Wednesday, January 30, 2008
And it's entirely possible that someone will get up and kiss the television screen at least once.
What is it that I speak of, sports fans?
It is the Super Bowl.
But not the Super Bowl in the traditional football sense, you see.
It is the Super Bowl for women. The Super Bowl of movies:
I am counting the days until I can attend a P&P Party at a friend's house this weekend. Darcy and Elizabeth in all their glory, just waiting to guide us through five hours of bliss which will culminate with Darcy jumping into the pond half-nekkid.
Oh yeah, and I think there might be some other type of Super Bowl thingie this weekend. Can't really say that I'm caring at all to watch it. Is that wrong? We did live in the kingdom that belongs to the Patriots for six years, so this means that I'm pretty much committing blasphemy.
But still. I just can't seem to bring myself to care about the football.
And I don't really care that I don't care about the football.
Maybe if Tom Brady were to don an 1800s riding suit and stare longingly into the camera my way, THEN I might care. Unless that happens, come Sunday night, you will find me doing this:
Go team Sunday nap!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
So we've spent many a day with our Bear Scout book open on the counter - working our way through knots, safety, religion, and even a little cooking. Our diligence paid off, and soon he had completed every requirement in the entire book - except for one, which involved speaking with a police officer about crime prevention.
Knowing his den would not likely get this field trip in before his birthday, I scheduled a mini-tour of the police station myself.
The great day came last week, and we brought along Chase and our little neighbor friend, David. The boys were giddy with excitement at seeing the jail and were absolutely positive they'd be able to use the weapons (oh, the unharnessed dreams of little boys).
The tour itself was really quite cool. Being a small group, (they told me the cub scout tours are usually like 20-30 boys at a time) we were able to do so much more than a normal group. We met the chief of police. We pretended to get fingerprinted. We got locked in a jail cell. We took pictures in the line-up room. We met all the officers.
We did not get to use the weapons, however.
But we finished our tour, thanked the kind officers, and headed home to proudly sign off the last item in McKay's book.
Funny thing, that.
When I got home and started looking, I realized that you don't have to do everything in the book. It's like, "Pick two in this section. Pick three in this one."
We did EVERY. SINGLE. THING in that blasted Bear Book.
[What makes this more shameful is that I am currently serving as the Wolf Den Leader. You'd think I'd have known.]
Wasn't a total waste of time, I suppose. Got to meet and hang out with the handsome boys in blue that patrol our neighborhood.
And now I'm wondering, do you think they'd let me borrow a uniform for the Husband? I'm afraid I really could get into this whole man-in-a-uniform-thing.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Our internet service has been schizophrenic, and has been somewhat unreliable for the last several months. This last bout was perfect timing, what with our own personal computer guru literally in the air, on his way here to
Nothing says welcome like, "Here's our computer. Fix it and we'll feed you."
Don't you just want to come visit us? Come only if you have skills.
But the other reason for not being in the virtual world that I love is because it got up to the 50s today (from 10 degrees to 56 in one day, go figure). It's been miserable here the last few weeks, so today we had to get out and play in it.
We had ourselves a game of this:
Which included this:
And a critical team huddle like this:
Although some of us spent our time doing this (Newlyweds, blech):
We all did a little bit of trail walking like this:
And even some brave and adventurous walking like this:
Let's hear it for beautiful weather, a computer genius, blogging at the end of a happy Saturday, and the promise of 60 degree temperatures tomorrow.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I stumble for my glasses and peek to see if the sun is out. It is starting to rise over the rooftops and slant across the yard in sharp angles. The frost on the grass glitters like diamonds. It looks beautiful. It looks cold.
I struggle to remember what day the Husband gets back this week. I don't think it's today.
I put my hair in a ponytail and stand on the scale. I curse. I sigh.
I move on.
I stretch and try to rub the sleep out of my eyes. I walk down the dark and silent hall to start rousing the troops. Two of the three are tired and cranky, and do not want to get out of bed. Chase wants desperately to be sick today. I refuse to allow this. The princess has 80s rock star hair. I remind her that she needs a bath before school, and silently pray there is enough time for it.
I go downstairs, heat up the leftover pancakes and smile, knowing how happy it will make Chase. Boy, that kid loves the pancakes. Within minutes, they are all seated in front of steaming pancakes that are dripping with maple syrup. Poor things, they all look half asleep.
A quick prayer is said. Pancakes are eaten. Spirits are lifted. Someone even tells a joke or two. I try to permanently stamp this moment in my memory.
Showers get taken. Lunches are made. Backpacks are packed. Coats and layers get put on. I hug and kiss each one, and promise to wave when the bus goes by. I smile inside, knowing they won't want want me to wave in a year or two. I am glad for it today.
Sixty-two minutes after my alarm clock went off, they walk out the door. I thank god for this alone time. I put on some good music. I workout hard. I sweat. I drink a lot of water. I sweat some more.
I sit down and read this blog and this blog, both of which inspire me to count my blessings.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
- A new purse
- Another diet coke
- Cookie dough
- AN END TO THE FRICKIN' WRITER'S STRIKE
- Warm weather
- A billion dollars
- New carpet in my basement
- More camera toys
- World peace
- A dog
- Lisa Marie's salsa chicken burritos
- A cleaning lady
- Cookie dough
- Lower taxes (or no taxes at all, really)
- A pedicure
- Britney Spears to get her crap together so I don't have to hear about her every time the TV is on
- Having The Husband in town for more than two days in a row
- A new windshield
- Girl's night out
- One date with Colin Firth dressed as Mr. Darcy (wherein he stares at me longingly just like he did in The Movie)
- Five hours to watch The Movie wherein he stares longingly
- A private jet
- More shoes
- Internet access that is not schizophrenic and actually works when you go to use it
- Condos in both New York City and Hawaii
- Skin without freckles
- Something with peanut butter and chocolate in it
- Cookie dough with peanut butter and chocolate in it
- For Bono to write a song about me
- All my BFFs to come to Blogapalooza
- A magic pill that will change my thighs from lard to hard
- A private concert by Frank Sinatra (yes, I realize he'd have to come back from the dead. I still want it)
- Photography classes from the great Nicole Hill
- A good haircut
- Unlimited access to the White House files on Kennedy and Area 51
- Temperatures above 20 degrees.
Things I will actually get right now:
- Another diet coke
- Cookie dough with peanut butter and chocolate in it
Two out of 36 ain't bad.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Kelly is hosting a little travel swap, and today is the last day to sign up. I really like getting more in the mail than bills and Viagra coupons, and a swap is just the ticket. Head over to her blog for all the details. I've done several of these, and they are always really fun.
P.S. If you haven't received the recipes, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send them to you. I tried to remember everyone who wanted one, but in case I missed you, let me know. (I'm especially going to send one to you, Celia. There's no sense letting you get away with all those fauxmade dinners if the rest of us can't.)
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
I think I am one of the luckiest guys around because I found the partner that has the exact combination of characteristics to bring me the greatest happiness. Because I only knew Stie for only a short time before we were married, I did not or could not know the perfection of the match. I wish I could say that I had foresight and wisdom when I asked Christie to marry me, but I can’t…it was truly divine intervention that guided our decision. I will be eternally grateful that I acted on that intuition or inspiration, whatever you want to call it.
When we started out, I had the unfortunate mixture of ambition and lack of vision. In other words, I really wanted to get somewhere in life as fast as possible but had no idea where. These traits often lead me to be frustrated and unsatisfied. However, even in the beginning, Stie always believed in me. And, strangely, she still does even in times when I don’t or when I don’t measure up. I am sure some have rolled their eyes at some of our crazy decisions (which also tend to be the most life changing), but Stie can make anything work and is always 100 percent.
Stie has come a long way. When I first met her, she hung around the same group of friends that she had since she was 5 years old. She lived in one house her entire life. She hadn’t traveled widely... her 10 day trip to Chicago was the furthest she had ever been (she considered herself a native of Chicago for years after that trip). Our first move was a huge adjustment for her, it was difficult to navigate new areas, find new friends, and just feel comfortable…and we moved less than 15 miles away from her house.
Fourteen years later, I’ve lost count on the number of times we’ve moved but we’ve lived in 5 states, each in regions of the country that couldn’t be more different. But Stie has thrived! She has an uncanny ability to quickly acclimate to new situations and adapt to any social circumstances without being awkward. People are drawn to her because she is fun, authentic, and puts their needs above hers. She’s not the most “churchy” person I know, but she is one of the most Christian.
Stie manages all this while not being overwhelmed by her near single-parent status. I, fortunately, have found (through trial and error) a direction and career that I really enjoy and brings me satisfaction. Unfortunately for Stie, it requires significant demands of time which lead to sacrifice. There are months (like right this one) where I spend nights at the Marriott than at home. There are also times when I am home, but am not really there. Stie’s sheer capacity and ability to organize makes our house a place that I want to come home to. I attribute our kids’ cheerful dispositions and well-adjusted natures to the happy atmosphere Stie creates in our home. She is so strong and independent; I have learned to never underestimate her will.
Now, Stie has some crazy quirks, which I will continue to tease her about (you never know, maybe those will be the subject of another special blog post). But she is truly the most accomplished woman I know. She is beautiful, Stie gets even prettier as time goes on…I love having her as my trophy wife. I am so happy that she chooses to stay with me and creates calm out of the chaos that is my life. I would be lost without Stie. I love her more than I can tell her…but I should tell her more.
- She is filthy rich.
- She was married to Brad Pitt and has probably - at the very least - seen him with his shirt off.
- She has not had a bad hair day since 1994.
- She looks absolutely perfect in a bikini.
- She probably has a personal chef, trainer, stylist, and multiple maids come every day.
- She has no children who would prevent her from flying around the world at a minute's notice in her private jet.
- She has paparazzi photographing her every move.
- She is an award-winning actress who is constantly challenged by new roles.
- She is sought after by men around the world.
- She has the strength and willpower to give up eating entirely in order to maintain her perfect body.
- She is not filthy rich, but spends her husbands money like she is.
- She was never married to Brad Pitt, has never seen him with his shirt off, but probably doesn't have to worry about her husband leaving her for Angelina.
- Every day she has a bad hair day.
- She looks positively hideous in a bikini.
- She is her own personal chef, trainer, stylist, and maid - every single day.
- She has three very loud children who prevent her from flying all around the world at a moment's notice in her imaginary jet (which she pretends looks a lot like Wonder Woman's invisible jet, complete with headband, lasso, and golden cuffs).
- She is hounded by paparazzi from the Gab Blog who are seeking exclusive interviews.
- She tries to channel her inner actress when coming up with new excuses for getting out of tea time with the elderly woman next door every day.
- She is stalked at the grocery store by only desperate or handicapped men.
- She maintains the strength and willpower to continue eating on behalf of all the anorexic starlets who cannot, and she embraces her very imperfect body in spite of this.
So who would you rather be? Please don't be honest.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Salsa chicken burritos
Put frozen chicken breasts (boneless skinless) in your crockpot. I used 3-4 breasts. Dump in one jar of bottled salsa (Lisa uses Pace Picante medium. I went with the mild due to the wimpiness of the taste buds around here).
Fill the empty jar about halfway with water to rinse it out and add it to the crockpot.
Let it cook on low all day. The chicken falls apart and is so tender and flavorful. Pull it apart with a fork. Serve on warm tortillas with cheese and sour cream (or whatever toppings you want).
My children DEVOURED this and begged for seconds, even though they could see tomatoes, onions, and peppers. (Take that, Jessica Seinfeld!)
That has never before happened in the history of the world.
And that, dear internets, is why she won (that and the absolute simplicity of her no-fail, little effort entry that embodies my cooking skills completely).
**If you want the rest of the recipes, email me. I'm still waiting to hear back from the senders with their permission before I send any more out. I will compile them into one file and happily email you the recipes, rather than post them here. I got a TON. And they were all just awesome.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I must tell you what a difficult decision it was. EVERYTHING you all sent me was so good. There was diet pepsi chicken (awesome!); Brittney's chicken with rosemary, lemon, and bacon; chicken and dumplings; lasagna; chicken picatta; and Jessica's flank steak, to name a few. My family has been in heaven for the last two months. And I have had an ever-ready stack of recipes from which to feed them.
I cannot tell you how happy you have made the Husband. He thanks you from the very bottom of his heart.
But, a winner there must be, and so, without further adieu, the winner is --
Email me your address and I will send you a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com. This recipe was hands-down the favorite. My children ate them cheerfully, even though onions, tomatoes, and green chilies were clearly visible. That, my friend, is no easy task. Plus, they were super easy and so, so good.
To everyone who played along - many thanks.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Other than a karma-destroying incident on the airplane (which I won't speak of here), the flight was pretty uneventful. When we arrived in Boston, we found out that our moving truck would be several days late. We had nothing to do. And two active boys that had already watched "The Fishy Show" [A.K.A. The Little Mermaid] about 9,654 times. So we decided to go sightseeing.
I had always wanted to go to Salem and see the sights, especially Nathanial Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables. It was about a 20-minute tour, and seemed doable with two adults to handle the boys.
Oh. If ONLY I had known.
Our tour began in the small, cramped living room of the House. While the tour guide was giving a background on the illustrious Nathanial Hawthorne, I noticed a peculiar stench. No, it was not the musky, moldy scent of a 400 year old house. That would have been pleasant in comparison.
The smell was coming from Chase's diaper.
I panicked, but knew that if I took him out to change it, we would lose our spot on the tour and not be able to get back. I figured it was only 20 minutes. He'd be okay, right? Sure, it's embarrassing, but what are you going to do?
Colossal mistake of huge proportions.
Right about that time, the tour guide was letting us know that all the artifacts in the home are original and so delicate that flash photography was not allowed, in order to preserve the authenticity of the historic house. I glanced down and noticed McKay pulling the curtains over his head.
Oh, this probably isn't good. I ought to pick him up and just carry him, I thought.
As I reached down to scoop him up into my arms, he gave those curtains a mighty tug, and snapped the built-in curtain rod RIGHT OFF THE WALL. You know, the one Nathanial probably BUILT HIMSELF.
So I'm trying to hold this wiggly child, and at the same time, I've got Nathanial Hawthorne's curtains on top of my head. I'm pulling the curtains off and I hear the tour guide yell, "STOP EVERYTHING! NOBODY MOVE. STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!"
I lift the curtains up sheepishly to face the angry and annoyed looks from the other people on our tour. By now, Chase's stench is stifling any and all remaining life out of the room.
The tour guide returns with the head of the museum and they begin to study the broken curtain rod to determine any restitution I would have to make. Poor Marta is holding the toxic-smelling Chase. McKay is wiggling and squirming to try and get out of my arms. My cheeks are hot and flushed, and the tears are threatening to spill over at any moment. Every eye in the room is glaring at me.
They finally decide that they will not make me pay for the damages and suggest in a less-than-friendly tone that we leave the tour.
Which we did.
Running and crying as fast as we could.
So the House of Seven Gables now has blinds where curtains once stood. My son has the lifelong honor of knowing he defaced a National Historic Landmark. I was shamed beyond anything I have ever known - before or since.
And I will fully understand if Marta never, ever wants to have children.
Top that, if you can.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Well. Don't even get me started.
But since I am already started, here is a little peek at what has worked for us. It may not work for you or your kids, but seems to have struck a cord with mine. We've been doing a variation of these same job charts for about three years and the kids still diligently follow them.
I made these job charts out of foam board -I got two posters and cut each one in half, then drew the lines on with a Sharpie. Don't those straight lines just bring a little bit of pleasure into your heart? No?
Okay, then. Just me.
I used stickers for the kids' names and days of the week (covering with a large strip of packing tape to protect them). Each child has a chart of their very own:
And for my child who is just learning to read, her jobs also have wooden cutout pictures next to them so she knows what to do. I got all the cutouts and pieces in the little wooden aisle at Michaels. Very cheap. Very cute. Very easy.
Now, before we go on, I must pause and explain something. BY NO MEANS do they clean the bathroom to my standard. But if they wipe the toothpaste out of the sink and off the mirror, then I can function until I clean the bathroom myself, which is about once a week. All of the jobs are simple and easily accomplished by even the youngest member of the family. I feel good because it teaches them responsibility, and helps me out a lot.
I used Velcro on the back of all the wooden pieces. Make sure to not put the same type of Velcro on both the wooden piece and your poster. They won't stick that way. Not that I'd know anything about that. Ahem.
I keep the job charts on the inside doors of our pantry in the kitchen (also attached with Velcro in case I want to change them out or bring them with us on an upcoming move - which in our case, seems to have been about every year. [Hopefully not anymore]).
Here is a full view. Thank you in advance for not commenting on the disorganized and cluttered pantry. Don't worry - it's on my to-do list.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
By a man. Yes, really.
No, I was not wearing a ski mask.
No, he was not obviously mentally challenged, unlike this time.
A man approached me and we started talking. He was tall, fit, in his 40s, had a full head of hair, and was pretty attractive. He told me his name was Mike. Asked me all kinds of questions about myself - where I was from, what I do for work, where I work out, what religion I am, how many kids I have. The conversation veered around all sorts of strange and wandering topics.
It was an annoyingly lengthy conversation. I kept looking around, thinking we'd part ways soon, but he kept at it with the questions. Finally, all topics exhausted, he asked for my phone number.
Now, mind you, I had told him of my three beautiful children, and my strong, virile husband (okay, maybe didn't mention the strong, virile part) but he was fully aware of my current marital status. I laughed, told him thanks, but no thanks.
"But are you REALLY happily married? REALLY?"
Even when he told me how he wished I was single because I was GORGEOUS (I'm really not making this up, he actually said that), I was not the least bit tempted. I only have eyes for one man, and that's
So I smiled, wished him good luck on his lady-finding quest, and walked away.
There were several obvious red flags with this man, even if I was single. First, what is he doing at the grocery store in the middle of the day instead of being at work? And not only was he at the grocery store, but he was hitting on women at the grocery store. Not to mention the fact that he wasn't the least bit bothered by trying to seduce me out of my marriage. Clearly, this would not be a good guy to hook up with.
But the point of this is that SOMEONE HIT ON ME. Maybe it happens to you all the time, but it never happens to me.
It made my whole day.
And I ran right out to the car, called the husband at work, and bragged and laughed through the story that could have begun my wild affair.
So now for a few weeks, when I go out shopping, I will feel a little less like this:
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Through his red, weepy eyes, McKay scratched a hive, sniffed, and said, "I think I might be allergic, too."
We spent the morning crying, hugging our beloved Casey, then drove two hours to Maine to return her to the excellent "breeder". It was horrible. Probably one of the worst days I've ever had as a mother. I mean, who gives their kids a puppy and then takes it away?
Well, I've had the tug on my heartstrings for a dog ever since our Thanksgiving weekend with Tango and Little Dog. For some unknown reason, I just ache for a puppy. I know they're a lot of work. I know they pee and poo all over everything. I know they eat shoes.
I. CAN'T. HELP. MYSELF. I love them.
So I get it all in my head that if we had a "real" goldendoodle, maybe McKay would be all right. After five hours on the internet (that resulted in my not showering until after the husband came home from work - gross!), and discussions with several reputable breeders, I have come to one simple conclusion:
We just can't have a dog.
The goldendoodles and labradoodles go through about 12 to 15 coat changes in the first year alone. There is no guarantee when they get their permanent coat that it will be hypoallergenic. McKay could react two days into it, two months into it, or a year into it. The hypoallergenic-ness really only has been effective for people with mild allergies. Which he is not.
I cannot bear the thought of sending another dog back, and so I am trying really hard to make peace with our fate.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
- Shower before seven p.m.
- NOT spend five hours browsing the internet in search of a dog we can't have.
- Finish the laundry I started yesterday (but didn't finish because I spent five hours browsing the internet for a dog we can't have. WHY do I want one so bad?).
- Find really good excuse to not hang out with the elderly woman from next door who keeps inviting me on outings. Ideas, anyone?
- Help in Hannah's class today and not get stuck by the boy who tells me each week how much he loves her and how pretty he thinks she is.
- NOT make or eat cookie dough.
Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
Monday, January 7, 2008
- Burning a hole in my son's brand new church pants with the iron before he's even worn them.
- Having to replace my son's new church pants that I JUST BOUGHT.
- Monday mornings.
- Four bathrooms that somehow have pee on every toilet seat.
- Having a rock flip up and crack the windshield of my car no less than three weeks after replacing it BECAUSE OF ANOTHER ROCK.
- Weight training.
- My brother Dan.
- Hannah finding my secret stash of protein bars and eating all the best ones.
- Dry cleaners that come to your house (who will now be responsible for the boys' Sunday pants)
- My new mudroom (and the fact that I haven't stepped on a coat or pair of shoes for four days now).
- The cardinal sitting on the tree outside my window.
- Sunshine on my shoulder (makes me happy...).
- Quoting John Denver songs in a blog post.
- A projected high of 71 degrees today.
- Having the willpower to throw away the leftover cookies instead of eating them.
- My brother Dan.
- New moisturizer from Origins (Thanks, Holly!).
- Bryan Peterson photography books.
- Diet coke on a Monday morning.
- A new, pretty calendar for 2008.
- Baby clipboards.
- Happy, healthy babies.
Friday, January 4, 2008
My eye twitching and Tourette's-like swearing made it clear to us that the current organizational system wasn't working.
So what to do? Well, first The Husband was home for the long holiday vacation with not much work to do. He starts by tearing out the old hooks and shelves:
He draws up some plans, gets all the supplies, and starts to build some new lockers and shelves. I have seen his work before and do not doubt his vision, even if he won't let me touch the hammer or drill, no matter how much I beg. I guess I am content to be just the apprentice/laborer:
After two days, some paint, and about six trips to Home Depot, I now have this new piece of organizational bliss. There is plenty of shoe space at the bottom. Each child has a locker (designated by their initial) and on either side of the lockers are a set of shelves where I can put things.
Like chocolate. Or money. Or buried treasure I find out in the backyard.
The point is -- I have somewhere to put things! Yay me!
There are days I might consider selling The Husband. Today is not one of them.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
I will not eat so much cookie dough.
I will not stop exercising, even though there is nothing on my TIVO because of the writer's strike.
I will not ignore the books on my nightstand anymore.
I will not start smoking.
I will not spend so much of my husband's hard-earned money on cheap plastic things at Target.
I will not criticize myself.
I will not compare myself to others.
I will not be afraid of learning Photoshop CS3 (especially if I can somehow learn how to erase all my freckles from pictures).
I will not say stupid substitute curse words like "frick" and "shite" anymore. (I can't promise I won't say the real ones instead, however).
I will not kill Sir-Croaks-A-Lot on purpose.
I will not expect perfection of myself or others.
So how about you? What are you NOT going to do this year?
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Did I forget because it was at the near-end of our journey, on the way home, and I was too busy basking in the glow of incredible fun we'd had together?
I think I am probably still reeling from the trauma of the illegal U-turn made on the freeway -- not once -- but TWICE for this blessed event. Perhaps I was just trying to block it out and never think of it again.
So what was this most special part of our weekend that all of the internet must know about?
Yeah, that's it.
While I am definitely awed at the sight of a bald eagle in the wild, I am afraid that my fear for our safety during the aforementioned two illegal freeway U-turns clouded my appreciation for nature of this sort.
Call me a wimp, but death by 18-wheeler just so I can catch a glimpse of a bald eagle isn't really a good trade off.
But that's just me.