Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I Could Have So Easily Overlooked This...

Today I found something extraordinary in the mundane; a nugget that was nearly overlooked amidst the chaos of my morning routine.

I was in the bathroom, getting ready for work - straightening my hair and running late, as usual. Bumblebee had the lid down on the toilet and was sitting on it, flipping through a book her teacher gave her for Christmas and chattering away at me.

I'm not a morning person. God help me, but I think that talk in general should be prohibited until I'm at least halfway through my second cup of coffee. My youngest child, however, does not share my disdain for the early hours. She is a chatterbox in the mornings. Sometimes this incessant chatter gets in the way of my mental to do list in the mornings, and, though it shames me, I'll admit it: I become annoyed. This morning, Bumblebee kept talking on and on and - Oh for the love of GOD - on and on. Annoyed and hurried though I was, I didn’t say anything to her to discourage the talk, and I didn't ask her to leave the bathroom so I could finish getting ready in peace. And thank God for that.

The Boy was running around the house getting ready for school, doing his morning dog chores. I kept occasionally calling out to him to keep him on task. I had a particularly stubborn section of hair that didn’t want to behave, no matter how I used the flat iron or what kind of product I used. When I tried to work on the errant piece of hair, the cord of the flat iron knocked over my hair spray. Argh. I was frustrated. You know, typical getting ready in the morning routine. And all the while, the sound of Bumblebee’s voice was in the background.

I sighed. Decided that maybe today was a good ponytail day. And then I froze as I realized what was happening. If I could have gotten a magic remote control and stopped life for a moment, this would have been a good scene.

Bumblebee was reading me the book her teacher gave her. She wasn’t just looking through the pages and reciting cherished lines that have been memorized for years - this was an unfamiliar book. She was actually sounding out the letters and reading about a penguin who asks Santa to let him fly.

B: “Fuh - luh - eeee. Flea?”
Me: “No, the ‘y’ makes the ‘eye’ sound in that word.”
B: “Fuh – luh – eye. Fluh-eye. FLY!”

She was really reading. What an amazing event to witness. In the midst of my crazy morning, I tried to reflect upon the moment so that I could sear this memory into my brain, this event that could have gotten overlooked if I’d have succumbed to my irritation and frenzy. I wonder how many other monumental moments I have missed in the hustle of everyday living. For me, this is a wake up call to try and be more aware of my surroundings. Because that kid’s only going to be in Kindergarten and learning to read for a blink of an eye.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Looking for Things to Do?

I always get a good giggle out of obvious errors made on news websites. I have an eye for catching these published blunders, and my friend Webgal and I often email them to each other just for the chuckle.

The one I found yesterday was especially good. It was the leading story in the 'Things to Do' section of the news.

The headline reads: Ames Victims Were Stabbed to Death.
So...if you're looking for things to do, would you like to be the stabber or the stabee?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This Will Be Worth it When I'm Ripped... Right??

Ouch.

Pain.

Soreness.

Hurts to breathe. Yeah, I mean it.

I am not new to exercise. I run regularly and have been doing so for about two years now, though I'll admit that I'm slow and only go 3-4 miles at a time. I also walk. A lot, and have done that for a long time now. And yet, those last fifteen pounds are still stuck on me like the jelly that is always on my counter tops since The Boy began making his own sack lunch for school.

I haven’t found that magic pill to lose weight, though I hear it has something to do with restricting the amount of cupcakes, cookies, bread, and fried stuff that I shove into my mouth. Since that food restriction thing isn't working out so well for me, I figured I’d also work on building muscle strength. Cardio is something I enjoy and do frequently. Strength exercises, not so much. We joined a gym and Hollywood and I decided to take a kickboxing class. It meets at 5:30 a.m., and is a giant pain to wake up for, but that’s another gripe for a different day. The class was hyped as a mix of cardio and strength training. And it’s only 45 minutes long, so I figured why not? I can do just about anything for 45 minutes.

Or so I thought.

Monday was our first class. We jabbed and hooked and upper-cutted and crossed. We did some kicks and squats and jumpy things. I tried to beat the snot out of the bag, but my punches were ineffectual and weak. It still felt good, even if it looked wimpy. Then we did a ton of ab work. My abs have all the strength of a six pack:


– of PEEPS. Soft, squishy and marshmallowy. Yep- that describes my abs. So I wasn’t real keen on doing a ton of ab work. But I powered through.

And we survived the first class.

Until yesterday. When it hurt to breathe. I’m not kidding. Apparently we have muscles that line our rib cage in our back. Google tells me that they’re called the Latissimus dorsi muscles, which I believe is Latin for 'don't eff with me or you'll be sorry'. I didn’t even know they existed, but was acutely aware of them all day yesterday. When I sneezed once, I almost fainted from the pain.

Thank God for Advil and a good night’s sleep. Today they are only faintly sore. So, we piled our sleepy selves into the car at 5:15 this morning and went to torture session class #2.

It started out innocently enough. Again with the punches and the kicks. And aside from me screwing up the order almost every time we did them, I did mostly ok. Then we did more ab work, some push ups, and finally, this horrible thing that almost killed me…

Here’s an illustration of it:


You have to lean against a wall and squat down until your legs make a 90 degree angle and just hold the position as if there’s an invisible chair there. It looks easy, but holy mother of Cheetos, it hurts. We had to hold the pose for a minute and a half and I seriously thought I would die. I’ve seen it on The Biggest Loser. As I sat on my couch with a bowl of cereal in my lap, I'd scoff at the contestants who always seemed to wimp out doing this particular exercise. Pfft. That looks easy, I'd think and tuck another pillow beneath me. I remember seeing Jillian screaming into the faces of exhausted contestants as they cried while doing this pose. Now I know why. This morning's class knocked that smugness clear off my chubby little face.

I left the class with shaky legs, but no worries... It was so cold outside (-4) that the rest of me was shaking along with the legs in no time.

Oh, and Hollywood’s experience with all of this?

No pain. Only complaints that she could only do seven “real” push ups before going to her knees. (I did one. And it was half-assed.) God how I wish I had the body of a 15 year old again.

Friday, December 12, 2008

From the Archives...

I'm taking a trip down memory lane today. I'm going through the five years of pictures that I have stored on my PC and am uploading them to web albums as a backup. While doing this, I found the video below. I've never seen this video before - Hollywood took it on her birthday two years ago. That's her horrible messy room in the background. But oh my gosh, how cute is Bumblebee?! Her tiny little 3-year-old voice is so adorable! And look how little she was!



I should be cleaning my house since my awesome mother-in-law is coming to stay with the kids while The Husband and I go to St. Paul for his company's holiday party this weekend. (See how I did that? I called her awesome so that she won't care about the mess... No really, she is awesome. I'm not kidding!) Instead of cleaning, I'm glued to these old photos and videos that I'm archiving. Oh well. She's seen the mess before, and at least I got the sheets and blankets washed on our bed!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

At Least it Wasn't a Photo of Paula Abdul...

I had lunch today with a friend. Seated in a table near us, was a man sitting alone, drinking coffee and mumbling softly to himself. While we were eating, he showed us an article he had printed off of a computer website. It had a large picture of Clint Eastwood on it. “See this article on Clint Eastwood?” He said.

My friend and I looked at each other for a split second, acknowledging the awkwardness, but we both politely nodded our heads yes to him. The man then said, “He’s been in a lot of movies, hasn’t he?”

I said yes, he had, and then my friend and I continued with our conversation. While we lunched, the man continued to mumble to himself and he showed the article to another couple of ladies seated close by. Their reaction was identical to ours. At one point, the man started gesturing wildly and shouted loudly at someone across the restaurant. “HEY ED! ED!” he called, waving his arm until the man waved back at him.

I was pretty sure that he was just lonely, wanting someone to talk to. But I’ll be honest. He made me nervous. My overactive imagination started thinking of the headlines: Woman Shot By Clint Eastwood Stalker Man at Bagel Shop. Family Says Christmas Won’t Be the Same Without Her. I hope my family would say that. Well, and not mean that it’d be a better Christmas for them… But I’m drifting off course here.

Focus.

I wasn’t rude to the man – I am obsessively polite to strangers. I looked him in the eye and nodded to him, and agreed that, yes, Clint Eastwood has indeed been in a lot of movies. So why do I feel like I let the guy down somehow? It seems like I did the poor guy a disservice because I was getting all itchy sitting there by him. There was a small part of me that was honestly worried that he’d go off his rocker and pull out a gun. The Husband would totally roll his eyes at me for having this thought in the first place, he thinks I worry about and over analyze everything. (Should I worry that he thinks that about me?) But seriously, you guys, this stuff happens. Remember the guy who opened fire at a Von Maur in Omaha last year around this time? I was sitting in that booth chatting with my friend about work, but all the while, my mind was whirling in a million directions, always keeping track of that guy’s movements.

After we left, I started to feel guilty for those thoughts. How horrible for me to suspect violence or craziness from this guy who probably doesn’t have many friends. Isn’t it sad that I jumped to those conclusions just because he wanted to talk to us about Clint Eastwood?

I tend to think of myself as a positive person, but my recent glass half empty post and now this don’t support that claim very well, do they?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

TINTINTS Thursday

My pal Mom In Scrubs came up with TINTINTS Thursday. TINTINTS stands for things I never thought I'd need to say... And it's a great blog feature idea.

So here's mine for today. A quote from me, last night at dinner time:

"Bumblebee, I'm not going to say it again... quit coloring on the sliding glass door with your chap-stick and sit down to eat your dinner!"

Monday, December 1, 2008

False Hope or Positive Thinking

I was texting Hollywood earlier about her basketball game tonight.

H: The game’s at 6.

Me: Great. We’ll be there!

H: Ok, but be warned: We’re going to lose.

Me: That’s not a good attitude! Confidence, girl!

H: So false hope is better than the truth?

Me: tsk, tsk

H: You know I’m right

Me: No, I’m always the right one, remember?

H:(always wanting the last word, even while texting…) Not quite.

It could have gone on forever, but hey, I only have 500 texts a month!

Anyway… This textversation made me wonder… Lately, I’ve been contemplating some rather deep issues, and this notion of false hope vs. optimism has entered my mind more than once.

Is it better to have an ‘anything is possible’ ‘CAN DO!’ attitude? Even when the odds are stacked so high against you that you can’t see over them?

Or… is it best to be realistic and accept that you may not be able to change the inevitable?

Does the ‘can do’ attitude beget success where the ‘realistic’ attitude dooms you to failure? Or are the 'anything is possible' folks disappointed all the time?

I’m not sure. Some days I’m a glass half full person. But other days I’m not. I'm split, depending on the day and the situation.

The Husband once had a professor in college who gave a lecture about positive thinking. Her mantra was that if you thought hard enough about it and truly believed it would happen, then whatever you wanted would come to pass. TH asked her if he truly believed that there’d be a front row parking spot at the mall on Black Friday, then would it really happen? Her answer was yes.

I don’t know, though… I just can’t accept that. I get that you should build up that 'you can do anything' message to your kids. (which is why I tsk, tsked Hollywood for thinking they'll lose tonight...) I think a person can accomplish many things with sheer determination. But anything you want just by believing in it? I just don't know... Life is messy. Some things aren’t changeable, no matter how hard you try to make the outcome different. I tend to think it’s best to be realistic and prepared. I’d love to be convinced otherwise, though, because the optimistic, Can Do! spirit is so much more cheerful. Anyone know of any good reading about this subject? I'd love to know your thoughts...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Why I Love Thanksgiving Reason # 39

Picture of Bumblebee cracking eggs into a bowl while we make our Thanksgiving pies:


And also... what the rest of the fam is doing while we work our fingers to the bone making these pies:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Catching Snowflakes on her Tongue

On Saturday, we got our first measurable snowfall. I was full of dread when I saw it. Immediately, I thought with dread of the nasty things that winter brings: icy, dangerous roads; stressful shopping trips amid crowds of grouchy people; teeth-chattery cold; that howling wind that makes it's way through all seven layers of clothing, no matter what you're wearing; pitch darkness at 5 p.m., and so on...

Thankfully, my pessimism wasn't infectious. Bumblebee squealed with delight at the sight of the snow falling. She ran outside and caught snowflakes on her tongue:

Her optimism made me rethink my stance on the snow falling outside. I began to mentally check off the wonderful things about winter: snuggling up on the couch in front of a crackly fire while reading a good book; making hot chocolate and Christmas cookies; spending long days with family drinking wine and eating fabulous food; wearing fuzzy socks and soft sweat pants; and snuggling under warm blankets with wiggly kids.

The fact that my knee-jerk reaction to the snow was negative made me think. When did I stop enjoying the little things in life? Why did the sight of beautiful, fat snowflakes fill me with dread? I had nowhere to go and for once, a completely free day on my hands. I decided to take a cue from Bumblebee, and I caught a few of those snowflakes on my tongue. Then I snuggled up in front of my fireplace with a good book and a nice hot cup of hazelnut coffee. And I stayed there. For the entire day.

Winter's inevitability isn't all bad...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

N-E-G-L-E-C-T

N-E-G-L-E-C-T, find out what it means to me....

(sung, of course, to the tune of Ms. Franklin's Respect.)

***

I have neglected my blog lately. This is the busiest time of year for me at work, and with these scary economic times, Giant Ass Bank is not hiring, and therefore those of us who have not left the company for greener pastures are doing more work with fewer people to help. The kids are as active as ever. The Boy and Hollywood are both in basketball, so add that to their other activities and Monnik’s taxi service is in full swing. Also, it gets dark so damned early that I want to flop into bed as soon as I get home from work. I hate that!

I just haven’t been paying attention to the blog.

Writing ideas are still in my head (I'm dying to write up a post about the transvestite waitress we had at the diner in KC last weekend) and my kids are still being their adorable, goofy selves. It's just that the time to create blog posts just isn’t available. So, stay tuned, my friends. (HA! I sound like John McCain) I appreciate your readership and loyalty, even though I’ve been struggling to keep up with your blogs lately too. It will all get better soon, I promise.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fifteen

I didn't expect to have a baby when I was so young, but along she came, and The Husband and I were given a gift that has filled us with wonder and amazement for fifteen years now.

There were times when our immaturity as parents must have made our own mothers and fathers cringe. We learned how to parent the way everyone does - by trial and error. Mistakes were made along the way, but we did some things right too. We must have - because look at her now.

She's unbelievable:
Independent, intelligent, spirited, beautiful, confident, happy, brave.

And a million other things.

It hasn't been easy. Parenting is full of second-guessing yourself and wondering how even the smallest decision you make will impact your children. It's full of small disappointments and missteps. But the journey has also been full of proud moments, immense feelings of fulfillment, and love beyond understanding. We are blessed to have such an amazing daughter. Today she is fifteen. And we are so proud of the young woman she is becoming.

Happy Birthday Hollywood!


I'll write more about our fun weekend in KC later (we just got back). This is a drive by post to wish Hollywood a Happy 15th Birthday!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

We Made the Newspaper!

Check it out! Bumblebee and I were in the newspaper!

Excuse the wrinkles in the image. The Boy brought this home from school, so it was crammed in his backpack.

I didn't even know they took my picture!

The family's off to Kansas City this weekend. Hollywood's birthday is Sunday, so we're going shopping and to a Chief's game.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thoughtful Tuesday

Hey everyone. This is another 'Thoughtful Tuesday', where thoughtful is really just another way of saying word vomit. So buckle up!,

**

First off, I want to wish everyone who is a veteran, loves a veteran, has a crush on a veteran, or knows a veteran, Happy Veteran's Day. I appreciate the absolute selfless sacrifice veterans continue to give to this great country.

In a sort-of-related-to-Veteran's-Day tangent, I just got done reading a book called Miracle at St. Anna. I don't typically like war novels, but this one was given to The Husband by my mom for Christmas, and he recommended it. It was a haunting story, yet it was beautiful and interesting too. I believe there's a movie out (or coming out) based on the book. Might have to go see it.

**

I'm having a work from home day which in a perfect world, would mean that I could work in my pj's all day. But not today. I had The Boy and Bumblebee's Holiday Luncheon at the school today. It's where the school serves a Thanksgiving-ish dinner and invites the parents to come along and eat with the kids. It's also a good reminder of why I've been letting the kids bring cold lunch lately. Eesh. Here's a pic of Bumblebee dressed up as a Native American. The other Kindergarten class dressed as pilgrims. The Indian kids were supposed to wear brown. We got the brown pants down, but I realized that Bumblebee has no brown shirts. So she picked this one. What? You don't think little Yellow Bird here should be wearing a tie-dye shirt?

**

Papers are overtaking my home and giving me a panick attack. Seriously, the equivalent of a giant forest worth of trees is closing in on me as I type this. I feel like the victim in a cheesy horror flick - Attack of the Perilous Pile of Papers..... The piles of junk papers are closing in on me and soon I won't be albe to function. School papers come home with my kids by the thousands. Junk mail arrives in my mailbox by the truckload. Bills are everywhere. Seriously. I can turn my head every direction and see a stack of papers. Can't. Breathe. Must. De-clutter.

**

We're heading down to KC this weekend. Hollywood turns 15 on Sunday (ack!) and wants to go shopping at the Plaza. That's my kind of birthday present! Two of my brothers (and my new sis-in-law) live in KC, so we'll be hanging out with them. Should be a fun time.

**

I'm worried about my dog. She's getting old, has bad gas, resulting in the most foul smelling farts ever ripped on this planet, she has labored breathing sometimes (almost sounds like an asthma attack!), and she's losing her hair. All around her neck, you can see her skin. Here's a pic I just took of her.

See how cute she is? That's her 'Thanks for giving me a doggie treat' expression. And yeah, she looks pretty furry there, but you can't see where her hair is thinning in the picture. It's on the back of her neck. Do dogs get bald like people do when they get older? I probably just need to take her into the vet. She's about due for her checkup anyway, but I'm afraid of what they'll say. Ignorance is sometimes better, you know? She's been a part of our family for 9 1/2 years now, and I am worried that something serious is wrong with her.

**

We were supposed to get freezing rain today, but so far it's stayed above freezing where I live. Which is good. I'm not ready for the bad driving conditions (and all of the moron drivers who come out of the woodwork during the bad weather.)

**
A woman was accidentally ran over by a garbage truck downtown last week. It was near where my mom works, so I was at first worried that it was her (I always assume the worst!) but she was safe in North Carolina or somewhere, so that was good.

But I can't get thoughts of this accident out of my head. A friend of mine works with someone who saw the body and we got to talking about his account of the accident. The details of her death were horrific, and I'll spare you from them. But what I can't get out of my head is what was said about the truck driver. After the accident, he was apparently laying in the fetal position and sobbing. Completely devastated by the accident, as anyone would be. I ask that if you're the praying type, you pray for the family of the woman who lost her life and also for this poor man who will live with this horrible memory for the rest of his life.

**
My hip is bugging me again. Same old running injury I've had since high school track. Weird how it gets worse in cold weather. I'm going to stick to inside running on the boring old treadmill for a while and see if I can nurse it back to health. Last winter I used my bum hip as an excuse to get lazy, stop running for months, and gain 15 pounds. Not doing that this year. No sir.

**
Hmmm. some of that wasn't very uplifting. But that's life, I suppose. And, that's all I've got for now. Have a great week!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Laughter

I have a saying on the wall of my living room that says this:
The laughter of a child is the light of a home.
Isn't that the truth?

My brother got the photo proofs back from his wedding. While looking through the photos (there are a trillion of them!), I found a gem. I'm going to order the print and frame it because not only does it display the bond my son has with his uncle, but also that laughter is truly infectious. I can't look at this picture without laughing too.

So here's the scene - At the reception, The Boy was up at the sweetheart table talking to my brother and sis-in-law:


I have no idea what my brother said to The Boy, but apparently it was the funniest thing in the world. Here's the best picture ever:

If that won't make you smile on a cold and depressing Monday morning, I don't know what will...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Vacation Day Needed

I need a vacation day.

Work is too worky.

My house is too messy.

My calendar is too full.

I need a vacation day.

That's all.

(This embarrassingly banal post was brought to you by the letters B and D - for brain dead).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I just got back from an Obama rally. Nothing like spending your lunch hour with 25,000 of your closest friends while listening to the energy of Barack. That man sure knows how to speak and energize people.

I need to get some work done today, so no time to jabber, though my post earlier in the week did enough of that for an entire year. I'll leave you with these photos of the kids who went trick-or-treating last night. (We do trick or treating the day before Halloween here in Iowa. I have no idea why, so don't ask...)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kindergarten and the 'SH' Word

Bumblebee is learning her letters and what sounds they make. Every day, she will pause while saying a word and sound out the first letter to figure out what it starts with. “puh- puh- PARTY. Party starts with P!” She’ll exclaim.

Last night she was in a giggly mood and thought it was hysterical that she knew what letter the words ‘butt’ and ‘pee’ and ‘poop’ start with. Her eyes would get big and she’d say “Mom, I can sound out the BAD WORDS too!” I explained to her that 'butt', 'pee', and 'poop' weren’t bad words.

She paused for a moment and then said, “Momma, what letter makes the shhhh sound?”

I wondered where this was going, but I told her that it was a combination of the S and H letters.

In a hushed voice, she said, “I know another bad word that starts with S and H.”

Really? Of course you know what word I was thinking. But I was surprised that it would come to her mind. I asked her what word she meant?

“I’m not allowed to say it.” She said.

I gave her permission and told her to say it softly.

“Are you sure you won’t be mad?” she asked.

I was sure.

“Ok…” pause. “Well… the word {in a loud whisper} shut up starts with S and H.”

I had to stifle a laugh. So I said, “You’re right. Those aren’t good words. But they do start with S and H.”

“Yep. You should always say ‘shush-it’ instead.”

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What I've Been Up To...

I've said it before, many times, and far less eloquently, but this phrase sums it all up:
The love of a family is life's greatest blessing.
It's been a very, very busy week.

It started last weekend with my sister-in-law's bachelorette party. We had fun. Too much of it. I could elaborate, but will instead keep the pact of the sisterhood and remain silent. It was a great time, as you can tell from the smiles on our faces in this picture (eek, those booth photos are not flattering):


The next day we were hurting as we gathered to do the decorations for the wedding. I had no voice and felt like microwaved cat barf.

It went downhill from there. I had a week long off-site meeting for work. It involved presentations and microphones which only echoed my squeaks. My voice was not to return until Friday. In addition to my voice being gone, I began to cough. And cough. And cough some more. I was not well. Finally went to the doctor and got some antibiotics and some wacky cough medicine. The cough syrup gave me the bed spins and really bad dreams.

On Wednesday, my sister-in-law made 225 caramel apples for the wedding. I went over to her place to help wrap them after work. They took her forever to make, but they truly were the hit of the reception - they turned out amazing and were tasty too. (I should know - I've had two of them today!)

Thursday night was the rehearsal dinner. It was great to see the family all together, and we had a nice time. While we were at the reception, my mom got the news that she'd gotten the Director position at her work. I'm so happy for her! We enjoyed the rehearsal dinner, and the men stayed out after the women went home to bed.

Friday was the wedding. Sister-in-law #1 went with me to the reception hall to help decorate. It was chaos and we weren't able to help much. But we tried. Then we went home and got ready for the wedding.

The wedding was beautiful. My brother and sister-in-law are a great match, and the event was perfect. I took very few pictures because I was too busy and I just didn't think to take any. Bumblebee was the flower girl and she did a great job.

The reception was fun, though the DJ's dance music was questionable at first. Bumblebee enjoyed dancing with her daddy:


And then she and The Boy passed out while the grownups kept the party going:

We finally dragged ourselves home at about midnight because Hollywood and I had a race to run in the morning.

The race was great. I still wasn't feeling well, but my friend webgal was running it and I wanted to run with her. She finished the couch to 5K program and this was her first 5K to run in, so I knew I couldn't miss it. We met up and ran the race. Webgal did such an awesome job! She beat me by at least a few minutes. Here's a pic of us before the race:

After the race, we met up with my mother-in-law, father-in-law, and aunt-in-law for lunch. MIL is a breast cancer survivor, so they all walked the race too. It was great to celebrate her victory over cancer with the walk and a nice lunch. Here's a pic of us after lunch. I love how you can see aunt-in-law in the background taking the pic!

After the lunch, I met up with my extended family on my Dad's side to tailgate at an Iowa State football game. We had a great time, lots of food, family, and fun. My uncle Mike did a lot of smack talking before our game of bean bag toss, and though I gave it my all, he did end up kicking my ass in the game. You can bet that I'll be practicing my bean bag toss all year so I can win the rematch in 2009.

Here's a pic of the crew. Crazy bunch, aren't we? (See all of those blue stickers? They're Obama stickers!!)
Hollywood hung out with my cousin who is six days younger than she is:

Bumblebee found a friend and they played together for hours. As you can see, they had a blast, though I did have to pull three slivers out of her hand today:

The Boy was a bit more low key - he enjoyed the tailgate party in usual Boy fashion, by playing his DS in the back of my dad's truck:


We returned home, exhausted, and I went to bed early. Today I am not ashamed to say that I haven't moved far from the couch all day. It's been a crazy week. I'm looking forward to a bit of a down week in the days ahead.

Congratulations to my brother K and his new bride D. We love you both very much!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm Still Alive!

This has been a crazy week.

My little brother gets married tonight so things have been busy.

I've also been sick and super swamped with work. So that doesn't help.

I'll be back soon, I promise!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Funny

Ok, so this totally has me giggling like a maniac. I told you I was sleep deprived. My sense of humor falls to a seven or eight year old level when I'm tired.

My friend webgal sent me this - she found it on msnbc.com's pictures of the week series. I can't stop giggling at it.

Am I an immature dumbass? Sure. But it's still funny as hell.

This is What Happens When I'm Sleep Deprived

I have a tendency of blurting out my thoughts without considering the impact of them.

Our bathroom on the sixth floor of this Giant Ass Bank building has, um, ventilation problems... Because of this, people bring in those obnoxious air freshener sprays to try and mask the scent of people doing their business at their business. (ha!)

This morning, I was hurrying to the bathroom after a meeting when the smell of artificial cinnamon spray hit me like a brick in the face several feet outside of the door to the bathroom. My stomach lurched - I'm very sensitive to smells. As I came into the restroom, I saw someone exiting a stall. Instead of nodding a friendly hello, I blurted out, complete with a nose plug gesture, “Whoo-eeeee! You can smell that crap all the way out in the hallway!”

Let me be clear here: I was referring to the air freshener.

The woman in the bathroom gave me a look of horror mixed with embarrassment. She didn’t even respond. That’s when I realized that she must have just gotten done (insert crude bowel movement euphemism here) in there and thought I was referring to the actual smell of crap.

After she washed her hands in record time and flew out of the bathroom, I couldn’t stifle my giggle. Oops. When will I ever learn that silence is golden?


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Whew...

I'm so glad the debates are over.

Watching John McCain makes me itchy and squirmy.

I'll write a real post later. But that's I've got for now.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wave of Light


I found this wave of light image on Tiffany's blog today. Thought I'd place it on mine too.

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Memorial Day. If you know someone who's lost a baby, send up a prayer for them today, will you? Those prayers and the amazing support of family and friends saved me when I was in the depths of despair after losing Joseph, and it's what makes me count my blessings today.

If you're interested, here's a link to an old post that sums up how losing a baby changed my life.

I'm comforted that there's an official day set aside to help people who are grieving for their lost babies. I hope it gives people who are in that really sad, dark place right now some comfort.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Race for the Cure


Hollywood and I are running the Race for the Cure on October 25th. We did it last year, and it looks as though it will become a yearly tradition.

The proceeds of the race support breast cancer research, and like most people, our family has been affected by this terrible disease. This year it hit especially close to home, so we decided we'd make t-shirts to wear on race day to honor our loved ones who have fought (and survived) breast cancer.

I'm going to wear a shirt honoring my Grandma Viv:


Hollywood will wear one to honor her Grandma Di:


We'll be so proud to wear these shirts during the race in honor of our beloved breast cancer survivors and all of those affected by breast cancer.

If you're interested in making a donation to this very worthy cause, you can click the pink ribbon image on my right sidebar and it will bring you to a pledge page.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I'll Have Nightmares About This...

Oh my gosh. This is so disturbing on many, many levels (it's totally work safe):


click here

It combines two things that I have serious mental issues with. Feet and aquarium fish.

(I'm in the fetal position, rocking back and forth... Find a happy place, find a happy place....)

*shudder*

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Different Way to "Sock" it to Him

Does this make me a bad mom?

I told The Boy that he had to carry the dirty socks that he left in the family room upstairs to the laundry room - holding the socks to his nose the entire way. I considered making him stuff them in his mouth, but figured they were hazardous to his health, so I was lenient and made him sniff them instead.

Hopefully he will think back on this fond memory the next time he gets the urge to play his X-Box in his bare feet.

For the Greater Good?

I just got back from lunch with a former co-worker who quit her job here at Giant Ass Bank and went to Ghana on a volunteer mission trip for 5 months. She just returned to the states, had amazing stories to tell, and is inspiring as hell.

I realize that I have a family and a life that moves a thousand miles a minute in every different direction, and that my choices for volunteerism may be limited. But still... seeing my friend made me wonder if I'm doing the right kinds of things with my life.

I am raising a family, and I have respectful, mostly well-mannered children. That's the most important job in the world for me. But couldn't I do more meaningful things with my life, and in the process teach my children the importance of philanthropy and pursuing activities that have true meaning?

I support the United Way campaigns by donating money with each paycheck. I tithe at church and know that some of that is helping those in need. But that's not very much in the grand scheme of things. Working in a cube all day for Giant Ass Bank isn't helping out my community. Sure, it's a great, flexible job that I'm lucky to have in today's economic environment. With each dismal report on the economy, especially in the financial sector, I'm extremely thankful to have my job. But what if I could do something that helped others and paid the bills?

I might not be in the position to do what my friend did and take off for Africa for five months, but I want to do something more. Maybe it's not a career change, I might just need to find a cause and help support it. I just don't know what it is yet.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Moo


Moo. I ate too much tonight.

Which is dumb because I've been so good on Weight Watchers this week, until tonight. Let's just say that I had a date with a jar of Nutella and some multi-grain toast. If you don't know what Nutella is, consider yourself lucky. It is the nectar of Satan himself.

I have no time to burn off the calories of this binge minor setback with a run because I had a meeting at church. I'm a brand new member of the decorating committee, and my sole contribution to the meeting was to tell a bunch of religious ladies that my pals Stacey and Clinton from What Not To Wear say it's ok to mix your metallics.

What? You said they were neutral! You didn't mean that you could mix them in a church decorating theme?

Pfft.

Can't win today.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Amateur Photography and Hiking

We're enjoying another gorgeous weekend. This time of year is my favorite, but it's bittersweet. October generally brings cold, sometimes dreary weather to Iowa, so I always want to savor these last few warm September days. I'd freeze time on a day like yesterday if I had the powers to do so.

I'm not a photographer and I have a crappy camera, but I took the kids to a really cool park about half an hour away from us to take some pictures. We hiked one of the trails along the way. It was about a 40 minute hike up some pretty steep steps, a good workout! I was worried that Bumblebee wouldn't be able to keep up, but boy was I wrong. She took off running up the trail ahead of us:


The Boy found a good walking stick and used that along the trail. He took it home with him (I hope it's not against some law to take a stick home from a state park...)


Hollywood brought her own camera and was taking pictures of everything! She's got a good eye for perspective, color, and photography in general. Here she is risking her life by leaning down over a huge dropoff to get a shot of a hollowed out log:

Here are a few of the pictures she took. (I told you she was good! And her camera's even crappier than mine!)


I must have taken a hundred pictures, it was the perfect setting out there! I settled on a few and ordered the following prints to put on my living room wall. I made them black and white because I love black and white nature shots:




Not bad for an amateur, huh?

Well, I'm off to an afternoon of softball games. It's cooler today than yesterday, but still a nice fall day. Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Strange News Day

I can't decide which news story is weirder:

1. Clay Aiken is gay. I don't know about you but I'm shocked and astounded! And as a side note, isn't Clay's baby super adorable?

or

2. Lindsay Lohan says she's dating a woman. Well DUH!!

or

3. PETA wants Ben and Jerry's to use breast milk in their ice cream.

Thank God the ice cream geniuses said no.

Although... it would be an interesting way to make some money. Less painful than selling plasma or platelets or whatever it is that's floating in your blood that people who are down on their luck sell. And if you had a drink or two the night before and couldn't feed the baby for fear of making her tipsy? No problem! Ben and Jerry's next flavor could be pump and dump praline pecan.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Homecoming

Well, here they are. The homecoming pictures:



I assume you all know by now that I'm a dork. I was putting together the slide show for this blog because people keep bugging me for pictures from Hollywood's first high school dance. During the actual event, I was fine. I had fun, she included me in the festivities by letting me do her hair and makeup at her best pal's house. It was fun - there were four moms getting four beautiful girls ready for their first real dance. I didn't shed even one tiny tear, even though she looked stunning, as you can tell from the slide show.

But you guys! Tonight, as I was watching the slide show with the song that I've never heard before but is kind of cool playing in the background, I realized that my little girl, the one who knew her letters before she was 2 years old; the one who put her Mickey Mouse big wheel in the corner and sternly said to it, "Mickey Mouse Motorcycle, you've been a bad boy. Go sit in the corner for a time out!" The same girl who mooned the entire Catholic school at recess when she was a kindergartner is now in high school. Getting dressed up like the prettiest princess in history and going to dances with a boy.

It made me bawl like a baby to look at that! Gah! My dad always used to tell me he was going to put a brick on my head to make me stop growing. I know what he means now.

Since I was blubbering away, I had to have some 'little kid therapy' to remind myself that at least two of my kidlets are still smallish. Here they are on 'crazy day' of Homecoming week. The Boy is wearing a combination of his winter coat and swim trunks. Bumblebee is just plain crazy looking. And yep. They went to school that way.


If that won't make you smile, what will, right??