Monday, June 30, 2008

Your Gas Or Your Life!

Here's a sign of the times: My mom was sitting at her desk the other day when she witnessed a crime. A thief pulled up to the house across the street, walked around to the back of the house when he realized no one was at home, and walked back out with his loot. Expensive lawn equipment? No. Artwork? Jewelry? Electronics? Nope. Something much more valuable. A full can of gas. Gas! Unbelievable.

I filled up my van the other day and immediately went to the pawn shop to hock my ring to pay for it. I cried all the way home. Which is where I'll stay. For a long time. Because I won't be able to fill er up again for six months. I'll be sitting at home. With the power off. Because they say that utilities are going to be sky high from the gas prices. Which is ok, because I don't need it to fix dinner since there isn't anything to cook anyway. Who can afford groceries? Good thing the kids think it's funny to put collanders and pots on their heads. It'll have to do for entertainment.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

a few things...

William finished art camp yesterday with a gallery showing of his art work. He had a great time and now I have some fun art to hang in the sun room. He also did art work at VBS but I've decided against hanging the edible goldfish glued on a page of construction paper with cake icing. Gotta remember to get rid of that one during naptime today. Just don't tell on me....

Here's a recipe worth passing along. My friend Anderson tore it out of her Real Simple magazine and sent it to me because she knows how much I love feta cheese. I buy it in the huginormous block at Sam's and then scramble to find recipes for it before it goes bad (which it never does). This was a wonderful lite summer meal and I say the more feta you add to the salad, the better.

Spiced Mini Burgers with Couscous Salad

1 10-ounce box couscous
1 pound ground beef
Kosher salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 scallions, trimmed and sliced
4 Roma (plum) tomatoes, quartered
1 seedless cucumber, sliced into half-moons
3 tablespoons tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 8-ounce container hummus (optional) (note: I say this shouldn't be optional because it made the meal!)

Place the couscous in a medium bowl and pour 1 1/2 cups hot tap water over the top. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. (or just follow the directions on the box).

Form the beef into 12 small 1/2-inch-thick patties. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the cumin, and oregano. (note: I took Anderson's advice and added the spices into the beef before forming patties, then sprinkled some more on each side before cooking).

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook to desired doneness, 4 minutes per side for medium.

Combine the couscous, scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the remaining oil in a large bowl. (I then added feta...lots and lots of feta!)

Divide among individual plates. Serve with the burgers and hummus, if desired.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

~ One more thing ~ say a little prayer for our littlest guy. He has a staph infection on his leg and has been running fever the past couple of days. He's on heavy antibiotics and it's all just making him miserable.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

You'll Be Drawing Back a Nub

Andy and I went to dinner last night with some business associates (of Andy's of business associates were all in bed with their pacis and blankets sound asleep). We went to one of my favorite restaurants in the whole world which just happens to be a few miles from our house. The Wash House is a little shanty down by the bay with the best food you've ever had. I was so excited all day long yesterday that I fasted to make sure I had plenty of room for everything I was dreaming of.

I don't know what got into me but I turned practically violent when Andy suggested we share something. I ordered the soft shell crab and had to wipe the drool from my chin just saying the words. When I heard Andy say he was having the lamb but might have a bite of my crab I grabbed my fork, pointed it at him and said "Ya might want to get your own there pal and keep yer hands to yerself." Not really. But sort of. I was pretty hungry. And my hunger had made me angry. Obviously.

We had a wonderful dinner but I think I got paid back for my most uncooperative and uncharitable spirit when I stood up to go to the restroom and wiped out in the hallway just around the corner from our table. Wiped. Out. The heel of my shoe slipped out from under me and next thing I knew I was staring at the ceiling. Strangest thing one saw me. Good thing I wasn't hurt or I might still be lying there. As it was I stood up, announced (to no one) that "I'm ok" and kept going.

Then it occurred to me later on that they might have a security camera. And they might have been really amused to see my gymnastics routine outside the bathroom. And horrified if they also recorded me threatening to stab my husband in the face with an eating utensil. So it's a good thing I enjoyed my dinner because it might be a while before I return.

At least without a disguise.

Monday, June 23, 2008

"Vacation" Bible School

So we started VBS this week. If you remember last year I had practically just left the hospital from having number 3 when I volunteered to help because free child care + interacting with grown ups + snack room filled with homemade goodies = vacation for ME. This year I'm not so sure. Especially since I am working with the preschoolers so I'm chasing after four and five year olds, yelling all morning "keep your hands to yourself," "mouths closed and ears open," and "don't drink the glue." Just like I do here at home. Every day of my life.

This morning was the first day so we were running behind schedule just trying to get everyone registered. Which meant the first "session" of the morning was cut short. When I realized that session was my break time I think I said out loud "oh no you di-n't." Because that's when I get to go to a special room, prop my feet up and enjoy all the goodies prepared by Christian women. I only had ten minutes this morning. Now that's just wrong.

William gets to participate in VBS this year and his little class was sitting next to mine in the opening session in the sanctuary. I realized that I had forgotten to make sure he had his little offering to put in the bucket when it came around. I watched as the bucket passed by in front of him and then was mortified when he reached in and grabbed all the money out. He looked at it for a second and then dropped it all back in. I guess he was robbing Peter to pay.....Peter? Or in this case robbing Jesus to pay Jesus? Either way...I'll make sure we're better prepared tomorrow.

And to think it's only the first day of our "vacation."

Friday, June 20, 2008


It's a new day in our house. We're all still here. The place looks the same. But it doesn't sound the same. Something is noticeably different. There is a calm about our days the likes that we haven't seen in a while - if ever. It's not a new phenomenon. In fact, it's something that is employed at many a home. But we've just recently joined the bandwagon. Cold turkey. We've turned off the TV. The boob tube. The idiot box.

Did you know that the average preschooler enters kindergarten having logged in over 4,000 hours watching television? Four...thousand...that's THOUSAND....hours. I never thought much of it and in fact believed these past few years that if it wasn't for Dora, the Wiggles, Ben 10, SuperWhy and Sesame Street I would have never been able to nurse a baby, do a load of laundry or cook dinner. And I never thought it was a problem. Until now. But I've heard talk and observed behavior around here lately that is not acceptable. So you catch yourself saying "where is he/she picking that up?" Then you watch about 10 minutes of their favorite cartoon and you know because there it is, loud and clear, in technicolor.

So you have no choice except to turn it off. So you do so and then you watch your four-year-old go into withdrawals. Searching high and low for the remote control like it's a pack of crack (does crack come in packs? happy to say I don't know but you get my point). They whine. And cry. And beg and plead. And get mad. You hold firm and don't give in but truth is you're kinda scared, really, will I get anything done? What will they do? With all this time?

Then you realize that they'll do what kids used to do, back in the day. The same thing we did before Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. They will dress up like a princess. Or a pirate. Play make believe. Run around outside and chase each other. Swing. Slide. Read books. Make funny looking little trolls with play dough. Color. Read some more. Stroll their baby doll. Talk. Listen. Observe. Pretend. Imagine. Create.

What they won't do is fight over the remote. Or what show they will watch. Or ignore you when you're talking to them. Or sit. And sit. And sit. Doing nothing. Saying nothing. Thinking nothing. Hour after hour. After hour.

So. There you go. I'm not saying it's never coming back on. As in never ever. But it's now the exception around here and not the rule.

Oh, and did you know that this makes me a mean Mama? It's a title I'll wear proudly.
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Seriously? Seriously.

This makes me want to start practicing law again. And this is exactly the sort of case that would have been assigned to me. For some reason I was always given stuff like this. Crazies to the left and the right. People used to ask me if I found it difficult to be on the defense side of cases when the plaintiff was truly injured. There's always another side I said. And everyone deserves a good defense.

And then there's the attack of killer underwear. Oh what I'd give to be in that deposition....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Just in case we wondered...

why it takes W more than two hours to eat one waffle.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wake Up Call

I usually am in bed (and most of the time asleep) before it's truly dark outside. The kids are in bed by 8:00 and my goal is to be under the covers myself by 8:05. My alarm goes off at 4:40 in the morning so I can be at the gym at 5:00. It's a sick little routine but it's what works for me IF I get enough sleep. But last night it was nearly 10:00 before I made it into bed. So I was already a little nervous about not getting enough z's.

At exactly 1:11 am I was awakened by Gloria Gaynor loudly serenading me with what has become my theme song, "I Will Survive." It was a bit surreal. I opened my eyes, saw the time, and thought either I'd died and gone to disco heaven or someone's alarm was going off at a most undesirable time. It was the latter. I then realized that it was Andy's. See, we each have our own alarm clock. We used to share mine that actually has two separate alarms on it, but Andy hated all the buttons and claimed it was too much to deal with out of a dead sleep. So he got a small uncomplicated little system. Which works just fine until little hands start playing with it during the day and reset the alarm for 1:11 am.

So anyway there I was, kicking Andy to wake him up and turn off his alarm (which is what I always do), but instead of turning it off, he hits SNOOZE. So we got to snooze for 9 more minutes and at 1:20 am were awakened once again with "Ring My Bell." Apparently there is a huge disco audience at that time of night because whatever radio station he has the alarm set on was cranking out Studio 54's greatest hits.

There were choice words exchanged ("turn it OFF already!!!"), a little physical violence and a great smashing and clanking of one small alarm clock and we were back sleeping soundly in no time. Even with all the forces against me to keep me from working out with all the mawmaws and pawpaws this morning, I still made it there.

But Andy. Poor Andy. I came home to find him scurrying. The crazy messed up alarm clock never sounded again. He overslept and nearly missed his bus, so I sent him running out the door this morning with his untied tie draped around his neck and a few dollars for some breakfast.

Footnote: It's 7:00 am and his alarm is going off at this very moment. Um yeah, I'd say it's messed up.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Let's Talk About Daddy

This morning in Sunday school we were talking about Fathers (appropriately enough) and the legacy they leave. I shared a story (that I hadn't planned on sharing) that came to mind as we were talking about our own husbands as fathers.

At our wedding when Andy toasted his Dad and best man, I remember him saying that one of the many things he so appreciated was that he never remembered his Dad not having time for him. He never heard "not now" or "maybe later" when asked to throw the ball, play games, or just hang out. He always knew his Dad was there and would make time for him. And he always knew he was most important.

A few weeks ago as Andy was on his way back to work after coming home for lunch, Catherine asked her Daddy to "eat a cake with her." She has a little play kitchen and she loves to cook and serve up all kinds of goodies. Andy needed to get back to work. But he chose to sit in a little chair and eat a pretend cake with a little girl.

I thought about it later and realized that I rarely -if ever - hear him say "I don't have time now" or "maybe later." I'm not sure he knows he does it, or if he just does it because he doesn't know to do differently. He's turning out to be the kind of Daddy that he had.

And it's a good thing.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Library's Most Wanted

This is a rare moment these days. Don't they look sweet? Don't be deceived! There was nothing sweet about our trip to the library the other day. Here's how it went down.

On the way there we had a refresher talk about the rules. Walk don't run, use quiet voices, stay right with Mama, do what Mama says (always rule #1). We repeated the rules, we agreed that we would obey the rules, and we were ready to have fun. We got out of the car and I buckled Stuart into his stroller.

William wanted to stroll Stuart. So he grabbed the reigns, which incensed Catherine so she started yelling that SHE wanted to push Stuart. They started arguing. Loudly. I thought I could diffuse it by announcing that William could push Stuart INTO the library and Catherine would then push him OUT when we left. I told them to remind me when we left that it was Catherine's turn.

William then announced (loudly) that he was a "very very good reminderer," so he should be the one to remind me. Catherine then proclaimed (loudly) that SHE was a "good reminderer" to which William replied "NO YOU'RE NOT." "YES I AM!" "NO YOU'RE NOT!!!" And so on and so forth.

It was like an alarm and big red light was going off inside my head flashing ABORT MISSION - ABORT MISSION - ABORT MISSION!!! But did I? Noooooooo. Of course not.

We walked into the library and they proceeded to break every single rule before we could make it past all the staring glaring people and get all the way to the back to the children's section, the path to which seemed to be about three miles long. We quickly detoured into the restroom where I got in their faces and repeated the rules one more time, along with a warning. I was sure it had all been just one giant misunderstanding on their part. Probably miscommunication on my part, you know.

We left the restroom and made it just beyond the water fountains when every rule was broken again. I exited the library quicker than if someone had yelled "FIRE." I had a screaming two-year-old hoisted under one arm while I was pushing with one hand a stroller with a howling one-year-old and a panicked four-year-old running behind me yelling "MAMA wait're going too fast!"

I'm pretty sure there's now a Top Ten Most Wanted List in the front of the library with our picture at #1. They might even be offering a reward.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Food for Thought

Does anyone other than me think that kids' birthday parties are out of control? I know I'm not the only one because I found this website: Birthdays Without Pressure. There's at least a small group of people who think like I do out there somewhere.

What ever happened to pin the tail on the donkey?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Take It Outside!

They really do love each other. I know they do. Deep, deep, deep inside. But lately....I don't know....lately something has happened. From the moment they wake up it's "Weeyum say zip it to me" or "Catherine says I copied her but I DIDN'T!" Or maybe "Catherine put her foot on me" or "Weeyum say 'rah' to me" (I'm starting to think she just simply doesn't want to be spoken to a'tall).

They are wearing me out. They fight about things that don't even make sense. They fight about who will go first brushing teeth, getting in the car, or getting slathered with sunscreen. It got so bad last week at the pool that, after William told me he should go first because he's the biggest, I started putting Catherine's sunscreen on instead and told him that it didn't matter if he was big because today was "Little" day. He looked perplexed. I said, "Sorry, but I heard on the news this morning that it was Little Day, which means that all the little people go first today."

He stood there a minute. He said, "So tomorrow is 'Big' Day?"

I told him I'd watch the news and see.

So the next day, same scene, I pulled out the sunscreen and he quietly asked, "So....did the news say it's 'Big' Day?" I nodded and said he was in luck. But I assured Catherine that chances were great it would be "Little" day tomorrow.

Tomorrow turned out to be Saturday though and Andy took the kids to the pool by himself. He had no clue what was going on when he was asked if it was Big or Little Day and of course just ended up making everyone mad. Poor guy.

They're back at it again today though. And this referee needs a nap.
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Friday, June 06, 2008


William went to a friend's house for the afternoon. Catherine was upset that she wasn't going until she asked me if we could do "pwetty finguhs and pwetty toes." She's only been asking for them for weeks now. I don't why she would even think to ask me to do pretty fingers. She sure doesn't see them on my hands.

Nevertheless, we had spa day.

Sweet girl. So glad I got one.

Well paint my door red and call me Elizabeth Arden. - Truvy
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A Mess

This was the third bath in one day. Sometimes the boy is a mess. A big, walking, plundering, slobering mess.

But a charming mess, no?

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Wednesday, June 04, 2008


The GIft That Keeps On Giving

About two weeks before Mother's Day I was perusing the brochure from the Arts Center after signing William up for art camp this summer and noticed that they were offering a photography class this summer for big kids like me. I emailed it to Andy with a "hint" that it would make a great Mother's Day gift. Of course then I got worried that he was going to send his Mom to it instead of me so I followed up with "from the kids." He picked up on it and registered me. Last night was my first class.

Photography is something I've always loved and have desperately wanted to learn but never took the time to do it. A couple of years ago Andy gave me a really good camera but I've only operated it in "simple mode" because I didn't understand all the other stuff. I even took the manual on vacation with me last year and attempted to read it and self educate but it still didn't make sense. Shutter speed, ISO, white balance, back lighting, aperture, blah blah blah. But last night. Last was like a light came on as we started looking at photographs, talking about how to achieve the look, and then using our own cameras to make it happen. I can hardly wait until next week!

For two an a half hours last night I wasn't the same tired ol' mama who changed diapers, refereed fights, and wiped noses and hineys all day. I was in my element. I was someone I haven't seen in a long long time.

Good to know she's still around.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Lucky Number Seven

I'm trying to teach my children how to read time. Specifically, how to read 7:00 (am). So they will stay in their rooms until then. So I can have my coffee and adjust to the light of day before they bring on the noise and the funk.

All of my kids (knock on wood) are great sleepers. Which is a good thing because I like being a great sleeper as well. But for some reason since the time changed this last time, no matter what time they go to bed (which is usually no later than 8 and can be as early as 6 depending on their behavior!), they are up with the sun. Even on the rare occasion that they are up later than 8. Up at sunrise.

I recently put clocks in both of their rooms and have been instructing them in recognizing 7. I've showed them what it looks like, and pointed out over and over that the first number MUST be a 7 in order for them to come out of their rooms.

I went to the gym his morning and was back sitting in my room, doing my morning computer thing and having my coffee when William came running out of his room and through the house with his clock, yelling at the top of his lungs, "A SEVEN, I have a SEVEN, there's a SEVEN on here, Mama, LOOK, LOOK, LOOK!" He shoved his little clock in my face and I saw it read 6:38.

I just stared at him and shook my head no. He looked back at the clock. He looked shocked. He sort of mouthed the words "Where did it go?" His lucky number 7 had disappeared. He looked so defeated and sad that I couldn't help but smile. So I gave him a morning hug and kiss and showed him once again where the 7 should be. Because his outburst had brought Catherine out of her chambers, and awakened his baby brother, I gave in to the 6:37 wake up call.

Sigh. We'll try again tomorrow.