Sunday, February 28, 2010

i smell pledge

I love cleaning my house. Yeah, I said it. But I ESPECIALLY love when my husband gets in on the action. He is a CHAMPION duster, and once he gets into it, there is no stopping him. No wooden surface is safe, and I am usually frantically following him around putting things back right. That being said, dusting is my least favorite chore, so my husband's skills really get put to the test because I don't ever do it nearly enough.

While Alex spent the better part of the morning down deep and dirty cleaning, I perused the internet.  I felt like a bad wife.  While in full blown cleaning mode, he brought me a cup of coffee, the cord for my computer.  He told me he didn't care that I wasn't helping.  So I did a few loads of laundry, got the kids to make their beds, and vacuumed the upstairs.  It was great.  When I came down, Alex had candles going, kids fed, downstairs TOTALLY cleaned and fully mopped.  He felt very proud and accomplished.   I haven't seen the entire surface of my kitchen counter since we moved into this house (five years now?).  The only bad thing is, all of my piles were moved into the dining room for me to weed through later.  I love need don't know what to do without my piles.  I don't know how a household of 6 can exist without piles.  Piles of papers, piles of opened and unopened mail, piles of unread magazines, bills, random crap... I am DETERMINED to organize my piles.  I started weeding, but it looks like it could take a while...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

a cranky little rant

Does everyone else's...

... husband leave their dirty man socks on the living room floor, EVERY night?

... twelve-year-old dumbell kid walk to school without a winter coat on, when it's snowing/sleeting because carrying a coat (once one gets to school) is too much of a pain?

... daughter think her bed is made just because the blankets and pillows are no longer on the floor?

... family walk past a random goldfish cracker smack in the middle of the floor all day long, til someone finally steps on said cracker, grinding it into the rug and making it that much harder for Mom to eventually clean up?

... 4-year-old think that her older sister was born to be her playmate, every waking hour of every single day?

... twelve-year-old "forget" their lunch when their Mom has "gently reminded" them not to forget it (twice), then calls and asks Mom to bring it to school because they are SO HUNGRY they may be forced to eat their best friend's arm?

... children think that the "laundry fairy" is at their beck and call?

... son think it is OK to leave his wet towels on his bedroom carpet on a daily basis?

... kids think it's your job to provide a carnival-like atmosphere on a given day when everyone is "sooooo bored"?

... kids believe they need a friend over every single day?

... four-year-old get annoyed when you ask her to shove over, when she's in YOUR bed?

... son badger you till you feel like smacking him good?

... college-age daughter "forget" to clean up her big, fat messy room when she'll be away (at college) for the next six weeks?

... four-year-old need what seems like A LOT of exceptional entertainment?

... kid start whining and crying over every little thing, when they used to be so easygoing and mild?

Friday, February 26, 2010

normal day

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day, I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return." Mary Jean Irons

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I got the mail the other day and there was an envelope in it addressed to me - in my cute little husband's handwriting. I was so surprised! Even though it was my birthday week and Valentine's, it was still a little thrill to recognize the handwriting on an envelope in my mailbox. I have to admit, I kind of figured he was mailing me a receipt or form from work or something, but in it was the cutest little note from my hon. YY

It also made me kind of nostalgic! It made me think of those days when notes were the way we all communicated with our friends. Before texts and e-mails and facebook posts... there were actual handwritten NOTES. They somehow seem more personal, you know? You folded your note in the shape of a football and boldly chucked it at your BFF three seats over when the teacher turned her back, and God forbid you didn't know how to fold it like a football. You scribbled illegible conversations back and forth on the back of a gum wrapper in Social Studies, discreetly pushing the paper back in forth, excitedly waiting to see what he might say next -- TLA and TLF and U+ME and LYLAS -- now replaced by the digital LOL and WTF and BTW. Remember folding notes in perfect squares, it had to be done just right so the paper tucked neatly inside itself in the end? Remember those notes with the little boxes where you'd check yes or no, or maybe? Getting a note passed to you between jostling bodies in a busy hall made your heart skip a beat... does he like me? is there a party? what did she say?

I have an overflowing box full of notes, and not just a shoe box either -- one of those big MOVING type of boxes. Notes and letters from the 80's, when I was just a teenager. I have no idea why I saved them... I only know I get nervous when it comes to throwing away such solid reminders. It helps me preserve memories, it brings me back to important times, moments, friendships, loves. There were fights and breakups, relationships and friendships made and broken, gossip and betrayal, silliness, stories, and invitations - all through the handwritten note. I have years worth of history on torn pieces of loose leaf paper, just sitting there in a big box in the basement. Waiting for what? I do not know...

Notes are tangible, touchable things, things that cannot be deleted when your inbox gets too full. Maybe that's why I hang on to them. Maybe I will go down there one of these days and weed through the mini mountains of paper. Maybe they would be best left unread...

Monday, February 22, 2010

woodstock, hippies and hobos

We went to Woodstock late Saturday afternoon with the little kids. Usually, when we go out to dinner, we do it with the idea of getting away together to catch up, chat without interruption, hang out with friends our age -- but our kids were so excited to be going OUT to dinner, I actually felt guilty for not doing it more often.

ANYWAY, we decided to take the kids to one of our favorite restaurants, The Little Bear, (Great food - you can check it out here ) which is just outside of Woodstock. It's a fab little Chinese place right alongside a little rambling and rocky creek. We've been going to this place for years now. For some reason I just don't remember the first time we went, and I wish I did. During the summer you can eat outside on this flagstone patio - we always stay in and get a seat by the windows overlooking the creek though.

Though we are not too far from Woodstock, the ride seems long. It must be because most of the way is by back roads, through country -- oftentimes you get behind a line of slowpokes just looking at scenery. That doesn't bother me, because I like to look too. Along the way, I told the kids where we were going, explaining the town of Woodstock that we would be driving through to get to our destination. Most people think of Woodstock as the place where the hugely famous music festival happened in 1969, then again in 1994 -- but the town of Woodstock, that is a pretty cool place to go. It is of course filled with art galleries and shops, cool places to eat, cool people and things to see, and always cool music to hear on any given day.

So I was telling the kids about the music festivals, and about the time period that the first festival was set in - you know, peace, love and rock & roll. All of a sudden, Alex yells out: "Oh my Gosh!! There's a HIPPIE!! Look at his HAIR!" The girls are practically falling out of their seats to get a look at this guy walking along with crazy long dreads. (I love dreadlocks. I admit, I am secretly a wannabe granola-head. Don't tell my husband.)

Then, "A HOBO!!! Mom, LOOK!! It's a REAL LIVE HOBO!!!"
Gosh, who knew all I had to do was drive 40 minutes from home to get my kids so excited?

I think we're going to have to take some more day trips.

ps: Cuteness: as we were leaving the restaurant, the night air smelled of burning wood and Chinese food, and Brookie exclaims, "It smells just like a Chinese campfire!" huh?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

scratches in the sky

Every time Brookie says something cute or funny, I'll wish I wrote it down right away, because it will inevitably be forgotten, lost in the deep crevices of the grey matter...

One of my unwritten resolutions is going to be to write more things down.

Yesterday, I emailed myself two cute things that made me smile at Brooke's age, innocence, observations, and just plain interest in all things around her. We were looking out the window at the many clouds so high up in the sky, and she asked, "Mommy, how can clouds move so fast when they don't even have legs?"

And later, noticing the scribbled white crayon-like strip that is left behind an airplane against the blue heavens, Brooke exclaimed, "Mommy, look! It's like somebody scratched the sky!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


40 Lessons for 40 years:

(1) Make peace with your past so it won't screw up your present.

(2) Stay the course.

(3) It's OK to let your children see you cry.

(4) Apologize.

(5) It's not your business what other people think of you.

(6) It's never too late to be what you might have been.

(7) Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

(8) Don't sweat the small stuff.

(9) Envy is a waste of time, you already have all that you need.

(10) The best is yet to come.

(11) Life isn't tied with a bow, but it is still a gift.

(12) Yield.

(13) Get outside every day, miracles are waiting every where.

(14) Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

(15) Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does.

(16) Believe in miracles.

(17) Your children only get one childhood.

(18) No matter how good or bad a situation is, it will change.

(19) If a relationship has to be secret, you shouldn't be in it.

(20) Forgive.

(21) Only you are in charge of your happiness.

(22) Over prepare, then go with the flow.

(23) Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

(24) Take the time to notice the small things in life.

(25) If it isn't beautiful, useful or or joyful, get rid of it.

(26) Everything can change in the blink of an eye.

(27) Don't worry, be happy.

(28) The sun is going to rise every day, no matter where you are.

(29) Don't be afraid to ask questions.

(30) Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

(31) Seize the day!

(32) Give yourself 15 minutes every day to calm and center yourself.

(33) Don't have a jealous heart.

(34) To what end, this money in our pocket?

(35) Don't audit life - show up and make the most of it.

(36) Time heals almost all wounds.

(37) You are loved.

(38) Ask for forgiveness.

(39) Don't compare your life to others.

(40) Today is special -- don't waste one minute of it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

a jealous heart

Ali, Ty and the kids went to Florida for the week. I really wanted to go too, but it just wasn't happening for us this year. It's so hard for Alex to take time off between the New Year and July - he's just so busy at work when the legislature is in session. Last year at this time though, we packed a bunch of stuff, piled into the car and headed to Disney. We got a cool deal that included our "resort" as well as tickets to all of the parks for the week.

Yes, I put resort in quotes for a good reason. Our "resort" was a trailer with logs on it, basically. We stayed in the Fort Wilderness campground, which also has cabins - or "trailers with logs on them." (sorry, I seem to be very "quotey" in this post) I have to tell you, it was the best week I ever had in Disney -- love love loved the place we stayed, and it absolutely worked perfectly for our family.

We had an awesome week, the ride down was so shockingly pleasant that I would have no trouble making the trek again. Who could imagine an overloaded minivan complete with three kids and two parents, on a 20 hour drive would ever be described as pleasant?

I know, right??!

I was definitely feeling cranky and envious when Ali, Ty and the kids left Saturday, looking happy and excited, overloaded car and all. I wanted to go too!!! Then Alex went and told me not to have a jealous heart.

I think a jealous heart is green, and I guess having a throbbing green heart is not all that appealing to me. So I got over it.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

my valentine

Some of the reasons why I YY love YY my VYlentine...

--He makes me tea when I am sick, and he knows how I like it

--He knows how to make me laugh when I am stressed out

--He is faithful

--He plays scrabble with me

--He will watch the shows I like, even if he doesn't like them

--He tells me I am beautiful

--He snuggles with the kids

--He understands when I need space

--He squeezes my feet

--He will clean up throw-up or other gross things because he knows it makes me sick

--He brings my ice water to bed every night

--He is the only one I want to hug me when I cry

--He gets up in the mornings with the kids so I can have a little extra time for myself

--He cleans the tub because he knows it hurts my shoulder to do it

--He tells me he loves me every day, and he means it Y

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tween Idol

So Tuesday night was the big Tween Idol event at the middle school. After about 80 kids auditioned, there were 5 kids chosen from each of the middle school grades (5th-7th) to compete against each other for the trophies, and of course the coveted title of TWEEN IDOL. The 5 kids from each grade sang individually on stage with music (kind of like karaoke) in front of the whole auditorium, and it was PACKED.

First of all, I was so impressed with how brave and confident those kids all were. I can't even imagine getting up on stage alone and singing in front of an audience full of peers and adults. I also liked that the kids weren't afraid to go outside of the box and sing songs off of the current pop charts. Besides Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift, there was a girl who sang Nancy Sinatra, and a boy who did Run Around Sue. There were the Beatles and Journey... it was really fun!

So back to the process - after the 5 kids from each grade had their turn singing and being judged by the panel of teacher/judges, they left the stage and the audience voted for the best performer in each grade.

After the winner for each grade was announced, the three winners had to go up individually for another round and sing a different song, competing against each other for the title of Tween Idol.

Alex sang the song "I'll Be There," by the Jackson 5. I thought he did SUCH A GREAT JOB. I was so proud of him - he had tons of applause and cheering. He was the cutest thing ever when he got up there, I could just tell he was really nervous. His vocals were on spot, smooth and impressive. I never really knew he had any singing talent, so I was surprised that he just did so well. Every last kid in the 7th grade was really good though, and he did not advance to the final round. He wasn't too disappointed though, he was just proud to have made it as far as he did, and to have been able to get up there and do his thing. He thought the girl who won his grade deserved it and totally cheered her on when she ended up winning the whole competition.

I am so proud of my boy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

bye brace face

After 2 1/2 years of furious brushing, flossing, countless lengthy appointments, lots of cold hard cash, sugar-free gum and a mouth ful of metal contraptions, I am proud to announce that Alex has finally gotten his braces removed! No longer can we call him Brace Face, Metal Mouth, Tinsel Teeth or Zipper Lips...


So a big shout out to Alex's orthodontist group, who made his teeth look beautiful!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! (

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

street scene

This past weekend we went to go see my so very talented girl Kara in her first lead role in an Opera at college. She played the part of Anna Maurrant in Kurt Weil's Street Scene, a mother in the 1940's who lives a lonely, stifled life, spending her time taking care of her children and overbearing husband. She gets caught having an affair and in the end, her husband kills her and goes to jail.
I am so proud of her. She did an amazing job - she always does. I wonder where she gets that talent - that confidence. She just shines on the stage, it is truly where she belongs. She makes me proud to be her mom every day, and
I love her with all of my heart.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

jillian is killin' me.

So I made the mistake of bringing my husband to Super Wal-Mart with me the other night. Don't get me wrong, I love to go places with him, and I especially like it when we get out together alone, because that doesn't happen too often. The problem is, whenever he comes grocery shopping with me, my bill goes up dramatically. I have this unrealistic goal of getting out of Wal-Mart each week as close to $100 as possible, and usually I am pretty close to that - unless it's a laundry detergent/Pull-Up's week. So when I ring out at over $160 for a weeks worth of what is supposed to be GROCERIES, I blame it on my husband's presence.

As I was rounding the bread aisle, he pops up with, among other things, a handful of The Biggest Loser exercise DVD's. He decided he wants to start working out every day to help him get back in shape. So we spend a good 10 minutes in the bread aisle looking through the DVD's he picked out, and we decide on The Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. I tell him I will do it too. Jillian is scary, but I love her. She kicks butt.

He started Sunday night. You may have thought I was stabbing him with many knives by the sound of it, but he made it through the 20 minute (I admit) pretty intense workout. I watched, thinking it looked tough, but do-able. Then he got up Monday morning early enough to do it again before work. As I heard him making his way up to the shower, he was moaning with each footstep on the stairs. "Ow. Ow. Ow. Oooohhh..." This went on for approximately 20 stairs, after which I was definitely awake.

So I decided to try it Monday when the kids all left for school. It was hard, but I made it through doing the exercises modified for beginners. I was thinking Alex was being a big baby about the whole thing, because even though I was interrupted for about 10 minutes half-way through by an urgent call from my sister Ali (which really wasn't urgent at all), I felt pretty invigorated when it was done, and I didn't want to cry like a girl with every step I took.

That was yesterday.

Today, after the second workout, my legs are on fire. To quote Ron Burgundy, "Ohhh, its the deep burn!" In fact, I found myself wincing in pain when I reached for a cereal bowl. Did I mention I hate exercising? I guess if I can look even 1/2 as good as Jillian, it might be worth it.


Monday, February 1, 2010

some of my favorites... in no particular order

deep bathtubs

piano music

my boys


yummy low cal snacks

rosemary, dill and sea salt.

my girlies

diet dr.

peanut butter cups and peppermint patties