Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Little Fish

We went to swim lessons last night. Like we do every Monday night. Right before class, sweetP's teacher tells Ducky that he has made unexpected strides and she thinks he is ready for the next level. Yahoo, sweetP! He did this last time too. On recommendation day, his teacher felts he should stay in the class he is in, but then something clicks and they change their mind. Except there are no openings in the next level for the next session. Dang. So he is on wait lists and we have to wait and see.

I don't like to wait and see. I had them taking lessons at the same time. I had it all planned. Ducky and I could go together, divide and conquer. Talk to each other without interruption. Now if sweetP doesn't get in I have to tell him that he will be taking that session off. And then he will be sad. And I will have to worry that he will forget all the stuff they have been teaching him. He is such an enthusiastic little guy. I really hope I don't have to burst his bubble. It is hard to believe that just back in June he didn't like to get his face wet and now he jumps right in. They work miracles at this place.

SweetE is a much more reluctant fish. Exceedingly cute, but not confident yet. I love to watch him. He has his little goggles on and he looks over at us with this big grin and gives us the thumbs up. And you can tell that he can't relax, but that he trusts his teacher. And he wants to do what they ask, he just doesn't trust that it will be okay yet. We can tell how happy he is about class by the number of thumbs ups that we get. Most of the time we get a lot. Last night, he gave his teacher the lip. The one that tells us that he is upset and about to cry. I don't know what upset him, but his teacher got him over it and by the end of class he was laughing and kicking during the train ride around the pool. (A giant train shaped kick board, all the kids lay on it and get pulled around the pool for about two minutes. They love it.)

You know both boys love their classes when they re-enact them in the bath tub. I'm glad they like the water. And I hope sweetE doesn't take after me. I took beginning swim lessons nine times before I passed. It was six times before I put my face in the water. So he is doing better than I did.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A New Record!

Wow, the first time my comment count has reached 2 digits. I should have joined Fun Monday sooner. The part of me that craves validation is in heaven.

I have a milestone coming up. My 100th post will happen in a few days. How should I commemorate the occasion?

Please recall that before I started this blog, I never managed to keep a journal longer than three weeks. 100 posts is a minor miracle. And cause for celebration.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fun Monday

I am officially joining the Fun Monday ranks. What can I say, I like knowing I am not the only one in over my head on a regular basis.

Here is the assignment from Blue Momma.
I want you to show me your......projects. More to the point, I want to see your unfinished projects. I have so many that I really need some reassurance that I'm not the only one. Home improvement projects are what I have in mind, but it you don't have any of those show me any kind of project - needlework, cooking, scrapbooking, etc. You can even show me your spouse if they qualify as a work in process.

And please, I WANT PICTURES!!!! You can talk if you want, but you don't have to. I know since you are all bloggers talk is bound to happen, but I most definitely want to see photos of those unfinished projects.

Let me start with the pit of despair, also known as Mommy's work room. I painted it back in February. And I have been planning get it organized every day since. I am really looking forward to having a work space to sew, read, relax, create, etc. But right now it just depresses me. I did manage to get two baby blankets sewn in there today, but still got depressed by the mess. Note to Ducky, you are not allowed to comment on my mess!

The laundry closet. We remodeled that back in January. We put in new floors, new cabinets and painted. Then we had the electrician come in to put in new can lights and move the light switch. Good thing we did, there was a fire hazard in there. But now the paint needs to be touched up and we still haven't gotten the pivot doors. The closet is on a hallway and every time I do laundry I end up banging into those doors because they close up half the hall. Arghhh.

The blessed stairs. We started this project in July and getting the stairs done is taking forever. SweetE likes the construction look, he is allowed to pound on them with his hammer as much as he wants. We are tired of the construction look. We love the remodel, we are glad we turned the stairs, but we are so ready to be done!

Here are the treads to go on the blessed stairs. I have made progress this weekend. I have four coats of finish on them. They still need a light sanding with an extra fine grit paper and then one last coat of finish. Then they can be installed. But when? By Christmas, please before Christmas. This is the third set of treads for the blessed stairs. Do not operate power tools while distracted. I cut every tread too short. That was the first set. Then we hired an incompetent contractor. He cut them all crooked. That was the second set. This is the third set. We are back to the original contractor. The one that turned the stairs, but who knows when he will get to it. Please before Christmas!

This is the new patio door. That leaks. As you can see we haven't finished the drywall and trim around it. The door people have supposedly ordered a new insert, but it should have been here a week ago. In the meantime, it has ruined my grass rug in front of the door. And I need to sand, mud, sand, texture, prime, paint and put up the molding. Dang, I'm tired.

The fireplace. I do not like this brick fireplace. I loathe this brick fireplace. But I vowed I would not start a new project until all projects in progress are completed and I have more money. So I have to look at it. The hearth is two different heights. The mantle is weird. I admit it could be a lot worse. But I still want to get rid of it.

As we were getting ready to head to the beach a few weeks ago, the deadbolt on the front door broke. It was stuck in the locked position. So right when we got back, I had to take it apart and put in a new one. At least I had the new one in my possession. When we replaced the patio door, I bought a new front door handle at the same time. I had planned to put it on the new front door when we got it. But instead I got to put it on the old front door. But only the deadbolt part. The handle has an extra fastener that would require a hole to be drilled in the door. I really don't want to drill and get it in the wrong place and then have to buy the new door now. There is that whole money thing and I have expensive taste. So we have a new deadbolt, an old handle and it now requires two keys to get in the front door.

I did not photograph my bedroom, but it still has white walls and I have the paint in the garage. I just don't have the time and that would technically be starting a new project.

The list continues, but I still have to plan my lessons for tomorrow. Another day, I can share all the non home improvement projects that need finishing.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What is Wrong With My Dog?

Beware, dog vomit story ahead.

Last Sunday I shampooed the family room carpet. Velcro had puked on it a few weeks before. And it had gotten pretty colorful from the boys spilling things on it. So I decided it was time to clean it. It looked fabulous for 5.5 days.

Today, Velcro puked on it again. I am not sympathetic. He went from the front door (tile) through the living room and dining room (cork) through the kitchen (linoleum) past the backdoor (aka exit to deck and grass) into the back corner of the family room (carpet). Had he thrown up on any of those other surfaces, I would feel bad for him. And I had just had the door open and he showed no interest in going out at all.

Then in the moment it took me to go into the garage and come back with stuff, he made a new orange stain on the carpet. Getting to it immediately with carpet cleaner didn't prevent that stain. And he had started to eat it! Yuck!!!

What is wrong with my dog? He used to have good sick doggy behavior. Throw up right by the back door on an easy to clean surface, good boy. He would get sympathy. I would sing his praises on what a kind, thoughtful doggy he was. Lately, he heads to the back of the family room. He always goes past the back door without asking to go out. What is wrong with my doggy?

And why does the dog food manufacturer keep changing the formula of his senior dog food and upsetting his delicate tummy?

Poor Velcro. He really is a good dog. But why can't he stop at the back door anymore? His tummy seems to be all better now.

Friday, November 23, 2007

In a Hole

Today I graded 10 sets of papers and I might be half way done. Might be. I still need to plan for next week. So much work to do. And I have two baby blankets to make and five stairs to finish. I need a time machine or something to get everything done.

But I ate yummy leftovers and hung out with my boys. So the day had good points too. And Mt. Laundry has been demoted to butte status. And I watched a movie with Ducky. The first I have seen in months.

Off to bed!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My Life, The Musical

I was sitting and watching the boys play this morning. It was some kind of pirate/knight thing. And I realized that they were singing to each other. Instead of talking, they were singing what they wanted to say.

Back and forth. Discussions of bridges, knights, ships, everything in song. And it was so cute. I had to capture this moment on video. Except that when you bring out the camera, they feel the need to perform. They don't realize that you just want to catch them being themselves. So instead of their cute musical, I got a musical performance. Complete with harmonica. Cute, but not what I was going for.

I always know what days sweetP has music at school. He spends the rest of the day singing. Of course the song I hear the most is the Star Wars theme song. I hear it about 10 times a day, sometimes more. Sometimes a lot more.

But, no matter what they do they are cute and my favorite source of entertainment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


My boys are discovering the love of reading. Every night lately, we retire to our respective rooms and read with the boys.

Ducky is reading the Narnia books to sweetP. He loves them, even though they lack pictures. When he was about two, he was looking at my books for work. He looked up at me, and in all seriousness said, "But mommy, where are the pitchers." The idea of a book without pictures was beyond him. But now, he is making his own pictures. And they are getting great daddy/boy time.

Meanwhile, I am reading to sweetE. Tonight we read eight books. The same eight books we read last night. We have read the Tigger book so many times, he has it memorized. So I make him read that one to me. He even runs his fingers along the words as he goes. And it is so cute how he reads it. He won't use contractions. And when it talks about Eeyore's thistles, he pronounces it missiles. One night very soon, I am going to video tape it. I have an audio tape from about the same age "reading" Good Night Moon.

And both boys don't want to stop to go to bed. SweetE had about three more books lined up and ready to go. And if I let him he will start the stack all over again. SweetP would gladly listen to at least one more chapter a night.

I love that they are falling in love with reading. I cleaned out the library as a kid. I think I read every kids book they had.

SweetP has made leaps and bounds so far this year in reading. At the end of kindergarten, he still didn't know all of the alphabet. And now he is reading the decodable books. Yahoo, sweetP! I am looking forward to a time when we can all be sitting and reading our books together and be perfectly content. At the same time, I am willing to freeze time, so I can read to them awhile longer. Their little selves snuggled in and listening. Pointing to the pictures.

I'm ready for December. I have found 20 of the Christmas/winter books so far. I think the rest are packed in the Christmas boxes. But, just in case, I am ordering a few more from sweetP's book order. If I have too many, we will just have to read two some nights. Darn. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Break Through

We had a major breakthrough today. My sweetE never wants to go to preschool. He wants to stay home, with me. Except that I am going to work and nobody would be home. The entire way to school, he complains. Walking up to the door, he wants to go home. Up until recently he would produce tears. And latch onto me with a death grip. And then when Ducky picked him up he would be having a blast.

But today was different. It started out the same. I don't want to go to school. I want to stay home. But in the car something happened. The happy switch flipped or something. He announced as we were going past sweetP's school, "I like my school. It is real fun."

Oh happy day. He likes his school. He admits to liking his school. He wants to go today. Maybe it was the sparkly juice aka sparkling cider. I signed up for juice duty for their friendship feast and thought sparkling cider would be a fun treat.

When we got to school he happily went inside. He didn't get upset when I had to head to kitchen in search of a bottle opener. We did our routine. I put his name tag on. I hung up his coat. We found his name at the table. I gave him a hug and a kiss. Do not skip the hug and kiss step with this kid. It is the end of the world as he knows it if those are missed. Or if he thinks they were missed. I asked him if he is going to wave at mommy at the door. He says yes. I did my crazy wave (highly exaggerated and animated) at the door and he waved back with a big grin on his face.

I am on cloud nine. I don't have to leave with a crying child inside. Even though I know he is fine by the time I get to the car. Today he realized that he likes his school. Today he is happy and so am I.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Looooong Day

It was a long Monday. We opened the school store today. At 9:30 this morning I was ready to turn in.

I made it to bedtime.

I just got done writing a heartfelt letter. It made me sad and thankful at the same time. I feel guilty that I am glad that I am not on the receiving end of it.

I am thankful that there are burdens I don't have to carry. At the same time, I am so sad for the people who have to carry them.

I wish there was a way that I could make this person hurt less. Because I cannot even imagine how they are getting through this.

Sometimes life is not fair. And it can be cruel. And there is nothing we can do about it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Frostbite Story

Way back when renting videos was a fairly new concept, we often rented them from a certain store. It was not the closest store, but it rented them for a dollar. It was also an appliance store. Go figure.

It was sometime in the winter, January I think. We had rented a couple of movies. Don't remember what they were. If I did, I would never watch them again. It snowed overnight. Enough that we couldn't get the car out of the driveway. We lived outside of town on a few acres and had a long driveway. My dad had taken his truck and gone to work. There was probably less snow when he left at five. Either way, the driveway wasn't plowed and we weren't going anywhere. And those movies were due back. Keep in mind that they cost a dollar a day to rent. A dollar!

My mother, in her infinite wisdom decided that those movies had to be back on time. And if we couldn't drive to the store to return, by golly we would go on horseback. More precisely, the children would go by horseback. She would stay at home in the warm house. The store was about 5-7 miles away. The trip included time on a highway. I was about ten.

At the time I rode a Shetland pony named Snoopy. He looked something like this one. So my brother and I saddled up and headed out to return the movies. By the time we got about half way there, I could not feel my toes. Cowboy boots are not known for their warmth. So we started stopping at various businesses. One of us would go in and thaw out, while the other froze outside with the horses.

I'm sure all the people who were driving past thought we were cute or nuts. I wonder if any of them wondered where our parents were. We got the movies returned and by this time I am using words that would get me in a lot of trouble. I am hating every minute of it. I didn't like riding that much to begin with. I have never liked to be cold. It was times like these when I wished my real parents (the royalty) would hurry up and come and collect me. (Remember I firmly believed that I was a princess switched at birth.)

I remember looking fondly at every car that drove by and wishing I was in it. I remember hating my mother with a passion. I remember that saying I wouldn't go was not an option. My family believed in that whole spare the rod, spoil the child philosophy. I remember not feeling my toes, my ears or my nose. I remember my legs tingling with cold. I remember sitting on Snoopy outside an auto parts store, hating that it was my brothers turn to go in. I remember I was wearing a blue stocking cap with a strawberry patch on it. It didn't quite cover my ears.

Remember this was to save $2. Now that I have children, I wonder even more what she was thinking. Besides, not spending that $2. And what was she thinking the whole time we were gone?

I don't know if I got any real frostbite from the experience. I do know that my feet get really cold and have a really hard time warming up again. It can take an hour for them to feel warm. I wear a warm hat at the beach almost year round because the wind makes my ears ache. Even if it is 70 degrees out. And Ducky has said that my nose resembles an ice cube sometimes.

I don't know if my dad ever knew that she made us do that. Lately, I have been finding out that he didn't know a lot of the things she did.

I am not surprised that I hate horses and being cold. I rarely watch movies. And I still resent that my mother put $2 above the health and safety of her children. If anyone invents a time machine, let me borrow it to visit my former self. I would like to give her $2 to rent the movies for another day.

Okay, it got cranky at the end. But my toes are getting cold. In a 70 degree house. And I am wearing socks. Maybe my toes were reliving it too.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Rest of the Beach Saga

I love sunsets on the beach. And when a storm is rolling in, they are even better. Sometime on Sunday night, a storm rolled in. And made itself known. It shook the house. The power went out, briefly. The rain pounded on the windows. We were all cozy in the house. And still happy. I love the beach when it storms. It is so interesting to just watch from the safety and warmth of the house.

Monday morning, we had to get ready to leave. And I had to watch the storm. The waves were crashing. The sand was flying. The water was headed north instead of east along the shore. The sturdy ocean trees were shaking with the wind. Ducky and I took turns going down to see the ocean. I stayed up on the hill, he went down on the beach. The driftwood logs that had been there the night before were virtually buried by the blowing sand. The gusts were so strong I had to catch myself to keep from getting blown down. We would later learn there were gusts up to 80 mph.

We packed ourselves in the car and opted to head home using the northern route. The southern route has a tendency to flood and we didn't want to experience that. So we headed home and watched the storm rage around us. At one point we went over a bridge and without any protection the car did a little rocking and bouncing. A scene from the movie Twister floated through my head. I had to laugh because this is Ducky's travel kharma at its best. Something always happens when he travels. Freeway shooting, hail in July, wind storm, both headlights going out within a half hour, something.

We made it home safely, with enough time to enjoy the afternoon at home.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Time Well Spent?

Tonight I caught up on three weeks worth of Grey's Anatomy. I love the show. It makes me melancholy. I think that is partly why I mostly stick with home improvement reality television. It doesn't make me think. Or ponder or relate.

Not that my life is anything like Grey's. But still there are themes.

So time well spent? At least I freed up about 4 or 5% on my DVR. I love the show, but now I am melancholy.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


The boys woke up bright and early, and their room didn't even have a window. When I wandered upstairs after sleeping in, it was the most beautiful day. We had been expecting rain and wind and stormy weather all weekend. It was sunny with blue skies and in the 50's. So we bundled up and headed down to the beach. It is November after all and I wear a hat almost year round on these northern beaches. There is a frostbite story that I will share at a not so future date.

We wander down to the beach and there is the strangest phenomenon. There is virtually no wind. There is always wind. That is why we bundle when it is 52 degrees out. I had to take off my jacket. SweetP had to take off his sweatshirt. It was down right pleasant. Perfect. Wonderful. I had obviously done something really good to deserve weather like this. It was nicer than July and August weather.

So here we all are at the beach, I am the shadow. Look at how happy Velcro is. We stayed down on the beach for almost two hours. SweetE was digging in the damp sand and making sand castles. They were immediately demolished, but he had fun making them. His only dilemma was when he wanted to suck his thumb, and it was all sandy. It took a lot of convincing to prevent him from going back to the house to wash his hands. He did eventually get over it, but there were tears. SweetP was experimenting with digging in the wet sand and then trying to fill the hole with water. Except sand does not do a good job at holding water. He dug trenches and then would wait for a wave to come and fill them. Velcro barked at all the other dogs on the beach. Ducky and I just hung out and helped boys here and there.

We headed back to the house to decide what else we would do. There was no way this day could be ruined. We set off for town, ready to do a couple geocaches and have some lunch. But after such a late night, and such an early morning, my little sweetE could not stay awake. After finishing his hot cocoa, before his lunch came, he laid his head on Ducky's leg and fell asleep. Poor, tired, little guy.

Since he was sleeping, I was voted to go to the next town that had a store larger than John's Market, and pick up a few things. And this is where I made a painful error. I picked up all the stuff on the list and then opted to stop at Starbucks and pick up coffee. I debated trying the gingerbread latte. They made me a sample, they were very accommodating. But in all the debate about what flavor latte I wanted, they missed the part about decaf. And there is the problem. If I drink very much caffeine, I get to enjoy a 48 hour headache that nothing helps.

Not too long after getting home, my head starts to hurt. I assume that it is just the driving and chaos of getting here and not sleeping great all getting to me. But everything is still great because we are at the beach and it is a perfect day. SweetE wakes up and we head back to the beach. Another hour or so of playing in the sand.

I was lucky there was Advil PM in the medicine cabinet.

SweetE's art in the sand. I think it is quite interesting.

SweetP's experiment in the sand after a wave got to it. He thought it was really cool how the wave filled it in and changed it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The First Night

We stop 15 minutes later in the next town for dinner. SweetE has already drifted off to sleep. I drag him gently out of the car and he is out cold. He wakes up for about 30 seconds when I sit down and then lays his head on the table. So I artfully arrange him on the booth seat with his head on my leg. He never moves. SweetP inhales his dinner and then we head off to enjoy the remnants of rush hour traffic.

At 6:40 we are on the road again. We were supposed to be happily entrenched in the beach house watching a movie at this exact moment. It is starting to rain. But off we go. We are headed to the beach, life is great. The entire family loves the beach. A half an hour later, sweetP drifts off too. These boys had a busy day today. So we drive and chat and drive. And it seems to take forever in the dark. You cannot see the landmarks that make it seem like you are making progress. We keep track of progress by miles to go and what time it is.

We drive and drive and at almost 9 pm on the nose we pull in to the carport. The engine turns off and two sleepy boys ask, "Are we there?" We climb out, head in and settle in. Two boys are ready for round two. Two parents are ready for bed. So we watch a movie. The boys cuddled in and talked their way through the movie. They had already seen it, I hadn't. Our boys set a new record, they stayed up past midnight. We finally got them settled in and asleep. We went to bed with rain outside and happy hearts.

And you know what happens when boys are excited about something. They get up early.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Getting Out the Door

There is a reason I don't travel much. If you recall, it was a mere month ago that I headed to Reno for the blessed wedding. Of which there is only 2 photos of me and I have my sunglasses on in both. Otherwise I look cute popping up in the second row. Apparently no one told the photographer that short people go in front, or at least not behind tall people. But, I digress.

So it has been a whole month since I went anywhere farther than 10 miles away. You would think that I shouldn't have any problems getting ready to head out again. I had just barely almost gotten caught up from missing a weekend of chores, homework and mundane life. And this time I had to pack for more than just little, old me.

I had grand plans to get the last four loads of laundry done and all the packing done before my sweetP got out of school. But there were a few snags. SweetE needed to have his preschool photos redone. That was a painful hour. He was all happy and bouncy and cute until the moment we got in the room where the equipment was set up. Then his head went down, his lip went out and his thumb went in. And that is where he intended to leave them. I was bribing him with hot cocoa with whipped cream. And dirt or worms. Anything to make him smile, laugh, be himself. (I'm kidding about the dirt and worms.) I crouched down below him and held his thumb. And we coaxed and cajoled and hemmed and hawed and tried and he is a very stubborn little boy. We finally got something better than the first shot, but not the cute personality that I see every day. That personality reappeared the moment we left the room. The instant we walked out the door. He bounced, he smiled, he laughed. I had to laugh with him.

My girlfriend had planned to pick him up and take him to the soccer house to play with her little boys, but we were running behind. So I agreed to drop him there and head home to get stuff done. But, I had to be home in an hour to watch my neighbors kids. So I ran to the grocery store to get food for the trip and back to the soccer house to pick him up. One load of laundry has been done by this point. I realize I never said goodbye before I left and am praying that he has not realized this and hasn't been crying the entire time. My girlfriend is a backup mom, but this is the kid that cries a river if you don't wave to him at the window after a hug, a kiss and a bye-bye before you go out the door.

He is waiting by the window, but no tears. So off we go home, pull in to the garage, get the groceries in the kitchen and ding dong. It's the neighbors. Once a month I watch my neighbors kids while she volunteers in her other kids classrooms and once a month she watches sweetE while I go to sweetP's class. It was her week to volunteer. No problem.

Somehow, I still manage to get two loads of laundry in and the groceries put away. I get the box of food packed and not much else. Here comes sweetP. We are supposed to be leaving in a half hour. No problem. As soon as that last load of wash gets out, we will be ready to go. Original departure time 3 pm. Whizzes right past. 4 pm, whoosh. 5 pm, zoom. 5:15, I am ready to go. Ducky is doing the OCD lock up routine. It takes 20 minutes. The rest of us are in the car, waiting. 5:40, we hit the road.

Hello, rush hour!

By request:
Pink Salad aka Cranberry Salad aka Yumminess
1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 can pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple (I like the tidbits)
1 bag small marshmallows
1 scant cup sugar
1/2 - 1 pint whipping cream

chop up cranberries into small bits
add pineapple, marshmallows and sugar
let sit in refrigerator overnight

whip the whipping cream
fold into cranberry mix (I like it less creamy so I usually only use about a 1/2 pint)

I think it is better if it sits for a few hours in the refrigerator before you serve it. It sweetens the whipped cream a bit. But it can be served immediately. Also, very tasty as left overs.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Beach Bums

Spent the weekend at the beach. I'll tell you all about it later. Right now, I have to figure out what I am teaching tomorrow and we have swim lessons and dinner to get through yet.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Time Change Woes

I loathe when the clocks change. It messes with my routine. I used to like "fall back." But once you have kids, it is just a pain. The clocks changed a week ago. The boys internal clocks have not. This morning I was greeted with little shuffling feet at 5:30. This meant that I had a scant 6 hours of sleep. For some that would be plenty. But I love sleep, crave sleep, need sleep and 6 hours wasn't going to cut it. Once the boys are up, even if they crawl back in bed with me and eventually fall asleep, I am awake. If I get too awake, going back to sleep never works.

So my sweetP came in at 5:30, laid down until 6. Then started clearing his throat, over and over again. Ducky had long since gone to work. So I sent him in to get a drink. Then he went down stairs. But he came back, eating.

Me, "Honey, what are you eating?"
SweetP, "Bologna."
Me, "Okay."

Hey it doesn't leave crumbs in bed, but bologna at six in the morning. Ugh. I was just too tired to care. So the sweetP goes back to sleep about 6:30. Just in time for another set of shuffling footsteps to come in. SweetE has it down. I lift the covers and he scoots right in. And then plays with my hair. And drops it in my face. And that drives me nuts. It tickles.

I love that I still get to cuddle with them in the morning. I know they won't be that little for too much longer. But 5:30 does me in for the whole day. I had them trained almost perfectly and then "fall back." I vote we abolish time changes. Then I'll train the boys not to come in before 6:30 again. And then life will be perfect again.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Airplane Ride

My childhood never strayed far from home. We hit every horse camp within a 50 mile radius, but that was as far as we got. We went to the coast once and several times a year we went to Grandma's house. We always drove. When we went camping, we sat four of us on the bench seat of the Ford. I always had to sit next to the driver and my knee would get munched at least a dozen times by the shifter. My point, my travel experience was minimal at best.

The summer after high school graduation, I was spending a lot of time with my friend Larry. It was one of those relationships where one person likes the other and the feeling is not mutual. Larry was fun, but really not my type. He ended up introducing me to Ducky a month later. And I am eternally grateful. He was working in a radio station at the time and when my shift at the worst job I ever had was over, I would go hang out with him.

On this particular night, there was a forest fire raging on the outskirts of town. The sunset had been brilliant shades of red and orange. The sun itself was blood red from the smoke. Nothing can compare to a fire sunset. The air was filled with the scent of wood smoke and there was a haze in the air. My parents house was safe, but I had friends who lived near or in the evacuation area.

When I got to the radio station, only two people were there. And the phones were ringing off the hook. So I jumped right in and answered phones, gave messages and helped out any way that I could. It was very exciting. Much better than my own job. I ended up staying there all night until the morning crew came in.

At around two or three am, the other person that was there had gotten a pilot to agree to to take him up in a plane over the fire. And did I want to go? Of course I wanted to go! I had never been in a plane before. Of any size. And over a fire. At night. So we headed out to the airport and got in the little plane and we were off. It seems surreal now, but it is one of the coolest experiences of my life.

We took off for the fire. You could see the emergency vehicles evacuating people from near the fire. The lines of tail lights waiting to get on the highway. The places where the fire was burning. The places that were already burnt were dark with just pinpricks of light where something was still barely burning. The bursts of flames as new trees caught fire. The sheer size of the fire as it stretched farther than one whole side of town.

And the heat pockets that burst upward bouncing the plane. It was a bumpy ride. No matter where we flew, there were air currents the buffeted the plane. Fires create their own weather. I had grown up hearing about forest fires. My dad used to fight them. But nothing gives you the same perspective as seeing it for yourself.

I don't remember how long we were up in the sky. I just remember the exhilaration I felt the entire time I was in the plane. I never had fear, never worried that we might crash, just relished the moment. To this day, I love turbulence, it reminds me of that plane ride. Some of the details have faded from that night, but I still get excited just thinking about it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I Have Homework

Also known as I've been Memed. As we know from previous posts, I don't follow meme rules exactly. I don't pass on homework. I do enough of that at work, but if you want to play along feel free. This one is free form, 6 things about me.

1. I would be a hermit if I didn't have children or a dog. I will gladly hang out in the house for days on end, except my children won't let me. I got my allotment of outdoorsy-ness when I was a child. Forced to ride mile after mile on a Shetland pony most weekends, eating lots of dust because I was always last in line. Scarred for life. Within my comfort zone I am too social for my own good, outside of the zone, I have to force myself to participate.

2. I have a big mouth. I have told peoples secrets. I admit it. If you don't tell me to keep my mouth shut I won't. If you do, then I'll take that secret to my grave. You just have to be specific, very specific.

3. I am honest to a fault. I am sometimes blunt. If you ask what I think, I'll tell you. I do have a filter and engage it often, but if you really want to know, I'll tell you. It has been my downfall in a couple of relationships, but I feel I am better off without them.

4. Growing up I believed I was a princess who had been swapped at the hospital. I could not be related to my brother and he shared that opinion. I had to have been the one swapped, he was the only baby in the hospital when he was born. I waited for my "real" parents to come and take me away. Never happened. People say they see the resemblance between us, but we don't see it. Deep down, I am still a princess, swapped at birth.

5. I have to be good at everything. I have what I call "Fear of Success, Fear of Failure" syndrome. I can't fail, it isn't an option, never has been. If you succeed then more is expected of you. So I tend to procrastinate, but then I can't fail, so I scramble to get it done and pull an all nighter and it turns out great. I hate it when my projects don't live up to my expectations. I get cranky when things don't work out.

6. I am an all or nothing sort of person. If I am going to clean the living room, that means dusting, moving the furniture, vacuuming, putting all the miscellaneous stuff away and then putting it all back together. When I do it, I do a really good job. Ducky gets frustrated I don't do it more often. The problem: I get distracted when putting things in other rooms. I get started on something else and before you know it, I have half done stuff everywhere and am totally overwhelmed. Or I leave piles. All of these things drive Ducky nuts. But it is who I am and he said till death do us part, not until the mess drives you over the edge. I need about 3 months with nothing else to do and then I might be caught up, cleaned up and ready for anything.

So that is my 6 things. Feel free to share 6 random facts, quirks or stories about you.

Note to Laurie, I would use a lighter shade of the gold that you used in the living room. Not exciting, but it is a small space and you want it to be light, bright and blend with the other two rooms. That is the best I can do without the aid of visuals. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Migraine Monday and Hangover Tuesday

I stayed up way too late over the weekend. I did way too much. And then I had my big day, Monday. So I really should not have been surprised that I got a whopper of migraine yesterday. It completely knocked me out. I made it home, put the boys in front of the TV and laid on the couch in the family room. In misery. I managed to get some dinner for the boys in the oven, before I crashed on the other couch with them. Ducky came home and got them ready for swim and off they went.

I went to bed, with the aid of a sleeping pill. These are the occasions that I have them for. Except the boys came home early and I was still partially conscious. In my decreased consciousness, I couldn't figure out why they were home early. I sent them with all the stuff they needed. Come to find out, classes were canceled due to poo in the pool.

Fast forward to 6:45 am, and my head no longer hurts. Yahoo. But I am enjoying the migraine hangover in a big way. It is like trying to run through quicksand. So I dragged myself through the day and here I am.

Epilogue to the Reno trip. My dad called this weekend. He made it home. When I left him at the airport he was positive the bus picked him up on the upper deck. I had always dropped off Ducky's mom on the lower deck to be picked up. But he was sure that he was right. So I left him there. And he missed the bus, because he was on the upper deck. So he got to wait four hours at the airport for the next bus. During our phone conversation, he hinted that I should have known. I reminded him that he was positive and that was the end of that. At least he had a chance to find something to eat.

Off to grade math tests. Lucky me!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Unofficial Fun Monday

It is late and I am tired, so I am borrowing Fun Monday material without officially participating.

The goal is to post a holiday tradition. I had the brilliant idea two years ago to start the annual Christmas countdown with more than the advent calendar. I decided that starting on the first of December, I would read the boys a book about Christmas or winter every night through Christmas. It has made a fun bedtime ritual for us to look forward to each night. The boys take turns choosing the book we will read. Since I am a teacher, I have lots of books to choose from and if there is a specific one I want, I use the school library. It takes the emphasis off of stuff and emphasizes spending time together.

As for food, nothing can beat the "Pink Salad." The one with cranberries, pineapple, marshmallows and whipping cream. Yum. I saw fresh cranberries at the store last week and grabbed a bag and made it on Thursday. It was November, let the holidays begin!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Hunting We Will Go

Today was one of those great weekend days. The weather was perfect. We accomplished more in one day than we usually do in the entire weekend.

SweetE had his final soccer game and got his first trophy. He is so excited. Both boys made pirate ships at the Home Depot Kids Clinic. They have their own aprons and did a pretty good job pounding in nails and not fingers. We were pretty happy that our fingers were intact at the end.

I got the new stair treads stained. One step closer to getting them installed and finally being done with the big remodel project. I am kind of itching to start a new project. But I must, must, must get the existing ones done first. And save some more money.

Then we went hunting. I printed off some geocaches and off we went. If you don't know, geocaches are small containers that people have hidden. You get the coordinates and start looking. They come in all sizes. If they are bigger you can trade trinkets. The boys love it. We call it treasure hunting. We did a few big ones today, so there were lots of trinkets to choose from. You bring trade items with you. Usually happy meal toys. The great part about caching is that we find all kinds of great neighborhoods and parks that we would have never found otherwise. Places that you might drive by and not even realize that there was a park or trail there.

So we looked for three and found two. One had 5 parts and had us driving a couple miles here and then there. The only down side was on the last stop, sweetE stepped in dog doo. I picked him up because he was cold and then I was wearing dog doo. But we found the cache in the end and then headed home. And we had baby wipes in the car so I was able to clean most of it off before we left. Baby wipes are the most useful items. Even though we are done with diapers, I am predicting that wipes will be with us for a while.

All in all, today was a 10!

Friday, November 2, 2007

My Big Boy

I am tucking the boys into bed tonight. Last week sweetE graduated from Pullups at night and is fully potty trained! Fully potty trained! No more diapers! I'm done. Hurrah!

As I am tucking him in, he asks for a sippy cup of water. Being rather unfond of extra laundry due to night time accidents, I say that he is a big boy now and that means no more sippy cups of water at night. His response, "I don't want to be a big boy, I am a little boy who gets water." We may have an attorney in the family some day.

My sweetE has not had a single accident at night so far. Poor sweetP has had three in just over a week. No wonder I can never get caught up on laundry. So, since sweetE has obviously inherited my steel bladder, I tell him he can have a little cup of water. SweetP pipes up that he wants some too. Yikes, "No." In my best honey that is not a good idea routine, I turn him down. He seems okay with it.

Please don't make me pay for this decision at 3 a.m.

My boys are growing up. But really, they are still little. I won't tell them that. I wish I could stop time for just a little while and relish their cute little selves a little longer.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

My apologies

I have been feeling snarky lately. A combination of overwhelmedness, lack of sleep and discontent due to the overwhelmedness. So I fear some of my comments have been blunt and crabby. So my sincere apologies. I have had some Dr. Jekyll moments in the last week or so.

But November is upon us, so I thought I would focus for a moment on some of the things I am thankful for.

My family. Ducky and the boys. Ducky and I have been together since I was 18. There were bets we wouldn't last 6 months. Boy were they wrong. I wonder if I can track them down and collect? Can't imagine myself with anyone else. My sweetP is my little clone. We have the same personality and the same looks. There is a picture of me at 5 on Santa's lap with my braids hidden behind me and I look like a boy, exactly like sweetP. He is quiet and snuggly and I just love him. This morning he said "You're the best mommy I ever had." Even though I am the only mommy he ever had, I still take it as a compliment of the highest order. And my little sweetE, mommy's boy through and through. He's my baby, what more do I need to say.

Most of the time I love my job. I have an amazing teaching partner, who thinks like me. I have a great connection with my students. I get to plan fun activities that make them love math and science. Plus, I no longer teach high school and for that I am truly thankful!

I live in an area that I love. I grew up on the hobby farm, in a dry climate. Now I am surrounded by green and there is not a cow or horse in sight. I have seen the random chicken, but not in my yard.

We have what we need. And sometimes we can help others. We survived the days when splurging to eat out meant Taco Bell.

That I have small feet that look cute in any pair of shoes.

Life is good and I am going to try to remember that when Dr. Jekyll threatens to return. Happy November.