Day. It looks like last year's problems have been ironed out & we'll be starting new traditions for FD that will be fun for everyone.

Monday I had a Media Technology Meeting with the ever-wonderful Kristine in the library. Again---we hashed out a few ideas for AR Celebration Week that will 1) start new traditions for the students that will be fun & 2) be easy for us to pull off without too much frustation. Which is really important. Happy volunteers=well run event=happy students.

Tuesday I dropped off my clothes for the Just4Kidz sale. I'm happy to say that as of this morning (with 2 more days left), I've sold 30 out of 39 items!! Speech for Sunshine in the afternoon & then home.

Wednesday is when the week took a turn. And not a good turn! I had come in from walking Smitty & was having breakfast when the nurse called to let me know Sunshine had gotten sick in the classroom & could I please pick her up. When I got into the nurse's office, I saw Sunshine's teacher who informed me that not only did Sunshine get sick, she managed to involve another child whose clothes suffered more than his pride. Luckily, he didn't get sick. Wednesday was school picture day for class pics & spring individual pics. Sunshine keeps her class pics in a frame next to her bed---they go all the way back to her 2 yr old preschool class. Her teacher suggested getting her home, cleaned up, rested & when it was their turn she'd call me & I could sneak her into the gym for the pic. Which is what we did. Until we'd been at school for over an hour. They'd called to let her teacher know they'd be going in 15 min but somehow 15 minutes to the photographers means almost 90 minutes in photography time.

As we were lining the kids up from tallest to shortest to go into the gym, Sunshine got sick again. *sigh* Poor little peanut. Again, there was a victim---one of her friends who was running around the classroom shouting "SOMEONE HELP ME! IT'S ON MY SHIRT!" while I was getting Sunshine to the sink & her teacher was trying to corral the other kids. If we'd had a video camera going, it would have been hysterical.

The remainder of Wednesday was spent in our bed, watching movies & relaxing. By dinnertime, she'd spiked a fever of 102.7 that took a while to come down.

Thursday we went to the doctor's as I wasn't convinced that the nausea & a couple other things (poor performance on a spelling test the day after she hit her head) were caused by happenstance & not the blow to her head. I knew deep down they were unrelated to the head injury, but that nagging Mommy guilt is brutal. Have you noticed that I'm wracked by guilt at times? Man, Catholic school did a number on me! I feel guilty if I don't hold the door for someone.

In true Sunshine fashion, she giggled & played with the doctor. He eased my nagging Mommy guilt & agreed the spelling test bomb was caused by her probably just not feeling 100% even though it was totally out of character & the nausea was probably caused by the virus that's going around school. Which I knew, but I wanted to hear from someone else. And by "someone else" I mean someone with M.D. after their name. Who probably thinks I'm insane with my giggling child.

Which brings us to today. Sunshine is still sick & this nasty little bug has claimed numerous nightgowns, sheets & towels. I've done 2 1/2 loads of laundry since 7am & have 1 more to go before I'm done. Sunshine is camped out on the couch watching tv & playing with various stuffedies. I'm hoping the weekend is good to us & she's totally on the mend for Monday.

And that you have a great weekend!! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ado Annie was right

I'm just a girl who can't say no. Not exactly like her, but I have a terrible time saying no people. You need someone to volunteer at a school event? Sure, I'll do it. You need someone to take over a PTA Chair position? Me! You need someone to watch your children? Absolutely!! Need help in the classroom every day for 2 weeks? What time do you need me? We need to organize meals for a soldier/spouse for 2-3 weeks? I'll send an email out right away! What's that? Your grandson will be visiting w/ his mother & you need an extra car seat? Yes, I have one--let me bring it to you! Need someone to call other Army wives to get info to them? Give me my list! Huh? One of the other callers flaked & you need someone to take on her 6 wives? I'll add them to mine!

I'm exhausted writing this. And I'm guilty of doing all of the above & then some. I don't know if it's my "must make sure everyone is happy ALL THE TIME" nature or whether it's some bizarre desire to control things. Probably both, but at the end of the day, I'm like Ado Annie --- I can't say no to people asking me to do things.

I was a FRG volunteer for almost all of Hunter's deployments & would rationalize my involvement as a way to stay informed, myself. During the last deployment, I enjoyed the other women who were actively involved so what better way to stay in contact with them? VOLUNTEER! The "highlight" of my inability to say no was to "lend" our extra car seat to a woman whose daughter was indeed visiting with the grandson & they needed a car seat. Did anyone have an extra one they could use. OF COURSE I DO! Because car seats are so inexpensive that really, why wouldn't you be lending them to everyone??! Especially another Army wife, right? The two weeks that she needed the seat quickly passed & my car seat was never returned. I called her, I went by her house, I emailed her. Nothing. I realize that it's all on her for basically stealing my car seat, but still. I willingly lent it to her. No, I gave it to her.

Fast forward to this year. I volunteer to be Co-Room Mom. Which honestly is so awesome. I really like the other Room Mom. We work well together & I think our class has had a great year thus far based on our efforts. And we absolutely ADORE Sunshine's teacher. I don't regret any of the time I've spent in her classroom & if I thought it would work, I'd totally start a petition to have her move up to 2nd grade only so Sunshine could be with her for another year. Seriously. But Room Moms have other obligations than just bringing snacks, planning parties, chaperoning field trips, helping in the class. There are various family nights at school where other parents don't step up to help out. So you have the same people manning the booths, games, rides, etc. And as a result, aren't able to enjoy the evening with their own family. Bitter? Yes. Because I'm just a girl who can't say no.

This past Friday was one of those nights. The Chair of the event wasn't able to get the number of volunteers that she needed through a local high school so we were calling on Room Moms & PTA volunteers to pitch in. Fine, I signed up for a half hour shift, figuring Hunter could bring Sunshine to school as my shift was ending so we could enjoy the rest of the evening as a family.

You know what they say about the best laid plans, right? On Thursday, as she was coming down the path, Sunshine decided to skip down the hill & fell. She hit her head on the metal hand rail & withing 30 seconds had a forehead that rivaled Frankenstein's. Honestly. I have witnesses & they will say the same thing. She was lucid as we sped to the ER & had an appetite so I wasn't 100% freaking out, only 99%. Which is impressive for me as I only know "over reaction" when it comes to Sunshine & ER visits! She was seen quickly & again was lucid, had no balance/motor skills issues so the doctor released us with the ever popular "keep an eye" advice. She went to school on Friday & was fine, Cro-Magnon forehead aside.

By Friday night I was still mentally spent & begged out of our family night at school citing Sunshine's injury.

Sweet sassy-molassy, the GUILT! Not from the PTA. But from ME! From within! From that place inside that makes you cringe as you hear your mother use your full name 35 years ago. Now, two days later, I've barely recovered.

Back to my fellow Room Mom. The really nice one. She works part time & two weeks ago her regular sitter (she has a child in Sunshine's class & a younger one) went to the ER complaining of stomach pain. Without sharing her business on the Internet, let's just say she wound up with emergency surgery & 2-3 weeks of recovery time. So she is unable to care for Room Mom's child. Could I do it?

Say it with me--"OF COURSE I CAN!"

Don't get me wrong--I like children. I have a child who is the center of my universe (or just left of center if Hunter is reading this!). I love the time I've spent in her classroom & doing my AR Chair stuff (Book Fair, AR Celebration Week & such). But one on one child care? Not my forte. But OMG, a friend needs help. I'm in a position to help so why not?

Plus, I'll admit, I'm making a little cash which will go toward my Disney spending $$ fund. Hey, I need a new Mickey Mouse cap as Smitty chewed mine.

Smitty---another instance where I couldn't say no. But that was a previous blog.

So, I'm watching RM's little girl (who is so cute & so spunky & so funny with the sweetest little giggle) for 2-3 weeks, 3 days a week.

I have to admit, I will NOT watch her during Spring Break. Sunshine's birthday falls during that week & I fully plan on sleeping in, doing fun things & fully enjoying our vacation together. I swear I will!


And today? PTA Board meeting (yes, we had one 2 weeks ago) for our field day event. I'm praying that my reply of "sorry, I'm the Room Mom. I'm going to drag the cooler around & help contain the kids" will allow me to enjoy the day with Sunshine & her class!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Best Hump Day Afternoon, Ever!

Hunter's always been fascinated by RC planes & has owned a couple since we've been together. One met a brutal death on a field on post. When our new furniture arrived he gave a little demo to the movers with his little helicopter (which Sunshine loves, but Smitty hates).

So, yesterday when he asked Sunshine if she wanted to go out to post to watch him fly his plane, I chimed in that I wanted to go too!

What a wonderful afternoon---we drove to an old air strip past Uchee Creek, but near Fryar Field. As we were getting out of the car, we noticed a large plane overhead. Then we noticed the airborne students jumping out. Good thing I brought the DSLR camera rather than my little point & shoot! Sunshine was amazed by the jumpers but was soon focusing her attention on Daddy's plane.

I fully admit, I have NO interest in RC planes or the like, but it was really fun to watch Hunter make his plane fly, do little tricks & land. Sadly, toward the end the battery died & she crashed. A new propeller is on the "to do" list & more battery power is needed, but wow, such a fun afternoon!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Yes, I realize it's two months early, but my ring from Gold 'n Gems came today! I was so excited, I opened the package at the end of the drive way while I was talking to our next door neighbor.

I LOVE my ring! If you'll remember, Sunshine & I found this stone (corundum), didn't think it was anything valuable & threw it over the edge of the sluice. Read here if you need to remember the story.

At any rate, my ring came today & it's more beautiful than I could have imagined. The color is lovely & actually a deeper raspberry than the photo shows. It's a cabochon cut stone with an asterism. JewelInfo4u describes an asterism as: a phenomenon by which a star shaped light effect has been shown across the surface of the gem through the reflection or transmission of light.

I'm still chuckling over the fact that I didn't want to "grubbin" for stones, but I'm so glad we did. It was a great time & I'm so happy with how my ring turned out. Now I'm off to look at their catalog to see what settings they have for earrings. Sunshine & I found an awful lot of amethysts!
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Remember Gilda Radner & the early years of SNL? I was around 10 when my parents in some sort of lapse of awareness of what SNL was, would let me stay up on occasion to watch SNL if my oldest brother (10 years older than me) was home. I remember seeing so many now-classic sketches. Gilda always made me laugh. Especially the Judy Miller show.

Now I look at this clip & laugh because there are so many times that the modern day Judy Miller Show plays out in my home under it's new name of The Sunshine Show. Seriously. The imagination on this kid is insane. Insane in an entirely good way. The things she comes up with are absolutely amazing. Today we had a full on re-enactment of Cinderella in the drive way while I sat & knitted. And giggled as I watched. It was proceeded by the Leprechaun Show, complete with a green sand pail on her head as a hat. And Irish dancing.

A few weeks ago I was talking with her teacher & we both agreed the imagination & sense of humor were off the charts. I confessed that she makes us laugh at least once a day, usually more with her antics or comments.

Her knock-knock jokes are getting a little stale however---perhaps she needs a new joke writer.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

There's very few things in life

that feel better than sleeping in on a Saturday morning? Especially when you're a parent. And your spouse has been sleeping in (10 am average!) all week due to being on Spring Break. I'm proud to admit, I rolled out of bed at 9:49 am this morning! It was heavenly!

Sunshine & I went to a matinee of Mars Needs Moms this afternoon. Her choice. At some point she decided she didn't want to see Gnomeo & Juliet but MNM was a must see. Total mixed bag! The message was very positive, but there were some scenes where she sat on my lap with both her & my hands over her eyes. Several scenes brought tears to her eyes (and mine) but the ending left her happy & dancing in her seat. We saw some previews that we promised we'd see next month & oh so many annoying commercials. I don't need (or want) to see Diet Coke or Sprite commercials in the movie theaters. I want my movie trivia & my previews. That's it.

Tonight we "Spring Ahead" & set the clocks ahead one hour. I'm secretly admitting that I'm afraid of doing this. Obviously I've done it many times before, but I almost always suffer from sleep issues in the days & sometimes weeks that follow. Ambien helps but ugh, I hate relying on it to get to sleep. Fortunately, it doesn't bother Sunshine. Both of us don't need to be sleep deprived!

Next week is busy as I'm helping out a friend whose regular sitter is recovering from a ruptured appendix. Sunshine & her son (the friend) sit next to one another in class & I'll be watching his little sister who is 4. And spunky. We're going to have fun going to story time & playing. I'm sure she's going to love Smitty & Sunshine's dolls. Which reminds me, I need to let Sunshine know to put away anything she doesn't want A. getting into.

We also have our Family Fun Night at school next weekend. I managed to open my big mouth at last week's PTA Exec. Board meeting to let the FFN chair know how she could go about getting volunteers from local high schools to help out. Of course, this resulted in ME making calls/sending emails to recruit said volunteers. I'm a little concerned as I haven't heard from any yet. Is it wrong of me to not want to run the event in our class (as co-room mom) because no one else will volunteer? I spent an hour at Fall Festival running the train ride (along with the other co-room mom, 1 parent volunteer & our teacher who all did an hour each) & didn't enjoy FF w/ Sunshine & Hunter as a result. If more parents volunteered we could have shorter shifts & everyone could enjoy their evenings with their family. I'm sure somewhere another PTA volunteer is saying the same thing.

Off to bed in hopes of getting a good night's rest & not tossing & turning like I have in years past!

Spring is on it's way!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Seeing joy in a child's eyes

If you have a child, know a child, have ever seen a child, chances are you've seen joy in a child's eyes. Think about birthdays, Christmas, a "just because" surprise, the morning after the Tooth Fairy has come for the very first time.

You never forget that look on their darling little faces & the light in their eyes.

I was able to bring that look to a little girl's face today. A little girl who wasn't mine.

I spent my morning here with several other volunteers. It was slow when we arrived so I started going through the winter coats to make sure the right sizes were in the right sections. I then moved onto dresses when some of the children started coming in. One of them was a little girl I'll call "Sarah" Sarah is a 7 year old 2nd grader with a sweet smile and such a fun little personality. She was "shopping" with her school librarian as well as one of her sisters and one of her brothers. There are 5 children in her family.

We started off with dresses and Sarah's eyes grew big as saucers as we picked out some that would fit her. The suggested list of clothing items is: 5 tops, 1-2 dresses, 3 pairs of jeans/pants, 1 warm coat, 1 light weight, 1 pair of new shoes, 1 pair of used, undies/socks.

I'm admitting to you that I jam packed Sarah's bag with everything and anything that fit her and that brought a smile to her face.

We spent an hour and a half together and honestly, it was so much fun. She has such a kind heart and I found myself wanting to bring her home and spoil her. Like Sunshine, Cinderella is her favorite princess and she loves to read. I imagined them playing Barbies in Sunshine's room, giggling away and playing with Cinderella dolls. When she told me her 16 year old cousin was pregnant with a baby boy, it was everything I could do to keep my mouth shut and tell her that SHE herself needed to finish school, get an education, a job and live part of her life before she even consider bringing another child into the world. But that's not what you do when you're volunteering there.

Sarah gave me the biggest hug when she left to go back to school. I cried when I left. I kept thinking of an incident with Sunshine last week that left me upset with her and the differences between her & Sarah.

Gymboree had a sale on tops and since Sunshine has outgrown most of her spring/summer clothes from last year, she needed more. I spent close to $80 on tops & shorts as well as matching socks and hair accessories. When I picked up Sunshine from school she declared that she didn't like it. Blue is the new pink in our house, but apparently she has enough blue and wanted something else. So, off we went to Gymboree to exchange what I had purchased.

When we got there, she announced she wanted some dresses. No, I'm sorry, we're here for play clothes. But, DRESSES!!! I held my ground and when I realized she wasn't going to work with me, I returned everything and we left the store.

Today, while I was shopping with Sarah, I kept thinking how this darling girl was SO thankful for the things she was getting. There was no complaining. There was no fussing. I know I shouldn't have, but I found myself comparing her to Sunshine and the Gymboree incident.

She asked me if we had any Disney Princess shirts and sadly there weren't any. I keep thinking about whether it would be improper of me to buy one and drop it off anonymously at her school. Because every little girl deserves a Princess shirt. Especially Sarah.

I volunteer a lot with Sunshine's class and with the school. Back when Hunter was deployed, I did a lot of volunteering with our FRG. The last time I cried after a volunteer activity was in Sept. 07 when we brought meals to 2 of Hunter's friends who had been badly injured in an IED attack. Part of it was out of gratitude that it wasn't my husband, but also because these men were truly heroes. Their lives would be changed forever by their injuries. I am still teary about Sarah. She truly touched my heart with her spirit and the joy in her face for such basic items. Items that we take for granted.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dealing with Addiction

Specifically my addiction to Charlie Sheen & the train wreck that his life has become.

I was smitten with him when I saw Ferris Bueller oh so many years ago. Loved him in Platoon (okay, I just really liked Platoon). Just loved him, but I admit, I did NOT watch "Two and a half men" I just don't do sitcoms.

Lately I've found myself watching his webcasts. I have no idea why. Maybe it's morbid curiosity. I just can't NOT watch. The rants, the rambling, the over all nuttiness suck me in each time.

I know it's tragic, but I can't help it. It's clearly not educating me nor am I gaining anything by watching, yet I do.

I can't imagine the pain his family is experiencing as a result of his behavior. His children (with the exception of one) aren't old enough to know what's going on, but they're old enough to miss daddy. And in the age of the internet, this stuff won't be going away so they'll be able to find it when they're old enough to access the 'net.

Today is Ash Wednesday & while I'm no longer a practicing Catholic, I'm trying to figure out what to give up for Lent. I'll admit, Charlie Sheen was on the list. I'm leaning toward fast food. I don't eat a real lot of it, but I really shouldn't be eating it, period. Sonic's strawberry shakes bring a smile to my face, but certainly do nothing for my hips. And let's be real---it's March in Georgia, next month can be warm enough for pool weather. We try to eat healthy at home & I try to limit what treats come into our house as I do all the grocery shopping, but I've been known to grab a quick lunch on the run or on a road trip. It's pretty hard to eat a salad while driving. Just sayin'.

So I have a couple hours to figure out what's going away for Lent. Right now I'm leaning toward fast food. Charlie Sheen may not be informative or educational, but he's not bad for my health (or figure) the way a strawberry shake or cheeseburger is.

Duh, Winning!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Things I love, things I hate

Like this picture---love the way our pear tree looks when it's in full bloom. When those blossoms fall on the ground? Ugh.

I'm a lip balm addict. You will find tins of Smith's Rosebud or Strawberry Lip Salves in my purse, makeup bag, bathroom, nightstand, and in a drawer in the end table in the living room. I'm pretty sure there are more stashed away somewhere. I had to stop keeping them in my car as they'd get melty when the car got hot. And if they were upside or weren't level, they'd reform in a weird shape.

I love Aveda hair products (we've talked about this in another blog post). I go back and forth with other brands but will always come back to Aveda. There's something about that smell that always hooks me.

I'm also a Philosophy girl. This after years of working for Lauder (and several of their subsidiaries) and Lancome. My routine is very simple & honestly, at 43--my skin looks great. I know part of it is genetics, part of it is taking care of my skin since I was a teen & part of it is freakishly obsessive daily sunscreen use. I love their kits---face wash, eye cream, serum & moisturizer for the price of another brand's moisturizer? No brainer there!

I love Chico's. I've been a customer for 20 years & while I don't love all their clothes, will nearly always find things that fit & look good. I wore their Travelers Collection during my pregnancy with Sunshine. I may mix in some Target t's & shorts but Chico's---love!

I'm a purse snob. I love my Lancel bag from Paris. Love my 10 year old Prada bag bought on clearance in Montreal. Love my Kate Spade. And I'm one of "those" people whose bag & wallet HAVE TO match. My friends mock me for it but it's just my thing. And I blame my old Coach days for this. When you shop the Coach outlets they make it too easy for you to have everything all matchy-matchy.

I hate flip flops. I can't wear them. I can't wear any sort of sandal that has something between my toes. It bothers me to no end. It' makes my friend Jami cry when I admit this, so Jami---skip this part.

I hate when you buy a mascara only to find the wiper doesn't take off all excess mascara so you have to do so with a tissue. I find this with a lot of cheaper brands. Which are the ones I buy. After not paying for mascara for years (courtesy of my product gratis during my makeup artist years), I refuse to pay $25 or more for a product that I'll toss after 2 months. I'd rather put that money into something else, so I go cheap. And really---why IS department store mascara $25 dollars?? When I started working for Lancome in '93, a tube of Definicils was $15. It's $25 now. Lauder's More Than Mascara has gone from $14 or so to $21. Yes, inflation, blah blah blah. But really? Total racket. And I admit, I was part of that racket for many years.

There are also products that claim to be "as good as" a more expensive counterpart. The Sonia Kashuk hair brush is supposed to be "as good as" the Mason Pearson brush. So not true. Money wasted on my part right there!

It irks the holy hand grenades out of me when people try to top you. You know who the toppers are. You say something like "holy cow, I was so sick this weekend!" They come up with "OMG, I was at the ER near DEATH!" Or "I'm so busy this week with x, y, z---I'm really tired!" They're busy with q, r, s, t, u, v AND your x, y, z". What is up with that? I'm all about someone sharing their frustrations or whatever & someone else commiserating with them, but the toppers? Gotta go. Like the drama mamas, I don't need them in my life.

Right now I'm really down on the government---Congress specifically. There are so many people whose lives will be impacted financially if there is a shut down. My family will be impacted. We've heard that Social Security payments will continue but haven't heard anything about VA/Army retirement pay. Or CRSC payments. People who work in the private sector go to work, do their jobs (or not) & get paid. Yes, there are lay offs, cut backs, etc. But as long as the company is bringing in money, they'll get paid. Government employees, our military & veterans are at the mercy of the government.

And speaking of government employees, get those WI senators back to work. I think it's great they're taking a stand for what they believe, but your constituents elected you for a reason. If THEY feel you should be off hiding in Illinois, then great--party on. Otherwise, get back to work & do the job you were elected to do. ****PLEASE KNOW THAT THIS IS MY OPINION. IF YOU DON'T SHARE MY OPINION, THAT'S FINE. I RESPECT YOUR OPINION, PLEASE RESPECT MINE. I DON'T MEAN TO START A POLITICAL DEBATE, NOR WILL I ENGAGE IN ONE ON THIS BLOG. Thank you ;)

It's a beautiful day here---one of those that I love---sunny skies, trees blooming (remember to take that zyrtec!) and in the low 60's for a high. Sweater weather!!!!!

Enjoy your day wherever you are!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Adoption Day, Dear Smitty

Happy Adoption Day to you! Here's Sunshine giving Smitty his present tonight.

One year ago I went to Michaels to buy ribbon for Sunshine's hair as it had finally grown out enough from the Horrible Haircut of '09 to pull back into a small pony with some ribbon. Since it was a Sunday, I wandered over to PetSmart as it's their adoption day.

There were so many cute little dogs---despite having a decent size fenced-in yard, we're still small dog people. Love my brothers' labs (one brother has a chocolate, the other has a black as well as a yellow lab), but 85 lbs of dog sharing my bed vs. 15 lbs of dog? I choose 15!

So, tons of sweet little doggies---so many ear scratches, coos of "what a good girl/boy" & general "ooooh I so want to bring you home!" followed. I found myself in the back of the store when a shelter was unloading their dogs. That's when I saw Smitty. He was scruffy & immediately marked his little crate when they took him out of their crate. He had big brown eyes & when I saw his little Schnauzer face I was in love. I started texting Hunter who told me to "just say no" and to walk away.

But, I didn't. I was walking Smitty in the store & to my amazement he walked nicely on the leash. He listened to commands. The story from the shelter was sketchy. I was told he was surrendered by a family whose little girl was abusive to him. I was also told he was surrendered due to financial issues. For whatever reason, someone gave him up & I was going to bring him home with me.

Persistence paid off & next thing I knew Hunter was bringing Sunshine down to the store so they could see him. The shelter said his name was Smut. Seriously. Who in their right mind names a dog "Smut"??? The name had to go, but I wanted a name that was close so he wouldn't be too terribly confused, thus Smitty was born.

I'll admit, buyers remorse kicked in pretty quickly when I realized that Libby wasn't impressed with our new family member. At all. There would be moments when she'd let him get close to her & they'd snuggle together, but they were few and far between. I felt guilty that she wasn't happy w/ her new buddy.

After we lost her in July, I found myself wishing it had been him who had gotten sick. Before you think I'm a horrible person who had no right to adopt him, bear with me. I'd had Libby for 7 1/2 years & since she was 8 weeks old. She was truly my baby. Smitty was a sweet boy I'd adopted on a whim, who was never accepted by my sweet girl & a dog I'd had for 4 months.

Roughly a month after she was gone, I found myself with 25 lbs of Schnauzer mix on my lap one afternoon when it hit me---I love this dog. I didn't rescue him----HE rescued ME. Friends commented on the timing of his adoption. Whatever your belief system is, fate had intervened on that day. He came into our lives for a reason & I am eternally grateful to God, the fates, the universe, who/whatever. He's my sweet handsome boy. He's a smart dog & it soon became clear that whoever owned him had given him some sort of training. It's said that shelter/rescue adoptions usually take around 6 months to settle into their new homes. Smitty wasn't any different. By fall we noticed he was responding to our voice commands/hand signals. Even in a group of dogs that are misbehaving, he will listen & follow our commands.

He's a very affectionate dog & loves everyone he meets. His little tail will start wagging & won't stop. He gets on Sunshine's bed when we're reading stories at night & will stay with her (oh, how those two love one another!!) until we go to bed & call him into our room. He's a bed hog. He snores & he does this cute thing where he will roll onto his back, roll around & make growly noises as he stretches. He's definitely a "talker" & loves watching the Patriots play football. Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis is his favorite. He's also been compared to Don Draper as he's such a handsome boy!

Happy Adoption Day, Smitty. We'd be so lost without you!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Much newness with some oldness

There's a great deal of popularity today with "junkin", thrift stores, and "picking",. If you can think of other terms, feel free to throw them in here. I've been hitting antique stores, thrift stores, auctions, for over 20 years. Wait, did I just date myself? Anyway. The concept isn't new to me.
We've been wanting to make over our living room ever since we moved into this house a year and a half ago. I loved the paint color we chose for the living room but once our furniture was in here, I realized (with horror) that our sofa was basically a lighter version of the walls. Gold, gold, beige, beige. Ugh. How could I do this? I've wanted a chocolate brown leather couch for years. Ask anyone who knows me well---they were sick of hearing about it.

Last month we decided to go couch/love seat shopping after receiving a catalog from the PX (the military's department store). We'd just received our tax refund & figured it was a good time to buy. In the catalog was a beautiful chocolate brown sofa & love seat in leather. The only problem is you buy them sight unseen if they don't have floor models at the furniture annex of the PX. Of course, ours doesn't have the higher end merchandise. How would I know if it was comfy? How would I know if I could stretch out on the couch & have a little power nap in the afternoon? Would I like the feel of this leather? I'm nothing if not neurotic!

After visiting several furniture stores we stumbled into one closest to our house (of course) & found 2 that we liked---a chocolate brown leather sectional (we were getting rid of a sectional) & it's cousins--the couch/love seat. We settled on the couch/love seat combo & waited for today for them to arrive.

While we were waiting, the quest for the perfect end & coffee table began. Did we want round? Rectangular? Glass top? Wrought iron base? Say it with me----neurotic!

Last weekend we went to a multi-dealer antique/thrift shop in Alabama. We quickly found one coffee table & an end table we liked. Older, but well made & in good shape (but not the end table). We settled on the coffee table. Got it home, cleaned it & it's gorgeous.

This week started the quest for the end table. By Thursday I had gone to 5 antique/thrift stores with no luck. By chance, I stopped into one that I had visited before, but never purchased there. Immediately I found a beautiful Duncan Phyfe drum table. I was smitten. The price was fair but it wasn't super stable---slightly wobbly. Maybe something needed to be stabilized underneath? Hmmmmm. Surely my mumful handy husband could fix it ---right? I kept working my way through the store until I found the table above. Queen Anne style (LOVE!), pretty detail on top & in amazingly great condition. Nothing would need to be done to it other than a good cleaning. It came home with me! Today we went back for the Occupied Japan candy dish that you see in the table pic as well as in the other. It looks perfect on the table & the colors work really well with our living room.

Hunter has Spring Break this week which means sleeping in (for him anyway!), lunch dates for us & honey-do lists for him. We're going to move around some furniture in the living room & (our late '60's Bassett sideboard I found at Gina's last Christmas, our secretary from Hunter's grandparents) and see if that works. Because who doesn't enjoy moving around heavy furniture? Especially on Spring Break!

Tomorrow is our PTA Exec. Board meeting at Panera (yum!). Hunter & Sunshine have some time together planned which will be nice for them. If only it weren't an icky rainy weekend!

Hope you're enjoying yours!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

That was a loooong weekend

On Friday night our internet went out. Then our phone followed. Calls to our cable/internet/phone company revealed that indeed, there was a "problem in your area". When things still weren't fixed 8 hours later, another call was made. Oh so sorry, we'll get someone out withing 24-48 hours.

Don't they know that I have a farm & city to run? Status messages to giggle over? Email that needs my immediate attention?!

Apparently they do know but just do not care.

It would be Tuesday before our phone & "interwebs" were up and running.

Tuesday I went to a local hotel with lots of other collectors because these guys were in town. I gathered up my Whiting & Davis mesh bag collection (well, 6 of my bags) as well as the Italian mosaic jewelry that I used to collect. I got to the hotel, signed in with the roadshow & sat with the other collectors who were hoping for the chance to make the "OMG, grandma's tea pot is worth WHAT????!!!!" happy face. I was number 31 & when I sat down, they were on number 16. A lot of people had coins as the ads specified, they were looking for gold/silver. Several collectors were very knowledgeable about their collections. We started to notice that there were very few "OMG grandma's tea pot is worth WHAT???!!!" happy faces coming out of the evaluation room. In fact, some people were coming out with very sour expressions. Some told us that we shouldn't waste our time waiting to be seen. Hmmmm. One of the more talkative gentlemen with coins was called several numbers before me. When he came out, he told another gentleman to leave as he was offered face value for his silver coins. Not market value on the silver, but face value. Hmmmm

Finally I was called in & met with one of their "evaluators". I realize that it's very difficult to have an expert in everything travel the country, but surely they could have people with maybe coin expertise, one with jewelry, books, etc. My guy looked at my collection as I explained the different types of mesh used & how it indicate the age of the piece. What styles I had (cathedral frame with sapphire cabochon, picadilly, an el-sah, dresden mesh, sunset mesh) & which were the more rare pieces. He'd type something on his laptop & when all was said & done, I was offered a price that would have paid for 2 of my bags. I realize that they're not going to offer top dollar, but come on. First they offer face value on coins that are worth much more, then they offer me an amount that is more than half of what my bags are worth? Um, no thank you. If you see them coming to your town & you're thinking about having grandma's tea pot appraised---don't have it done by them. Find a reputable antique dealer, do research on your own, do something but avoid these guys.

And lastly, Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss! It's also Read Across America Day. I went in to school this morning to read to Sunshine's class. We read Green Eggs & Ham, The Gingerbread Girl (one of Sunshine's favorites) & While The World Was Sleeping. It was a very fun way to take part in such an important day.

Reading was very big deal in my family. Still is. Some of my earliest memories of going out with my mom involve going to the local library. I remember they had a collection of Peter Rabbit & Babar books that were made for very little hands. I'd spend forever sitting in the children's section looking at the pictures before I was able to read the words. If you ask my mother, she will very proudly tell you that I had my own library card when I was 2. Ironically, my very first job would be at that library as a page/librarian's assistant. I was the only 13 year old who knew the Dewey decimal system by heart.

We began reading to Sunshine when she was a baby---probably 2-3 months old. I knew she wouldn't understand the word, but the pictures would eventually prove to be entertaining to her. When she was 3, she had Green Eggs & Ham, Good Night, Moon & Make Way for Dinosaurs memorized. I loved listening to her "read" these books with me when we were snuggling in her bed. It was really amazing when she learned to read, would sound out words & was really reading on her own. I'm glad we're raising a reader.

The quote for RAA Day is obviously a Dr. Seuss quote that I love: "You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child."

I hope that today you're wacky & wild when you read to a child---they'll love it & you'll find you will too!!