Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And now for the slideshow portion of the show...

Pictures. Nothing but pictures - and a little bit commentary (because really, you know me - right).

This Barbie was quite the big deal. She seems to creep teenage boys out. Syd took her to Church with us on Christmas morning (I KNOW but it wasn't crowded so there was adequate seating). She was certain no one knew that she wasn't a real girl (I can assure you the teenage boys walking by our pew and commenting on her, (Barbie's not Syd's) "creepiness" knew).

The aftermath. Please note the pile of boxes and garbage bag of wrapping paper beside the couch not to mention the vacuum cleaner at the end of the hallway - now this is what a real house looks like :-) Let's just say our house is REAL most of the time!

Birthday Boy!

The tree before the carnage began.
Birthday Boy's Birthday Cake (for Amy's viewing pleasure)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

If only I had known...

that the Sound of Music was on tonight I would have turned on the TV much earlier. But since I didn't know I'm watching with only an hour left of the story. I'm so disappointed. And really the Sound of Music is my favorite movie - EVER (you can read about my love of all things Von Trapp here)

If only I had known, I would have made arrangements to gather the kids, the popcorn bowl and the blankies in front of the TV to settle in for family movie night - but I didn't know and we missed out. Next time I'm making better plans.

If only I had known that a quiet moment relaxing at the kitchen table with my parents and the HotY would lead to a very uncomfortable moment with my mother I would have made plans to be anywhere else but in the kitchen at that moment. Really, I was sitting there minding my own business perusing the Sunday ads, the HotY helping my dad with his new GPS system, when my mom, looking at her own stack of Sunday ads looks at me and says "have you tried it? Have you tried that Yours and Mine stuff?" I looked at her - I didn't say a thing I just looked at her with that I can't believe you are asking me this question you're my mom look on my face. And yet, she persisted, (I mean really I thought I was uncomfortable with the whole Sex and the City movie conversation but even that didn't prepare me for this conversation). Finally she said "you've tried it haven't you? Is it worth the $16.00?" I gave a barely perceptible shake of my head and went back to my ads trying to pretend I hadn't just given my mother the red light on Yours and Mine. SERIOUSLY!!!

So there you go - take that with you and be darn glad that you aren't having kitchen table discussions like that with your mother.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Do you know what I know....

I hope not because what I know is that the FLU visited our house with a vengeance over Christmas.

Christmas Eve started with Lauren throwing up and ended with Syd throwing up. Luckily it seemed to be a short-lived virus and both were up and feeling great on Christmas - but it did change some of our plans for the day on Christmas Eve.

When the rest of us felt great on Christmas day I assumed that all was well. I should know better than to ever make assumptions :-) Yesterday I didn't feel the greatest (I thought it may have had something to do with the Grey Goose and Cranberry cocktails I had consumed the day before when spending the day with our friends Julie and Larry and their family but I wasn't that lucky). By 3:00 I was down and out with the full-fledged flu. YUCK. So while we were supposed to be on our way to my parents for the weekend I was in bed covered up with fifteen blankets (and still cold) and the throw up bowl. FUN. But today - today everyone seems to be feeling okay and I should really be in the shower so we can get on the road - but I'm waiting to make sure I've got hot water since the HotY just got out - I HATE cold showers. And I know you people were missing me :-)

Soooo that is what I know. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Alex and the HotY come out unscathed. I know I know but I can always hope!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

So this is Christmas...

Okay well technically today is not Christmas but it is right around the corner.

Although today is not a BIG day for the world it is a BIG day for our family - today is Alex's birthday. Sixteen. I have a sixteen year old. How can this be? How did this happen? Where did my baby go? I might actually have to think about growing up - but but but I'm not ready yet :-) I think I'll just ignore that part.

Happy Birthday to my baby. My first born. My child who helps me keep it all in perspective. The love of my life.

Tonight we will go out for steak (Alex's favorite meal) take a drive to look at Christmas lights, enjoy cake and ice cream and birthday present opening. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will actually be spent in our own home (a very rare occurrence) as the mom's picked weekends to hold the big events. We will leave on Friday to go to my parents. I hope the weather cooperates. Maybe that is why I haven't yet felt the Christmas love. It just all seems so anti-climatic this year. But I want to feel the love. I'm so disappointed in myself. Where is my peace and goodwill to men? Where is my holiday spirit? Where is my love of Christmas cards and cookie baking and present wrapping? Where did it go? I wish someone could tell me because I've been searching everywhere and I can't find it (Note to Wendy: chill that wine because I'm coming over).

Alright I'm done spreading Christmas cheer :-) But I do have a question for you (although I don't know why I ask since lurkers seem to be reluctant to post but I know I can count on the regulars :-)). Anyway, do you like this kind of blogging, the just open my heart and throw it on the table kind of thing that seems to be popping up lately or do you prefer I skip the touchy feely and go back to talking about Walmart and bad drivers and the weather? I asked my friend Amy and she kindly said "I love the way you write so I don't care what you write about". Now is that a good friend or what - but I need more objective opinions. So there you go bring it on but be nice because I'm already weepy today as it is.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Silent Night...

Not much to say so I'll leave you with pictures today.

Blogger has a mind of it's own when it comes to posting pictures and today I'm too impatient to move them around so you get what you get in no particular order :-)

Syd and her "potential" groom. This was the highlight of the Christmas
program for her and she has asked no less than 25 times for me to print this
picture out for her so she can look at him whenever she is feeling lonely (her
words). This really is not a good sign is it??? And look at the adoration on her face? Oh boy!

Lauren just being sweet Lauren.

Syd being Syd.

Syd - being Syd again. She insisted on having this hat and she has been wearing
it ever since it came home from the store. As for the sunglasses and solemn face
- who knows - it's Syd I don't ask questions.

Hey look, it's a Christmas Tree - our tree. Our ARTIFICIAL tree which will be
replaced with a real tree next year (we went to the fake tree the year the girls
were born - it is time to get back to nature I would have done it this year -
but well - I need a new vacuum).

More tree

Lauren and her buddy Mickey. Seriously, I don't ask about their prop choices or
even their insistence that certain moments be preserved for eternity. I guess
they have their reasons.

TTFN... Have a Merry Christmas. And for those of you who have been asking - no there will not be any Christmas cards from us this year - well unless I get really ambitious in the next 48 hours and really that is not looking promising. Maybe New Year's cards???? It's a thought.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Cow, A Sheep and A Song...

It is Christmas Program Day. The highly anticipated event of the week. There will be two performances - one at 2:00, which I will be unable to attend :-( (and believe me I am feeling like a VERY bad mother - but Roxann has been recruited to be the surrogate me) and the premiere 7:00 p.m. showing which features everyone dressed in their finest holiday attire. I seriously can't wait!

About A Cow: The Christmas program is, of course, a re-enactment of the manger scene. Lauren is a cow and felt very strongly that her afternoon outfit should reflect her role. Luckily, for me, I had the perfect dress (still in the Gymboree bag - I believe the HotY had visions of returns) a black and white hounds tooth. Lauren was thrilled with the choice and couldn't wait to see herself in all her cow glory. Upon viewing herself in the mirror she very disappointingly said "MOM, I don't look like a cow, I just look like a little girl". Someday she may have one of those days when she feels like a cow and she isn't going to like it - but for now the cow look - it's a good thing.

About A Sheep: So if Lauren is a cow it is only fair to assume Sydney is a Sheep. Personally I feel she may have been cast wrong as I think of sheep as quiet, docile animals - this is not the most fitting description of Syd :-) Anyway, she is a sheep and felt that she should be wearing something "curly" I was a little perplexed she then informed me that everyone knows sheep have curly hair. Who am I to even try to know more than a five year old??? I was able to get her to settle on the other Gymboree bag offering of a sweater with a fur collar with a dog applique which could only be a sheep dog of course! Perfection.

About A Song: About 2 months ago the school "lost" their music teacher due to maternity leave and a substitute has been filling in since that time. Recently the girls informed me that they did not like their new teacher as she only knows ONE SONG (of course this is their program song which they have been practicing over and over). I assured them there would be more variety coming soon :-)

So there you go - three points - all covered - no tangents, no rambling, no deterrents - just a succinct post. Savor the moment :-)


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Away in the manager...

...Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born today in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manager...
---Luke 2:1-20

I know it is unlike me to quote bible verses but it is THE SEASON and I'm trying.

So, last night, although they were supposed to be in bed, I could hear the girls pitter pattering around above my head. This is not unusual so I ignored it knowing that eventually they would settle down and fall asleep (really, you can't believe some of the things I find when I go up to bed - let's just say that they are creative...). But last night instead of quieting down they came bounding down the stairs proudly bearing this gift, their creation of Baby Jesus in the manager.

I was speechless. Seriously. They are beginning to understand what Christmas is all about and their creativity continues to amaze me. Baby Jesus in the manager is actually a bear (I know I know that was obvious) lying in a shoe box, lined with a dance costume (tutu artfully arranged). I can't help but smile when I look at their re-enactment of the Christmas Story - even if they were supposed to be sleeping instead of playing...

...Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside...

or Happy Birthday to the HotY!!!
or Welcome Back Amy!!!

But really, first let's get right to the weather. It's cold. Like 32 degrees below zero cold. Do you have any idea how cold that is? VERY cold. It's an I wore my coat and mittens and even considered hunting out my boots and scarf cold but I didn't want to get carried away :-) Besides if I had spent time doing that I would have been late for work.

Today is the HotY's birthday. He is 37. THIRTY-SEVEN!!! Come on, just turn 40 already - shesh :-) Oh and don't even bother with the cradle robber, he's a baby, comments. I KNOW! AND I did not rob the cradle - he was the pursuer, I tried to discourage him many, many times. I even picked out age-appropriate girls for him during our first date (seriously - just ask him)and yet he persevered. It's a good thing :-) Happy Birthday Dennis. I love you.

And then there is Amy, Amy who just got back from Mexico yesterday - at least I'm assuming she got back and isn't weather delayed somewhere. I got a text from her on Friday - she was lounging by the pool while sipping a fruity cocktail. She won't be doing any pool lounging today - maybe some fruity cocktail sucking - but definitely not any pool lounging.!! Welcome back to reality! It was also Amy's birthday last week - but she was in Mexico - lounging by the pool so it didn't make any sense to wish her Happy Birthday while she was gone but now she's back sooooooooo HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMY!!!

That's it. You've been filled in on the weather and the social scene with a little bit of history :-) Sometimes I'm amazed at all the titillating news I have to share :-)

TTFN, keep warm, wear your coat and find your mittens...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thank goodness for Brad Pitt...

tonight is going to be a late night. I will be making signs well into the wee hours. I spent the day shopping and wrapping and generally trying to make sure that the holiday is jolly around our house. I didn't even get to my craft room / office until after 10:00 p.m. and I have several custom orders that need to be shipped in time for Christmas (oh I know writing this is not getting the work done - but things are drying - I have a couple of minutes). Anyway, I was just beginning to despair of finding anything worth watching while I was working and then, just as I was finishing cable channel roulette, I found it - my favorite movie - Legends of the Fall. I know, you never would have guessed - but really I love this movie and it has nothing to do with Brad Pitt - well okay maybe it has a little to do with Brad Pitt - but he isn't the entire reason because seriously, it's a good story, with or without Brad. AND it's a long movie so I will have company for awhile. Actually I think it is half over already. They brothers all just said good-bye to their dad to go fight in the war. Isn't that about the middle?

So thinking about favorite movies have you ever noticed that a movie is just not as good on DVD as it is when you catch something by chance when it is on TV? And I'm the same way about music. I can listen to my favorites all I want on my iPod but it just isn't the same as turning on the radio and hearing a good song. I think it has something to do with unexpected surprises or something like that or maybe I'm just quirky :-) Oh and speaking of good songs I really like this one Let it Rock but I'm not sure I will put it on my iPod - something about it makes me want to dance - I'd hate to break out my moves any old place :-)

Okay I think my time wasting has come to an end but I'll be here - so you know drop me a note if you are so inclined - I love that sweet little email ping :-)


Friday, December 12, 2008

I can't help myself...

I told you I am not too proud to gloat when I have my observations validated. And once again fate has intervened to tell the world I'm right (I know I know such humble behaviour). But really - check it out HERE. I told you it was a fabulous moon!

Moon Moon Moon...

shining bright.

Moon Moon Moon my night light

Moon Moon Moon I can see

Moon Moon Moon you're taking care of me...

Were you fortunate enough to see the moon this morning? It was amazing. Seriously. As I was driving into work the moon was huge, a full white ball hanging in the inky dark blue sky. It was truly a wondrous site.

Actually I've seen two fabulous moons in the past month. The other was when Jupiter and Venus were aligned and showing themselves to the world, both shining next to the moon, aesthetically perfect. I was on my way home from somewhere (yes, I'm sure it was shopping) and the sky was a perfect, clear, black velvet with just a crescent moon - Jupiter and Venus shining beside - it looked like a fairytale. And the funny thing is the next night there was an article in the paper about the moon and the planet alignment and how the moon, Jupiter, Venus line-up is a rare occurrence along with a picture of the fabulous moon I saw just the night before (really do you think I just knew that Venus/Jupiter alignment thing?). The only problem with the fairytale moon, WalMart was looming in the distance. Need I say more...

TTFN, take time to look at the moon tonight - it's a beautiful miracle...

Oh and the words above - they aren't mine - they are Laurie Berkner's - I like that girl.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Forty Something...

is that too old to run away? I think the last time I felt like running away I was 16 and the time before that I was 6 (my mom packed my suitcase for me - I didn't go anywhere - just sat on the stairs and cried because my mom packed my suitcase for me...). But seriously, this time I wouldn't be gone for a long time, probably just a week. Wouldn't that be nice? A week. Alone. I'd pack my own suitcase.

The sad thing is I am saying this during Christmas - I love Christmas - but lately I have been so so so - short - with everyone and not so loving Christmas. All I want to do is run away. Too many shoppers in the mall - get me out of here. Too much fighting between my kids - Calgon take me away. Too many worries about work - is it time to go home yet? I just want to avoid everything. I'm not the only one - there are others - right? Man I hope so otherwise I am going to feel like a really crummy person.

So although not exactly an efficient coping mechanism it is where I am at right now. It isn't exactly the spirit and the meaning of the season :-( but I haven't given up hope that I'll come around. I mean maybe all I need is a trip to look at Christmas lights, or a holiday concert, or a present wrapping extravaganza, or a visit with my friend Wendy - she's always good for my soul. That might just do the trick. If not maybe I'll plan a little get away for myself after the first of the year. I'm pretty sure my family could manage for a week (but I do feel selfish for saying that) I'll have to give it some more thought. In the meantime I'll try to keep the fight or flight vibes at bay.

Oh and while we are talking about it (fine, I'm talking - you're listening) did you know there are a TON of songs that are titled Runaway? Really, there's this Runaway, and this Runaway, and this Runaway, and my favorite Runaway. Man with all these songs about running away I MUST not be the only one who feels this way now and then - so at least I've got that going for me :-).

TTFN... If you don't hear from me in a while - well I've run away - but it will just be a short trip.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

May all your dreams come true...

I know that lately my blogging has been sporadic at best. From the effusive postings of October and early November to the frugal postings of late November and early December. I have no real explanation. I do not strive to be an over-achieving blogger (no comments from you, Amy, on the over achiever thing). In addition to my no pressure approach to blogging I simply haven't had much to say - or maybe not much I care to say and discuss would be a more accurate statement (sigh*sigh*sigh).

So in the interest of providing content while fulfilling my desire to be one of those mom's who talks about her children to the exasperation of others I have an update on Syd's continuing love story with her 6th grade buddy. She seems to have moved past sleep-overs, play dates and I love you's and has moved right onto much more serious business - such as marriage. Recently on our trip home from school (this is where I get all my good info as the girls are especially chatty after school) Syd piped up and said "mom, mom guess what? When I saw Wyatt today - I told him that I was going to marry him" I said "really and what did Wyatt say?" Syd's proud reply "he smiled at me". Which in Syd's world could mean nothing less than an I Do. For my very own sweet Juliet, this is all the encourgement she neeeds. And lest anyone doubt her sincerity or persistence, while cuddling with me the other night she snuggled up very close and whispered "mom, I really am going to marry Wyatt someday". I pulled her even closer, kissed the top of her head and whispered back "Syd, if that is what you want when you grow up, I hope all of your dreams come true" She smiled. That is all the encouragement I need...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

And now a Public Service Announcement (PSA)

My post from yesterday has prompted some comments and email asking specific questions about Down Syndrome. So here's the skinny:

Down Syndrome is a genetic defect. What this means is that it just happens. It does not have anything to do with what a person may or may not have done while pregnant. Down Syndrome occurs while the chromosomes are dividing and instead of duplicating the 21st chromosome triplicates thus the name Trisomy 21. This happens approximately 2 hours after conception. There are three types of Down Syndrome but Trisomy 21 is the most common - again it simply happens. There is nothing wrong with the father or mother's chromosomes - it is a fluke - a sticky gene. After Alex's birth we underwent extensive genetic studies and what they found was - it just happened - it was a fluke. There was nothing in either of our genetics that would have made me more pre-disposed to have a baby with Down Syndrome - again, it just happened. They told us to go out and have a dozen more kids and it would probably never happen again (two more was enough for me :-))

I was not an "advanced age mother" in fact I was under 30 (I bet you thought I was going to screw up and reveal my age didn't you - NOPE). More babies with Down Syndrome are born to mother's under 30 but that is because the number of women having babies in that age range is greater than those having babies over 30. BUT, statistically, the older a woman is the more likely she is to have a baby with Down Syndrome. 40 is really the big turning point. It has something to do with aging eggs and all that hormonal stuff (although there is one theory that as we get older our bodies ability to recognize a problem and miscarry becomes less accurate).

As for the 21st chromosome - although it is not a life threatening chromosome the 21st chromosome controls develoment - all types of development from how smart a person is to how tall they will be to how big their ears or eyes or feet or head may be. So when the 21st chromosome is triplicated it alters the development of the person - all development - and as with all members of the human race there are varying degrees of impairment. Alex's degree of mental impairment is mild to moderate depending on the task. His self-help skills are close to age appropriate but his speech delivery is low. His other skill areas are somewhere in-between. They call this scatter skills since he is sort of all over the place - this is very common in Down Syndrome.

So there you go. All you wanted to know about Down Syndrome and more :-) And I don't mind the questions. It doesn't offend me at all so if there is anything else you may want to know bring it on.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Well, that was a quick 11 months...

and here we are in December. WOW! It is a crazy month in our house with both the HotY and Alex celebrating their birthday's. This also means it is annual check-up time for Alex. There are a myriad of doctor's appointments this month - eyes, ears, GI, endocrinology, and developmental specialists, blah blah blah. And I have the easy part - I just have to show up- Alex is the one who gets poked and prodded incessantly. He doesn't really like it but he puts up with it and does his part. Our development doc, who has followed Alex since the day he was born, always comments on what a nice young man Alex is - and he is absolutely right, he is a very nice young man. He has been quite the mama's guy lately checking up on me frequently. His favorite thing to do is to come up to me say "oh mom" and stroke my hair a couple of times. His special way of telling me he loves me. I think he thinks he has gotten too old for an "I love you" to his mom :-)

It is so hard to believe that almost sixteen years have passed since the day he was born. A day I will never forget - December 23rd. It was snowing, it was cold, we stopped at ShopKo to get film for the camera (yes, I said FILM), and we were late (I know - you are surprised). I was having a scheduled c-section. The HotY dropped me off at the check-in entrance, I got taken to the general ward area and waited and waited and waited for someone, anyone, to tell me what to do - no one showed up - well finally the HotY but he didn't know what I was supposed to do either. FINALLY a nurse poked her head in the door and was surprised to see me - no one had told them I was there and WAITING. After that things moved along.

At first I was a little worried about my parents driving in the snow so that distracted me for awhile but they finally showed up and I didn't have that to worry about so had to concentrate on what was going on - and I got scared - very scared. The shakes set in. They kept putting blankets on me but still I kept shaking. I'm not good at that anticipation thing. Once I got in the operating room I was just fine - but that waiting - it was bad for me.

Alex was born at 9:25 a.m. and was a beautiful baby boy. I quickly sent Dennis on his way to make phone calls. I remember thinking what a relief it was to know my baby was okay. But as I was lying there looking at him and thinking he was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen I looked at my nurse and said - "if he had Down Syndrome I'd be able to tell by looking at him - right?" she just looked at me and said "the neonatologist is going to come and talk to you when you get back t0 the recovery area". Right then and there I knew and I hated that nurse (even though she was very nice) and the neonatologist too. I found out later that day (from a friend who is also an OB nurse) that I really freaked the OR nurse out and she wondered if I had known Alex might have Down Syndrome. But I didn't - not technically anyway.

The funny thing is I knew next to nothing about Down Syndrome (well except what I knew from that show Life Goes On) but for some reason in the middle of my pregnancy I felt like something wasn't right. I have no idea why, I had never had a baby before so it wasn't like I had anything to use as a comparison. I would go to bed at night, look at the HotY and say "what if this baby has Down Syndrome" and he would just look at me, shake his head and say something about worrying too much. I told my OB about my "gut" feeling and he assured me all was fine but he still did an extra ultrasound just to ease my mind - and yet, it didn't ease my mind, it just kept nagging at me (it was that darn Super Special ESP) but there wasn't much I could do but wait and worry. Not that the worrying thing did much good but still it's what I do :-(

So my worst fear came true, but the world didn't end. To tell you the truth I didn't even cry. I had my baby. He was beautiful and perfect to me. There is nothing that could have taken that away. The neonatologist finally came and talked to me and I listened but I didn't really hear him I was too busy not liking him and thinking how foolish he was going to feel when he found out he had made a wrong diagnosis (a positive diagnosis of Down Syndrome could not be made until they grew the chromosomes) of course he wasn't wrong but at the time I thought he might be. So after a very full morning I was finally wheeled to a private room to get to know my baby. I remember how wonderful the nurses were, not letting anyone in to visit without getting our approval first, and taking such good care of us although one of them wasn't too happy when I called for Alex from the nursery at 3:00 a.m. but hey I wanted my baby. Things weren't perfect but I was happy and I could deal with this - I was doing okay. And then Christmas Eve arrived and there were Christmas carols in the corridor and it was very quiet and calm. They had come for Alex so they could perform some tests on his heart and shortly after my nurse came and told me that they were worried about his heart and would be taking my baby by ambulance to St. Mary's - a hospital equipped for critical care babies. They introduced me to the nurse who would be traveling with him and then they told me their plans for transporting the HotY and I to the other hospital and that is when it all came crashing down for me. I had hit my limit. I started crying and I couldn't stop and as they tried to get me to calm down and help me out of bed and into my bathrobe I decided I wasn't going to the other hospital. The HotY could do whatever he wanted to do, but me, I was not going. At that point in time I couldn't imagine any other outcome than the death of my baby and I was not going to go and watch that happen or listen to another doctor give me more bad news. I wasn't going to do it. Seriously. Finally they went and got the nurse who I knew and she talked to me and called my parents and finally between the group they convinced me to go to the other hospital, but believe me it wasn't an easy task and just to let them all know how unhappy I was about all of this I wasn't having any of their help. The nurses were a little freaked out as I was moving around and walking like I was on an energetic hike and not like someone who had just had surgery (at the other hospital no one could believe I had just had a c-section 24 hours before - but if you have ever seen me on a mission this should not be a surprise).

So, we arrived and Alex was in the NICU and we were "lucky" enough to meet several doctors who each gave differing opinions (two stand-outs being the one who insisted that surgery was 100% guaranteed and the other who showed up on Christmas morning wearing the roller blades he had received from Santa) and then we met the head of pediatric cardiology and I knew we had our man. He was fabulous. He explained everything and he didn't make any dire predictions. And guess what - that other doctor, Dr. 100% surgery guaranteed, he was WRONG! Alex did not require surgery. His aorta healed itself. Dr. Feldt, who followed Alex for the first five years of his life said it was one of the most amazing cases he had ever seen and if he had not done the scans himself he would have thought a wrong diagnosis had been made. Alex has had a strong healthy heart ever since (man I hate writing stuff like that - it makes me worry that I may be tempting fate or something). It has truly been an amazing and miraculous blessing.

So there you go - the longest 7 days of my life. I know you didn't ask but really I don't know that I've ever told anyone the entire story before and I felt it was time. KWIM? And you know what - shortly after Alex was born I remember driving somewhere in the car with Alex in the back seat in his car seat and I glanced back and saw him cooing and looking all cute baby and I thought "I can't believe I could have been so sad about all of this because there is nothing that makes me happier than this baby" and I have felt that way every day since.

I'll wait another six months before I even get into the birth story for the girls' because if you think that was drama-free you must not know me (my motto for life is "I try not to be high maintenance but it happens anyway") :-)


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks...

That's the theme of the week - if only I could remember. Typically I am pretty good at remembering to be thankful for all that I have - but lately - not so much. I've been crabby. I've been short and snippy with people that I love. I have not been pleasant :-( But I've got to get over it because this is not the person I strive to be - besides my family is coming to our house to share Thanksgiving I need to be happy.

Yes, we host Thanksgiving every year - but before you get all awestruck just let me tell you what my responsibilities are - POTATOES. That's it. Potatoes. The rest - my mom. My parents will show up early Thursday morning with turkey and stuffing, pumpkin and pecan pies and wine in tow. My sister will fill in with the rest and before you know it the preparation and cooking will begin and my kitchen will be a disaster. Unfortunately my brother and his family can't make it this year - my nephew has a basketball game the day after the turkey fun - who plans this stuff??? Anyway I digress, I do have a few more responsibilities than just potatoes but it isn't much when you think about a thanksgiving dinner. There is cleaning and dish washing (I never put my good china or crystal in the dishwasher) and I will have to brave the grocery store tonight (or tomorrow night) but as much as I hate grocery shopping I don't mind going this week. There is all the holiday hustle and bustle and people are cheerful and I usually run into at least a handful of people that I know. It will take me twice as long but that's okay I'm not taking kids and it's a bright, shiny, happy place (seriously, if you think it it's true). So I'm almost looking forward to it - almost :-)

Sooooo, we're finally to the topic I meant to cover at the beginning of this post - in the spirit of giving and thanking and all of that other gratitude stuff I am going to do a little giveaway. Leave a comment (and not just you "usuals" - I mean all your lurkers too) by midnight on 11/29 and I'll have one of my children randomly pick a number or name or whatever (remember me - I'm the one who is a little sketchy on the details - but it will happen) and someone will win this sign - you lucky duckies (LOL).

I know it's not the best picture but it is what it is (I've noticed that this (it is what it is) is the current "catch phrase" of the month. I've heard more people throw this out there lately and it is always in the context of being resigned to a situation. It seems like a lot of people I know amd care about are in turmoil right now *SIGH* I just want everyone to be happy...)

TTFN... have a wonderful thanksgiving filled with love, gratitude and many blessings.

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's so quiet...

everyone is gone and I'm home alone, I'm not sure if I'm happy or lonely - right now I'm feeling more lonely. The HotY took the girls and met up with his parents to watch his niece perform in a band concert and Alex is at a play being put on by one of our local high schools. It has been awhile since I've been home alone. I'm usually the one coming and going and I wouldn't have minded the HotY sticking around tonight :-) I KNOW - can you believe I said that - you aren't used to hearing me utter that kind of sweet talk but just because I don't say it doesn't mean I'm not thinking it. And besides if I let him know that kind of thing then he'd have the upper hand and I'd never get my way :-) I might lose my Saturday morning sleep in or shopping privileges or heaven forbid he might quit unloading the dishwasher. OR OR OR what if he decides he doesn't like me anymore :-(

Anyway, we (the HotY and I) have an unwritten rule that neither of us ever leaves the house without kissing the other goodbye - no matter what - no excuses - not even if you're late, or mad, or have your hands full of stuff and kids pulling on your legs - the rule is a kiss before leaving. I'm usually the one running out the door and then being stopped short by the "aren't you forgetting something" reminder at which point I begrudgingly walk back upstairs (or downstairs depending on the current HotY location) and give the quick peck to which I get the eye roll in return and that eye roll usually ticks me off just enough to send me walking the other way. Come on, I'm just being honest here - this is marriage not Grey's Anatomy. Anyway, the HotY, he rarely needs the "aren't you forgetting something" reminder - but tonight he needed reminding and guess what I got - A PECK! WHAT? I mean it isn't like, you know, an episode of the aforementioned Grey's Anatomy but it's usually better than a PECK. Holy Bananas. So as I was standing there a little bit shocked and dismayed he left. I wasn't sure what to make of that so I started to clean up the kitchen but I felt - well - sad. I was just getting ready to shut off the light and go downstairs when the door from the garage banged opened, the HotY rushed up the stairs two at a time, gave me more than a peck, said "I should have sent the girls with my parents" turned around and left. I have no idea what exactly was going on through all of that or what he was thinking when he left and what he was thinking when he came back (although I do know what he was thinking when he left the 2nd time) but it caught me a little off-guard. So now I'm left here to ponder and feel a little lonely. I'd think that maybe this was his plan but it is just not in him to be manipulative, he is not a game player. What you see is what you get - no false pretenses. That's one of the things that first attracted me to him; self-confident yet modest - it's a good thing. Too bad I can't find a little of that for myself (I'll let you decide if I'm talking about self-confidence or modesty).

TTFN... don't forget to give your own HotY or WotY or Significant Other a kiss before walking out the door, you just never know what may happen.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank goodness...

they aren't like me - my girls that is... We had conferences tonight. The first real conferences for Lauren & Sydney. Both of them got rave reports. They need to work on their fine motor skills a little more but the teacher is not worried as they are "such little mites" (her words - and really they are - pictures are deceiving - Syd weighs all of 32 lbs and Lauren weighs 35 lbs and neither one of them are giants in terms of height either - but considering Syd started out in this world at 3lbs 8oz and Lauren was 4lbs 8oz they are doing pretty well). Anyway, the reports were great and the teacher stated they are hard little workers. You could almost hear me letting out the breath I had been holding since we sat down. I was so relieved to hear they were doing well and that we weren't going to be setting down and having "the talk" as my parents did with me each time they had conferences for me - from the time I can remember until High School graduation. And what did that talk consist of? It was the same thing EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. and I quote "Angela could be a straight "A" student if she would only apply herself". Honest to God - ask my mom - she'll remember. It was the same message year after year after year. I did good on all those Iowa Basic Skills tests (with Vocabulary my highest ranking area - always WELL above average and math coming in last place) but I didn't like to study. I was okay with getting by without cracking a book. How stupid. The problem is I should have had to struggle a little bit more it was too easy - but live and learn - right? I was a puzzle to my teachers as I could do so well yet so pitifully. But really there was no big mystery - it all depended on if I liked what I was learning or not. If something engaged me enough I was all over it and acing tests and homework and all the rest (Genetics in High School Biology was my thing - LOVED IT - the teacher actually called me into his office one day and asked me how it was that I could be getting "A"s in the hardest section of the class - I just looked at him and said "because I like it" - come on is that so hard to understand? Oh and I can still give you the stats regarding blue eye/brown eye dominance and all of that - and you do know that green eyes are a fluke right - no gene for green eyes). Unfortunately for me, until college, school was primarily a social event, much to my parents frustration. Luckily I eventually learned that it was okay to be smart - and it was even something to be proud of along with being social :-) So, short story long :-) I'm glad that my girls are "hard little workers" because in today's competitive society and college driven job market it is more important than ever to get good grades and keep up with your homework. Okay, I'm off to hide my report cards. I don't want my kids ever seeing those grades :-(


Sunday, November 9, 2008

I know...

I very rarely post two times in one day but I've been thinking about the upcoming week in view of the events of the past week - I guess maybe I didn't exactly expound on the week. So just to make sure we are clear:

Monday - BAD BAD BAD day which was beyond my control and affected people that I care about - it wasn't end of the world stuff but still pretty bad.

Tuesday - BAD BAD BAD day where I was more personally affected.

Wednesday - BAD BAD BAD day where I was contacted by the school around 10:15 to come and get my daughter who had tripped on her way out of school mass and hit her chin on the corner of the chair in front of her and was bleeding all over the place (both she and Lauren were crying - Lauren harder than Syd). I lucked out and avoided the ER but still spent a significant part of my morning at the clinic.

Thursday - BAD BAD BAD day where I accompanied my friend Roxann who, while closing the old, heavy, metal garage door at her cabin, got her hand caught between the panels which resulted in just what you would think - a smashed hand. More blood all over the place. Swelling and just a mess. I got her cleaned up, bandaged and gave her Ibuprofin.

Friday - No tragedies but Saturday was just waiting to happen.

Saturday - BAD BAD BAD day where children were puking, accidents where happening and I was sick of being a nurse but did it anyway.

SOOOOOO.... in view of all of that I've decided that this week is going to be all about giving and being nice. Seriously, I mean it couldn't possibly hurt - and bad things may continue to happen but if I can make someone happy or feel better in spite of the bad I'm going to do it. This I can control - the other stuff I can't but the interactions that I have with those who matter to me - that I can control. I've already told the HotY that I would voluntarily take a family trip with him next Sunday to visit his parents (believe me - this is a big thing). And really they are very, very nice people - and small doses are advised but when they live over an hour away big doses are endured. I am taking my friend Jay a big bowl of his favorite soup for lunch tomorrow. I made Cheesy Ham and Veggie soup for supper tonight. I've also made it for different work events - Jay loves it and is always teasing me about making it for him - so tomorrow he will get his soup and be surprised when he gets to his desk in the morning. I've got a few other nice surprises planned for my friends and I think I will take my kids on a little adventure one day after work. So that's it. That is the plan. To share goodness - because in the end don't we all deserve a little goodness, kindness and care??? I think so anyway.

And now a pause to think about the good things...

like my kids. Last night as I was lying in bed thinking of all the injuries my son could have suffered from his fall and how a dislocated elbow is pretty minor in the entire scheme of things I started thinking about my kids in general. Where would I be without my kids?

There is Alex. Who is stubborn and determined and clever and funny and loving and just good. Although his life is filled with obstacles, obstacles I can't even begin to imagine, he just keeps moving ahead. Never complaining, never feeling sorry for himself, never expecting anyone to make any exceptions for him. There are some who look at me and then look at my son Alex and I can see pity and sometimes disdain in their eyes. All I can think is "you really have no idea, no idea of the things you are missing by only seeing a disability and not seeing a person" because you know what - at the end of the day we all have a disability or two - some just aren't as obvious.

Then there is Sydney. I don't even know where to begin with this girl. She truly thinks that the world has great and wonderful surprises in store for her and she can't wait to discover all of them (especially the ones having to do with boys). Life is an opportunity for singing and dancing and rejoicing and sharing every thought that enters her mind. She has a HUGE crush on her 6th grade buddy and thinks that there would be nothing better than to tell him she loves him. In her mind how could he possibly not think it was the best thing to ever happen to him and it isn't really about her she just can't imagine that it isn't a good thing to "spread the love". The other day while talking to me she said "mommy please do not ever forget to kiss me when you leave in the morning because even though I'm still asleep I can feel it in my heart". I will admit she is a mommies girl.

And Lauren. She's my cautious sometimes subdued always thinking child. Lauren likes nothing better then to get the details and then figure it all out - and she will keep trying to figure it out until it all makes sense to her. I'm not sure if it is a logical mind or just a stubborn one :-) She is also a pleaser - checking in to make sure you are happy with her and what she is doing and she is always looking for ways to make others happy and is greatly empathetic (their teacher told me that Lauren was crying harder than Syd when Syd cut her chin). She's been very busy being a caretaker this weekend. She may sound serious on paper but in reality Lauren loves to laugh and she has a great infectious laugh and really the girl cracks herself up all the time. I love to listen to her go on and on about something barely able to get the words out because she keeps cracking herself up - what can I say she thinks she is witty and of course I think she is too!

So there you go. My thoughts about my kids this week. Sure it might be boring but really would you rather I go back to the whining and complaining???


Saturday, November 8, 2008

And it is still not over...

I was quickly reminded this morning that Friday does not the end of a bad week make.

Syd woke up crying this morning and complaining of a headache and wanted nothing to do with anyone but me (not to mention that the HotY was "on call" this weekend and tied up with some computer emergency or another). It wasn't long before the throwing-up began and it just kept coming. I finally got her to lie down and sleep but not until I promised to never leave her side. The up side is I got to spend some time in "the" bed.

About an hour later I was finally able to sneak away and jump in the shower - I still had the volunteering gig to look forward too. I should have known it was all too good to be true and far too uneventful. I was just leaving the High School to do a little shopping before heading home and my phone rang. It was the HotY saying "I think your son just broke his arm he said he fell off the deck". So I sped home ('cuz really I was just hoping for a cop to stop me so he could give me an escort to my house) picked up my son who was obviously in great pain and sped back downtown to the Emergency Room where while waiting to be admitted to a room more throw-up occurred. I mean really I started my day in puke I might as well finish out the cycle. I'm not blaming Alex, he had every right to throw up, I'm just sharing a thought :-) So while we are sitting there waiting I'm thinking my son fell off the deck. The deck which is 12 feet or so off the ground - how did he fall off the deck? Did he fall down the stairs? And where was his father while this was happening? To say that the HotY was on my list would be an understatement. I know it wasn't really his fault but when someone calls and tells you your child feel from at least 12 feet you get a little irrational. Anyway, it ended up that he dislocated his elbow (I know - what can I say some things just can't be explained by anything but heredity). So they fixed it and don't seem to think there are any other injuries. While we were spending our six hours in the ER I heard all kinds of commotion and kept seeing cops walking by our room and then next thing I heard was that they were going into "lock down mode" and everyone disappeared. Our nurse, the people in the hallways, everyone - gone - seriously. It was weird. Finally one of the nurses came back to our room (of course I tried to question her but she wasn't giving me any info) and let us go home - seriously we were there for SIX HOURS. Oh I'm watching the news - there was a big altercation in a small community near our growing city and two people died and several others were hurt and brought to the ER of the hospital where Alex was - I guess that solves the mystery - SAD).

Considering what happened to Alex and the height of the deck I am thankful that there were not more serious injuries. A dislocated elbow and puke are pretty easy to deal with when you think about the "what ifs" and those "what ifs" can do me in every time - seriously. Believe me, I'm not even going to mention that this might be the end of the "shitty week" because you just never know and right now I'm not taking any chances with tempting fate.

So that's it.


Friday, November 7, 2008

That about sums it up...

Yesterday I was talking with a co-worker/friend and after exchanging information (fine we were having a conversation) he looked at me and said "well this is shaping up to be one of my shittiest weeks on record" and all I could do was numbly agree - it has been a shitty week. I'm sorry, I usually try not to be quite so blunt but there just isn't anyway to bury it in sunshine and rainbows. It isn't like I haven't tried but it is what it is.

So during a week when I wanted nothing more then to crawl into my own little bed and pull the covers over my head life had other plans. I have had something come up every.single.night this week. Seriously, Monday night we went out to dinner, Tuesday night I met a friend for a drink, Wednesday I went to a house warming get together for another friend. Thursday I was looking forward to a quiet night at home and the bed thing but then my phone rang and it was my friend Roxann telling me she was back in the country (she has been gone for the past month) and wanted me to ride with her to her cabin 2 hours away. I didn't know what to say. It isn't like I didn't want to go but I looked around and saw the dishes in the sink and the backpacks on the floor and the clothes piled in the bedroom and the faces of my children and I just didn't know if I could be gone one more night but Rox can be very convincing so I told her if she wanted me to go with her SHE had to call the HotY at work and ask him if I could be gone AGAIN, one more night. She had no problem with that, she welcomes the opportunity to flirt with my husband :-). So about an hour later ('cuz believe me if you think I like to talk I've got nothing on Rox - trust me - Oh and Rox you know I love you!) the HotY called and said "do you think you can be home by midnight". I solemnly promised that I could do that (I walked in the door at 11:58) so off I went AGAIN and really by this time - in addition to my dismal week - I was feeling like a pretty crummy wife and mother but I lived with the guilt :-) Luckily for me the HotY is very tolerant of my coming and going. Anyway, I vowed to myself that I wasn't going anywhere this weekend until I remembered I have another social event this evening and that on Saturday I am volunteering at a fund-raising event for the high school associated with the girls' school. Sooooooo I am out on tonight's event, I'm staying home and I'm pretty darn glad about it - seriously!

So I guess although my gut instinct was to hide and sleep my bad week away life intervened and prevented that from happening and really I'm probably better off because at the end of the day avoiding problems is no way to persevere. Although my rose-colored glasses have been tinted blue lately I believe it will be okay and my quirky sense of life will return so don't give up on me I promise there will be more sunshine than raindrops in the near future - at least I'm believing in the possibility.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

On wishing stars and the reality of life...

Star light
Star bright
First star I see tonight
I wish I may
I wish I might
Have the wish I wish tonight.

Yes, I still wish on stars and I believe. I believe that if I keep repeating the same wish, if I keep reciting the same prayer, if I keep holding the same hope that all my dreams WILL come true and life will be bliss. Logically I know that life is not bliss, I really do, and as far as a blissful life goes I'm pretty close to there but still I believe in the realm of greater possibility.

My mom once told me that I always get my hopes up too high so I end up disappointed because I have too many expectations. That I'm too much of a daydreamer. She is probably right.

I think I'm done wishing on stars...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Does this mean autumn is over...

I actually talked to my brother today about THANKSGIVING. Yes, I said Thanksgiving. You know that holiday that is going to be here before I know it. I just put all the kids summer cl0thing in bins this morning how could it be November already?

As I am sitting here typing this I just glanced over and noted that I still haven't mailed the birthday presents for three of my nephews I HAVE to get them in the mail tomorrow. Why the urgency you may ask (even though I have had them sitting here for at least three months)?Because one of the birthday's was in February, one was in June and the other was in July. Do you see why I am having a hard time realizing that it is actually November. What can I say, I own a calendar I just don't look at it :-)

I think autumn brings out my domestic side. I actually cleaned, I mean really cleaned this weekend. You know what I mean, going through closets and drawers and cleaning all the notes and school papers and various other junk from the refrigerator doors, along with the normal dusting, bed making, vacuuming, etc. Oh and on Saturday after doing yard stuff I cooked the HotY's favorite meal of roast cooked with potatoes and carrots (not my favorite way to fix a roast but he loves it and what can I say I felt like being a pleaser :-)) and then I made apple crisp. Are you not impressed? Fine, we ordered pizza tonight but yesterday it was all about being a Stepford Wife. It happens sometimes. And really I'm a pretty good cook - I just don't like to cook unless it is for something special but that every night make something for supper stuff - I hate it. I mean really there are only so many different variations of chicken.

So the weekend was pretty quiet. I did go out on Saturday morning for a breakfast birthday celebration for my friend Julie but that was the extent of my excitement but I don't really mind a quiet weekend. It's rejuvenating.

Okay, the pile of laundry which, although started several hours ago, is STILL not done is calling me again and again and again. Life is bliss...


Saturday, November 1, 2008

So the princess bride...

thought that I should be sharing my own princess bride pictures since she is intrigued with all that is weddings and pretty dresses (I have no idea where she gets this stuff). But I've already done that - shared some of the wedding pictures - so if you really want to check out the whole deal you can click here and you'll be taken there - to pictures of my own fairytale day - and no it was not a costume ball. Actually for all my delusions of grandeur my own wedding day was pretty low key. I may have even started out the day a little crabby. My hair and make-up did not turn out as I had hoped and I looked ugly, I wore my hair up and I wish I had worn it down, my dress made me look fat (I still have no idea why I choose that shiny satin), I was late -yes, yes, yes, I was the last person to arrive at the church - what can I say - I tried to make it on time but I locked myself out of my apartment while having my mother do my hair, and our cake turned into the Leaning Tower of Pisa because poolside reception on a hot summer day and cake do not mix - who knew humidity would cause the frosting to start melting . BUT on the bright side - it was a gorgeous day in a summer of not so gorgeous days, I loved my veil thanks to my mom who added yards and yards of bridal veiling to my headpiece creating a cathedral length train (no train on the dress but a beautiful tulle train from the veil - I loved that veil - and at reception time - rrrriiiiippppppp off came the veiling and no train to trip over for the rest of the night - because you know about me and that tripping thing - RIGHT?), I was marrying a great guy (and really look how cute he was - YOUNG but cute), and we got married on 4th of July so we went with it and served brats, hot dogs, potato salad, chips and watermelon for our reception dinner and everyone LOVED IT! Oh and the convertible was my car - it was my dowry to the HotY - he still talks about that car. OMG - maybe he only married me for my car :-)

It really was a fun day but if I were to do it again I'd do it much differently. It would be small, it would be intimate and I would spend all that big wedding money on one absolutely gorgeous over the top wedding gown. Yep, that's how I would do it. I'd tell my girls that but everyone knows no one listens to their mothers about wedding advice.

WOW this turned into quite a tangent - sorry. Anyway, now I can tell the princess bride that I have made her wish come true and have shown my own wedding pictures. Oh and if you look at the pictures you can click on them to make them bigger if you are so inclined and if you do that look at how sad my dad looks while walking me down the aisle - I get tears in my eyes looking at that picture - what can I say I'm a daddy's girl!

Okay, I know this is probably one of the weirder posts I have done. I don't even have any brilliant words of advice to send you on your way so I'll just say TTFN...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Of halloween past and present...

I have survived another Halloween. My kids think it is the greatest thing next to Christmas. Me, not so much, I've never been a big fan of Halloween, I don't even remember being that crazy about it as a kid. My little town used to have a Halloween parade and every kid got a full bag of candy - I don't remember what kind of candy it was but I'm thinking those circus peanut things or something equally as disgusting. I wasn't even that crazy about Halloween as a young adult. I went to parties and inevitably dressed up as the girl in pajamas with the baby bottle full of whatever adult beverage was being served but it really wasn't my favorite thing to do and frankly I'm not that creative about the costume thing. Now the HotY he is much more creative about the costumes. One year he made Alex the most awesome robot costume ever. He was the hit of the neighborhood complete with flashing lights and dryer vent legs and arms. I'd show you a picture but the costume happened before we had a digital camera and I just don't feel like going to all the trouble of finding and scanning a picture right now. Sorry but some nights I'm just lazy! So the point is I'm not exactly sorry to see Halloween come to an end - I really can't even wait until the mandatory five day waiting period is over so I can take the candy to work. I know! Oh and about those Halloweens past - I actually made the decision to move to my current small growing city on Halloween SEVERAL years ago thus beginning the journey towards my destiny and the HotY - he's such a lucky guy :-)

Here are some pictures from our Halloween highlights. We had trick or treating in my office this afternoon and someone said they thought my girls looked just like me. I don't see it but took it as a great compliment none-the-less. Alex was enjoying a night with his teen scene group so was not present for the costume photos - again proving that photos of teenage boys continue to be elusive.

The princess bride looking a little disappointed because the frog didn't turn into a handsome prince after all.

Patiently waiting for candy to arrive

Our cute witch who was a little worried that the neighbors might not recognize her with her new haircut.

More of the blushing pricess bride. She received several proposals and refused them all.

The first costumes of the day for school scarecrow day. Note the unbrushed hair and slightly disheveled look - let's just say the HotY was in charge.
Someone was not at all happy about the hat...
Have a great night and may all your halloweens be filled with fabulous costumes and only the good candy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A moment of clarity...

Has this ever happened to you? When you see something so clearly that you wonder how you could have failed to see the real picture for so long? This happened to me yesterday. Suddenly I had a very clear picture of a situation which has been causing me stress for quite some time. The problem is the clarity did not make me feel one bit better about anything – it made me feel worse. Sometimes that is reality – worse. So now the question is do I continue to look at reality or bury what I know under rainbows and sunshine? I realize this is a hypothetical question as even I know the correct answer I’m just not sure how long it is going to take me to commit myself to the answer and close the test booklet. KWIM? (I love a good analogy, I can't help myself so just humor me - okay?)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkins and apples...

we still have to go to the orchard and get pumpkins and apples. My kids have been patiently waiting for this treat which I cannot put off any longer. I should have done it Saturday instead of shopping since the weather has gotten much colder since then. But the shopping, it was already planned. Besides, pumpkins or shopping, you decide.

Anyway, the plan was to go on Monday but it was REALLY cold so the plan got changed to today but I'm fighting my once every two years nasty cold and had a stressful day on top of it so the pumpkins, they needed to wait. Now the plan is to go tomorrow and it really can't be put off another day. So tomorrow after school off to the apple orchard/pumpkin patch even if Amy and Heather are going to do a really fun thing in the big city tomorrow night. A really fun thing that they invited me along to do with them but which I declined because I promised my kids the apple orchard/pumpkin patch. That's part of being a parent - putting your own fun aside for the fun of your children. And really picking out pumpkins and apples will be fun and my kids will have a blast and I'll get to take pictures. Not that I'm not envious of Heather and Amy but the pay-off as time spent with my kids will be worth it. So I'm hoping for sunshine and much less stress and no sore throat tomorrow - oh and updates from the girls while they are partaking of their really fun thing :-) Did you hear that Amy - updates. You know my cell number...

Okay that's it.

TTFN... Off to bed.

Oh and that really fun thing that Heather and Amy are going to be doing - YES, it has to do with scrapbooking, what can I say... :-)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yes, I'm still up...

and yes it is almost midnight and yes I should really be in bed as I am getting a nasty cold and I can already tell that by tomorrow morning I will not have a voice. BUT I don't want to disappoint the HotY by going to bed at a decent time on the weekend - not to mention doing so when I'm sick (believe me he will have a discussion with me about this in about 10 minutes when I do go to bed). I really should have known that this cold thing was only going to get worse as today was a bad hair day. My hair never turns out when I am getting sick - it is like all the sick cells go to my head - really. I'm not kidding. Sick = limp hair. Fine, don't believe me but it's true - ask Amy and Heather they will verify it was a bad hair day.

Anyway, there were two things I wanted to say about today's shopping trip and now I can't remember either one of them. Shoot. I mean it was important enough for me to sign on and start typing and now I can't remember.

Oh now I remember - two very ironic things happened

1. I got to Heather's at 9:15 just as planned and she wasn't ready and why wasn't she ready? Because she knew I was driving and if I was driving I would be late :-O WHAT? And then we got to Amy's house and guess what? AMY WASN'T READY and Amy is always ready on time but do you know why she wasn't ready? Because she knew I was driving and if I was driving I would be late. What is going on here? I'm not always late for social events, sometimes I'm on time and today I was ON TIME. RIGHT ON TIME but from now on I'm going to be late - it is my duty to my friends. I've decided they count on me to be late thus giving them a few extra minutes to get themselves ready so from now on when I'm late it isn't because I wasn't ready on time it is because I'm doing my friends a favor - seriously!

2. Oh and that getting lost thing. Do you know what makes that even more pathetic? I have a navigation system built in my van and we had our destination plugged in and yet I still got lost - which prompted Amy to say "so when your navigation says keep left you keep right???" I guess you had to be here. Anyway, you know sometimes that annoying woman giving me directions gets it wrong and everyone once in a while I just like to test her that's just the way I do it. You know sometimes I think I make my life harder than it has to be :-)

Okay I'm done and possibly slightly delirious (but while I've been typing this my pal Gavin came on and well I had to listen) so I'm going to bed. Finally. The HotY will be happy.

It's a small world...

so I think I mentioned that I was going shopping with my friends Heather and Amy in honor of Heather's birthday (yes we wined and dined her and embarrassed her at the restaurant with the singing of Happy Birthday - something that they don't usually do but our 20 something male waiter was happy to oblige us). Anyway, as I was walking through Bloomingdale's at one of the largest malls in America I heard someone say "sure, just walk right by your sister" and it was MY sister. My sister who doesn't live anywhere near the largest mall in America (I live nearer but I'm not right next door either so I will forgive her for not telling me she was going to be there). I mean really, what are the chances? This is truly a HUGE mall and then to be in the same store at the same time - it was fate! It was nice to see my sister - a good surprise.

And about the shopping. Although we did hit the mall there is also a small independent shop that we like to visit whenever we are in the area but no matter who drives (Amy, Heather or I) we get lost trying to get to the store. Today was no exception (I was driving). Somehow we ended up on the wrong road and had nowhere to go but to the airport - so we cruised the baggage and departure area looking at all the happy people flying away to some exotic locale and then got back on the road again. The problem was we were laughing so hard that I almost missed the right road AGAIN! We finally arrived and made our purchases - of course we got lost again on our way home but that too worked out okay as Amy had to make a stop at Target and there it was TARGET - so we stopped, Amy bought and we got back on the RIGHT ROAD. It was a fun day although a bit longer due to our unanticipated backtracking.

So there you go - a fun and fateful day - FABULOUS! :-)


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And now - the rest of the story...

Okay I've given you an overview of the trip. I've given you pictures of the trip. I've even given you a picture of the HotY while on the trip but I haven't really given you the details of the trip. Details like how six hours in the car with only your spouse for company is a LONG trip. But considering we got on the road just seconds before reaching the "I'm not saying another single word to you for the next six months" stage I have to admit it could have been MUCH longer. But disaster was averted after all and the time passed pretty uneventfully, although quietly. After a couple hours of companionable silence (yes, I napped) I couldn't take it anymore and my "I really must do something to annoy someone" tendencies kicked in so I proceeded to sing every song that came on the radio. It really isn't the singing that bugs the HotY so much because although my tone isn't always the greatest I can carry a tune, it is the fact that if I don't know the words I just make up my own. For some reason he seems to find this exceedingly annoying - and really there are a lot of songs where I just wing it so you can imagine his joy at my concert performance. Alas, after awhile even the most effective annoyance can get old so I gave up the singing for an hour or so (besides I was getting a hoarse throat). But I wasn't done trying to push a button. About a half an hour from our destination I found an even more annoying diversion - I began reading EVERY single road sign. I KNOW so juvenile of me but so fun. I was especially challenged when we would pass a farm yard full of campaign signs but I passed the test and even though he didn't tell me I know the HotY was truly impressed with my abilities (oh and in case you were wondering - the most popular sign was the "Right turn lane begins. Yield to bicycles" at the beginning of each right turn lane - I got to read that one a lot). The game came to a quick halt when I mistakenly read a STOP sign a little too emphatically causing him to think there was an approaching deer or something (I was truly sorry). I think it was a good thing we got to the cabin when we did (that slightly smiling picture of the HotY in the car - that WASN'T taken at this point of the trip :-))
Anyway, once we arrived at the cabin all the stress of the world seemed to roll off my shoulders and we were able to relax and enjoy the quiet (and it was REALLY QUIET) and scenery. Finally about 8:00 p.m. we roused ourselves to go in search of pizza - which we found - but upon stepping foot in the door we were greeted by a less than friendly high school girl who told us we could order a pizza to go but there would be no eating of pizza in the restaurant as they were trying to clean up and close. Fine - we could eat it at the cabin there was no need for her to get snippy - sheesh! So we took the pizza and ate cold pizza at the cabin - but that was okay we were on vacation and there was a microwave.
So really that was the pattern of the majority of the trip.
  • Mornings spent in the surprisingly comfortable bed
  • Annoying behavior when warranted
  • Hanging out at the cabin for most of each day
  • Enjoying the Scenery
  • Savoring the Quiet
  • Staring at the Calm Waters
  • Marveling at the Sunsets
  • Rousing about 8:00 p.m. for something to eat
  • Back to the surprisingly comfortable bed.
Now you know the rest of the story and now, I'm done, I'm done talking about it because I'm not sharing all the details and vacation is over. It's back to reality whether I like it or not :-) But try to find your own secluded cabin somewhere - it's an escape I highly recommend.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Always trust your gut instinct...

like when you just want to go for a quick walk and two five year olds ask to join you. I really just wanted to go for a 20 minute walk before it got too dark but then those two faces looked so excited to go with me that I caved and said yes. 20 minutes later when we STILL hadn't left the house I knew I should have followed my original plan of sneaking out the back patio door (I could have been back before then even knew I was gone) but a promise is a promise - so off we went.

Along the way we talked about Halloween and scary witches and skeletons hanging in trees. We kicked leaves and discussed why it is not okay to jump into leave piles if you didn't do the raking. It was a nice walk and we came home with a little color in our cheeks and smiles on our faces -worth the extra time (and so much for gut instinct)!

And now, totally unrelated to walking or Halloween or even scary witches (no commentary here please) are the rest of the pictures I am willing to share from our trip. Enjoy.

Our Cabin - No. 7:

The fabulous screened in porch:

Bedroom (and no that is not someone hiding under the covers - just a hastily made bed):

Kitchen (yes, it got used):
Bathroom (clean, modern, indoor plumbing is always good):
Living room:

Front cabin view:

I could have spent countless hours sitting on this dock:

View from the porch:

Oh and this, this is the HotY. He isn't going to be happy about this:

The Mississippi Headwaters:

Virgin Mary in her grotto:

And the next pictures - pure bliss: