Sunday, January 31, 2010

Designated Driver

Miss Bit with M and G

There are perks to carpooling. Like this little conversation I just heard moments ago in route to a birthday party...

Miss Bit:
I have a friend named Susie too. I don't think you know her.

G: What does she look like?

Miss Bit:
She has curly hair and she has a purple shirt and purple pants, but she's invisible. I played with her when I was 4. She lived in my pocket. Then when I turned 5, I flushed her down the toilet.

G: That is so funny! I can't believe you flushed Susie down the toliet. Ha flushed her into the sewer. That's insane!

And I'll spare us all the potty talk that ensued! Keep in mind they are 5 going on 6. We haven't talked about Susie for a long time. I guess now I know where she's gone.

Coffee Talk

My ever so generous hubby gave me a gift already this morning. He insisted I stay home and do whatever I want while he went to pick up T. Bone and Miss Bit from his parent's and shuttle them to Sunday school. I owe him big time. Huge!

It is such a treat to have quiet time all to myself in the middle of this busy weekend. You see my ears are still ringing after T. Bone's birthday bash that started Friday at 5:00 when parent after parent dropped boy after boy off and wished us "good luck," and finally ended mid-day yesterday when I had to work real hard to keep from smiling from ear to ear when they came to pick them back up. Seven boys make for ear drum shattering noise. They don't talk...they shout, and since they're all shouting, the decibels rise until it's so noisy you cannot even hear yourself think. The party was a hit for them because they all had fun. We count it a success because they all survived. It's an added bonus (and a miracle) that we survived too!

We were brave (or clueless ) enough to take them out into public for bowling and pizza. They were smart to stick us in the far corner having experienced this demographic before, no doubt. I only wish that the vending machines were not so prominent as the last thing any of these boys needed was sugar. They bowled 2 games lickedy split cheering strikes and spares, and loudly lamenting splits. Miss Bit and her friend A. joined in on the fun. Lil Bit was the first bowler to get a strike. She closed out her games with 2! She ate up all the attention she got from the boys for her prowess on the lanes. The pizzas were then devoured before they hit the table thankfully washed down by caffeine-less Sprite and Root Beer. Things went according to my plan as they left the piles of pizza crusts and caches of cupcake crumbs at the bowling alley. Don't worry...we paid them well.

They filed into the basement as soon as we arrived home, turned out the lights and waged a Nerf gun battle into the wee hours. Apparently, it was a covert operation to which we parents were not privy that the boys would come bearing arms managing to amass an awesome arsenal. The battle ended around midnight when hubby called a cease fire, but was back on early the next morning. I only thought I was dreaming as dawn approached that it sounded like my house was under attack. As far as I know, we had 7 boys all named "Dude" take over our basement for the night. They emerged from the bunkers for breakfast having worked up quite an appetite. All I can say is I didn't dare descend into their world until they were packing up to leave because I knew I didn't have the stomach for the carnage. I have a new found love and respect for our basement.

Miss Bit enjoyed a "soft sleepover" at A.'s. They shared her plush bed, her quiet room and boyless house, and I think that about sums it up. It makes perfect sense to me. I saw the girls running around the backyard as I was cleaning up breakfast so at one point we had 9 charges adding to the chaos. Later in the day, she was dreaming of the night she can have so many friends sleep over. No doubt, the shouts will be replaced by screams, and seances, prank calls and grueling games of truth or dare will be substituted for brutal Nerf battles. I think I'll start therapy now.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Feeling mostly rested today despite the fact that I woke up this morning at 4:00 and couldn’t get back to sleep.

My hubby’s stint as a juror will hopefully end today. He didn’t sleep well last night because of the stress.

Tuesday night's PBS special will discuss the effect of technology on our children's brains. I believe this is a MUST see for parents.

Progress reports that show both my kids are above average in their reading programs.

Holiday craft ideas on this fun site.

My Daisy Scout.

A haircut appointment for Miss Bit next week. Something MUST be done to tame her mane. No combination of headbands, bows, scrunchies and barrettes is sufficient, and I’m so over the daily, snarly struggle in her quest for beauty. I think we’re going back to the bob.

Lap lovin’ kitties.

Mugs of green tea with lemon on a cold afternoon.

T. Bone noticed and was most appreciative that I broke down and stocked his sock drawer.

Family movie nights. This week Mrs. Doubtfire had us all entertained.

Miss Bit helped herself to breakfast last Saturday morning whilst hubby and I snoozed on. At least popcorn is a good source of fiber!

T. Bone is way excited for his birthday party tonight. I cannot say that I am looking forward to 6 boys spending the night, but I am glad that he is.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Make new friends, but keep the old...
One is silver, the other is gold.
A circle is round, it has no end...

That's how long, I will be your friend.
A fire burns bright, it warms the heart...

We've been friends, from the very start.
You have one hand, I have the other...

Put them together, we have each other.
Silver is precious, Gold is too...

I am precious, and so are you.
You help me, and I'll help you...

And together we will see it through.
The sky is blue, the Earth is green...

I can help to keep it clean.
Across the land,

Across the sea...
Friends forever we will always be.

Last night was full of promise...the Girl Scout Promise, the promise of friendship, the promise of our youth and their budding friendships...beautiful futures. The 21 girls were proud and excited to be welcomed as Daisy Scouts, and also rather thrilled to run around the school after hours exploring, which explains the the rather rosy cheeked, cherubic faces in the pictures above. I really do have a place in my heart for each and every one of them, but especially my Bit. I admit, I was a tad verklempt as I attached her daisy pin above her heart. My Mom wasn't able to do that for me because she was working, and I'm just so blessedly thankful that our whole family was there for Miss Bit. (Ok...T. Bone was with his band of boys playing dueling DS's, but he was in the same room.)
I couldn't help, but remember my own short-lived stint as a Brownie. We met after school every other Wednesday at a neighborhood church. Of course, it wasn't my neighborhood because I rode the bus to a better school that was not in my neighborhood. My Mom knew it was a smart choice. My "memory" reminds me that I was "expelled" from the troop because I never paid my 10 cent dues. No doubt, my Mom placed them safely in my pocket every other week as she was a stickler for details, but Monifa manged to steal my dime every time. She was the class bully, and believe me when I say that she would still make me shiver today. Today I know that my paltry dues (or lack there of) weren't the reason that the Brownies and I parted ways. I still remember my leaders with kindness, and I know that they would have found a way to include me at all costs. And I hope that the 21 girls in my troop remember me the same way...with kindness and the knowledge that each and every one of them matters. I have a suspicion they do...many of them were waiting in my rather long line to get pinned last night.
It is my promise to them to always give them warmth, understanding and acceptance. Cross my heart until I die! Pinky swear promise!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Same bus, same kiddos...different season.

We may have turned our backs on Favre...

But we're still cheeseheads at heart!!!!

I just got the kids on the bus. Writing that on a quiet Tuesday morning gives me a case of de ja vu. It's true that Tuesday mornings have fallen into a predictable pattern around here. In the frenzy that is the weekend, I scarcely find myself with the presence of mind to write, and Mondays, well they are just all about survival so come Tuesday I am in need of a little word therapy. Something is new about our send-off routine I might add. Now I blow my air kisses and wave frantically until the bus disappears up the road, but then I have to wait for Miss Theresa to turn that puppy around and come back down the block to pick up a new neighbor and classmate. I don't mind...there's really nothing else that is more important for me to be doing for those 3 short minutes than blowing another set of kisses to my girl. Priorities. And I am just so grateful that Theresa is concerned enough about safety that she doesn't make any of her charges cross in front of the bus. Every one of her subs comes from the wrong direction because it is more convenient.

I don't have much time here because I have to get my workout in before I am due at school. Priorities. I got roped into giving tours to new K4 parents and then I have my regular volunteer time in Miss Bit's classroom. After school I am meeting with T. Bone's teacher regarding enrichment activities for him. He's already concerned with how long that meeting will take and how much of his play time it will carve out this afternoon. Priorities.

Clearly he wasn't listening to the sermon Sunday. The visiting Jesuit priest spoke to the many important roles we all play in the course of our life and the precedence one may have over the others at any time of the given day. Basically it was the whole we don't live in a vacuum premise. I should cut him some slack because during the homily we were inundated with a chemically smokey smell, which did cause a stifled stir. Miss Bit was too busy talking fashion with her friend in the pew in front of us to hear or smell much. The sermon had quite an impact on me because as we were driving home we hit a gapers block...rather unusual for a Sunday. A car overturned and at least one passenger was ejected from the vehicle and laying on the side of the freeway. Emergency personnel had not yet arrived so Joe Blow was directing traffic and a woman pulled over presumably to help. I surmise she was a doctor or a nurse who had hung up her stethoscope for the weekend only to be called to change her priorities. Thankfully the median prevented us from seeing much, but sometimes it's what we don't see that haunts us at the end of the day. I drive that same stretch of the freeway several times a week and ignore the too fast for curve sign while making calls on my cell phone. I should say...ignored, made.

I'm already looking forward to next weekend and it's not even hump day yet. This weekend felt like it just went too fast. I think it feels like that when we are going in too many directions. Yet we started it with a family movie night Friday and ended it with family dinner on Sunday. Priorities. We gathered with my brother and sil-to-be to cheer the Saints on and took only a little pleasure in watching Favre lick his wounds. In between, there were play dates for adults and kids, lessons and games. All good stuff. T. Bone had his first snowboarding lesson Saturday, and he declared it "A-W-E-S-O-M-E!" Funny, he almost didn't make it because he left his snow pants in his friend's car and was melting down like a 3 year old. Funny, he didn't even have tantrums like that when he was 3. Funny, he could barely walk Sunday morning after working rarely used muscles. Funny, he was still the leading scorer on the basketball court Sunday afternoon, and we were there to cheer him on. Priorities.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for

Reminders like this…beautiful, true, familiar.

Miss Bit does not have an ear infection. She has fluid behind her ear drum, but she is feeling better.

My hubby has been so helpful around the house lately (Yes, I've noticed Love).

I’m feeling stronger and more fit as I am finishing my 3rd week of P90X. I’ve only lost a couple pounds, but I can definitely tell a difference in how I feel.

A new grocery store. It’s always been there, but I shopped there for the first time last weekend. The clerks were very helpful and pleasant. The butcher even made fresh hamburger patties for me without my having to ask. Of course, I was having such fun that I spent twice as much as I usually do.

Playing games with the kids…games of Zingo with Miss Bit and Blokus with T. Bone.

Kids who say ‘thank you’ for each and every meal we make without prompting.

My cousin is ok after an
attack that happened at his bar last week. Everyone from CNN to MMA shows are calling for interviews so he’s difficult to get in touch with, but I’ll be seeing him in person soon because...

We’re going to Vail!

Aunt Jess is staying with Miss Bit while we are gone, and they have rock star seats to Disney
Princesses on Ice.

A little
bling. (Well, it’s my kinda bling.)

Warm, fiber filled oatmeal for breakfast every many flavors as there are days of the week.

T. Bone wrote such thoughtful thank you notes all by himself for his Christmas and birthday gifts. He was proud of himself and so was I.

A night at the salon. I called to confirm my appointment yesterday only to find out it wasn’t when I thought it was. Kevin fit me in and he didn’t rush either. We even lingered over a glass of wine, and I may have even gotten a longer than usual head and neck massage. After he dried my hair, he spent some time playing with it…styling it. When I came home, Miss Bit was loving on my curls.

A little girl to
shop for.



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Random Ramblings

I am ecstatic to report that I am ready pretty much from finger to toe for our trip out West that is fast approaching. I had two arduous days of shopping this week, and now I am happy. Happy that it's behind me and happy that I was so successful. Today I even picked up a few things for Miss Bit for our spring trip to Bermuda. I was called to pick her up early from school because she was under the weather, but she sure perked up when she saw the loot. She said, "Mom, you didn't have to do this!" The madras hat above was an irresistable find! Shhh...I think T. Bone wants one too. He looked just as cute in Miss Bit's, but he refrained from being photographed. I can see some great Bermuda beach shots in our future. The new pink tennies were also a hit not only because they are sparkly, but also because they don't have laces.
I resisted the maternal urge to buy T. Bone another batch of brand new socks. That's because we just stocked him up and all except 2 1/2 pairs have mysteriously disappeared. I found out about this as he was getting ready for school this morning. He confessed that he should change the socks he'd been wearing for 5, that's FIVE, days! I should have figured as much when he asked me to do laundry lastnight because he needed socks, but as I loaded the washer, I didn't come across a single one of T. Bone's socks. Hmmm?
Hubby just called from jury duty to tell me that he's been put on a case. I was strongly encouraging him to pretend to be an undesirable juror. They are lucky that he is an upstanding citizen unlike myself, and I'm sure he'll be a fair and open minded judge.

Let's Here It For Good Ole Massachusetts!

The Commonwealth has a new place in my heart! I have restored hope in the power of the electorate.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Is It Tuesday Already?

I predicted I'd morph into Goncharov's Oblomov once January took hold, and apparently my crystal ball is well tuned and working. I have had a great deal of down time these past few days, and while I haven't spent my time hunkered down in bed, I have been pretty much holed up in my house and horrendously happy about it - I might add.

As much as I love to write and find it therapeutic, sometimes it is necessary and healthy to take a step back, absorb and marinate in the many moments rather than regurgitating them. I am also faced with some rather weighty decisions that require soul searching and quiet reflection at this time, and I'm not talking about picking out fabric for curtains (although that is making me panic too). I know I'll share here and document when I mull it all over and make up my mind. The thing is...I don't believe in retractions. If you felt strongly enough about something to put it down in black and white and then hit publish, you must own it at least in that time and space. I'm not into apologizing for my feelings or decisions as long as I know why I'm having them...why I'm making them. Whims on a knee jerk are random and rogue.

The house is quiet for the first time in 3 days. Let me tell you...I am soaking in the silence. Although it was good noise for which I am grateful that filled my house: conversations with friends, the laughs of my children, the singing into the wee hours with my brother and sil-to-be. The only thing missing were the wooden spoons! Even the barks and howls of my Aunt's dog were ok with me when she stopped by almost unannounced yesterday. It's not the dog's fault.

So I am slightly lamenting the fact that I cannot stay alone here today reading and writing until my heart's content. I know I have to hurry up and find something to wear to my cousin's wedding in a few weeks. Nothing is more of a drag than the dire need to go shop. I tried the online route with little success. Oh, I ordered $665 worth of options, and I'll be returning $550! I'm positively dreading the look on the associate's face when I walk in with my box of returns. I know that once I find my get up, I'm going to start getting really excited. Excited for a weekend away in the Rocky mountains with my hubby. It's been such a long time since we have traveled just the two of us. The prospect of this trip is making me realize how much I have missed it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


It was a struggle to get the kids to bed tonight. It was "Just one more commercial" numerous times as they negotiated their way through the better part of last night's Tivoed American Idol episode. Or I should say, Miss Bit cried her way through it right along with every rejected wannabe contestant. She curled up into me with a tear in her eye and whispered, "I care for old people." Yes, and young people and happy people and sad Miss Bit she cares for all people. All that empathy is exhausting so she's already drifted off.

T. Bone was anxious to get into Old Yeller. It was waiting for him on the library shelf the other day. He told me he's going to read the whole book all by himself...every single word. Just like Where the Red Fern Grows, which he read because he found out that it's Drew Brees' all time favorite read. It's nice to know that he does actually read his monthly issue of Sports Illustrated Kids.

My hubby made popcorn while I was upstairs and now we're going to watch a movie. We'll see how long I last. Last night I fell asleep at 9:55...just in time to miss the end of Law & Order.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This & That & Everything In Between

Miss Bit in outfit from Grandma J.

Last night Miss Bit and I were snuggled in for the night playing Barbies when the phone rang. She wasn't happy because my "sister" was cooking her "sister" a fancy meal and then the "girls" were going to have a movie night in the loft after their dinner. The boys were at Cub Scout Carnival Night. It was the company that services my brothers home security system calling. They couldn't get in touch with either my brother or his fiance so they called me to let me know that the police had been dispatched after the alarm sounded. Funny...but I got in touch with my soon-to-be sil straight away. She was just arriving at the airport to pick my brother up, and asked if I would go check on the situation (every time I say this word I think of Jersey Shore). I didn't know what I could do since I don't have any way to get in their house, but then she worried aloud if she had left the stove on...she was imagining a house fire, not a prowler. It struck a nagging nerve as I have been rather fixated on fires this week...all week. Even losing sleep over emergency plans and smoke detectors at night. I asked my hubby to inspect all of our alarms the other day and that's something I never think about. It was one of those moments you wonder if you have been worrying about something or thinking of someone for a English class we used to call it foreshadowing. Miss Bit and I headed out the door in our jammies, which she thought was rather exciting, and were able to relay the fact that their was no smoke bellowing from the windows and that the house was still standing to my sil within minutes. She already knew that as she had conferenced with the police.
I'm getting to something here if you are still with me. My friend M. and I were talking the other day about her sister D. who is in ICU at a local hospital. This young, healthy woman ended up on a ventilator because of a virulent viral attack on her system...and it's not called H1N1. No, she had the ever so common Herpes virus that attacked her brain causing her to have swelling, seizures and brain damage. Then M. was telling me how her furnace shorted out and her house could have burned down (uncanny because this was after my paranoia set in) the night her sister was admitted. She was telling me how lucky she was that her ex picked up her kids and went to her house when he did to discover the problem. I'm not trying to be doom and gloom here, but that got me thinking how narrowly we escape disaster every day when we go out into the world. It put me in awe of the tenuous relationship between cause and effect...if, then, but what if? It truly made me appreciate the changes on a dime. And it made me realize the importance of human instinct...survival often depends on it. I'm not suggesting we stop living our lives or that we live them in fear, but rather that we listen to that little voice inside that we so often tune out. I am guilty of shrugging off a feeling, of telling myself it's nothing, of saying I'm being silly. Think about it. Listen to it. Trust it.
We all met back at home to catch the first night of American Idol. It's getting a little formulaic, but it's slim pickings for family friendly shows so we'll tune in. Posh is nice. Who knew?! I didn't miss Paula one bit, and I'm still trying to figure out how Ellen is going to fit in. I was tearing up at the segment of the girl who wanted to make it for her Alzheimer affilcted Grandma. Hubby pointed out that Miss Bit was choking back tears too. It was nice that she made it. I 'm a sucker...we're suckers for sad stories.
Then T. Bone came down about 20 minutes after retiring to read before bed in tears. He finished Where the Red Fern Grows and was crying. I knew we weren't gearing up for a happy ending from the gist I got after reading with him a couple nights. A funny little aside...he was reading aloud to me one night until he hit a road block. He came to the word 'bitch,' and he didn't want to say the "bad word." I explained that it actually means female dog, and that in this context and situation (there's that word again) he could say it. He came across the "bad word" several more times and I could hear it in his voice that he was uncomfortable uttering it out loud so I told him just to substitute "female dog." It sounded strange to me, but it made much more sense to him! There was also some mention of Old Yeller in the reviews on back and it took me back to my childhood. My Dad read it to my brother and I when we were about T. Bone's age. I can still remember listening to the tale of Travis and his yellow mongrel and choking back the tears. T. Bone was returning the book today and hoping to check out Old Yeller. He's a glutton, I tell ya. I'm hoping someone else is seeking punishment and that it's gone for 2 weeks in which time he forgets about it.
I got a call from the library this week letting me know that something I ordered was available for pick up. I haven't requested anything for some time so I was anxious to find out what it was. I was hoping it was some treasure that would get me really motivated to become an voracious reader again. Hubby just finished an 800 page Harry Potter book in 2 weeks and I'm darn envious. I was rather disappointed I made a special trip to pick up The Basic Writings of Thomas Paine. Did I really request this? As I exited the library, I tried to give it right back to the overnight book depository, but it was closed. It was obviously meant to be mine for a few weeks. You know I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. After paging through it, I don't think it's only coincidence that it ended up in my hands, but I still don't think I requested it.
Miss Bit woke up with a smile on her face. She was dreaming of playing with unicorns with cousin H. How delightfully dreamy. She eyed herself up in the mirror, clicked the heels of her boots and said, "I look like a cowgirl! Or maybe a rock star! I might even look like a model! I prayed for Grandma J. because she gave me this outfit and I like it so much!" Then when I told her that it was corn dogs for lunch she shouted, "Now this is going to be an exciting day!" I wonder what it would take to make me say that every morning?
There wasn't much time for the computer before school today. T. Bone's greatest worry was Farmville. Before he got on the bus he said, "Mom, I'm counting on you for something. Harvest my red wheat. Plow my land. Plant more wheat. Got it?!?" Yea, I got it. Last week I neglected the chores he left me with. He was none too pleased, and the thing is I actually felt like I let him down. I wonder what it would be like if the only worry in my day was the wilting of my virtual wheat?
I am a shut in today. I'm waiting for the repairman to come and fix my oven. It's self cleaning, but every time you clean it, it stops working. It's basically as cost effective to get a new oven as it is to use the self cleaning feature! He'll be here between the convenient hours of 1 to 5. That's ok though because I have plenty to do around here. I only have 20 more days to get through Thomas Paine you know, and today's P90X workout is arms and shoulders so I think I'll add a short run too. (80 more days to go!) The whole family is getting into it. This morning the first words out of T. Bone's mouth were, "My chest hurts." He was going head to head for a bit with his Dad during last night's core sequence. And yesterday Peanut was all over my mat during my yoga warm up. When I shooed him away, he went up and helped himself to my water. Maybe we're onto something here. Peanut and I could make a workout video. Why not?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Official Retraction

I officially report that I falsley accused hubby of "rockin' out" to a certain Disney princess soundtrack that has us (Queen Mum and Princess Bit) twirling through our days, but indeed it was Miss Bit. I am still alive after spreading such scandal only because hubby was at work when he read it and so that I can set the record straight here.

Are you happy love?

Monday, January 11, 2010

On My Mind Monday

Anything dead coming back to life hurts.
Tony Morrison

I can attest to this firsthand. I feel like I've been thawing out...coming back to life, and it stings, it stabs, it burns, it aches. But there's no other better option. I don't want to watch my life from the sidelines. It strikes me what a fine line there is between joy and sorrow. How subtle are the nuances between happiness and sadness, or grief and glory. And here's the cannot fully appreciate the happiest moments of joy without having survived the saddest sorrows.

There's no statute of limitations on your sadness.
Pat Conroy

In grief, though, time is not linear. Today I can feel the richness of life and tomorrow I can feel robbed. Today's empowerment may be tomorrow's victimization. I celebrate a small baby step forward one day and the next I'm mourning several giant-sized steps backward. Today's laughs are tomorrow's tears. And that's why...

Sometimes I pray to remember,
Other times I pray to forget.
Barbara Kingsolver

But at the end of the day I am thankful that I had what I did to lose.

It always hurts more to have and lose than to not have in the first place.
Khaled Hosseini

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hi. My Name is Evie and I'm a Disney Soundtrack Addict

Wow that felt good. I don't know how many times I can listen to little Ray sing to his beloved Evangeline before I get sick of it? So far I cannot keep myself from hitting replay over and over. Last night I took Miss Bit's cd player from her room and brought it into my bathroom so I could shower and sing. My hubby may kill me, but this morning I heard him rockin' out to the soundtrack during his shower. That is until Miss Bit went in and turned the cd off because she doesn't want it to wear out! Now that being said...I am looking forward to listening to the India Arie and Mary J. Blige cds my hubby burned for me yesterday as a Saturday surprise. He found them on my Amazon wish list.

It's been a great weekend so far and today is promising too. I already have dinner (pot roast) in the crockpot and I'm ready to make a pot of turkey noodle soup for tomorrow. The sun's out, but it's cold outside so comfort food is on the menu.

No P90X today. Sunday is a day of rest, and I'll take it. I'm officially through my first week and I am going to stick it out. Only 83 more days to go. I can feel myself getting stronger and more flexible by the day. I have to confess that I cannot do one single pull up. Never could. Probably never will. I love, L-O-V-E, the Kenpo workout that I did yesterday. Next week I'm putting boxing gloves on so I really feel like I'm sparring. It's a lot more fun than I remember kick boxing being at the gym.

We had a great time at the W.'s last night. I just hope we didn't over stay our welcome. Miss O. was asking to go to bed and Miss Bit almost fell asleep during the mile drive home. It was 11:00 and she had been at her friend G.'s for the better part of the day. Miss O. loved her Cooking Mama game, and T. Bone wants to go to Best Buy to use the gift card they gave him to buy himself one. A Cooking Mama game that is. Can it be that they actually agree on something!?!? S. and I talked our way through a bottle of Bordeaux and a bottle of Malbec. I made these gooey marshmallow brownies that we all agreed didn't look like much, but they sure were good. I may have to make another pan today because they are gone.  I'll try to remember to post the recipe.

When we got home last night, we discovered that the kitchen floor was covered in Dorito crumbs. I guess that's what happens when you leave a bowl of chips on the table. It made me laugh remembering my Dad's cat, Brigit, who was a fiend for taco chips. She'd come running whenever she heard the crinkle of a plastic bag and go body in head first. We were able to figure out which cat was the cuprit because Peanut had a bad case of the toots! The boys were laying next to each other on the couch last night, and every once in awhile Tigger would lift his head and look at his brother as if to say, "Dude you reak!"

The kids are due home from Sunday school soon. Miss Bit will then be whisked off to a birthday party and T. Bone has his first basketball game of the season this afternoon. Both my boys aren't pleased that hoops is during today's Packer game. Good thing we have Tivo. My brother and sil are in Napa so they'll be no family Sunday night dinner. I have a feeling that next weekend they'll be bringing the wine though.

I think it's going to be a good, good week.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks…

For a week of normalcy and routine. It feels good to be back to “business.”

That I am about to complete my first complete week of P90X. During my yoga workout yesterday, I used muscles I didn’t know I have in poses I didn’t know were possible. I am not a huge fan of yoga probably because flexibility isn’t one of my strengths, but I am eager to work at it. There is only room for improvement.

More energy. This intense workout regimen is actually taxing, but invigorating.

That my hubby is still on break from school. His LAST graduate class starts at the end of the month, and I am excited for all of us for this accomplishment to be achieved and behind us…but mostly I’m excited for him.

Last night Miss Bit read several sentences and many words during story time. The nightly selection was The Cat in the Hat, which is heavy in word families and repetition, but it’s a book we’ve never read together so it was quite a step.

For my hubby’s new snow blower. We were dumped on in the last 24 hours. It snowed throughout the night. If he had to shovel us out this morning, it more than likely wouldn’t have happened, but he got up early just to use his new toy!

The winter wonderland that is our yard. I do love snow!

That although the tree is still up, the rest of the Christmas decorations are put away until next year and I’ve been going through closets and shelves and drawers decluttering and simplifying.

That we are the proud owners of The Princess and the Frog cd, and I may be more excited than Miss Bit. I picked up one to send to my frister too because I knew it would put a smile on her face.

For random acts of kindness.

For the Barbie Dream House. I never thought I would ever say such a thing, but Miss Bit is so smitten with it that I’m starting to love it too. I do not; however, like or understand why none of Barbie’s clothes even fit properly. And when did they become so scandalous!? It’s a good thing I still have many of the nice girl, conservative, albeit outdated numbers that my Barbie’s wore 30 years ago.

T. Bone had such a blast with his cousin T. for the few days he spent with us last week. They enjoy all of the same things including one another. I was laughing with my bil last weekend when we saw them sitting side by side on the couch literally touching despite the fact that there was plenty of room for them to spread out.

Dinner with friends tomorrow night and all I have to bring is dessert and Miss O.’s birthday gift, which I think she will really love.

I didn’t do laundry this week, and nobody complained!

My hubby for washing the kitchen floor the other night.

The perfect New Year’s Day. Hubby made delicious omelets with the leftover fondue fixings for breakfast, the whole gang played Apples to Apples and then headed off to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a sleepover. Jess and I stayed behind in our pjs, ordered up The Hangover on pay per view and finished the bottle of champagne we opened the night before. Cheers!

Dutch cocoa…it makes a decadent chocolate fondue.

Zora Neale Hurston and her sentiment: There are years that ask questions and years that answer. I decorated my mortar board with this powerful, yet simple quote. I’m not sure what kind of year 2010 will be yet. It has potential to be a year of realization and a year of inquiry.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Productive Nonproductive Day

After I signed off here yesterday, I curled up under the cozy new afghan we got as a Christmas gift (so coveted in this house that hubby and I went out and bought the last 2 in the store last weekend). I turned on the last 15 minutes of Monday night's Bachelor. Yes, I fell asleep during the rose ceremony! Jake is growing on me, and all I can say is that I really hope some of his girly choices do too. I think he let some of the better, brighter ladies go, but was secretly pleased that he kept the psycho chic for my personal entertainment value.

After my tawdry TV fix, I finished all of my Christmas cards just in time. I heard the hum of the mail truck making its way up my street. I went bounding down the driveway without a single second to spare in my pjs to hand my mail to Mr. Wayne personally. He looked at the thick stack of red envelopes and just shook his head. He only thought he'd seen his last Christmas card. Luckily Mr. Wayne is very nice and he likes the sweet treats I ply him with from time to time. I cannot blame my delay on my lengthy Christmas letter because I don't participate in that bold braggary. Frankly, I'm shocked at how many people do. Do you not know that you are the butt of many jokes? That your boasting words get passed around the office for people who do not even know you to laugh at your arrogant expense? I received two letters this year with glaring typos and that really chawed me. Really, you don't even care enough about your family's 12 month blessed itinerary to proofread that which you expect everyone else to oooo and ahhh over?! People if you feel compelled to say more than "Merry Christmas," get out your pen and take the time to handwrite your note.

I think that task fueled my fire. I had an intense Cardio X workout. I gave it my all and was really beat at the end of the session. I pushed my limits without a doubt, and yet I could have done it again if that makes any sense?

It was time for a break. A lunch break. My hubby has been telling me how hungry this program makes you. I felt that yesterday. I tuned into an episode of Adoption Stories while I ate and before long I was sobbing into my bean burrito. That says a lot about where I am at in my life. I never used to miss a tearjerking episode of A Baby Story and now I don't even know when, or if, it's on. It's been a dream of mine to adopt a child, but I'm really feeling the blissfull chi of where we are as a family right now so I'm not sure it even makes sense. And truth be told, I cannot imagine bringing a new child into our family without my Mom by my side.

So I dried my tears and I started cleaning out the game cabinets in our house. There were games in there I didn't even know we had. We could play a different game every day in January and still not get to them all, and that my friends, is no exaggeration. I was then compelled to attack the many bookshelves in our house. I have a huge problem with getting rid of books. I was very proud that I was able to fill a huge shopping bag for charity and, yes AND, another for the school. It was a milestone event for me to let go of all of those titles. I love children's books as much as, if not more than, any others. There are many I will keep for my own library long after they are no longer read by my kids. I won't even have to rationalize that they are for my, they are for me. (But I do hope to have grandkids to enjoy them with someday.)

The rest of my evening consisted of putting the pesky decals on the Barbie cruise ship (it's surprisingly therapeutic), playing Barbie's, making dinner and then crashing on the couch. I'm off now for another productive nonproductive day, and that's just fine by me!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Today's Thoughts

I just got the kids on the bus a little while ago. I found myself choking back the tears as I waved goodbye. Miss Bit's eyes were locked on me until I faded from view. I always wave twice and blow two kisses, and that's the comfort she needs to start her day. T. Bone heads to the back of the bus and is already too busy cracking jokes and telling tales to notice that I'm still there. I wonder if she will lovingly remember this routine? I wonder when she will grow up to be too independant and cool to catch kisses from her mama?

This little moment of my morning gets to the very heart of why it is I write. To preserve precious memories so they are right here in black and white when they...when I (heaven forbid) longer remember them so vividly. We all say a picture's worth a thousand words, but I'd take a hundred words over a picture any day. I just would.

They grow up so fast. I have that same fear as any other mother of them growing up too fast. Just this morning we left T. Bone in charge of the house and his still sleeping sister while we dropped the car off down the road for service. As we pulled back into the driveway 15 minutes later, my hubby questioned aloud what we were both asking ourselves quietly, "Do you think he's still in bed?" No. I figured that he would be up and on the computer, but he was up, head gear off, teeth brushed, hair combed and dressed, and then on the computer. That's my boy...that's our little man. I thought pretty soon he'll be the one jokeying cars with my hubby.

So I'm stranded today unless I decide to bundle up and walk to get the car. Truth be told...I rather like the idea of being shut in so I just may wait for my hubby to give me a ride. It's a beautiful thing - a day with nothing pressing to do.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday Morning Blues

The kids were a little less than eager to get out of bed this morning. I must admit it seemed darker and colder than it's been yet this winter, and I had a tough time too. The first day back is always hard despite the excitement of catching up with friends.

They did relatively well all things considered. I really liked the new breakfast routine we implemented this morning. The days I work cereal and fruit are all that's on the abbreviated menu. My kids are spoiled beyond belief by the way I act like a short order cook each and every morning, but I'm hanging up my chef's hat at least 3 days a week. They looked at me incredulously when I told them I only got eggs or (not and) pancakes on Sundays. They ate their Kix girl with milk and my boy without (he's never been into soggy cereal). OK, I confess that I already broke the rule by baking them banana bread to go with their boring cereal. Hmmm...perhaps I'm the problem.

Miss O. arrived talking and was still chatting on her way down the driveway to the bus. We didn't see her at all on break so apparently there was some catching up to do. T. Bone was already out of sorts with the ending of his 10 day bacchanal, but her incessant conversation and the 5 too many questions she directed at him put him over the edge. He barked, "What's with all the questions. I have a headache and all you girls are doing is making noise!" That didn't stop her. In fact, she carried on and actually asked him what Santa brought him for the second time which put his frustration level on overdrive. He headed out the door to wait in the single digit temps and peace and quiet. Tonight at dinner he declared that he hates the number 23. That just happens to be Miss O's birthday. Hmmm. The two of them have always had a love/hate relationship going on. They'll probably get married someday. I'll never tell him that, of course.

T. Bone was humored by the fact that almost every one of his classmates got a DS from Santa for Christmas. What can I say? I think the word is coincidence. Dinnertime conversation confirms that they are already back in the swing of things, and thankfully all of Miss Bit's friends recognized her. While looking in the mirror this morning, she worried that she had changed (gotten even more beautiful I suspect) so much as to not look like herself.

I would like to take the tree down tomorrow before my cats do, but it's not the true end of the Christmas season until the Epiphany so it strikes me as a tad premature. My house desperatley needs scouring, but that is futile until I deChristmas. I should finish my Christmas cards and write thank yous. And then again I could just curl up with a good book for a little lost time.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy Birthday T. Bone

"Don't mess with me...I'm THE CHAMP!"

Boys (and men) being boys!

Best of buddies...a boy and his uncle.

Jab, cross, hook, upper cut!

"Come on...go get him! You cannot be taken out by a 9 year old."

"Oh want a piece me!?!"

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have a decision."

T. Bone has learned that good things come in both small and large packages.

A birthday squeeze from his sis.

The sugar has kicked in!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9...a pinch to grow an inch and a sock to grow a block!

T. Bone's birthday falls just two days after Christmas so we are often celebrated out by the time it rolls around, but we always do our best to give our special guy a special day. I can say with certainty that his ninth birthday did not disappoint. We enjoyed a leisurely morning at home eating pancakes and playing with our new toys. It was the longest stretch of time we had spent at home in days except for the hours we spent sleeping. Grandma and Grandpa joined us for an early afternoon outing to see The Squeakuel. I was most impressed that my boy opted for a family friendly movie we could all share despite the fact that I knew he was itching to see both The Blind Side and Avatar. It was important to him that we sit in the dark sharing popcorn and sour patch kids as a family. I was also most impressed that my Dad agreed to attend a movie about talking chipmunks cuz' he's sort of a cinema snob. It was important to him to please his grandson. All good!
After we had our fun fill of the always cute Alvin, Simon and Theodore (if you ask my hubby he'll tell you that I enjoyed the movie more than the kids), we headed home for a little pizza party. T. Bone thought long and hard (say 5 seconds) and then decided that he wanted Rocky Rococo's pizza for HIS birthday dinner. Uncle B. and Aunt A. joined us for the feast. After dinner, the boys turned the family room into a boxing ring, and the rest of us morphed into referees, announcers or spectators. Uncle B. and Tigger are enjoying T.'s Christmas gift as much as he is. What can I cat gets his groove on by genuine leather. And my conservative brother is all like, "T. Bone needs to learn how to defend himself." He was asking for ibuprofen on his way out the door! Grandma J. obliged our last minute request to bring a cake - vanilla with vanilla icing. He usually orders up homemade lemon cake with my secret special buttercream frosting, but I was baked out this year after 20 plus batches of cookies, and he was understanding. T. Bone demonstrated that indeed his vocabulary is expanding when he referred to the rainbow cake as "gay." Ok then. Luckily Grandma didn't hear that comment.
It was a sportsman's birthday. He was excited for the airplane ticket to Colorado we bought him to join us in February. He cannot wait to see cousin Knox, snowboard and miss two more days of school. Grandma and Grandpa followed suit by giving him snowboard lessons at an area ski resort. Nice! Uncle B. and Aunt A. came through with that green stuff that will come in handy for his trip. Snowboarding is expensive you know!
So's true, my baby is 9. I look at him and am amazed that I ever felt fulfilled before he came into my life one snowy morning. He is such an incredible person in every way, and to know him is to love him...everyone who knows him knows that!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas Squared

Snuggles with Aunt Dee.

Grandpa's Girl.
Grandma's Girl.


We were invited for a day after Christmas brunch at my in laws so we dressed up (and geared up) for round 3. We have our "official" Christmas celebration with that side of the family today. The kids both big and small couldn't wait a week to open their presents so we didn't. Miss Bit was most excited about her new camera. She spent the rest of the day taking pictures of everyone and everything, and I think she may have a new hobby! T. Bone was very psyched about his backyard skateboard ramps and baseball gloves. In fact, this week he put on his new gloves and he and his cousin tried to use the ramps as snowboard jumps. Tried is the operative word here, but we won't be skateboarding in this neck of the woods for months, or playing baseball for that matter. It was a very relaxed, enjoyable day.
I 'm quite sure today will be too, but I am very excited that this is our last Christmas celebration for obvious reasons. I stayed in my pjs all day yesterday playing games and watching movies and I would be happy to have another day just like that. There's always tomorrow though.